Posts in International

Countdown to the Unified Patent Court, Part V: Five Predictions for the UPC on Day One

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is now a reality. The Court opens its doors tomorrow, June 1, 2023. In the past four articles, we have aimed to dispel myths about some of the key aspects of the UPC. Part 1 focused on the designated UPC judges, Part 2 on the timelines, Part 3 on the remedies that are available at the UPC and finally Part 4 on the financial aspects of the UPC. These articles illustrated that the UPC will become a success story, since there are simply no good reasons not to engage with the Court. This final installment to the series will provide five predictions about how the UPC will operate. We’ll review in 12 months where our peek into the crystal ball got it right, and where it missed the mark.

Proposed European SEP Regulation Would Undermine Efficiency, Innovation and Economic Growth

The European Commission (EC) is at it again, threatening to regulate standard essential patent (SEP) licensing relationships, despite a lack of evidence that such regulation is appropriate. The economically harmful nature of this regulatory framework (and its prior draft) has been highlighted by many expert commentators, including contributors to IPWatchdog (see here, here, and here) and Truth on the Market (see here and here). Fortunately, the EC’s proposed regulatory framework is still open for public comments. Mindful of that opportunity, on May 23, Mercatus Center scholars Christine McDaniel, Satya Marar, and I filed a public interest submission with the European Commission, focusing on three sets of problems posed by the framework. I summarize our submission below.

UKIPO Issues New Trademark Guidance on NFTs, the Metaverse and Virtual Goods

On  April 3, 2023, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) issued much needed guidance on how digital goods and services – namely non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual goods, and services provided in the metaverse – should be classified for trademark purposes. NFTs The UKIPO defines an NFT as “a unique unit of data (the only one existing of its type) that…

Painting with a Broad Brush: The European Commission’s Failure to Distinguish Seeking Damages for Past Infringement from Seeking an Injunction

Previously, we wrote about how alleged concerns of “hold-up” and a lack of “transparency”, two non-legal terms without accepted definitions, are being used to advocate for special rules applicable to patents subject to declarations regarding Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing. These vague concepts are specifically chosen to obfuscate the real issues impacting FRAND licensing and used in an effort to shift traditional burdens of proof, regulate behavior previously found not to violate antitrust / competition law, and rewrite the express language of the commitment made by patent owners to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The European Commission (EC) is the latest bull to enter the FRAND licensing China shop.

Recapping Abitron at the High Court: The Long Arm of the…Lanham Act?

Can the Lanham Act apply to the conduct of foreign entities occurring entirely outside the United States and, if so, what is the test? The Supreme Court will soon decide this issue in Abitron v. Hetronic, potentially resolving a long-standing circuit split where six different tests presently co-exist. It will mark the first time since the Court’s 1952 ruling in Steele v. Bulova Watch Co. that it has spoken on extraterritoriality as it relates to the Lanham Act. Steele found that the Lanham Act does apply to a U.S. citizen using a registered U.S. trademark on spurious Bulova watches, many of which were bought by U.S. citizens in Mexico and brought back to the United States. Steele did not address whether the defendant’s U.S. citizenship, or his sourcing of parts from U.S. suppliers, were necessary conditions to subject matter jurisdiction. Enter Hetronic.

Countdown to the Unified Patent Court, Part IV: Financials

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is only a fortnight away; it will go live on June 1, 2023. No doubt, the UPC will become a game changer requiring diligent planning and preparation. In order to faciliate such preparation, we have been providing a series of articles that will deal with the most important aspects of the UPC. Whereas Part 1 focused on the designated UPC judges, Part 2 on the timelines and Part 3 on the remedies that are available at the UPC, this Part 4 will address the financial aspects of UPC infringement proceedings.

Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes in Brazil: Recent Developments and Future Perspectives

It is not news that cannabis-based medicines have been used for millennia around the world in the treatment of conditions and diseases such as chronic pain; epilepsy; neuropsychiatric disorders; nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy; symptoms associated with autistic spectrum disorder; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; rheumatoid arthritis, among others. However, this topic has been the subject of recent discussions due to the progressive dissemination of scientific data proving the efficacy and safety of their uses. New scientific research and clinical studies are expected, not to mention the revision/alteration of legislation in some countries so that the cultivation, production, commercialization and use of cannabis-based medicines becomes more viable and comprehensive.

European Inventor Award Finalists Focus on Sustainability

On Tuesday, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced the 12 inventors and inventor teams that have been selected as finalists for the 2023 European Inventor Award. The EPO placed three finalists each into four groups: Industry, Research, SMEs, and Non-EPO Countries. Members of the public can vote for the winner on the EPO’s website. The finalists hail from 12 countries, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, and the United States. An independent jury of former European Inventor Award finalists used their expertise to select this year’s finalists.

Countdown to the Unified Patent Court, Part III: Remedies

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will go live in less than a month, on June 1, 2023. Thus, it’s time to prepare for the biggest change in the global IP landscape in more than a decade. To facilitate such preparation, we will be providing a series of five articles that will deal with the most important aspects of the UPC. Whereas Part 1 focused on the designated UPC judges, and Part 2 on the timelines that govern the proceedings before the UPC, Part III will illustrate the remedies (and the potential enforcement of such remedies) that are available at the UPC in a main action.

New SEP Regulatory Framework and AI Copyright Legislation Advance in the European Union

On April 27, a pair of legal measures were advanced within the European Union that promise to greatly impact the state of technological commercialization within Europe for both standardized and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. While political leaders in the EU maintain that either proposal addresses consumer safety and competition concerns, multiple commentators have pointed out issues that could slow the rate of technological commercialization to the detriment of Europeans across the continent.

USTR’s Special 301 Report Says China’s Improvement on IP Has Slowed

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Special 301 Report on April 26, adding two countries to the “Watch List”: Bulgaria and Belarus. In total, there are now 29 countries on either the Priority Watch List or Watch List, up from 27 last year. Belarus was added because it passed a law that “legalized unlicensed use of certain copyrighted works if the right holder is from a foreign state ‘committing unfriendly actions.’” This includes the U.S. sanctions imposed on Belarus for its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “

Talking Women in IP for World IP Day: Mentorship, Mindsets and Managing Bias

In honor of World IP Day 2023, IPWatchdog yesterday hosted a webinar titled after this year’s theme, “Women and Intellectual Property: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity.” The webinar was sponsored by IP.com and focused on the many ways that advocates for the U.S. intellectual property system can actively create an environment for young professionals to begin thinking about how they can approach careers in the field of IP law. Leading the charge was Renee Quinn, Chief Operating Officer of IPWatchdog, who has handled the business side of IPWatchdog, Inc. for the past 16 years. She was joined by Alison Erickson, Assistant General Counsel, Hallmark; Susanne Hollinger, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Newell Brands; and Marlene Valderrama, Senior IP Assets Manager and Lead Technology Scout, Halliburton.

This Week in Washington IP: Celebrating World IP Day, House Hearing on Oversight of USPTO, and the Future of AI

This week in Washington IP news, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and others celebrate World Intellectual Property Day with multiple events. A House subcommittee holds a hearing overseeing recent developments at the USPTO. The Senate is also in session as it discusses the two new finalized rules from the Small Business Administration on expanding capital access to small businesses.

Europe’s Schizophrenia on Standard Essential Patents

The European Union is reportedly considering sweeping new regulations for the licensing and litigation of standard essential patents (SEPs), which make fair-minded observers wonder whether any sane adults are in charge at the European Commission (EC). The EU’s proposed new regulatory regime is scheduled to be released on April 26 by the Directorate for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) of the European Commission (EC). And recently leaked drafts suggest that proposal will contain sweeping new regulations that will effectively put an end to the licensing and litigation of SEPs as it exists today.

Delving Into the EU’S Draft Regulations on SEP Licensing

In late March, news broke that the European Commission was drafting sweeping regulations on the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs). Commentators predict the draft will be released in late April and, although this is an early draft that will likely evolve, below we offer the following initial observations. In its current form, the new regulatory framework would encourage increased transparency in SEP licensing through several new policies and procedures. In particular, the regulations would establish a “competence center” at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to act as a sort of clearinghouse for SEP issues (both technical and economic). The EUIPO does not currently have patent expertise; EP patents are the purview of the European Patent Office (EPO), which is separate from the European Union and includes non-EU members.