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.


European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (23)

We are pleased to inform you that Issue 23 of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been published and is now available online.

This Bulletin issue is largely dedicated to patents as competitive tools providing exclusive rights that may be crucial also for SMEs to prosper in a challenging, risky and dynamic business climate.

An article from WIPO explains the different routes to patent protection and highlights the value of patents for businesses.

This issue also outlines the point of view of a German SME regarding patents with an interview revealing how it makes use of effective patent strategies based on real experiences.

Our interview with Prof. Dr. Güven Yalçıntaş illustrates the crucial role of IP commercialisation for companies and universities.

As always, the Bulletin reports information about past IPR events together with some fresh news on the Helpline service. In addition, it contains the usual patent quiz.

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Nominate outstanding inventors for the European Inventor Award by 12 October

The 11th annual European Inventor Award, organised by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Lisbon last June, was a wonderful celebration of innovation. This short film summarises the emotion of the trophy ceremony and the purpose of the Award. The 12th edition of the Award will be held in Venice next June.

The fifteen finalists are excellent ambassadors not just for innovation but for the patent system as a whole. In each of their films they explain their inventions as well as the benefits to society and the economy, frequently mentioning the role patents play in their business models. The Award reflects well on the patent system and IP profession as a whole, and particularly on those working with inventors to monetise or enforce their patents.

Therefore we encourage you to consider which of the inventors you know might meet the EPO’s high criteria for developing inventions of great social and/or economic benefit, and which have been granted European patents (at least one still in force). The application procedure is simple and can be made online. With competition fierce (over 400 proposals last year for just 15 places!) we would suggest you submit suggestions before the 12 October deadline.


Two updated training modules from the European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) has updated two modules in its e-learning centre on “patentability of computer-implemented inventions” and “biotechnological inventions”.

The new modules have been restructured according to the recent developments in both areas and with respect to the current EPO practices.

With this latest update, the module on “patentability of computer-implemented inventions” covers patentable and non-patentable subject-matter and examination of such inventions together with case law examples.

The module on “biotechnological inventions” focuses on specific patentability criteria of biotechnological inventions.

Please click here to access the EPO’s extensive collection of e-learning modules ranging from patents searching to IP in business.


European Inventor Award 2017

Nominations for the European Inventor Award 2017 are now open. The Award recognises outstanding inventors from around the world, from all technical fields and backgrounds.

People from industry, research institutes, IP associations and universities, as well as the general public, are all welcome to nominate an inventor for the European Inventor Award.

The deadline for submissions is 12 October 2016.

Further information is available here.


Exceptional inventors have received European Inventor Award 2016

The European Patent Office (EPO) has presented the European Inventor Award 2016, a cerimony awarding each year outstanding inventors from Europe and around the world, who have made an exceptional contribution to social development, technological progress and economic growth.

Disocever who won by clicking here.


European Patent Office survey report on patent filings

Annually, the European Patent Office (EPO) launches a survey for medium term estimation of patent filing figures, not only for forecasting the number of applications but also to uncover the processes that lead to a patent application and to collect information about the economic trends.

The recently announced 2015 survey report reveals that nearly 300,000 patent filings are expected at the EPO in 2016, although a slight decrease in 2017 is expected. Another interesting estimation drawn by the survey was that 56% of EPO applicants are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The 2016 survey takes place from May to September 2016.

Read the full report on the 2015 survey here