Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates


February 2017

The Broad Institute Wins Ownership Battle with the University of California on CRISPR Patents

The revolutionary genome-editing technology CRISPR case started in January 2016, when the US patent office granted the University California’s an “interference” proceeding to investigate whether the CRISPR-Cas9 patent application the University California filed, but not issued, in May 2012 claimed the same invention as the patent awarded to the Broad in April 2014.

The outcome of this case has been eagerly awaited because if the use of CRISPR to treat genetic disorders lives up to scientists hopes it is expected to be a multibillion-dollar business.

The US patent office recently ruled that ownership of the CRISPR-Cas9 belong to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.  The Patent Trial and Appeal Board decided that key CRISPR patents awarded to the Broad beginning in 2014 are sufficiently different from patents applied for by the University of California.  The University of California is now expected to appeal.


Google’s Security System that Knows When You’re Away From Home!

Google recently filed 2 patent applications (9,508,247 and 9,508,250) for an advanced home security system. Google’s security system relies on new arm and disarm technology which is very different to how people’s household alarm systems currently work.

Current security systems must be set manually to activate them and rely on “stay” and “away” signs to determine whether or not to sound an alarm if there is motion detected in the building secured with the alarm.

Google wants to use external inputs (such as geolocation from smartphones/devices  and sensor data from motion sensors/cameras) to establish a set of rules for the system to determine whether or not a person is at home or not and thus be able to automatically set or disable the security system.


China Awards 10 Year Trade Mark on “Trump” for Construction Industry

The government of China recently awarded US President Donald Trump a 10-year trade mark right to his own name for construction services.  The registration was a surprise win following a decade long battle trying to obtain the rights to his name back from a man named Dong Wei.

Donald Trump currently has 77 trade marks registered in his own name with 49 pending trade mark applications in China.


Beyoncé Faces Opposition Trying to Trademark Daughter, Blue Ivy’s Name

Famous pop singer Beyoncé is trying once again (after a failed attempt in 2012) to trademark her five-year-old daughter’s name Blue Ivy Carter.  Beyoncé wishes to use the “Blue Ivy Carter” trade mark on a range of merchandise covering the following classes: baby products, sporting equipment and entertainment services.

The trade mark application is not going smoothly however after being opposed by US Blue Ivy Events who have owned the “Blue Ivy” trade mark for the event planning class for a number of years.  The registered “Blue Ivy” mark is similar to the proposed “Blue Ivy Carter” mark.

Beyoncé could come to an agreement with Blue Ivy Events by way of a settlement payout deal but it would no doubt be costly.  Beyoncé’s alternative is to fight the trade mark opposition case at the USPTO but that will incur large legal fees.


Top 10 Most Innovative UK Cities Revealed

Cities Outlook 2017 is the latest edition of an annual report compiled by the Centre for Cities study group looking at number of patents filed in different cities across the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Cambridge and Oxford (famous for their world class universities) are in the top 3.  London was responsible for 18% of the 12,000 UK patent applications published in 2015 but ranked only 20th because of its large population.  The data alludes to a UK north-south divide as 7 out of 10 cities with the most published patent applications are in the south while north based Wigan and Birmingham were ranked as places with the lowest number of published patent applications.

The top 10 most innovative cities are listed below:

Rank City Patent Applications per 100,000 residents
1 Cambridge 341.1
2 Coventry 118.4
3 Oxford 79.9
4 Derby 67.7
5 Swindon 61.6
6 Aberdeen 57.3
7 Crawley 55.8
8 Aldershot 51.5
9 Slough 45.4
10 Reading 40.3

The full report can be read here:

European Granted Patents Up 40% in 2016

Data from the EPO database shows that more European patents were granted in 2016 than ever before; a 40% increase from 2015 to 2016 (69,500 up to 97,000 patents).

The data seems to suggest that EPO examiners are now granting more patents than in previous years across multiple sectors.

Sector No. of EU Granted Patents in 2016 Percentage increase (2015-2016)
Medical devices & pharmaceuticals 16,400 40%
Automotive 4,750 Over 40%
Food and Drink 1,300 27%

UK based applicants obtained 3,200 European patents in 2016, up from 2,100 in previous years, also confirming the rise in granted patent applications.

The EPO’s latest patent data is available here:

Source: Settles Patent Lawsuit for $12.5 Million

DNA Genotek (provider of biological sample collection products) sued (genealogy research website) for patent infringement.  The lawsuit centred on’s use of technology in their saliva collecting kits which was protected by a couple of DNA Genotek’s DNA testing US patents.

Following the recent settlement and licensing agreement (involving a $12.5 million payout by the patent infringement lawsuit has been dropped.  DNA Genotek has now granted a non-exclusive worldwide licence to the human saliva DNA collection patents for their DNA collection kits used as part of their genetic-testing service.


Global Innovation Index Ranks India 43rd out of 45 Countries

‘The Roots of Innovation’ report compiled by the US Chambers of Commerce is an annual International IP Index.  In the latest edition of this report the highest counrty performers were noted as the US (32.6), the UK (32.4), Germany (31.9), Japan (31.3) and Sweden (31).  By comparison India ranked 43rd out of 45 countries with a score of just 8.4.  In recent years the report mentioned there had been a slight improvement in India’s performance but suggested that substantial legislative reforms were needed.

The full report, the Roots of Innovation, can be read here:


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