Category: Patents

1
AI Can Invent – Australia is First to Recognise Non-Human Inventorship
2
Finally – German Constitutional Court Clears the Way for the Unified Patent Court
3
Battle of the ballet shoes: UK court finds infringement of registered community design
4
Australia aligns with the U.S. and EU by adopting ‘exhaustion of rights’ doctrine
5
PTAB Decisions Can Now Be Nominated Anonymously
6
PTAB’s Motion to Amend Patentability Powers
7
COVID-19: USPTO further extends certain filing and payment deadlines to June 1, 2020 for those affected by COVID-19 outbreak
8
COVID-19: USPTO Offers 30-Day Extension of Filing and Payment Deadlines to Those Affected by COVID-19 Outbreak
9
COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines
10
PTAB designates additional decisions precedential relating to its discretion to deny petitions

AI Can Invent – Australia is First to Recognise Non-Human Inventorship

The Australian Federal Court recently handed down its first-instance judgement in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879 where the central issue considered was whether an artificial intelligence (AI) system could be an ‘inventor’ for the purposes of the Australian Patents Act 1990 (Act) and its corresponding regulations. The Court found that an AI system can be an inventor – where ‘inventor’ may be construed broadly to include a ‘person or thing that invents’1. This decision puts Australia in the spotlight as a favourable country to patent AI-created inventions – for now. Given the subject-matter and controversy generated by this decision, an appeal to the Full Federal Court is almost certain.

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Finally – German Constitutional Court Clears the Way for the Unified Patent Court

Today the German Federal Constitutional Court rejected two applications for an interim injunction against the German implementation of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). The outcome of the decisions is a clear yes to a European patent court system!

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Battle of the ballet shoes: UK court finds infringement of registered community design

The UK IP Enterprise Court has ruled that an Austrian shoe company infringed a registered community design (“RCD”) held by a US based sustainable fashion brand although there was no infringement of the corresponding unregistered community design (“UCD”). The decision is a relatively rare example of a UK, or EU, based Court analyzing fashion items and addressing design novelty issues between 2017 and now. A full copy of the decision can be found here.

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Australia aligns with the U.S. and EU by adopting ‘exhaustion of rights’ doctrine

The High Court of Australia’s recent decision Calidad Pty Ltd v Seiko Epson Corporation [2020] HCA 41 (Calidad) has more closely aligned Australian patent law with its U.S. and European counterparts. Key takeaways from this decision are:

  • the ‘doctrine of exhaustion of rights’ has replaced the ‘implied licence doctrine’;
  • a patent owner’s exclusive rights are extinguished by the first sale of the patented goods;
  • innovators have greater scope to reuse products without risking patent infringement; and
  • patentees seeking greater control over post-sale use should do so through contract law.
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PTAB Decisions Can Now Be Nominated Anonymously

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) now allows “individuals to anonymously nominate any routine decision of the Board for designation as precedential or informative.” (Click here for PTAB Decision Nomination form.)

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PTAB’s Motion to Amend Patentability Powers

In a 2-1 split decision on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Federal Circuit confirmed that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB“) had the authority to reject substitute claims under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101 and 112, statutory grounds not available to the PTAB for evaluating patentability of granted patent claims in inter partes review (“IPR“). (Uniloc 2017 LLC, v. Hulu, LLC et al., Case No. 2019-1686, slip op. at 3 (Fed. Cir. July 22, 2020).)

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COVID-19: USPTO further extends certain filing and payment deadlines to June 1, 2020 for those affected by COVID-19 outbreak

In a Notice issued April 28, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) further extended certain filing and payment deadlines to June 1, 2020, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This Notice supersedes the prior March 31, 2020 Notice that offered 30-day extensions to certain deadlines through April 30, 2020.

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COVID-19: USPTO Offers 30-Day Extension of Filing and Payment Deadlines to Those Affected by COVID-19 Outbreak

In a Notice issued March 31, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) extended certain filing and payment deadlines due between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, by 30 days from the initial due date, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The USPTO’s authority to offer this extension was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 26, 2020.

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COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines

Following similar measures from the EUIPO and other national registries (see here), the UK Intellectual Property Office (the UKIPO), has declared 24 March 2020, and subsequent days until further notice, “interrupted days”. This means that any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until the UKIPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period.

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PTAB designates additional decisions precedential relating to its discretion to deny petitions

On Tuesday, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) designated two decisions precedential and one as informative explaining the circumstances under which the Board will exercise its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) and 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) to deny petitions.  The cases analyzed situations where the prior art and invalidity arguments advanced by Petitioner were similar/identical to those previously considered by the examiner and where the timing of a final decision may coincide with another body’s findings (e.g., a district court trial) regarding validity.  These cases provide guidance to Petitioners and Patent Owners alike about how to construct discretionary denial arguments, in particular regarding the appropriate way to address art that may or may not be cumulative to already-considered references. 

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