Patents are, of necessity, filed at an early stage in the development of new technology, which means that patent filing trends can provide good insights today’s R&D and tomorrow’s leading technologies.Climate change targets are a major driver of innovation in today’s world. There is little doubt that innovative solutions are needed across the board if we are to achieve net-zero by 2050, and limit the rise in average global temperate to below 2C, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Insights: European Patent Office
Last year, we reviewed a United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (IPO) 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. This week, the European Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office have jointly published a report on the commercial benefit of owning IP rights to European companies
Truly global patent specifications are the holy grail for applicants that file around the world. It’s easy to see why. If a specification meets the requirements of all the national patent offices in which protection is going to be sought the application will easier to prosecute and litigate locally and therefore cheaper overall.
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.
The UK Intellectual Property Office published, on 7 September 2020, a call for views on the future of Artificial Intelligence and the UK IP framework.
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.