Dr. Stephen Thaler, a computer scientist, tried to register two patents under the name of an artificial intelligence model he developed.

Dr. Stephen Thaler, a computer scientist

A computer scientist who was attempting to have his AI model acknowledged as the creator of two new patented products had his appeal denied by the highest court in the United Kingdom.

The court ruled that Dr. Stephen Thaler, a computer scientist, could not have his AI product, DABUS, acknowledged as the creator of a food container or a flashing light beacon.

The ruling on December 20 was unanimous and upheld earlier rulings by the UK High Court and Court of Appeal.

The court calculated that a “natural person” must be the source of a patent. “DABUS is not a person at all,” the court stated in rejecting Thaler’s appeal.

Source: Suhail Ahmad

Thaler applied for two patents in October 2018, but they were rejected by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office in August 2019. The computer scientist then went to court to appeal the decision.

The recurring issue was that he never identified himself as the creator. Rather, he claimed that he only invented DABUS, which then presumably invented the food container and a flashing light on its own.

Lower UK courts, however, rejected Thaler’s claim on the basis of the Patent Act 1977.

“Rights can only be granted to individuals.” In September 2021, the Court of Appeals ruled that “a machine cannot.” “A patent is a statutory right and it can only be granted to a person.”

Despite the dismissals, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom stated that the current decision does not establish a precedent for future cases.

“This is not intended to impose an additional requirement for patentability,” the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom stated. “It also does not create a new basis for rejecting patent applications.”

Thaler also tried to patent DABUS in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, according to records. All of those jurisdictions rejected him, with the exception of South Africa, which approved DABUS in July 2021.