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Unitary patent – Preparatory Committee Updates

Unified patent courtThe Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court has updated their website to indicate that a number of experts have been invited to join an Expert Panel to provide informal advice to the various work streams that exist in the UPC roadmap. The UPC website has also been updated with a new roadmap.

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Intellectual Property Act – Patent Marking using web address

Greenwich Clock - marked with reference to patentee but lacking a patent number

Greenwich Clock – marked with reference to patentee but lacking a patent number

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014 and makes a number of changes to intellectual property (IP) law in the UK.  The provisions of the Intellectual Property Act start to come into force from 1 October 2014. In this post we take a look at the issue of marking products with patent numbers, how the IP Act is impacting this issue and what the consequences of not clearly marking your products could be.

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Could an Independent Scotland damage the Unitary Patent System?

125px-Flag_of_Scotland.svgI wasn’t planning on writing again on the possible impact of the Scottish Referendum on intellectual property rights unless there was a “Yes” vote. The polls however seemed to have moved recently from “probably No” to “Dave? It’s squeaky bum time”. Additionally a couple of us here at IPcopy have wondered whether a “Yes” vote (i.e. a vote to break up the UK) might have a greater impact than previously thought on the Unitary Patent Package. Essentially, we’ve been considering a Scottish variant of the Malta problem which has previously been discussed on this blog – what I’m now going to refer to as the Scottish Situation. (more…)

An introduction to the Unitary Patent

EU flagIf you don’t know your Battistelli from your Balotelli and you think the UPC Arena is the football stadium formally known as the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Stadium in Graz, Austria rather than a new European patents court then you’ve probably been spending more time on your fantasy football league than you have preparing for the Unified Patent Package. Fear not though as IPcopy has you covered with our Unitary Patent 101 blog post! (more…)

IPcopy’s summer round up

spadesThe summer holiday period is coming to an end, the kids are heading back to school and for the first time in weeks there’s actually a full complement of co-workers in your office. IPcopy has been ticking away during the summer season and, just in case you weren’t checking our updates when you were on the beach, here’s a round-up of our posts from mid July through August.

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America Invents Act – One Year Later

photo-3rToday on IPcopy we have a guest post from Wolf Greenfield attorneys Patrick Waller and Daniel Young that takes a look at the changes seen in the US following the implementation of the America Invents Act. This article is reproduced with permission from Intellectual Property Magazine (IPM). This article first featured in IPM’s May 2014 issue.

We are now well past the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the final changes to US patent law under the America Invents Act (AIA), signed into law by President Obama in 2011. While the full impact of these changes on US patent applicants will play out over the next several years, this anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the significance of the changes and their impact on the country’s patent system. (more…)

High Court rules no compensation for inventor Shanks

Piggy bankToday we have a guest post from David Knight of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on the Shanks v Unilever case and the issue of employee compensation. This article first appeared on the SnIPpets IP blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

Three years have passed since we reported on the appeal on an interim point in the case of Shanks v Unilever, a case relating to Professor Shanks’ (a former employee of Unilever) right to compensation as an inventor of patents of outstanding benefit.  (The patents related to a capillary action measuring device which has now found large scale use in home diagnostic kits for diabetes.)

Amazingly the case continues to rumble on, and the High Court (Arnold J) has recently issued a Judgment on appeal from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) on the substantive part of the case.

By way of reminder, section 41 of the UK Patents Act provides that an employee inventor may be entitled to compensation if two conditions are satisfied:

  • that the patent is of “outstanding benefit to the employer”; and if so
  • that it “is just” that he should be awarded compensation.

Once these requirements are fulfilled the employee should receive such a fair share of the benefit the employer has derived, or may be expected to derive from the patent or the invention.

The case was brought in the UKIPO which, together with the courts, has jurisdiction to hear cases relating to employee compensation.  After a marathon nine day hearing at the UKIPO, including three expert witnesses, the Hearing Officer decided that:-

  1. the benefit of the patents to Unilever was £24.5m;
  2. the benefit was not outstanding;
  3. but had the benefit been outstanding, Professor Shanks’ fair share would be 5%.

Professor Shanks appealed the second and third point above; Unilever appealed against the first and third point.  Many issues were thrown up by the parties in support of their respective appeals; we comment below on those that are more likely to have general relevance in other employee compensation cases. (more…)

Unitary patent: News nuggets (August 2014)

EU flagThings in unitary patent preparation land are beginning to slow down a little as we head into the summer season. Things will no doubt pick up again in the autumn but in the meantime here’s some nuggets of news to keep you going. (more…)

EPO – Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection

EU flagThe EPO Select Committee approved the Rules relating to unitary patent protection on 24 June. A copy of these rules has appeared online and is discussed below.

During a session of the recent “Unitary patent and Unified patent court” seminar held in Paris, Jerome Debrulle (Chair EPO Select Committee) indicated that the Select Committee had approved the rules that will be used to administer the unitary patent. IPcopy had not seen a copy of these rules at the time of our conference review post but now, thanks to reader Hans van Tongeren, we have been pointed towards what appears to be the latest version of the rules, which can be found on the Bristows website here.

The EPO’s rules document runs to over 80 pages and there is also a 40+ page Annex which highlights the changes from the previous version of the rules. An overview of the structure of the rules document is provided below along with some “highlights” from the rules themselves.

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USPTO starts lobbing rejections from Room 101 (is this the post-Alice situation?)

Court (Small)Are USPTO Examiners beginning to issue blanket “Alice” objections against software patent applications? How should such patent applications be presented? How might this develop going forward? And, what should we be doing (if anything) to address it?

An eagle-eyed colleague here at Keltie (thank you Peter Kent) spotted a discussion online last week that suggested that, in the wake of the Alice v CLS Bank decision from the Supremes,  Examiners at the USPTO might be beginning to issue blanket objections under 35 U.S.C. 101 to patent applications containing software-implemented inventions.

IPcopy reached out to William Jividen at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in the US to see if this was the case. The discussion below has been distilled from Bill’s comments and other comments seen online. Any mistakes or inaccuracies may be attributed solely to me!

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