• German Bundestag Approves Ratification Bill on the Unified Patent Court Agreement
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    On 26 November 2020, the German Bundestag adopted with the necessary qualified majority the draft ratification bill including the consent to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). The European Patent Office (EPO) is ready to register the first Unitary Patents. For Unitary Patents to become available, the UPCA has to enter into force which requires the ratification by 13 of the 25 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and Italy. In Germany, the UPC bill will now be submitted to the German upper house (Bundesrat) for approval later this year. Once the German ratification procedure is complete, it’s anticipated that the final preparatory steps could be taken to set up the Unitary Patent Court in 2021. The UPC could then start its work in 2022. The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are the building blocks of the so-called Unitary Patent package which will supplement and strengthen the existing centralised European patent granting system. They will offer users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. Unitary Patents will make it possible to get uniform patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO, making the procedure simpler and more cost effective for applicants. The UPC will be an international court with jurisdiction for patents granted by the EPO. This specialised court will make the Europe-wide enforcement of patents a reality, offer greater legal certainty and reduce litigation costs. The Court is based on an international treaty, the UPCA.

  • GIview: New EUIPO Search Database for Geographical Indications
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    Today, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has launched GIview, a new search database for all geographical indications (GIs) protected at European Union level. GIview provides a single entry point for data on GIs registered in the EU, and is a useful asset for consumers, producers and intellectual property professionals. It also contains detailed information on non-EU GIs protected at EU level through bilateral and multilateral agreements, and on EU GIs protected in non-EU countries. The database, officially launched at the online conference ‘Strengthening GIs,’ is continually updated with official registered data from the European Commission (Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development) and is developed and maintained by the EUIPO. Geographical indications are a key economic asset for the European Union, and form part of the EU-wide system of intellectual property rights. According to research by the EUIPO and the European Patent Office, industries intensive in GI rights support nearly 400 000 jobs across the EU, and contribute over €20 billion to the EU’s GDP. Additionally, a study published by the European Commission puts the yearly sales value of GI-protected products at €74.76 billion annually, a fifth of which results from exports outside the EU.

  • European Commission: Action Plan on Intellectual Property
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    Today, the Commission published a new Action Plan on Intellectual Property to help companies, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), to make the most of their inventions and creations and ensure they can benefit our economy and society. IP is a key driver for economic growth as it helps companies to valorise their intangible assets. The Action Plan aims at enabling the European creative and innovative industry to remain a global leader and at speeding up Europe’s green and digital transitions. In particular, the Action Plan sets out key steps to improve the protection of IP; to boost the uptake of IP by SMEs; to facilitate the sharing of IP to increase the technological uptake in the industry; to fight counterfeiting and improve the enforcement of IP rights; and to promote a global level playing field. The coronavirus crisis has also highlighted certain dependencies on critical innovation and technologies so the Action Plan addresses these challenges while making sure that critical IP can be made available in time of crisis. Intangible assets such as brands, designs, patents and data are increasingly important in today’s knowledge economy. IP-intensive industries account for 45% of all GDP and 93% of all EU exports, while the added value of IP is growing across most European industrial ecosystems. Globally, IP filings are on the rise, as intangible assets play an increasing role in the global race for technological leadership. The Action Plan builds on the strengths of the European IP framework to ensure that it supports our economic recovery and resilience in key economic areas.  

  • New EPO Study: European Patents Preferred Commercialisation Tool
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    A new study published by the European Patent Office (EPO) today, 24 November 2020, shows that European universities and public research organisations use European patents as the main instrument to exploit their inventions commercially. It finds that these institutions already exploit more than a third (36%) of their inventions, with another 42% of their inventions planned to be exploited. The study, entitled “Valorisation of scientific results – Patent commercialisation scoreboard: European universities and public research organisations”, further finds that licensing is by far the preferred channel of commercialisation (accounting for 70% of the commercialisation of inventions), followed by R&D co-operation (14%) and the sale of patents (9%). The data collated by the EPO also provides a profile of the entities universities and public research institutions opt to partner with for the purpose of commercialisation. According to the report, these include SMEs and large companies in almost equal measure (around 40% each), and most of the successful collaborations (74%) are concluded with partners from the same country. However, the report also shows that institutions in southern and eastern European countries do not have such local partners to the same extent, and therefore more frequently seek to find commercialisation partners in other European countries.

  • IP Understanding is Improving: New IP Perception Study by EUIPO
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    EU citizens have a more positive attitude towards IP rights now than they did a few years ago. These are the findings of a new study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which concluded that there is, in general, a better understanding of intellectual property, a wider support for the work of artists and creators, and a lower tendency to buy counterfeits, download and stream illegal content. For the EU-wide study on the perceptions of intellectual property (IP) among European citizens, a total of 25 636 interviews were conducted with EU residents aged 15 and above. “Our latest study shows that the more people understand intellectual property, the less likely they are to infringe it. This is a powerful message for policymakers and shows the importance of raising awareness of the value of IP at citizen level”, said Executive Director Christian Archambeau. The 2020 IP Perception study aims to gather knowledge on Europeans’ attitudes towards IP, the degree to which they respect these rights, and the concept that they have of IP as a whole. This is the 3rd edition of this study and shows a gradual and encouraging change in understanding and attitudes following the previous EUIPO surveys conducted in2013 and 2017.

  • Future EU IP Policy: Council Adopts Conclusions
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    The Council of the European Union has adopted a set of conclusions on key elements of a future EU intellectual property policy. These conclusions should be seen as the Council’s input to ongoing work within the Commission on an EU intellectual property action plan, expected to be presented shortly. In these conclusions, the Council stresses the importance of a strong, efficient, transparent and balanced system of IP protection and the need for a coherent overall strategy to ensure both protection of – and fair access to – innovation. As regards the non-patentability of plant or animal products exclusively obtained by means of essentially biological processes, the Council welcomes recent developments within the framework of the European Patent Organisation. The Council also recognises the need to strengthen Geographical Indications protection systems in the EU. It stands ready to consider a system of sui generis protection of non-agricultural products on the basis of a thorough impact assessment of its potential costs and benefits. The Commission is encouraged to undertake a number of concrete actions in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, including further involving online platforms and other hosting providers.

  • New WIPO Patent Information Tool for Innovators
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has expanded its suite of online services with an online platform providing free access to comprehensive, unbiased, and structured reports on many patent databases. WIPO INSPIRE (Index of Specialized Patent Information Reports) will help a range of stakeholders in searching the myriad of patent databases around the world. WIPO INSPIRE offers a range of powerful but easy-to-use functionalities for both novice and expert patent information users in mind. They include: a comparison of features for up to four patent databases, an interactive world database coverage map, allowing users to determine, at a glance, which patent databases offer coverage of a specific jurisdiction. WIPO INSPIRE is integrated with WIPO’s Patent Register Portal and eTISC, providing a seamless environment for users to get information about patent databases and patent registers and an opportunity to interact with patent information experts and discuss these tools.

  • Public Consultation on the State of Intellectual Property in Third Countries
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    In the framework of the European Union’s Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries, the European Commission (DG Trade) is launching a public consultation in order to gather information on the state of intellectual property protection and enforcement in third countries. The main objective of this public consultation is to identify third countries in which the state of IPR protection and enforcement gives rise to the highest level of concern and to update the list of the so called “priority countries”. The public consultation will be one of the tools used to help improve the IPR systems in third countries. It will help the European Commission focus its efforts and resources on the priority countries and on the specific areas of concern, with the aim of improving IPR protection and enforcement worldwide. The results of this public consultation will also enable rightholders to gain awareness of potential risks to their IP when engaging in business activities in the priority countries and thus allow them to design business strategies and operations to protect their IP rights. The consultation is available in English, French and German and will be closed on 16 November 2020.

  • Report: Best Global Brands 2020
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    Amid a global pandemic with its significant impact on business in 2020, Interbrand has announced the brands that have fared best in its 2020 Best Global Brands ranking. As expected, social media and communication brands have fared well in the past 12 months, with Instagram (#19), YouTube (#30) and Zoom (#100) entering the rankings for the first time. Tesla has re-entered the rankings at #40 with a brand value of US$12,785m, having last appeared in the Best Global Brands table in 2017. The report including detailed analyses and key learnings for businesses can be found online.

  • EUIPO Guidelines Available in 23 Official EU Languages
    on 3 December 2020 at 1:49

    The guidelines of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which were adopted by the Executive Director on 12 December 2019 (Decision No EX-19-4) and have been in force since 1 February 2020, are now available in 23 official languages of the European Union. They can be consulted online here. The guidelines were previously only available in the five working languages of the EUIPO (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish). The following languages have now been added: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene and Swedish. A novelty is that the ‘compare’ functionality, which can be activated by switching on ‘Show modifications’ in the top left-hand corner of the web page, is now also available in 23 official EU languages. This enables the user to quickly view any changes compared to previous editions. For more information on the functionalities of the Guidelines in HTML format, please consult this tutorial or webinar.