An Wouters

Formalities Officer

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Culliganlaan 1B
BE-1831 Diegem (Brussels)

Tel +032 (0)2 403 17 29
Fax +032 (0)2 403 12 12

Created 14 March 2018
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Het Europees Octrooibureau heeft zijn statistieken voor 2017 gepubliceerd. Het aantal octrooiaanvragen is met 3,9 procent gestegen tot een nieuw record van 165.590. België verliest een plaatsje in de hitlijst en eindigt dertiende met 2155 aanvragen.


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Created 06 February 2018
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The Broad Institute has been dealt a big blow in its battle for CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property, with the European Patent Office revoking one of its patents.

CRISPR/Cas9 has been hailed as the ‘scientific discovery of the century’ due to its capacity to modify the genome for the treatment of genetic diseases. The Broad Institute, set up by MIT and Harvard in 2004 to use genomics to improve human health, successfully obtained a patent from the US Patent Office for its use in eukaryotes. However, the European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked the first of several patents obtained by the Broad Institute, citing a clear lack of novelty.

Created 06 February 2018
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Bank of America has more blockchain-related patents than any other firm in the U.S., according to a new report by New York-based law firm EnvisionIP.

According to the report, Bank of America has 43 patents while Mastercard and IBM have 27 each, followed by 14 from Fidelity.

The report counted a total of 1,045 blockchain related patents. Of this number, about 60% of patents were filed by blockchain companies, while the financial services sector accounted for 20%.

Read more at Finextra and Payments Source.

Created 08 January 2018
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A review of 2017 by Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog in 10 patent stories.

Created 08 December 2017
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China's State Intellectual Property Office received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (208,830) and the European Patent Office (159,358). On a per-capita basis, patent filings in China ranked behind those in Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the U.S.

Created 07 December 2017
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The USPTO has finalized a new set of fees: Final Rules

USPTO Patent Fees to Go Up effective January 2018
Patentlyo | Nov 14, 2017
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) sets or adjusts patent fees as authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The USPTO has announced that it will increase some of its fees effective from January 16, 2018. The changes will also apply to the international design applications under the Hague Agreement.

Created 20 November 2017
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The New Yorker - by Adam Davidson ...Recently the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe acquired a major new source of revenue. It has become the owner of six patents for Restasis, a drug for dry-eye syndrome that is the second-highest-selling product of the pharmaceutical company Allergan. Soon, tribal leaders say, they will have a small portfolio of patents, covering other medicines and also computer software and hardware. No tribe members were involved in designing these products. The business opportunity fell into their lap, thanks to an intellectual-property lawyer in Texas named Michael Shore.  Complete article on the New Yorker website...
Created 04 October 2017
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The EPO has published a set of 12 case studies focusing on how small and medium-sized enterprises use patents to their advantage. With them, the Office aims to raise awareness of the importance of patents among SMEs and to provide examples of good practice. Read the case studies
Created 27 July 2017
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By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco 20 Jul 2017. The freeze on long-held plans to approve a single patent court for Europe is a result of the actions of the president of the European Patent Office, according to German media reports. The Unitary Patent Court (UPC) has been in progress since 2012, but last month Germany's constitutional court unexpectedly ordered a halt to legislation ratifying it. The German government's approval is essential for the court to move forward.
Created 19 May 2017
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Typical Case Review of Shanghai IP Court — BMW’s Trademark Infringement & Unfair Competition Dispute Recently, Shanghai Intellectual Property Court has issued the Typical Cases of Shanghai Intellectual Property Court (2016). In this issue of newsletter we shall review the dispute between BMW (BAYERISCHE MOTOREN WERKE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT) vs. Shanghai Chuangjia Garments Co. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Chuangjia Company) etc. for trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Court Findings After trial, Shanghai IP Court held that the evidence provided by BMW in this case is sufficient to prove that the registered trademarks “BMW” and “寶馬” have already been well-known trademarks at least since 2007. Knowing that “BMW”, “寶馬” are well-known trademarks, Chuangjia Company, Dema Company and Zhou still colluded maliciously and jointly established BMN brand franchise system as well as used the infringing logos by production and sale of the allegedly infringing goods, licensing the BMN brand, advertising promotion and other business activities, which constituted trademark infringement as well as unfair competition. Therefore, Shanghai IP Court made a judgment that Chuangjia Company, Dema Company and Zhou immediately stop infringement on BMW’s exclusive rights on the registered trademarks “寶馬”, “BMW”, and Dema Company shall stop acts of unfair competition of using the Chinese version of GERMAN BMW GROUP (INTL) HOLDING LIMITED, Chuangjia Company, Dema Company and Zhou shall publish a statement on the newspaper of China Industry & Commerce News, eliminating the impact on BMW caused by infringement act, and that Chuangjia Company, Dema Company and Zhou jointly compensate BMW for the economic losses of 3 million RMB including reasonable expenses.

The parties did not appeal after the judgment. Typical Significance This is a novel and typical case of trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute with system establishment, full imitation, and comprehensive infringement. This case involves many legal issues, and the infringement acts found have the following obvious characteristics:

  1. The accused infringers establish franchise system through trademark assignment, registration, brand name registration, etc. to show the “legitimacy” of its use of the logo, trying to conceal the nature and purpose of the infringement acts.
  2. The accused infringers confuse the public through comprehensive imitation of the right holder’s logos, not only including the infringement act on all the major trademarks of the right holder during the process of business operation, but also including the unfair competition act of trade name infringement and even other infringement acts.
  3. The accused infringers completely imitated the right holder’s logos by division of labor and collaboration, assignment and registration of trademarks and trade names, as well as committed three-dimensional and full range of infringement acts by means of copying infringement through franchise system, etc. with huge impact and serious damage. Therefore, such malicious infringement acts should be severely punished.
Created 11 May 2017
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Researchers at the Leuven-based research centre imec have developed a new type of chip that can learn from its experiences and compose its own music.

Traditional chips repeat tasks that the programmers installed on them. Inspired by the way the human brain works, the new chip can recognise patterns in data, and, like a child, learn to perform additional tasks by taking into account earlier experiences. According to imec, the chip is the first in the world that is capable of learning so much on its own.

The chip can, for example, compose its own music. After the researchers inputted a series of minuets into the chip, the chip learned to recognise patterns and rhythms and created its own musical notes. The music, which still strongly resembles the original minuets, can be heard on imec’s website

The new chip is based on advanced memory chip technology, known as OxRAM, capable of processing a lot of information at low energy and low cost. According to imec, self-learning chips could be used in the management of large data flows, like road traffic analysis, and healthcare.

“When used in heart sensors, self-learning chips can identify subtle changes in heart rate that may pose potential health risks,” said imec in a statement. “This would enable health monitoring that is tailored to individual patients.”
Created 04 May 2017
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Federal Circuit Rules that Patent Holder Cannot Evade Patent Marking Statute with Retroactive Statutory Disclaimer In Rembrandt Wireless Technologies, LP v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., No. 16-1729 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that a patent holder could not use a retroactive statutory disclaimer to avoid having to fully comply with the patent marking statute. The relevant statute, 35 U.S.C. § 287, states that "[p]atentees, and persons making, offering for sale, or selling within the United States any patented article for or under them, or importing any patented article into the United States, may give notice to the public that the same is patented" by appropriately marking the patented article. The statute further provides that, "[i]n the event of failure so to mark, no damages shall be recovered by the patentee in any action for infringement, except on proof that the infringer was notified of the infringement and continued to infringe thereafter, in which event damages may be recovered only for infringement occurring after such notice." Rembrandt had sued Samsung for infringement of a number of claims of two of its patents, US Patent Nos. 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. During the time period in which Samsung was allegedly infringing, Rembrandt had licensed the '580 patent to Zhone Technologies, which manufactured products embodying claim 40 of the patent, which was one of the claims Rembrandt had asserted in litigation. Zhone did not mark these products with the patent number. Before trial, Samsung moved to limit Rembrandt's damages on the grounds that Rembrandt did not comply with the marking statute (because the product manufactured by Zhone was not marked) and that Rembrandt was therefore not entitled to damages for infringement of any of the claims of the '580 patent for any time period before Samsung was notified of the infringement by the filing of the complaint. In response, Rembrandt withdrew claim 40 from its infringement allegations and filed a statutory disclaimer in the US Patent and Trademark Office to disclaim claim 40. The District Court accepted Rembrandt's argument that this statutory disclaimer removed its obligation to mark claim 40, for the reason that "a disclaimed patent claim is treated as if it never existed." The Federal Circuit disagreed, stating that such an interpretation defeated the purpose of the patent marking statute, because allowing Rembrandt to use a disclaimer to avoid the consequences of its failure undermined the public notice function of the marking statute. However, the Federal Circuit noted that it has not been resolved whether the marking statute applies on a patent-by-patent basis or on a claim-by-claim basis, and the failure to mark claim 40 may limit only the award of damages based on claim 40. The Federal Circuit elected to remand the case for determination of this issue.
Created 14 March 2017
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The number of applications to the European Patent Office (the EPO) coming from Belgian investors and companies increased by 7% in 2016, to a record number, 2,184. This was announced by the President of the institution, Benoit Battistelli, yesterday (Tuesday). Belgium recorded the highest growth in patent applications amongst the European countries that submit the most applications to the EPO. In total, the EPO recorded 159,353 patent applications, a stable figure compared to the previous year (160,004). Amongst the 38 states using the Office, China (up by 24.8%) and South Korea (up by 6.5%) recorded the highest growth. In contrast, the U.S. (down by 5.9%), although the leader in terms of applications to the EPO, and Japan (down 1.9%) decreased. In Belgium, where patent requests had already increased by 6% in 2015, the highest increases in 2016 were seen in the fine organic chemicals industry (up by 31.6%), biotechnologies (up by 30.4%) and the I.T. industry (up by 28.1%). With 269 applications, Solvay was Belgium's most active company in this sphere, ahead of the microelectronics and nanotechnologies centre Imec (169), Agfa-Gevaert (105) and Umicore (66). The universities of Ghent (55) and Leuven (31) are respectively ranked 7th and 10th in terms of patent applications for 2016. At the regional level, Flanders leads the pack with 64.4% of Belgian applications overall, ahead of Wallonia (19.5%) and Brussels. On a provincial level, Flemish Brabant was the most active (having 16.9% of the total), whilst Namur recorded the highest growth (up by 43% relative to last year). Lars Andersen The Brussels Times
Created 13 March 2017
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Finally, the new innovation income deduction (IID) has entered into force. On 20 February 2017, the law with respect the IID has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The patent income deduction regime (PID) has been replaced with the IID regime in order to make it BEPS compliant, i.e. avoiding that business profits would be shifted artificially to a country with a beneficial regime for intellectual property (IP). In contrast to the PID regime, the qualifying patent/innovation income will be calculated on a net basis. The percentage of this deduction will be raised from 80% under the PID regime to 85% under the IID regime resulting in an effective tax rate of 5.1% over the life time of the IP. The new regime entered into force on 1 July 2016. more on
Created 13 March 2017
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A trademark battle between the U.S. Lonely Planet Company and UPTOP Group was closed recently. The No.6337705 trademark LONELY PLANET and its figure were filed for registration by UPTOP Group in 2007, certified to be used in Class 18 products including wallet, bag, travel bag and briefcase. In January 2010, the registration was preliminary approved. Lonely Planet Company then filed an opposition to the Trademark Office (TMO) under State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) of China. After examination, TMO rejected Lonely Planet Company’s opposition and approved the registration of LONELY PLANET and its figure. Lonely Planet Company filed an application to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) for reexamination. In November 2013, TRAB affirmed TMO’s decision. The Lonely Planet Company brought the case to the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court. The Court held that the LONELY PLANET trademark of Lonely Planet Company enjoys high reputation before the trademark in dispute filed for registration. The LONELY PLANET and its figure which certified to be used in travel products have a close relation with travel. The trademark in dispute has done damage to the prior right of Lonely Planet Company. The LONELY PLANET and its figure does not harm to Lonely Planet Company when certified to be used on wallet, bag, travel bag and briefcase products. So the Court revoked the decision made by TRAB and ordered TRAB to make new decision. Lonely Planet Company then brought the case to Beijing Higher People’s Court to revoke the registration of LONELY PLANET and its figure on wallet, bag, travel bag and briefcase. After hearing, the Court held that LONELY PLANET and its figure certified to be used on wallet, bag, travel bag and briefcase have close relationship with travel, and such trademark and figure have done damage to the prior right of Lonely Planet Company, so the trademark in dispute should not be registered. So the Court ordered TRAB to make a new decision. (by Wang Guohao)

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