A few years ago, the UK Intellectual Property Office introduced a system under which it is possible to request from it an opinion on questions of infringement and validity of UK patents. Such opinions are not binding, but the system is intended to offer a relatively speedy and low cost method of obtaining an assessment of the strength of a patent that will assist parties reach settlements in disputes, and reduce the likelihood of a case proceeding to litigation. All opinions are publicly available.
When the current version of the European Patent Convention (EPC 2000) came into force recently, a new procedure was introduced by which, in very limited circumstances, a decision of a Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office could be subject to review. Such a "Petition for Review" is decided by the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal.
The highest judicial instance responsible for intellectual property litigation in England has previously been the House of Lords, one of the two Houses of Parliament. That has now changed, with the opening of the Supreme Court (SC) on 1 October 2009.
Thailand recently agreed to become a member of the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), and it has now been announced that its instrument of accession to the PCT was submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on 24 September 2009.
The EPO has issued a notice providing clarification of amended Rule 36 EPC that comes into force on 1 April 2010 and will impose more stringent deadlines on the filing of divisional patent applications.
The theme of the 2020 conference is Sustainable Manufacturing and will discuss strategies for manufacturing products in a way that aims to reduce pollution, energy use and waste, whilst remaining commercially viable.
Although a stay of national proceedings is the ‘default’ position in the UK, the stay was refused in this instance because of the combination of an absolute right of appeal, a minimum of two years to appeal and the potential of the ping pong effect before the EPO.