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It’s a funny old game – World Cup & IP

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pixabay/gellinger

Once every 4 years the FIFA Football World Cup (or soccer for our American readers) comes around and incites an unnatural sense of optimism in England supporters around the world that this could be our year. While this is always an event that somewhat brings the people of the country together, some may say the repetitive upsurge of optimism before each World Cup is misplaced. On the eve of the World Cup which marks the 13th tournament and 52 years since the first (and only) World Cup victory of the three lions, it is worth noting that England’s national team have won just 6 matches in the knockout stages of any major international tournament since the 1966 World Cup Victory.

Optimism or pessimism aside, there is always the possibility of a World Cup upset, football is a simple game where anything can happen, as Sepp Herberger (Coach of the 1954 World Cup winning West Germany team) famously once said; “The ball is round, and the game lasts 90 minutes”. (more…)

CIPA Seminar: Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court for Attorneys

IMG_8533-0The CIPA seminar series relating to the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court resumed last week with the session “Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court for Attorneys”. This session, which was presented by Julia Gwilt, took a look at the ways in which the unitary patent system may impact the way that European Patent Attorneys will need to work.

The session provided a quick overview of the unitary patent system and then took a closer look at the procedure before the EPO (when requesting unitary effect) and the procedure before the Unified Patent Court (when requesting or withdrawing an opt-out).

We won’t cover the basics of the unitary patent system again here and readers wanting a quick recap of the system are invited to check out IPcopy’s report on the first CIPA seminar on this subject which can be found here. (more…)

UPC – still a long way to go…

brexit-1481028_1920On 26 April 2018, World IP Day, the UK surprised more than a few people by ratifying the UPC Agreement and in the process taking the total number of countries who have ratified the agreement to 16. The UK press release that accompanied this announcement stated “Our ratification brings the international court one step closer to reality”.

Since the ratification process only requires 13 member states, including France, Germany and the UK, to ratify then it might appear to some that German ratification is the only remaining obstacle to the unitary patent system going live.

However, IPcopy suggests that it is still too soon to be able to say if and when the system will come into force. (more…)

London Tech Week 2018

 

150x150London Tech Week, the week long festival showcasing the best of tech and innovation, returns again this year between 11th and 17th June and Keltie will be taking part with the following two free events: (more…)

Brexit and Intellectual Property – state of play May 2018

brexit-1481028_1920The EU-UK draft withdrawal agreement was republished recently to show which sections have been agreed and which sections require further discussions. The agreement has been helpfully colour coded into green sections (agreed provisions, technical legal revisions only) and yellow sections (policy agreement, drafting changes required). Sections that are left white represent terms proposed by the EU where negotiations are still required.

The draft withdrawal agreement contains a provision for a transitional period (Article 121) which will run from the UK’s official exit from the EU (on 29 March 2019) until the end of 2020.

A summary of the provisions that relate to intellectual property (IP) is provided below. It is noted that the articles of the withdrawal agreement that relate to IP (Articles 50-57) contain a mixture of green and white sections. The “green” provisions that have, in principle, been agreed are: (more…)

United in Europe

In June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, raising many questions around EU Trade Marks and Community Designs, as well as representation rights before the EUIPO.

Keltie’s “United in Europe” video below highlights our response to Brexit.

Keltie LLP 3 May 2018

Why the EQE pre-exam was a good idea

epo-eqe(All statistics used in this article are derived from my new StatistEQE website at http://statisteqe.beetz.nl)

If you want to be a European Patent Attorney who can represent clients before the European Patent Office, you first have to pass an exam. The European Qualification Examination, also known as the EQE, is well-known for its low pass rate. Only one in three candidates passes the full four paper exam in one year. After three years, another third of all candidates is still struggling with at least one of the papers.

In 2009, acknowledging that the low pass rate may be problematic, the exam committee came up with a counterintuitive idea. They added another hurdle. Since 2012, before you are allowed to appear at the real exam, you first have to pass a pre-exam. 10 legal questions, 10 claim analysis questions, 4 statements per question that have to be judged TRUE or FALSE, and a complex marking scheme to score all answers on a scale of 0-100. Only if you score 70 marks or more (50 before 2014), you are allowed to sit the main exam next year.

Since before the first pre-exam, there has been a lot of criticism on both the concept and the execution of this added challenge. Law is not maths. It is not easy to come up with 80 legal question that can only be answered with TRUE or FALSE and are challenging as well as unambiguous. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, successful appeals at the EPO Boards of Appeal led to 56 candidates being allowed into the main exam although having scored less than 70 marks for their pre-exams. This year, two statements were considered so ambiguous that every answer was accepted to be correct. IP Kat wrote an article about it. In the comments, candidates, former candidates and other anonymous contributors complained about the exam and the exam committee and questioned the usefulness and fairness of the pre-exam. On the DeltaPatents blog, similar comments are to be found in even greater numbers.

But most of these negative comments and opinions are based on emotions, often of candidates who just went through the stress and hard labour that are commonly associated with sitting the exam. For a better informed opinion about the pre-exam, it may be useful to have a look at the numbers. For the pre-exam to be a useful tool, two important statements have to be judged TRUE. (more…)

UPC Ratification: The UK completes its ratification formalities

EU shirt2According to the website of the Council of the European Union (and just about every other official IP channel), the UK deposited its instrument of ratification (on 26 April 2018) to become the 16th country to complete its ratification formalities. The UK joins Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the sixteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.

The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. However, the German Constitutional Court challenge has thrown the timescale and the long term future of the unitary patent system into doubt.

There are now enough countries to have ratified the unified patent court agreement that the system will come into effect if Germany completes its own ratification procedures and sufficient approvals to the PPA are obtained.

Infographic UK

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Mark Richardson 27 April 2018

Excluded Subject Matter – Two Recent Case Law Rulings

Image from pixabay.com

In the UK, section 1(2) of the Patents Act (which is set out at the bottom of this post) sets out certain categories of invention that are not patentable. These categories of invention are generally referred to as excluded subject matter. The assessment of patentability under section 1(2) is based on the judgment of the Aerotel Ltd v Telco Holdings Ltd and Macrossan’s Application case at the Court of Appeal. This judgment approved a four-step test for deciding on whether an invention is patentable.

Two relatively recent case rulings that relate to the above-mentioned subsections of the act are: the “Google Inc.” case (BL O/364/17), and the “Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc.” case (BL O/390/17), which were heard in August 2017. Both cases are noteworthy as they were respectively refused and accepted, and so offer insight to the type of inventions that are considered by the UK courts to be patentable and non-patentable in view sub-sections (c) and (d) of Section 1(2) of the Patents Act. (more…)

Brexit and IP: EUIPO Q&A document

brexit-1481028_1920The EUIPO has recently published a Q&A document relating to the impact of Brexit on EU trade marks (EUTMs) and registered community designs (RCDs). This document was effectively the third publication on the impact of Brexit on Intellectual Property after the EU Commission’s position paper last year and the EUIPO’s notice which was published in December 2017 (and updated in January 2018). (more…)