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WIPO Webinar for Judges: Evolving Jurisprudence on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Inventorship in Patents

June 17, 2022

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in driving innovation across vast areas of technology has become a focus of global interest and imagination for scientists, lawyers, policymakers and the public alike. First emerging in scientific publications in the 1950s, the field of AI has grown at a rapidly accelerating rate during this century. Indeed, according to the WIPO’s Technology Trends Report 2019, approximately half of all AI-related patent applications worldwide have been filed in the past decade alone.

These rapid advancements in AI techniques touch upon a host of policy issues, not least in the area of intellectual property (IP), in which AI techniques affect the creation, production and distribution of economic and cultural goods and services. In addition to prompting policy discussions, these developments in AI technology have also started to crystallize into legal questions arising in disputes before IP offices and courts.

In the realm of patent applications, AI technologies had historically been considered as tools that assist inventors in the invention process, or as features of an invention, akin to other computer-assisted inventions. More recently, however, the courts have been faced with cases in which patent protection is sought for inventions deemed to have been generated autonomously by AI, thus requiring judges to examine the fundamental boundaries of inventorship in their national or regional patent law.

As the reach of these issues extends beyond borders – most famously, patent applications claiming inventions generated by the “DABUS” AI system have been filed in some 17 jurisdictions – courts across the world have tackled questions regarding inventorship and ownership, and the issues surrounding the transfer of title where these two are not the same.

Join three prominent judges who have led the development of jurisprudence in this area in their own jurisdiction for an interactive webinar to discuss how they have determined the concept of “inventor” under patent law in patent applications naming AI systems as the inventor. Justice Stephen Burley of the Federal Court of Australia will address the April 2022 decision of the Full Federal Court of Australia in Commissioner of Patents v Thaler [2022] FCAFC 62. Justice Burley will be joined by Lord Justice Colin Birss, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, who decided Thaler v Comptroller General of Patents Trade Marks and Designs [2021] EWCA Civ 1374 in September 2021, and Ms. Aurélie Jimenez, Legal Member of the European Patent Office (EPO) Boards of Appeal, who was a member of the Board in decisions J 8/20 and J 9/20 in December 2021.


Lord Justice Colin Birss
Court of Appeal of England and Wales, London, United Kingdom


Justice Stephen Burley
Federal Court of Australia, Sydney, Australia


Ms. Aurélie Jimenez
Legal Member, Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, European Patent Organization, Munich, Germany

The webinar will be conducted in English on July 6, 2022 (13.30 – 14.45 CEST), with simultaneous interpretation provided in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. Participation is open only to judges and members of quasi-judicial bodies that are active in adjudicating intellectual property disputes.

Please register in order to participate in the webinar. Registration will be open until 18.00 on July 4 (CEST).


For any questions, contact the WIPO Judicial Institute at judicial.institute@wipo.int.