Last week, the European Patent Office (EPO), together with the International Energy Agency (IEA), released a detailed report on patenting activity in electricity storage between 2000 and 2018. An EPO press release is available on the EPO website along with the full report.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly an important tool in industry. Not just in computer science but in almost all fields of industry. And where an AI innovation provides a benefit to users, many would like to protect it with a patent. The European Patent Office (EPO) recognises this. In 2017 the EPO published a study on the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ that identified AI as a key enabling technology. As we reported previously, the EPO has held a conference discussing the patentability of AI. And the EPO has recently announced that their Berlin branch is to become a centre of expertise in AI. So it is worth looking at how AI inventions can be patented in Europe.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a large amount of government backed funding made available in the UK to promote UK based innovation. In particular, various schemes, competitions, grants and loans have been announced with the aim of helping UK SMEs involved in technology and R&D grow as the Covid-19 disruption dies down. We have reported on a number of these recently. An area that is important for achieving this aim, but is perhaps at risk of being overlooked during this period of widespread disruption and uncertainty, is intellectual property.
We have just finished watching the oral proceedings before the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) on case G1/19 concerning the patentability of computer simulations. We were not alone – some 1,600 people signed up to watch today’s oral proceedings by live stream. Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) no decision was announced during the proceedings. However, we did get to hear some of the EBA’s thoughts on the issues.
In his recent article, Robin Ellis summarised the key take-home messages from the UK Supreme Court judgement in Regeneron v Kymab.In this article Andrew Carridge takes a more in-depth look into the concept of a ‘principle capable of general application’, exploring when broad claims may be justified and when claims may legitimately cover as yet undiscovered embodiments.
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.
These past months have seen unprecedented global upheaval in view of the spread of the Coronavirus through Europe. Fortunately, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) have in place procedures to minimise the negative impacts on patent applicants and rights holders. We have been monitoring the situation closely and Pete Sadler provides the details.
The recent decision by a Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) has provided some important guidance to the patent world on private and confidential input documents submitted as part of the process of developing a new technical standard. Specifically the decision addresses whether these documents form part of the state of the art for assessing a patent’s novelty and inventive step.