Posts in International

ITIF Report: The U.S. Underestimates China as an ‘Imitator’ Rather Than an Innovator at Its Own Peril

On January 23, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) published a report entitled Wake Up, America: China is Overtaking the United States in Innovation Output, which applies innovation and industrial performance metrics for comparing relative innovation outputs from foreign technological rivals China and the United States. The report, produced by ITIF’s Hamilton Center on Industrial Strategy, is the latest indicator that China is close to surpassing the United States in terms of innovation output per capita and calls upon U.S. policymakers to develop a national economic and technology policy to restore U.S. dominance in innovation.

IBM Cites Deliberate Strategy Shift as it Drops to Second Place in IFI Claims Patent Grant List for First Time in 29 Years

This week, patent data analytics firm IFI CLAIMS published its annual report of the top 50 U.S. patent recipients and the global 250 largest patent portfolios for 2022. The list provides a comprehensive snapshot of the patent landscape with insights into growing trends in the industry. One of the most eye-catching details is Samsung taking the first spot for U.S. patent grants in 2022, ending IBM’s 29-year reign at the top. The difference between the two is also surprisingly wide, with a gap of nearly 2,000 patent grants. According to an IFI press release, the number of U.S. patent grants was at its lowest since 2018 despite the number of patent applications reaching a record high. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of patent grants has decreased three years in a row.

Why Voluntary Licensing is Best for Increasing Access to Medicines

When it comes to how to best increase access to medicines in l0w and middle-income countries (LMICs), compulsory licensing gets most of the attention. Academic articles, non-governmental organization (NGO) campaigns, conferences and United Nations (UN)-endorsed technical symposia assert it is the best approach. Certain World Trade Organization (WTO) members are pushing for COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics to be included in the waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPs waiver), which revolves around compulsory licensing. Brazil has recently amended its IP laws to make compulsory licensing easier. Despite its high political profile, compulsory licensing has rarely been used (mainly by a handful African countries in the mid 2000s to address the HIV pandemic). Even then, IP-respecting treatments available from global procurement bodies have proven cheaper. No country has yet seen the need for a compulsory license for a COVID vaccine.

SEP Battles in Europe, 2022: Fair, Reasonable and—Unlike the Whisky Wars—Not Over Yet

The past year has proven a difficult one for many. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the death of the UK’s longest reigning monarch are among the things for which the year will be remembered. But amid those dark days, one less known event shines like a tiny candle of hope: the end of the Whisky War. For 50 years, Canada and Denmark have been in dispute over the ownership of Hans Island: a battle in which the principal weapons have been strong drink and a sense of humor….. The standard essential patent (SEP) wars may feel like they have been going on for almost as long as the Whisky war. They are not as close to resolution, but 2022 has seen some progress.

Five Key Trademark, Design and Copyright Developments in Europe, 2022

Expect further developments in the passage of the designs package next year, as the details are debated in the European Parliament. Despite the extensive consultation already carried out, it is possible that changes will be made to the proposals before a final version is agreed. And the UK Supreme Court will hear the SkyKick case concerning bad faith. A judgment can be expected before the end of the year.

Five Patent Highlights from Europe in 2022

The long-awaited introduction of the Unitary Patent and UPC should provide much interest in 2023, with attention likely to focus on the early numbers of applications for unitary effect, as well as the number of European patents opted out and the volume and nature of cases brought before the Court. At the EPO, decisions are expected from the Enlarged Board of Appeal in Case G 2/21, which concerns plausibility and post-published evidence, and Cases G 1/22 and G 2/22, concerning entitlement to priority. Oral proceedings in G 2/21 were held on 24 November. And the UK Supreme Court should hear the DABUS case and deliver its judgment in 2023.

Bringing Unwilling Licensors to the Table

Some months ago, two courts in Germany granted injunctions against Oppo, one based on a standard essential patent (SEP), and another on a non-SEP related to Wi-Fi. Rather than cave to the demands of Nokia, Oppo has since decided to pull its products out of the German market. Since then, some commentators have claimed that this is another example of so-called “implementers” engaging in hold out. They point to the need for strong injunctive relief in order to force these “unwilling” licensees to the table.

As IP Waiver Extension Deadline Approaches, Advocacy Groups Call on WTO Director-General to Step In

A group of more than 160 charities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), advocacy organizations, and others sent a letter today under the banner of the People’s Vaccine Alliance to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala imploring the WTO not to accept the proposed delay of a decision to extend waiver of IP rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to therapeutics and diagnostics. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on December 6 announced support for delaying the deadline on an extension decision.

As Deadline on COVID IP Waiver Extension Looms, LMICs Propose Text, U.S. Supports Delay, and Organizations Speak Out

A number of lower-income countries (LMICs) on Tuesday, December 6, proposed new text to the World Trade Organization (WTO) urging them to adopt it and proceed with an extension of the waiver of IP rights for COVID-19-related technologies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPS). The text was sent following the United States’ announcement on the same day that it supports a delay of the deadline to decide whether to extend the waiver to diagnostics and therapeutics pending an International Trade Commission investigation that the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has ordered.

EU Unified Patent Court Delays Opening by Two Months

The European Union Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced this week that the court’s Sunrise Period will be delayed by two months. The Sunrise Period has a new planned opening date of March 1, 2023, with the entry into force of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) pushed to June 1, 2023. In an official announcement, Klaus Grabinski, President of the UPC Court of Appeal, and Johannes Karcher, Acting Chairman of the Administrative Committee, said, “the additional time is intended to allow future users to prepare themselves for the strong authentication which will be required to access the Case Management System (CMS) and to sign documents.”

Groups on Both Sides Slam USTR Support for Delaying IP Waiver Extension Pending ITC Investigation

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) this morning announced support for delaying the deadline to decide whether to extend a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to diagnostics and therapeutics. The USTR also said it has asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) “to launch an investigation into COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics and provide information on market dynamics to help inform the discussion around supply and demand, price points, the relationship between testing and treating, and production and access.”

UK Judge Delivers Mixed Ruling on Copyright Infringement in the Famous Love Story that Inspired Doctor Zhivago

Anna Pasternak is the Claimant in a recent copyright case at the UK High Court of Justice and author of Lara: The Untold Love Story That Inspired Doctor Zhivago (“Lara”). Lara is a non-fiction, historical book that was published in the United Kingdom in August 2016. It is a love story of Pasternak’s great uncle, Boris Pasternak, poet and author of the book Doctor Zhivago, and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who is portrayed as Lara Antipova in Doctor Zhivago. The Claimant is also the owner of the copyright in a translation of extracts from a book called Légendes de la Rue Potapov” (“the Légendes Translation”). Lara Prescott is the Defendant in the case at issue and author of The Secrets We Kept (“TSWK”), a historical, fictional account of a late 1950s CIA operation, which used copies of Doctor Zhivago as propaganda against the Soviet Union. Prescott, who is named after Lara Antipova, has always been fascinated by the novel. TSWK was published both in the United States and the United Kingdom in September 2019.

Former Commerce, USPTO Heads Push for U.S. to Lead Opposition to Extending WTO’s COVID IP Waiver

In a webinar hosted today by the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP), the organization’s founders, Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, both former Directors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), spoke with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, about the increased skepticism surrounding a plan to extend the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. According to Kappos, while World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries were supposed to decide on December 17 whether to extend the waiver, “given the rising opposition and other countries starting to raise their hands” with questions, “it’s seeming likely the WTO will defer its decision until the New Year.”

Patent Experts Urge Kanter to Reject Calls to Scrap Avanci Business Review Letter

A group of 25 experts in intellectual property law sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Jonathan Kanter today in support of a business review letter that the group said, “represented a legally sound and evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law to innovative commercial institutions.” The letter is also a response to an earlier letter sent to Kanter on October 17, 2022, by 28 former government enforcement officials, professors, and public interest advocates that urged the AAG to reconsider the business review letter. The Avanci business review letter was published by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on July 28, 2020. In the letter, the DOJ said that Avanci’s licensing platform, which plans to license patent claims declared essential to implement 5G in cars, did not harm competition in the industry. Business review letters represent guidance by the DOJ to inform businesses how to best coordinate their practices to ensure they don’t violate antitrust laws.

WIPO Report: China Sees Massive Surge in IP Filings Across the Board

Worldwide IP filings increased by 3.6% in 2021, according to a report published November 21 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The increase came during a turbulent time for the world economy, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a global economic downturn. The biggest increase in patent filings was in Asia, where 67.6% of worldwide patent applications were filed. The United States saw a 1.2% decrease in filings and a 1% increase in trademark filings. Trademark applications grew at a much faster rate than patent applications, with a 5.5% in trademark filing activity. Industrial design filing activity also rose by 9.2% with the largest uptick again in Asia. China saw high rates of growth and is a global leader in sheer numbers across all indicators.

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