Entries by admin

Reminder about new EPO divisional applications

On 1 April 2014, a new rule came into force at the EPO. The rule relates to divisional patent applications and applies to applications filed on or after that date. The new rule effectively repeals the unpopular (and largely ineffective) previous 24-month time limits for the filing of divisional applications. The new rule allows the filing of divisional patent applications as long as the earlier (parent) application is pending. However, as with the previous rule, this rule comes with a disincentive: there is an additional fee payable for with the application fees. The amount of the additional fee grows progressively with each subsequent generation of divisional applications. The official fee […]

Innovation Matters – from idea, through R&D and partners to exports and growth

One of our Directors, Ross Kay, will be speaking at the Innovation Matters seminar on 30 April, 2014 at the University of Hertfordshire Biopark in Welwyn Garden City. This event is being organised by Enterprise Europe Network East  along with Exemplas, the Design Council and UK Trade and Investment. Ross will be speaking about intellectual property and providing a grounding for those who are new to it, or want to fill in gaps in their knowledge. More details and an on-line booking form can be found on the Enterprise Europe Network East website.    

US Supreme Court to hear oral arguments next week

On 31 March 2014, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. The case, referred to by some as Alice in Patentland, is to decide (hopefully once and for all, but we shall see …) the issue of whether claims in patents to computer-implemented inventions are eligible for patent protection under US law. As part of their ruling, the Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether claims to systems and machines, processes, and items of manufacture involving computer-implemented inventions are protectable by patents. We will keep you posted …

Will the Coca-Cola secret recipe stay secret for much longer?

For some, one of the allures of the Coca-Cola® drink is that the recipe for the beverage is secret. Recently, Coca-cola has bought a 10% stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Some years ago, Green Mountain/Keurig developed and sold a single-serve K-cup brewing technology, which like the Nespresso system uses pods to allow customers to prepare single coffee servings without having to make an entire pot. The technology was patented, but the patent expired late in 2012. However, now with the help of Coca-Cola, Green Mountain is now working on developing and launching the Coca-Cola soft drink portfolio for use in a new cold beverage systems, which should be on sale in early 2015. […]

Strikes loom at the EPO …

There seems to be some unrest at the European Patent Office, where the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) balloted staff for strike action. The strike ballot involved 4119 out of the 6803 eligible employees.  Around 90% of the votes cast were in favour of strike action.  The SUEPO website contains a letter setting out many of its positions. Strike days have been set for 21, 24 and 25 March, and 14 to 17 April.  

They think it’s all over …

… Well it isn’t now! When a football competition is not protected by competition law A recent court decision on a matter of copyright and competition law concerning the broadcast of Premier League football matches may have radical repercussions for the way football and other sports are funded. Following a ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in October, the High Court recently quashed a conviction against pub landlady Karen Murphy for showing English Premier League football matches using a foreign decoder. The decoder and card were bought from Greece, rather than the card and decoder supplied by Sky® television, who own the broadcasting rights for Premiership football […]

A short-lived victory for Apple?

Is Apple’s recent victory in a Munich court a hollow victory? A great deal of attention has been given in the tech/legal media to the Apple patent known as the “slide to unlock” patent. It was recently litigated in Germany. Those familiar with Apple products will know that it is possible to lock some iPods and iPhones to prevent unauthorised use. To unlock the device, a user has to slide a so-called “slider” across a portion of the device’s screen. This is sometimes accompanied by a request to enter a pin code. Apple claimed that the patent was infringed by an unlock feature used by two of Motorola Mobility’s (MM’s) […]

UK IPO Decides Against Appeal to House of Lords

No Attempt by UK IPO to Reverse Symbian Appeal Judgement Following a relatively recent decision of the Court of Appeal of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has decided not to appeal the decision to the House of Lords (the highest appellate court in the UK). A review of Computer Implemented Inventions (CIIs) has been requested by the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) by a referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO due to a perceived divergence in case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal. The UK IPO, like the Court of Appeal, feels that it would be […]

iTunes patent suit settled

Apple has reached a pre-trial settlement on undisclosed terms Apple has reached a settlement with a Vermont firm that claimed that Apple’s iTunes music software infringes their patent. Court documents show that the patent owner, Mr David Contois, sued Apple in the U.S. District Court of Vermont in June 2005, accusing the company of infringing U.S. Patent No. 5, 864, 868 filed in February 1996 and relating to a computer system and method for controlling a media playing device. According to this original court complaint, Mr Contois believed current or future Apple employees were in attendance when he first demonstrated his invention at a technology trade show in November 1996. […]