Despite having had an interest in all things extra-terrestrial from an early age, I’ve been regularly dumb-struck by innovations in space-related technology both upstream (things in space or launching them there) and downstream (things down here using technology or data from space). Planet Labs are deploying a constellation of 28 tiny imaging satellites, each costing a fraction of the price of typical commercial satellites, promising near-global, daily imaging. Brokers like Spaceflight Services put these and other small satellites into orbit by squeezing them into the space inside launch vehicles around larger satellites. Terra Recovery image landfill sites from space, to figure out what their robots could mine from them. You can even buy your own satellite launched and ready to do your bidding, evil or otherwise (laser weapons not included).
Members of IPcopy are always on the look out for snippets of unitary patent and unified patent court news and it was during such a search this week that we came across a conference report of a Unitary Patent Package Conference that was held in Amsterdam on 6 February 2014.
The full report of the conference can be found here. Having skimmed through the conference summary we noted a few points of interest which are detailed below. In particular we were interested to see what are apparently the first potential figures for the fee for opting a European patent out from the exclusive competence of the Unified Patent Court (the “opt-out fee”). These comments came from someone who is presumably familiar with the matter, Kevin Mooney of the Drafting Committee for the Rules of Procedure of the UPC. (more…)
Consider a company selling non-pharmaceutical products to the general public (pharmaceutical products raise special issues, not discussed here).
The possible extremes of branding architecture are these:
- “one product [or product type, or service (type)], one brand”; and
- “monolithic”. (more…)
Last week Emily took a look at the EPO’s draft rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection. As noted in last week’s post the document appeared to be a work in progress (it was dated August 2013) and in the comments section to that post Antonio Pizzoli (Googling Wizard, First Class) pointed us at an updated version of the EPO’s draft rules which can be accessed here.
The August draft ran to 22 rules. The updated version only discusses draft rules 1 to 11. Furthermore, we note that the updated version introduces a new rule 4 meaning that there are some numbering changes.
We’ve had a quick look at the updated document and note that there has been some progress on some of the issues raised in Emily’s review. The following areas in particular interested us: (more…)
Nestlé applied to register its famous four-fingered Kit Kat bar as a three-dimensional registered trade mark. Cadbury opposed the application. On 20 June 2013, a decision by the UKIPO refused Nestlé’s trade mark application in class 30 for chocolate and various chocolate confectionery products but allowed the application in relation to cakes and pastries. Justice Arnold largely agreed with the hearing officer’s reasoning that the three-dimensional shape should not be registered because it lacked distinctiveness and had not acquired distinctiveness, and that the shape was necessary to achieve a technical result. However, he referred some interesting questions to the CJEU that could result in a significant change in the way in which we approach shape marks. (more…)
IPcopy commentator Antonio Pizzoli has pointed us in the direction of the EPO’s draft rules relating to the Unitary Patent Regulation which you can find here (thanks Antonio!). IPcopy hadn’t come across this document before, and it makes for an interesting, if slightly worrying, read.
Clearly it is a work in progress, and the draft is peppered with interesting comments and alternative proposals.
The freedom for a patentee to amend claims during EPO opposition and opposition appeal proceedings is to be considered by the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). In a referral to be issued shortly, the EBA will be asked if the clarity of a proposed amended claim should always be open for consideration even if the amendment simply consists of limiting the scope of a granted independent claim by incorporating the features of a granted subsidiary claim. (more…)
On 12th February 2014, CIPA will broadcast a presentation from IPReg on the proposed changes to the UK patent attorney examination system. The broadcast is due to begin at 2.30pm and conclude at 4pm. Questions, comments and views can be submitted both during and after the event via the link below (see Link (1)). According to the January CIPA Journal questions may also be submitted using the hashtag #PatExams to @TheCIPA. (For IPcopyemily’s thoughts on the matter see here.)
As noted on the CIPA website:
Nicholas Fox, IPReg Board member and one of the architects of the proposed reforms, will present the rationale for change and the evidence supporting the need for a different approach. Nicholas will be on the expert panel and will make the case for requiring all trainee patent attorneys to pass an accredited Foundation course, withdrawing the examination-only route to entry into the profession, and withdrawing P3 (Drafting) and P4 (Amendment) examinations in favour of qualification via the EQE route.
In response, CIPA will describe the consequences for private practice and for industry should the proposals be adopted. Keith Hodkinson will provide a perspective from private practice and the likely consequences for recruitment into the profession through large and small entities. Bobby Mukherjee will respond on behalf of industry, describing the likely impact of the proposals on business and the UK’s competitiveness in the global IP market.
- The CIPA webcast information page can be found here.
- The webcast itself can be accessed here.
- The IPReg consultation on simplifying and modernising the examination system for qualifying as a patent attorney runs until 17 March 2014 and can be found here.
Mark Richardson 7 February 2014
As we previously reported (here), Italy signed the unified patent court (UPC) agreement on 19 February 2013. This means that there are 25 countries (out of a possible 28) who are signed up to the UPC agreement (Spain, Poland and Croatia have not currently signed).
Italy, of course, is not part of the enhanced cooperation regulations that the unitary patent itself will be delivered under. If Italy, along with the other required countries, end up ratifying the UPC agreement and the unitary patent package comes into effect, Italy will be part of the court system but unitary patents will not have effect in Italy.
That couldn’t possibly cause any issues, could it?
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) is one of the Greats of science fiction. While practising as a chemist in the 1940s, he depicted in his stories a world in which, from the late twentieth century, humanity was increasingly served by robots of high intelligence. To prevent these robots from taking over from, or destroying, humanity – or being abused by one human against others – they were programmed with the three “Laws of Robotics”:
“1 – A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, cause a human being to come to harm.
“2 – A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
“3 – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”
These laws were admirably crafted, but had enough ambiguity to support ingenious stories. The stories are still readily available (the above laws are as set out in a recently purchased copy of I, Robot.)
A legal practitioner such as an English solicitor or a UK and European patent attorney is likewise subject to hierarchical rules embodied in codes of conduct of various types. In the public interest, their behaviour is constrained, including their response to client instructions. Indeed, with a little licence, one may reformulate these ethical codes into three-part form corresponding quite well to the three Laws of Robotics: (more…)