This year, World IP Day focuses on “IP and Youth: Innovation for a Better Future”. In a post-COVID-19 era driven by the growth and encompassment of technology, many aspects of innovation are changing.
To mark the occasion, we asked our editorial board to reflect on their experience while considering the themes of the day.
Read their thoughts below:
Mark Bloom, CLP®, RTTP™: Patent Agent & Senior Consultant, TechNomos, Inc. Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on April 26th. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the turn of the millennium (Y2K) to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks, and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe”. April 26th was chosen as the date for World IP Day because it coincided with the date on which the “Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization” entered into force in 1970.
Although World IP Day has many detractors (related to what World IP Day represents to them), I personally view it as both a celebration and a reminder of the importance and immense impact that the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, has had on the technological and economic development of our country through the lens of innovation and IP rights.
The admonition by our Founders to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” is an essential component of the societal DNA of our country.
Rafael Beltran: Principal & Partner, Beltran Fortuny y Beltran Rivera, S.C., Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
When the Mexican Industrial Property Institute was created, the task of promoting and spreading the knowledge of IP was one of the tasks assigned to it.
Lately, the Institute has carried out such tasks, reaching out to people and communities who have no or little knowledge of IP, namely, artisans and rural communities.
The “Buen Fin” is a Mexican program that mimics US Black Friday. It lasts a week. Merchandise and services are offered to the public at a reduced price. The Federal Government participates also. The Mx IRS organizes a lottery granting tax break to consumers that participated in the “Buen Fin.” Lately, the Institute participated in this program and offered artisans a 90% discount of the fees related to the Registration of Industrial Designs and Trademarks.
Additionally, the Institute is spreading the news to rural communities, inviting them to protect their products by means of Collective Trademark Registrations. This effort has paid off. Today as many as 274 Collective Trademarks have been registered by the Institute.
The North America Free Trade Agreement entered between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico brought along significant changes to the IP arena in my jurisdiction. Followed by the impact of TRIPS, the CPTPP and the TMEC.
50 years ago, IP related matters rarely hit the news. Today, it is possible to find articles, opinions, and clippings related to IP in major newspapers. The efforts of the Institute to spread the knowledge of IP is going to make the “Orange economy” a dream come true.
In sum, IP is for everybody. Happy World IP Day!
Osamu Yamamoto: Managing Partner, Yuasa & Hara, Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
Recent Changes in Japan
There has been a need to improve and enhance the intellectual property litigation system in Japan. Further, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, work practices utilizing digitization, teleworking and contactless services have been promoted.
To address these changes, revisions to the Japan Patent Act have been introduced in stages. Following are examples of some important revisions.
An on-site inspection system has been introduced that empowers a neutral third-party expert to enter production facilities and the like to directly investigate and assess alleged acts of patent infringement. Further, changes in how damages are calculated in patent infringement litigation was introduced.
A third-party opinion solicitation system, which is a Japanese version of “Amicus Curiae,” was introduced into patent and utility model infringement litigation practice. It is expected that this system will provide the courts with expert knowledge and information that goes beyond that which may be provided by parties in litigation.
Parties summoned to an oral hearing in patent invalidation proceedings are now permitted to attend proceedings via video conferencing.
Restoration of rights lost due to expiry of a time limit are now considerably relaxed under a broad condition that a “lapse of time is unintentional.”
Ken Adamo – Principal, Law Offices of KRAdamo, Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
Live, in-person trials, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement cases, with the availability of jury trials, have been the hallmark of the U.S. federal court system since its inception. The COVID-19 pandemic changed that, starting in 2019.
In the interest of assisting in efforts to contain the pandemic, live trials and appeals were very substantially suspended. Virtual trials and appeals continued, using Zoom and equivalent technologies, although jury trials were rare and very difficult under that regime. The ethos and advantages of live in-person trials were severely curtailed or lost completely.
But beginning in early 2022, powerful medical advances and rigorous public health and judicial system efforts enabled – slowly but surely – Phoenix-like resumption of live trials and appeals, including jury trials. In the US federal court system, full system-wide resumption is rapidly underway. Live oral arguments of appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, for example, resumed in March 2022.
Celebration of these events is surely in order on this World IP Day.
Stefan Schohe: Partner, Boehmert & Boehmert, Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
The Unitary Patent System – A Vision Becoming Reality
The vision of a unitary patent for the European Union goes back as far as 1975, when the Convention for the European Patent for the Common Market was signed, This convention never made it past ratification, but now, almost 50 years later, this vision is about to become reality by virtue of the Unitary Patent System, which not only creates a European patent with unitary effect, but also a Unified Patent Court having exclusive jurisdiction on European patents. This will be an international court, having a compulsory multinational composition of each panel, and render decisions that are effective and binding in all participating member states. Similar to the Boards of Appeal at the EPO, it will have legally and technically qualified judges. It will have locally distributed divisions, with a central division in Paris and Munich and local/regional divisions in participating member states.
The exciting thing is that the new court will not have any predecessor nor build on any existing court system. It will have to develop its own case law and practice, drawing from the that of the member states. Starting a new page is always a challenge, but 50 years ago the European Patent Office faced a similar challenge and managed beautifully. No reason why this should be any different.
By the next World IP Day, we are likely to see an operational Unitary Patent System and certainly there will be more news to be told.
Sarah Taylor: Senior Practice Development Lawyer, Pinsent Masons’ IP practice, Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
World IP Day 2022 celebrates IP and youth, and acknowledges how young changemakers are using their innovative ideas to address challenges facing the world today. While positive changes, driven by young minds, can help shape a better future, the next 12 months are expected to see years of preparation come to fruition, with the biggest overhaul of the European patent system in over 50 years. The European patent landscape is changing with the introduction of unitary patents (UPs) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
The UP will co-exist with, and be an alternative to, national and classical European patents. It will provide patent protection in all participating states with a single patent registration. The UPC will have exclusive jurisdiction for disputes relating to infringement and validity of UPs and classical European patents which have not been “opted out” of the new system.
The UPC is in the final stages of preparation and is expected to open in late 2022 or early 2023. It will offer businesses across all sectors wider access to patent litigation, opportunities to shape patenting strategies and UPC community-wide relief. As with any change, there will be initial challenges, particularly regarding case law development and the predictability of decisions. However, the UPC is expected to transform European patent litigation – watch this space!
Pravin Anand: Managing Partner, Anand & Anand, Editorial Board Member for The Patent Lawyer:
I have a beagle dog who is so creative that he squeezes snacks out of a rubber container by throwing up the container in the air and waiting for the snack to drop out.
Animals can be very creative. The Fugu or Puffer fish crates a beautiful Rangoli design to attract its mate on the ocean floor.
Plants can be extremely creative. For instance, the passion vine mimics the eggs of the heliconius butterfly so that butterflies do not lay eggs and end up destroying the plant.
Man of course is creative which is quite a different quality from being knowledgeable and informative.
Creativity, of course, leads to products that we enjoy and learn from such as films, books, and music but at the other end of the scale, creativity helps us survive.
Environmental disasters and diseases would have long wiped us out had it not been for creative solutions found by man.
On World Intellectual Property Day, we celebrate creativity as also creative people whether from the world of science or arts and look at their creative products with awe and admiration.
To an extent creativity is inborn but to a great extent can be acquired and cultivated. Our youth are a perfect example of curious minds that think beyond borders. For instance, a child paints a blue apple. The question is not to check the child in a bid to correct him but to ask him why and how it became blue. He may surprise you with his answers.
Every child can be taught to channel his creative energies into products, processes and things which quite apart from giving immense joy and pleasure may end up strengthening the intellectual property reserve of our nation, creating enormous wealth and strengthening the economic well-being of our people.
On this World Intellectual Property Day, we salute the creators and pledge to support them in whichever way we can.
Wishing you a happy World IP Day from the CTC Legal Media Team!