Patenting computer-implemented inventions in the era of AI

Mike Jennings speaks at the London IP Summit on “Patenting computer-implemented inventions in the era of AI”

Partner Mike Jennings spoke at the London IP Summit on the 16 October 2018 on the topic “Patenting computer-implemented inventions in the era of AI”. Mike spoke alongside representatives from IBM, Nokia, AT&T, ARM Holdings plc, NXP Semiconductors, the 4iP Council research group, Sisvel, Via Licensing, the UKIPO and members of the UPC preparatory committees. If you were unable to attend the event, you can watch extracts of Mike’s presentation below.

Commenting after the event, Mike said:

“The European patent system is already well prepared for patenting artificial intelligence – at least for the current generation of AI tools that support human innovation. Although patenting AI algorithms is challenging, European patent attorneys know how to write patent specifications with a full description of the specific technical implementations and the specific technical applications of inventions – and this is exactly what the European patent office will require from us when patenting the computer-implemented mathematical methods that are applying AI capabilities to solve technical problems in every industry.”

Europe’s computer-implemented inventions case law has been stable since 2010, and AA Thornton is achieving high success rates for computer-implemented inventions at both the EPO and UKIPO. The EPO issued helpful new guidelines on 1 October setting out the criteria for patentability that will be applied by its examiners from 1 November 2018, and these guidelines explain that many specific technical applications of AI are patentable in Europe, if we write claims that are functionally limited to the technical purpose. Specific technical implementations are also patentable – e.g. where an algorithm is adapted to the internal operations of a computer system on which it runs, or to a particular type of distributed computing network.

The EPO deserves praise for its consultation with industry and the judiciary before issuing these Guidelines, and for training examiners in life sciences and automotive technologies in readiness for AI patenting.  AA Thornton has also been training our life scientists and engineers, and our attorneys are ready to support our clients’ AI implementation strategies in all industries.

As AI finds its way into every industry and drives innovation faster than ever before, both the EPO and AA Thornton are ready.”

The London IP Summit is an industry leading event dedicated to bringing together IP owners, experts and investors to address key challenges and operational issues faced by companies and IP professionals today.

The EPO’s revised Guidelines on patentability of mathematical methods such as machine learning algorithms are available here (see part G, Chapter II, sections 3.3 and 3.3.1).

Watch extracts of the presentation here:

If you would like further detail on any of the above, or would like to discuss developments in the AI sphere, then please do not hesitate to contact Mike by email at

Category: News | Author: Mike Jennings | Published: | Read more