The IP in NFTs – Strategies for protecting your brands and products in the metaverse

The creation ("minting") and sale and use of NFTs raises many IP issues which we have discussed in our previous posts in our IP in NFTs series. However, brand owners and product manufacturers must also be vigilant in monitoring the virtual marketplaces to ensure that third parties are not creating NFTs that infringe their own IP rights.  This is especially true where the company is considering releasing or has released NFTs, because the public will begin to associate the brand with NFTs (which could include infringing NFTs).  There are several strategies that companies could adopt to minimise this risk. Read more

Double patenting in Germany – Options for a choice between the UPC and the German national courts

On the date that the UPC Agreement comes into force, the German prohibition on double patenting will be amended so that it only applies to European patents that have been "opted out" of the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC. For European patents that have not been opted out of the UPC and for the new unitary patents, patentees will be allowed to maintain a German national patent in parallel to the European patent and infringement litigation before the German courts will be possible in relation to the national patent. Read more

UPC – The location of 13 local and one regional division courts announced and numbers of legally qualified judges at each

The UPC Administrative Committee has issued confirmation of the location of the various local and regional divisions of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).  Whilst all other participating states will have one local court (or participate in the Nordic-Baltic regional division announced), Germany will have three local division courts - Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Mannheim. At the same time the numbers of national judges on each panel have also been confirmed for each court. Read more

UPC Rules of Procedure – final version approved

The UPC Rules of Procedure  have been approved. Amendments to the previous 2017 draft have been released by the UPC Administrative Committee, in tracked changes form, with a full consolidated version promised to be "published during the course of the summer, before the Rules’ entry into force on 1 September 2022".  One of the most significant changes is to opt-out procedures, but others include the use of video-conferencing, public access to pleadings and confidentiality club arrangements. Read more

French Supreme Court says cross-border patent infringement claims may be possible

The French Supreme Court has issued a decision quashing a Paris Court of Appeal decision and thereby opening the door to the jurisdiction on the merits of French courts to rule on cross-border claims for patent infringement based on national designations of a given European patent, where the products in suit in the different countries are the same (Hutchinson v. Dal, Global Wheel et al. 29 June 2022, Appeal No. G 21-11.085). Read more

Further progress towards the start of the UPC system

Jérôme Debrulle, Chair of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council for the Unitary Patent, has recently said that his committee’s work in preparation for the coming of the UPC is now complete.  He commented in an EPO press release that “In October 2021 the Select Committee adopted an ambitious work programme to complete the … Read more

UK consultation on AI concludes that a text and data mining exception to copyright and database right infringement for any purpose should be introduced

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published its response to its consultation on legislative changes needed to accommodate AI, stating that it has accepted the need to create a new data mining exception for copyright and database rights and that this will make it easier to analyse material for machine learning, research and innovation. The exception will apply to text and data mining for any purpose, although rights holders will still have safeguards to protect their content, including a requirement for lawful access. The Government’s decided not to introduce changes to the UK’s patent inventorship criteria or copyright computer generated works provisions at this time, although the law will be kept under review. Read more

Irish Government reaffirms its commitment to the UPC but referendum date may be as late as 2024

The Irish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to participate in the UPC, issuing a statement earlier this week (28 June 2022). However Ireland requires a public referendum to confirm that it should ratify the UPC Agreement and uncertainty about the timing of this looks likely to mean that Ireland will not be one of the states forming part of the UPC system on Day 1, given that recent announcements place the start date for the UPC in early 2023. Read more

Draft “Regulation on Prohibition for Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights to Exclude or Restrict Competition” released for public comment by Chinese authorities

The China State Administration for Market Regulation has published a Regulation on Prohibition for Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights to Exclude or Restrict Competition (Draft for Comment), which is now open to the public for comments.  The Regulation reflects the latest approach of the China authorities to the relationship between competition law and intellectual property enforcement, which has been a topic of concern for a long time, and includes clarification on scenarios that will be deemed abuses of market dominance in relation to SEP licensing. Read more