Official news report July 2011

Published: 29 July 2011
By: Tibor Gold

The following report on the latest official news is from the July 2011 issue of the CIPA Journal.


The Patents County Court (Financial Limits) Order 2011 (S.I. 2011/1402) came into force on 14 June 2011. The Order contains transitional provisions.

Community Patent/enhanced co-operation

After minor revisions following discussions by a working group, the proposed regulations for implementing an enhanced co-operation regime for a unified EU patent have been approved by the Competitiveness Council at its meeting on 27 June. See Baroness Wilcox’s statement published in this issue in Committee news on page 415 of the July CIPA Journal. The proposed regulations will now go to the European Parliament for approval. The Council and the Commission have stated that the complaint filed with the ECJ by Italy and Spain will not delay the introduction of the unitary patent, but Italy has already said that, if Parliament passes the regulations, it will file another action attacking them. Source: click here.

Commission’s report on second monitoring of pharma patent settlements

The European Commission has published a report on its second monitoring exercise into patent settlements in the pharmaceuticals sector. The monitoring exercise covers the period January to December 2010. The Commission found that 89 patent settlement agreements were reached between originator and generic companies in 2010 but the number of settlements that are potentially anti-competitive has decreased significantly.


New IPO research papers…
were published this month, click here for details.

Business hours
From 15 July, the IPO has introduced new business hours, changing the times and days it is open for business for the filing of new patent and trade mark applications which do not make a declaration of priority from an earlier application. These changes are introduced through Directions under section 120(1) of the Patents Act 1977 and section 80(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, to see click here. It is now possible to file such applications at any time on any day and the application will be given the date accordingly. For priority applications and for the filing of all other documents the IPO will be open all day Monday to Friday. The IPO proposes to amend the Registered Design Rules 2006 correpondingly, for design applications.

Manual of Patent Practice
On 1 July, further updates were published when substantive changes were made to Sections 3, 5, 14, 17, 21, 27, 37, 60, 72, 76, 76A, 123, 125A, the Table of Cases and the Index. Click here.

Litigation Manual
Also updated: see it here. The main changes include amendments to chapters 4 and 5 and there is a new chapter 13 concerning reviews of opinions under section 74B.

EPO news

Better search tool for Board decisions
See the notice here.

Guidelines for Examination amended
In particular, Part C-IV, 4.6.2 has been modified in order to take into account the decisions of the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal in the ‘broccoli’ (G 2/07) and ‘tomato’ (G 1/08) cases bearing on the correct interpretation of the term ‘essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals’ as used in the European Patent Convention to exclude such processes from patentability.

OHIM news

OHIM and WIPO sign co-operation MOU
OHIM and WIPO have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate on the use of IT systems, data-sharing, human resources and training. The parties will co-operate in updating and improving the content and function of their databases through the exchange of data and technical information, and by sharing work for loading data. The databases concerned include their classification databases, WIPO's Global Brand Database and OHIM's TMview and design databases. See the press release.

OHIM has issued a notice to the effect that, as part of a project to harmonise seniority databases in the EU, OHIM is cooperating with a number of national offices to compare entries held nationally with those in the CTM Register. The project will involve establishing links between entries in the national and Community databases and making the information accessible online, in order to provide better IP protection and greater legal certainty for users. Click here to see

Domain names

ICANN board votes to launch new generic top-level domain names in 2012
ICANN's board, in a majority decision, has approved plans to launch new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). Applicants will be able to select their own domain names. For example, applicants will be able to apply for community and geographical strings (such as .london), generic strings, like .brandname, and ones in non-Latin scripts. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012. It will cost an eye-watering $185,000 (£114,000) to apply for the suffixes and applicants will need to meet high technical standards and show a legitimate claim to the domain.
Sources: PLC IP & IT Newsletter; ICANN, press release, 20 June 2011.

Tibor Gold

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