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The European Court of Justice recently breathed new life into the phenomenon of cross-border injunctions – a cost-effective tool originally developed by the Dutch courts to stop infringement.
Published in IAM Magazine ‘Patents in Europe 2013/2014’.
After many years of intense debates, small victories and mainly serious disappointments, at last the European Parliament has approved a unitary patent package that will definitely change the European patent landscape over time. The package consists of three pillars: a unitary patent system, translation arrangements and a Unified Patent Court.
To be publised in The Innovation Handbook, July 2013
So many countries, and so many possible interpretations and regulations when patent applications are involved. Applicants can have a rather difficult time trying to obtain optimal patent protection for inventions in different countries. For instance, a setup that suffices in Europe might actually cause problems in the United States, and vice versa.
The decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) in G1/10 is urging European patent applicants to have their patents sorted out before they are actually granted. We already knew that once patents are granted, Rule 139 EPC can no longer be used to clean up patents or correct errors. It has now been made clear that Rule 140 EPC cannot be used as a detour.
According to European legislation, 3D trademarks can be registered in Europe. Daily practice, however, might take you by surprise. When a 3D trademark passes the test on distinctiveness, the exceptions laid down in law will be lurking. For instance, is shape determined by the nature of the product, or does shape grant products a substantial value? Therefore, registering a pure 3D trademark in Europe is a unique happening.
In March 2012 the European Patent Office (EPO) published the Handbook of Quality Procedures before the EPO. The handbook can be regarded as a guide for preferred practices for applicants and their representatives, examiners and formality officers. The aim of the handbook is to increase the quality of applications, communications from examiners and submissions from parties, as well as to provide for an efficient prosecution.
In June 2012, the European Patent Office published the revised Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office, usually referred to as the “Guidelines”. The Guidelines are not legal texts, in the sense that no rights can be directly derived from them. In fact, the Guidelines are primarily intended for the EPO staff and not for applicants and patent attorneys. Nevertheless, in practice applicants and attorneys have come to regard the Guidelines as one of the most important sources for learning how the EPO will interpret and act to implement the legal provisions of the European Patent Convention.
Recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union pronounced judgement in the IP TRANSLATOR case. This judgement has changed the way in which the scope of protection is determined, and it will have consequences for registrations that already exist. It is therefore recommendable to instruct your advisor at NLO to verify your trademark registrations.
European Parliament approves European Union Unitary Patent package
After many years of intense debate, small victories and frequent disappointments, at last, the European Parliament has approved a Unitary Patent package that will definitively change the European patent landscape. On 11th December 2012 the European Parliament announced a Unitary Patent package that will finally achieve a single unified European patent system.
The new Unitary Patent will become available alongside existing types of patent and will be obtained by filing a European patent application in the very same way as is currently done, i.e. via the European Patent Convention (EPC). Only after grant is there difference. The applicant has a month to choose whether to proceed with a Unitary Patent having effect in all EU member states apart from Italy and Spain or a bundle of EP patents validated in chosen EU/EPC member states (this route remains available anyway for all those EPC member states which are not EU member states). Whether one chooses the new Unitary Patent or opts for the traditional EP bundle patent will depend on strategic considerations including costs, litigation options and the perceived vulnerability of a single Unitary Patent for 25 states.
The new system is based on two regulations and an intergovernmental agreement covering respectively: the Unitary Patent, the translation regime and a single patent court.