Renewable energy is more affordable now than it has ever been. According to BloombergNEF, it is now cheaper to build a new solar or wind farm to meet rising electricity demand or replace a retiring generator, than it is to build a new fossil fuel-fired plant. Policy incentives, increased investment and technological advances are driving this strong growth in the renewables sector, leading to technological improvements in the structural hardware necessary for renewable energy generation, transmission and storage.
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.
Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs): Could the EU/UK trade deal have an impact on future SPC terms in Europe?
Just over one month into the “real Brexit” we have already seen two very high profile consequences of its impact on the pharmaceutical industry.Firstly, the UK’s medicine agency (the MHRA) approved the BioNTech/Pfizer and Oxford University/Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines faster than the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Then, at the end of January, the European Commission threatened to prevent Covid-19 vaccines passing into Northern Ireland from Ireland. I am certainly not going to explore the potential political ramifications of this (swiftly withdrawn) threat of the EU Commission – twitter commentators have had their say on that – but I am interested in whether this unique situation on the island of Ireland could have future consequences for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) in the UK and Europe.
Retail sales have been steadily shifting online since web browsers were first created in the 1990s. Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics shows us that “Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales” increased from 6.8% in February 2010, to 11.7% in February 2015, to 19.1% in February 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the UK into various stages of lockdown since March 2020, internet sales ballooned to a record 36.2% of all retail sales in November 2020.
The UK has now left the EU, following a transition period that ended on 31 December 2020. In contrast to the position in a number of industries, the position in relation to IP rights has been relatively smooth. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has created and entered into its database the comparable rights based on EU trade mark and design registrations which were all in place as of Exit Day. The Office is continuing to work on comparable rights created from EU designations filed via the Madrid or Hague systems and appears to be making good progress. The UKIPO should be commended for this, particularly in view of the current working conditions.
The United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently released a report on sectors of the economy which make the most intensive use of intellectual property (IP) rights, and how much these sectors contribute to the UK economy.