Artificial neural networks (AI) not excluded from patentability and have a “substantial technical contribution” finds E&W High Court

In Emotional Perception AI Ltd v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks the High Court held that a patent application for an artificial neural network (ANN) did not invoke the statutory exclusion from patentability which applies to  computer programs (as such) under s.1(2)(c) Patents Act 1977 as no computer program was claimed (the ANN involved not being such) and if that was wrong, the system's method of selection through the application of "technical criteria which the system has worked out for itself" satisfied the requirement for a technical contribution for the purposes of escaping that subject matter exclusion in any case. The UK IPO has temporarily suspended its guidance on the examination of AI inventions while it considers the impact of this decision and has issued a practice update specifically relating to the examination of ANNs, but it has also been granted leave to appeal. Read more

Innovation, IP and the energy transition – Creative tensions

The scale of the change needed to tackle climate change is enormous and it is clear the global transformation to a low carbon economy will be underpinned by technological innovation. Incredibly, according to the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 report, almost half of emission reductions required by 2050 will come from technologies currently at the demonstration or prototype stage. So, attracting investment and increasing the speed with which this technology can come to market is critical. Read more

UK Select Committee recommends legislation on AI including to establish and enforce rights of IP owners

The UK Science, Innovation and Technology Select Committee (which recently conducted an inquiry into the impact of AI on several sectors) has published The Governance of Artificial Intelligence: Interim Report identifying 12 challenges of AI, including that for intellectual property, and recommends legislation during this parliament. The report also expresses concerns that the UK will fall behind if there are delays, given the moves made by the EU and US to regulate AI already. On IP it recommends that where AI models and tools make use of other people’s content, policy must establish the rights of the originators of this content, and these rights must be enforced. Read more

Trade mark protection in virtual worlds/the metaverse – IP offices respond with new classes for registration of virtual goods/NFTs as trade marks and the EUIPO deals with “metaverse” marks

The new version of the Nice Classification, the 12th edition, carries new categories for registration of trade marks in relation to NFTs and is being used by several national trade mark offices including the EUIPO and IP Australia. Read more to discover the approach being taken there and in the UK to marks in the metaverse? Read more

The IP in NFTs – Strategies for protecting your brands and products in the metaverse

The creation ("minting") and sale and use of NFTs raises many IP issues which we have discussed in our previous posts in our IP in NFTs series. However, brand owners and product manufacturers must also be vigilant in monitoring the virtual marketplaces to ensure that third parties are not creating NFTs that infringe their own IP rights.  This is especially true where the company is considering releasing or has released NFTs, because the public will begin to associate the brand with NFTs (which could include infringing NFTs).  There are several strategies that companies could adopt to minimise this risk. Read more

The IP in NFTs – What is being purchased?

As we reported in our first blog post in this series, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a new asset class that is being adopted eagerly across all sectors, raising some interesting challenges from an IP perspective. While NFTs have demonstrated themselves to be a powerful tool in the new digital era, they remain poorly understood, in particular in relation to the rights that are (or are not) transferred on purchase of an NFT. Releasing (known as "minting") and purchasing NFTs can give rise to a number of IP-related issues, such as: - Who has the right to create and release NFTs? - Does the NFT infringe third party rights? - What rights are transferred with the NFT (and on resale)? - How this rights transfer is achieved? Read more

The IP in NFTs – what you need to know

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one of the hottest IP topics currently. NFTs can be used simply for marketing purposes or as a new form of asset to attract investment or as part of the transfer of products and services into the Metaverse.This new asset class has exploded across all sectors and raises some interesting challenges from an IP perspective. While NFTs have demonstrated themselves to be a powerful tool in the new digital era, they remain poorly understood. In our series of blog posts on NFTs, we explore intellectual property considerations, misconceptions and issues that we are seeing arising in the NFT space, including, in this first blog post, clarifying what NFTs are and how they can create effective control over digital assets and the use of NFTs for provenance and anti-counterfeiting. Read more