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Created 20 September 2016
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Article on the impact of the outcome of the British referendum on leaving the EU on the European patent reform (19/09/2016) The majority vote of the British electorate in favor of leaving the European Union has delivered a serious blow to the European patent reform. The usual protagonists nonetheless immediately started advocating for an instant ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPCA”) by the UK, now even deeming possible the participation of a non-EU member which so far, due to CJEU opinion 1/09, was held to be excluded by the same people. When looking at the situation from a less biased perspective, a UPCA with the UK may only be possible after a structural revision of the Agreement. (Download Article PDF 19/09/2016)
Created 11 July 2016
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AI MAwards 2016

Sig Logo has been nominated in the 5th annual M&A Awards for Best Business IP Firm by Acquisition International. This achievement marks us as one of the most outstanding performers in our field.

For the past five years, through good times and bad, the global M&A Awards have acted as an invaluable resource, highlighting the dedication, stellar results and top quality client service provided by many worldwide M&A industry leaders.

The prestigious M&A Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts and amazing achievements of identifying, coordinating and completing the important deals which have the potential to change the fate of businesses, industries and even entire countries.

This is a huge pressure and faced with increasing demands from clients many businesses have had to work tirelessly to achieve success. These awards are dedicated to showcasing the hard work, dedication and determination of firms throughout the business world, as voted for by their clients and industry peers.

business ip 2016 winners

Sig Logo  has been nominated for 2016 Intellectual Property Practitioner of the Year, Belgium by Acquisition International

AI's in-house awards team has been examining a number of key firms and individuals from all over the world, in an effort to recognise the top intellectual property teams and professionals across all areas of IP.

As part of the selection process, the research team were particularly interested in firms that in the last 12 months had:

  • Demonstrated a truly innovative approach to matters of IP
  • Achieved outstanding levels of client satisfaction
  • Expanded into new areas within IP
  • Won previous accolades within the field
  • Received significant positive client recommendations/testimonials

Created 11 July 2016
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Intellectual property rights have not escaped the waves of uncertainty created by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, or “Brexit” as we’ve heard it referred to over the last few months. The UK’s obligations to the World Trade Organisation, and the widely accepted view that harmonisation of IP laws is advantageous, should prevent any wholesale changes being made to this area of law. However, the integration of the UK’s IP system with the EU means that changes to the way IP is protected and enforced in the UK are inevitable. While it is unclear precisely what those changes might be, and how they will be implemented, some of the issues that are likely to arise are discussed below.


At the moment, one way of obtaining an enforceable patent in the UK is to file with the European Patent Office (EPO), which will consider whether to grant the patent. Upon its grant, the application must then be validated in the UK (and any other EU member states of interest).

The European Patent Office (which was created by the European Patent Convention) is a separate organisation to the EU; several non-EU countries, including Iceland, Switzerland and Norway, are members of the EPC. The EPO confirmed in a statement released on 24 June 2016 that the UK referendum will have no consequence on the UK’s membership with the EPO. Accordingly, we do not foresee any changes to the UK patent system, and expect that:

  • European patent applications will continue to be available in the UK, and
  • Existing patents will continue to have legal effect in the UK.

That said, it is unclear whether the UK will now be able to participate in the incoming Unified Patent Court (UPC) system, which is designed to create a single system for patent registration and litigation and was expected to become operative as early as this year. The UPC system is an EU initiative, and as such only applies to EU members. The EPO has sought to reassure the public that it “expects that the UK and the participating EU member states will find a solution as soon as possible which will allow a full implementation” of the UPC. However, even if the UK remains a part of the UPC system, the UK referendum is nonetheless likely to delay its implementation.

Trade marks

Trade marks can be protected in the UK through either a national registration or an EU registration (EUTMs). EUTMs are a likely casualty of the UK referendum. Hopefully the UK government minimises disruption by creating a transitional mechanism that automatically converts EUTMs to UK trade marks; otherwise traders may be required to re-apply to protect their EUTMs in the UK. Other likely consequences include EUTMs used only in the UK becoming vulnerable to revocation for non-use.

In the future, new trade mark applicants may be required to file separate trade mark applications in the UK and EU, though as the Madrid Protocol (which allows trade marks to be registered in multiple jurisdictions) is separate from the EU, national UK trade mark rights should continue to be available through this system.


Like the EUTMs, existing Registered Community Designs (RCDs) are likely to cease to apply in the UK once it formally leaves the EU, though transitional arrangements may be put in place. In future, design applications may need to be filed in both the UK and EU.

EU member states currently grant owners of unregistered designs three years’ protection from the date of first publication. These rights may cease to exist in the UK.


As copyright is governed by domestic legislation in the UK, it is unlikely to be altered to any substantial degree once the UK leaves the EU.

What next?

IP owners should identify which of their rights are now likely to be affected and may need further application/ registration in order to achieve maximum protection over that right.

It is likely to be some time before the UK clarifies what changes will be made to its IP system, and those changes are unlikely to take effect for some time. However, in the short-term Wrays recommends taking steps to identify new potential risks and opportunities that may result from the Brexit result. These potential reforms should also be kept in mind when seeking to protect IP rights in the UK and EU, and reviewing and developing IP protection strategies generally. Wrays also recommends reviewing contracts and precedents to ensure that the terms properly account for the UK’s new political climate.

Created 11 July 2016
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In short, no; but if the UK votes to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016, what impact will this have on European patents and in particular on the imminent introduction of the Unitary Patent (UP) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC)?

In terms of obtaining patents through the European Patent Office, leaving the EU would have no impact. The UK is a signatory to the European Patent Convention and this is separate to membership of the EU. Therefore applicants would still be able to obtain patent protection for the UK through the EPO in exactly the same way as they do today. UK based European Patent Attorneys will continue to be able to prosecute European patents for clients before the EPO covering all designations (including UPs) as is the current practice.

What will happen with the UP and the UPC? It is clear that if the UK leaves the EU, a UP will not extend to the UK and the UPC’s jurisdiction will not cover to the UK; only EU countries can be part of the system. Patentees wanting protection in the UK will have to validate their patent filed at the EPO separately for the UK. Furthermore, UK based European Patent Attorneys will be eligable to represent clients in proceedings before the UPC.

Will Brexit stop the UP and UPC?

More fundamental is the question of whether the UK leaving the EU would bring an end to the whole UP and UPC project. In all likelihood it will not. With 10 countries now having ratified and a number of other countries set to ratify in the coming months the political will in Europe seems supportive of the new UP and UPC regime.

The system can only come into effect when ratified by 13 countries which must include the three EU Member states in which the most European patents have effect in the year preceding year in which the agreement was signed. (Article 89 UPC agreement). As it currently stands these three countries are the UK, Germany and France. If the UK were no longer an EU country, the three EU member states required to ratify would become Germany, France and Italy. Italy’s legislation for ratification is well progressed and it is likely to ratify shortly after the UK’s EU referendum. The only issue would be whether the time lag between a vote to leave and an actual exit from the EU by the UK would delay the introduction of the new system by a considerable time.

Location of the Court

More problematic is the location of one of the seats of the Central Division of the UPC in London. Article 7(2) of the UPC agreement specifies the three locations for the Central Division as Paris, Munich and London. London has jurisdiction over “Human Necessities” which covers amongst other things the chemistry and pharmaceutical sectors. As the Central Division’s locations are specified in the agreement, the UK exiting the EU would not alter the situation. The remaining EU countries would have a choice; either a) to amend the UPC agreement and specify another location for the Human Necessities seat of the Central Division (which would clearly be burdensome and cause further delay) or b) keep London as a seat for the Central Division even though it would have no jurisdiction over patents the UK and UK nationals would no longer be eligible to sit as judges in the new Court. Neither are particularly attractive options but as an interim measure at least (given that a lease has been signed on court premises in London) London may well remain as a seat for the UPC Central Division.

Will the UP and UPC be attractive without the UK's participation?

Without a doubt the UP and UPC will be worse off without the UK. As one of the main countries for patent filing and patent litigation in Europe most commentators see the inclusion of the UK as central to the success of the new regime. If a UP will not extend to the UK, it will be a less attractive option on validation of an EP. Most patentees will see the UK as an integral part of their European patent protection and an exit from the EU will not change this. Therefore most applicants who would opt for a UP would need to have a separate validation for the UK if a UP did not cover the UK.

Further, if the jurisdiction of the UPC does not extend to the UK, the promise of an EU wide injunction looks rather hollow. Patentees will still want to enforce their patents in the UK regardless of membership of the EU. National proceedings would therefore be needed in addition to proceedings before the UPC to enforce or revoke a patent across Europe. There have also been concerns that the UPC will be a weaker court without the influence of the highly respected patent judges from the UK shaping its jurisprudence.

Would exit from the EU make the opt-out decision easier?

The introduction of the UPC will impact on all owners of EP patents as, unless opted out, they will be subject to the jurisdiction of the UPC. See our briefing note on the opt-out. If the UK exits the EU, the UK designation of EPs would not be subject to the jurisdiction of the UPC and would not need to be opted out. As is currently the case, any revocation action would need to be brought at a national level. If the UK designation is safe from central revocation, this may give EP patent owners the confidence to allow other designations of the EP to remain within the jurisdiction of the UPC. This might be good news for patent owners who are uncertain about whether or not to exercise the opt-out. For example if an EP has been validated in the UK, Germany and France, the patent owner may be more inclined not to exercise the opt-out, knowing that the UK designation would in any event not come within the ambit of a central attack to validity at the UPC.

Whatever happens on 23 June 2016, now is the time to ensure that your patents in Europe are UPC Ready.

Created 14 April 2016
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8/04/16 - 18u12 Bron: Mashable Het aantal baanbrekende producten dat Apple op de markt heeft gebracht, is ondertussen niet meer te tellen. Maar van een toetsenbordloze MacBook hadden we nog niet gehoord.
Apple heeft een patent genomen op een MacBook waarvan het volledige klavier vervangen wordt door één groot touchpad


Apple nam het patent al in september 2015, maar pas dinsdag werd het ook publiek gemaakt. 
In het patent stelt het bedrijf een groot, aanpasbaar en krachtgevoelig touchpad voor. Het oppervlak meet de kracht waarmee je duwt en zou aan de hand daarvan orders uitvoeren. Het grootste voordeel van een dergelijke invoermethode is de aanpasbaarheid. Gebruikers kunnen grote stukken van het oppervlak gebruiken voor bijvoorbeeld een numeriek toetsenbord of een bepaald aantal toetsen. Je kan het oppervlak aanpassen naargelang de opdrachten die de MacBook voor je moet uitvoeren.
Bovendien is een toetsenbord zonder fysieke toetsen veel hygiënischer.

Created 07 April 2016
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On February 2, 2016, the Colombian PTO (Superintendence of Industry and Commerce – SIC) published Resolution 3719, which regulates some of the articles of Decision 486, a common IP regime for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – regarding the conversion of applications, the filing of patent divisional applications and the patentability examination. Resolution 3719 establishes that a request for: i) the conversion of an application; ii) the division of a patent application into two or more divisional applications, or iii) the merger of two or more patent applications into one, can be filed at any time during the proceedings, until the resolution deciding on a request for reconsideration of a final decision (either granting or rejecting) has been issued by SIC. Therefore, Resolution 3719 clarifies articles 35, 36 and 37 of Decision 486, which state that a request for the conversion, division or merger of patent application respectively can be filed “at any time during the proceedings.” Regarding the “conversion of an application”, Resolution 3719 establishes that said term refers to the conversion of a patent into a utility model application and vice versa, and of a utility model to an industrial design application. When a request for the conversion of a patent application into a utility model application is filed after the deadline to request the examination for a utility model has expired, the utility model examination fees have to be paid when requesting the conversion. The same applies when requesting the conversion of a utility model application into a patent application. With regard to divisional applications, Resolution 3719 states the following: If the applicant does not divide a patent application as suggested by SIC when the application does not comply with the unity requirement, the patentability examination will be only performed on the first inventive group identified by the examiner. A divisional application cannot be the parent application for a further divisional, i.e., a divisional application cannot be further fractioned into one or more divisional applications. When a divisional application is filed voluntarily by the applicant, the division will have to be done “literally”, taking into account the consecutive numbering of the claims. Additionally, the description will have to be in agreement with the division of the claimed subject matter. Resolution 3719 establishes that, if with the response to a patentability examination report, the applicant: i) amends the set of claims; ii) amends the description; iii) or files a new set of claims, the Colombian PTO could, if deemed necessary, issue up to two more examination reports. However, the patentability examination must be finished after 18 months counted from the publication date (9 months for utility models). Additionally, it is established that in any of the cases i-iii described above, the official fees corresponding to the substantive examination must be paid again.
Created 07 March 2016
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The number of European patent filings grew again in 2015 reaching a new high of nearly 279 000 (in 2014: 274 000, +1.6%). The figure is an indicator of the growing demand for patent protection from businesses worldwide. The EPO's annual report, published today, also shows that the number of European patent applications rose to 160 000 last year (in 2014: 152 700, +4.8%).
Created 26 February 2016
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The Unified Patent Court's approach to interim injunctions will influence businesses' patent strategies in Europe, say experts FOCUS: The ease with which businesses will be able to win interim injunctions to defend against rivals' infringements of their patents will be influential in determining whether companies engage with the new Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC will have jurisdiction over a market as big as that in the US and it will have the power to grant interim injunctive relief extending over this whole market.
Created 25 February 2016
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On 19 February, the Indian Patent Office amended its guidelines to provide clarity for patent examiners and practitioners on patenting computer-related inventions (CRIs). The amendments parallel similar clarifications and revisions publicised in other countries including the United States and Singapore. The reaction from some quarters has been to assert that software patents are now excluded from patentability. This is incorrect. While the guidelines provide examples of what does not constitute a patentable CRI, the exclusions to patentability, defined under section 3 of the Indian Patents Act 1970, remain unchanged.
Created 22 February 2016
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Lack of access to patent advice is a huge problem for start-ups and SMEs in Europe. Last week I was at the European Patent Office in The Hague to make a presentation at the annual two-day, DG1 management meeting. This is a get-together of all directors and managers in the office’s operations directorate-general, the one that is responsible for dealing with examinations and oppositions. For the first time, this year a group of outside speakers was invited to attend. Some gave their views on the performance of the office and how it can be improved; while others, such as me, spoke about a few of the key external trends examiners should know about. My presentation was on the way the patent system can benefit start-ups and SMEs.
Created 22 February 2016
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A biotech startup has been issued a patent that involves CRISPR, the breakthrough gene-editing method that has sparked a nearly unprecedented intellectual property feud between some of the country’s biggest institutions. But it’s unclear what effect, if any, the patent will have on that fight.
Created 18 May 2015
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  NEW LOGO BIIP winner Adjusted

has been awarded:

Best IP Due Diligence Provider (Belgium)


Most Commercially Minded IP Firm (Belgium)

Created 07 May 2015
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On 5 May 2015 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the highest court on matters of EU law, handed down two judgments, rejecting challenges brought by Spain to the legality of EU laws that had been enacted to provide for the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). These challenges were the last legal obstacles to the proposed unitary patent regime.

The “unitary patent package” comprises two EU Regulations – one setting out how a patent application granted by the European Patent Office can take effect as a unitary patent across participating EU member states, the other addressing translation issues – and the Unified Patent Court Agreement, a separate treaty between the participating countries which establishes the court that will have jurisdiction to hear disputes concerning unitary patents (and, subject to transitional provisions, existing and future “non-unitary” European patents).

Spain challenged the legality of the two EU Regulations, raising a number of legal objections. Spain’s arguments included claims that the first regulation lacked legal basis under EU law and further infringed the rule of law, as the grant of unitary patents would be entrusted to the European Patent Office, a non-EU body whose decisions could not be subjected to judicial review to ensure the correct and uniform application of EU law. On the regulation dealing with translation issues, Spain’s arguments included a claim that the regulation amounted to discrimination against EU citizens whose language was not French, German or English. Indeed, the precedence given to these three languages over Spanish was at the heart of Spain’s opposition to the new patent regime.

The CJEU found all of Spain’s objections to be unjustified. In brief, the first regulation merely established the conditions under which a European patent granted by the EPO could benefit from unitary effect; it did not incorporate the procedure for granting European patents into EU law. Further, the translation arrangements achieved a legitimate object of ensuring that the translation regime was simple and cost-effective, which would facilitate access to patent protection, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. Entry into force of the UPC and unitary patent regime now depends only on ratification of the UPC Agreement by a further seven member states, which must include the UK and Germany, beyond the six (including France) who have already ratified. It is expected the UPC will be up and running and that the first unitary patents will be granted in 2016 or 2017.

Created 07 May 2015
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We invite you to sell us your patents. The Patent Purchase Promotion is an experimental marketplace for patents that’s simple, easy to use, and fast.

Patent owners sell patents for numerous reasons (such as the need to raise money or changes in a company’s business direction). Unfortunately, the usual patent marketplace can sometimes be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls. Then bad things happen, like lawsuits, lots of wasted effort, and generally bad karma. Rarely does this provide any meaningful benefit to the original patent owner.

So today we’re announcing the Patent Purchase Promotion as an experiment to remove friction from the patent market. From May 8, 2015 through May 22, 2015, we’ll open a streamlined portal for patent holders to tell Google about patents they’re willing to sell at a price they set. As soon as the portal closes, we’ll review all the submissions, and let the submitters know whether we’re interested in buying their patents by June 26, 2015. If we contact you about purchasing your patent, we’ll work through some additional diligence with you and look to close a transaction in short order. We anticipate everyone we transact with getting paid by late August.

Created 07 May 2015
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On April 7, 2015, the Brazilian PTO (INPI) published in the Official Gazette Resolution 146/2015 establishing an electronic system for the online filing of industrial designs. The new service which offers discounts on service fees, is already up and running since April 22, 2015.

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