Insights Intellectual Property Office has consulted on “Artificial Intelligence and IP: copyright and patents”


The IPO’s consultation considers the IP rights in patents and copyright, which reward and protect inventions and creative works, in light of the fact that AI is playing an increasing role in both technical innovation and artistic creativity.

The IPO recognises that patents and copyright must provide the right incentives to AI development and innovation, while continuing to promote human creativity and innovation.

The IPO also recognises that AI may soon be inventing and creating things in ways that make it impossible to identify the human intellectual input in the final invention or work. If or when inventive and creative AI exist, the IP system must be appropriate to secure benefits to human society, whilst also ensuring that patents and copyright work where AI is supportive of invention and creativity but not its sole author or inventor.

In response to the IPO’s Call for Views on AI and IP (the results of which were published in March 2021), questions were raised about the balance in the copyright system between the protection of human works and AI works. Some felt that copyright might present barriers in the development of AI itself, e.g., using works subject to copyright when training AI and in innovation and research. For patents, issues were identified that may act as a barrier to innovation as the use of AI systems increases.

The IPO is now seeking to understand the issues in more detail and is consulting on three specific areas:

  1. copyright protection for computer-generated works without a human author; these are currently protected in the UK for 50 years, but should they be protected at all and if so, how should they be protected?
  2. licensing or exceptions to copyright for text and data mining, which is often significant in AI use and development; and
  3. patent protection for AI-devised inventions; should they be protected, and if so, how?

The consultation closed on 7 January 2022. To access the consultation click here.