Patent

CIFRA survey on ICT-related patents

Within the framework of the CIFRA project (Challenging the ICT Patent Framework for Responsible Innovation), a project within Horizon 2020 of the European Commission, a survey has been developed to collect the opinions and attitudes of stakeholders involved in or with the ICT sector towards the current patent regime. With this survey, the CIFRA Consortium, whose partners are Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (DE), Telefónica Investigación y Desarrollo SA (ES), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (IT) and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (ES), aims to review the issues and possible improvements related to the current framework for ICT patents to promote responsible innovation.

The deadline for answering the survey is the end of July.

To access the survey please click here.

For more information regarding the CIFRA project, you can visit the CIFRA project website here.

 

WIPO releases 2016 global statistics on IP filings

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published the statistics on international patent, trade mark and design applications in 2016. The numbers show that last year was a record year for international patent applications and reveals a strong demand for trade marks and designs.

In patents, 233,000 applications were filed in 2016 through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system. Germany is the only European country in the top-five patent applicants by taking the fourth place behind the USA, Japan and China. The second-best European country, France, holds the seventh position in the ranking.

In trade marks, 52,550 applications were filed under the Madrid System, meaning a 7.2% increase in comparison to 2015. The top applicants in this area are the USA, Germany, France, China and Switzerland. The European Union was the second most designated member after China.

In designs filed through the Hague System, the total number of applications were 18,716, this time dominated by the European countries Germany and Switzerland, then the Republic of Korea, the USA and the Netherlands. The European Union was the most designated member in the Hague System applications last year.

 

For more information regarding the WIPO statistics, please read the WIPO dedicated pages here together with the infographics.

Please check our fact sheet "Intellectual property relevance in internationalisation" for more information.

 

Index for the Guidelines on Examination regarding computer-implemented inventions is now online

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published an index of links to the sections of the Guidelines for Examination related to computer-implemented inventions (CIIs).
 
The EPO has announced that this index is not a separate or new publication about CIIs however; this collection of hyperlinks provides easy access to the relevant sections of the EPO’s Guidelines for Examination, which give instructions particularly useful for the search and examination of CIIs.
 
The published index together with further information regarding its use is available here.
 

European Commission report on software patentability

The European Commission (EC) has published a report on “The trends and current practices in the area of patentability of computer implemented inventions within the EU and the U.S.”, which aims at providing a deeper understanding of patent protection for software, in particular in relation to Cloud Computing, in the European Union as compared to the United States.

Further information and the full text of the report are available here

Standardisation and patents: two new EC studies

The European Commission has published two studies on the interplay between standardisation and patents. The first study focuses on issues and solutions related to standard essential patents (SEPs) and the standardisation process. The second study provides statistical evidence on the importance of SEPs on key technologies in Europe. The results of the studies will be used to assess the interplay between standardisation and patents in the EU Single Market.

Further information is available here.

 

The second monitoring report on Horizon 2020

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation has published the second monitoring report on the activities, results and impacts of the Horizon 2020 funding programme.

The report provides an assessment of the calls closed in 2015 along with the updated data for 2014 calls, as well as aggregation for both years. The study underlines the most important issues related to performance as measured by the key performance indicators, implementation aspects and participation trends.

From the intellectual property aspect, the report includes preliminary statistics related to output of projects, in particular publications, patent applications and patent grants, although many of the projects have not yet produced large numbers of publications and patents as they are still in their very early phases.

Nevertheless, as preliminary findings, the report shows that there are 1760 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 109 patent applications and 29 awarded patents, which can be attributed to Horizon 2020 so far.

To read the full report, please click here.

 

UK to proceed with the preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement

The UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville Rolfe, has confirmed that the UK will continue with preparations for ratification over the coming months to bring the Unified Patent Court (UPC) into operation as soon as possible. She further added that “as for as long as we are members of the EU, the UK will continue to play a full and active role”.

Under the new Unitary Patent regime, businesses will be able to protect and enforce their patent rights across the EU (within 26 Member countries: except Spain and Croatia) with a single patent and through a single patent court. However, ratification of the agreement on the UPC is an obligatory step for the Unitary Patent system to enter into force, and the UPC agreement will need to be ratified by at least 13 states, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom to become effective. 

Following the recent Referendum on BREXIT, there were discussions regarding the UK’s decision on this process since the UK has not ratified the agreement yet - together with Germany. With this current statement, it is confirmed that the UK continues to take the necessary steps for the ratification proceedings.

Please click here for further reading on this topic.

 

JRC study on Patent Assertion Entities in Europe

Patent assertion is known as enforcement of a patent providing effective patent monetisation options for the patent owners from licensing activities. It has become a common practice in shaping the balance between technology creation and technology dissemination. Especially for the ICT sector, the importance of this practice has given rise to new entities that enforce patents but do not utilise the patented technology, commonly referred to as patent assertion entities (PAEs).

This study provides an overview of patent assertion practices and of patent assertion entities in Europe, taking into consideration their impact on innovation and technology transfer in European ICT markets.

The main objectives of the current study are:

  • providing a description of the different assertion strategies used by PAEs operating in Europe,
  • assessing how PAEs affect innovation and technology transfer in ICT in Europe,
  • drawing policy implications (at national or EU levels) of how innovation in ICT in Europe can be enhanced.

This report was prepared in the context of the three-year research project on European Innovation Policies for the Digital Shift (EURIPIDIS) jointly launched in 2013 by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and DG CONNECT of the European Commission.

You may read the full report here.

 

Commission notice on certain articles of the Biotech Directive

The European Commission has recently adopted a notice clarifying certain articles of Directive 98/44 on the protection of biotechnical inventions. The Directive focuses on patenting in the biotech industry. The notice states that products created through essential biological processes should be excluded from patentability. Furthermore, it calls for more analysis of compulsory cross-licensing between plant variety rights and patenting. The Commission also expands on how the Directive ensures that there is enough fair access to patented material of biological origin. Although a Commission Notice is not legally binding, its aim is to provide more clarity on the issue for the biotech, plant and animal breeding sectors.

The full text of the notice is available here.

WIPO develops cutting-edge translation tool for patent documents

World Intellectual Property Organization’s WIPO Translate tool now incorporates a ground-breaking neural machine translation technology which allows the rendering of highly technical patent documents into a second language with high level accuracy.

WIPO has initially “trained” the new technology to translate Chinese, Japanese and Korean patent documents into English covering some 55% of worldwide filings in 2014. Users can already try out the Chinese-English translation facility on the public beta test platform.WIPO is planning to extend the neural machine translation service to French-language patent applications, with other languages to follow.

Chinese-English translation is the result of the training of the neural machine translation tool, which compared 60 million sentences from Chinese patent documents provided to WIPO’s PATENTSCOPE database, which provides access to international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications in full text format as well as to patent documents of participating national and regional patent offices. The database contains some 58 million records.

More information about this new translation tool is available here.