By José Santacroce, Partner, and Head of Patent Department
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI) have agreed to work towards enhancing their co-operation. EPO President António Campinos and Claudio Vilar Furtado, President of INPI, signed on 22 July 2019 a Joint Statement in this direction following a bi-lateral consultation that formed part of a series of meetings between the EPO and IP offices from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. They also signed an agreement renewing the INPI’s access to EPOQUE Net, the EPO’s dedicated patent searching tool that contains more than 1.3 billion database entries.
In their Joint Statement, the two Heads of Office agreed to work together towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a pilot project aimed at strengthening the INPI’s capacity for searching and examining patent applications.
President Campinos underlined the importance of co-operation with INPI: “I am pleased to sign this Joint Statement today. As traditionally, Brazil has been an important co-operation partner for the EPO in Latin America. The INPI has great expertise in the patent grant procedure, and with today’s signatures we are paving the way to a closer relationship between our offices, …Read More
The European Patent Office (EPO), the European Committee of Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) have signed recently a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the support they provide to industry and stakeholders in Europe and beyond in the field of standard-essential patents.
This is the first MoU between the organizations who will now work together to extend knowledge about the relationship between standardization and patents.
The purpose of this collaboration is to support inventors, innovators, researchers and industry on standard-essential patents (SEPs) in different areas of technology by promoting the dissemination of technical standards including relevant patented technologies. The agreement complements the established co-operation in this field between the EPO, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Commission.
“This agreement will help us to provide inventors and innovating businesses with information about the use of standards and patents in their field of activity,” said EPO President António Campinos. “Co-operation with standardization organizations is essential for tackling the challenges arising from the relationship between standards and patents. It will help ensure that the patent system continues to support a competitive innovation environment for businesses …Read More
The European Patent Office (EPO) recently published its Annual Report 2018.
The main statistics and trends are highlighted below.
European patent applications continued to grow in 2018, reaching 174 317 applications, that is +4.6% with respect to last year.
Large enterprises filed 71% of the last year´s patent applications, SMEs, individual inventors: 20% and universities and public research organizations: 9%.
127 625 patents were granted last year (+20.8% with respect to 2017), 45% of them were granted to EPO member states, US: 24%, Japan: 17%, Korea: 5% and China: 4%.
The opposition rate in 2018 was 3.2%; the decisions in opposition cases were as follows: patent revoked: 27%, patent maintained in amended form: 42% and patent maintained as granted: 31%.
The top 10 countries with the most European patent applications in 2018 were the following:
- US 43 612 (25%)
- Germany 26 734 (15%)
- Japan 22 615 (13%)
- France 10 317 (6%)
- China 9 401 (5%)
- Switzerland 7 927 (5%)
- Korea 7 296 (4%)
- Netherlands 7 140 (4%)
- Great Britain 5 736 (3%)
- Italy 4 399 (3%)
The top 20 applicants in 2018 were the following:
- Siemens 2493
- Huawei 2485
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) have signed on 8 February 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral co-operation to help innovators make better use of the European patent system. The agreement was signed by EPO President António Campinos and LESI President François Painchaud on the occasion of LESI’s recent Winter Planning Meeting in Miami, Florida.
This enhanced co-operation will enable the EPO and LESI to extend the reach of joint activities for stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, industry representatives, technology transfer experts, publicly funded research organizations, IP advisors, innovation centers, user associations, IP offices and government policy makers.
The Memorandum of Understanding between both partners will remain in effect for a period of five years and extends the successful history of co-operation between the EPO and LESI.
“The main goal of our agreement is to enable current and future innovators to make better use of the patent system by overcoming barriers such as lack of knowledge about IP and commercialization options,” commented EPO President António Campinos. “This will help innovators see the business opportunities that IP can create.”
The co-operation …Read More
The European Patent Office (EPO) held its first major conference on patenting Blockchain on 4 December 2018. The one-day event in The Hague explored the implications of blockchain for patent applications as the technology, which started in the financial sector, is spreading to all technical fields of industrial application.
In his welcome address EPO President Antonio Campinos mentioned that patent applications for blockchain are rising fast and such patents are examined by the EPO in accordance with well-established criteria developed on the basis of case law related to Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII).
The first keynote Speakers (Marieke Flament and Claire Wells) covered the blockchain basics, setting out the main principles, key players and areas of use for this new technology, and the first panel discussed the future impact of this rapidly developing field and its links to other unfolding digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Koen Lievens, Director at the EPO, and Wang Xinyi, Examiner at the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) presented the offices´ approaches to dealing with blockchain patent applications, whereas Nobuyuki Taniguchi (Nakamura & Partners) presented the evolution of Blockchain-related patents in Japan.
An analysis …Read More
European Patent Office (EPO) – Board of Appeal Decision in case T 1063/18 on the Patentability of Plants
Case T 1063/18 concerns the appeal by the applicant against the decision of the examining division to refuse European patent application no. 12 756 468.0 (publication no. EP 2 753 168: “New pepper plants and fruits with improved nutritional value”, Applicant: Syngenta Participations AG) for the sole reason that the claimed subject-matter falls within the exception to patentability according to Article 53(b) and Rule 28(2) EPC (plants exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process).
At the oral proceedings, which took place on 5 December 2018, Technical Board of Appeal 3304, in an enlarged composition consisting of three technically and two legally qualified members, held that Rule 28(2) EPC (see Office Journal 2017, A56) is in conflict with Article 53(b) EPC as interpreted by the Enlarged Board of Appeal in decisions G 2/12 (“Method for breeding tomatoes having reduced water content and product of the method, Patent Proprietor: State of Israel, Ministry of Agriculture, the so called “Tomatoes II” case) and G 2/13 (“Method for selective increase of the anticarcinogenic glucosinolates in Brassica species”, Patent Proprietor: Plant Bioscience Limited, the so called “Broccoli II” case).
The Board referred to Article …Read More
On 1 November 2018 the EPO issued the new CII Guidelines, in which all substantial changes relate mainly to sections discussing the First Hurdle (technical character), that is Parts F-IV and G-VII.
Moreover, the new EPO CII Guidelines include for the first time new sections on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and on Simulation, design or modelling.
The main aspects of the 2018 EPO CII Guidelines are explained below:
Mathematical methods (G-II 3.3)
The section on mathematical methods has been completely revised, adding a distinction between contribution in producing a technical effect that serves a technical purpose, by its application to a field of technology and/or by being adapted to a specific technical implementation.
Concerning contribution by way of application to a particular field of technology, the following specific examples are given:
De-noising, detecting persons in a digital image, estimating the quality of a transmitted digital audio signal;
Mapping a speech input to a text output;
Error-correction coding of data for transmission over a noisy channel, compression of audio, image, video or sensor data;
Optimizing load distribution in a computer network;
Determining the energy expenditure of a subject by processing data …Read More