With Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly relevant to our daily lives, many inventors are looking to gain patent protection for their technology. As discussed in our previous insight here, there are extra considerations to bear in mind when seeking patent protection for an AI invention in Europe. However AI patent applications can be, and are being, granted at the European Patent Office.
Insights: patent protection
A patent provides an exclusive right, for a limited period of time, that can be used to prevent others from making, using, importing, or selling products and/or carrying out processes covered by the patent. This is all well and good for a multinational corporation that has the means to police their patents and sue infringers, but where is the value for smaller innovative companies, such as startups or SMEs, which are unlikely to have the resources to do that? Obtaining patent protection can be expensive and uncertain, so what’s the point?
Your engineers have been working on an exciting innovation. Their ideas have been developed in secret, and now they are ready for testing, which presents the issue of how to keep these new ideas secret. In the renewable energy sector, machines can be BIG. Consider GE’s Haliade X. This offshore wind turbine is 260 metres tall, and its rotor alone measures 220 metres. How do you test something like this in private?
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.
At 1522 EDT on 30 May 2020, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in their Dragon capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral and into low Earth orbit, propelled by the mighty Falcon-9 rocket. This was the first time a private company had sent astronauts to the International Space Station, and the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 that anyone had travelled into space from US soil.
Whether you like it or not, the UK is a windy place. It is therefore not surprising that wind accounted for more than 50% of the electricity generated from renewable energy sources in 2019. Modern energy generation wind turbines can come in many forms, in this blog I will discuss vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) which are becoming a larger part of the wind renewable energy market.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a subsection of the more well-known Internet of Things. Broadly, the IoMT is a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. This infrastructure aims to improve accessibility of healthcare, while improving patient health and satisfaction with healthcare services. In 2016, it was predicted that by the year 2020, 40% of IoT technology will be health related1 (more than any other subsection). It has also been predicted that by 2022, the IoMT market will be worth roughly US$158 billion2, compared to a comparatively measly US$24 billion in 20163. We at Reddie & Grose have been closely following the progress of the IoMT which encompasses many rapidly advancing technologies and a number of potentially patentable areas.
“European SMEs generally make effective use of European patents to protect their key inventions, and successfully commercialise up to two thirds of them”, according to a new study published by the European Patent Office (EPO). However, serious challenges remain, ranging from a lack of IP expertise and resources available to SMEs, to the need for more contacts to support their commercialisation efforts across Europe.