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Grace period conflict – Can the UK join the CPTPP and stay in the EPC?

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Is the UK on the road to the CPTPP?

Back in June this year, the UK announced its intention to start negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). For a country that is separated from continental Europe by a mere 21 miles, joining the CPTPP might raise the odd eyebrow. The purpose of this article however is to look at the possible impact that joining the CPTPP might have on the UK’s patent system.

As explained in more detail in this post on the Keltie website, the CPTPP expects signatories to the agreement to provide for a 12-month grace period for patents. The UK is also a signatory of the European Patent Convention which does not provide for a grace period of this nature. On the face of it there appears to be some conflict between the provisions of the CPTPP and the EPC. (more…)

IP in the UK after the Brexit Referendum

GB+EU flagOn 23 June 2016 the UK public voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’). If and when the UK formally starts the exit procedure, there will be at least a two-year negotiation period before the exit itself occurs. So, any changes won’t be implemented for some time yet.

Any UK national IP rights will be unaffected by Brexit. Some EU IP rights that have effect in the UK will be affected to different extents. Crucially, no IP rights will be lost as a result of Brexit, although some transitional measures are inevitable.

IPcopy takes a look at the key impact Brexit will have on IP, and what you should be considering now. (more…)

UPC and the computer software interoperability exception to infringement

IMG_8533-0As noted recently the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has been considering the secondary legislation being used to bring the UPC system into effect in the UK. Of interest in their report is the additional clarifications received in respect of the inclusion of the infringement exception at Article 27(k) of the UPC Agreement into UK law, the computer program exception.

The Committee’s report details comments raised on the draft Order from Baroness Bowles of Berkhamstead including comments relating to the computer program exception. The Committee had put the Baroness’ concerns to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The full reply from BIS can be found in the Appendix to the Report. (more…)

EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal on Clarity: Clear As It Has Ever Been

epologoThe Enlarged Board of Appeal has now issued its Decision on referral G 3/14.  G 3/14, originally reported in IPcopy here and with subsequent updates, most recently here, relates to how issues relating to clarity should be considered in opposition and opposition appeal proceedings.   The Enlarged Board was faced with a choice between a “conventional” approach in which clarity can only be considered where the lack of clarity lies in the amendment (a line of cases which the EBA considered to lead from T 301/87) and a “divergent” approach allowing a wider power to examine for clarity (a line of cases considered to lead from T 1459/05 – the EBA drew particular attention here to T 472/88).  The Enlarged Board came down clearly on the side of the conventional approach, but also went beyond the circumstances of the case referred to discuss the boundary between claims that should and should not be examined for clarity. (more…)

Could an Independent Scotland damage the Unitary Patent System?

125px-Flag_of_Scotland.svgI wasn’t planning on writing again on the possible impact of the Scottish Referendum on intellectual property rights unless there was a “Yes” vote. The polls however seemed to have moved recently from “probably No” to “Dave? It’s squeaky bum time”. Additionally a couple of us here at IPcopy have wondered whether a “Yes” vote (i.e. a vote to break up the UK) might have a greater impact than previously thought on the Unitary Patent Package. Essentially, we’ve been considering a Scottish variant of the Malta problem which has previously been discussed on this blog – what I’m now going to refer to as the Scottish Situation. (more…)

An introduction to the Unitary Patent

EU flagIf you don’t know your Battistelli from your Balotelli and you think the UPC Arena is the football stadium formally known as the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Stadium in Graz, Austria rather than a new European patents court then you’ve probably been spending more time on your fantasy football league than you have preparing for the Unified Patent Package. Fear not though as IPcopy has you covered with our Unitary Patent 101 blog post! (more…)

New EBA Referral: The Questions are Published


epologoAs you will have seen in previous posts, IPCopy has been tracking the progress of the latest referral to the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal which concerns the scope to which clarity under Article 84 EPC can be raised in post grant proceedings. The Decision of the Technical Board of Appeal 3.2.08 in the case in question (T0373/12, on EP1814480) was published online late last week.

European Divisional Applications – Additional Fees published by EPO


As noted earlier on IPcopy, Rule 36 EPC, which was amended in 2010 to introduce 24 month time limits for filing divisional European patent applications from a parent European patent application, is to be amended from 1 April 2014 such that the 24 month deadline rule is removed and the procedure reverts back to the pre-April 2010 arrangements. As well as the change to Rule 36 EPC, an amendment to Rule 38 was proposed to provide “for an additional fee as part of the filing fee in the case of a divisional application filed in respect of any earlier application which is itself a divisional application”.

Administrative Council decision of 13 December 2013 (here) has been published on the EPO website and, as well as detailing other fee changes due to come into effect on 1 April 2014, confirms the level of the additional fee that will be payable on 2nd and higher generation divisional applications from 1 April 2014. The full list of additional fees for divisional applications, which ranges from 210 Euros to 840 Euros, is noted below


EPO changes rules on Euro-PCT searches

epologoSomewhat lost alongside the exciting announcement that the EPO is going to scrap the controversial 2 year divisional deadline rule was another recent decision of the Administrative Council.

Readers of the consultation section on the EPO website will have been aware that there was a consultation earlier in the year relating to Rule 164 and in a decision dated 16 October 2013 the Administrative Council duly announced a change to Rule 164 (which is reproduced in full at the bottom of the post). The amended Rule 164 is scheduled to enter into force on 1 November 2014 for any application for which the supplementary European search report under Article 153(7) EPC has not been drawn up as of 1 November 2014 or the first communication under Article 94(3) EPC and Rule 71(1) and (2) EPC or, as the case may be, Rule 71(3) EPC has not been drawn up as of 1 November 2014. (more…)

European Divisional Applications – Rule 36 EPC, As You Were? (Updated)

epologoUpdated with EPO confirmation & proposed amendments

As noted earlier on IPcopy, Rule 36 EPC, which was amended in 2010 to introduce 24 month time limits for filing divisional European patent applications from a parent European patent application, was made the subject of an EPO consultation. The consultation closed on 5 April 2013 but the EPO website has not yet been updated with any details of the responses received.

However, a number of sources (1, 2, 3) are now reporting that Rule 36 is to be amended from 1 April 2014 such that the 24 month deadline rule is removed and the procedure reverts back to the pre-April 2010 arrangements. So far there has been no official announcement from the EPO.