In 2011, an Advisory Committee (AC) was instructed by the Hong Kong Government to conduct a review of the Hong Kong Patent System. On 7 February 2013, the AC issued its formal Report (209 pages long) recommending various changes to the system which will affect not only Patentees, but the entire Patent profession in Hong Kong. In general, the AC’s Report recommends three changes which can be described as being quite bold in some areas, whilst at the same time, being conservative as the changes permit much of the existing system to be retained.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publishes a yearly report of the worldwide intellectual property filings. World Intellectual Property Indicators 2012 estimates draw from approximately 133 Patent offices, and include direct national and regional applications and those received through the Hague system of international registration.
At a meeting convened in October 2012, experts from the Tegernsee Group offices were tasked to collaboratively develop a joint questionnaire to aid in the acquisition and analysis of stakeholder views across jurisdictions on four issues of particular interest to harmonization of substantive patent law: grace period, publication of applications, treatment of conflicting applications, and prior user rights. It is expected that each patent office will separately administer the joint questionnaire to its respective stakeholders.
But this article is less concerned with actual imperialism, and more with cultural imperialism –particularly the “invasion” of this country by that once all-American, but now global, fast-food chain known variously in its land of origin as McDonald’s, the Golden Arches and Mickey-D’s. Here in Australia, however, McDonald’s most prevalent nickname is “Macca’s”. A recent branding survey commissioned by McDonald’s Australia found that 55 per cent of Australians refer to the company by its local slang name. But the temporary Macca’s rebranding also raises some interesting trademark issues.
I don’t believe the federal government needs to coordinate a program or embark upon studies by some blue-ribbon panel. What the federal government needs is to institute a meaningful and coherent National Manufacturing Policy that offers tax incentives to manufacturers in the U.S. The federal government also needs to substantially lessen regulatory burdens. Through simple legislative reforms America could be made to be extremely competitive. Factor in that U.S. workers are dedicated and produce high-quality products, that the products don’t need to be shipped across the world to distribute and that civil unrest is extraordinarily unlikely in the U.S., and it is easy to envision a future where manufacturing returns to America to some appreciable degree.
Recently the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, denied Nokia’s petition for rehearing. The Federal Circuit decision is nevertheless interesting for its treatment of Section 337’s “domestic industry” requirement as it is applied to NPEs. Under 19 U.S.C. §1337(a)(2), relief at the Commission is predicated on the existence or establishment of an industry in the United States “relating to the articles protected by the patent.” This is commonly known as the “domestic industry” requirement. In turn, section 1337(a)(3) provides that an industry is considered to exist if there is in the United States, “with respect to the articles protected by the patent,” significant investment in plant or equipment, significant employment of labor or capital, or “substantial investment in [the patent’s] exploitation, including engineering, research and development, or licensing” (emphasis added).
An ambitious harmonization effort, CPC is the product of a joint partnership between the USPTO and the EPO to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents used in the patent granting process that incorporates the best classification practices from both offices. It will be used by the USPTO and more than 45 patent offices – a user community totaling more than 20,000 patent examiners – all sharing the same classifications helping to establish the CPC as an international standard.
Many countries came to the WCIT to genuinely solve problems with access, infrastructure, security issues related to phishing and other challenges. And some countries wanted to maintain a close relationship with the ITU in hopes they would support the telecommunications infrastructure in their less developed countries, such as Africa. In fact, most African countries signed the treaty, except for Kenya. But it would be incorrect, I believe, to think their motivations included a desire for greater control over the Internet.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the launch of a permanent Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO). The permanent PPH program, which started on September 1, 2012, will continue to permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, which reduces the examination workload and improves patent quality.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed the constructive spirit of engagement among member states and the decision to convene a diplomatic conference in 2013 to agree on the provisions of an international treaty. “Member states took an important decision today in our collective efforts to facilitate access to copyrighted works by the visually impaired and persons with print disabilities” Mr. Gurry said. He added “The future treaty will improve access to published works for millions around the world.” The Director General thanked Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Omar Hilale, for his country’s generous offer to host the diplomatic conference.
The Supreme Court of Canada rendered a decision on November 8, 2012 effectively canceling Viagra® Canadian patent a year and a half before its natural expiration date. This ends Pfizer’s exclusivity on the blockbuster erectile disfunction drug and opens the market up to generics. While certainly a press- worthy event, this decision does not change the Canadian patent landscape – but rather reinforces it.
This case started back in 2006, when the newspaper publishers took Google to court, stating that the popular search engine was infringing on their copyright. They had been trying to get Google to compensate them for using their online content, claiming that as more and more readers turned to the Internet to get their news, less and less readers were utilizing their printed versions. Under the new agreement, Google will team up with the Rossel Group, a major media group in Brussels that owns some of the top newspapers such as Le Soir and L’Echo; and the IPM Group which puts out publications L’Avenir and La Libre Belgique.
The European patent with unitary effect (unitary patent) in the 25 participating states is based on two regulations, one creating the instrument, and one on the applicable language regime for the new patent. The EPO has been entrusted by 25 EU member states to deliver and administer unitary patents. The third element of the package is the creation of a unified patent litigation system set up under an international convention establishing the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a specialised court with a first and an appeal instance with exclusive jurisdiction concerning infringement and validity questions related to unitary patents. The positive vote in the Parliament became possible after the EU member states endorsed the regulations in their Competitiveness Council meeting on Monday. The unitary patent now has to be formally adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament, which is expected soon.
Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) announced earlier today that Chinese courts have sentenced 18 individuals to a total of more than 46 years in prison for producing and selling counterfeit Crocs goods. Seventeen individuals were convicted of counterfeiting, and two of the 17 also were convicted of offering bribes. Another individual also was convicted on bribery charges in connection with production of counterfeit Crocs™ shoes. In addition to prison sentences, the above men together face fines totaling RMB 2,832,500 (approximately $450,896).
Scientifically speaking, there is really very little time the point in time that work in a university laboratory is concrete enough to call “an invention” and capable of description in a patent application until the 30-month deadline to pursue rights in various countries around the world. What that means is that universities are constantly faced with a difficult decision. Do they undertake the expense of seeking patent protection in a variety of locations or do they forego the invention? This decision is particularly problematic for universities engaged in the life sciences where there is of necessity a very long time horizon from conception of the invention to even knowing whether there is a legitimate opportunity for commercialization.