Posts in International

Trends in Protection on the Edge of the World: News From the Land of the Long White Cloud

In New Zealand, patents (equivalent to utility patents in the USA), registered designs (viz. US design patent) and trademarks are subject to normal substantive examination processes. Fortunately, due to smaller backlogs and a less bureaucratic system, overseas applications filed into NZ are often examined within a year of filing. Accelerated examination may also be requested with no official fee where applicants need a quicker indication as to the validity of their rights. Further, if you have a corresponding patent right granted in another major patent office, the NZ process can be accelerated assuming the NZ claims are similar to that in the corresponding right.

Intellectual Property from the Land Down Under, 2010 Part 2

The gene patents issue had been simmering in Australia for some time, with a Senate Enquiry into the subject having been underway for over a year, but with the Myriad decision in the US, and the Australian litigation, it exploded into the headlines. Within the space of a few months, gene patents became the subject of numerous news articles and opinion pieces (including one by the former leader of the Opposition, and current Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull), and a major report on the Australian national broadcaster’s flagship current affairs program Four Corners. Almost all of this coverage was generally critical of ‘gene patents’, without ever providing a satisfactory definition of the term.

Intellectual Property from the Land Down Under, 2010 Part 1

While 2010 was quite an eventful year for IP in Australia and New Zealand, this still does not equate to dozens of potential stories to pick from, given the relatively small populations involved. So in the end it was not hard to come up with a “top eight.” As for my selection criteria, I have simply chosen those cases, events and themes that seemed significant to me from a professional perspective, or that captured the attention – and even the imagination – of the broader public.

Wine & Spirits Industry Fight Chinese Counterfeiting

It is unfortunate for businesses, but China is becoming practically synonymous with intellectual property theft, piracy and counterfeiting. On top of that, many technology companies are learning that doing licensing deals with the Chinese means they turn over the technologies and as soon as the Chinese corporation is capable of employing the technology the sever the relationship and then compete against American companies with American technology, they just don’t have to recoup the research and development costs and they have a cheap labor force.

Trilateral Offices Make Significant Advances in Work Sharing

Building on more than a quarter century of cooperation, the Trilateral Offices continued to focus on addressing global patent workload challenges, in particular, decreasing pendency and examination backlogs, improving patent quality, and leveraging IT solutions to simplify and speed up processing of patent applications.

Negotiations Over Single EU Patent End Without Agreement

Unfortunately for those who support a single European patent, negotiations broke down on Wednesday evening and the status quo will remain. According to the Financial Times the sticking point was with respect to languages that patents would be translated into, with Span and to a lesser extent Italy being unhappy with the prominence of English, French and German.

USPTO and EPO Work on Joint Patent Classification System

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have agreed to work toward the formation of a joint patent classification system. Unlike other major patent document classification systems, the U.S. patent classification system is not based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system because it predates the IPC. One of the goals of the partnership is to align the U.S. and the EPO classification systems with the IPC, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The jointly developed classification system will be more detailed than the IPC to improve patent searching. As a result, the two offices would move closer to eliminating the unnecessary duplication of work between the two offices, thus promoting more efficient examinations, while also enhancing patent examination quality.

USPTO and Russia Begin Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot

The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks of the Russian Federation (ROSPATENT) have agreed to partner in establishing a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program.

United States Risks Losing Global Leadership in Nanotech

For now we can be thankful that the U.S. enjoys dominance in an important and growing field like nanotechnology. Even though China does not receive high marks yet, it seems only a matter of time before the Chinese figure out what we in the United States, most in Western Europe and many in Asia have know for a very long time. Significant investment in technology and the creation of a business friendly climate lead to businesses locating, investors investing and high-paying technology jobs being created. Of course, there is also the national security angle to consider as well. So not only are we allowing other nations to catch up to us from a technology and business standpoint, we are allowing other countries to catch up to us from a military technology standpoint, which is concerning.

David Kappos: A View from Europe

USPTO Director David Kappos made one of his rare excursions outside of the US at the end of June when he flew to Munich to take part in the IP Business Congress, organised by IAM – the magazine which I edit. Speaking to 450 delegates, many of them heads of IP at large corporations and SMEs, Kappos was clear that he has a major task in getting the USPTO fit for purpose and able to meet the myriad challenges it faces. I also discussed many of these with him in an interview we recorded at the congress.

Intellectual Property News from Eastern Europe

At the start of the new year I pledged that I would start to try and expand the scope of IPWatchdog.com to touch upon intellectual property matters outside the United States. In part this means trying to add an international flavor where appropriate, which is certainly always possible in part through discussion of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In another facet it means profiling interesting stories relating to foreign intellectual property laws.

USPTO Signs PPH Deal With China; USPTO Eliminates PPH Fee

On May 19, 2010, USPTO Director David Kappos and China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Commissioner Tian Lipu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on comprehensive bilateral cooperation on patents. The signing took place during a signing ceremony held at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. Second, in a separate and seemingly unrelated item, the USPTO also announced today that it would eliminate the fee for the petition to participate in Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programs. The elimination of the PPH petition fee is expected to encourage greater PPH participation by patent applicants. The good news is that yet more is being done to address the backlog and pendency. But I am still hoping for a plan aimed straight at independent inventors and start-up businesses here in the U.S.

An Exclusive Interview with Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General

Yesterday I had the honor of spending 30 minutes interviewing Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Director General spoke substantively about issues facing the Patent Offices of the world, as well as some possible solutions. Gurry also discusses harmonization attempts, work-sharing agreements and the crushing worldwide backlog of patent applications that could lead to irrelevance of the system. As you read the interview you will also see that he thinks it is possible that the rest of the world will adopt a US-like grace period.

US Trade Representative Issues Annual Report on Global IP Rights

For 2010 the US Trade Representative reviewed 77 trading partners for this year’s Special 301 Report, and placed 41 countries on either the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or the Section 306 monitoring list. The Priority Watch List for 2010 names the following countries:China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela.

WIPO Turns 40! Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

How is it possible that a calendar that tells me that January 2 is a bank holiday in the UK, that February 6 is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, that March 13 is Eight Hours Day in Australia, and that July 12 is Battle of the Boyne Day in Northern Ireland, could possibly forget to mention that April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day! After all, World Intellectual Property Day is one of those global holidays celebrated all around the world, right? It is sort of universal, almost like Christmas and New Years Eve, although with substantially less hoopla. But not too much less hoopla this year given that today marks the 10th Anniversary, or birthday if you prefer, of World Intellectual Property Day.


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