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COVID-19 – Effects on Intellectual Property (IP)

virus-4937553_1920IP Offices around the world have announced special measures to take account of likely business disruption, not only to their own operations but also to those of their customers, from the Coronavirus outbreak. Here we summarise the measures of the EUIPO, EPO, WIPO, UKIPO and IPOI.

If you feel that your ability to respond to an IP deadline is affected by the Coronavirus situation then please contact your normal IP representative who will be able to advise on the options that may be available. It is important to note that the various IP Offices are applying different special measures and the extent of such special measures may not be immediately be apparent. Please also note that the special measures across the various IP Offices mentioned below are changing constantly so please check with your representative for the latest news.

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IP Audits

audit-2823174_1920Wouldn’t it be nice to have some free money to spend on evaluation of your company’s intellectual property?

Well, I’m pleased to tell you that with the generous support of the UK Intellectual Property Office, this is exactly what is on offer.

The scheme in question is called the IP Audits Plus service. It gives those company’s that apply, and are selected, access to a fund of £3,000 (inc. VAT) to spend on evaluation of the company’s IP position (only £500 of which is funded by the company). The money can be spent with a qualified patent or trade mark attorney of the company’s choosing to conduct an Audit of the firm’s IP assets and provide a report. (more…)

EPO Fee changes from 1 April 2020

EPO4The EPO will increase its fees with effect from 1 April 2020, with an increase of around 4% for most fees. The 4% increase is fairly consistent across the board with the notable exception that the EPO appeal fee for non-SMEs*, will increase by from €2255 to €2705, representing an increase of €450 or 20%.

Most fees are associated with particular payment deadline. The fee you pay is dictated by the EPO’s fee schedule** on the day of payment, rather than the fee schedule on the day of the deadline. This means that even if a relevant deadline falls on or after 1 April, you may be able to pay the fee early, on or before the 31 March, to take advantage of the current, lower fee rate. (more…)

It’s the end of the UPC as we know it (and I don’t feel fine)

IMG_8533The unitary patent project and the Unified Patent Court have been limping along in recent years ever since the result of the UK referendum on EU membership and the filing of the German constitutional court challenge against the UPC legislation.

This blog has been less than positive (1, 2) about the prospect of either the UK staying in the system or even the outlook for the project as a whole and yesterday it became clear that, contrary to previous slightly more positive murmurings from the UK Government, the UK has now decided it will not be moving forward in the Unified Patent Court system. Despite the lack of an official announcement the news seemed to pop up online and in IPcopy’s messages from a number of different sources yesterday and IAM Magazine later reported that the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the UK would not be participating in the UPC system. (more…)

EQE 2020 -Exam Venue Curse Strikes Again

8d7ac58eacc8cdae5bbc2c629bfcaf28They say that history repeats itself. But while it may have taken 30 odd years for your parent’s oversized denim jackets to come back in fashion it appears that the EQE/CIPA exam venue issue comes around on a far shorter timescale.

It was only three years ago, for EQE 2017, that a number of candidates were told that they had not secured their preferred venue in the UK and were instead being allocated to Munich.

Now, IPcopy is aware of at least two candidates (one pre-EQE and one main EQE) who have just discovered, only a few weeks before the exams, that they have not been allocated seating in Walsall but in Munich. (more…)

Apples and Oranges – Shanks v Unilever

fruits-1716853_1920Introduction

For many years there has been little or no guidance as to what might constitute “outstanding benefit” for the purposes of section 40(1) Patents Act 1977 (“PA 1977”), since no claim made under this section had ever been successful. All that changed in the late 2000s when the High Court awarded Kelly and Chui £1.5 million for their patented invention “Myoview”: Kelly and Chiu v GE Healthcare Ltd. [2009] EWHC 181 (Pat) (“Kelly”). In the Kelly case, the patent was found to be of “outstanding benefit” for a number of reasons, not least because, without it, the company Amersham International plc. – for whom Kelly and Chui worked when the invention was made – would have been in significant financial difficulty but for the patent. Evidence was presented that the total sales of “Myoview” over a five year period had been in the region of £1 billion, and Floyd J assessed that the benefit to the employer from these sales was no less than £50 million. It was perhaps not difficult to reach a conclusion of “outstanding benefit” in the Kelly case given these facts. However, a seemingly very high bar had been set for any future claimants. (more…)

Patents to protect ethical, environmental or socially responsible technologies

ethics-2991600_1920

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Times are changing fast. Society as a whole is (finally, some would say) moving towards a more moral or ethical standpoint on a whole host of important issues, whether that be climate change, social responsibility or animal welfare. How do patents, seen by some as a legal ‘stick’ to beat ‘the little guy’ with, fit in this uprising trend? Can patent protection ever be part of an ethical or high moral value business model? (more…)

The predictive power of the Pre-EQE

classroom-1910012_1920It’s mid-January. Exam stress is rising. About two months from now, more than 2,000 candidates from close to 40 different countries will take part in either the EQE pre-examination or one or more of the four EQE main exams that are organised by the European Patent Office (EPO). These exams, especially the four main exams, are not easy. Only 2 in 5 candidates manage to pass all papers in their first attempt. Passing these exams is only possible with proper preparation. Following some courses is highly recommended for all papers. Thoroughly studying the (case) law and practicing a large number of old exams is unavoidable. (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…)