Posts in International

USPTO Issues Update on Relations with Russian Patent Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that certain intellectual property (IP)-related transactions are now authorized in Russia, following publication by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of General License No. 31. The authorized transactions include the filing and prosecution of any application to obtain a patent, trademark, or copyright, as well as renewal and maintenance fees.

Draft COVID Patent Waiver Text Officially Sent to WTO Membership

World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday sent a letter to Ambassador Lansana Gberie, Chair of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), explaining that an informal group of delegates from the United States, the European Union, India and South Africa have reached a draft outcome document on the proposal to waive IP rights for COVID vaccine-related patented technologies. The text largely tracks that of a draft circulated in March, but some open questions remain for the broader membership to resolve.

The EU Is Throwing Stones in the Data Lake by Regulating AI – What Global Companies Need to Do Now to Prepare

High-stakes artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming even higher risk in the European Union, where AI regulation efforts are underway that could cost your company up to 6% of its total worldwide revenues—more than the potential penalties for privacy violations under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). On April 21, 2021, the European Commission proposed rules for regulating AI (the “AI Act” or “Act”), to which the European Parliament recently released proposed amendments on April 20, 2022. The Act may undergo a series of additional amendments, but a final text is nearing completion and European countries are starting to act in anticipation of the regulation. Companies should plan for the comprehensive act to become law and begin implementing best practices now to ensure a competitive advantage. Below is an overview of the AI Act’s key provisions that takes into account the Parliament’s recent changes.

Foreign Filing Requirements Part II – Comparing Popular Patenting Jurisdictions

In Part I of this series, we provided an overview of foreign filing restrictions for cross-border inventions around the world. For a deeper examination, we will narrow our focus to some of the most common countries for filing. The United States, China, and India are among the most popular patent filing venues in the world. While all three countries require a Foreign Filing License (FFL) before filing abroad or otherwise first filing in the home country, the specific requirements vary.

Hague in Force in China: Tips for Choosing the Hague Agreement or Paris Convention to File Design Patents in China

The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague Agreement”) will enter into force in China next week, on May 5. Together with the original Paris Convention approach, there will now be two different options for filing design patents in China: the Hague system (designated extension) and the Paris Convention (direct entry). Based on our experience and analysis of the relevant regulations, we have the following preliminary suggestions on how foreign applicants should choose to enter China.

USTR Suspends Review of Ukraine, Remains Concerned with China in Latest Special 301 Report

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Special 301 Report today, which identified 27 trading partners of the United States as being either on the “Priority Watch List” or “Watch List.” This means that “particular problems exist in that country with respect to IP protection, enforcement, or market access for U.S. persons relying on IP,” according to the Report. While the Priority Watch List is shorter this year, the USTR continues to highlight concerns about China, particularly with respect to recent statements made by Chinese officials about the role of IP in achieving Chinese market dominance.

CJEU Upholds 2019 EU Copyright Directive

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has rejected a legal challenge to Article 17 of Directive 2019/790 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. (Case C-401/19 Republic of Poland v. European Parliament and Council, ECLI:EU:C:2022:297.) The challenge was brought by the government of Poland. It argued that Article 17 of the Directive, which concerns the liability of online service providers for copyright-infringing content uploaded by users, infringed the rights to freedom of expression and information. The rights to freedom of expression and information are guaranteed in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

World IP Day 2022 Emphasizes Youth Contributions to IP

It is once again World IP Day, on which the global intellectual property (IP) community celebrates IP and innovation, as well as the day that the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) came into force (April 26, 1970). World IP Day was first observed in 2000 in an effort by WIPO to raise awareness of the importance IP plays in fostering innovation and creativity. This year, WIPO has chosen to focus on the theme of “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future,” spotlighting young entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe. There’s a youth video competition, a World IP Day Youth Gallery, and dozens of events taking place worldwide throughout the week.

Navigating Foreign Filing Requirements for Cross-Border Patent Inventions (Part I)

With the rapid development of communication technologies, the world is more connected than ever. As the academic communities are drawn closer, international research collaborations increase dramatically. Researchers and scientists from all over the world often come together to make new inventions….. Such global collaboration can result in exciting innovations for which the inventors or their employers often would like to seek patent protections. Due to the “global” nature of these inventions, it is only natural that the applicants desire to patent them in multiple countries to maximize the rights. However, while science and technology observe no national borders, patent protections and related regulations do.

German Decision Could Provide an Answer to AI Inventorship

Germany’s Federal Patent Court has set aside a decision by the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) that refused a patent application naming an artificial intelligence (AI) as the inventor. The decision was first rendered in November 2021 following oral argument, but the fully written opinion was only delivered March 31, and was published in German on the court’s homepage on April 19, 2022. The application was filed on October 17, 2019, and is titled “Food Container”. It named the applicant as Stephen L. Thaler and the inventor as “DABUS – The invention was autonomously generated by an artificial intelligence.”

DABUS Sent Back to Drawing Board Following Reversal of Inventorship Decision by Australia Court

On April 13, 2022, the Federal Court of Australia, on appeal, reversed its 2021 decision that DABUS, an artificial intelligence (AI) machine, qualified as an inventor for a patent application under Australian law. DABUS is a computer built, programmed and owned by Dr. Stephen Thaler. Thaler has filed patent applications in several countries around the world for inventions created by DABUS. Each application names DABUS as the sole inventor. Patent offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia determined that the applications were incomplete, since a human inventor was not identified. Thaler appealed each application in the patent offices, all of which continued to rule that an AI machine was not an inventor. On further appeals, courts in the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed with the patent offices and ruled against Thaler. However, in 2021, the Federal Court of Australia issued an opinion by a primary judge, who reversed the Australian Patent Office and held that Australia’s law did not require an inventor to be a natural person.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Expresses Support for New Bills Limiting Power to Waive TRIPS Rights

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday published a letter it sent to members of congress expressing strong support for both the “No Free TRIPS Act” and the “Protecting American Innovation Act.” According to the letter, if enacted, these bills “would prohibit the Administration from negotiating or concluding any modifications to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement, without the explicit authorization of Congress.” The Chamber is concerned about the potential impact of the proposed waiver of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccine technology. The letter comes after the European Union, United States, India and South Africa reached a compromise on language for waiver terms last month.

In Copyright Win for Ed Sheeran, UK High Court Says Differences Between ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Oh Why’ Outweigh Similarities

On April 6, the UK High Court issued a judgment of non-infringement in favor of artist Ed Sheeran over his 2017 song, “Shape of You.” The court held that Sheeran did not copy a part of Defendant Sami Chokri’s 2015 song called “Oh Why.” The ruling came nearly four years after co-writers Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue (collectively, Defendants) first accused Sheeran and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon (collectively, Plaintiffs) of deliberately and consciously copying from a part of “Oh Why.” Alternatively, the Defendants contended that he did so subconsciously.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reiterates Why Companies Must Rethink Their China IP Strategies

Every night for the last six weeks, the world has seen images and videos of the Russian military laying waste to Ukraine in what can only fairly be characterized as a medieval campaign of destruction. The Russian military has annihilated entire cities, targeted civilians, murdered women and children, and is preventing the American Red Cross from delivering food and medical supplies to civilians trapped and unable to escape. Nearly the entire world has condemned the atrocities committed during this unprovoked Russian war of aggression against its sovereign neighbor. China, who has entered into a no-limits cooperative agreement with Russia, is a notable exception.

European Patent Filings Reached Record Number in 2021; Huawei Largest Applicant

There were 188,600 European patent applications filed last year, an annual increase of 4.5%, according to figures published by the European Patent Office (EPO) on April 5. Despite the impact of the pandemic, applications increased to a record level following a slight decline in 2020. The United States was once again the top country for applicants, accounting for a total of 46,533 applications in 2021 (an increase of 5.2%) or 25% of all filings. It was followed by Germany and Japan, with China ranking fourth. Applications from China increased by 24% to 16,665 in 2021; they have quadrupled in the past decade. Other notable increases were from Sweden (up 12% to 4,954), Canada (up 18.4% to 2,083) and India (up 16.5% to 817).


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