UKIPO enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) guidance
June 06, 2023
A recent decision from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) suggests some weight may be afforded to the new enhanced guidance for examining patent applications relating to artificial intelligence (AI) inventions.
Patent law in the UK (and in many other jurisdictions) excludes from protection inventions relating solely to mathematical methods and/or computer programs “as such.” Late last year the UKIPO published enhanced guidance for examining patent applications relating to artificial intelligence (AI) inventions.
In a recent hearing at the UKIPO this enhanced guidance was used by the hearing officer to conclude that an invention did not solely relate to excluded subject-matter, in contradiction to the examiner’s findings.
In reaching this conclusion the hearing officer noted that the invention in question “…generated a trained neural network for image detection and classification…”. The hearing officer contrasted this contribution with scenario 15 presented in the UKIPO’s enhanced guidance.
Scenario 15 is provided as an example of refused core AI. Unlike the case before the hearing officer, the method of training a neural network presented in scenario 15 does not have an effect outside of a computer (e.g., image detection and classification) and is therefore considered a computer program as such.
Whilst the UKIPO stresses these scenarios are not a source of law and are non-binding, this decision may demonstrate some commitment from the UKIPO in applying this new enhanced guidance, helping to provide more legal certainty to patentees filing in the field of AI.