Articles and monographs : 185 Documents


The Unified Patent Court

Document No: PUB 20I/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
2020 has been another turbulent year for the long-troubled European unitary patent and associated Unified Patent Court (UPC), yet progress appears to be being made. In January 2020, the European Patent Office stated that it was ready to register unitary patents. The UPC Preparatory Committee was preparing for the UPC to open with final preparations (such as the recruitment of judges) dependent on certain provisions of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) coming into force early to provide the “provisional application phase” (PAP). All this in the context of a pending complaint to the German Federal Constitutional Court.

IP Owners Step up to the Plate

Document No: PUB 20J/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
How large IP owning businesses have shared their most valuable assets to help combat Covid-19 The centenary of the IP Federation could hardly have come at a more challenging and difficult time for the economy. In the past, it has been asserted that intellectual property rights are unhelpful in times of crisis, when technological cooperation is most called for. However, the reaction of the UK's biggest IP owning businesses to the current crisis could not paint a more different picture. A combination of continuing innovation and the sharing of hard-earned rights, the result of so much investment of time, money and resources, is being used to combat the challenges facing our society as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. That sharing has taken many different forms and encompassed many differ­ent intellectual property rights. Companies have literally opened their books and shared complex technical drawings, tools, data and know-how. Highly qualified personnel have been mobilised across different companies to ensure that this cooperation is effective in the achievement of key goals. Vital innovation has been pooled and shared to enable rapid progress in technology and pharmaceutical developments. The help, innovation and cooperation of IP Federation member companies in support of those handling the Covid-19 crisis has taken many different forms.

The IP Federation working with the EPO in 2020

Document No: PUB 20K/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
The pandemic has not undermined the continued engagement between the IP Federation and the European Patent Office (EPO) this year. Indeed, the frequency of meetings and the depth of dialogue has only increased as colleagues collaborate at short notice with ease through videoconferencing and email. For an organisation dependent on collaboration with its user community and hosting routine oral hearings on its premises, the disruption to travel this year has required a swift and flexible response by the EPO. We have been involved in guiding that approach from the very start including videoconference calls with the EPO president, António Campinos, and his senior leadership team on a regular basis. Coupled with our participation in EPO Standing Advisory Committee meetings on EPC Rules and EPO Guidelines, our contributions have been regular, consistent and constructive.

Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property

Document No: PUB 20L/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
Some may think that artificial intelligence (AI) has featured more in Hollywood than in our daily lives. The depiction of artificial intelligence in films is, all too often, the super intelligent robot that can outperform us mortals at just about everything. Terminator™ style machines that threaten to take over the world, before someone is able to pull the plug. The reality of artificial intelligence is, of course, very different. It's not Arnie; it’s actually a set of technologies which can complement the capabilities of humans. The things that humans can do, and the things that artificial intelligence is suited to, are typically very different and very complementary. Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more pervasive, touching every aspect of our day. It is carefully filing away your junk emails, it is improving your search engine, it is getting you to where you need to be, on time, while playing the music you want to hear.

Diversity and Inclusion progress and IP Federation activities in 2020

Document No: PUB 20M/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
Opening access to, as well as improving the diversity and inclusion of, the UK’s IP profession is of more importance now than ever. It is clear to all that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are far reaching and are likely to impact on practically every area of society for generations to come. In the longer term, the economic impact is likely to have a particularly profound effect on social mobility, with the damage caused leading to fewer job opportunities, which will in turn likely fuel greater inequality of opportunity. The disproportionate impact of the disease on the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community is also well known and actively being discussed. Even before Covid-19 really hit in March this year, the topic of Diversity and Inclusion (in all its forms) in the IP profession was already top of my mind, as well as for others in the IP Federation. The IP Federation has a great history, turning 100 years old in April 2020, and as an industry association we have a great culture of respect for each other. Several of our Federation members helped to establish and support in its early days IP Inclusive, a pan-professional diversity task force committed to making the IP professions more inclusive for all those who have the necessary aptitude, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, wealth or background. The Federation is also a member of its management board. Our collective response to Covid-19 shone a light on the care we have for one another, as described in our article ”IP owners step up to the plate”.

Address for Service after the Brexit Implementation Period

Document No: PUB 20N/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
An important topic coming out of the impending end of the Brexit implementation period (also known as the transition period) is addresses for service for IP rights. As many but not all readers will be aware, an address for service is the contact and address to which legal notices under the rights should be sent. As things stand, a UK address for service is permitted for EU rights and any address in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) is permitted as the address for service for UK rights. It has been clear for some time that UK addresses for service will not be allowed for European Union trade marks after the end of the implementation period but, as things stand, EEA addresses will be allowed for UK trade marks. Clearly, there is a disparity in these approaches. In July the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) launched a consultation on proposed changes to the address for service rules in the UK to remove the reference to the EEA, meaning that only UK or Channel Island addresses for service would be accepted for UK registered rights. This would apply to new applications for patents, trade marks and designs and also to requests for hearings. It would also apply to requests to start potentially contentious proceedings. It would not apply to actions which are lodged with the UKIPO before the end of the implementation period. Recognising that businesses use and pay for the systems under which rights are registered, the IP Federation concluded that it is unreasonable for a rights owner in the UK to be required to appoint a UK address for service. Many businesses including IP Federation members have non-UK, EEA-based representatives and would like to have the option of them continuing to be the address for service on UK records. The localised provisions proposed by the UK Government do not benefit UK businesses which operate across Europe. Rather, they increase overheads for these businesses. The IP Federation responded to the UK IPO’s consultation expressing its position and pressed for an impact assessment to be undertaken before the changes are made. Thomas Hannah, Trade Mark Committee Chair

IP Federation Trade Mark Committee

Document No: PUB 20O/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
2020 has been an active year for the Trade Mark Committee. We began the year with a committee meeting at Norton Rose Fulbright, with the fabulous views of the City that firm has. Ironically, I encouraged the group to “attend the next meeting in person” as we were due to have Darren Meale of Simmons & Simmons attend to demonstrate his trade mark comparison AI tool, Rocketeer™. Little did I know at that point that we wouldn’t be meeting in person, or indeed coming to the City at all, for the rest of the year. The UK’s departure from the EU has of course continued to be of crucial importance to trade mark owners in industry, especially with the end of the transition period looming, and has taken up a significant amount of the committee’s time. Among the topics we have considered are addresses for service (see another article in this publication for more detail); EU trade mark (EUTM) to UK trade mark conversion and the potential for duplication as a result; and approaches that members will take to EUTM filing after the end of the transition period. It has been helpful to share our approaches and perspectives on these complex topics and I hope that the results have been of merit for preparing our respective organisations for the UK’s new relationship with the EU.

Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation

Document No: PUB 20P/20 Posted: 01 February 2021
In September 2020, the Industry Trilateral (IT3) submitted a paper entitled “Policy and Elements for a Possible Substantive Patent Harmonization Package” to the secretariat of the B+ group of WIPO nations (which was established to promote and facilitate progress on substantive patent law harmonisation (SPLH)). This paper marks the culmination of over six years of work by the IT3 to achieve agreement on the scope of four key elements of SPLH and paves the road for next steps and initiatives to be taken by governmental representatives sharing the same desire for progress and adaptation of the patent system. The Industry Trilateral (IT3) was formed in 2003 as a basis for industry stake holders in the jurisdiction of the Trilateral Patent Offices (EPO, JPO, and USPTO) to jointly engage the Offices in a discussion of substantive and procedural issues involving intellectual property (IP). The IT3 includes the American Intellectual Property Law Association,  the Intellectual Property Owners Association (a US organisation), BusinessEurope, and the Japan Intellectual Property Association. IP Federation/TMPDF representatives have been part of the BusinessEurope delegation since the formation of the IT3.

An open letter on racism and inclusion

Document No: PUB 3/20 Posted: 17 June 2020
As an industry association, we have a great culture of respect for each other. Several of our Federation members helped to establish and support IP Inclusive in its early days and the Federation is a member of its Management board. The IP Federation is also currently working on plans to promote social mobility in the profession (and hopefully we can say more on this soon) and our collective response to Covid-19 has shone a light on the care we have for one another, as described in our article IP owners step up to the plate. Never has this culture been more important.
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