From voice recognition and object classification to image generation and speech synthesis, tasks that were once in the realm of science fiction have become ubiquitous in our everyday lives, often being performed by computers that fit in our pockets. A common theme underlying this progress has been the use of advances in AI and machine-learning techniques, particularly those that are specialised to the properties of audio and image data. Our team at Venner Shipley routinely handles patent applications in these areas, assisting clients from small start-ups to large corporations.

Obtaining patent protection for such advances in computer vision and speech technologies in Europe can often be easier than with core AI inventions and those directed towards other applications, such as business and administrative methods or Large Language Models. The EPO explicitly considers digital audio, image or video enhancement or analysis, as well as the classification of digital images, videos, audio or speech signals based on low-level features, to be technical subject matter, and thus amenable to patent protection. Consequently, the EPO’s mathematical methods exclusion often does not apply to inventions in this area.

That is not to say that obtaining a patent to computer vision and speech innovations is not without its challenges. The explosion of research and patent activity in this area has generated a large volume of prior art and granted patents that can be tricky to navigate. Our experts can support you in navigating this complex environment and assist you in building a patent portfolio that supports your goals and objectives.