IP and AI – UK Government publishes response to second consultation

Blog published by AA Thornton IP LLP, under Artificial Intelligence / Machine learning, Education / Training, Legal / IP

On 28 June 2022, the UKIPO published its response (here) addressing the second consultation on the interplay between artificial intelligence and intellectual property, which ran from October 2021 to January 2022.

On 28 June 2022, the UKIPO published its response (here) addressing the second consultation on the interplay between artificial intelligence and intellectual property, which ran from October 2021 to January 2022.

The consultation sought input on three specific areas:

  1. Copyright protection for computer-generated works (CGWs) without a human author;

  2. Licensing or exceptions to copyright for text and data mining commonly referred to as TDM (often significant in AI use and development); and

  3. Patent protection for AI-devised inventions.

Copyright protection for CGWs:

Currently copyright protection for CGWs lasts for a term of 50-years from the end of the calendar year in which the work in question was made.

Following the consultation, the Government decided that no changes to the copyright protections afforded to CGWs need be made. The reason for this being that at present there is no evidence that suggests that the current protections for CGWs are harmful.

It was noted that as the use of AI is still very much in its early stages it was not possible to conduct a proper evaluation of the options and that any premature changes could have unintended consequences.

The Government did however state that they intend to monitor the impacts of existing CGW protections as AI develops and will review this decision as required.

TDM using copyright materials:

Contrary to the above decision, the Government, recognising the need to expand upon the current legislation has decided to introduce a new TDM exception, which allows commercial text and data mining for any purpose.

There will however be certain safeguards in place, such as the requirement for ‘lawful access’ to works which will allow rights holders to control and/or charge for access to their works.

The intention behind this change is to mirror exceptions currently existing in other territories such as the EU, Japan and Singapore in the hope that it will promote and encourage AI development for research and innovation purposes and ultimately make the UK a global centre for AI innovation.

Patent Protection for AI-devised inventions:

Similar to the outcome of the CGW review, the Government has announced no changes to UK patent legislation concerning AI.

Many respondents to the consultation agreed that the current UK patent rules regarding inventorship were sufficient and that any alteration of these rules should be harmonised at the international level. It was further noted that any unilateral change made now at the national level bears the risk of being counterproductive as well as possibly creating barriers to innovation and investment in AI technologies.

The Government does however state that they will keep this area of law under review to ensure that the UK patent system continues to support both AI innovation and the use of AI in the UK.


Whilst the Government’s decision to make no changes regarding CGWs and AI-devised inventions reflects the position that it is not currently possible to conduct a proper evaluation due to AI in the UK being very much in its early stages, the intention to monitor and amend these areas as needed in years to come is abundantly clear as is evidenced by the developments made regarding TDM.

Whilst the changes made and proposed direction of travel regarding AI and IP may not be welcomed by some rights holders in the UK, the Government have made their ambitions for the UK to become a global centre for AI innovation clear.

Author: Fergus Brown AA Thornton IP LLP

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