Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have become increasingly prominent in recent years, providing innovations used across a wide range of technical sectors.

AI refers to machines carrying out tasks that would normally be considered to require “human” intelligence. Machine learning refers to a technique in which, by giving a machine training examples, the machine can learn how to do a task without requiring a human to explicitly program the rules for carrying out that task. For example, machine learning algorithms can be used in technical fields as diverse as medical diagnosis, drug discovery, machine vision (such as controlling self-driving cars) and computer virus detection.

One issue with patents in this field is that some uses of AI may fall within subject-matter which is excluded from patentability by the patent office. Navigating the boundaries of what is patentable can be complex. Also, care should be taken in determining what information is presented in the patent application about an AI-based invention, given the requirement that the patent contains sufficient disclosure that a skilled person could implement the invention. Any deficiencies in the initial disclosure of the patent application are difficult to resolve later, as it is not possible to add new information after filing.

Our patent attorneys have experience of dealing with a wide range of innovations in the field of AI, and can advise on what can or cannot be claimed for a particular innovation, how to frame the patent specification for a machine-learning-based invention to increase the chance of success, and/or how to deal with any objections raised by patent offices after filing.

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