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Does Every Experiment Need a Test Tube?

The UK Intellectual Property Office has recently launched a consultation entitled “The Research and Bolar Exceptions”.  While all patent practitioners may have got as far as the end of the title, the profession will split into two groups after reading the subtitle, “A formal consultation on patent infringement in clinical and field trials”, indicating that this is another exercise in sculpting patent law specifically for the pharmaceutical industry.

This all relates to the interpretation of s.60(5)(b) of the Patents Act 1977, which states that:

An act which, apart from this subsection, would constitute an infringement of a patent for an invention shall not do so if… it is done for experimental purposes relevant to the subject-matter of the invention;”

Most European countries have a similar provision as a result of the harmonisation in European patent law associated with the creation of the Community Patent and European Patent Conventions in the 1970s.  Different countries, however, interpret this provision in quite different ways.  The UK courts have interpreted this exception narrowly, leading to widespread concern that the UK is out of step in not having a clear exception for clinical trials.


New Zealand join Madrid Protocol

New Zealand has become the latest country to join the Madrid Protocol. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced New Zealand’s accession to the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, commonly referred to as the Madrid Protocol. The Protocol is an international agreement that allows trade mark holders to register their marks in member Countries (currently 87 and counting) by filing a single international application and designating Member States on an individual basis.

Two important points applicants need to be aware of are: 1) Any trademark holder who wishes to register a trade mark in New Zealand must make a declaration of its intention to use the mark; 2) WIPO advises that recording licences in the International Register will have no effect in New Zealand because this Country does not have practice rules allowing the recordal of trade mark licences.

The Accession of New Zealand to the Protocol will enter into force on December 10, 2012.

Gavin Hoey    (Trade Mark Records Manager)                     9 November 2012

Apple Apology – Text of Judgment available

As noted in earlier posts (here and here) the statement Apple posted to their website wasn’t exactly what the judges in the Court of Appeal had in mind. The full text of the judgment following Samsung’s complaint is now available here. It is well worth a read and almost relentless in its disapproval of Apple’s actions.

The current version of the Apple website links to the intended wording. Or you could try this.

Patent applicants in India: beware the section 8 ‘trap’

India has become an attractive and apparently low cost option for patent applicants with global interests, but recent Patent Appeal Board and Court decisions suggest that hard-won patents may be invalidated easily on technicality grounds if patent owners do not meet stringent disclosure obligations during the application procedure.


Apple “Apology” [Updated] – Court of Appeal serves huge slice of piping hot humble pie for Apple to eat in public

As noted in many locations, including IPcopy here, the apology that Apple was required to place on their website following the recent court decisions in the High Court and Court of Appeal relating to the registered Community Design No. 000181607-0001 left something to be desired.