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

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

Views on an evolving automotive industry – The importance of a clear IP strategy

Our latest intellectual property related briefing in the HSF "Views on an evolving automotive industry" series, concentrates on the importance of a clear IP strategy for automotive sector businesses. It considers the necessary elements of a successful IP strategy and the heightened importance of such a strategy in the context of an industry where new systems and technologies are taking centre stage. Read more

EU Action Plan on IP – the challenge ahead

Herbert Smith Freehills' European IP team have had a feature article on the EU's IP Action Plan published in the April edition of PLC Magazine – see EU Action Plan on IP – the challenge ahead here. The article looks at the current challenges for the EU in relation to IP, its key focus areas and plans for future regulation and legislation, including: • The Unified Patent Court (UPC) • Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) • Compulsory licensing • Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) • AI and emerging technologies • Counterfeiting • Designs • Geographical Indications • Data • The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe Read more

Challenges to German ratification of the UPC Agreement trigger delay but possibly not for long

After the German Parliament's upper house, the Bundesrat, passed the legislation to allow Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement (UPCA), there have been two challenges filed before the German Constitutional Court.  As a result, according to information from the Federal President’s office, he has been asked to delay his signature, which is required in order for the legislation to enter into force. This time the challenges include interim injunction applications, but we expect that if these are rejected, Germany will deposit its ratification of the Protocol on Provisional Application of the UPCA and not await the full decision. Read more