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Italy is certainly well-known for its cultural heritage spanning more than two thousand years. Counting 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it holds a greater number of such sites than any other country worldwide. It is therefore no wonder that today’s 21st century Italy contains multiple traits attributed to the “Bel Paese” (The Beautiful Country), in particular those related to its pleasing cuisine and modern but timeless design.

The latter, a wonderful expression of the eternal Italian creative spirit and its natural sense for beauty, has long been a subject for different types of legal protection. Dating back to 1868, the Italian legal and doctrinarian system has since undergone many, often fast and radical changes. Some of these changes are due to the fact that Italy is member of the EU.

We refer, in particular, to the respective EU Directives in rem which came into force over the last 15 years. The first and foremost point to observe here is the 180° epic conversion from the narrow old to the wider new system: before, the law basically allowed only for an alternative protection, where artistic works fell exclusively under the copyright law, industrial designs under the ornamental model law, and distinctive shapes under the trademark law.

Now, the law allows for a full cumulative protection under all the aforesaid intellectual property rights (provided, of course, that each of their single requirements is met in every specific case).

Although a digression into the vivid legislative past would definitely be worth a longer sojourn, the current observations will rather focus on the actual aspects of gaining exclusive rights on designs (understood as visible outward forms or patterns) in Italy and the European Union.

jwrede@dennemeyer-law.com Read more

As a general rule, an applicant is free to draft a patent claim in any desired claim language; the same is true for the accompanying description. However, when an invention manifests in particular parameters and the invention shall be protected by a European patent granted under the European Patent Convention, some particular issues may arise. Five of these issues are discussed in this paper. Contrary to Hamlet, we must ask not only one question in this context, but several.

Clarity: Is it usual, or is it not usual: that is the question.

Although a product may be defined in a claim in various ways, the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office (hereinafter: “the Guidelines”) state that a product should only be exceptionally defined by its parameters. In this context, parameters are considered to be characteristic values, which may be values of directly measurable properties or may be defined as more or less complicated mathematical combinations of several variables in the form of formulae.

However, according to the Guidelines, such a characterization by parameters is in principle only allowable in those cases where the invention cannot be adequately defined in any other way. Additionally, it is required that the parameters can be clearly and reliably determined either by indications in the description or by objective procedures, which are usual in the art. Given that the definition of the invention should appear completely in the claim itself whenever reasonably practicable, and given that the method of measurement is necessary for the unambiguous definition of the parameter, the method should be mentioned in the claim.

There are only three exceptions to the general rule that the method of and means for measurement of the parameter must be included in the claim, namely:

(i) The description of the method is so long that its inclusion would make the claim unclear through lack of conciseness or difficult to understand (in which case the claim should include a reference to the description);

(ii) A person skilled in the art would know which method to employ, e.g. because there is only one method, or because a particular method is commonly used; or

(iii) All known methods yield the same result (within the limits of measurement accuracy).

In all other cases the method of and means for measurement should be included in the claims, as the claims define the matter for which protection is sought.

Further, while parameters can meet the requirement of clarity, the foregoing is only true for parameters which are considered “usual” by the skilled addressee. In contrast, cases in which unusual parameters are employed or a non-accessible apparatus for measuring the parameter(s) is used are prima facie objectionable on grounds of lack of clarity, as no meaningful comparison with the prior art can be made.

 

Copyright by Dr. Christian Köster

ckoester@dennemeyer-law.com Read more

This paper deals with preliminary injunctions (PIs) based on patents with a view towards European procedures. Also discussed are precautionary measures that a potential defendant in PI proceedings may take in order to avoid an injunction.

Background of preliminary injunctions

A patent proprietor who identifies an act infringing one or more of his patents, may have an interest that the infringement is stopped immediately. Such a patent proprietor will therefore seek immediate injunctive relief. The injunctive relief may be permanent, but permanent injunctive relief is typically only granted after lengthy court proceedings on the merits of a case. In contrast, courts may, upon application by the patent proprietor, order injunctive relief in the form of a provisional measure. In the European Union, provisional measures are mandatorily available in all member states.

Provisional measures are regularly granted in preliminary injunction procedures. There are two procedural possibilities, i.e. either the defendant is heard by the court before a decision on the application for a PI is taken (inter partes procedure), or, in case any delay would cause irreparable harm to the patent proprietor, the PI may even be granted without hearing the defendant (ex parte procedure).

Naturally, when a defendant is injuncted and has to stop the act in question immediately, this may constitute a significant threat to his business. From the defendant’s perspective, all reasonable steps against preliminary injunctions should be taken, and should be taken in due course. Some recommendations are given below.

 

Copyright by Dr. Christian Köster

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As a result of the Iran nuclear deal signed last year, economic sanctions on the Middle-Eastern country have been lifted on January 16, 2016. Governmental authorities and industry organizations were quick to welcome this step in opening up the Iranian economy to international trade and investment. For example, the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and the European-Iranian Business Alliance released statements expressing their hope that business relations with Iran will be flourishing again in the future.

With the start of a hopefully new and long-lasting period of good business relations with Iran, exporting companies should start rethinking about their intellectual property strategy for the Iranian market. The first question is of course which protective IP rights are available in Iran. Actually, Iran is a member of the Paris Convention and a contracting state of all major treaties administered by WIPO, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol (click here for an overview).

We at Dennemeyer have a long-standing relationship with our colleagues in Iran. Furthermore, we have experienced that centralized formalities procedures, especially with regards to notarization, can help clients move forward their IP projects almost everywhere and in fact in Iran. During the sanctions, we helped clients, some of them U.S.-based, with filing and prosecuting intellectual property rights in Iran including patents concerning the oil and gas industry. With these recent developments in mind, we are looking forward to playing our part in normalizing the economic relations with Iran, with our focus being of course the field of Intellectual Property.

As a result of the Iran nuclear deal signed last year, economic sanctions on the Middle-Eastern country have been lifted on January 16, 2016. Governmental authorities and industry organizations were quick to welcome this step in opening up the Iranian economy to international trade and investment. For example, the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and the European-Iranian Business Alliance released statements expressing their hope that business relations with Iran will be flourishing again in the future.

With the start of a hopefully new and long-lasting period of good business relations with Iran, exporting companies should start rethinking about their intellectual property strategy for the Iranian market. The first question is of course which protective IP rights are available in Iran. Actually, Iran is a member of the Paris Convention and a contracting state of all major treaties administered by WIPO, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol (click here for an overview).

We at Dennemeyer have a long-standing relationship with our colleagues in Iran. Furthermore, we have experienced that centralized formalities procedures, especially with regards to notarization, can help clients move forward their IP projects almost everywhere and in fact in Iran. During the sanctions, we helped clients, some of them U.S.-based, with filing and prosecuting intellectual property rights in Iran including patents concerning the oil and gas industry. With these recent developments in mind, we are looking forward to playing our part in normalizing the economic relations with Iran, with our focus being of course the field of Intellectual Property.

English Industry News Read more

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