Are machine learning algorithm patentable?


In all industries, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as the most important technological advancement in decades. Machine learning (ML) is becoming more and more popular, helping companies with anything from improving breast cancer detection to increasing ad conversion rates. By 2022, it is anticipated that the worldwide machine-learning market would be worth $8.8 billion. The criteria and restrictions of AI and machine learning software patents are of interest to businesses of all sizes, from massive IT organizations to lean startups. Nonetheless, confusion over the subject matter that can be patented is common and has been a focus of debate in recent years. As a result, the USPTO has published rules detailing what may and cannot be patented in relation to machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What is a Patent

A patent, a type of intellectual property that grants the owner exclusive rights for a specific amount of time, usually 20 years from the date the patent application was submitted, forbids the creation, use, sale, or import of an invention by others.

An invention must frequently satisfy a number of requirements in order to be patentable, such as −

  • Novelty − The invention must be entirely new and must not have been revealed or made public in any other way.

  • Non-obviousness − An invention must not be a simple or obvious advancement of previously known information or technology to a person of ordinary ability in the art.

  • Utility − The invention should not only be theoretical but also have some real-world use or benefit.

  • The invention must come within one of the definitions of "patentable subject matter," which might change according to the jurisdiction but typically refers to inventions that are machines, methods, compositions of materials, or improvements to such compositions.

A patent application must also be submitted by the inventor to the appropriate patent office along with a thorough description of the invention, including how it was created. A patent examiner will go through the application to see if it satisfies the requirements for patentability, and if it does, the inventor will be given a patent that grants them exclusive rights to the invention for a certain amount of time.

Reasons to Patent a Machine Learning Algorithm

One could desire to patent a machine learning algorithm for a number of reasons.

  • Patents offer intellectual property, including machine learning algorithms, and legal protection. The owner of the algorithm can safeguard their investment in the algorithm and stop others from gaining money off of their labor by acquiring a patent, which will stop anyone from using, producing, or selling the algorithm without authorization.

  • Competitive edge − By granting the owner of the algorithm exclusive rights, a patent can provide the owner with a competitive edge in the market. They may be able to charge greater rates for their services or goods as a result and increase their market share.

  • Possibilities for licensing − Patents can also be licensed to third parties, offering the owner a possible source of income. By licensing the algorithm, the owner may make money without having to create or market their own goods by allowing others to use it in exchange for a fee.

  • Recognition − For researchers and innovators, obtaining a patent may help demonstrate their competence in the subject and may open up new job options or financial resources.

The process of acquiring a patent for a machine learning algorithm may be difficult and expensive, and there is disagreement over the necessity and benefit of patenting software and algorithms. While some contend that patents can inhibit innovation and restrict the sharing of information, others hold that they are essential to safeguard intellectual property and promote investment in R&D. In the end, the choice of whether or not to patent a machine learning algorithm should be based on unique circumstances and objectives.

Can we Patent a Machine Learning Algorithm

Absolutely, as they are regarded as a category of software or computer-implemented innovation, machine learning algorithms can be protected by patents. A machine learning algorithm must satisfy the requirements for patentability, which include invention, non-obviousness, and usefulness, in order to be qualified for a patent. This implies that the method must be novel, not readily apparent to an expert in the topic, and have some value or practical application.

However, there are arguments about whether machine learning algorithms meet the requirements for patentability and whether they should be classified as mathematical algorithms or abstract ideas, which may not be eligible for patent protection. As a result, the patentability of machine learning algorithms can be subject to legal and technical difficulties.

Also, the applicability of particular rules and regulations as well as the jurisdiction might affect a machine learning algorithm's ability to be patented. A legal professional or a patent attorney should be consulted to ascertain the precise conditions and restrictions for patenting machine learning algorithms in your country.


The exclusive right to stop others from creating, utilizing, selling, or importing an invention is granted by a patent, a type of intellectual property, for a specific amount of time. Although there is disagreement on the usefulness and appropriateness of patents, they may be a source of income and fame for researchers and innovators. Absolutely, as they are regarded as a category of software or computer-implemented innovation, machine learning algorithms can be protected by patents.