Opinions on whether robots should be allowed to hold patents are among those being sought in a government consultation on the apparently arcane topic of artificial intelligence and intellectual property. The consultation, announced yesterday, follows claims by academic researchers to have ’automated the process of innovation’. A team from the University of Surrey las year filed applications for two inventions by a neural network system named ‘Dabus’.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) says that its consultation on AI and IP recognises that ‘the IP framework may need to adapt to stay abreast of technological developments’. It is seeking views from industry, academic and research organisations as well as those in the intellectual property (IP) sector and other government departments.

The exercise also seeks views on copyright, trade marks, designs and trade secrets. 

Announcing the initiative at London Tech Week, Amanda Solloway, minister for science, research and innovation, said: ’We want to build on our support for traditionally R&D intensive industries, alongside longer-term ambitions to put the UK at the forefront of wholly new sectors that are emerging around transformational new technologies such as artificial intelligence.’ 

Tim Moss, chief executive of the IPO said intelligence gathered through the consiltation ’will be essential for furthering our understanding of the commercial, economic, legal and social implications of AI and how the IP framework can incentivise the development and adoption of AI technologies’.

Those interested in submitting views can do so via the AI and IP Call for Views consultation document.