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Last Wednesday the European Commission published its draft Withdrawal Agreement relating to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community. This was followed a couple of days later by a speech from the Prime Minister which set out some more details about the UK position. Intellectual property got a mention in both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Mansion House speech. (more…)
Small quantities of excitement have been created by the “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee” entitled “Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents”, linked on the Commission’s Patents and Standards page. Given the largely innocuous content of the Commission-originating document and the complexity of EU decision making processes, the title may well be the most contentious thing in the document. However, there are good reasons why the content is a little blander than might have been hoped, as set out in this article by Richard Vary (a distinguished standards warrior from his time at Nokia). (more…)
As we contemplate the possibility that another recipe from “101 Things to do with Cold Turkey” is going to be needed to shift the last of the Christmas food, we thought we’d take a quick look back at the top 10 most read posts that we published this year. (more…)
The European Commission website provides something of a byzantine navigational challenge so IPcopy is extremely grateful to Martin Chatel for pointing us in the direction of the Commission staff working document “A Single Market Strategy for Europe – Analysis and Evidence” which discusses the unitary patent package. (more…)
A couple of unitary patent snippets today comprising news of Judgment Day in the CJEU for Spain and a confusing European Commission communication. (more…)
Concern over the slow economic recovery in the European Union has meant that tax policy in European Member States has increasingly been used as an instrument to help promote economic growth. Member States have historically had the right to set their own fiscal policies and many have used these to attract investment from particular industries or permit particular operations by companies in the hope to gain a larger share of global business. This has resulted in increased competition between countries not only in the way they set corporate tax rates but also in how they use tax incentives. However some domestic rules are now under the spotlight, as the European Commission starts to investigate certain regimes deemed unfair by their critics.
The latest round of European Commission queries have concerned IP box regimes, but this is now widening in scope to include tax rulings between a Member State’s tax authority and relevant companies as the Directorate General for Competition plays an increasing role in the investigations. (more…)
Yesterday, 25th May 2014, Denmark held a referendum on joining the Unified Patent Court. Out of just over 2.3 million votes cast, 62.5% voted in favour of joining the Unified Patent Court. The Danish parliament is now free to complete ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and, eventually, deposit its instrument of ratification with the EU Commission. Currently only Austria and France have made such a deposit.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma – Churchill may have been talking about Russia, but when I hear this phrase FRAND licensing is more likely to come to mind, and more particularly, FRAND licensing for standards essential patents (SEPs). It must have all sounded so straightforward once – all the standards bodies agreed that you could bring your patents to the party, you would license them to all your competitors, you’d get a royalty back to compensate you for your R&D efforts, and it would all be fair, reasonable… and nice – well, technically “non-discriminatory”, but “nice” seems to get the wooliness of the intention over better – with the end result of a collection of patents all licensed to the rest of the industry under FRAND terms. It all seemed so reasonable that an engineer at the standards meeting could concentrate on reaching the best technical solution (his or hers, obviously…) without any thought to yucky patent stuff.
Yeah, right. It hasn’t been nice for a while – not a surprise, as a requirement to license SEPs on FRAND terms is little more than an agreement to make SEPs Someone Else’s Problem and not an issue for the standards body concerned. Despite a good twenty years of fractious patent disputes about SEPs and FRAND licensing absorbing vast quantities of legal effort – I’ve spent many hours on the DRAM and 802.11a patent sagas alone, and I was barely on the fringes of both – many key questions, such as how FRAND license royalties should be calculated and just what a patent proprietor is entitled to do up to the point where a licensing target becomes a paid-up licensee, have nebulous answers at best. (more…)