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UPC Taskforce Update: January 2016

IMG_8533-1The update messages from the UK’s UPC Taskforce have started up again after the recent holiday break and we have the first update of what promises to be a fairly busy year.

Preparatory Committee – the next meeting for the Prep Committee is scheduled for this month and the agenda is scheduled to cover some significant items including: judicial salaries, Registry rules, arbitration and the final proposal for the court fees. (Will there be any changes to the level of the opt-out fee? It will be interesting to see the updated proposal in due course.) The Rules of Procedure will require some minor tweaking to incorporate the court fees and also admin errors in the  opt-out process and the Rules are due to come before the Prep Committee in April. (more…)

Intellectual Property in the Oil & Gas sector

Oil rigThe UK’s Oil and Gas industry is, according to the UK Government press release last week, its largest industrial sector worth around £19 billion and accounting for 375,000 jobs within the economy. It is estimated that the oil that can still be exploited from the North Sea may be equivalent to 50% of all the oil exploited to date. The decommissioning business is forecast to be around £45 billion in the next 25 years or so.

Against this backdrop however the oil and gas sector is in the midst of a challenging time with the oil price in the $30 a barrel area, down from $90-120 a barrel just a couple of years ago.

In response to the ongoing situation in the oil and gas industry sector, the UK Government has announced a range of measures including a £1.3 billion package of reforms in the March 2015 budget. The Oil and Gas Authority was also established in April last year to improve collaboration and productivity, attract investment and to create jobs in the sector. (more…)

UPC developments: Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co’s Patents Seminar

IMG_8533-1The always entertaining and informative Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co’s annual patents seminar was held last week and included a round-up of recent developments relating to the unitary patent and UPC. (more…)

Unitary Patent Package – The Ratification Game (Finland completes its ratification formalities)

EU shirt2Update (19 January 2016)

According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Finland has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 19 January 2016) to become the ninth country to complete its ratification formalities. Finland joins Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the nine countries who have completed their ratification processes.

The unitary patent system of course requires 13 countries to ratify including the UK, France and Germany.

UPC Finland

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Changes to accelerated prosecution (PACE) at the EPO

epologoThe EPO offers a number of mechanisms for expediting the grant procedure. As noted in the EPO’s November 2015 notice these include:

  • PACE (see below for changes)
  • Waiving the confirm to proceed notification under rule 70(2) EPC
  • Waiving the rules 161/162 EPC communication
  • Waiving a further communication under rule 71(3) EPC
  • Early entry into the European phase

During post grant proceedings the above EPO Notice also highlights accelerated processing of oppositions where infringement proceedings have been instituted and accelerated processing before the Boards of Appeal.

From 1 January 2016, (Happy New Year everyone!), the EPO has tweaked the operation of the PACE programme slightly. Full details can be found in the EPO’s PACE Notice dated 30 November 2015. The highlights are as follows: (more…)

USPTO: Beyond the Final Frontier (What happens after a Final Office Action)

USThe US patent prosecution process can become a bit confusing once the application reaches the “final” Office Action stage. The “final” nature of the Office Action (OA) means that the Examiner has rejected the claims at least two times. However, it is by no means the end of the process with after-final amendments, appeal and a request for continued examination often being on the cards.

The various options available to the applicant were the subject of a recent webinar that IPcopy attended and what follows is a summary of the webinar (any errors clearly being the work of the author of this post!). (more…)

UPC: Double patenting, Changes to Patents Act, Opt-out Register UI & Taskforce update

IMG_8533-1Christmas is nearly here and barring any end of the year UPC ratifications we’re not expecting too much to happen on the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court until next year. Before Christmas arrives however here’s a quick update: (more…)

EU Commission: unitary patent concerns; IP insurance and unitary SPCs

IMG_8533-1The European Commission website provides something of a byzantine navigational challenge so IPcopy is extremely grateful to Martin Chatel for pointing us in the direction of the Commission staff working document “A Single Market Strategy for Europe – Analysis and Evidence” which discusses the unitary patent package. (more…)

Alice in USPTOland

USFollowing the Alice Corp v CLS Bank decision in June 2014 the USPTO’s position with respect to patent eligible subject matter has changed.

But having swallowed the red pill just how deep does the rabbit hole go? What is and what is not patent eligible subject matter in the US? (more…)

Patent Box Consultation: closing date for comments 4 December 2015

BoxAs previously reported on IPcopy, HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs are currently running a consultation on proposed changes to the UK Patent Box scheme. The consultation runs until this Friday (4 December 2015) and the consultation document, which  includes some background on the existing Patent Box scheme, can be found here.

The main change proposed in the consultation is the use of R&D expenditure as a proxy for “substantial activities”. A so called “nexus fraction” will then be calculated in which a company’s own R&D expenditure on the IP in question plus any subcontracted R&D expenditure to an unrelated party (these figures together forming the “qualifying expenditure”) will be divided by the qualifying expenditure plus any R&D subcontracted to a related party plus acquisition costs.

Companies who have developed their own IP are likely to have a nexus fraction of close to “1” and so will essentially be unaffected by the revised rules. However, company’s which have acquired IP will see nexus fractions of <1 which will therefore reduce the income which qualifies for the new Patent Box.

Although the main change is the use of R&D expenditure as a proxy for substantial activities it is noted that the proposed changes will also have some other fairly noticeable effects, namely: (more…)

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