Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Bruno Ferrari deposited his country’s instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on November 19, 2012, bringing the total number of members of the international trademark system to 89. The treaty will enter into force with respect to Mexico on February 19, 2013. The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid system) offers trademark owners a cost effective, user friendly and streamlined means of protecting and managing their trademark portfolio internationally.
These IP5 Offices together handle approximately 80% of the world’s patent applications. The IP5 began meeting in 2007 and have since worked together to explore ways to further optimize their joint efforts to improve quality and efficiency of the examination process and to explore and optimize work sharing opportunities between the Offices.
One year after its launch, WIPO Re:Search has doubled its membership and resulted in ten research collaborations or agreements. WIPO Re:Search is a consortium where public and private sector organizations share valuable intellectual property (IP) and expertise with the global health research community to promote development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to treat neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis It is administered by WIPO, in partnership with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), a non-governmental organization based in San Francisco, California.
Translating patents isn’t like translating press releases or whitepapers. These materials can be reworded, adjusted, modified, and reformatted to accommodate linguistic nuances. Patents, however, require very specialized and precise technical and legal language. In addition, every patent’s style, structure, and formatting must adhere to the particular rules of the patent office where it is being filed. Patent translation demands a level of expertise and experience that is beyond the ability of many translation providers.
Pierre Favre, an examiner from the European Patent Office who is one of 18 examiners working in the area of solar cell technology, and Tina Heuter, an artist from Berlin, Germany, worked together for many years to create a representation of both the skilled person and the inventor.
The WIPO Assemblies, which met from October 1-9, 2012, took stock of the Organization’s substantive work over the last year, and provided direction for the future work program. At the closing of the Assemblies, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed the “extremely constructive engagement of member states” in the work of the Organization as demonstrated in the decisions taken by the Assemblies. He underlined the progress made by member states in setting timetables for concluding negotiations on international instruments on access to copyrighted work by the visually impaired, design law and intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the October 1, 2012 launch of a new Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the patent office of the Czech Republic, and the planned launch of two additional PPHs with the patent offices of the Philippines and Portugal in January 2013. The expedited examination in each office will allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country.
The good news is that signal claims and broad claims to computer program products are obtainable in Europe. However, such claims are only grantable if the necessary language is present in the European application or the International application as filed, otherwise objection will arise under a.123(2) EPC. Further, the EPO rules on priority are strict, and if the necessary language is missing from the US provisional or utility application from which priority is claimed, then signal or unrestricted computer program product claims will not benefit from priority. It is at the time of US filing that the necessary language must be introduced, and in particular entry into the European regional phase is too late.
Though they are unlikely to take center stage during the truncated session before elections or the post-election lame duck session, lawmakers will have to contend with several key copyright issues during the 113th Congress. Thus, no matter who wins on November 6, IP leaders in the House and Senate are likely to use the remainder of this calendar year to set the stage for next year’s copyright agenda. The priority copyright issues for the remainder of 2012 and 2013 are: (1) Anti Piracy Initiatives; (2) Internet Issues; (3) International Agreements; (4) Music Licensing; (5) Book Licensing; and (6) TV Broadcast Issues. Each is discussed more fully below.
Implementation of the Hague Treaty will also bring some welcome changes to U.S. patent law — for example, the term of design patents will extend to 15 rather than 14 years from the patent’s issue date. The exception to this will be international applications filed under the Hague Treaty, which will have a 15-year term, but that term will run from the filing date, rather than the issue date. This change will make the term more like that of utility patents, where prosecution delays count against the term of a patent stemming from an International application.
As readers will no doubt be aware, Australia is one of the jurisdictions in which Apple is currently pursuing litigation against its Android-based smartphone and tablet competitors. The claims and counter-claims by Apple and Samsung are the subject of a trial in the Australian Federal Court in Sydney which has now been extended into the first months of 2013. According to reports, as many as 22 Apple patents have been asserted against Samsung, although it is as yet unclear how many of these will actually be pressed at trial. A number of the asserted patents are innovation patents. An ‘innovation patent’, is in many respects unique to Australia. An innovation patent provides a ‘second tier’ right, with a lower barrier to validity than the conventional inventive step test, and a shorter maximum term of protection of just eight years.
For the international community, however, there is an important change slated for September 16, 2012. The AIA will changewho is entitled to be an applicant in U.S. national applications. This change will impact applicants who have filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The change removes the requirement that the inventors be named as applicants solely for the purposes of U.S. designation.
Because 35 U.S.C. 122 prohibits the USPTO from providing information about an as-yet unpublished application to a third party without the applicant’s consent, timely delivery of pre-publication search results requires applicant cooperation in providing the USPTO with the proper consent to release the search result information to the EPO. Failure of applicants to provide the USPTO with the required consent will prevent the USPTO from delivering the search results in a timely fashion and could result in EPO rescinding the exemption, which would require all U.S. applicants to provide the search result information to the EPO at their own time and expense.
Earlier today, WIPO issued a press release, allegedly as the result of “recent media attention and requests for information” relating to what WIPO is and does, and exactly what happened regarding the computer deals that seem to quite clearly violate UN sanctions. Despite the belief of WIPO that the computer deals did not violate UN sanctions, the agency has implemented safe guards relative to their technical assistance program. There will be better coordination between UN organizations and committees to review deals that could potentially tread on UN sanctions.
WIPO is under fire again. It seems that WIPO not only shipped computers to North Korea, but also shipped computers to Iran as well. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) called this latest WIPO transgression “an outrage.” At a hearing where Deputy USPTO Director Teresa Rea was a witness, Lofgren went on: “Really, it’s an outrage that WIPO would be transferring material, violating the sanctions that we have to North Korea and Iran… I mean it’s basically, it’s funded by U.S. inventors.”