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Gowling WLG – Patent Seminar 2018

stacked-booksIPcopy was present for the annual patent seminar at Gowling WLG last week.

Carrying on the format from previous years, Alex Brodie opened up the proceedings with a look at UK court statistics. Gowling WLG’s case counting exercise attempts to catch as many cases as possible but Alex Brodie noted that not all cases are published or commented on and so there may potentially be some that are not included.

Having acknowledged the counting process behind the statistics it was noted that the total number of patent decisions in 2017 shows a slight fall from previous years – 62 total cases versus 79 (2016) and 75 (2015). This fall may be an example of a Brexit effect but it was highlighted that there have also been some significant cases this year and there are only so many judges to go around. (more…)

UPC ratification: Latvia completes its ratification formalities

IMG_8533According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Latvia has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 11 January 2018) to become the 15th country to complete its ratification formalities. Latvia joins Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the fifteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.

The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. Brexit in the UK and a court challenge in the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC) has put the brakes on the progress of the unitary patent system. (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…)

Brexit and IP – looking ahead in 2018

IMG_8533Following the UK’s EU referendum and the triggering of the Article 50 notification, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Until the final arrangements between the UK and the EU are known there is widespread uncertainty in a range of areas including the intellectual property system within the UK.

For example, a particular IP related area of concern is what will happen in respect of EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered community designs (RCDs) post-Brexit. Without arrangements to the contrary it is unlikely that such EUTMs and RCDs will continue to cover the UK post-Brexit. [However, it is noted that it is completely within the UK’s ability to arrange for the implementation of an equivalent UK trade mark or design right to mirror the EU right. As such, holders of EUTMs and RCDs should expect that, even if arrangements are currently unclear, it is highly likely that the UK will announce the mechanism for continued protection in due course.]

As the UK and the EU move into the next phase of the Brexit negotiations IPcopy thought that this would be a good opportunity to recap how the referendum result impacts the IP world, what the current official announcements are and what action IP right holders can consider taking now. (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…)

The Lords consider the UPC: “Where is it?”

IMG_8533With the ongoing UPC related court case in Germany and the uncertainties arising due to Brexit, the preparations for the unitary patent system have, for the moment at least, something of the feel of a dead rubber match in a sporting competition.

Perhaps, once (if?) the German case allows German ratification preparations to continue and the UK has managed to make its intentions clear, the project will get up and running again. Until then any developments have, to my mind at least, the feel of going through the motions.

It was against this backdrop that the House of Lords Grand Committee met on 6 December 2017 to consider the draft Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2017. The approval of this Order by the House of Lords and its subsequent approval (along with the corresponding Scottish Order) by the Privy Council are the last pieces of the UK’s ratification process that need to be completed before the UK can formally ratify the UPC Agreement. (more…)

Somebody Else’s Problem – SEPs and the Commission

EU CommissionSmall quantities of excitement have been created by the “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee” entitled “Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents”, linked on the Commission’s Patents and Standards page.  Given the largely innocuous content of the Commission-originating document and the complexity of EU decision making processes, the title may well be the most contentious thing in the document.  However, there are good reasons why the content is a little blander than might have been hoped, as set out in this article by Richard Vary (a distinguished standards warrior from his time at Nokia). (more…)

Patents, trade and foreign direct investment in the European Union

euro-2-coin-currency-52965The EPO published a paper last week – Patents, trade and foreign direct investment in the European Union – which assessed “the impact of the European patent system on the circulation of technologies through trade and foreign direct investment in the EU single market”.

The paper contains an interesting discussion on the impact of the patent system on trade and investment, particularly in “high IP” industries such as bio-pharmaceuticals, ICT and medical device industries. However, as far as the discussion about the unitary patent system is concerned the paper glosses over or omits the challenges or drawbacks facing the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court. (more…)

CIPA seminar: Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) Licensing and Litigation

Huawei

Huawei LTE patent

IPcopy watched CIPA’s seminar on Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) recently which was presented by Kevin Scott and Richard Vary. The seminar covered a number of topics: What is a SEP?; FRAND – what does it mean?; Licensee/licensor behaviour; Litigation venues (this part was also of wider interest than the SEP world); Unwired Planet v Huawei; SEP arbitration and the future.

What is a SEP?

The seminar started with definitions of “essential”, in the context of standard essential patents, from both the ETSI and IEEE organisations (see bottom of post for a copy of these definitions) before noting that this was quite a dry definition and the SEPs that we come across in today’s world are small improvement patents that can save a bit of power in a transmitted message or add a few extra transmitters into a particular radio channel.

The core technologies behind the smartphone in your pocket were standardised around 20 years ago but in the time since then many small improvements have been made. Kevin noted that the result of such improvements means that multiple people can now stream video while on their commute to work using a broadly similar amount of radio spectrum to that which was used to broadcast a few channels to the whole country. (more…)

Unified Patent Court: the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

IMG_8533-1The unitary patent and UPC are within touching distance of going live. However, recent developments in the UK and Germany potentially put the whole system at risk. So, simply put, where are we now?

When the unitary patent system first came to IPcopy’s attention we were at a conference in Brussels in December 2012 where the keynote speaker from the European Commission suggested that the system would be up and running in just over a year, i.e. Spring 2014. The reality and difficulties of setting up the unified patent court meant that the “go live” date consistently slipped further and further along. Back in August 2013 we had adjusted the expected go live date to “late 2015” and last May, a start date somewhere within 2017 was expected. (more…)