The UK Supreme Court has confirmed that it will hear the high-profile appeal over the DABUS AI patent. Its decision, likely sometime in 2023, will be very significant in the ongoing international debate over patent protection for AI-devised inventions.
Thaler v Comptroller-General
Just under a year since the Court of Appeal’s blockbuster decision in Thaler v Comptroller-General the Supreme Court has agreed to grant Dr Thaler leave to appeal. Many will be familiar with the facts of this case where Dr Thaler had applied for two GB patents, stating that the inventor was “DABUS” and that he had the right to be granted the patents “by ownership of the creativity machine ‘DABUS’”. The Supreme Court granted leave on 12 August 2022, although this decision was only recently made public on its website.
As discussed in our article the Court of Appeal (in a majority decision with a strong dissenting judgment from Birss LJ) rejected Dr Thaler’s appeal. It upheld the decisions of the UKIPO hearing officer and Smith J that a UK patent cannot be granted where an AI system is named as the inventor. See our earlier article.
No immediate legislative change to UK patent law
At the time of the Court of Appeal’s decision we were waiting for the UK government to consult further on AI patent protection. We now know from its response to the latest consultation that there is not going to be any immediate legislative change to UK patent law, but the government is keeping this under review. See our earlier article here.
The international scene
Several other countries and the EPO have also been grappling with how to deal with the DABUS patent. This includes Australia where earlier in 2022 the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia overturned the earlier judge’s finding that an AI system can be an “inventor”.
All eyes across the world will be on the UK Supreme Court when it hears this case. Watch this space…!