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
Brazilian Official Gazette no. 2511 – Important Communication regarding Patent pre-grant Prosecution Guidelines
By Belen Priore, Patents Paralegal
On February 19, the Brazilian PTO issued Official Gazette number 2511, which contains an important communication: Creation of new codes whose lack of compliance could end with a shelved application.
Those new codes are as follow:
– 11.18 –Application to be considered as definitively shelved due to non-compliance related to Article 229-C of the LPI: In case of not obtaining the consent of ANVISA referring to the provisions of article 229-C of the law 9279 (requirement for granting patents of pharmaceutical products and processes) the patent will be definitively shelved.
– 6.6.2 – Formal requirement –Brazilian genetic heritage access: Request for the applicant to inform if there was access to the national (Brazilian) genetic heritage or associated traditional knowledge, according to art. 38 (I) of Law 13.123/2015. In order to comply adequately with this formal requirement (either positive or negative access), the applicant is ought to generate a Collection Union Guide (GRU) for replying such requirement:
– For a response with positive access content, the GRU needs to be issued under code 264.
– For a Declaration of Negative Access, the GRU needs to be issued under code 273.…Read More
New Referral to EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal to Decide on the Patentability of Computer Simulations
On 28 February 2019, in its decision T0489/14 (Title of the invention: Simulation of the movement of an autonomous entity through an environment, Applicant: Connor, James Douglas) the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal (TBA) 3.5.07 (Chairman: R. Moufang) referred three questions relating to computer simulations to the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA).
The case concerns a simulation run on a computer, and the questions relate to the extent to which such a simulation can be considered to be based on technical principles.
The following questions were referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal for decision:
- In the assessment of inventive step, can the computer-implemented simulation of a technical system or process solve a technical problem by producing a technical effect which goes beyond the simulation’s implementation on a computer, if the computer-implemented simulation is claimed as such?
- If the answer to the first question is yes, what are the relevant criteria for assessing whether a computer-implemented simulation claimed as such solves a technical problem? In particular, is it a sufficient condition that the simulation is based, at least in part, on technical principles underlying the simulated system or process?
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 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published recently its first report in a new flagship series: WIPO Technology Trends, this first edition features Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the theme.
The main insights and trends in AI techniques and application fields, and patenting activity are summarized below.
AI-related inventions are booming, shifting from theory to commercial application:
Since AI emerged in the 1950s, innovators and researchers have filed nearly 340.000 patent applications and published over 1.6 million scientific publications.
Notably, AI-related patenting is growing rapidly: over half of the identified inventions have been published since 2013.
Some areas of AI are growing more quickly than others:
Machine learning is the dominant AI technique disclosed in patents and is included in more than one-third of all identified inventions (134.777 patent documents).
The machine learning techniques revolutionizing AI are deep learning and neural networks, and these are the fastest growing AI techniques in terms of patent filings.
Among AI functional applications, computer vision, which includes image recognition, is the most popular, followed by AI for robotics and control methods.
Many AI patents include inventions that can be applied in different industries:
AI-related patents not only …Read More
by Marta García
On October 2, 2018, a new draft law was sent to the Chilean Congress to update the Law No. 19,039 on Industrial Property, the Law No. 20,254, which establishes the National Institute of Industrial Property and the Criminal Procedure Code.
The main changes introduced by the draft law regarding patents and industrial designs are the following:
- Provisional patents
The draft law includes the possibility of applying for provisional patent applications, which will provide applicants with a term of 12 months to proceed with the filing of the corresponding definitive application.
- Fees for additional pages
The draft law establishes that any patent application exceeding 50 pages must pay, together with the filing fee, an additional fee of 1 Monthly Tax Unit – which at the end of 2018 was equivalent to approximately 71.5 USD – for every 20 additional pages or fractions of pages.
- Limitation of supplementary protection
According to Article 53 BIS of Law 19,039, any patent (in any technical field) can be eligible for supplementary protection, provided that:
– the grant of the patent exceeded five years from filing or three years from the request for examination, whichever occurs after; or
– the grant of …Read More
By Maria Belen Priore, Patent Dept.
On January 8th, the Brazilian PTO launched the first edition of the Manual of Industrial Designs to ensure greater quality, transparency and uniformity in the field of examinations of industrial designs, the principles of legality, impartiality, morality, publicity and efficiency, within others.
This new Manual not only consolidates the guidelines and procedures related to the examination of industrial design applications, but also provides instructions for the filing of design applications and following-up on processes, helping examiners, prosecutors and users in general.
This first edition of the Manual of Industrial Designs became official by Resolution No. 232/2019 dated January 7, 2019, and was published in the PTO´s Official Gazette Nº 2505, Section I – Press Releases, and will be in force as of 03/09/2019. The aforementioned resolution also revokes normative instructions No. 44/2015, 80/2017 and articles 2nd, 3rd and the sole paragraph of resolution No. 159/2016.
This manual gathers everything concerning the Industrial Designs, being easy to access (published on the Brazilian PTO website), with no more than 135 pages (currently, because will be subject to periodic updates in charge of the Standing Committee for the Improvement of Procedures and …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
by Marta García
On November 30, 2018, a new trade agreement called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed by United States President Donald Trump, Mexican former President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during the 2018 G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
The agreement, which must still be ratified by each party, is also unofficially known as “NAFTA 2.0”, since it is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) currently in force.
The text of the USMCA, which was published on the Office of the United States Trade Representative website shortly after the formal agreement was announced on October 1, 2018, includes an extensive chapter on Intellectual Property covering standards concerning trademarks, geographical indications, patents and undisclosed tests, industrial designs, copyright and related rights, trade secrets, as well as a section regarding IPR enforcement.
Below is an analysis of some key provisions of the USMCA´s patents and data protection chapter, and their implication for the Mexican IP system after the agreement comes into force.
Non-confidentiality of patent files
Article 20.43 of the USMCA establishes that for published patent applications and granted patents, each party shall make available to the public: search and …Read More
On November 6th 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) in cooperation with the European Council for Automotive Research and Development (EUCAR) released the study “Patents and self-driving vehicles”. The key findings of said study are summarized below:
The patent applications on SDV have been divided into two main technology sectors:
Automated vehicle platform, which encompasses technologies that are embodied in the vehicle itself. It includes inventions that enable vehicles to make autonomous decisions (Perception, analysis and decisions), inventions in the automated parts of the vehicle (Vehicle handling), and inventions in the underlying hardware and software (Computing).
Smart environment, which comprises technologies that enable SDVs to interact with each other and with their surroundings. It includes inventions in vehicle connectivity and related communication infrastructure (Communication) and inventions in traffic management, vehicle identification, automated parking and interfaces between vehicles and the electricity grid (Smart logistics).
The EPO´s study mentions that over the past decade, the EPO has received around 18,000 patent applications relating to SDV technologies, almost 4.000 of them in 2017 alone.
Annual patent applications relating to SDVs increased by 330% compared with 2011, a growth rate that is more than 20 times faster …Read More