We reported last year on a new report from the European Patent Office (EPO) on electricity storage, in particular using batteries. Excluded from that report was hydrogen and its use in electricity storage, which is seen by some as a very useful supplement to batteries, not just in electricity storage but also for applications where batteries may not be appropriate, such as some transport applications.
Many of us feel as though we have undergone some form of transformation over the course of this last extraordinary year. On 21 April 2021, the UK IPO proudly announced its own “One IPO” Transformation Programme – a five-year programme intended to transform Intellectual Property (IP) services and enhance the value that the IPO adds to the UK economy. As Amanda Solloway MP (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation) commented: “The UK already has a world leading IP environment, but a service for innovators must itself innovate.”
With Coronavirus restrictions being gradually lifted in the UK, most sectors are gearing up, if not for a return to life as we knew it before the pandemic, at least for some kind of “new normal” that will entail changes to what we are used to see and experience.
Those statistics are complimented by the release of the Patent Index 2020 – patent filing statistics at the European Patent Office (EPO). The annual Patent Index allows for both a general assessment of innovation, and a deeper analysis into filing trends within Europe.
As climate change and the energy transition drive fundamental shifts in technology, industry, investment and regulatory policy, innovation and technology have never played a more important role. In this article, we discuss how climate change and the energy transition are driving these shifts, the technologies needed to meet net-zero and how this is reflected by patent filings in renewable energy field. We gather the perspectives of leaders and decision makers in the fields of energy, technology, business and government, presenting at the recent CERAWeek 2021 conference.
Inventions that fall into certain categories of excluded subject-matter, including programmes for computers, mathematical methods and mental acts, are not patentable in Europe. The EPO’s established ‘COMVIK’ approach assesses inventive step for claims that include a mixture of features that do and do not fall into categories of excluded subject-matter. If a claim feature relates to excluded subject-matter and does not contribute to a technical solution to a technical problem then it is ignored for the assessment of inventive step
We reported back in September that the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) set out a call for views on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand the implications AI might have for Intellectual Property (IP) policy. The UKIPO set out questions relating to each of: patents, copyright, designs, trade marks, and trade secrets. In the government’s words, the aim of the call for views was to understand the relationship between AI and IP. It did not seek to consider the impact of concepts such as AI superintelligence, or an AI as a legal entity. The call for views indicated a willingness to listen, and it was hoped that this would be beneficial for patentees, as well as the AI industry as a whole.
Transmitting solar energy generated in space back to Earth has long been the subject of science fiction, first appearing in Isaac Asimov’s 1941 short story, Reason, where solar energy is converted to microwaves by a space station, and beamed back to nearby planets.