26 January 2006

Tips for Inventors - No. 7 Threats Actions

One of the peculiarities of English intellectual property law is the threats action. Only the UK and countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland and New Zealand with very similar legal systems have anything like it. A complaint that someone has encroached upon your patent, design or trade mark monopoly that would be quite unobjectionable in most other types of dispute and indeed in most other countries in similar disputes can get you into a heap of trouble here. For more details see "Threats Action Updates" on m other blog.

24 January 2006

Leeds Inventors Club: You can always say Dai

You lucky inventors of Leeds have a treat next month. My very good friend Dai Davis of Nabarro Nathanson will be speaking on making money from IP. His talk will cover every aspect of commercialization from licensing to manufacturing yourself.

Dai knows what he is talking about. Having read physics at Oxford and computer science at Newcastle Dai built up the IP/IT department of Hepworth & Chadwick (now part of Eversheds) into one of the best in the country. He is a really good speaker and we are lucky to get him.

The evening will be chaired by Chris Hemingway of Bailey Walsh LLP. Chris has also been in the news recently having made the first request for a Patent Office opinion on infirngement in Lenighan v Heritage Bathrooms. As I mentioned in my other blog on 14 Dec 2005, I read the request last month and my view and I thought the issues were fairly clear but Mr Rowlatt, the examiner, was not so sure:

"Given the construction I have placed on claims 1 and 2 as set out above, I conclude that if, in normal use of the Showerbath product, the screen is prevented from being swung outwards over the edge of the bath by the engagement of the sealing strip with the shoulder of the bath then that product infringes claims 1 and 2 of EP(UK) 0801532, but that if the screen can be swung outwards over the edge of the bath then the Showerbath product does not infringe the patent."

Delphic or what!

Finally, I should like to thank everyone who sat on my panel at the Leeds Inventors Group on 18 Jan 2006. We had a very good discussion. Thanks in particular to Clare Adcock representing the CIPA and Ged Doonan of the Business and Patents Library.

“Everything that a Bmedi@ Member needs to know about IP at the Outset”

Last Thursday's seminar "Everything that a Bmedi@ Member needs to know about IP at the Outset” went a long way to proving that you can fit a quart into a pint pot. We had three great presentations from my guest speakers, patent agent Janet Bray, commercial solicitor and former colleague from the patent bar Lucas Bateman and Ian Lewis of Miller Insurance.

My guests' presentations together with my introduction and notes are all up on the Bmedia website:

- My Intro and Notes

- Janet's on TM and Design Registration

- Ian's on IP Insurance, and

- Lucas's on Commercialization.

Credit should also go to master of ceremonies Steve Ding and superwoman Steph Aldred. It was a super evening. The next meeting is on 16 Feb on keeping key people. Should eb good.

17 January 2006

Commission seeks your Views on how to improve the Patent System in Europe

The European Commission has just announced a consultation on ways of improving the European patent system. Well where do we start. The subject matter includes the Community patent but also the EPO's patent litigation project and much, much more.

For the background, see today's post in our IP/it Update blog. Sadly, the computer generated URL link doesn't work but you can get to it by scrolling down to 17 Jan 2006. It is the second of today's posts.

As I say in my post, over the next few weeks I shall be bringing it to the attention of all the groups of which I am a member and I hope for a big response from inventors and others from the UK.

15 January 2006

New Leeds PatLib Library Website

Congratulations to Gedd and Stef on their super new website for the Business and Patents Collection at Leeds Library. They have got a super shot of the Central Library on the home page. I couldn't recognize it. It looks more like a swanky hotel on the Boulevard des Anglais than a public library off the Headrow.

Stef was telling me about the fantsatic new services the library is offering. In addition to patent filing watches they are about to start trade mark watches at a very reasonable rate. Folk pay only a small premium over the copying charges.

The library will be hosting a brainstorming session of the Leeds Inventors Club on Wednesday. Further details are on our other blog (see Leeds Inventors Club 18 Jan 2006).

Also, anyone in the area will be very welcome at Bmedi@ on Thursday at the Bradford Business and Innovation Centre. For details see our post for 13 Jan 2006 or check out the Huddersfield Intellectual Property "Events" Page.

Patents: Good Luck to Contra Vision

I see from the Patent Office diary that our very good friends at Contra Vision are about to start a 3 day hearing in front of Peter Black tomorrow in respect of British patent GB2165292. Since Contra Vision are sponsors of Ideas 21 and were prime movers in setting up the Second Tuesday Club I and others owe them a debt of gratitude for their hospitality.

It is not clear what the hearing tomorrow is about. Contra Vision say that GB 2 165 292 and family member patents in 21 countries expired in July 2005 in their Patent Schedule but this is not the first time they have crossed swords with Clear Focus Imaging Inc. (see the decisions of Sean Dennehey of 3 March 2000, 7 Nov 2000 and 10 April 2003 and Peter Hayward of 13 April 2000). My guess is that tomorrow's case is not entirely unconnected with a declaration of non-infringement application which has already been the subject of one battle over pleadings (see Mr Black's judgment of 25 Oct 2005).

Whatever this case is about we hope this matter is speedily resolved to Roland's satisfaction and we send our best wishes to Dee and Eve.

02 January 2006

New Blog: UK Inventor

Gary Holloway, a frequent contributor to IPR Talk over the last few months, has launched his own blog called "UK Inventor". It has some very interesting short posts:
- UK’s PCT patent share increases massively
- Britain continues exceptional patent performance
- Britain excels in motivating inventors
to name just three. I have already subscribed to the blog's atom feed and I intend to link to it ASAP.

The other news that has been brought to my attention today by Mike Overy of Wessex Round Table of Inventors is the Round Table's newsletter "Inventique". I had a look through some of the recent issues and there are some good articles. He has also invited me to contribute to it and I shall be honoured to do so.

Finally, Happy New Year, bonne annee, feliz ano nuevo and Gutes Jahr to one and all in the UK and around the world.