BREXIT – what happens to UK and EU Intellectual Property Rights…?

IP rights and BREXITWell in reality, it will be business as usual for at least the next 2 years.  During that period the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) will work with the UK Government to negotiate for the best outcome for intellectual property rights holders.

Patents

  • NO CHANGE
  • The European patent system is independent of the EU, and so Brexit will have no effect on European patents or applications. The UK’s membership of the World International Property Organisation (WIPO) will also be unaffected.
  • UK patent attorneys will still be able to prosecute European patent applications for all UK and overseas clients.
  • European patent applicants will not lose any rights and patents already obtained via the European patent office are unaffected.
  • UK patent attorneys can still prosecute Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent applications – which provide protection in the applicant’s chosen countries – for all UK and overseas clients.
  • PCT patent applicants will not lose any rights.

 

Trade Marks & Registered EU Designs

  • NO IMMEDIATE CHANGES… There will be a negotiation period of at least two years before the UK leaves the EU – and that period will only start once the UK officially notifies the EU of its intention to leave, which may not happen straight away.
  • European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs) will therefore still give protection in the UK until at least June 2018.
  • The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA), the UK’s Intellectual Property Office and the Minister for Intellectual Property will work to ensure the best possible outcome for owners of intellectual property rights and for practitioners in the UK.
  • They will also work to ensure the transition of all EU-based trade mark and design rights to UK-based protection to be simple and cost effective.

For further information, or to discuss the implications of Brexit on your UK and European Intellectual Property Rights, please contact James Sanderson or Jerry Walder on 01206 571187.

Protecting your Intellectual Property when trading overseas

Protect your IP when you trade overseasWhen you are considering trading internationally you need to make sure that you are protected against your invention being copied or your name, logo or brand being used inappropriately.

Protecting your intellectual property through the use of patents, trade marks and registered design rights defends you against other companies or individuals who may try to copy your goods or pass themselves off as your company.

Do your homework

It is important when looking to move into foreign markets to ensure that you will not be inadvertently infringing the existing rights of other companies within those markets. It is essential to do your research with robust intellectual property searches before embarking on costly and time consuming sales and marketing programmes.

Do I have rights in other countries?

Intellectual property rights are generally territorial. A granted patent or trade mark / design registration in the UK does not give you automatic rights for protection in another country.  You must have applied for and been granted a patent, trade mark or design registration in a particular country in order to have those rights in that country.

Protection within the EU

Having a UK patent, trade mark or registered design does not give you automatic protection within other EU countries. You can file individual applications in each country you would like to seek protection.  Alternatively, you can apply for a European patent or European Community trade mark or design registration.

A European patent application is a single application which if successful will result in a single European patent. To have effect, the granted European patent must then be validated in each European country where protection is required.  This incurs separate fees for each country.

A European Community trade mark or design registration covers all 29 countries of the EU.

Protecting your inventions outside the EU:

Separate patent applications can be filed in each country where you would like to seek protection. Alternatively you can file an International patent application.

There is no such thing as an International patent – only an International application. At a particular point in the process an International application must be converted into separate national applications in the countries of interest and the cost at this stage is comparable to filing separate national patent applications.  Each separate national application then proceeds in the same way as a standard national application.

An International application is ultimately more expensive than filing separate national applications but it gives you more time to decide on the particular countries where you wish to seek protection and also delays expenditure.

Protecting your trade marks outside the EU:

There is no such thing as a single worldwide trade mark registration.  There is an International trade mark application procedure known as the Madrid Protocol which allows a single application to cover a large number of different countries.

Under the Madrid Protocol there must be a ‘home’ trade mark registration or application, for example in the UK or the EU.  As such, you must first file a UK or EU application before you can use the Madrid Protocol system to cover other states.

Protecting your designs outside the EU:

Most countries require separate individual design applications to be filed in that country in order to obtain protection. There is no such thing as a single worldwide or ‘global’ design registration.  There is an International design application procedure known as the Hague Agreement but at present this covers only a limited number of countries.

Do I have to apply straight away in every country?

From the filing date of a first patent application, there begins a 12-month priority period within which further patent applications may be filed in other countries.  These further patent applications may then take the priority of the initial filing date which means that they will be considered as having been filed on the same date as the first application.

Following the filing of a first trade mark or design application there is a 6-month priority period within which design/trade mark applications (for the same design/trade mark) may be filed in other countries.  Those applications can then claim the initial “priority” date of the first application.

The priority period enables you to spread the costs and also allows you to assess the commercial viability of your product before deciding where you wish to seek protection.

Take some advice

Obtaining the most appropriate IP rights for you can be complicated. While much information and application forms are available through the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European registry (OHIM), a qualified patent or trade mark attorney will be able help you to develop an effective strategy for your IP protection and guide you through the process.

Sanderson & Co offer a free half hour consultation at our office in Colchester or London if you would like to discuss your options for international IP protection.

Caroline Ward

Caroline Ward

Contact us to discuss your options.

Caroline Ward
Sanderson & Co
tel: 01206 571187
sandco@sandersons.co.uk
www.sandersons.co.uk

How does IP help small companies grow?

Some companies think that investing in Intellectual Property isn’t right for them…. it’s something that the big boys do…  Wrong!  IP isn’t just for large companies with deep pockets.  UK SME’s file over 10x as many patents and trade mark applications as big companies.   The time and money that you have invested in your innovation and business should be protected by IP rights.

  • IP encourages investment in your company
  • IP protects against unsafe and counterfeit goods
  • Inventions that are protected by patents are valuable business assets
  • Registering your trade mark allows you to safely extend its business use
  • IP protects and supports innovation
  • Innovation promotes business growth
  • Profits from patented inventions attract reduced UK corporation tax through the Patent Box so you get to keep more of your profits to re-invest in business growth

Below is a short film from Ideas Matter – www.ideasmatter.com

IP By Numbers: Video from Ideas Matter on Vimeo

Contact Sanderson & Co to talk about how you can make the best use of IP rights.

What does the Intellectual Property Act 2014 mean for you?

The importance of IP registrationThe Intellectual Property Act 2014 (the Act) will start to come into force on 1st October 2014. The Act seeks to modernise and simplify Intellectual Property law and introduces a number of changes, particularly to UK design law and practice largely as a result of the 2011 Hargreaves Independent Review of IP & Growth.

We have outlined some of the key facts below:

Intentional copying is now a criminal offence

One of the main changes relating to design law is that intentional copying of a UK or European Community registered design will now be a criminal offence. The “infringer” must be aware or have reasonable grounds to suppose that the design in question is registered and so there is an increased importance to indicate the existence of IP rights on products. The maximum penalty for infringement will be 10 years imprisonment or a fine.

The designer owns the rights for commissioned works unless by prior written agreement

Another important change which seeks to bring UK design law into harmony with European Community design law relates to commissioned designs and ownership. The change ensures that, unless there is an agreement to the contrary in place, the actual designer will be the owner of a design created under commission rather than the commissioner. It is therefore important to make sure that written agreements are in place before a design is commissioned to establish clear ownership.

New Design Opinion Service from IPO

Several further design law changes include a new Design Opinion Service operated by the Intellectual Property Office and the implementation of defences to infringement of a UK unregistered design.

Make sure people know your rights exist

In order to recover damages in patent and design infringements it is important that enough information is provided so that an infringing party cannot claim to be unaware that a patent or registered exists. To ensure that an infringing party is aware of existing rights, the patent or registration numbers and the country where the right exists must also be indicated.

In this regard, the Act now stipulates that it is sufficient to provide a web address on the product allowing the relevant information to be accessed online.

Act paves the way for implementation of Unitary Patent Court Agreement

So far as patent law is concerned the Act will enable the UK to implement to Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) for the introduction of a unitary patent covering all member states of the European Union. The implementation of a unitary patent in due course is likely to have a significant positive impact on the costs and procedural efficiency of obtaining protection throughout the EU.

Further patent law changes include expansion of the IPO Patent Opinion Service to consider a range of validity issues not solely limited to novelty and inventiveness and the power for the Comptroller of patents to revoke a patent on his own initiative if an Opinion finds a patent to lack novelty or inventiveness.

For more information concerning the IP act 2014 and how this could have an impact on your business please contact us.

 

Author: Caroline Ward

Caroline Ward

 

 

 

Setting your IP GOAL – Leveraging your IP Rights

The importance of developing an IP strategyYour Intellectual Property (IP) rights can provide a number of significant benefits to your company.

The most obvious benefit is that they can prevent your competitors from copying your products or brands, but they can also be used to generate revenue through licensing or selling your IP rights to others.

It is important to have a  complete strategy for your business when it comes to IP.  Your comprehensive IP strategy should consider four main areas:

In our previous three posts we have discussed Generating IP, Obtaining IP rights and Avoiding IP rights; in this final post in the series we discuss ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you with Leveraging your IP rights.

Passive Approach

What are your competitors doing?

If you are aware of your competitor’s products and brands, then you can be in a better position to assert your rights against those products and brands. Sanderson & Co. can monitor the products and brands of your competitors and can help you to identify potential infringements. We can also provide an assessment of the strength of your IP rights and advise on the likelihood of there being an infringement.

Collaborative Approach

Do you want to compromise?

Sometimes the most appropriate approach is to grant a licence or assignment of your IP rights to a potential infringer.  Sanderson & Co. can assist with negotiating licences or assignments of IP rights, and we can be on hand to review licence and assignment agreements to ensure that they are suitable for your needs from an IP perspective.  We can also work with solicitors on the wider commercial aspects of a deal.

Pro-active Approach

Is further action needed?

Ultimately it may be necessary to assert your IP rights against others. However, this must be done in the right way so as to be effective and so as to avoid you being accused of making groundless threats.

At Sanderson & Co. we can help you to assert your rights in the right way, for example by sending appropriately worded warning letters. We can also assist with providing arguments to present during court proceedings for infringement actions.

The above are just some of the ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you to achieve your GOAL of a comprehensive IP strategy.

If you would like any advice regarding Leveraging IP or any of the other topics in this series of blogs, then do not hesitate to contact Sanderson & Co. to book a free 30-minute consultation. Please remember to mention this blog when booking your consultation.

Setting your IP GOAL – Avoiding IP rights of others

The importance of developing an IP strategyIntellectual Property (IP) rights can be a powerful tool for your business, but also for your competitors’ businesses!

Your business needs to be aware of what other people are doing so that you can avoid infringing their IP rights, find ways to work with them or oppose their rights when necessary.

It is important to have a  complete strategy for your business when it comes to IP.  At Sanderson &Co. we believe that a comprehensive IP strategy should consider four main areas:

In this four-part series of blogs we will explain how we can help you to achieve your IP GOAL.

In our previous post we discussed Obtaining IP rights.  This week we discuss ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you with Avoiding the IP rights of others.

Passive Approach

Do you know what IP rights your competitors have?

If you are aware of your competitors’ IP rights, then you can be in a better position to avoid infringing those rights. Intellectual Property searches for existing IP rights are a good starting point to enable you to identify the IP rights of others. These searches can be tailored to a particular product or brand and to particular competitors.

As well as carrying out IP searches, Sanderson & Co. can also monitor the various IP offices’ registers for IP rights being granted to your competitors.

We can help you to identify IP rights that may affect your business, and help you to avoid those rights by suggesting ways to “work around” them.

Collaborative Approach

Can you reach a compromise? Would licensing be a solution?

We understand that sometimes it is not possible or desirable to work around the IP rights of others. In these cases, you may be able to seek a licence or assignment of the IP rights in question.

Sanderson & Co. can co-ordinate the negotiation of licences or assignments of IP rights, and we can be on hand to review licence and assignment agreements to ensure that they are suitable for your needs from an IP perspective.

Pro-active Approach

Is further action needed?

IP rights are not infallible and it may be that the IP rights granted to your competitors should not have been granted to them. At Sanderson & Co. we can help you to challenge the IP rights of others either at the IP office in question or during court proceedings.

For example, European patents can be opposed during the nine months following grant of the patent. Trade Mark applications can also be opposed after registration. Sanderson & Co. can file these oppositions so that spurious IP rights can be cancelled. We can also assist with providing arguments to present before or during court proceedings.

The above are just some of the ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you to achieve your GOAL of a comprehensive IP strategy.

If you would like any advice regarding Generating IP or any of the other topics in this series of blogs, then do not hesitate to contact Sanderson & Co. to book a free 30-minute consultation. Please remember to mention this blog when booking your consultation.

In our next piece we will be discussing Leveraging your IP rights.

Setting your IP GOAL – Obtaining IP rights for your company

The importance of developing an IP strategyIntellectual Property (IP) rights can provide a number of significant benefits to your company.  So how can you make sure that you secure strong IP protection for your business?

It is important to have a complete strategy for your business when it comes to IP.  At  Sanderson & Co. we believe that a comprehensive IP strategy should consider four main areas:

In this four-part series of blogs we will explain how we can help you to achieve your IP GOAL.

In our previous post we discussed Generating IP.  This week we discuss ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you with Obtaining IP rights.

Geography

Where should I apply for protection?

Registered IP rights, such as Patents, Trade Marks and Designs, are generally only granted for specific countries or regions. For example, a UK patent will only be enforceable in the UK. The costs and requirements for obtaining IP rights in different countries or regions can vary dramatically, but Sanderson & Co. can discuss with you possible filing strategies for obtaining registered IP rights based on your budget, your market and your competitors activities.

Drafting

What should I try to protect?

Registered IP applications can be complicated documents and it is important to get these documents right from the outset.  Sanderson & Co. provide a complete drafting service including providing drawings.  We could also provide you with templates to help reduce your costs for drafting applications. In either case, you will be involved in the drafting process throughout, ensuring that your application is complete and accurate.

Prosecution

I’ve filed an application… What happens next?

Prosecution is the process from filing an application for registered IP rights through to the granting of those rights. This can be a complex process and it is extremely common for objections to be made to the application by the IP Office involved. Sanderson & Co. can help to guide you through this process. Together we can decide on a strategy for responding to any objections raised that still provides you with useful protection for your products or brands. Sanderson & Co. can also be responsible for monitoring any letters sent and deadlines set by the IP Office in question, removing the burden of your doing this yourself.

Purchasing IP Rights

What are we getting?

Another way of obtaining IP rights is to purchase those rights from others. However, IP rights are not always as good as they appear to be and so it is important to assess any IP rights before agreeing to purchase them.  Sanderson & Co. can carry out due diligence assessments of IP rights including assessing the validity and scope of protection provided by the IP rights in question so that you can be more certain that you are getting a good deal.

The above are just some of the ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you to achieve your GOAL of a comprehensive IP strategy.

If you would like any advice regarding Generating IP or any of the other topics in this series of blogs, then do not hesitate to contact Sanderson & Co. to book a free 30-minute consultation. Please remember to mention this blog when booking your consultation.

In our next piece we will be discussing Avoiding the IP rights of others.