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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?

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.

World IP Day 2022

𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈𝐏 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡: 𝐈𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐁𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐅𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧 𝐆𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐒 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬. 

(Non-)uniqueness of the closest prior art

In general, the method of assessing inventive step applied by the European Patent Office is based on the “problem-solution” approach. Since the entry into force of the Pact Law in France, the French National Institute of Industrial Property also examines the criterion of inventive step based on the problem-solution approach.

Artificial Intelligence & Liability – Whodunit?

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is commonly associated with progress, growth and technological improvements. It has the potential of transforming businesses, but what if something goes wrong? Who will be liable if anything goes wrong with an AI system? Should the AI system itself be made liable for its output? Or should we look at the producer of the system, or even the user?
In this article we will touch upon (i) the current AI liability framework in the EU, (ii) the new proposal for an EU regulation on AI, and (iii) the importance of agreements.

unitary patent

A Unitary Patent option and a common Patent Court in the EU, likely coming in 2022

Finally, after many years of difficulties, the combined Unitary Patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court (UPC) project is about to become a reality.

The announcement by Germany of its ratification of the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) in August 2021, along with the subsequent deposit of the PPA ratification instrument in September 2021, has marked an important milestone towards entry into force. What stood in the way was the needed ratification of the PPA by one more Member State which is no longer the case and, ultimately, the final stages towards entry into force can be underway.

Belgian patent rights court

Measures to enforce Belgian patent rights in court

National Belgian patents and European patents in force in Belgium are exclusive intellectual property rights which allow you, the patentee, to forbid others from exploiting your invention in Belgium. Unfortunately, sometimes a competitor does violate your exclusive patent rights which can result in damages (e.g. financial loss). Luckily, under Belgian law there are various legal procedures at your disposal which enable you enforcing your exclusivity in court.