Patents represent a key aspect of our clients’ intellectual property and may have significant commercial value, whether used to protect core technology, keep competitors out of a particular technical/commercial space, or as a source of revenue through licencing or assignment of rights. We understand that the role of patents may vary depending on the nature and life-stage of our clients’ businesses and seek to offer practical and tailored advice.
In drafting patent applications, we seek to define your inventions in a way that offers commercially-relevant protection, provides flexibility to address any unforeseen objections arising during prosecution, and ultimately provides valuable rights that can be defended and enforced, if required.
The Schlich attorneys adopt a creative and practical approach to prosecution, and have experienced considerable success through direct interaction with EPO and UKIPO Examiners. We can also advise on effective strategies for accelerating prosecution, or deferring costs, to reflect your commercial needs. We are also able to coordinate patent prosecution worldwide, either directly through the European and International (PCT) patent systems or by working through established relationships with trusted foreign law firms.
The Schlich patent team have developed considerable experience, and a proven track record of success, in EPO opposition and appeal proceedings (both offensive and defensive). We are also able to advise on, and propose practical solutions to, potential freedom-to-operate and infringement issues.
Read the latest insights from the Schlich team reporting recent cases and updates to patent law.
Oppositions (and then appeals of the opposition decisions) are a mainstay of the work of the EPO, allowing third party scrutiny of granted patents prior, and often in place of, litigation. The process can also be a safe means of testing the litigation water as, with only a few exceptions, no estoppel is generated through these EPO proceedings.
Provided certain criteria are met, employees in the UK are entitled to compensation from their employers for inventions they have made which their employers own. However, the UK courts have historically been reluctant to award such compensation, and thus employee compensation actions in the UK seldom succeed. Over recent years, an increasing number of employee compensation actions have been decided in favour of the employee, and thus a recent decision explaining some of the requirements for successful employee compensation actions is well worth a read for inventive employees and their employers alike.
Federal Circuit leans on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Amgen v. Sanofi to find Baxalta’s functionally defined antibody claims invalid for lack of enablement.
Just a few months ago, the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Amgen v Sanofi (Amgen), namely that Amgen’s patents broadly claiming antibodies that inhibit the PCSK9 protein are invalid for lack of enablement. Now, in a decision that broadly mirrors Amgen, the Federal Circuit have found Baxalta’s functionally defined antibody claims insufficient.
Notwithstanding the doctrine of equivalents now used to interpret claim scope, the principle of purposive construction is still used to interpret specific terms in a patent claim. In this case this yielded the result that “bigger” could be the same as “not bigger”.
A recent Decision, T1482/21, from the Board of Appeal of the EPO considered whether a decision to re-establish a patent application can be challenged during Opposition proceedings at the EPO.
One of the first preliminary injunctions was issued by the Unified Patent Court on 22 June 2023. The decision was made ex parte and, remarkably, on the same day as the application for an injunction was filed by the proprietor, despite the respondent’s efforts to avoid the issue of an injunction by filing a protective letter.
EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal set to consider in G 1/23 the degree to which enablement impacts the status of a commercially available product as state of the art
Central to the assessment of patentability at the EPO is the definition of ‘state of the art’. Article 54(2) EPC defines the state of the art as ‘everything made available to the public’ before the effective filing date of a patent application. But when the thing made available to the public is a product with a defined chemical composition, how much of that composition is made available to the public by the simple disclosure of the product? G 1/92 provided an answer but as the current referral to the EPO’s EBA shows, there are gaps that need filing.
Following the Enlarged Board of Appeal decision G 2/21 (“plausibility”) earlier this year, the referring Board has issued its preliminary opinion on how to take EPO appeal no. T 116/18 forwards. It is clear the Board is uncertain how G 2/21 is to be applied, noting several interpretations of that decision seem feasible. Thus, new case law appears to be needed to help those using the European patent system understand the circumstances under which post-filed data can be relied upon by a patent proprietor in the assessment of inventive step.
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Our team of UK and European Patent Attorneys and Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys are highly knowledgeable and experienced in assisting clients with all aspects of their IP needs.
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