UK Intellectual Property Office

UK strives to “be a leader in AI technology” as it sets out its next steps for the regulation of artificial intelligence.

By Deborah J. Kirk, Laura Holden, and Victoria Wan

On 23 March 2021, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published the outcome of its consultation last year on artificial intelligence (AI) and intellectual property (IP) (the Response). The Response highlights the UK’s ambition to “be a leader in AI technology” by developing and adapting IP legislation in light of developments in AI technology, notwithstanding the fact that such developments may, post-Brexit, result in a divergence between the approach taken in the UK and the EU.

Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK has clearly indicated that it will take its own path to encourage AI innovation while protecting IP rights to solidify its position as a leader in AI innovation. The UK has been active in its attempt to secure this position. The Response follows the AI Council’s publication of an AI Roadmap in January this year and the House of Lords Liaison Committee’s publication of AI in the UK: No Room for Complacency in December last year, two reports that recognise the importance of good governance and regulation for public trust while specifying that flexible regulation is critical. The Response is an example of one of the actions recommended by the House of Lords’ Liaison Committee for sector-specific regulators (such as the IPO) to identify gaps in regulation (such as IP legislation) to address issues raised by AI.