DABUS: AI’ll be back

In a hotly awaited decision, the English Court of Appeal has ruled that AI-based machines cannot be named as inventors, upholding the original decision of the High Court and Comptroller general.

Dr Stephen Thaler has become well known in the intellectual property field ever since filing patent applications for two inventions: one entitled “Food Container” (GB18116909.4) and the other entitled “Devices and Methods of Attracting Enhanced Attention” (GB181816.0). However, despite its title, it is not the subject matter of the invention that has been attracting attention, but the named inventor: ‘DABUS’, an AI machine owned by Dr Thaler.

Dr Thaler’s applications were first rejected by the UK IPO Comptroller on the grounds that DABUS is not a person as envisaged by sections 7 and 13 of the Patents Act 1977. The High Court also dismissed his appeal ([2020] EWHC 2412). Dr Thaler subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal, which addressed three questions: