Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates



Huawei Considers Next Step Following Receipt of UK Court’s First Ever ‘FRAND’ Injunction

The Chinese networking and telecommunications equipment company Huawei technologies (ranked second in a list of the top 10 PCT patent applicants for 2016) was recently subject to the UK’s first ever patent infringement fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) injunction.  A FRAND injunction is granted to a defendant who is unwilling to enter into a FRAND licence.

The lawsuit between Huawei and UPI has been going on for more than three years and this court decision is the latest development.  The UK High Court ruled that Huawei must pay licensing fees to use patents related to 4G technologies in its devices from US software company Unwired Planet International (UPI) that now owns the patents.  If Huawei refuses to do this it will face a sales ban in the UK.  The FRAND injunction would stop automatically if Huawei agrees to enter into a FRAND licencing agreement with UPI.

It is possible that Huawei cold try to appeal the court ruling but commentators believe it is more likely that the company will try to reach a settlement agreement with UPI.

Huawei opened its first office in the UK in 2001 and from that date onwards has continually increased investment within the country meaning that the UK is an important country to Huawei.  Huawei issued a statement that the UK court’s decision would not adversely affect its business operations in the UK or in other countries.


Need a Second Opinion whilst out Shopping? Adobe’s Latest Patent may have the Answer!

Shopping has often been referred to as a national pastime.  Most people love shopping for new purchasers, in fact research from the Great British Wardrobe Report found that people in the UK spend an average of £1042 per year on their wardrobes.  Whilst there has been a trend over recent years for consumers to spend more money online, in store purchasers still account for a high percent of retail value.

Potential consumers who enter a shop on their own can often find they wish a second opinion before committing to a purchase, especially on clothes and shoes.  Adobe has come up with an interesting new piece of patented technology which could help with this as it aims to give consumers a virtual second opinion (advice from someone of the shopper’s pre-determined group on whether to buy the particular item or look for other items in the store) via their smartphones.

The technology works by using a monitoring device that monitors users’ movement and activities within shops.  This data is collected and stored building a shopping record for each consumer allowing all consumers to be categorized into similar groups.  After determining the group the system sends the notifications to rest of the similar group members about your choice while you are present in the shop.

The system allows the shop visitors to provide feedback to each other, helping people make the right choice before buying a product.  The new technology means that lone shoppers will always have user buyer advice from people similar to themselves instantly available on their smartphones as a virtual second opinion for them.  The aim of Adobe’s patented technological solution is to increase customer satisfaction and increase conversions for products.  We have to wait and see how Adobe might implement this new technology.



EU Businesses want the UK to be part of the New Unitary Patent System

It was recently reported that UK and European Businesses have written to the Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy requesting that he move forward with progressing the ratification process of the Unified Patent System.

The introduction of the Unitary Patent (a single patent covering multiple countries) and the establishment of a new patent court, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will affect holders of existing European Patents as well as those seeking new protection for inventions.  Businesses will be able to apply to the European Patent Office for unitary patents which, if granted, would give patent protection for inventions across 25 countries.  The Unified Patent System represents an important reform of the European patent system which many claim is long overdue.  The use of the Unitary Patent aims to reduce practical barriers for companies with regard to trade and export which could be helpful to the UK post Brexit.

For the new UPC system to take effect, at least 13 EU countries (including the three with the most European patents in effect in 2012 i.e. Germany, France and the UK), must pass national legislation to ratify the UPC Agreement that was finalised in 2013. France has already ratified the agreement whilst German ratification has moved closer in the country’s parliament.

In November 2016 the UK government confirmed that the UK will ratify the UPC Agreement but in 2017 there has been much talk and speculation about the new UPC system and whether it will remain on track or indeed whether the UK will continue to be involved.  Firstly there was Brexit in 2016 which saw the UK vote to leave the European Union and then a UK general election scheduled for June 2017.  All the legislation necessary to ratify the Agreement has still to be placed before the UK parliament.  The UK general election on 8 June 2017 will delay the UK’s ratification of a new UPC system as it will be for “the next government” to complete “future steps”.  This will push back the UPC coming into effect to at least mid 2018 when the new framework could become operational.

Companies who wrote the letter claim that the UK should join the Unitary Patent System and remain in post Brexit.  The letter is significant because it shows that UK and European companies want to keep regulations in place where there are clear benefits in reducing red tape.  It was noted that the UK has pushed hard for the Unitary Patent System in recent years with one of the Unified Patent Courts being located in London.


PetLife Files Patent for Treatment of Cancer in Dogs

PetLife Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a US Veterinary Pharmaceutical company) has developed a high potency veterinary cancer medication for pets called VitalZul™ for which they have filed for patent protection in the United States and India.  The patent application is entitled “A Composition for Targeting Cancer in Canines and Humans”.  The patent formulation is intended for both animal and human use, pending further testing.

As the components of the formulation of VitalZul™ are natural as opposed to synthetic testing has shown them to have a very minimal level of toxicity.

Scientists and researchers will continue testing VitalZul™ with the aim of obtaining FDA approval and for the product to be on sale by the end of 2018.


Apple Pay Allegedly In Violation of Financial Transaction Authentication Patents

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that lets users make payments using an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac.  Apple Pay was launched by Apple in September 2014 in partnership with Visa, MasterCard and American Express and is due to have 86 million users by the end of 2017.

Universal Secure Registry (a US technology company) recently sued Apple claiming Apple Pay has violated its patents for financial transaction authentication.  Visa (who is also named in the lawsuit) was given access to the patented technology (which is the subject of this lawsuit) by Universal Secure Registry in 2010 after signing a ten-year nondisclosure agreement, which saw Visa engineers given full access.

The outcome of this lawsuit is awaited.


Brexit Negotiations will Begin on 19 June 2017

Michel Barnier who is leading the Brexit negotiations for the EU has confirmed that negotiations are due to begin on 19 June 2017 following the UK Parliament’s reconvention post the General Election.  Mr Barnier hopes to submit his first report to EU leaders regarding the status of the Brexit negotiations on 23 June 2017 which is exactly a year after the UK voted to leave the EU.

According to the report, negotiations are planned to take place in four-week cycles, each focusing on a different “key issue”.  Crucial topics of discuss will no doubt include the following:

  • the future relationship between the UK and the Unified Patent Court system.
  • Copyright
  • trade marks
  • designs
  • SPC’s
  • other aspects of IP law which are governed wholly or in part by EU legislation.

These Brexit negotiations have been said to be the most important negotiations in the UK’s history.


System of In-Flight Package Transfer During Drone Delivery Patented by IBM

IBM inventors were recently granted patent no. US9561852 for a system for transferring packages between drones during flight.  The purpose of this patented invention is to extend the range of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that are delivering packages from a warehouse to a customer’s home to overcome existing challenges with drone delivery including limited flight range and a lack of delivery network optimization.

This technology would also allow customers to have their own personal drones that they could send out to receive and deliver an expected package to their own home, rather than needing to wait in for a package or have any potential security worries of a drone going to their own home.

This invention has the potential to revolutionise the way that drones can be used and extend the type of products they can deliver to include postal deliveries and medicines dispatch across greater geographical areas.

Read more on the patent here:

This patent represents the latest in IBM’s patented inventions for drones and drone-enabling technologies.


Microsoft Patents Advanced Eye Scanning Security System

Microsoft already has security through Windows 10 that allows users to log into devices with their face or their fingerprint.  Microsoft now seems to be taking things further with its recently patented iris recognition technology that could potentially be implemented into future Microsoft devices for enhanced security methods.

The patent filing details how the device will illuminate the eye from multiple angles while a the camera simultaneously captures photos of these different parts of the eye, creating distinct data points allowing it to differentiate a real eye from a photograph of an eye.  This new method of recognition should enhance security by taking extra steps to validate the data presented.

Whilst this patent filing is an interesting technical development it does not mean that it will result in production of consumer technology.


The UK Intellectual Property Office Publishes Corporate Plan 2017-2020

It is now generally accepted that intellectual property (IP) is valuable and important to the UK’s economic well-being with IP essential for innovation and growth.  The UK government aims to make the UK the best place to innovate, patent new ideas and set up and grow a business as well as to protect IP.  Progress is already being made with regards to a landmark voluntary code of practice agreement in place whereby search engines and creative industries help to prevent consumers ending up on infringing websites by decreasing infringing links in online search results.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) recently published its latest corporate plan covering 2017-2020.  The corporate plan outlines six IP goals as follows:

  1. Promoting UK Growth through IP policy
  2. Delivering High Quality Rights
  3. Ensuring IP rights are respected and appropriately enforced
  4. Educating and enabling business to understand, manage and protect their IP
  5. Improving skills and capability of our people
  6. Increasing efficiency and delivering value for money

More information on the UKIPO’s corporate plan can be found here:

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