Harry and Meghan have had the spotlight of the world’s media on them in the last few weeks. But for us, it is great to see the level of interest that has been paid to their trade mark applications. It’s not just the IP blogs and trade journals that have been commenting on their efforts to secure legal protection for their brand – the SUSSEX ROYAL trade mark has been making headlines across the mainstream press as well, which is not surprising given the challenges ahead for the Sussexes’ applications.
Technology is generally regarded as the creation of something to improve one or more aspects of the world we live in. However, in the world of football (or soccer if you hail from North America), the introduction of video assisted refereeing is prompting many to question whether technology is actually ruining, instead of improving, the so-called ‘beautiful game’. Some of the most recent criticism has come from English football, which saw the introduction of video assisted refereeing to the hugely popular Premier League in August 2019.
Last month global leaders of politics, industry, and economics gathered for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The event brought 3,000 stakeholders from around the world to the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss sustainability and the climate crisis. As always, the town was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. But this may not be the case for much longer. The climate crisis discussed in Davos is wreaking slow havoc in mountain resorts around the world. The Alpine setting for the conference about climate change couldn’t have been more apposite. Rising global temperatures has shortened the average ski season by 38 days since 1960.
So, it’s finally happening. At 11pm (UK time) tonight, 31 January 2020, the UK is leaving the EU – whether or not Big Ben bongs to ring out the changes. And what changes will there be on the IP front? The short answer, in the short term, is: absolutely none. EU law will continue to operate in the UK during the transition period, exactly as it currently does. The transition period will be from 1 February 2020 – 31 December 2020 unless an extension is obtained, which the Prime Minister has promised will not happen. The IP system will therefore continue as it currently does in the UK and the EU until at least the end of this year, without any disruption or changes.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has once again been in the news in the Intellectual Property world. Some of our previous insights have commented on AI innovation and in particular how different Patent Offices examine patentability of AI inventions. In short, AI inventions can in principle be patentable, but do have to meet the same criteria as patent applications in other fields. Patent Offices will examine all inventions following the law, case law and well established guidelines which seek to provide legal certainty for all users. However, the European Patent Office has just published its decision setting out the reasons for its refusal of two European patent applications in which an AI system was designated as inventor.
It may only be the opinion of the Advocate General but after almost a decade of fog surrounding Article 3(d) of the SPC Regulation this latest offering in Santen v INPI suggests that clarity may be about to prevail.In the past the decisions and opinions of the CJEU & Advocate General have often been criticised for their lack of clarity and applicability but this is not a criticism that can be levelled at Giovanni Pitruzzella. If the CJEU choose to follow his guidance then Neurim will be scrubbed from the record books and Article 3(d) will, once again, mean what is says.As a quick reminder, Article 3(d) of the SPC regulation states that a certificate shall be issued if:“the authorization [for the product] is the first authorization to place the product on the market as a medicinal product”The “medicinal product” and “product” are defined in Article 1 of the regulation and essentially relate to “any substance or composition presented as having curative or preventive properties with regard to human or animal diseases” and “the active ingredient or the composition of active ingredients in a drug” respectively.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) gave a timely seminar on Artificial Intelligence on 9th January 2020. The speakers for this seminar were the head and senior examiner of the data processing group at the UK IPO.There were no real surprises that for AI inventions to be patentable they must fit around the exclusions (set out in Section 1(2) of the UK Patents Act) as interpreted by the guidelines (see below). However, the UK Examiner’s did indicate how the nature and/or presentation of the AI invention could lead to very different results, stressing that for borderline cases they are keen to engage with applicants and listen to technical arguments for patentability.The seminar follows a report released by the UK IPO into inventions relating to Artificial Intelligence released last year. See here for our earlier report.
Driven by a variety of concerns about the environmental impact of meat consumption, animal welfare, and/or health considerations, large numbers of people are moving towards vegetarian, vegan, or “flexitarian” diets. In the last 2 years alone, demand for meat substitutes has grown by 37% in America, and by 30% in western Europe, and Euromonitor expects the market for meat alternatives in both Europe and the US to double by 2022. And with growing public awareness of the impact of intensive animal farming on global warming, this trend is forecast to go only one way.