• EPO Launches New Platform to Help Researchers in the Fight Against Coronavirus
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has published a new, expanding “Fighting coronavirus” platform designed to help researchers and decision-makers benefit from patent information in their fight against the new coronavirus. The first data sets released on this platform concerns antiviral vaccines and pharmaceutical therapeutics, with more resources to be released in the coming weeks covering, for example, diagnostics and medical technologies and devices. EPO patent examiners and analysts who are experts in these technologies have created a variety of search statements to help scientists and decision-makers identify the most relevant documents and innovations in these technical fields. These search strategies are especially suited to run on the EPO’s free to use online patent search interface: Espacenet. This public database contains more than 120 million documents from more than 100 intellectual property authorities around the world. For applicants who require a fast track patent procedure, regardless of the technology they are developing, the EPO offers accelerated prosecution of European patent applications.

  • European Patent Office Annual Review
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    The number of new patent applications reached an all-time high in 2019, according to the European Patent Office (EPO). 181,406 applications were registered in 2019, which is an increase of 4.0% over the previous year. In addition, 421,250 search, examination and opposition products were performed by patent examiners and 137,787 European patents were published (+8% increase to 2018). “All of the achievements of 2019 have helped to make sure the European patent system serves European innovators and society, and is attractive also to other regions. And, importantly, these changes set us up to face the challenges of 2020 – and  to face them successfully, with quicker decision making, more agile and collaborative structures, and digital preparations that have enabled our staff to work from home” said EPO President António Campinos. This is the first review that was influenced by the new Strategic Plan (SP2023) launched in June 2019.  Major progress has been made for all 5 goals of the SP2023 in 2019, according to António Campinos: “This Annual Review reports on those initial achievements, driven by the surge of energy, creativity and engagement nurtured by SP2023. The report forms an essential pillar of our transparency and openness as we progress towards achieving our goals.”

  • Trademarks: The Face of Your Business
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    Trademarks might be one of the best-known Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). From a consumer perspective, consciously or  unconsciously, we are all drawn by our favourite brands and the values associated with it. From a business perspective, your trademark is the face of your business. A trademark allows customers to distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors, giving your SME the possibility to improve the marketing of its goods/services. Trademarks are also seen as a guarantee of consistent quality. Indeed, if customers had a great experience with your service or enjoyed the quality of the products they purchased, they will be loyal to you and continue to purchase based on the quality expectations. As you can see, even in the absence of other IPRs, a solid trademark strategy can help business owners shape a distinctive and strong company image on the market. Therefore, you should take great care in choosing and designing an appropriate trademark, protecting it, use it diligently in advertising, and monitoring the market for any potential infringement.

  • European Innovation Scoreboard 2020: EU’s Innovation is Increasing
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    Earlier this week, the European Commission released the European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, which shows that Europe’s innovation performance continues to improve across the EU, for the second year surpassing the United States. However, more needs to be done to catch up with global innovation leaders like South Korea, Australia and Japan. The results, which cover data from 2019, highlight the opportunities to better coordinate EU innovation policies, help Europe improve its global competitiveness and strengthen the key role innovation plays in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “This year’s scoreboard shows that the EU is already a good place to do innovation, but we need to further step up efforts across the EU to find global solutions to contain the virus, and at the same time, help Europe’s recovery from the crisis. More than ever, innovation is important since it lies at the heart of our efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic.” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The EU is leading the way out of the coronavirus crisis by intensifying its support to research efforts and bringing together diverse players of the innovation ecosystems, from both the public and private sector, that can transform new ideas into reality and improve the life of citizens. Post-Covid EU will be stronger and more united than ever before leveraging its creativity and innovation performance as this year’s Scoreboard highlights”.

  • Study on the IP Implications of Industrial 3D Printing
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    This European Commission study analyses the IP implications of the development of industrial 3D printing clarifying how the existing IP framework brings protection to IP rights holders. It identifies potential challenges and how they can be removed and opportunities in need of clarification in order to aid the competitiveness of the AM sector in Europe. The focus is on seven industrial applications of AM: health, aerospace, automotive, consumer goods/electronics, energy, industrial equipment and tooling and construction and building sectors.   The report identifies the pertinent IP considerations according to different elements in the 3D printing process, i.e. designing a CAD file, using and sharing a CAD file, printing the CAD file, distributing the printed good and finally, licensing it.  

  • COVID-19 Crisis: EUIPO is Looking for IP Pro Bono Providers
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    The COVID-19 crisis has had a severe impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union, threatening massive job losses and closures. In the light of these challenges, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has launched a new support service: The EUIPO COVID-19 pro bono hub offers a tailor-made service to match SMEs to providers of free-of-charge intellectual property (IP) legal representation and advice throughout the EU during this unprecedented period. The service focuses on the needs of small businesses, ensuring that they get the IP-related legal advice they need to protect and maximise their rights, and the proper professional representation to defend those rights when challenged. Businesses will be able to obtain practical guidance on how to handle their IP legal matters, which will help them refocus their attention on overcoming the competitive and economic challenges caused by the pandemic. Want to join? See the Call for Expressions of Interest (CEI) and Application form.

  • Special Issue of “les Nouvelles” Highlights Strategic Use of IP for SMEs
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    The Licensing Executive Society International (LESI) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have teamed up for a special issue of “les Nouvelles” – the journal of the LESI – shedding light on the strategic use of IP by high-growth technology businesses for commercialization of their innovations and technologies.   “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key users of the European IP system, creating new technologies, jobs and growth. This special issue of les Nouvelles demonstrates how SMEs are using patents and other IPRs to commercialize their inventions with increasingly innovative IP strategies”, says António Campinos, President, European Patent Office, in the foreword of the publication. And Audrey Yap, President, LES International, adds: “In times of crisis, innovation is more important than before, as new solutions will be needed to solve the problems the world faces. Many of these innovations are created by SMEs. It is therefore important to ensure that SMEs understand how to use intellectual property to facilitate commercialization of often essential technologies and innovations, and to attract partners and investment to scale up their businesses rapidly.” While “les Nouvelles” is usually accessible to LES members only, this special edition is being made available to the public in full. You may download the PDF here.

  • Joint Europol/EUIPO Poly-Criminality Report
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    New report on the interconnection between IPR crime and other types of serious crimes: On 10 June 2020, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Europol have published a joint report on how IP crime supports the activities of organised criminal gangs. It adds to the growing evidence that counterfeit goods are an attack against society requiring an international response and demonstrates the interconnection between IPR crime and other types of serious crimes. The case studies presented in the report illustrate how a wide range of different crimes are linked to intellectual property crime, including pharmaceutical crime, drug trafficking, manslaughter, illegal arms possession, forced labour, food fraud, excise duty fraud, VAT fraud, corruption and money laundering. IP crime is often seen as ‘victimless’ crime, causing relatively ‘little’ harm. However, in addition to causing harm to the economy in general and to companies owning IP (including small and medium sized businesses), in many cases IP crime is committed by organised crime groups and can cause damage to the health and well-being of consumers, the environment and society. The poly-criminality study can be found here. All documents linked to the Spring Campaign in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy can be found here.  All other Observatory publications can be found here.

  • IP4Teen – IP Basics for Teenagers
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    IP4Teen is a project supported by the EUIPO, that seeks to raise awareness among European teenagers about the value of intellectual property as well as about the risks associated to piracy and the purchase of counterfeits.  To this end, the IP4Teen website makes available for free various online resources – including case studies, clicking games and interactive videos – aimed at sensitising teenagers to the issue of piracy and counterfeiting.   All contents focus on topics of particular interest to teenagers, such as fashion, social media or online video streaming and are available for download.

  • 4 Reasons 4 Design Rights: New Interactive Guide for SMEs
    on 13 July 2020 at 22:46

    Design rights are exclusive rights that protect the appearance of a product, or a part of it, provided it is new and has individual character that sets it apart from any pre-existing designs that could be known about (however old). Businesses register designs to strengthen their competitive advantage, prevent work from being copied and build assets for value creation. This means that the absence of design protection can be detrimental on those dimensions. Launching 4 Reasons 4 Design Rights today, 4iP Council provides yet another interactive web guide created to help innovative European businesses, especially SMEs, to understand the strategic value of intellectual property. The fourth and final element in a series of guides shines a light on four key benefits of using design rights: exclusivity, commercialisation, reputation and value, and breaks these down simply into methods for value-creation with clickable case studies, orientation links, examples and facts. As for the previous guides on patents, copyright and trademarks, the European IP Helpdesk alongside other cooperation partners has contributed to the content of this concise, fun and “hands-on” publication. Additional useful material next to special SME Features can be found in the “4SMEs” section of the 4iP Council website. Moreover, the team of the popular IP Blog IPKat have taken a look at the guide and share their views in this brand new post. About 4iP Council4iP Council is a European research council dedicated to developing high quality academic insight and empirical evidence on topics related to intellectual property and innovation. Follow 4iP Council on Twitter at @4ipcouncil.