What's happening in IP
The site of Alan Turing's pioneering codebreaking achievements during World War II recently hosted another momentous gathering—the 2023 Bletchley Park AI Summit.
Held on November 1-2, 2023, and convened by the UK government, the summit brought together government representatives and industry leaders from major AI powers to address the opportunities and risks posed by advanced artificial intelligence.
We at WP Thompson are proud to recognise the contributions of our Dr Julian Potter and Ranveer Riyat in the authorship of a new book titled "Artificial Intelligence and Patents: An International Perspective on Patenting AI-Related Inventions."
Summary of Facts and Decision
In a recent decision J5/23, the Legal Board of Appeal rejected a request by the applicant to record a transfer of the application from Gyrus ACMI Inc. to Olympus Medical Systems Corporation on the European Patent Register. The applicant relied on the use of an e-signature to sign an assignment document and, when rejected by the EPO, tried to rely on a previous publication by the EPO that e-signatures would be accepted for the purposes of assignment documents.
The relevant legal provision to be applied is Article 72 EPC, which states that for a valid assignment of a European patent application, the request must be made in writing and signed by all parties to the contract. The key question in this decision was the definition of the word “signature” and what the role of electronic signatures play in this Article.
We are delighted to celebrate our ranking as a leading Intellectual Property firm in Chambers 2024 rankings. This year’s ranking marks the twelfth consecutive year in which WP Thompson has been recognised as leading Intellectual Property firm by Chambers.
On the 1st of November this year the European Patent Office’s (EPO’s) 10-day rule will come to an end, removing the safeguard for late filed submissions whilst providing a more consistent and simplified approach to the calculation of deadlines in Europe.
A significant shift in the assessment of the validity of priority claims has been confirmed by the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) in the handing down of its combined decision for G1/22 and G2/22. In addition to confirming the competency of the EPO to assess the validity of Paris Convention priority claims, the new decision lessens the restrictions on the right to claim priority in European applications stemming from PCT applications which have been filed with different applicants or groups of applicants listed for different designated states, and which claim priority to an earlier application identifying only one of these applicants or groups of applicants.
A known risk when trying to register a trade mark is the existence of earlier conflicting trade mark rights owned by third parties, which may be an obstacle to the registration of your trade mark. This is particularly true in countries such as China and the US, where the local trade mark office refuses registration of a trade mark on its initiative if they believe there is a risk of confusion with an earlier registered mark, giving the applicant a deadline to respond.
We extend our congratulations to Dr Julian Potter, partner in the firm, who has been named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential UK Intellectual Property Patent Attorneys” by Business Today for his excellent knowledge and understanding of physics, computer science, and business, as well as his expertise and skills in court-based patent litigation.
WP Thompson welcomes the long-overdue announcement that the UK will be joining Horizon Europe – the EU’s key transnational funding programme for research and innovation.
Superconductors are a class of materials that display a number of exotic phenomena, most famously their lack of resistivity under the right conditions, allowing them to carry electrical current with no resistance.
These materials have many scientific applications, where high currents are desired (for example magnets for MRI machines) or where high sensitivity is achieved using superconductors to eliminate noise.
We extend our congratulations to Dr Julian Potter, partner in the firm, who has passed the Nottingham Law School Higher Courts Advocacy course and been awarded the IPReg Higher Courts Advocacy Certificate which entitles him to refer to himself as a Patent Attorney Advocate and conduct advocacy before the English courts up to and including the Supreme Court. Julian made the observation that as usual with Nottingham Law School courses, it was detailed and demanding with an excellent balance of tutorial delivery and practical application of what was taught. The advocacy element was particularly useful and challenging.
A referral, G1/23 has been made to the Enlarged Board of Appeal to clarify when a disclosure to the public is an enabling disclosure via the interpretation of Decision G1/92.
The established case law for deciding the extent to which the prior use of a product is “made available to the public” stems from an earlier decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (G1/92).
In the last week WP Thompson marked 150 years of the firm with events in London and Liverpool.
We are proud and pleased in our 150th year to congratulate our partners, David Gill and Dr Julian Potter, on retaining their Patent Star rating from Managing Intellectual Property.
A corporate report has been published on UK IPO website outlining what users can expect with the rollout of the new One IPO patents service in spring 2024.
Today, 1st June 2023, marks the long-awaited commencement of the Unified Patents Court (UPC) in Europe. As of today, newly granting European patents can be validated in the form of the new “unitary patent” (UP), as well as in the classical manner for individual EPC member states. The UP will cover 17 EU member states which have ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), namely: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden. In the future it is hoped that more states will ratify the UPCA so as to provide an even more extensive pan-European patent.
Following on from the recent announcement regarding high demand for opt-out services and signs of strain for the UPC Case Management System (CMS) reported here, the UPC administrative authority has now announced further restrictions aimed at securing and maintaining essential access. This includes restricting some non-essential functions of the CMS, such as temporarily discontinuing access for public APIs, potentially giving rise to uncertainty for some users as the sunrise period comes to an end.
With high levels of demand for opt-out services, signs of strain are showing for the UPC Case Management System (CMS).
While the desire for opt-out services prior to the commencement of the UPC has come as little surprise to many commentators, the CMS has struggled to cope with demand as the number of opt-out requests has increased. Unfortunately, there have been delays, sometimes impeding the filing of opt-outs, as a result additional capacity has been added to the CMS to try to reduce a backlog of opt-out requests and improve user access.
With the new Unified Patent Court (UPC) due to commence operations from 1st June 2023, and unitary patents to become available for the first time, the current sunrise period is approaching its end.
On 5 May 2023 the EPO published its evaluation of the feedback on this year’s EPO Guidelines for Examination, which was discussed at the latest meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines. The working party discussed the responses to an online survey for interested parties earlier this year. The survey gave interested parties the opportunity to comment on aspects of the new 2023 Guidelines.
With more than 70 countries across the world setting net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets, there is an increasing global effort to mitigate the impact of these gases, released by human industry, into the environment. A key aspect of this goal is to identify methods of reducing levels of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, that are already present in the atmosphere.
Life Sciences, Chemistry
A recent High Court decision,  EWHC 2847 (Pat), between claimants Teva and defendants Novartis provides clarity on how the inventive concept of a patent is to be interpreted under UK law.
Hacon HHJ, who heard the case, ruled that the invention of a patent is defined specifically by the claims, thus any features present in the claims must contribute to or embody the inventive concept of the invention and any features not present within the claims correspondingly cannot.
Resources and guidance relating to the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court
The EPO has announced an increase in their official fees, which will be effective from 1 April 2023. The fees will increase by roughly 5-6% across the board, including the filing, search, examination, designation and grant fees. The list of the revised fee rates can be found here.
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