Thursday, December 31, 2009

What to expect for 2K10 in IP?

2010 will be a crucial year for Intellectual Property practitioners and users, especially for those in the high-technology sector.

In fact, a couple of key decisions are expected in 2010.

Bilsky: What will be the boundaries of patentable subject-matter in the US?
As all the readers of this blog know, the long-awaited case of Bilski and Warsaw v. Kappos, which could reshape the (US) patent world, is now at the U.S. Supreme Court. At stake is the scope of patentable subject-matter. In fact, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which held that in order for a process claim to be patentable subject matter, the claims had to satisfy the machine-or-transformation test. More precisely, an applicant has to show either that:
1. A claim is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or
2. A claim transforms a particular article to a different state or thing.
Well, the Supreme Court decision is expected by June 2010.

Enlarged Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office: Patentability of software and computer-implemented innovations in Europe
On October 22, 2008, the president of the European Patent Office (EPO) has asked the Enlarged Board of Appeals to answer four questions related to the patentability of software and computer-implemented inventions in order to clarify what can and what cannot be patented. More precisely, the questions were aimed at defining the limits regarding software. The four questions can be summarised as:
1. Can a computer program only be excluded as a computer program as such if it is explicitly claimed as a computer program?
2. Can the exclusion be bypassed by tying the claimed invention to a piece of hardware?
3. Must a claimed feature cause a technical effect in the real world in order to contribute to the technical character of the claim? and
4. Does the programming of a computer necessarily involve technical considerations?
According to some sources, the Enlarged Board of Appeals should render its decision in 2010.

I do not know if 2010 will the year of a global recovery for the economy but 2010 will definitely be a key one for IP.

On that note, Happy New Year 2010 to everyone! Health, success and happiness!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thailand Joins PCT

As of December 24 2009, Thailand is a contracting state of the PCT. The two-letter code is TH.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

U.S. innovation victim of recession?

An interesting and pessimistic article from (link). The article points out some scary facts:
  • The number of patent filings in the United States fell 2.3% in 2009 to 485,500 from 496,886.
  • U.S. patents issued to foreign applicants jumped 6.3%.
  • Patent filings (from US applicants) were down 25%.
It is interesting to note that PCT filings have never decreased since the creation of the PCT Treaty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fastracking Green Innovations

The USPTO has announced (link) a new program for fastracking patent applications related to certain "green" innovations. This announcement happens during the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen from Dec. 7-18, 2009.
Since pendency is also a big issue in most patent offices of the world, I hope that other patent offices who do not already offer similar opportunities will follow this US initiative.
Everyone benefits from reducing patent pendency. Applicants are able to market their products and secure their monopoly quicker. The public is able to determine quicker the scope of the monopoly given to the patentee.
Patent pendency unbalances the equilibrium between the patentee, the public and the government.