This week’s snap decision by the Prime Minister to call an early election caught pretty much everyone by surprise and, in IPcopy’s view, is likely to delay (again) the progress of the unitary patent system as the processes around the election seem likely to interfere with the UK’s ratification of the UPC Agreement. In this post we take a look at the timeline for the election and how, in our view, it might potentially push the unitary patent system start date into early 2018. (more…)
Today on IPcopy we have a summary courtesy of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. of a significant patent decision in the U.S. Supreme Court (SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC).
On Tuesday March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a 7-1 decision in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, ruling that laches—the notion that a plaintiff prejudiced a defendant by waiting too long to sue—cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for patent infringement damages that accrued prior to the date of the suit. Explaining that a laches defense would undermine the Patent Act’s statute of limitations for damages, the Supreme Court relied heavily on its analogous copyright decision from 2014, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., to overrule a 6-5 en banc decision from the Federal Circuit.
SCA is a favorable decision for patent owners, but is unlikely to have a profound impact on patent litigation. Laches defenses were always difficult to prove except in the most extreme situations—situations in which the separate doctrine of equitable estoppel remains available. SCA will likely be most significant in cases where the patent owner never actually communicated with the defendant before the suit but instead silently waited a long time to sue, perhaps until sales of an accused product are greatest, significantly prejudicing the defendant in the process (e.g., as a result of significant investments in the accused products or important evidence becoming unavailable). Even in those cases, the defendant may still cite laches as a reason to deny injunctive relief. (more…)
Despite there being some more work to do in bringing the unitary patent system online (not to mention the possibility that Brexit could still potentially torpedo or severely slow down the whole process), IPcopy has been asked a growing number of questions recently about the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court.
What follows below is a selection of questions that we’ve encountered over the last few weeks. This is by no means an exhaustive summary of the current state of play of the unitary patent but we hope the discussion below is useful nonetheless.
A list of topics is below. Click on the topic of interest to jump to the correct part of the post. (more…)
After a five month Brexit induced wobble the unitary patent system appears to be heading toward lift off and is once again figuring in the plans of some patent owners.
Indeed, in the last week, IPcopy was asked whether a currently pending European patent application would be eligible for unitary patent status or if there was a risk it might grant before the system goes live.
In this post we take a quick look at what makes a European patent eligible for unitary effect on grant and how the unitary patent system timescale matches up with the European patent process. (more…)
By getting things right at the beginning, a Start Up can facilitate growth at a faster pace and be ready for the bigger challenges and hurdles coming down the line. (more…)
The UK Prime Minister announced this week that Article 50 would be triggered on 29 March 2017.
It had been previously reported that the UK might try and conclude its ratification procedure for the Unified Patent Court Agreement prior to the Article 50 notification but the ratification procedure has slipped sufficiently that this will not now be possible.
IPcopy understands from the UKIPO that there is currently no confirmed date for laying the Statutory Instruments (on Privileges and Immunities) before Parliament that are required to complete the UK’s ratification formalities. It is expected that this will now occur after the Easter recess towards the end of April. Further details on the UK’s path to ratifying the UPC Agreement can be found here.
The Goodwill Maze – a case review of O-609-16 – (The Crystal Maze) Invalidity – 20 December 2016
Mad Professor Ltd’s (‘MP’) is the proprietor of UK No. 3060820 ‘The Crystal Maze’ (‘TCM’) for inter alia “team building events” in Class 41. Adventure Line Production SAS (‘ALP’) sought to invalidate the registration under Section 5(4)(a).
ALP based its passing off claim on use of TCM since February 1990 in respect of “entertainment services, in particular television programmes, games and challenges”. MP denied ALP’s claims arguing that (1) its mark was lawfully registered, (2) the marks are not identical, (3) ALP does not own the goodwill, (4) there is no misrepresentation, and (5) there is no damage.
Although MP’s mark was filed on 20 June 2014, the relevant date to consider whether there had been passing off was 21 June 2011 as this was the first date in which MP made use of TCM on its website. (more…)
We’ve previously written about the problem of scam invoices in which UK, European and other IP rights holders receive invoices inviting them to pay for the publication of their IP right in some official sounding register. Variations of the scam involve offers to renew IP rights or even apply for IP rights. Previous IPcopy articles can be found here and all the main IPOs have their own sections which keep tabs on the latest examples of such scams (UKIPO, EPO, EUIPO, WIPO).
A more recent example of such scams is one in which the target is invited to buy domain names. According to the UKIPO the initial contact is a telephone call from an organisation that says they are the “Trade Marks Intellectual Property Office”. (more…)
Season 6 of the US TV show Suits came to a close over the weekend. If it taught us one thing it’s that you should never use the firm Pearson Specter Litt to prosecute your patent applications.
OK, seeing as Pearson Specter Litt is a fictional law firm there’s not much chance of you engaging the services of Louis Litt as your patent attorney but the show did show a blatant disregard for the basics of the patent system which is why this post is subjecting Suits to the full IP Hit or Miss? Treatment. Is the show’s IP depiction accurate or does it fall short? (You can probably guess which way this one is going to turn out). (more…)