For the half-year to 31 December 2015, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Jani Ihalainen, Nikos Prentoulis and Mark Schweizer.

Birgit Clark is on Sabbatical till the end of the year

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 3 August 2015

No traditional knowledge for hair loss treatment: another alleged attempt to patent traditional knowledge does not bear scrutiny

This Kat was perusing the Pune Mirror, and came across another allegation that the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, a unit of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-TKDL), had once again thwarted an attempt to get a patent: this time on a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss.  The source of the article was a statement released by the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology.  It bears repeating in full:

India Foils UK Company’s Bid to Patent Use of Turmeric, Pine Bark & Tea for Treating Hair Loss 
India once again has been successful in protecting its traditional knowledge by preventing an attempt made by Europe's Leading Dermaceutical Laboratory-Pangaea Laboratories Limited, to take patent on a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss. 
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a Unit of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, located the patent application filed at European Patent office by M/S Pangaea Laboratories Limited and filed pre-grant opposition along with prior-art evidences from TKDL, proving that turmeric, pine bark and green tea, are being used as a treatment for hair loss, since long in Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani. The above UK based company had filed the patent application at European Patent office in February, 2011. CSIR-TKDL Unit had filed evidences from TKDL on January 13, 2014 after the patent application got published on website, pursuant to which the patent application is finally deemed to be withdrawn by the applicant on June 29, 2015. Till date CSIR-TKDL Unit has achieved success in about 200 such cases without any cost. 
Recently, CSIR-TKDL Unit has foiled an attempt of M/S Colgate-Palmolive Company to patent a mouthwash formula containing herb (Nutmeg- Jayaphal) extract used in Indian traditional systems of medicine to cure oral diseases, at European Patent office. 
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-TKDL), headed by Dr. Archana Sharma, submitted proof in the form of references from ancient books in this case, which said the herb and its extracts of Myristica Fragrans were historically used for oral diseases in Indian systems of medicine. 
The last time that this Kat saw such a statement, he unleashed Tufty the Cat to investigate, and you can read the resulting blogpost here.  This relates to the Colgate-Palmolive Company patent application on a mouthwash, referred to in the penultimate paragraph of the above statement.  (Tufty has analysed a further 23 claims for the TDKL here and concluded that 15 out of the 23 are false).  Reluctant to call in a feline favour for a second time in two weeks, this time he decided to investigate himself.  Of course, the statement above makes no mention of anything useful such as the patent application number, but this Kat tracked it down from the applicant and filing date as 11154255.1. publication number EP236160.

Regular readers will be unsurprised that the truth is rather different from what the statement portrays.

The problem in this case is that the patent application concerned is hardly about "turmeric, pine bark and green tea" at all.  Claim 1 as originally filed reads as follows:
A method of treating hair comprising the steps of: a) providing a hair building solid agent for use on, or with, one or more of hair, skin and hair building solids for altering and/or maintaining the electrostatic charge of the hair and/or skin such that it has a substantially negative polarity; b) applying said hair building solid agent (30) to one or more of hair (10), skin and hair building solids (20); c) providing hair building solids; and d) applying hair building solids (20) to hair (10) before and/or during and/or after applying the hair building solid agent (30); characterised in that the hair building solid agent (30) is applied as a spray on to one more of the hair (10), skin and hair building solid (20).
See any reference to turmeric, pine bark and green tea? No, because (although the application is admittedly somewhat unclear) what is presented as inventive in the application and in claim 1 is achieving an electrostatic effect in the interaction of hair building solids with hair.  This is obtained by use of a naturally amphoteric substance such as: a surfactant, a conditioner, cocamidopropylbetaine, dodecylbetaine, cocoamphoglycinate, oleyl betaine, soyamidopropylbetaine and an amino acid; in combination with a water resistant agent, such as octylacrylamide copolymer, C12-22 alkylmethacrylate copolymer, PVP/dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate copolymer, polyquaternium 69, isobutylene ethylmaleimide copolymer, isobutylene hydroxyethylmaleimide copolymer, polymethylsilsesquioxane and polyurethane-14 AMP-Acrylates copolymer.  (If these terms mean nothing to you, worry not - all you have to know is that they are not turmeric, pine bark, or green tea.)

You have to get to claims 10 and 11 before you can even guess what all the fuss is about.  These read as follows:
10. The method of any preceding claim, in which the hair building solid agent (30) includes one or more pharmacologically active ingredient for treating one or more of hair loss, thinning hair and skin conditions.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the pharmacologically active ingredient is one or more of finasteride, dutasteride, spironolactone, minoxidil, nitric oxide donators, β-glucan, saw palmetto, resveratrol, curcumin, marine extracts, polycyanidins, superoxide dismutase, superoxide dismutase mimetics, taurine, plant sterols, pine bark extract, melatonin, green tea, caffeine, copper peptides, copper PCA, EUK-134, copper(II) 3,5-disopropylsalicylate, dimethylmethoxy chromanol, catalase, catalase mimetics and hydrolysed lupine protein.
The European Search Opinion of 19 July 2012 raised objections of novelty based on four documents against several of the claims, including claims 10 and 11.  The closest state of the art was considered to be D1 (WO 2008/135979), which was considered novelty destroying for claim 10, and in respect of claim 11 it was stated "All compounds mentioned as further ingredients in the composition are well-known in the fields of hair treatment as described as such in the present application".

The application cannot be fairly described as trying to "patent" the claim 11 ingredients at all - the application is simply clarifying that the composition can additionally include conventional components for their known uses.  This view is confirmed by the comment of the Examiner.  Of  course, the patent, if granted, would cover, in the sense of being infringed by, the presence of additional components (provided the requirements of claim 1 were complied with) whether they were specifically recited in a dependent claim or not.

So what then happened?  Well, the applicant filed amended claims and arguments against the European Search Opinion, and the the TKDL third party observations were filed.  The Examiner objected to the amended claims in a Communication of 21 January 2015 on the grounds of added matter, relating to a method of medical treatment, and clarity.  About the third party observations, it was stated:
The comments developed in this [the third party observations] filing concern mainly the subject-matter of original claims 10, 11 and 12, which relate to the introduction of pharmacologically active ingredients.
The third-party observation has been taken into account.
From this it can be seen that they played no part in the examination at all.  The examination report was not responded to, and the application has now lapsed.

So the statement by the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology is pretty much untrue - there was not in any real sense an attempt to "patent" use of "turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss", and nothing that the TKDL did had any influence on the examination so India has not "foiled" the attempt to get a patent anyway.  Any announcement is in any case premature, since the applicant can still file a response and revive the application using "further processing" up to 9 September 2015. This Kat hopes that they do.

One more "false" to add to Tufty's list.  When will this misleading propaganda stop?

Taking the pH? Trial judge's decision on psoriasis patent doesn't come up to scratch

Taking the pH? No, just
enjoying a drop of H2O
Last week a judgment from Sir Robin Jacob plopped into Merpel's inbox which caused more than a slight tremor of her whiskers.  At the invitation of Lord Justice Kitchin, veteran British IP judge Sir Robin came back from retirement to give the first judgment in Leo's appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Birss last October [noted by the IPKat here] that its patents -- EP (GB) 1 178 808 and 2 455 083 -- were invalid for obviousness over US Patent 4,083,974  ("Turi").  In Teva UK Ltd & Another v Leo Pharma A/S [2015] EWCA Civ 779 (28 July 2015), the Court of Appeal granted Leo's appeal, deciding that Leo's patents were not quite so obvious after all.

Background and the problem

The patents at issue covered formulations for Leo's ointment treatment to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease without a cure.  When psoriasis is mild and reasonably contained, there is a greater risk that a patient will not comply with the instructions for treatment.  This is especially the case where treatment is unpleasant, has adverse side effects or is simply annoying.  Patient compliance is thus an important factor for the treatment of the condition.

The claims of the patents, as amended, were for an ointment consisting of
Both active ingredients were known before the priority date as the sole active ingredient in ointments and, given their own individual benefits, they were often prescribed together to patients.  However, they could not be applied at the same time because each was unstable except for in a narrow pH range in which the two did not overlap with one other (calcipotriol being an alkali and betamethasone being an acid).  Since it could be tricky to get patients to comply by using one cream in the morning and another in the evening, clinicians wanted an ointment that contained both ingredients.  This, the Court of Appeal stated, could be somewhat discounted because "clinicians are not formulators. What cannot be discounted is that formulators must have known of the desire -– the want –- of clinicians for a combination product."

Things are rarely so simple in the world of pharmaceutical inventions, especially as it was "far from established that any non-aqueous non-toxic solvent would produce a stable ointment".  At trial Mr Justice Birss commented at [39] and [40] that there was no proper evidence either way to establish whether or not such solvents would work, or that a skilled team would expect that it would work.

In theory there was a simple solution.  pHs are only possible if water is present.  Thus, just get rid of water.  All you would need to solve the problem is to find a non-aqueous non-toxic solvent.  Pick one of those and it will surely work (albeit it would be a mere arbitrary, non-inventive selection of the type discussed in Actavis v Novartis [2010]). The Court of Appeal commented that this was an important finding: it could not then be said that any particular non-aqueous solvent selected by a formulator would result in a product stable for both active ingredients, since the opposite is true: the formulator would have to undergo a research project starting with non-aqueous solvents that were already established and which had been used in other pharmaceutical topical formulations.  At the priority date, the formulator may have started with propylene glycol as it was used in a third of marketed corticosteriod formulations and had a water content of 0.2%.  However, that did not work -- as LEO discovered.  In cross-examination, Teva's expert conceded that trying to find a solution for the incompatibility of the two active ingredients required a lot of work.  

It was here that the Court of Appeal considered that the judge missed the significance of this evidence, which Sir Robin summarised as follows:   
"It was that to the skilled person, identifying a non-aqueous solvent which would actually work to produce a stable ointment, was not easy. Having the property of being non-aqueous was a necessary, but well short of sufficient, condition. Finding one was a research project. And that was because there was no sufficient expectation of success. Yes, a particular candidate might work, but it was far from certain that it would.
Indeed the formulator experts agreed that one would test a number of solvents. The Judge found “about 10-20” – again by implication it is clear that the expectation of success with any one of them was not high. The Judge said such testing “was entirely routine” but that does not alter the expectation. It was not even proved that there was a good expectation that if you did try 20 one of them would work. "
The Solution

The solution was Arlamol E, which was disclosed in Turi as a solvent for a corticosteriod back in 1978.  In the real world, although it had been used for cosmetics, it had not been significantly used for topical pharmaceuticals and did not thus form part of the common general knowledge of the formulator.  However, Mr Justice Birss held it would have been obvious to use it at the priority date, despite it not being one of the 10-20 solvents which a real formulator would have tried.

At paragraph 79 of his judgment, Mr Justice Birss stated:
"The notional skilled formulator would test some familiar compounds but, subject to the regulatory point considered below, would not be put off from including unfamiliar compounds merely because of their unfamiliarity. The question is primarily a technical one and would be decided based on consideration of the known properties and desired characteristics of the compound."
This, the Court of Appeal stated, was rather odd in that the judge is saying that the notional skilled persons are different from the real skilled persons.  The law of obviousness attributes the real prejudices and practices of persons skilled in the art to the notional person (see Dyson v Hoover [2002]).

Birss J had concluded that, since Arlamol E had the desired characteristics, there were grounds to include the compound in pre-formulation tests.  The Court of Appeal did not agree.  There were many non-aqueous solvents that may have had the desired characteristics, including the ill-fated propylene glycol.  But the Turi disclosure did not say anything about Arlamol E that made it "anything like an outstanding candidate".    Birss J also held that there was "sufficient prospect of a positive result" to make Arlamol E worth testing.   The Court of Appeal commented that this would have been equally true with any non-aqueous solvent, but that would not mean it would have necessarily solved the pH problem.

The Court of Appeal held:
"In effect the Judge was saying that the idea of including this solvent as part of a research project amounted to obviousness. The “obvious to try” standard requires a higher expectation of success than that. Otherwise, as I observed in St Gobain at [35]: 
"Mere possible inclusion of something within a research programme on the basis you will find out more and something might turn up is not enough. If it were otherwise there would be few inventions which were patentable. The only research which would be worthwhile (because of the prospect of protection) would be in areas totally devoid of prospect.” 
Putting this point into a Pozzoli structured analysis, the difference between the prior art (Turi) and the invention was that Turi was a mono active product using Arlamol E. The invention is a double active product. Turi would be seen as using one of a large number of possible non-aqueous solvents. It might provide stability for the two actives, just as any of the others might. But there was no reasonably optimistic expectation that it would. Finding that it really did was an invention and an advance in human knowledge. 
So I think the judge did err in principle and we are obliged and entitled to revisit the question of obviousness de novo."
To find comfort in this conclusion Sir Robin turned to the fact that although the active ingredients, the fact that clinicians wanted a dual active product to solve the patient compliance problem and the pH issue were all known well before and at the priority date, no solution had ever been achieved.  No-one found a way to put the actives together in an an ointment until LEO did it with the present invention.  As the Court concluded at [36] to [38]:
"When the dual active product came onto the market in 2002 it was a success. The experts on both sides were agreed that it was a significant advance in the treatment of patients. That was not because of a synergistic effect (at least the Judge did not find there was one) but because of the much better patient compliance – something desired since at least 1995. 
Mr Alexander suggested that there was no long-felt want, that the combination product came about exactly when you would expect, especially from LEO. They were really only undertaking a brand extension of their still patented calcipotriol. That simply does not square up with the dates and the facts that a combination product was wanted from at least the mid-1990s and, when achieved, was a real advance.  
So we have here the classic sort of case where the courts have found invention over the years, a long-felt want, the desired solution and no explanation of why that solution was not done before when it could have been. The Judge’s failure to consider this seems to me to be another error of principle – he missed a relevant circumstance. "
The Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision on obviousness.

Added-Matter & Insufficiency

No "pick'n'mix" holds
the Court of Appeal
In relation to added-matter and insufficiency, the Court of Appeal had little to add.  Teva argued that the proposed amended claims formed a subset of the claims in the application as filed.  The technical narrowing from a very wide disclosure in the application amounted to a post-hoc "pick and mix" operation which added new information by discarding much that would not work or might not work.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the "pick and mix" argument as it cannot be said to be an intermediate generalisation that was not disclosed in the application:
"Betamethasone and calcipotriol are singled out as among the most appropriate actives, the solvent is said to be preferably non-aqueous, Arlamol E is the first example of a solvent in a specific list of solvents. Moreover Example 1 is an ointment with these two actives using Arlamol E as the solvent. True it is that it also includes an anti-oxidant but it is pushing one’s luck too far to say that omitting the necessity for this amounts to adding matter when the specification itself says “The composition may also contain other commonly used additives such as anti-oxidants.” 
So there is nothing in this point. As to insufficiency, it was but faintly argued and really only as some sort of support for the main obviousness argument. Clearly the patents contain instruction which would enable a person skilled in the art to make the ointment now claimed."
Merpel's mewsings

This decision is good news for Leo, says Merpel.  The main theme of the Court of Appeal's decision seems to be to caution against the hindsight explanation of the invention, especially where known matters have been well established before and by the priority date, but no solution had been advanced (see paragraph [38]).  Merpel also notes the Court of Appeal's comments on the skilled person -- or "nerd" as Sir Robin is fond of calling him (or her). On occasion, both the parties and the court can fall into a trap where the skilled person is suddenly emancipated from the constraints and prejudices with which the real skilled person would be imbued, with the effect that the notional skilled person has more scope for creativity (and perhaps invention in the extreme cases) than the legal construct actually permits.  With so many juicy points of law, Merpel will keep an eye out for Teva's potential appeal to the Supreme Court.

Letter from AmeriKat: Biologics data exclusivity tripping up TTP, Samsung wins CAFC Smartflash stay & USPTO IP Girl Scout Patch

The AmeriKat hypnotized by the calm,
peaceful air of a New England
summer's night
The AmeriKat is back in her motherland this week.  Having commenced this journey with a fleeting visit past the hallowed grounds of the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia (like the Taj Mahal it was smaller than she expected), the AmeriKat is now perched in her upstairs study watching as a neighbor's American flag gently flaps against the pillars of their New England porch.  It is a peaceful and lazy Sunday night.  The warm summer air is cut only briefly by the salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean a few blocks away.  Coast to coast tonight American families are undertaking their Sunday night routines - cleaning up after dinner, watching their Sunday night shows, organizing a week of carpool.  For the AmeriKat, her Sunday evening has included searching for the latest IP news and goings-on from across the nation.  This week's stories take us from sea to shining sea, starting first with Mountain View, California and ending up back in Boston via Hawaii and D.C.  
IP Girl Scout's patch

USPTO's Girl Scout IP patch:  Last Thursday, USPTO Director Michelle Lee announced that on 15 October 2015, the USPTO will have its grand opening of its permanent Silicon Valley satellite office in San Jose's City Hall.  The announcement came during Lee's attendance at a Churchill Club discussion in the Mountain View offices of Microsoft  (to watch the session click here).  Lee, a transplant from Santa Clara via Fenwick & West, stated that the USPTO also has an initiative underway in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation for an IP Girl Scout patch.  For those unfamiliar with the concept, Girl Scout patches are earned after a member completes certain tasks.  As a former Girl Scout herself (first as a Brownie and then as a Junior), Lee commented that her first badges were earned in first aid and sewing:  "In this day in age we have to do better and we can do better by getting girls to enjoy invention and creation and entrepreneurialism." Girls will win an IP patch by learning about copyright, patents, trade marks and trade secrets.  The USPTO's Guide on the patch explains that:
"Girls at some levels of the patch are expected to develop the skills to conduct very rudimentary searches for patents and trademarks utilizing the USPTO databases and publicly available resource and research tools. Real world examples of girls and women who have received U.S. patents and registered Trademarks are provided as examples to demonstrate the potential of girls to invent, create, and go into business as well as the accessibility and value of IP protection. Girls are also encouraged to explore careers in intellectual property and STEM."
The AmeriKat loves this initiative and encourages those US IP enthusiasts and professionals to get involved by sharing their experience and stories with their local Girl Scout troop.  More information on how to get involved can be found here.  The only thing the AmeriKat wishes is that she could get a patch of her own...

Biologics data exclusivity argument puts pressure on TTP negotiations:  A few weeks ago, the AmeriKat wrote about the ongoing negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and the IP issues that were causing some turmoil for the parties on the matter of pharmaceutical IP protection (see post here).  Given that it would be the largest regional trade deal if concluded, it is no surprise that there are some bumps in the road especially in relation to an industry that contributes almost $800 billion to the US economy.  However, a recent article in the AmeriKat's favorite of paper - the New York Times - reported that US officials were finding themselves between a rock (activists aiming to secure access to low-cost pharmaceutical products) and a hard place (Republicans who threaten to vote down the deal if it doesn't provide for strong IP protection).
Senator Hatch

During last week's meeting in Hawai, it was this issue that was reported to elicit the most fevered debate.  Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch claimed that “a strong intellectual-property chapter - including strong patent and regulatory data protections for biologics- is vital to securing congressional support for this trade deal.”  Biologics are reported to account for 900 of the 3,372 drugs in development in the US.  Whats the beef with biologics?  US data exclusivity protects biologics for 12 years before a generic can piggyback, whereas other countries provide for far less such as 8 years, or in the case of Australia, 5 years.   In a statement, Doctors Without Borders' US manager and legal policy advisor, Judit Rius Sanjauan, argued that:
"Eight years of data exclusivity is still an exceedingly long and unnecessary time to block access to price-lowering competition for this important class of lifesaving medicines and vaccines.   
Pharmaceutical companies already enjoy some of the longest monopoly protections of any industry, and granting them extended and additional exclusivity terms is just another way to delay competition and keep medicines out of reach of MSF medical operations and millions of people. Government representatives meeting this week in Hawaii have an obligation to protect access to affordable medicines."
Samsung lucking out before the CAFC
in staying Smartflash patent dispute
CAFC stays Smartflash's Samsung infringement action pending USPTO decision:  A few weeks ago the AmeriKat reported about Apple's win against Smartflish after US District Judge Gilstrap ordered that a February jury damages award of $532.9 billion be vacated.   Last week, Smartflash was again defeated (albeit perhaps temporarily), this time by Samsung.  Last Thursdays, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) held that the patent infringement action Smartflash brought against Samsung should be stayed pending the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's determination of the validity of Smartflash's patents at issue.  Last spring, the PTAB instituted a Covered Business Method review on Smartflash's patents in suit on the basis that it was "more likely than not" that they were directed to ineligible subject matter.  Apple had also requested a stay of its litigation, but were refused on the basis that their trial had already commenced.  Samsung's trial has not.  Writing the lead opinion, Judge O'Malley wrote that "[d]espite the substantial time and effort already spent in this case, the most burdensome task is yet to come."  Judge Newman dissented arguing that the distinction was not correct given that Apple and Samsung were in the same position with respect to Smartflash's patents:
"The only difference between Apple and Samsung as defendants is that the Samsung case was placed on a later calendar, as the district court reasonably chose to proceed with one case at a time, moving the cases against Google and Amazon even further into the future. But the landscape changed after the Court decided Alice Corporation, and even more so after experience was gained with the CBM section of the America Invents Act. In view of the PTO’s institution of post-grant review of all of the claims in suit, it is fair and just that all of the defendants be treated equally, and thus that the stay be granted to all. From my colleagues’ contrary decision as to Apple, I respectfully dissent."
Judge Newman's dissent continued:
"On continuing with the Apple litigation in the district court, as the panel majority today orders, it is far from clear how the appellate process will proceed. What happens to possibly conflicting rulings? Are we creating another race-to-the-courthouse, where the interests of justice succumb to the fleet of foot, or the deepness of the pocket? This court is already burdened with irregular precedent, as in Fresenius, where a panel sustained the district court’s final judgment of validity and infringement, and then held that since post-judgment damages remained for determination, the Federal Circuit’s affirmance of the district court’s judgment gave way to the Federal Circuit’s sustenance of the PTO’s later determination of invalidity. Fresenius USA, Inc. v. Baxter Int’l,Inc. 721 F.3d 1330, 1344, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (Newman, J., dissenting)."
For more information, see the articles from The Recorder and Reuters.

On Point address the copyright
of jokes this week
Conan copyright one liners:  As she is currently in Boston, the AmeriKat has been listening to WBUR - Boston's NPR station.  On Thursday, a great little piece on one of her favorite shows, On Point, was aired regarding the copyright position of jokes.  The show came after late night television host, Conan O'Brien (made even more famous by Leno-gate  - see Vanity Fair article here for a fascinating read about that particular incident), was sued by comic Robert Kaseberg alleging that the show had used four of his jokes posted on the Internet during the opening monologue.  See Elmeownora's recent post on similar issues facing Twitter here and to listen to the On Point episode, click here.

Never too late: if you missed the IPKat last week ...

What better blogpost is there to start the week with than Katfriend Alberto Bellan's famous round-up of the previous week's Katposts?  This is our 57th weekly round-up, ideal for anyone returning from a vacation, a business trip, a stretch in prison or some other exciting adventure that took them away from the late July IP blogosphere.  

Anyway, here is Alberto's summary of last week's substantive features:
In 2012, France adopted a law allowing the digital exploitation of out-of-print 20th century books. Being unsure whether allowing exploitation of works without prior permission from the relevant rightholder is permitted, the French Council of State has just sought guidance from the CJEU. Eleonora tells all.

Mark writes up a Swiss Supreme Court decision on one of the hottest topics of the moment, private copying. This case relates to the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) offering a document delivery service for scientific articles which includes scanning and online forwarding.

The unsatisfying U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brulotte v Thys Co. (379 U.S. 29 (1964)) fixed a bright-line rule that a patentee cannot charge royalties for the use of its invention after the expiry of the patent. In delivering Kimble v Marvel Entertainment, LLC (as reported by the AmeriKat on 30 June), the very same Supreme Court has missed a chance to provide some more clarity on the issue, Neil says.

Gama Healthcare Ltd v Pal International Ltd in a decision from Judge Richard Hacon in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), England and Wales addressing look-alike between packages of wet wipe products. Jeremy explains the decision and launches a poll.

Here’s this week’s letter on exciting US IP issues from Annsley, whose contents are well described in the title.

Twitter has begun to comply with DMCA takedown requests relating to tweets, notably jokes, lifted in their entirety from someone's own account and re-tweeted without any attribution as to their original author. Eleonora analyses the social network’s decision in light of EU and US’ originality criteria, as well as moral rights. 

The Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games’ Terms of Use provide bizarre guidelines as regards linking to and from the Games’ website. How could this occur, wonders Eleonora?

With recent changes to IP crime laws, Nicola casts her gaze criminalisation and the economics of crime.  

Former guest Kat Darren Meale has blown the dust off his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browsers aren't supposed to be able to reach any more, due to blocking injunctions.

After PETA  launched a petition against the use by Hermès of crocodile and alligator-skin accessories, Ms Birkin asked the fashion house to remove her name from one of the company’s bags. Does she have any legal ground to do so, wonders Eleonora?

In a decision of 26 February 2015 (published in May), the German Bundesgerichtshof addresses the extent to which innovations in user interface design are patentable. Marks tells all.

After many posts on Smith & Nephew v Convatec (Court of Appeal judgment here, here, and here; first instance judgment of Mr Justice Birss here), Neil covers the last episodes of the series, both in the UK and in Eponia.

Jeremy presents a brand-new report, which Katfriend Luke McDonagh co-authored with two economists, Christian Helmers and Yassine Lefouili, and which examines the impact of the 2010­-2013 reforms undertaken at the former PCC, now the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC").

Neil’s question is simple: does Twitter have a long-term future? The answer, based on the words of the company’s senior management following the company’s earnings announcement the past week seems to be: at bes t—maybe.

The IPKat's weblog has just recorded its 15 millionth page view. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Jeremy reviews Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage, by James Pooley, Andrea Stazi’s Biotechnological Inventions and Patentability of Life: The US and European Experience, and The New European Patent, by Alfredo Ilardi.



Never too late 56 [week ending on Sunday 19 July] - Private copy in the UK | IP statistics | India and TK | Copyright enforcement in Australia | Wobben Properties GmbH v Siemens PLC & Others Blue Gentian v Tristar Products | EU Copyright reform: IP or competition law?  

Never too late 55 [week ending on Sunday 12 July] - Traditional Knowledge and indigenous people | Traditional Knowledge in Canada | Traditional Knowledge and unbalanced dialogues | E-mail addresses as trade secrets | CJEU on essential patents in Case C-170/13 Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd v ZTE Corp., ZTE Deutschland GmbH | CJEU on disclosure of infringers’ bank data in Coty Germany GmbH v Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg Infocit - Prestação de Serviços, Comércio Geral e Indústria, Lda v OHIM | Moral ambiguity of trade secrets | CJEU on limits of TM exclusive right in TOP Logistics BV, Van Caem International BV v Bacardi & Company Ltd, Bacardi International Ltd | Non-traditional trade marks in Japan.

Never too late 54 [week ending on Sunday 5 July] - Google v Oracle and Microsoft/Kyocera settlement | GC and Nagoya | Life Science IP Summit 2015 | (Kat)onomics of patents | Case T-15/13 Group Nivelles v OHIM | Case T‑521/13 Alpinestars Research Srl v OHIM v Kean Tung Cho and Ling-Yuan Wang Yu | Smith & Nephew Plc v ConvaTec Technologies Inc | Multi Time Machine, Inc., v, Inc.; Amazon Services, LLC | EU reform on freedom of panorama and (Google) News ancillary right | 3-D Printing choked by IP? | Pro-Football Inc v Amanda Blackhorse et al. | Condoms made in Germany | the Beckhams’ IP.

Never too late 53 [week ending on Sunday 28 June] - EU trade marks in Arabic in Case C 147/14 | Is UberPop a transport service? The floor goes to the CJEU | Is Michael Jordan’s ”Jumpman” logo a copyright infringement? | Plant variety in Case C‑242/14 | US Supreme Court on Spiderman patent | Hospira v Genentech saga | Are EU policy-makers fighting the right copyright battles? | The IPKat and his friends | GO Outdoors Ltd v Skechers USA Inc II | Allfiled UK Ltd v Eltis & 16 Others | OAEE 'victims' mark in Greece | Icons, flags and the Hazzards of intellectual property toxicity | Why Finland is not Silicon Valley | The Sofa Workshop Ltd v Sofaworks Ltd The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & Another (t/a the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra) | Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC & Another v WPMC Ltd & Another | The London Taxi Corporation Ltd v Frazer-Nash Research Ltd & Ecotive Ltd.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Something to read? A couple more fresh titles ...

Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage, by James Pooley, is a very different kettle of fish from the same author's Trade Secrets, an 800-page blockbuster from US publishing house Law Journal Press which is addressed principally to US practitioners, particularly those who find themselves grappling with any number of technical legal and procedural issues when contemplating litigation, portfolio management and transactional issues.  Secrets however is addressed to the people who have secrets at their fingertips, as it were -- people who have to safeguard the confidential information which is at their disposal against prying eyes, accidental spillages, errant employees and ex-employees and other hazards that are daily encountered in business or commerce. Ideally, readers of this book follow the general guidance it contains and minimise their need to meet and instruct the readers of the other book.

This is not the author's first foray in writing for the benefit of the lay reader. Older readers may recall that, way back in 1982, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and laptops, tablets and smartphones were still the stuff of science fiction, James hatched Trade Secrets: A Guide To Protecting Proprietary Business Information.  In the intervening years, his day-jobs with a leading IP practice and then with the World Intellectual Property Organization, not to mention his teaching activities, have given him a more complete, well-rounded view of a subject that was so poorly served by any sort of literature in the early 1980s.

According to the book's web-blurb:
"Information is the business asset of the 21st century. So our impulse may be to guard it. Yet in a flat global economy, we have to share it--not just with employees but also partners, vendors, customers and consultants.

Here's the risk: secrets falling into the wrong hands can destroy a project, or even bring down a company. And the same technology that enables seamless communication also makes data theft easy, cheap and hard to detect. So what can managers and business owners do to protect and exploit their competitive advantage, maintain productive relationships, and avoid lawsuits?

In Secrets you will find the answers, discovering how to:
  • Identify and reduce your risk of information loss 
  • Deal with employees leaving to join or start a competitor 
  • Manage your data on the Internet and in the Cloud 
  • Build an information protection program with best practices 
  • Respond when you find a breach of confidentiality ...
The books itself is short, in commendably large print, footnote-free and not cluttered by jargon. More spacious margins would have been nice, but everyone likes to make written notes on the printed page. The guidance is clear and direct, as are the appended non-disclosure and consultancy engagement templates. While a US readership is contemplated, much of the advice is law-flavoured common sense, which means that busy business readers can get something out of it whichever jurisdiction they find themselves in.

Bibliographic details: paperback. xviii + 286 pages.  ISBN 978 0 9963910 0 9.  Rupture factor: zero. Available on Amazon here.


Biotechnological Inventions and Patentability of Life: The US and European Experience is the second volume in Edward Elgar Publishing's New Directions in Patent Law series. Its existence is owed to funding from the Italian government's Ministry of Education, University and Research. The author is Andrea Stazi (Department of Human Sciences, European University of Rome, Italy).  Regular readers who have taken a glance at the cover illustration will need no reminder of this reviewer's antipathy to light bulbs as lazy cliche'd symbols of innovation. In this instance the light bulb is even less appropriate, since the tome itself deals, as the title indicates, with biotechnological inventions. No-one has however yet succeeded in cloning a light bulb or nurturing a breeding pair of them.  However, once past the cover, the book gets better -- as is so often fortunately the case.

According to the publisher:
In today’s technological world, biotechnology is one of the most innovative and highly invested-in industries for research, in the field of science. This book analyses the forms and limitations of patent protection recognition for biotechnological inventions, with particular regard to patentability of life.

The author expertly compares the United States model, traditionally based on technical evaluations, with the European model, inspired by fundamental rights and bioethics. He highlights how the regulation of biotechnological inventions should guarantee a fair balance between protection of investment and access to information, which is essential for further research and innovation.
The problem with this book is the problem faced by its subject-matter. The legal, philosophical, theological and economic literature on both sides of the Atlantic is vast and the author has done a valiant job in trying to identify this literature (largely but not exclusively that which is published in the English language) and make sense of it.  However, as is so often the case with books from the same publishing house, there is no stand-alone bibliography; nor is there a table of cases cited or treaties and statutes referred to.  Having read, edited and published a number of articles in this interdisciplinary field of scholarship, this reviewer had no means of spotting conveniently whether they were discussed by Andrea Stazi and what sort of opinion was formed in respect of them.

The depth of the author's thoughts on the subject can be gauged from the unusual length of the final chapter, bringing together a whole string of conclusions. It is difficult to summarise them since there is a dense weave of interrelation between the conclusions' many strands. The main themes of the author's approach can best be summarised by a string of words beginning with the letter "C": care, consideration, caution, control and cooperation -- but that would be trivialising the journey taken to reach that happy end.

Bibliographic details: hardback, vi + 325 pages. Price £85 (online from the publisher, £76.50). ISBN 978 1 78471 589 2. Rupture factor: lowish. Publisher's web page here.


The New European Patent, by Alfredo Ilardi (former Head of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Collection of Laws and Treaties), is a slender book that can best be described as a small monument to a large event and as a lost opportunity. According to the publisher's website: 
On 17 December 2012, following a complex negotiation which lasted 12 years, the European Parliament adopted Regulations (EU) 1257/2012 and 1260/2012 and the text of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement). These instruments institute the ‘European patent with unitary effect’, the first unified system for the protection of inventions within the European Union. The two Regulations will be applicable after the entry into force of the UPC Agreement, which was signed on 19 February 2013 by 24 Member States of the European Union. This book traces the evolution of the idea behind the institution of the European patent with unitary effect, including a comparative analysis of the existing parallel regional and international procedures for the protection of inventions. It presents a synthesis of the different phases of the negotiations which led to the adoption of the first unitary patent system within the European Union. In addition it examines the provisions of the two Regulations, of the UPC Agreement and of the jurisdictional system under Brussels I Regulation. Finally, it reproduces in the Appendix the texts of Regulations (EU) 1257 and 1260/2012 and of the UPC Agreement.
This introduction gives an accurate flavour of the book: it is full of correctly-recorded official detail and does not venture into the real world of human passion, corporate concern, political expediency and devious diplomacy -- the very stuff of which the "complex negotiation which lasted 12 years" was made.  There has been a wealth of academic, scholarly and professional literature on this book's subject matter, not to mention a magnificent concatenation of blogposts in many languages and from many legal and linguistic cultures. None of this can be found here.  More than half of this book actually consists of appended materials that can be conveniently downloaded from the internet at no cost at all, which makes the £65 price look a trifle optimistic. 

Bibliographic details: hardback. ix + 150 pages; ISBN 978184946833. Price £65. Book's web page here.

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