TMT | 01 March 2010

The European system for granting patents has been a great success. A European patent, applied for via the European Patent Office (EPO), leads to a bundle of national patents that are identical in form but enforceable in each jurisdiction separately. However, while the process for granting patents has been successful, the need for separate enforcement has led to inconsistencies and expensive disputes in Europe. The EU is working to change this but is not there yet. One peculiar feature of the current system is that the validity of a patent can be challenged simultaneously before the EPO and each national court, inevitably leading to the risk of conflicting decisions. To complicate matters further, a decision by the EPO to invalidate a patent will bind all national courts, but the same is not true in reverse. A decision by a national court is not binding on the EPO or other national courts. This article discusses the unsatisfactory state of affairs, and the steps taken by the EPO and national courts to deal with it. [Continue Reading]

Technology, Media and Telecoms | 01 February 2010

Most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have enacted intellectual property (IP) laws either inherited from their colonial past or adopted later as part of a drive to modernise legislation. A shared desire to harmonise national laws in the region culminated in the adoption of the ‘ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Co-operation’ on 15 December 1995. This agreement has been followed by recent initiatives in the field of patents and designs, such as the introduction of guidelines for the ASEAN Design Filing System (ADFS) and the establishment of the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation Programme (ASPEC). [Continue Reading]

Technology, Media and Telecoms | 01 December 2009

The advantages of using arbitration to resolve intellectual property (IP) disputes are many. The fact that it is becoming increasingly popular may be illustrative of this. However, as all those who have been involved in arbitration are aware, it is not all plain sailing. This article looks at some of the practical realities of arbitrating IP disputes, and why it is important for parties to be fully aware of the benefits and pitfalls when including an arbitration clause in an agreement or agreeing to submit an existing dispute for arbitration (often referred to as a ‘submission agreement’).

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