The debate over the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in patent law has been a topic of global discussion for several years. The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has recently contributed to this discourse, delivering a judgment that aligns with many other countries’ boundaries of AI’s role in patent applications. Per the UK’s Patents Act 1977, this ruling finds that an inventor must be a natural person, effectively precluding AI systems from being acknowledged as inventors.
As in many other courts across the globe, the UK’s Supreme Court’s decision hinged on the definition of an ‘inventor.’ Within the context of the Patents Act 1977, the Court analyzed the Act’s language, concluding that the Act defines an inventor as the ‘actual deviser’ of an invention that unambiguously refers to a human being. This interpretation underscores a fundamental principle in patent law: recognizing human creativity and ingenuity as a core of invention.
This decision by the UK Supreme Court is a national statement and a significant marker in the global legal landscape concerning AI and intellectual property. It aligns with the stance of several other nations, reinforcing the notion that AI, despite its advanced capabilities, cannot replace the human element in the context of patent law. This ruling can have far-reaching implications, potentially influencing future legislative developments and judicial decisions in other countries and shaping the global approach to AI and patent law.