Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Member State For The EPO: Macedonia

The European Patent Office has announced (link) that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has ratified the European Patent Convention and will become a member of the European Patent Organisation on 1 January 2009.
The European Patent Organisation's members include all 27 EU member states plus Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia also recognise European patent applications and patents on their territory.
A market of about 570 million people can potentially be reached using European patents.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chinese Patent Law is Amended

China's top legislature has just approved an amendment to the Patent Law.
According to this amendment local inventors now will be allowed to apply for foreign patents before domestic ones for their inventions.
The amendment will be effective on Oct. 1, 2009. All applications will be reviewed by the government to ensure that no secrecy order should be issued.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The PPH Pilot Program Between CIPO and USPTO Gets an Extension

Both the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have announced the extension of the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program (PPH) between both offices until January 28, 2011.

Officially the extension is motivated by the desire to "adequately assess the feasibility of the PPH pilot program".

USPTO link
CIPO link

Did you know? Patent Practice: Use of “Substantially”

In Korea and in Japan, the term “substantially” in the claims of a patent is considered to be indefinite.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Innovation and Global Crisis

While we may be very lucky here in Canada and may not feel (yet) the effects of the global crisis, some countries are not as lucky.

I just attended a major business conference in Israel, the Globes Conference, and business leaders there seemed to be very concerned by the situation. One of the key speakers, President Shimon Perez, addressed the audience and gave a very insightful speech on some areas where energies should now be focused in order to reduce the effects of the crisis there. More precisely, he suggested that tax exemptions should be provided for investors in the following fields:

1. renewable energies in order to avoid being dependent on oil;
2. innovations pertaining to the creation of new water resources;
3. stem cells research;
4. innovations related to antiterrorism equipments;
5. innovations for advanced teaching equipment.

He mentioned that it is therefore time for innovation and that the crisis calls it. He further mentioned that we should not fall into pessimism since both pessimisms and optimisms die.
The only difference is the way they live.

The key for me here is the fact that the heart of his suggested plan is innovation. Intellectual property is therefore also key since it is there to protect it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Did You Know? Patent Litigation In The US: Don’t Mess With Texas!

In 2007, the District of Eastern Texas was ranked 1st with the most patent suits filed during that year with 359 suits filed.
Some reasons for this popularity:
1. Patentees enjoy favorable outcomes in this jurisdiction;
2. (used to have an) Early trial date available;
3. Court unlikely to grant summary judgment motions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Live From 横浜市 (Yokohama): Did You Know?

I am now in Yokohama attending the FICPI 2008 Symposium. I had today an interesting session with Commissioner Takashi Suzuki of the 特許庁 (Japanese Patent Office).

The JPO is working on interesting projects aimed to "raise the bar". Not only the Japanese Patent Office has been a leader for promoting the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), but the Japanese Patent Office is now working on a couple of other exciting projects which are, inter alia:

1. The "Seamless search environment". In this project, the JPO is gathering prior art references from various Japanese universities and companies.

2. The "Community Patent Review (CPR)". In this project a "community patent review" operation center receives feedback from various (outsourced) reviewers. About 250 patent applications have been reviewed according to this new method.

Finally I have learnt that there is a superhighway in Japan where you can get a first office action in one month! So far 50 applications has enjoyed this special treatment.