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Lexis+ AI

TMC2 wins in landmark High Court ruling protecting UK AI innovation

TMC2 wins in landmark High Court ruling protecting UK AI innovation


The ruling puts UK on par with other international markets protecting IP in computer sciences and AI

In a UK first, the English High Court has overturned an earlier decision of the UK Patent Office (UKIPO) on the patentability of key aspects of AI Technology, with immediate effect. The change in law means that both the training of artificial neural networks (ANNs) and ANNs themselves are now patentable in the UK. ANNs are an essential part of AI and machine learning, creating sentient-like user experiences through technology.

The initiative has been spearheaded by award-winning  AI Venture Studio Time Machine Capital Squared (TMC2) and its subsidiary company Emotional Perception AI Ltd (EPAI). EPAI  originally filed its patent application in 2019 for a novel technique that permits the trained ANN to align its output closer towards how a human semantically perceives content. The initial application was rejected as original legislation from the 1970s did not cater for modern-day computer implemented inventions, however the rapid development of AI globally has necessitated a revision of this law.  

Professor Andy Pardoe, listed by IBM Watson in the Top 30 AI Influencers globally, who consulted on this action and is an advisor to TMC2, stated, “This change to the UK law, specifically for AI based patents, is a major breakthrough for the UK AI industry and will dramatically help the UK with its ambitions to be a global leader in this field. Differentiating between the technical complexities of the training of an ANN to that of just running an ANN in inference shows deep understanding of the technical separation of these two elements of AI development and implementation. Changing the law to better allow AI based patents to be approved is a fantastic step forward.”

Whilst TMC2 has secured multiple complementary patent rights for this technology in the US, the UKIPO had been slow to move away from entrenched ideas on patentability of computer implemented inventions “CIIs,” with innovations in computing representing a cornerstone of many 21st century tech companies. Based on this ruling, TMC2 and EPAI are now positioned to both protect and develop world-leading technical concepts using patent monopoly rights.  

The ruling has significant positive implications for the UK’s AI industry, making it more attractive to invest in innovative companies and R&D that will drive AI forward.  This is particularly game-changing for the markets and banking sectors where new emotional perception is being developed for natural language processing (NLP) economic and financial crime detection and sentiment analysis. This decision also shows that the UK’s AI industry has a clear drive and conviction to challenge and change, for its benefit, the status quo whilst meeting the UK government’s objectives to “ensure the UK gets the governance of AI technologies right to encourage innovation, investment, and protect the public and our fundamental values”. 

Bruce Dearling, TMC2 patent attorney stated, “Closing the semantic gap is the Holy Grail in AI technology. This ruling opens the door for UK AI to now accelerate and puts the UK on a better global footing to reward technical innovation. The impact of this decision and any related patent cannot be understated, not least because it provides clarity about how AI and CII inventions must be assessed. It further acknowledges the conceptual brilliance of the inventors, placing them clearly in the vanguard. The decision should be welcomed by all, including the UK Patent Office. It means that UKPLC is now very much open for business in AI, but also in other industrial sectors making use of computer implemented inventions. IPR protection is highly important to industry.”

Joe Lyske, co-founder of TMC2 and co-author of the patent said, “We are really pleased with this ruling. What we have achieved here is not just acquiring another patent for TMC2, it’s a game-changer for the whole AI industry. It also shows yet again, that the UK is a world leader in AI and we are proud to be recognised as such with this ruling.”


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