British Science Week is here, a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for children in the UK. This year children are being introduced to the world of training artificial intelligence data sets. 2020’s eagerly anticipated Citizen Science “Zooniverse” partnership ramps up the “zoo” and shrinks the “universe” to a few chunks of South America. The public are being asked to help save spider monkeys, a lovable group of primates under threat from our insatiable appetite for palm oil.
Insights: Technical Insights
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently issued a report summarising IP facts and figures for 2018. For this blog, we’ve picked out some interesting statistics from the data on patents. Record numbers of patent applications are being filed 2018 saw the number of new patent applications being filed in a calendar year exceed 3.3 million for the first time. This is an increase of 5.2% over 2017 and it is the ninth straight annual increase.
Drug discovery is expensive. Computers are an important tool in combating this, because their computations can reduce the number of time-consuming physical tests needed. The use of computers in drug discovery is the subject of a great deal of research and we saw an example of this in the news last week when it was reported that a powerful new antibiotic had been discovered using artificial intelligence (see J. Stokes et al., “A Deep Learning Approach to Antibiotic Discovery”, Cell, vol. 180, no. 4, pp. 688-702.e13, 2020. Available: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.021, widely reported by the media).
As countries around the world strive to curb climate change, it becomes increasingly clear that radical innovative energy solutions are needed if we are to stand any chance of achieving net zero emissions. A team of engineers at the University of Queensland may have provided one such solution in the field of quantum dot solar cell technology, achieving a near 25% improvement, and a world record, for the conversion of solar energy into electricity using quantum dots. Inventor, and Australian Research Council laureate, Lianzhou Wang, explains that the improvement “is effectively the difference between quantum dot solar cell technology being an exciting prospect and being commercially viable”.
Registered Community designs (RCDs) protect the shape and appearance of new products across the whole of the EU. However, RCDs only came into effect on 1 April 2003, which means that the body of case law concerning aspects of RCDs such as individual character is still developing. Since national court decisions on RCDs are rare, decisions by the EUIPO’s Invalidity Division provide a valuable source of information on how the validity of an RCD is interpreted. This blog covers invalidity decisions issued by the EUIPO during the fourth quarter of 2019, from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019. Our previous blog covering the third quarter of 2019 can be found here.
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.