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Sky v Skykick: No More Blue-Sky Thinking for Sky Plc

blue-clouds-day-53594The CJEU judgement in the case of Sky v Skykick (C-371/18), issued on 29th January 2020, addresses some fundamental aspects of trade mark law. Most significantly, it finds that the inclusion of broad terms within a specification can be considered bad faith if there is no intention to use but insufficient clarity and precision within a specification is not in itself a ground for invalidity. (more…)

CIPA seminar: Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) Licensing and Litigation

Huawei

Huawei LTE patent

IPcopy watched CIPA’s seminar on Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) recently which was presented by Kevin Scott and Richard Vary. The seminar covered a number of topics: What is a SEP?; FRAND – what does it mean?; Licensee/licensor behaviour; Litigation venues (this part was also of wider interest than the SEP world); Unwired Planet v Huawei; SEP arbitration and the future.

What is a SEP?

The seminar started with definitions of “essential”, in the context of standard essential patents, from both the ETSI and IEEE organisations (see bottom of post for a copy of these definitions) before noting that this was quite a dry definition and the SEPs that we come across in today’s world are small improvement patents that can save a bit of power in a transmitted message or add a few extra transmitters into a particular radio channel.

The core technologies behind the smartphone in your pocket were standardised around 20 years ago but in the time since then many small improvements have been made. Kevin noted that the result of such improvements means that multiple people can now stream video while on their commute to work using a broadly similar amount of radio spectrum to that which was used to broadcast a few channels to the whole country. (more…)

Euratom, the CJEU, Brexit and the UPC

brexit-1481028_1920IPcopy is finding it difficult to reconcile the UK Government’s various announcements regarding the CJEU with continued participation in the unitary patent scheme.

As discussed in an earlier post we suggested that the Government was going to argue that continued participation in the unitary patent scheme was OK, despite the presence of the CJEU within the unified patent court structure, because domestic patent law would be unaffected by the limited influence the CJEU would have over UPC decisions.

Last week it became clear from the explanatory notes  accompanying the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill (the “Article 50 bill”) that the Government was intending on pulling out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as well as the EU. (more…)

The 12 point Brexit plan and the CJEU – can the UK be part of the UPC post-Brexit?

IMG_8533Can the UK continue with the UPC post-Brexit? IPcopy suggests a tentative way forward.

After months of soundbites we finally heard the “plan” for Brexit this week when the Prime Minister gave a speech at Lancaster House that detailed a 12 point plan for leaving the EU (Full transcript here).

Objective 2 of this action plan related to the control of our own laws and leaving the jurisdiction of the CJEU (see extract from the transcript in footnote below1). This in turn lead several commentators to speculate that this would block the UK’s participation in the unitary patent scheme post-Brexit since, under the UPCA, questions relating to the interpretation of EU law can be referred from the UPC to the CJEU.

How, in light of this link between the CJEU/UPC and the PM’s statement, could the UK continue participation in the UPC?

The simplest answer to the above question is that post-Brexit the UK will have to leave the UPC and unitary patent. However, this is seemingly at odds with statements made recently by Jo Johnson (see our article from earlier this week) where it was suggested that the UK has a great interest in being part of the UPC and that our continued participation will be part of the Brexit negotiations.

So, IPcopy wondered if there was a way of reconciling this apparent conflict such that the UK could stay part of the UPC.  (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…)

Exotic Creatures of the Deep – Huawei Technologies v. ZTE at the CJEU

14577981619_deea0f3276_mStandards Essential Patent (SEP) matters are the giant squid of the intellectual property ocean.  Enormously powerful and capable of making or disrupting the commercial plans of some of the world’s largest companies, they prowl a zone so mired in technical complexity and commercial confidentiality that their mighty struggles are largely obscured from view, despite their potential to swing hundreds of millions – even billions – of dollars from one group of companies to another.  Under these circumstances, it is not so surprising that a universally respected commenter on IP matters openly wondered what all the fuss was about after delivering an impeccable summary of the most important decision in this area for several years.  At first sight, the lack of excitement is understandable – the decision just seems to be a lot of stuff about who should do what when and looks about as thrilling as the rules for filing a tax return.  Let us, in the manner of James Cameron descending into the Challenger Deep, see if we can shed a little light on the ecosystem of the sea bed and explain why this decision might matter. (more…)

Unitary Patent Update: Renewal fee news (shock!), EPLC, CJEU and Italy’s consultation

IMG_8533-1A quick round up of a few items that have come across IPcopy’s desk this last week.

Topics discussed below include: some actual figures for the renewal fees for the unitary patent(!!), a clarification about the updated European Patent Litigators Certificate, an updated article from Dr Stjerna regarding the Spanish challenges and the CJEU and unitary patent news from Italy. (more…)

Unitary Patent: AG to Spain “Bot says Not” (AG dismisses Spanish Challenges to Unitary Patent)

EU flagThe Advocate General’s opinions on the two Spanish actions (C-146/13, C-147/13) against the Unitary Patent Package were published today. A Press Release has also been published.

Long story short? Sorry Spain!*

*(At least as far as the Advocate General is concerned. The CJEU’s ruling on the matter will follow at some point and though it might seem likely that the Court will follow the AG, that isn’t necessarily so). (more…)

Unitary patent: AG’s Opinion (Spanish Challenges) Re-scheduled for November

Unified patent courtThe CJEU court diary has just been updated* to show that the Advocate General’s opinion relating to the Spanish challenges to the unitary patent package (in cases C-146/13 and C-147/13) is now scheduled for 18 November 2014.

An early Christmas present beckons for either Spain or the EPO…..

The CJEU court diary can be accessed here. Screengrab below. (more…)

Unitary patent: Spain stops play?

Unified patent courtOn Monday we posted an update on the progress of the two actions before the CJEU from Spain in respect of the Unitary Patent Package (short summary: the Advocate General’s decision has been delayed). We subsequently received a notice from Dr Ingve Stjerna relating to his latest paper on the unitary patent (Regular readers will be aware that Dr Stjerna has written a number of articles on the unitary patent system which can be accessed here). (more…)