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The differences between US and European patent law can often trip up practitioners unless they are careful – while most European patent law is (fairly) well harmonised, US patent law is quite different. While the two are closer in some ways than they have been – obviousness in the US has become much more like inventive step in Europe since KSR v. Teleflex, for example – there are some sharp differences. One subtle one is the interplay between confidentiality and sale. The recent decision in Helsinn Healthcare S.A: v. TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA INC., et al., reported here in IPKat, shows that one very real trap still exists. (more…)
Much like a nurse attempting to decipher a doctor’s scrawled prescription note for their patient, a large proportion of a European patent attorney’s working life seems to involve interpreting examination reports for their clients, and in particular explaining the various comments and objections raised by the EPO examiners. As such, we thought it might be useful to summarise various objections that Applicants might see in Communications from the EPO, and what they really mean. (more…)
We have our first video post today on the subject of marking products with patent numbers. (Note that the video has subtitles.)
This is my first effort at a video post so please be kind!
Mark Richardson 23 January 2019
Prosecuting a patent application from filing to grant can be a long winded process lasting, in some cases, many years. An application needs to be searched and then published before being examined. Delays at the UK Intellectual Property Office in certain technology fields can mean that examination reports take years rather than months to issue and delays at the European Patent Office (EPO) have, in extreme cases, meant that applications have remained pending for even longer.
In many cases applicants may be happy to proceed at a slow pace because it allows an invention to be developed and marketing/commercialisation plans put in place. The cost of the patent process can also be spread out over time. There are however circumstances where a more speedy grant would be useful, for example where you think someone is using your invention and you want a granted patent to allow some kind of infringement action to be taken or where an investor asks for a granted patent before they release funds for the development of your company/invention.
Both the UKIPO and the EPO offer a range of acceleration procedures that can help get a granted patent more quickly. The various options for these two patent offices are discussed below. (more…)
The Patent Box, like R&D tax relief (see last week’s post here), is a very much underclaimed relief. In 2014-15 only 1,135 claims were made, although this resulted in claims valued at £651.9m. 94% of this value was claimed by large companies even though such companies only accounted for a quarter of the claims made.
So, what is Patent Box?
As R&D tax relief is enhanced to encourage scientific and technological innovation based on costs incurred, Patent Box is a tax relief for profits made from scientific and technological innovation, whether that be a product or a process. (more…)
WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) allows priority documents to be exchanged electronically between participating IP Offices (there are currently 19 participating offices including the US, Japan, China, Korea [who make up 4 of the 5 IP5 offices], the UK and Australia).
The EPO will be joining the list of participating IP offices from 1 November 2018 (see Decision of the EPO President here and accompanying Notice from the EPO here). Where the WIPO DAS is used an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may electronically retrieve a copy of the priority document from the Office of First Filing (OFF) using a DAS access code.
Initially DAS at the EPO will be for EP patent applications and EP regional phase applications from the PCT. DAS will not initially be available for PCT applications filed at the EPO though this will be added in the future. (more…)
IPcopy had the pleasure of attending the EPO ICT seminar at the end of September where recent developments at the EPO in relation to computer-implemented inventions (CII) were discussed. The seminar was held the week before the latest version of the EPO Guidelines for Examination (November 2018 edition) was published which meant we were teased a few times with what was about to be released.
We were however told that the 2018 update to the Guidelines contains some significant CII related changes*, in particular more examples that show what is regarded as technical and what is regarded as non-technical in areas such as business methods, computer programs, mathematical methods and data retrieval.
Interestingly, it was mentioned that the CII portions of the 2019 and 2020 versions of the Guidelines will probably only contain minor clarification amendments rather than the more significant changes that have been seen in the last few years. The CII Guidelines Working Group has had an ongoing project running since 2014 and the first batch of CII changes came out in the 2015 Guidelines (Problem-solution approach for mixed inventions/search for computer-implemented inventions), the second batch in 2016 (Claim forms for CIIs, examples for PSA for mixed inventions) and the third batch in 2017 (Presentation of invention and UIs). The 2018 Guidelines represent the fourth batch of changes and it was noted that we will likely only see clarification amendments for the next couple of years.
It’s probably fair to say that the Prime Minister’s meeting in Salzburg last week did not go as well as the government would have hoped. Talk has now turned to the negotiations being at an impasse and the possibility of a No-Deal Brexit becoming reality seem to have increased.
Given that we’re now all staring out over the cliff edge again it seems a fitting time to take a quick look at the UK Government’s advice notices, that were published yesterday, in respect of patents, trade marks, designs and geographical indications in the event of a No-Deal Brexit. (more…)
Nestled towards the bottom of the CIPA August 2018 newsletter is news of a new patent examination calculator that has been introduced by the UKIPO on its patent document and information service (IPSUM).
For cases where examination has been requested the online file will now indicate the latest date by which the IPO expects to issue its first exam report. Currently, IPSUM entries will specify one of three things: (i) that exam is expected to be complete by 30 June 2019; (ii) that exam is expected by 31 March 2021; (iii) that it’s unlikely exam will be completed before 31 March 2021. More precise information may become available as the IPO works through its backlog of cases. (more…)