JULY 13, 2015 | EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE INTRODUCES APPLICANT-FRIENDLY RENEWAL FEES FOR THE FORTHCOMING UNITARY PATENT RIGHT

On June 24, 2015, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced an agreement on “business-friendly” annual fees for renewing the upcoming Unitary Patent (UP) right. The so-called ‘True Top 4’ fee structure implies that the UP renewal fees shall amount to the total sum of the current renewal fee costs in the four countries in which European patents currently are most frequently validated, namely The United Kingdom, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

Under the current system, European patents – after being granted by the EPO – must be validated individually in each country for which patent protection is sought, resulting in a bundle of individual national patents. Therefore, European patents are referred to as batch patents. This practice leads to substantial administrative and financial overheads for applicants, especially for individuals, for education and research institutes as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): the costs for maintaining a European batch patent in 25 European Union Member States (except Italy and Spain) add up to 29,500 Euro for 10 years, and nearly as high as 159,000 Euro for the full 20 years.

By contrast, the cost of renewing the new UP right will be less than 5,000 Euro for a 10-year-lifespan. And the cumulative total to be paid for maintaining an UP over the full 20‑year term will be just 35,500 Euro. A more-detailed chart can be accessed here.

In particular, the low fees for the average patent lifetime of ten years in combination with a scope of protection for 25 Member States are very applicant-friendly and most likely will make the UP a competitively viable option for SMEs, too.

 

 

 

MAY 05, 2015 | CJEU DISMISSES SPAIN’S CHALLENGE OF THE UNITARY PATENT PACKAGE

By decision of May 05, 2015, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has rejected the Spanish complaints against the Unitary Patent Package.

Spain’s challenge was directed against two acts implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of European Unitary Patent, namely against the Regulation regarding the establishment of unitary patent protection (No. 1257/2012) as well as against the Regulation regarding the applicable translation arrangements (No. 1260/2012). Together with the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court, these Regulations form the so-called Unitary Patent Package.

By means of said decision, one of the last remaining obstacles for the creation of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent has been removed. The Package may come into force after ratification by at least thirteen Member States, including, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Currently it has been ratified by six of the Member States.

 

 

 

MARCH 16, 2015 | VALIDATION OF EUROPEAN PATENTS IN MOROCCO (MA)

With effect from March 01, 2015, it will be possible to validate European patent applications and patents in Morocco at the applicant's request. Unfortunately, such validation is not available for applications filed prior to that date, or for any European patents resulting from such applications.

European applications and patents validated for Morocco will have the same legal effects there as Moroccan ones, and will be subject to Moroccan patent law. With other words, after validation, they will confer essentially the same protection as patents granted by the European Patent Office for the now 38 member states of the European Patent Organization.

The validation fee currently amounts to 240 Euro. It must be paid to the European Patent Office within six months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report, or, where applicable, within the period for performing the acts required for an international application's entry into the European phase.

 

 

 

MARCH 30, 2015 | AMENDEMENTS TO JAPANESE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW

Following the Act on the Partial Revision of the Patent Act and Other Acts of March 2014, several amendments to different aspects of intellectual property rights will enter into force in the course of the year 2015 in Japan. These include:

  • Trademark law: Effective April 01, 2015, the scope of trademark types eligible for registration will be expanded to include animated marks (movement), hologram marks, color per se marks, sound marks as well as position marks.
  • Design law: With effect from May 13, 2014, Japan joins the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Therefore, the deposit of an industrial design at the International Bureau of the WIPO then will have the same effect as national application in Japan would have.
  • Patent law: Effective May 14, 2015, an opposition system for granted patents – as abolished in 2003 – will be reintroduced. Thus, in Japan it will then be possible to oppose patents within a 6-month period after publication of grant as well as to file a nullity action at any time during its duration.
  • Patent procedural law: Likewise with effect from May 14, 2015, applicants are entitled to extend certain time limits required for filing, examination, and other procedures, in case any exceptional unavoidable circumstances, for example disasters or catastrophes, happen.

 

 

 

MARCH 11, 2015 | ZIMBABWE JOINS THE MADRID SYSTEM

Zimbabwe became the 94th member of the Madrid System. Effective March 11, 2015, Zimbabwe can be designated within an international trademark application, or within a designation subsequent to an international trademark registration. There are no information on any individual national fee.