NASA is now asking the People of the World to take the cutting edge of toilets (forgive the phrase) one step further with their “Lunar Loo Challenge”, which launched last week. In doing so, NASA have offered a total of $35,000 in prize money for designs for a toilet that can work both in the microgravity of space as well as the low, but not insignificant, gravity of the lunar surface (which I’m sure you all know to be about a sixth of that on Earth).
Insights: June 2020
For over 50 years the MacRobert Award has been recognising world-leading engineering innovations developed in the UK. Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust in 1969, the award has since become the UK’s longest-running and most coveted prize for UK engineering ingenuity. The annual award is now run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and honours engineering achievements that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. The list of past winners of the award serves as an impressive reminder of the wide-ranging capabilities of British engineers.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently launched a new service, WIPO PROOF, which can be used to apply a secure timestamp to a digital file. This timestamp can be used to prove that the digital file existed at a particular date. IP assets are increasingly being generated digitally during the innovation life cycle. In some cases, digital assets cannot be protected through conventional registered IP rights such as patents. In other cases, it is desired to keep digital assets as trade secrets. These situations can cause problems in legal disputes when there is a disagreement about the date that a digital file was created.
In a concerted effort to tackle climate change, countries around the world have proposed to ban conventional petrol and diesel cars within the next few decades, paving the way for an electric vehicle revolution. In our previous blog, The Future Of Automotive Powertrains, we found that in the realm of patents, car manufacturers favour batteries (and lots of them) to power their electric vehicles. In this blog we look at the capabilities and shortcomings of batteries and how fuel cell technology may yet play a part in powering our transport networks.
Because of the disruption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, since 24 March 2020 the UK IPO has treated every day as an “interrupted day” as far as deadlines are concerned. This applies to UK applications and registrations for: patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs. It also applies to deadlines in proceedings relating to these rights, such as oppositions and invalidity actions.
Will digital be the new norm for fashion brands following Covid-19 pandemic & how will this impact designers’ right to Community unregistered design protection?
With Covid-19 taking over 2020, fashion brands are having to come up with new and innovative ways to let the world know about their upcoming designs while adhering to social distancing rules due to the pandemic. Last Friday kicked off London Fashion Week’s first ever digital event, which includes live streams, visual lookbooks, interactive timelines and 360 degree photos and videos to show designers’ upcoming collections.So, has digital become the new normal for fashion brands to debut their new collections?
New UK trade mark applications for BLACK LIVES MATTER and I CAN’T BREATHE spark outrage – and they have now been withdrawn
Following the killing of US citizen George Floyd by the police, thousands have joined protesters all over the world to march with the Black Lives Matter organised movement, which protests against racial injustice and police brutality against the black community.In the wake of these events, a Manchester businessman by the name of George Demetriou filed an UK trade mark application for the mark “Black Lives Matter” (in various fonts as a series of four marks in one application). This application covers Class 25 for a variety of clothing goods. Full details of this application can be seen on the Intellectual Property Office website. Mr Demetriou also filed a UK trade mark application for the mark “I can’t breathe”, (again in a variety of fonts as a series of three marks in one application). These are the words that were spoken by George Floyd before he was killed, and is an expression that has been used by multiple black victims of police brutality. This application covers, amongst other goods, Class 14 for charity bracelets, Class 25 for a variety of clothing, and Class 36 for fundraising services.
Innovations in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are typically implemented in software and so can be challenging to patent at the European Patent Office. Firstly, patent protection for the invention must not be ruled out by the “software as such” exclusion of Article 52 EPC, and the invention must therefore solve a notional “technical problem”. Secondly, it must be possible to reduce an often complicated inventive concept to a single paragraph of text that can act as a patent claim. By way of illustration, this article looks at the patented smart home technology behind Nest Lab’s (“Nest”) learning thermostat, and explores how innovative start-ups can effectively protect their inventions.