Official news February 2012

Published: 24 February 2012
By: Tibor Gold

The following report on the latest official news is from the February 2012 issue of the CIPA Journal.


See elsewhere in this issue for the continuing saga of the Unitary Patent System.

Commission studies on trade secrets and parasitic copying
The Commission has published two substantial studies on the above topics. The one on trade secrets contains a useful overview of the situation in different Member States. The other topic (a.k.a. lookalikes) again shows that the protection available varies considerably across the EU. The reports can be downloaded, respectively, from here; and  here

UK legislation

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Trading) (Wales) Regulations 2012
These Regulations came into force on 31 January 2012.

UK IPO news

The IPO will move from its current London premises in May. More details as soon as full details become available.

eServices questionnaire
The IPO is ‘scoping’ the extension of its e-services for all kinds of registered IP, click here to see.

IPO and CIPO start PPH pilot
The IPO announced on 31 January 2012 the start of a two-year trial Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme with the Canadian Patent Office CIPO. On a trial basis the PPH agreement with CIPO will be on the new ‘MOTTAINAI’ model.

EPO news

EPO announces updates to three PPH programmes
The EPO has announced updates to three Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programmes with the US, Japan and the Trilateral Offices. The programmes have all been extended until 28 January 2014. As from 28 January 2012, the applicant must follow the procedures and requirements for filing a request with the EPO for participation in a PPH pilot programme set out in the relevant notice. Click here and related notices.

Rule 71 and 71a EPC – reminder
The EPO has posted a new notice concerning amended Rule 71 and new Rule 71a EPC as to the procedure to be followed after the Examining Division has informed the applicant of the text in which it intends to grant the European patent (communication pursuant to Rule 71(3) EPC), and added a new Rule 71a EPC as to the conclusion of the grant procedure. These amendments will enter into force on 1 April 2012. Click here to see.

EPO-JPO agree to further co-operation on machine translations
Click here to see.

EPO publishes handbook of quality procedures
Click here to see.

Patent filings – new record in 2011
In 2011, despite the economic and financial crisis, the EPO received 243,000 applications, 3% up on the 2010 record figure of 237,500. It granted 62 115 patents, 7% more than in 2010.

OHIM news

Lithuania, Romania and Sweden join TMview™
Trade marks from Lithuania, Romania and Sweden have been added to the TMview search tool, which now provides free access to trade mark applications and registrations of 17 offices.

Reimbursement of fees
Decision Nº ADM-11-98 of the President of OHIM, relating to the regularisation of the reimbursement of fees, has been published by OHIM seen here.

Tibor Gold

What is ESAB?

IPKat reports that the EPO has recruited an expert group of 11 advisors to sit on a newly-minted advisory council, to be known as the Economic and Social Advisory Board, or ESAB. Click here to see.

The purpose of ESAB is to tell the EPO how to direct its efforts when studying the impact of patents on the economy and society. These studies are to be funded by the EPO and will be supported by the EPO’s Chief Economist and a secretariat, but the Board will be completely independent in selecting topics and deciding how the studies and workshops will be organised. The Board’s findings will be published.

At its inaugural meeting last week, the Board selected its first three topics for study, as follows:

  • the role and structure of fees;
  • the importance of patent quality; and
  • challenges to the functioning of the patent system from overlapping sets of patent rights (so-called patent thickets).

And what is CDP?

IPKat also explains that the acronym stands for Catalogue of Differing Practices, said by the EPO to show the remaining differences in substantive practice between the Trilateral Offices (EPO, USPTO and JPO) as well as KIPO (South Korea) and SIPO (China), and to be an “important milestone”. More found here.

ACTA your age – EU countries sign Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

On 26 January 2012, 22 EU countries signed the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), between the EU's member states and Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US. However, the European Parliament has still to approve it before it enters into force. ACTA's key objective is to create a legal framework with international standards that can enforce intellectual property laws against infringement. For a more detailed explanation of ACTA, click here.

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