The Unitary patent was initially established with the intent of providing a single European patent covering 25 nations. Countless roadblocks have occurred leaving applicants wondering if and when the EU patent would come into effect. With the recent decision surrounding the Brexit, it looks unlikely that applicants will be able to secure patent protection universally throughout Europe.
The idea behind the Unitary Patent was that, once you got your application through the European Patent Office, instead of having to validate your patent in all the individual European countries, you could pay one fee and the patent would be valid in all the signatory countries (25 of them). It was a great, cost saving idea that would make it far more affordable to obtain broad patent protection throughout Europe.
The terms of the Unitary Patent were agreed in 2012/2013 and it needed to be ratified by 13 of the 25 countries, including the UK, France and Germany. France and Germany ratified it. Eight other countries ratified it (that makes 10 if you follow my math). The UK legislation needed to ratify it was passed by both Houses of Parliament in March 2016 (after just 15 minutes of debate). The only thing left to do was for the UK to notify the EU that they had ratified the UPC and wait for two other countries to ratify it. In all likelihood it would have come into force early next year.
But then there was Brexit.
Whilst it will still be possible to validate a granted European patent in the UK, the dream of a single European patent is now effectively dead.
Notably, nearly a month on from the “leave” decision, none of the official Unitary Patent sites include anything in their news about Brexit and its impact on the Unitary Patent. Why? They are probably too angry to trust themselves to put anything in writing.
So, patenting in Europe will remain as expensive as it always has been for some time to come.
But what about Trademarks and Community designs? Well, the situation there is clearer: they will definitely become more expensive for UK companies.
Right now it is possible to get a Europe-wide Trademark (to protect your logo/brand name) and a Europe-wide Design (to cover the shape of your innovative product). But the laws behind those IP rights are governed by the European Union and are only available to EU members. Once the UK exits the EU, those IP rights will no longer cover the UK.
That means, if you want to register your brand in the future, you’ll need to do it in both the UK and, separately, in the EU, thus increasing your costs. The same situation will apply for Designs.
It will also be interesting to find out what happens to existing European Community Trademarks and Designs when the UK leaves the EU. Will the rights in the UK become invalid? Will UK companies need to re-register all their old European marks and designs in the UK? If so, that will mean a whole bunch of new filing fees UK companies will need to pay.
Time will tell how all the details will pan out, but you can be confident that the end result will not be cheaper IP protection for UK businesses. The Unitary Patent has been red-carded at the last minute.
Close, but no cigar.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently released their annual report, IP Facts and Figures, 2015 based off their more comprehensive release, World Intellectual Property Indicators, 2015. This most recent indicator serves as a quick reference guide for four different areas of industrial property, including patents, utility models, trademarks and industrial design.
Some highlights from this report are highlighted below:
Overall, global filing activity for patents and trademarks grew in 2014, representing the fifth year that applications have increased for these IP rights. 2.7 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2014, up from 4.5% in 2013. Trademark filings rose by 6%, similar to the growth rate seen in the previous two years.
Of the estimated 10.2 million patents in force in 2014, 25% were in the United States, followed by 19% in Japan. In China, the number of patents in force doubled from about 600,000 in 2010 to 1.2 million in 2014.
In 2014, a total of 33.1 million trademarks were active in 124 offices worldwide. China accounted for most trademarks, with about 8.4 million. The US and Japan were a close second and third with 1.85 and 1.8 million respectively.
To download the entire report, click here. Also, follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for more relevant patent and trademark information.
Good morning. I hope everyone is having a productive and restful start to the New Year. Let’s get right down to it, read below for the latest headlines in foreign filing news:
- In case you missed it: inovia released their 2014 Year in Review! Last year, we launched a new website, became the #1 filer of PCT applications in the world and expanded our agent network. Click here to read this, as well as the top PCT national stage filing destinations for our clients.
- IP Watchdog also released a year end article, this time inviting industry leaders to make patent and intellectual property wishes for 2015. Read more here.
- If you file trademarks electronically, it’s about to get a lot less expensive. The USPTO recently announced a reduction in fees beginning January 17, 2015.
- Fun patent of the day: Apple recently patented a phone where bending is a feature and not a flaw. Interesting!
Check back next week for more updates. Also, follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP and LinkedIn to stay in touch.
Happy Foreign Filing Friday, readers! I’ve been busy perusing the latest headlines in patent news for the week of November 10th. See below:
- This is a quick reminder that the Cybersecurity Partnership Meeting webcast (from the USPTO) begins at 11:30, ET today! Watch here.
- Europe and China recently stepped up their commitment to cooperating with each other as the European Patent Organization (EPO) and China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) met to discuss how to improve and align their patent systems. Read more.
- The China’s Trademark office computer system is almost completely restored after a 7 month delay. The upgrade, initially implemented in April, ran into serious technical malfunctions affecting systems supporting automated functions in the registration system.
- inovia news: Please check out our upcoming event schedule and get in contact if you are interested in learning more about the inovia.com platform.
As always, you can follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP and LinkedIn.
Happy Friday! Here are the latest foreign filing headlines from the week of September 1st:
- Trademarks, like patents, are territorial. Read on to see what every business should know about trademark “squatting” in China.
- Germany is preparing for Oktoberfest, where 6 million people will descend on Munich in 16 days! See what patented inventions help this event go off without a hitch each year.
- Patent filing in Singapore has jumped more than 20% in the last 10 years, from 7,908 in 2003 to 9,722, debunking the notion that the process is expensive among small and medium-sized enterprises.
- inovia news: We will be attending the 2014 IPO Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia next week. Please get in contact with us or stop by Booth 203 if you’ll also be at the conference!
As always, thanks for reading! We will see you back here next week. Please be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @inoviaIP.
Good afternoon, friends! I hope everyone is getting ready for a great weekend. Before you go, please take a look at the latest headlines in foreign filing news!
- The two technology giants, Samsung and Apple, recently declared a truce on all non-US patent disputes.
- Tesla got their trademark back! The dispute threatened to complicate the companies expansion into the world auto market.
- Adam Carolla won’t back down from a patent troll! Even after the suit was dropped, the comedian hopes to make an example of Personal Audio by invalidating their patent.
- inovia news: Have you downloaded our 5th annual IP Trends Indicator? Click here now to check out the most definitive resource for IP professionals!
Have a great weekend, readers. Please follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for more updates.
Good morning, readers. We hope everyone is staying cool as we head into the dog days of summer. I’ve gathered some patent news for your consideration from the week of July 21, 2014:
- Trademark “squatting” is prevalent in China, preventing valuable foreign brands to use their own name in the country.
- Are all software patents doomed? The first application of the Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. decision foretells trouble in the future.
- Batman celebrated his 75th birthday this year. A registered trademark was filed on June 25, 1940. You can see a picture of the original trademark below!
- The EPO and Spain continued their cooperation on Latin America, as they met in Spain to sign an agreement to promote the quality and efficiency of the Latin American patent system.
Please follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for all IP related updates. We’ll see you back here next week!
Good morning, readers. Summer is in full swing here in New York City and we couldn’t be happier after the past winter. We invite you to take a look at the latest foreign filing headlines for the week of June 16th:
- You should take those FIFA logos off of your Twitter profile now, as they are sending cease and desist letters to users throughout the World Cup.
- As most people have heard by now, the USPTO has rescinded the Washington Redskins trademark. This article looks at how much it would cost for the team to change their name.
- This quiz is tougher than you’d think: play “guess that invention” now to see if you can figure out the purpose of various 18th and 19th century patent models.
- Last week Tesla opened up its patent portfolio to an unprecedented “good faith” use by competitors.
Please follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for all relevant patent updates throughout the week. We’ll see you back here next week for another roundup.
Good morning, please check out the latest headlines in foreign filing news for the week of May 12th:
- It was a record year for patent trolls (or NPEs) as a record 6,092 new patent cases were filed in U.S. District Courts. Apple was the number 1 target of patent lawsuits this past year, and the most active troll was Melvino Technologies with 137 cases. Check out this interesting read here.
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), recently proposed the reduction of fees for trademark applications and renewals.
- EPO President Benoit Battistelli and President of the Turkish Patent Institute, Dr. Habip Asan, opened a conference to boost cooperation on innovation in Istanbul.
- The US government is coming under pressure from lawmakers to act against India at the World Trade Organization for violations of patent rules.
Have a great weekend. Please follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for more updates relating to IP and foreign filing!
Good afternoon! I think it’s safe to say that winter is officially behind us and we couldn’t be happier at the inovia headquarters. Check out the latest foreign filing updates we have been collecting from the past week:
- A unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court now makes it easier to win patent litigation legal fees.
- Now that’s something you don’t see every day! In a surprising twist, a shoe maker sues a patent troll.
- China’s new trademark law came into effect yesterday, strengthening the legal protection of trademarks and intellectual property.
- ZTE, a leading Chinese smartphone manufacturer, aims to increase its presence in international markets through increasing its number of patents.
That’s all for this week! Please check back in next Friday and follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP for more updates.
Sit back in the saddle and put on your spectacles… it’s round up time!
- The US Department of Commerce’s USPTO announced the creation of a new Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC), led by Mark Powell. Read more.
- More news out of the USPTO: Patents for Humanity was renewed as an annual program, recognizing businesses, inventors, non-profits, and universities.
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy postponed a patent reform bill, making this the fourth time the panel has delayed action on the bill.
- Are you registering for a trademark in the near future? We understand how costly this process can be for entrepreneurs and business owners. Check out these three tips to maximize your savings.
- inovia news: Please check out the list of upcoming events we have lined up. We’ll be all over the globe this year and would love to get together.
Follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP to learn more about our foreign filing platform.