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Patent protection

Did you know that patent protection can be claimed for other categories than physical devices?

There are different categories of patent claims that can be used. In general, a distinction can be made between two different categories.
A first general category of patent claims is the “product claim”, which relates to physical entities such as products, devices and apparatuses, but can also include, for example, chemical substances and compositions.
A second general category of patent claims is the “process claim”, which relates to activities, such as methods, processes and uses, as long as some material product is used for effecting such activities. However, there are some exceptions to this which are explicitly excluded from patentability, such as biological processes for the production of plants or animals, and surgical, therapeutic or diagnostic methods for treatment of the human or animal body. Whereas, product claims relating to products for the use in surgical, therapeutic or diagnostic methods are permitted.

Exacting wording in my patent claims

Should I care about the exact wording used in my patent claims? Infringement proceedings: prosecution history estoppel versus doctrine of equivalents?

In Europe, according to the EPC and its Protocol on Interpretation (Protocol herein after), the claims should be interpreted adopting a balanced approach that combines a fair protection for the patent holder with a reasonable degree of certainty for third parties.

In this perspective, the claims should not be interpreted strictly, in the sense of only the dictionary definition of a certain wording. Conversely, these claims should not be treated as mere guidelines, since the claims play a determinative part in deciding on the patent’s scope. The Protocol thus requires a middle ground between the two extremes to guarantee a balance between fairness to the patent holder and giving the public reasonable certainty as to what the claims actually cover.

Unitary Patent

Latest News on UP & UPC

In its welcome message at the conference in Brussels on the Unitary Patent system, James Nurton, moderator of today’s event, shows a slide announcing that the new system, will start on April 1, 2023 with 17 participating EU Member States*.  While we are still waiting for the exact date of ratification of the UPC agreement by Germany, the April 1, 2023 start date seems thus now (almost) certain.

When can it be useful to keep my invention secret?

Filing Patents is often an important aspect for implementing an intellectual property strategy for innovative companies. Patents are however not the only way to protect an invention. In fact, in some cases, filing a patent application is not recommended.

Indeed, a patent application is usually published 18 months after filing (or the priority date), which means that all the technical details and know-how described in it will become publicly available. This simple fact may have important ramifications for your business and will influence the way you protect your innovation.

It also raises important questions, like: Do you really want to give access to your competitors to the technical data and know-how of your inventions or do you want to keep all this information secret? Does it make sense to systematically file a patent for every invention?

NFT

Did you know an updated IP portfolio is critical for NFTs ?

In 2021, Collins dictionary chose NFT (Non-Fungible Token) as the “word of the year”. While you might have heard about the person who paid $69 million for a video by Beeple, or Mr. Jack Dorsey (the founder of Twitter), who sold the first tweet for just under $3 million through NFT’s, most business and brand owners are still oblivious as to what an NFT is and how important it can be for your IP portfolio.

Artificial intelligence (AI): The qualification of AI creations as “works” under EU copyright law

The authorship of AI creations has already been the subject of much debate and some interesting articles have been published about this topic. However, the first condition about the qualification of an AI creation has been underexposed so far; can AI creations qualify as a “work” to start with? And, can AI creations even be protected under EU copyright?

Confidentiality

The confidentiality agreement in brief

With respect to project developments, often times it is necessary to engage in discussions with third parties,  including strategic information concerning the project without binding the parties to any cooperation agreement that regulates their working relationship.

However, it is important that the confidential nature of this information be preserved to protect the owner of the ‘strategic information’ and any advantage it affords them.

unitary patent

THE UNIFIED PATENT COURT, the new court for European Patents THE OPT-OUT OPTION

Thanks to progress in its ratification, the UPCA  is approaching its entry into force in the following 17 EU Contracting Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

The Provisional Application Phase (PAP) of the UPCA has already started. Once the preparations are sufficiently completed, Germany will ratify the UPCA, which will trigger the start of the 3 to 4 month sunrise period, preceding actual entry into effect of the UPC, which will likely occur early 2023.

Solution

Missed a patent deadline? Did you know that (European) patent law provides various remedies?

Unfortunately, during patent prosecution, it may occur that a deadline to perform an action required by the patent office is missed. However, do not despair! Legal remedies are sometimes available to address this. In fact, the European Patent Convention provides no fewer than three possible remedies in case a deadline is missed. Which remedy is available depends on the specific action that was missed.