Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates


November 2016

Samsung Patents Holographic TV

Samsung recently filed a patent for a TV that uses holograms (created by lasers resulting in images floating in front of the screen).  This new experience would take the TV viewing experience outside of the actual TV screen using 3D technology without the need for the user to wear 3D glasses.

The patent mentions the following equipment to bring the holographic TV display to life: a light source, a spatial light modulator with a controller, and an eye-tracking unit to track the viewer’s pupil.

Although the filing of a patent does not guarantee Samsung will release a product in the near future it does indicate the direction of technology travel.


UK to Ratify the Unified Patent Court

The UK is to ratify plans to create a patent court that will span the European Union.

It had been expected that Britain would pull out of plans to create a single European patent system following the Brexit decision to leave the EU in June.

A new Unified Patent Court will now be set up in London to decide on disputes over inventions in the pharmaceuticals, life sciences and medical devices industries.


The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Launched on 24 November 2016

The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) was granted a Royal Charter in April 2016. The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) was officially launched on 24 November 2016.

The new title will strengthen the Institute’s longstanding reputation in the legal sector as the distinguished UK body for trade marks and designs.

Click here for information on CITMA.

Google Patents Smart Contact Lenses

A patent filed in April 2015 by Google aims to revolutionise human beings’ sight by developing liquid contact lenses that are designed to be injected directly into a lens capsule of the eye.  The goal of these contact lenses is to improve the eyesight of people who are suffering from decreased focus and degradation of images.

The patent states: “An intra-ocular device includes an electronic lens that can be controlled to control the overall optical power of the device. The device can be installed within a flexible polymeric material shaped to conform to the inside surface of a lens capsule of an eye”.


Apple Patents Technology to Locate Lost iPhone Even When Switched Off

Apple recently filed a new patent for technology making it easier for users to find their iPhone even when it has been switched off.  The patent description is for an ‘apparatus and method for determining a wireless device’s location after shutdown’. 

The patent is designed to enable the Find My iPhone app function to discretely power up the phone at timed intervals to send location data to the owner via email, instant message, SMS texts or GPS, and then shutting down the phone again to save the battery.

It will also keep the phone display turned off so that any thieves will be unaware that the phone is communicating its location to its owner.  These improvements to the Find My iPhone function would help prevent thefts of these smartphones.


Loss of 3D EU Trade Mark for Rubik’s Cube

The famous multicoloured 3D brainteaser that is the Rubik’s cube has been in the news recently.  The cube which was invented in 1974 and has sold more than 350m worldwide has been involved in a 10 year legal battle.

The shape was registered as a three dimensional EU trade mark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in April 1999.  The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently said that its shape was not sufficient to grant it protection from copycat versions leading to the loss of this 3D mark.

Luckily the Rubik brand has other trade marks, copyright, passing off and unfair competition protection that should continue to ensure its exclusivity.


Change in Toblerone’s Shape Could Mean Loss of Iconic Trade Mark

Swiss chocolate brand Toblerone manufactured by Mondelēz International has been in the news recently.  The company made an announcement on 15 October 2016 on Toblerone’s Facebook page stating there would be a weight reduction in the two sizes of UK Toblerone bars as they are experiencing higher costs for numerous ingredients.  The 400g bars were to be reduced to 360g and the 170g bars to 150g.  The company chose to change the shape whilst maintaining the cost to keep the product affordable to customers.

The packaging was kept the same size but the UK Toblerone bars have been altered in shape by inserting gaps between the iconic triangles which has caused displeasure amongst many UK consumers.

The brand may now need to reconsider its intellectual property strategy as it remains to be seen whether trade mark UK00000981938 which protects the iconic Toblerone shape will remain valid.

Source: and

Increase in IP Cooperation from UK and India

On 8 November 2016 UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessed the signing of a major Intellectual Property (IP) agreement between the UK and India.

The Memorandum of Understanding will assist cooperation on IP related activities between the UK and India, including:

  • exchanges of IP best practice to streamline patents, trade marks and designs registrations
  • technical exchanges e.g. assisting resolution of IP disputes
  • outreach activities e.g. business advice on how to value and secure IP
  • education campaigns increasing IP awareness


Apple Patents Augmented Reality Maps for iPhones

Apple has recently been granted a patent (US Patent No. 9,488,488) for ‘Augmented reality maps’.  The patent was first filed in 2011 but has now been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Apple will use the iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video and the augmented reality system to superimpose directions onto live video (including street names, points of interest, directional indicators) through an app.  It will therefore generate real-time views of the user’s surroundings with digital information superimposed.

Sources:  and

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