Darren Hau (Marks & Clerk) published an interesting article for Lexology which discusses the topic for patent protection of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
As it is well known, computer programs and mathematical methods are excluded from patent protection because it requires a technical solution of a technical problem.
The main question here is, however, when one software, including AI, meets these requirements, that is to say when it has a concrete technical effect.
The updated EPO “Guidelines for Examination” gives some tips in that regard.
When it comes to AI inventions, the guidelines provide the following as examples of technical applications:
- control of a specific technical system/process;
- encryption/decryption or signing electronic communications;
- audio/image/video enhancement or analysis;
- speech recognition, e.g. mapping a speech input to a text output;
The natural conclusion from an in-depth analysis of these examples is that AI is protectable by patents in a case that it claims are restricted to specific technical purposes or such technical implementations.
The full article can be found here.