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It’s a funny old game – World Cup & IP

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pixabay/gellinger

Once every 4 years the FIFA Football World Cup (or soccer for our American readers) comes around and incites an unnatural sense of optimism in England supporters around the world that this could be our year. While this is always an event that somewhat brings the people of the country together, some may say the repetitive upsurge of optimism before each World Cup is misplaced. On the eve of the World Cup which marks the 13th tournament and 52 years since the first (and only) World Cup victory of the three lions, it is worth noting that England’s national team have won just 6 matches in the knockout stages of any major international tournament since the 1966 World Cup Victory.

Optimism or pessimism aside, there is always the possibility of a World Cup upset, football is a simple game where anything can happen, as Sepp Herberger (Coach of the 1954 World Cup winning West Germany team) famously once said; “The ball is round, and the game lasts 90 minutes”. (more…)

United in Europe

In June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, raising many questions around EU Trade Marks and Community Designs, as well as representation rights before the EUIPO.

Keltie’s “United in Europe” video below highlights our response to Brexit.

Keltie LLP 3 May 2018

Why the EQE pre-exam was a good idea

epo-eqe(All statistics used in this article are derived from my new StatistEQE website at http://statisteqe.beetz.nl)

If you want to be a European Patent Attorney who can represent clients before the European Patent Office, you first have to pass an exam. The European Qualification Examination, also known as the EQE, is well-known for its low pass rate. Only one in three candidates passes the full four paper exam in one year. After three years, another third of all candidates is still struggling with at least one of the papers.

In 2009, acknowledging that the low pass rate may be problematic, the exam committee came up with a counterintuitive idea. They added another hurdle. Since 2012, before you are allowed to appear at the real exam, you first have to pass a pre-exam. 10 legal questions, 10 claim analysis questions, 4 statements per question that have to be judged TRUE or FALSE, and a complex marking scheme to score all answers on a scale of 0-100. Only if you score 70 marks or more (50 before 2014), you are allowed to sit the main exam next year.

Since before the first pre-exam, there has been a lot of criticism on both the concept and the execution of this added challenge. Law is not maths. It is not easy to come up with 80 legal question that can only be answered with TRUE or FALSE and are challenging as well as unambiguous. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, successful appeals at the EPO Boards of Appeal led to 56 candidates being allowed into the main exam although having scored less than 70 marks for their pre-exams. This year, two statements were considered so ambiguous that every answer was accepted to be correct. IP Kat wrote an article about it. In the comments, candidates, former candidates and other anonymous contributors complained about the exam and the exam committee and questioned the usefulness and fairness of the pre-exam. On the DeltaPatents blog, similar comments are to be found in even greater numbers.

But most of these negative comments and opinions are based on emotions, often of candidates who just went through the stress and hard labour that are commonly associated with sitting the exam. For a better informed opinion about the pre-exam, it may be useful to have a look at the numbers. For the pre-exam to be a useful tool, two important statements have to be judged TRUE. (more…)

When sharing your trade secrets with others, just remember that NDAs are like confetti

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Image: pixabay.com

No longer the neglected step-child of IP:

Trade secrets have been the neglected step-child of IP but that situation is fast changing. There are various forces at play helping to increase the importance of trade secrets.

Firstly, the law is changing.

·       The Defend Trade Secrets Act passed in the USA in May 2016

·       The EU Directive on Trade Secrets is enacted by member state on 9 June 2018

·       China explicitly included trade secrets in its 2018 revisions to the Anti Unfair Competition Law

Changes in the eligibility requirements and enforcement mechanisms of patent laws around the world, but especially those in the US – and especially as they relate to software and business methods, make trade secrets an attractive mechanism to protect a company’s competitive advantages. (more…)

Excluded Subject Matter – Two Recent Case Law Rulings

Image from pixabay.com

In the UK, section 1(2) of the Patents Act (which is set out at the bottom of this post) sets out certain categories of invention that are not patentable. These categories of invention are generally referred to as excluded subject matter. The assessment of patentability under section 1(2) is based on the judgment of the Aerotel Ltd v Telco Holdings Ltd and Macrossan’s Application case at the Court of Appeal. This judgment approved a four-step test for deciding on whether an invention is patentable.

Two relatively recent case rulings that relate to the above-mentioned subsections of the act are: the “Google Inc.” case (BL O/364/17), and the “Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc.” case (BL O/390/17), which were heard in August 2017. Both cases are noteworthy as they were respectively refused and accepted, and so offer insight to the type of inventions that are considered by the UK courts to be patentable and non-patentable in view sub-sections (c) and (d) of Section 1(2) of the Patents Act. (more…)

Top 5 tips for protecting trade secrets

spy-camera-1702973_1280With the new EU Trade Secrets Directive coming into force in June 2018, Dr Chris Hayes of Lewis Silkin details his top 5 tips for protecting trade secrets. (more…)

Is it time to bury the UPC yet?

IMG_8533-1Just before Christmas, the Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) published an online article, looking ahead into this new year. Optimistic as usual, the committee expressed to be “hopeful the New Year will bring closure to [its] endeavours and the Unified Patent Court will become a reality”. Some words were spent on the delay caused by the challenges to the German ratification of the Agreement at the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC), but most of the article was meant to inform the future users of the unified patent system about the provisional application of the Agreement in the months before the Court will actually start. The article included no words on Brexit and the as yet unclear future relation between the EU and the UK. (more…)

Spinning out without falling over

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[pixabay.com]

When a spin-out company is successful the results can be spectacular. In 2014 Zynga Inc acquired NaturalMotion, a leading games and technology company from Oxford University Innovation whose game titles include Dawn of Titans and CSR Racing, for more than US $527 million.

University spin-outs are growing with companies such as Applied Graphene Materials and PureLiFi hitting mainstream news. In the UK, spin-out programs are centered on university campuses and supported by two key government initiatives, the Enterprise Fund and University Challenge Scheme. The UK has the highest number of spin-out support programmes in Europe, with the main players being Oxford and Cambridge University. As well as benefiting universities, businesses and investors, the success of spin-outs is making an impact on regional and economic development too. On the back of this success more and more universities and investors are looking into possibility of spin-outs of their own.  (more…)

New Year’s resolutions, IP and Fitness

Leaving the overindulgence of the Christmas period and entering into the New Year of 2018, we will inevitably see an abrupt shift from yuletide-themed adverts to January clearance sales, and with it the traditional bombardment of reminders to buy sofas at half of the (alleged) recommended retail price, prompts to start putting down instalments on that dream summer holiday and, of course, the fitness and/or health-themed myriad of adverts that boisterously tell us to “start afresh” this New Year.  (more…)

ADEC “steals” ANC colours

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ADEC logo

Today on IPcopy we have a guest post from Tyrone Walker of Moore Attorneys on the subject of political party logos in South Africa. This post has been reproduced with the permission of the author. 

The African Democratic Change (“ADEC”) party was officially launched on 1 December 2017 in South Africa. A representation of its logo is depicted right. (more…)