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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

Patent Markings

We have our first video post today on the subject of marking products with patent numbers. (Note that the video has subtitles.)

This is my first effort at a video post so please be kind!

Mark Richardson 23 January 2019

Patent prosecution in the UK and Europe – acceleration options

carProsecuting a patent application from filing to grant can be a long winded process lasting, in some cases, many years. An application needs to be searched and then published before being examined. Delays at the UK Intellectual Property Office in certain technology fields can mean that examination reports take years rather than months to issue and delays at the European Patent Office (EPO) have, in extreme cases, meant that applications have remained pending for even longer.

In many cases applicants may be happy to proceed at a slow pace because it allows an invention to be developed and marketing/commercialisation plans put in place. The cost of the patent process can also be spread out over time. There are however circumstances where a more speedy grant would be useful, for example where you think someone is using your invention and you want a granted patent to allow some kind of infringement action to be taken or where an investor asks for a granted patent before they release funds for the development of your company/invention.

Both the UKIPO and the EPO offer a range of acceleration procedures that can help get a granted patent more quickly. The various options for these two patent offices are discussed below. (more…)

EPO to join WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) for priority document exchange

EPO4WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) allows priority documents to be exchanged electronically between participating IP Offices (there are currently 19 participating offices including the US, Japan, China, Korea [who make up 4 of the 5 IP5 offices], the UK and Australia).

The EPO will be joining the list of participating IP offices from 1 November 2018 (see Decision of the EPO President here and accompanying Notice from the EPO here). Where the WIPO DAS is used an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may electronically retrieve a copy of the priority document from the Office of First Filing (OFF) using a DAS access code.

Initially DAS at the EPO will be for EP patent applications and EP regional phase applications from the PCT. DAS will not initially be available for PCT applications filed at the EPO though this will be added in the future. (more…)

Computer-implemented inventions, cloud computing and the EPO Guidelines for Examination

EPO4IPcopy had the pleasure of attending the EPO ICT seminar at the end of September where recent developments at the EPO in relation to computer-implemented inventions (CII) were discussed. The seminar was held the week before the latest version of the EPO Guidelines for Examination (November 2018 edition) was published which meant we were teased a few times with what was about to be released.

We were however told that the 2018 update to the Guidelines contains some significant CII related changes*, in particular more examples that show what is regarded as technical and what is regarded as non-technical in areas such as business methods, computer programs, mathematical methods and data retrieval.

Interestingly, it was mentioned that the CII portions of the 2019 and 2020 versions of the Guidelines will probably only contain minor clarification amendments rather than the more significant changes that have been seen in the last few years. The CII Guidelines Working Group has had an ongoing project running since 2014 and the first batch of CII changes came out in the 2015 Guidelines (Problem-solution approach for mixed inventions/search for computer-implemented inventions), the second batch in 2016 (Claim forms for CIIs, examples for PSA for mixed inventions) and the third batch in 2017 (Presentation of invention and UIs). The 2018 Guidelines represent the fourth batch of changes and it was noted that we will likely only see clarification amendments for the next couple of years.

Now that the November 2018 Guidelines have been published IPcopy has taken a look at the CII sections and highlights the following changes : (more…)

Brexit: Patent, trade mark, design and GI “No Deal” notices published by UK Gov

brexit-1481028_1920It’s probably fair to say that the Prime Minister’s meeting in Salzburg last week did not go as well as the government would have hoped. Talk has now turned to the negotiations being at an impasse and the possibility of a No-Deal Brexit becoming reality seem to have increased.

Given that we’re now all staring out over the cliff edge again it seems a fitting time to take a quick look at the UK Government’s advice notices, that were published yesterday, in respect of patents, trade marks, designs and geographical indications in the event of a No-Deal Brexit. (more…)

UKIPO Patent Examination Time Calculator

file7791271797864Nestled towards the bottom of the CIPA August 2018 newsletter is news of a new patent examination calculator that has been introduced by the UKIPO on its patent document and information service (IPSUM).

For cases where examination has been requested the online file will now indicate the latest date by which the IPO expects to issue its first exam report. Currently, IPSUM entries will specify one of three things: (i) that exam is expected to be complete by 30 June 2019; (ii) that exam is expected by 31 March 2021; (iii) that it’s unlikely exam will be completed before 31 March 2021. More precise information may become available as the IPO works through its backlog of cases. (more…)

CBS Files for new Star Trek Trade Marks

Trek 1

In a recent statement, the US TV network CBS announced that they would be launching a new Star Trek show focussing on a “new chapter” in the life of Starfleet Captain, and living proof that we still won’t have cracked the cure for baldness by the 24th Century, Jean-Luc Picard.

The show will revisit the character around 20 years on from the events depicted in the somewhat underwhelming film Star Trek Nemesis and, in a truly great development, will feature Patrick Stewart returning to the role he first played in 1987. (more…)

Brexit and IP: UKIPO update on Rights of Representation

brexit-1481028_1920The UK Intellectual Property Office recently updated its “IP and BREXIT: The facts” page with further details on its plans for handling European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs), Registered Community Designs (RCDs) and Unregistered Community Designs as the UK exits the EU (see our earlier post on the subject here).

The UKIPO Brexit page also has a few new things to say on the subject of the rights of UK IP professionals to represent clients before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It should be remembered that as a consequence of leaving the EU (and, as things stand, leaving the EEA) UK based IP professionals who can currently represent clients on EUTM and RCD matters before the EUIPO will lose their rights of representation (see more on this subject on the CITMA website). (more…)

Brexit and IP: UKIPO update on conversion of EU Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs

brexit-1481028_1920Following statements made recently in the House of Commons during an “Exiting the European Union” debate, the UK Intellectual Property Office has updated its “IP and BREXIT: The factspage with further details on its plans for handling European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs), Registered Community Designs (RCDs) and Unregistered Community Designs as the UK exits the EU.

By way of a brief recap readers will recall the March 2018 version of the draft Withdrawal Agreement covering the UK’s departure from the EU confirmed a number of IP related elements that had been agreed (see the sections in green between Articles 50-57) but that the registration procedure (for the conversion of EUTMs and RCDs) was still the subject of negotiations. (more…)