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Excluded Subject Matter – Two Recent Case Law Rulings

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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…)

The Road to Brexit: EU Commission Draft Withdrawal Agreement and the UK PM’s Mansion House Speech

brexit-1481028_1920Last Wednesday the European Commission published its draft Withdrawal Agreement relating to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community. This was followed a couple of days later by a speech from the Prime Minister which set out some more details about the UK position. Intellectual property got a mention in both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Mansion House speech. (more…)

UPC Update February 2018: UK and DE progress and the future of the UPC

IMG_8533-0The UK has now completed all its legislative steps with respect to the UPC Agreement and UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and is in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement. However, the potential timescale of the constitutional court challenge in Germany and the remaining ratification/implementation period means, in IPcopy’s view, that the UPC system will not come into force, at least in its current configuration. (more…)

Olympics 2018: IP at the Ice Hockey

ice-hockey-1084197_1920The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are in full flow and while curling has been winning a new fan in the A-Team’s Mr T (#curlingiscoolfool), IPcopy has been watching the ice hockey. Or, more accurately, our colleague Samantha Walker-Smith was watching the preliminary round match between the USA and Finland. Now, while most of us might be content in marvelling at the skating skill levels on display and mentally comparing those skills to our feeble efforts at the Christmas wonderland ice rink a few weeks ago (…or maybe that was just me), Sam had other things on her mind. In particular, Sam noticed1 that the hockey sticks of the Finnish team were displaying patent markings! (more…)

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…)