During 2023, the UK will continue to position itself as a leader in the AI sector—by emphasizing support for the AI industry rather than pushing forward a legislative agenda.
In 2022, the UK government published an AI Regulation Policy Paper and AI Action Plan confirming that it intends to diverge from the EU’s regulatory regime. And the UK also made proposals on one key aspect of AI: the treatment of intellectual property rights. In both cases, the UK appears to be taking an approach that favors innovation over regulation.
In 2023, the UK is likely to introduce a new copyright and database right exception that will permit text and data mining (TDM) for any purpose. IP rights-holders will not be able to opt-out of the right but will still have safeguards to protect their content, primarily a requirement that content subject to TDM must be lawfully accessed. So rights-holders will be able to choose the platforms where they make their works available, including charging for access. They will also be able to take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity and security of their systems.
It’s intended that the exception will speed up the TDM process, which is often a precursor to the development of AI, and will help to make the UK more competitive as a location for AI developers. Previously, the TDM exception only applied to non-commercial purposes.
On the other hand, the UK government axed other AI-related proposals. The UK has no plans to change the law regarding IP in computer-generated works. This means that works which do not have a human author will retain their copyright protection, a unique position in Europe. The government will keep the law under review and could amend, replace, or remove protection in future if the evidence supports it.
There will also be no change to UK patent law protection for AI-devised inventions. In response to a UK government consultation, most respondents agreed that changes to the law on inventorship should be harmonized internationally and not implemented piecemeal. The counterview is that the patentability rules ought to change to take account of the increasing contribution of AI in the R&D process and that, when AI technology reaches a stage where it can genuinely “invent,” any inventions devised by AI should be patentable.
Although there will be no imminent policy change in the UK, during 2023 the UK Supreme Court is likely to consider a test case on the issue of patentability of AI-derived inventions.
This post is a part of a series on trends in the artificial intelligence space for 2023, authored by MoFo lawyers.