Market Insight

Updates 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, dealmaking and valuation.

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New 05 OCTOBER 2022

Judgment day: could UPC judges harmonise international patent law?

The imminent appointment of judges to the UPC has sparked debates over whether and how far patent law across Europe might be coordinated and how, if successful, it could transform the EU patent law landscape

27 JULY 2022

Lego’s EU design registration benefits from modular system exception

The EUIPO has ruled that Lego’s brick design is solely dictated by technical function, but being part of a modular system saves it from invalidation. It remains to be seen whether other products will turn to the modular system exception.

25 MAY 2022

How to approach patenting innovation around digital biomarkers

It is essential for practitioners to be aware of the main areas of focus for patent protection for digital biomarkers and their correlations to specific medical conditions, to ensure that any resulting protection helps to deliver enhanced treatment and diagnosis of a range of medical conditions.

23 MARCH 2022

Three reasons why patent applications for applied AI inventions do not succeed at the EPO

For an application to enjoy success at the EPO, it is vital that it fulfils the technicality, sufficiency and plausibility requirements. It remains to be seen whether the latter will play a greater role during assessment

09 FEBRUARY 2022

Patenting AI: the nature of inventorship and the mechanics of ownership

Under English law, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether an AI program can be regarded as an inventor of a patent. Such ambiguity means that contracts between parties are crucial to regulating patent ownership

02 FEBRUARY 2022

How not to steal a trade secret

It is crucial to understand the difference between trade secrets and confidential information to appreciate why they are relevant. Both can be integral to an effective IP strategy because of the advantages that they offer compared to traditional IP rights.

12 JANUARY 2022

Unitary patent promises a cheaper alternative for life sciences companies

The new unitary patent system is finally due to come into effect this year and looks sets to be more cost-effective for life sciences innovators. However, conventional national validation may still be necessary for full coverage.

21 JULY 2021

Tough decisions at the EPO: balancing parameter clarity with protecting innovation

EPO practice is notoriously strict on the clarity of parameters. While a more applicant-friendly approach is possible, it may allow claims with ambiguous parameters to be granted, which could cause confusion for third parties.

14 JULY 2021

Measuring up measurement methods – how to understand EPO patent parameters

EPO parameter standards are strict and getting stricter, with even strong applications being refused based on measurement methods. Understanding the parameters gives applicants a much stronger chance to get their patents confirmed.

07 JULY 2021

Being clear on unclear parameters – how to stay clear of patent traps at the EPO

EPO practice has become increasingly strict with regard to the clarity of parameters, which can land applicants in the so-called ‘unclear essential parameter trap’, where innovative patents may be refused on purely formal grounds. However, steps can be taken to ensure that applicants stay well clear of such dangerous ground.

24 MARCH 2021

Eight years of the UK Patent Box – what has changed?

Data suggests that the UK Patent Box scheme is going from strength to strength since its launch in 2013. However, the transition period from amendments made in 2016 comes to an end this year, which could have an impact on which sectors seek support.

10 MARCH 2021

Can you keep a secret? How demonstrating prospective inventions in public can put it at risk

It is crucial to keep your invention secret until an application has been submitted to the patent office. Therefore, careful consideration needs to be given to testing or demonstrating any prospective inventions in public.

03 MARCH 2021

How virtual working has had a positive impact on UK IP litigation

Almost one year on from the start of the UK lockdown, professionals in the UK IP sphere reflect on how the UK courts have adapted to the new normal in the IP space.

15 JULY 2020

A bicycle built for two IP rights: CJEU finds Brompton bike qualifies for copyright protection

In Brompton Bicycle Ltd v Get2Get the Court of Justice of the European Union has held that a functional shape may be protected by copyright if it is ‘original’ in the copyright sense. However, it is far from certain whether this means that products such as bicycles will enjoy copyright protection in the United Kingdom.

10 DECEMBER 2019

Revised rules of procedure of the Boards of Appeal

On 1 January 2020 the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal will come into force. Key changes include revisions to the admissibility of amendments to a party’s case and a new 'convergent' approach.

30 OCTOBER 2019

AI technology – the pitfalls of protecting inventions

AI is revolutionising every aspect of our lives, from how we order food to how new drugs are developed. With companies from all sectors investing in AI-related technology at breakneck speed and innovation currently outpacing the law, where does this leave innovators? This article uses a hypothetical example to shed some light on the landscape.

06 AUGUST 2019

What inventors should consider when drafting patent applications for alternatives to single-use plastics – part two

The second part of this two-part series elaborates on specific types of plastic and the IP rights surrounding the sustainable materials sector.

31 JULY 2019

What inventors should consider when drafting patent applications for alternatives to single-use plastics

There is significant R&D into alternatives to single-use plastics. Knowing how to protect inventions is key in this highly sought-after sector. Part one of a two-part series covers the kinds of plastics that are being developed at the moment.

24 JULY 2019

That’s immaterial: identifying material details in Community designs

It is possible to protect the appearance of products throughout the European Union using registered and unregistered Community designs. In order for these to be valid, the design for which protection is sought must be sufficiently different from designs that are already publicly known. Further, the designs may “differ only in details that can be qualified as ‘immaterial’”. But what does the EUIPO consider to be ‘immaterial details’?

10 JULY 2019

Hydrophobic coatings and the drive to replace plastic packaging

Analysis of patent publications indicates that innovators are filing an increasing number of patent applications related to superhydrophobic technologies. However, there are some considerations that should be taken into account when drafting such applications.

19 JUNE 2019

Is widespread litigation inevitable with the standardisation of autonomous vehicles?

As car manufacturers race to develop more sophisticated models, there is an increasing take-up of technology created and owned by communications and software companies, which raises significant concerns around licensing issues and the likelihood of disputes.

24 APRIL 2019

Changes to the UK Patent Box and their impact on the scheme and its participants

The UK Patent Box scheme was introduced in April 2013 and allows UK companies to elect to pay a reduced rate of corporation tax on profits derived from the exploitation of patents and certain other types of intellectual property. However, although participation in the scheme continues to grow, changes made in July 2016 appear to be having an impact on participants.

20 MARCH 2019

How do the differing approaches of the UKIPO and EPO affect applicants?

In the final part of a three-part series, we look at how the UKIPO and EPO’s approaches differ in the way in which they are applied to specific cases and examine situations where patents may be allowed by the EPO but not by the UKIPO and vice versa.

12 MARCH 2019

Patentability of computer-implemented or business method subject matter at the EPO

In part two of a three-part series, we focus on the EPO’s examination guidelines with regard to technical features. The Nokia case is a good example of what exactly is required to make a feature and a problem technical and the issues that arise from this provision.

06 MARCH 2019

Patent cases in the EPO and UKIPO: different qualifications for computer software

In part one of a three-part series, we focus on the differences between the practices of the UK Intellectual Property Office and the EPO. This article examines the patentability of computer software as per the European Patent Convention.

27 FEBRUARY 2019

The EPO and double patenting: a case that could have a significant impact on common filing strategies

For the first time, questions have been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal specifically addressing the EPO’s approach to double patenting. They concern the circumstances, if any, in which there might be a legitimate interest in the same applicant being granted multiple patents for the same subject matter.

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