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The General Election, IP and R&D – a look at the manifestos for #GE2019

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Image by John Mounsey from Pixabay

It’s General Election time. Again.

Even though the UK has been through four major votes since 2014 (Scottish Referendum in 2014, General Election in 2015, EU Referendum in 2016, General Election in 2017) the Powers That Be were clearly spooked by the lack of an opportunity for the UK electorate to vote on something major in 2018 and so are bringing us General Election 3: It’s Brexmas Time (There’s No Need to be Afraid).

The main parties might want you to believe that the election is about the chance to ruin our relationship with our main trading partners even further or the ability to nationalise anything that moves but we all really know where the main policy action is. Yes, it’s time to see what the parties have to say about IP.

IPcopy has therefore taken one for the team and has waded through the manifestos for the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the SNP  (and also the Brexit Party’s “Contract with the People”) to see what they have to say about: patents, trade marks, designs (IP related design references), copyright, the unitary patent and unified patent court. We’ve also had a look to see what’s been said about research and development.

So, ready? Here we go…. (more…)

Computer implemented inventions in biotechnology and healthcare at the EPO

dna-1811955_1920IPcopy recently attended an EPO presentation from the EPO’s Bioinformatics team on the subject of computer implemented inventions (CII) in biotech and healthcare and how to go about patenting such inventions.

This author works in Keltie’s software team and so is familiar with CII related inventions. Bioinformatics inventions however can sit somewhere between the biotech and software disciplines and so this presentation provided a handy insight for attorneys from either field into the subject area. (more…)

CIPA Seminar Review: Update on Computers and IP Seminar 2019

IPcopy was at the CIPA “Update on Computers and IP Seminar 2019” recently. A few brief highlights from the various talks follow:

In the first session, “Patenting Computer implemented inventions in Healthcare at the EPO”, Igor Dydenko provided the EPO view on patenting inventions in the Healthcare field which apparently is the top technical field with the most patent applications in the EPO (according to the EPO’s 2018 annual report).

Igor noted that the relevant provisions for healthcare related inventions were those relating to technicality (Art 52(2), (3) and 56 EPC) and medical methods (Art 53(c) EPC). A review of the two examination requirements (note the EPO moving away from the “hurdles” language*) of technicality and inventive step then followed which highlighted the Guidelines for Examination approach for mixed type inventions incorporating a mathematical method (see G-II, 3.3). In particular the discussion highlighted the requirement for inventive step to only be supported by those features of the claimed invention which provide a technical effect serving a technical purpose. (more…)

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn! A look at Labour’s “Medicines for the Many” Policy Paper

DSC05699-BLast Tuesday the UK’s Supreme Court delivered their verdict in the “prorogation of Parliament” case and found that the advice provided to the Queen was unlawful with the effect that prorogation had never happened. Parliament was duly recalled on Wednesday where the Speaker directed that the item in the Journal of the House of Commons relating to Prorogation was to be expunged and replaced with a reference to the House being adjourned instead.

The Commons session last Wednesday went ahead with a series of Urgent Questions and the atmosphere in the chamber steadily deteriorated as things went on. Last week also marked the return to UK TV of the show The Good Place, and in honour of that show and its main character Eleanor Shellstrop, the session in Parliament last Wednesday could probably fairly be summed up as a forking shirtshow.

Lost a little in the noise generated by the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent recall of Parliament however was an announcement from Labour in Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech (and associated policy paper) regarding medicines and the use of the patent system. (more…)

Has Brexit scuppered the UPC?

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The unitary patent system is aiming to create a European patent registration and litigation system. To bring the whole system into being, 13 EU member states, including France, Germany and the UK, need to ratify the UPC agreement and currently 16 member states (including France, the UK but crucially not Germany) have done so.

For some time, the unitary patent project has been stalled because an ongoing legal challenge in Germany has prevented Germany’s ratification process from being completed. In addition to this, the fallout from the UK’s Brexit vote has also cast a sense of uncertainty over the planned system because the unitary patent system is only, in its current form, open to EU member states to join. The UK’s expected departure from the EU therefore casts some doubt on whether the system will even take place.

In the face of the above two challenges however the UPC Preparatory Committee has continued to make technical and operational preparations in anticipation of a positive result from the German Constitutional Court.

Recently however the German Federal Ministry of Justice made a statement to the German Parliament indicating that an examination of the UK’s exit from the EU on the proposed unitary patent system will need to take place before ratification can occur. (more…)

Misleading Invoices: The Brexit Edition

brexit-1481028_1920In April 2019, the EU agreed a second delay to the UK’s departure from the EU and set a new departure date of 31 October 2019. Following EU leaders’ talks about the new Brexit delay, President Donald Tusk told the UK: “Please don’t waste this time”.

A couple of months on from Tusk’s press conference the UK appears to be doing everything it can to ignore that request as we watch the Conservative Party continue to tear itself apart by holding a leadership contest and the Labour Party leader continue the party’s policy of constructive ambiguity as far as its Brexit policy is concerned.

Although the UK political parties and most of the country seem to be gripped by an ongoing Brexit paralysis (#JustMakeItStop), one group of people have been quick off the mark hoping to cash in on the uncertainty around Brexit.

Yes, misleading IP related invoices are back and this time the companies sending the “invoices” are hoping to persuade their recipients into parting with their hard earned cash by paying for totally unnecessary UK trade mark and design registrations. (more…)

London Tech Week 2019 – IP Clinics

Intellectual Property Clinics: protecting your inventions, branding and designs

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Keltie will once again be taking part in London Tech Week which this year runs from 10th to 14th June by running free Intellectual Property Clinics throughout the week. (more…)

Brexit and Patents

Further to our Brexit videos on designs and trade marks. Here’s IPcopy’s video summary of the impact of Brexit on patents.

4 April 2019

Brexit delayed: EU offer “If This Then That, Else” extension

brexit-1481028_1920After grilling PM Theresa May for 90 minutes and then holding 8 hours of talks, the EU-27 offered to delay Brexit last night. The PM has accepted this offer which means that the No-Deal cliff edge has moved back from 29 March and Brexit has effectively been delayed slightly. This delay means that the potential impact of Brexit on EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs) will also be delayed. (more…)

McDonald’s, Supermac’s and the “Big Mac” EU trade mark

The trade mark dispute at the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) between Supermac’s, an Irish fast food restaurant chain, and McDonald’s over the “Big Mac” European trade mark has appeared in a number of news stories over the last couple of weeks.

The full decision from the EUIPO, in which the application by Supermac’s to revoke the Big Mac trade mark was upheld, can be found here.

I sat down with Alistair Gay, a partner in Keltie’s trade mark team, to discuss the case. (Note: this video has subtitles.)

Mark Richardson and Alistair Gay 30 January 2019