Posts Tagged: "Europe"

Scholars Warn EU Commission Not to Upend Delicate SEP Balance

Four scholars with the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) have sent comments to the European Commission urging against any changes to the EU’s legal framework for licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs) that would limit SEP holders’ ability to seek injunctions against alleged infringers. The ICLE scholars write: “It is simply not helpful for a regulatory body to impose a particular vision of licensing negotiations if the goal is more innovation and greater ultimate returns to consumers.” The comments come in response to the Commission’s February 2022 Call for evidence, which explained that “some users have found that the system for licensing SEPs is not transparent, predictable or efficient. This initiative seeks to create a fair and balanced licensing framework and may combine legislative and non-legislative action.” The feedback period ended May 9 and asked stakeholders to submit their views on: “(i) transparency; (ii) the concept of licensing on FRAND terms and conditions, including the level of licensing; and (iii) effective enforcement.”

Trademark, Design and Copyright Landmarks in Europe During 2021

Last week, IPWatchdog selected five significant patent developments in Europe, examining what has happened this year and what can be expected in 2022. Here, we review five of the top trademark and copyright decisions and legislative changes across Europe and what’s coming up in the new year. One of the most significant trademark decisions of 2021 came in a case over Hasbro’s EUTM registration for MONOPOLY. The registration, for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 28 and 41, was declared invalid by the EUIPO Second Board of Appeal on the basis that Hasbro had acted in bad faith. On April 21, the EU General Court upheld that decision.

Five Key Patent Developments in Europe for 2021

As part of its review of 2021, IPWatchdog takes a look back on five patent stories from the past year in Europe, and highlights what further developments to expect in 2022. In 2021, Europe took a giant leap towards the implementation of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC). After years of delays arising from disputes over rules and language, the U.K. signing up and then withdrawing, and constitutional objections filed in Germany, it now seems highly likely that the new system will launch in late 2022. The pivotal step in this process was the decision by Germany’s Federal Constitutional on July 9 to reject as inadmissible two applications seeking to prevent the country from ratifying the UPC Agreement. (BVerfG, Beschluss des Zweiten Senats vom 23. Juni 2021- 2 BvR 2216/20 -, Rn. 1-81.) Following the decision, reported on IPWatchdog here, Germany ratified the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPCA, and Slovenia also did so in October.

Is Europe Running Out of Trademarks? Professor Beebe Talks EU Trade Mark Depletion

Is the European trademark system a victim of its own success? This was the question posed by Professor Barton Beebe of NYU School of Law at the Annual Sir Hugh Laddie Lecture at UCL-IBIL on November 9. Beebe argued that “trademark depletion is the most significant challenge the trademark system will face this century” and that, contrary to conventional wisdom,…

EUIPO Report Reveals More Than 90% of Online Counterfeit Sales are Sent to EU Through Postal Services

On October 25, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) issued a study exploring the growing misuse of e-commerce channels for trade in counterfeits. The report provides a quantitative review of both the expansion of Internet commerce as well as a growing number of counterfeit seizures by border officials in recent years. The EUIPO’s report also profiles common aspects of counterfeit supply chains, as well as regulatory frameworks established to reduce the spread of counterfeits online.

Building High-Quality Patent Portfolios in the United States and Europe: Part I – Intervening Prior Art

One ingredient that distinguishes a good patent portfolio from a great patent portfolio can be the synergistic strength of its U.S. and European patent family members. To develop this strength, it is not enough to have a U.S. attorney and a European attorney simply coordinate the procedural strategy for filing an application; rather, the drafter and manager of the application should analyze important issues upfront and prepare a patent application that accounts for the substantive differences between U.S. examination, U.S. courts, European examination, and national courts in Europe.

IPW Webinar: Protecting Medicinal and Plant Products in Europe with Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs)

  Generally speaking, patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the first patent application. While 20 years seems like a long term of protection, many years can be eaten up during patent examination proceedings. An even larger number of years can waste away as the result of the regulatory approval processes, particularly medicinal products (both human and…

Qualcomm Suffers Court Setback in EU Antitrust Case

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last week ruled against Qualcomm in an antitrust case over UMTS-compliant baseband chipsets. The case dates back to April 2010, when UK company Icera Inc. filed a complaint accusing Qualcomm of predatory pricing by supplying three chipsets to its customers Huawei and ZTE at below cost price…. The judgment gives the Commission the green light to seek a broad range of information in antitrust investigations, which may have implications for actions against other tech companies.

Europe’s Top Five (Non-Patent) IP Developments of 2020

In a previous piece, we covered the top five patent developments of the year in Europe. Here, we review some of the key cases and legislation that shaped 2020 in other areas of IP, including trademarks, copyright, design and legislative actions. At number one, in its judgment in Sky v SkyKick (Case C-371/18) in January, the CJEU said that an EU trademark cannot be invalidated for lack of clarity and precision, and provided guidance on what constitutes bad faith. The decision reassured owners of trademarks in Europe, who had feared that many marks would be invalidated if the Advocate General’s Opinion were followed.

The Top Five European Patent Developments of 2020

It’s the time of year to reflect upon the cases and trends that have shaped IP over the past 12 months. Here are our picks for the top five in patents from Europe. First, it’s been a year of ups and downs for the EU’s attempt to create a Unitary Project and Unified Patent Court. (UPC) In March, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court said that the Act of Approval of the UPC Agreement in the country was void as not enough members were present at the vote. Following the UK government’s decision that it would withdraw from the project, the Court’s decision was seen as potentially a terminal blow.

Case Study: Recently Granted Epitope-Based Antibody Patents in the United States, Europe and Japan

Patents involving antibody medicines (antibody patents) are largely grouped into patents specified by antibody amino acid sequences (antibody sequence-based patents) and those not (non-sequence-based patents). Non-sequence-based patents have a broad scope and are thus very useful for protecting antibody medicines. Here, I investigate a recent trend in antibody patents characterized by an antibody-binding site in an antigen.

Over-Stretched and Under-Resourced: General Data Protection Regulation Two Years On

In 2018, after years of planning, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced by authorities across Europe. It aimed to modernize the laws that protect individuals’ private information; laws which hadn’t been updated for nearly two decades. The GDPR was designed to give formidable power to data protection authorities. The threat of fines of up to €20 million or up to 4% of an organization’s global annual turnover (depending on which is greater) had been established. Two years on, although there have been over 160,000 data breaches reported, only a small number of companies have been issued with a punishment…. Enforcement has indeed varied widely across countries, and last year we caught a glimpse of what the data breach landscape may look like in terms of fines in the UK. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued intentions to fine British Airways £183 million, in addition to a potential £3 billion compensation pay-out, after the personal data of around 500,000 customers was exposed from their website and app. Marriott have also been issued with an intention to fine in the sum of £99m. In comparison, almost a third of countries reportedly have yet to issue a single fine.

Privacy Policies and the Value of Data in Bankruptcy Sales

The last few years have seen unprecedented changes in the legal landscape concerning data protection and privacy. The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became enforceable in May 2018. In July 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was enacted, and it became effective January 1, 2020. In response to the GDPR and the CCPA, many businesses are updating their privacy policies to comply with these laws. While crafting these updates, drafters should be cognizant of the effect such policies could have not only in the short term, but also down the road. For example, in the bankruptcy context, the content of a company’s privacy policy is important. If a privacy policy does not inform customers that their data may be sold in a bankruptcy proceeding, courts are likely to impose restrictions on the sale of that data. These restrictions can significantly decrease the value of such assets. Because of this reality, drafters should keep a few considerations in mind as they update privacy policies to comply with new laws and maximize the value of data assets.

The Top Five European IP Developments of 2019—and Five to Watch for 2020

As the year winds down, IPWatchdog is running a series of articles on the top stories of 2019 and what’s ahead for the year to come. In Europe, all eyes will be on Brexit and its effect on IP rights, the Unwired Planet case, and the Skykick trademark decision, among others. Overall, IP law developments across the EU have offered decidedly more clarity for IP owners than in the United States this year. Here are the highlights:  

Resale of E-Books Requires Copyright Authorization, Rules CJEU

The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that supply to the public by downloading, for permanent use, of an e-book is covered by the concept of “communication to the public” rather than “distribution to the public.” Under Article 3(3) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (Infosoc Directive), the communication to the public right is not exhausted by any communication to the public or making available to the public. The dispute in this case was between two associations representing copyright holders on one hand and Tom Kabinet, which operates a website with a virtual market of second-hand e-books offered via a reading club, on the other hand. The associations argued that Tom Kabinet was making an unauthorized communication to the public.