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1 July 2024

Artificial Intelligence as Inventor?

Tan Tee Jim SC

Published on e-First 1 July 2024

The UK Supreme Court’s ruling in Thaler v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks [2024] Bus LR 47 clarifies that only natural persons can be inventors under the UK Patents Act 1977, dismissing the notion of AI as an inventor. This decision, aligned with international precedents, addresses the growing debate over AI’s role in innovation. This article’s position is that humans are the inventors of AI-generated inventions with AI essentially being a tool. Granting inventorship to AI would be inconsistent with the fundamental purpose of the patent law system which is to incentivise humans to make inventions and reward them for their ingenuity and labour. AI is incapable of responding to such behavioural incentives the way that humans do.