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IPcopy’s Top 10 Halloween Patents


Credit: Meigsinh via Morguefile

Halloween is nearly upon us and falls this year on a Monday which means that we have a whole weekend of trick or treaters to look forward to. Whatever wee beasties you find out looking for sweets this weekend, it’s likely they’ll pale into comparison in the horror stakes to Ed Balls on Strictly. After last week’s TV Gold moment in “that lift”, I shudder to think what’s in store for us next.

The dancing abilities of an ex politician aren’t what we’re here for though and this Halloween IPcopy has 10 wicked and ghoulish patents for you…. (more…)

EPO Guidelines – November 2016 Update

epologoA new version of the EPO Guidelines for Examination will come into effect on 1 November 2016 and is already available on the EPO website. We’ve taken a quick peek through the changes (which can be displayed by toggling the “show modifications” button in the upper right portion of the screen) and discuss some of the updates below.

Patent attorneys who work on cases concerning computer-implemented inventions will be interested in the new sections added to Part G which provide a number of examples of applying the problem-solution approach to these types of invention. (more…)

Brexit: Labour’s 170 Questions for the Government

brexit-1481028_1920The Labour Party released a set of 170 Brexit related questions last week to cover each day between 13 October 2016 and the Article 50 notification deadline announced by the Prime Minister at the Conservative Party conference, 31 March 2017.

IPcopy took a quick look at the questions to see whether any were IP themed ones and, if there were any such questions, how far down the list these came.

We found references to the unitary patent system and also to geographical indications. (more…)

Did Theresa May just end UK participation in the UPC?

IMG_8533-1A couple of weeks ago we wrote about an opinion from Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe of Brick Court Chambers about the UK’s potential continued participation in the unitary patent system.

The authors’ view was that it would be legally possible for the UK to continue subject to certain safeguards being in place. They did however note that the unitary patent and UPC raised “significant political as well as legal issues”.

So, the legal flesh seemed willing, would the political will be strong or weak? (more…)

Popular Adjunct to Patent Litigation Survives Supreme Court Scrutiny

USToday on IPcopy we have a review courtesy of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. of the Cuozzo v Lee case in the US.


On June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Cuozzo v. Lee, the first case in which the Court considered the Patent Office’s new administrative reviews of patents. The Court’s decision left in place procedures that critics have charged weigh too heavily in favor of patent challengers and make it too easy to cancel patents. The decision means that these new post-grant proceedings will continue much as they have since 2012, under the same terms that have made them a popular (and lower-cost) adjunct to patent litigation. (more…)

UPC Update – September 2016

IMG_8533While the uncertainty over the UK’s participation in the unitary patent project remains, preparations for the unitary patent system continue. In the last week or so there have been a couple of updates related to Italian participation in the scheme. (more…)

You Ain’t Nothing but a Hamdog: IP Hit or Miss?


If only there was a way to eat both together…

Joining the ranks of hybrid food combos such as the Cronut, Duffin and Cruffin this week was the Hamdog (click for image), an unholy alliance/mashup of genius (delete as appropriate) of a hamburger and a hotdog1. What got IPcopy’s interest however wasn’t the culinary flair on display but the fact that seemingly every mainstream news outlet was reporting that the inventor (if that’s not too strong a word) of the Hamdog had “patented” his creation (see this BBC article by way of example).

The article in The Mercury goes further with the story and notes that the “inventor” Mark Murray was successful in “securing a US patent for the “combination hamburger hot dog bread bun” in 2009.” Mr Murray himself is quoted as saying “Everyone told me it wasn’t possible, because you’d need a patent lawyer and it would cost millions of dollars“.

Now this IPcopywriter may just be demonstrating the pedantic leanings of the average patent attorney but we couldn’t let this story pass by without comment, for Mr Murray has not “patented” his gastro-creation (in the sense that we’d normally use the word patent in the UK and Europe). Instead, as we’ll explain below, this “news” item is just another example of a particular type of terminology confusion that arises when reporting IP in the media2. (more…)

Brexit and the Uncertainty Principle Conundrum (UPC)

GB+EU flagSince the result of the UK’s referendum on the EU there has been much discussion about what will happen to the unitary patent system in the period before Brexit and also once Brexit has occurred.

Prior to the EU Referendum, many articles that discussed Brexit (including on this blog) referenced the CJEU Opinion 1/09 as the basis for saying that only EU Member States could take part in the UPC Agreement. Following the EU Referendum however a number of commentators posted articles that presented potential mechanisms for the UK’s continued participation in the unitary patent project (UPP).

The future prospects for the UPC and the unitary patent project as a whole have looked somewhat uncertain following the Referendum.

Last week, an opinion (herein the “UPC Opinion”) by Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe of Brick Court Chambers was published which considers the UK, Brexit and the UPP in great detail. Can the UK continue to be a part of the UPP? The short answer seems to be “yes, but…” and further detail on the opinion and the issues discussed is summarised below. (more…)

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

EU shirt2Update (15 September 2016)

According to the website of the Council of the European Union, the Netherlands has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 14 September 2016) to become the 11th country to complete its ratification formalities. The Netherlands joins Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the eleven countries who have completed their ratification processes.

The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. The target date for the unitary patent system was May 2017 but the result of the EU Referendum in the UK has thrown the timescale into doubt.

There are now enough countries to have ratified the the unified patent court agreement that the system will come into effect if just the UK and Germany complete their own ratification procedures. If the UK (and Germany) were to do this then it would open up a question about what will happen to the UK once Brexit happens. If the UK decides not to ratify the UPC agreement then the system will be on pause until either Brexit occurs or the various unitary patent agreements can be re-negotiated to remove the problems caused by the results of the UK’s EU Referendum from the equation.

Now that the Netherlands 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!”).



Changes to UK Patents Rules


A plurality of omnibuses *

Earlier this year the UKIPO ran a consultation on proposed changes to the Patents Rules. The government is now bringing the proposed changes into force with some adjustments following comments received. The reasons behind the changes are to increase the flexibility of processes, to bring more legal certainty and to reduce administrative burdens.

The changes will be brought into force on 1 October 2016 and 6 April 2017 and are summarised below. (more…)