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International reports

Sent to over 18,000 subscribers, the IAM Weekly email features reports from an international team of correspondents who report on recent developments in IP law and practice in their home jurisdictions, as well as strategic issues and those relating to finance, deal-making and valuation.

Most recent

Fraserburgh

IP finance More reports

15 Jul 2015
A new golden age?

Innovation is no longer the province of quasi-monopolistic companies whose R&D dollars define the product landscape. Becoming the de facto standard either culturally or operationally creates competitive advantage and builds shareholder value. Speed to market combined with a more efficient R&D or IP strategy is a winning formula. Full text

24 Jun 2015
Patents as an asset class: the law of unintended consequences

Intellectual property finds itself in a precarious position when described as an asset class. Whatever truth was living in that classification has now evaporated. Full text

17 Jun 2015
Napster reborn?

Peer-to-peer MP3 file-sharing service Napster ran for two years and disrupted an entire industry. Today we have a new Napster phenomenon emerging – only this time it is around live streaming video. But what is the correct response from live events organisers, content owners or brands which feel that they are suffering at the hands of live streaming apps? Full text

EverEdgeIP

IP transactions More reports

03 Sep 2014
The Moneyball phenomenon – new metrics for R&D planning

How do most businesses decide where to focus their R&D? In many cases, R&D – especially the 'R' – has a strong aspect of 'revelation' to it. However, directing R&D (and thus IP creation) need not be revelatory or reactionary. The secret is to look at the metrics of innovation in a different way. Full text

25 Jun 2014
Hard and soft rights combine to solve the age-old question: function or form?

Following objections to its latest technology, Google Glass, Google announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with Luxottica “to design, develop and distribute a new breed of eyewear for Glass” to be released in 2015. Intellectual property can have a positive combinatorial effect for a product – particularly when blending somewhat diverse sets of rights. What does this mean for a product and what this can mean for the parties involved? Full text

04 Jun 2014
Knowing what you buy: the importance of IP audits in the transaction process

Transactional due diligence often lacks a comprehensive audit of the business’s intellectual property. Given that intangible assets now constitute 80% of the assets of most businesses and that intellectual property is itself considered a major and critical asset class, its absence should be deemed conspicuous during any major business transaction due diligence. Full text

Watermark

Australia More reports

03 Jun 2015
Malaria + Viagra = unhappy ending for parasites

A recent study has shown that the active ingredient in Viagra (sildenafil) has the capacity to slow the spread of malaria parasites. The study serves as a timely reminder of the relevance of second medical use patents and their potential for extending the period in which a substance/composition can be patent protected. Full text

06 May 2015
Could the courts compel prescribers and dispensers of medicines to help Big Pharma fight generics?

Decisions issued by the High Court and the Full Federal Court have offered guidance to generic pharmaceutical manufacturers on how to avoid contributory patent infringement by amending product information documents. However, a recent UK court ruling broke new ground in ordering an official health body to issue guidelines on prescribing a generic drug. Could the same thing happen in Australia? Full text

11 Mar 2015
Ongoing summer of sport affected by inventions

So far in 2015 sports fans have had plenty to watch: the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup football tournament reached its climax, the Cricket World Cup is underway in Australia and New Zealand, and the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix takes place shortly. The intensive sports coverage of these events around the world highlights the need for sporting inventions. Full text

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

Canada More reports Archive

24 Jun 2015
Industrial design protection: Federal Court of Appeal confirms broad scope of protection

Recent case law in Canada had precluded enforcement of an industrial design where features common between the design and the accused article included functional purposes. However, in a recent decision the Federal Court of Appeal addressed this limitation on enforcement by holding that features of a design may be both functional/useful and aesthetic/visually appealing. Full text

17 Jun 2015
Federal Court of Appeal questions patent law principles

In Cobalt v Bayer the Federal Court of Appeal has explicitly called into question two central principles of Canadian patent law: the standard of review for claim construction and the patentability of methods of medical treatment. The court noted that a full consideration of the method of medical treatment doctrine would be merited by the Federal Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court in a future case. Full text

10 Jun 2015
Competition guidelines may be a game-changer for patent-intensive industries

The Canadian Competition Bureau is in the midst of updating its Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines. Draft updated guidelines centring on how Canadian competition law could be applied in several areas, including issues of particular importance to technology companies and firms in patent-intensive industries, are expected to be issued for public consultation this week. Full text

Wilkinson & Grist

China More reports

06 May 2015
Court recognises Heinz Chinese trademark as well known

Pre-emptive applications by trademark squatters in classes of goods and services in which rights holders have no prior registrations have always been a serious issue for international brand owners. Thus, it is often necessary for them to rely on well-known trademark claims in oppositions against such pre-emptive applications. This was the case in a recent decision on the HEINZ Chinese trademark. Full text

29 Apr 2015
Technical investigators introduced to specialist IP courts

In order to assist and better equip the newly established IP courts in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, the Supreme People’s Court has promulgated regulations introducing technical investigators to the IP courts and defining their role. While opinions of technical investigators are not binding, their opinions are expected to be relied on heavily. Full text

25 Mar 2015
Supreme People's Court seeks views on pre-action preservation orders

The Supreme People's Court has issued a new draft interpretation outlining the applicable laws and practice when applying for pre-action preservation orders in proceedings involving IP disputes. The draft interpretation deals with various issues, including who is entitled to apply for a pre-action preservation order and which court has jurisdiction to grant the order. Full text

Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC

Cyprus More reports

18 Mar 2015
Converting a Community trademark

A Community trademark is a trademark which has been registered with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market in order to enjoy protection across the whole of the European Union. However, in some situations it may be beneficial for the mark owner to apply to convert its Community trademark into a national trademark. Full text

25 Sep 2013
Halloumi versus hellim: more than just a trademark battle?

The European Court of Justice recently dismissed a challenge to the registration of the mark HELLIM for cheese, approving it for registration. The registration was challenged by the owner of the collective Community trademark HALLOUMI based on the likelihood of confusion. Full text

19 Dec 2012
New IP tax regime takes effect

Amendments to the Income Tax Law have turned Cyprus into one of the best jurisdictions for royalty and holding structures. The new regime provides attractive opportunities for structuring the exploitation of IP assets through Cyprus, in particular through the use of Cyprus-resident IP owners. Full text

Chas Hude A/S

Denmark

01 Jul 2015
Royal decree changes rules on patenting

In the past, various special rules have applied to patenting in the Faroe Islands. However, the Danish and Faroese authorities have worked together to update the relevant legislation and, following a recent royal decree, the patent rules for Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands are now uniform. Full text

25 Feb 2015
Natural resources development offers new patent opportunities

Greenland has a bright future in the mineral resources sector and undoubtedly this will require new and innovative solutions that can form the basis for patents. In order to obtain a patent in Greenland, a company must apply for a patent in Denmark at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office. Full text

Kuhnen & Wacker

Germany More reports

20 May 2015
ECJ paves the way for proposed unitary patent regime

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected two actions brought by the Spanish government against the legality of the regulations establishing the unitary patent. If the Spanish actions had been successful, it would have been the end of the proposed unitary patent regime. As steps are already being taken across member states to establish the Unified Patent Court, the ECJ's decisions have been welcomed. Full text

17 Dec 2014
More than just a catchy beer slogan

With the German Trademark Register containing more than 12,000 national trademarks registered for the beer category, it is getting harder to come up with original marks. The Federal Patent Court recently ruled on whether a Bavarian brewery could register the sign ORIGIN OF BEER. The decision forms part of the conflicting case law on so-called 'slogan' marks. Full text

13 Aug 2014
EPO introduces new acceleration scheme

Following consultation with users, the European Patent Office (EPO) has published a new early certainty from search scheme. The new scheme comes in addition to the 2010 rules for dealing with requests filed under the programme for accelerated prosecution of European patent applications. The EPO seems to be aiming for the world record in processing speed – but will the new scheme work? Full text

Wilkinson & Grist

Hong Kong More reports

08 Apr 2015
Registry updates Work Manual on Absolute Grounds for Refusal

The Hong Kong Trademarks Registry has updated the Work Manual on Absolute Grounds in relation to objections based on bad faith. The changes provide that where the circumstances of the application give rise to a reasonable suspicion of the applicant’s entitlement to the mark or the honesty of its intention, examiners now have a duty to raise an objection based on bad faith. Full text

03 Sep 2014
Bill proposes to update copyright regime

The Hong Kong government recently introduced the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 into the Legislative Council for its first and second readings. The bill combines new proposals formulated following earlier public consultation on the treatment of parody and legislative proposals under the former Copyright Bill 2011. Full text

30 Apr 2014
Application for 'Cool Fresh' in Class 3 refused on absolute grounds

The trademarks registrar has refused an application by Unilever NV to register 'Cool Fresh' as a trademark in respect of goods in Class 3 including “soaps; perfumery; shaving foam; preparations for the bath and shower etc". The applied-for mark failed to distinguish the trade origin of the goods. Full text

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

India More reports Archive

10 Jun 2015
IPAB eases time limit to file patent appeals in Microsoft cases

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has published its decision in two cases involving Microsoft Corporation. The issue for consideration was whether the three-month limitation period set out in Section 117A(4) of the Patents Act 1970 for filing an appeal before the IPAB challenging the controller’s decision should start to run from the date of the order or the date of receipt of the order. Full text

27 May 2015
The battle over sitagliptin between Merck and Glenmark reaches the Supreme Court

Nearly two years after Merck initiated an infringement action against Glenmark before the Delhi High Court over its patented diabetics drug sitagliptin, the Supreme Court has upheld the interim protection granted by the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in favour of Merck, albeit in a limited manner. Full text

15 Apr 2015
Patent controller revokes Boehringer’s patent based on Cipla’s post-grant opposition

In its latest rejection of a pharmaceutical patent the Patent Office rejected Patent 254813, granted to Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma Gmbh, in a post-grant opposition initiated by Cipla. The patent was rejected for lack of inventive step and for not being patentable under Section 3(d) of the Patents Act 1970. Full text

Jacobacci & Partners spa

Italy More reports

22 Jul 2015
Is a trademark consisting of two complex Chinese characters inherently distinctive?

A recent Italian Patent and Trademark Office decision to register a trademark consisting of two complex Chinese characters was based on the distinctiveness of two Chinese characters. However, this distinctiveness is questionable. Full text

01 Jul 2015
Misappropriation of trade secrets consisting of technical information

In a recent decision the Court of Turin held that when technical information meets all of the requirements for trade secret protection and reverse engineering is difficult, the burden of proof rests with the defendant to show that the technical information was acquired independently. Full text

10 Jun 2015
Revenge of the Pink Panther: stuffed animal toys can infringe 2D trademark

The Criminal Division of the Court of Cassation recently ruled in Metro-Goldwin-Mayer v Iervolino, holding that a three-dimensional reproduction of a two-dimensional trademark constituted trademark infringement. The ruling is expected to harmonise earlier conflicting decisions on this issue. Full text

NLO

Netherlands More reports Archive

17 Jun 2015
SKY trumps SKYPE – but not out of the blue

The General Court of the European Union recently confirmed that the trademarks SKY and SKYPE were confusingly similar. The decision is a setback for the popular Skype service, which allows users to call and chat over the Internet for free. Full text

08 Apr 2015
Claims on plants obtained by essentially biological processes not excluded from patentability

Good news for the plant biotech industry: the Enlarged Board of Appeal has issued its ruling in the consolidated Broccoli and Tomato cases in favour of the patentability of claims on a novel plant product generated by an essentially biological process or a product-by-process claim defined in the terms of such a process. Full text

28 Jan 2015
Managing directors, beware personal liability for IP rights infringement

If a managing director is found liable for damage, the compensation that he or she is required to pay from private funds can mount up. However, under Dutch law it is rare for a managing director to be held personally responsible for an IP rights infringement. For this to happen, a case of personal liability must be made against him or her. Full text

Federis & Associates

Philippines

22 Apr 2015
Philippines launches first online IP marketplace

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines has launched the country's first online IP marketplace. IP Depot is a digital platform which promotes IP assets for potential commercialisation opportunities. It was established to give owners of patented inventions, registered trademarks, copyright and industrial designs a forum to showcase their IP assets to the world. Full text

DLA Piper Wiater spk

Poland

08 Apr 2015
Copyright reform: government adopts draft amendment

The government has adopted an amendment to the Copyright Act prepared by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The major changes relate to the use of orphan works and remuneration for authors from library loans. Full text

Gorodissky & Partners

Russia More reports

08 Jul 2015
GASTARBEITER mark expands its presence in Russia

The German word 'Gastarbeiter' ('guestworker') has been part of the Russian language for more than a decade, as guestworkers have come to the country in large numbers to take up job vacancies requiring moderate skills. The Patent Office recently dealt with an application to register the GASTARBEITER trademark in Classes 9 and 25, raising the issue of whether such application was in the public interest. Full text

27 May 2015
Obtaining information on patent applications

The ability to retrieve accurate, precise and comprehensive information on patent applications is crucial. The Russian Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) both publishes original patent documents and maintains electronic databases with a search option. However, while it has made good progress in providing official patent publications, Rospatent has not yet optimised the information that is provided for search purposes. Full text

06 May 2015
Is a licence valid without registration?

A recent decision demonstrates that parties should be attentive when concluding agreements in advance of obtaining protection. Such agreements should include a provision to the effect that after grant of the patent, the parties will sign a regular patent licence. This will protect them from unforeseen consequences. Full text

Mannheimer Swartling

Sweden More reports

24 Jun 2015
Market Court and Patent Appeals Court to cease operations in 2016

On September 1 2016 a new Swedish judicial system will enter into force for cases involving IP law. As a consequence of the changes, the Market Court and the Patent Appeals Court will cease to exist. The reform also means that the adjudication of disputes, which at present takes place across the country, will in future be concentrated in Stockholm. Full text

08 Oct 2014
Registering geographical terms as trademarks

The EU Council's common position on trademark law reform envisions closer cooperation between the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market and national offices, which should achieve closer harmonisation in the application of trademark law. The registrability of geographical terms as trademarks is one area in which Sweden's position differs from that of the European Union. Full text

05 Mar 2014
District court applies two-decade-old EPO decision

Nearly two decades have passed since the European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeal handed down Decision G3/92, dealing with a European patent application made by an unlawful applicant. The decision was recently applied by a Swedish district court, which declared the plaintiff to be entitled to an invention covered by a Patent Cooperation Treaty application that had irrevocably lapsed several years earlier. Full text

Formosa Transnational

Taiwan More reports

08 Jul 2015
Speeding up the patent process: the Taiwan-South Korea PPH

On July 1 2015 the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) between Taiwan and South Korea took effect. The PPH facilitates the electronic exchange of industrial information and priority documents between the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office and the South Korea Intellectual Property Office. Under the PPH, patent applicants will be able to speed up their patent applications in both countries. Full text

01 Jul 2015
"Show me the money": making end users pay for copyrighted works

Of the three domains which govern mechanisms to make end users pay for using copyrighted works, contracts should be the first choice for copyright owners. The right contract can afford protection against infringement suits and ensure the proper allocation of legal risk. Full text

27 May 2015
The rule of foreseeability in filing history estoppel

The rule of foreseeability provides that where amendments are made during prosecution, equivalents foreseeable at the time of the amendments shall be deemed surrendered from the doctrine of equivalents. The IP Court recently affirmed the rule of foreseeability. As a result, applicants should recite their claims with the proper scope at the start of filing in order to avoid amendments during prosecution. Full text

Gün + Partners

Turkey More reports

15 Jul 2015
Square pegs in round holes: invalidation actions against unexamined patents

The Turkish patent regime has a pre-grant opposition system and recognises two types of patent: unexamined patents and examined patents. Unexamined patents can also be converted into examined patents if a request for examination is made during the unexamined patent's seven-year protection period. Full text

10 Jun 2015
IP Court applies European Patent Convention in national invalidity proceedings

In a recent invalidation action against the national validation of a European patent, the patent holder asked the IP Court to delay the proceedings due to ongoing proceedings before the European Patent Office. Rather surprisingly, the IP Court granted this request. The decision is remarkable as it is the first time that a national court has applied Article 138/(3) of the European Patent Convention. Full text

29 Apr 2015
Originator challenges generic drug and ministry price reduction decision

In a recent case a global pharmaceutical company filed a patent infringement action and sought a precautionary injunction against a generic company on the grounds that the generic company had filed an abridged marketing authorisation application for the pharmaceutical which referred to the marketing authorisation dossier of the original product, one of the originator's most profitable drugs in Turkey. Full text

Carpmaels & Ransford LLP

UK More reports

22 Jul 2015
English courts scrutinise claimed numerical ranges

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of ConvaTec in the latest chapter in a dispute over silverised wound dressings, holding that Smith & Nephew's process fell within the claimed numerical range, despite an attempted work around to avoid the explicit numerical limits. Full text

22 Apr 2015
SPCs for biologics – guidance on product definitions, scope and validity from EFTA Court

The Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States has provided some much-needed guidance regarding the scope and validity of SPCs for biologics, but the language used may concern innovators. It remains to be seen whether the European Court of Justice will agree with this approach. Full text

15 Apr 2015
An introduction to clarity in EPO oppositions

The European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeal recently handed down a decision on the extent to which amendments made during opposition proceedings can be examined for clarity, following a referral from a lower board. Full text

Kenyon & Kenyon LLP

USA More reports

22 Apr 2015
PTAB crashers: a who’s who of non-practising IP rights petitioners

Although inter partes review proceedings are designed to provide those accused (or at risk of being accused) of patent infringement with a faster and less costly proceeding to challenge the validity of a patent, they have also drawn the attention of outsiders. There are several types of Patent Trial and Appeal Board 'crasher', each having its own motivation for challenging the validity of one or more patents. Full text

11 Mar 2015
Suprema, Inc v ITC: Federal Circuit holds en banc hearing

The en banc Federal Circuit has heard oral argument in a case with significant implications for the scope of the authority of the International Trade Commission (ITC) authority over claims of induced patent infringement. The argument suggested that the court could continue to allow the ITC to remedy infringement of method claims based on a theory of induced infringement. Full text

04 Mar 2015
Supreme Court: trademark tacking for determining priority is a question for the jury

The Supreme Court has unanimously sided with the Ninth Circuit in holding that whether an original and a revised trademark are similar enough for tacking in determining priority is a fact-intensive question for juries to answer. The court found that application of the tacking rule relies on an ordinary consumer's understanding of the impression that a mark conveys and falls comfortably within the "ken of the jury". Full text

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