18 July 2022

UK Government releases outcome of intellectual property and artificial intelligence consultation

Following the launch of a consultation on intellectual property (IP) and artificial intelligence (AI) towards the end of last year, the UK Government have now released their formal response summarising the outcome.

The consultation was designed to seek opinions on the issues surrounding IP – in particular copyright and patents – and AI as a tool for innovation and creation. 

Three key areas were looked at:

  1. Copyright protection for computer-generated works without a human author. These are currently protected in the UK for 50 years, but the consultation looked at whether they should they be protected at all, and if so, how.
  2. Licensing or exceptions to copyright for text and data mining, which is often significant in AI use and development.
  3. Whether and how AI-devised inventions should be protected by patents.

Several options were presented for each area and respondents were asked to indicate which of three options they would prefer, where “option 0” for all three areas represented “no legal change”.

Based on the results of the consultation, the UK Government are not planning any changes to UK patent law or copyright laws relating to computer-generated works, though notes that they will keep these areas of law under review.

The UK Government is, however, planning to introduce a new copyright and database exception which allows text and data mining for any purpose. Rights holders will still have safeguards to protect their content so they can choose the platform where they make their works available, and charge for access.

We will continue to monitor for updates and will of course provide more information relating to any changes as we become aware of it.