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Case Summary: Landmark Graphics

This case follows an earlier UK judgement (Halliburton Energy Services Inc.’s Application) in respect of the formulation of the contribution when assessing the steps of the Aerotel test: the widely accepted test under UK patent law for determining whether claimed subject matter falls within a category of subject matter excluded from protection. The Halliburton judgement was an appeal from a decision of a UK IPO Hearing Officer at first instance. In Halliburton, the invention was similar to an invention considered in an earlier judgement, and so the Hearing Officer was attempting to follow this earlier judgement, but the judge in this case concluded that the Hearing Officer’s interpretation of the […]


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 […]

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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 …

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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) […]