UK Court of Appeal dismisses DABUS appeal on AI as patent inventor but dissenting judgment leaves room for possible Supreme Court appeal

The latest round in the Thaler/DABUS patent applications story has been fought and lost by Dr Thaler in the UK Court of Appeal, although with one dissenting judgment. An appeal to the Supreme Court is possible but the subsequent announcement of the UK Government's National AI Strategy which will include a UK IPO consultation on the use of copyright and patents to protect AI, expected to be launched within the next few months may mean that the issues could be resolved via legislation instead. Where will Dr Thaler/DABUS go from here? Read more

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) – another step forward – provisional application period close to commencing

Germany's deposit of its ratification of the UPC protocol on provisional application on 27 September, 2021, and suggestions that Slovenia and Austria may also ratify shortly, mean that the provisional application period during which the practical arrangements for the UPC will be put in place, which this protocol (once sufficiently ratified) will usher in, now looks likely to commence before the end of 2021 and possibly even as soon as October. If so, the UPC could start to function fully from mid-2022, as has been suggested by the UPC Preparatory Committee. Read more

Want to be more circular? The legal risks of implementing circular economy business model innovations

The transition towards a circular economy is central to global sustainability objectives. National governments are also increasingly looking to regulate production processes in order to encourage the private sector to design out waste within their value chains. While related policy objectives and regulatory developments are abundant, the legal implications of this fundamental shift within production and consumption processes have faced little scrutiny to date. Our article, published in the August 2021 edition of PLC Magazine, sets out key legal considerations for businesses in the private sector that are engaged in the journey towards circularity, including the legal risks and consequences associated with the adoption of circular business models (including IP, know-how, collaboration, competition, supply chain and contractual risks). Read more

Sky kicks trade mark bad faith claims back into the box as Court of Appeal allows its appeal in Sky v SkyKick

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has granted Sky's appeal from the High Court decision that had held that some of its trade mark registrations were applied for in part in bad faith. The Court of Appeal found that it was not bad faith not to have an intention on application to use a mark for everything that could fall within a specification term (here "computer software"), nor was there a requirement to demonstrate a commercial strategy for using every type of good or service that could fall within a general description. The decision reaffirms that bad faith will only be found in exceptional circumstances, which were ultimately not found in this case. Read more

Sound Mark Registration Attempt Fizzles Out In EU General Court Appeal

In the first ruling on a sound mark submitted as an audio file (rather than a word description of the sound) the General Court dismissed the appeal from the EUIPO's rejection of the application for lack of distinctiveness whilst also clarifying the criteria for assessing the distinctive character of sound marks and the perception of those marks in general by consumers. Ardagh Metal Beverage Holdings v EUIPO (T-668/19) 7 July 2021. Read more

Regulatory reform for software-based consumer health products – new regulations provide clarity but can they keep up with the technology?

Mobile health apps and devices are everywhere (“mHealth”), with Australians now the biggest consumers of health apps per capita. The TGA recently released a suite of reforms on software-based medical devices and consumer health products to better address this area. But what are the impacts on developers, and will the regulations be “future proof” as … Read more

UK IPO Consultation on the UK’s future exhaustion of IP rights regime

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published a consultation on the UK's exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime and what changes might be appropriate post-Brexit, including how such changes should be implemented. The consultation runs for 12 weeks until 31 August 2021. Here we outline the principles behind the different types of exhaustion regime, and summarise the options proposed by the consultation, highlighting the issues associated with each. Read more