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The 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…)
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…)
The 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…)
Season 4 of the US TV show Silicon Valley aired earlier this year. For those that aren’t familiar with Silicon Valley, IPcopy notes that it is a comedy show that follows six people who have founded a startup company, Pied Piper, relating to an innovative data compression algorithm developed by one of the founders of the company.
The situations that the members of Pied Piper find themselves in feel, for the most part, plausibly accurate perhaps because one of the co-creators of the show, Mike Judge (of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill fame) worked in a silicon valley startup earlier in his career.
Since the show’s fictional startup is working in the Silicon Valley environment you might expect intellectual property issues to crop up now and then and this was indeed the case in the most recent season with a couple of episodes dealing with a patent relating to a decentralised, peer to peer network.
Autumn has officially arrived and so, as we get stuck into another academic year, IPcopy thought we’d quickly take stock of where we are with the unitary patent project. Since our last update back in July it seems like we’ve had a fair amount of news but little in the way of progress. (more…)
Back in June this year IPcopy noted that the UKIPO was running a consultation on proposed changes to statutory patent fees. The Government has now published its response and it appears that the UKIPO will now be joining the EPO in charging both excess claim fees and additional page fees.
It is noted that the proposed changes will require amendments to both the Patents (Fees) Rules 2007 and the Patents Rules 2007 but the Government anticipates a commencement date of 6 April 2018. (more…)
While listening to the radio last week I had cause to feel old when the presenter introduced the next track as celebrating 19 years of airplay. The track in question? Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Unbelievably this was released in 1998 and even more unbelievably it was almost considered for the group Five….
Another “where has the time gone?” moment came later in the week when our blog notification alert went off to note that IPcopy is five years old. This got us thinking about our most viewed posts and so here are our top 10 patent, trade mark and IP posts from our first five years. (more…)
Earlier in September the European Commission published this position paper on Intellectual Property Rights (including geographical indications) in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU.
The position paper, which runs only to 5 pages (actually a fairly meagre 3 and a half pages once you strip out the cover sheet and white space), notes that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will create uncertainty both for Intellectual Property Right (IPR) holders in the UK and the remaining 27 members of the EU (EU27) in relation to the scope of protection of intellectual property rights.
The position paper goes on to set out some general principles that should apply when the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force. The paper mentions trade mark rights, design rights, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), database rights and exhaustion of rights. Much media attention was also directed toward the section on Geographical Indications (GIs).
IPcopy has summarised the main points of the paper below but feels like the paper comes across as a bit of a weak effort. It’s quite a high level document which is looking at matters pretty much only from the point of view of EU27 stakeholders. There is nothing on representation rights for EU trade mark and design attorneys (which is important for UK stakeholders as well as attorneys) and nothing on the unitary patent system.
The paper also strays, to my mind at least, into the territory of future arrangements (see reference to UK putting in place domestic legislation for GIs) which is something that Michel Barnier said wouldn’t happen until “sufficient progress” had been made on the withdrawal negotiations. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it….. (more…)
Update (25 August 2017)
According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Lithuania has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 24 August 2017) to become the 14th country to complete its ratification formalities. Lithuania joins Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the fourteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.
The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. The EU Referendum in the UK threw the timescale into doubt last year and the Preparatory Committee recently noted that there are some additional hurdles to be overcome before the system can go live, namely securing enough approvals to the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) and the resolution to the challenge in the German Constitutional Court. Despite these issues the Preparatory Committee still seem to be working toward the sunrise period at the UPC starting in early 2018.
There are now enough countries to have ratified the unified patent court agreement that the system will come into effect if the UK and Germany complete their own ratification procedures and sufficient approvals to the PPA are obtained.
Now that Lithuania has completed all of the formalities we have updated our ratification infographic (for an answer to the question “What’s up with this infographic?“, please see the bottom of the post!”).
This is another belated IPcopy report of a recent CIPA UPC seminar. This webinar looked at the issue of Infringement and Validity Opinions in the European patent landscape when (if?) the unitary patent scheme comes into effect.
Currently of course providing a pan European I&V opinion means that a bundle of EP patents need to be considered and requires the assessment of different infringement and validity laws in different countries. The seminar, run by Leythem Wall of Finnegan, asked whether UK EPAs* will be able to provide a pan European infringement and validity opinion once the Unified Patent Court opens its doors. (more…)