This week in IP: Delhi gets IPAB cases, EUIPO turns 28, and more
Singapore launches IP programme for start-ups; USPTO TM applications for NFTs and metaverse soar; Bank of America breaks its patent record; Federal Circuit hears licensing standing dispute
Managing IP stories published this week include:
Delhi High Court receives IPAB patent cases
The Delhi High Court has received 401 patent appeals and 52 rectification cases from the defunct Intellectual Property Appellate Board, the forum announced on Monday, September 5.
The court asked that stakeholders inform its administrative officer if any of the listed matters had become infructuous or had to be withdrawn or settled.
It also asked advocates to confirm receipt of instructions from their respective clients so it could list the pending cases for hearing.
The oldest patent appeal featured in the list was filed in 2010 and the oldest rectification in 2009.
The Indian government abolished the IPAB in April 2021 for inefficiency, and transferred cases pending before the forum to different high courts.
Since then, the high courts have been slow to take up these cases. The Delhi High Court was the first forum to frame procedures for dealing with the transferred matters.
Singapore launches IP programme for start-ups
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore has launched a new programme to help start-up companies better manage their IP, the country’s second minister for law Edwin Tong announced on Tuesday, September 6.
“The IP Start programme will support start-ups by way of curated resources, practical advice, and hands-on guidance, shared exclusively through their accelerators and incubators,” Tong said.
He also announced two other initiatives: an online guide to facilitate better management of trade secrets by companies and a joint initiative between IPOS and WIPO to help students patent their inventions.
The initiatives, announced during Singapore’s IP Week 2022 at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, were aimed at strengthening the country’s IP ecosystem.
Tong said a good IP ecosystem supported and facilitated innovation, protected inventions from being simply copied by others, and drove collaborative research and development.
“Businesses that are IP-rich but cash-poor can also use their IP not just to exclude others, but as leverage to help obtain support and financing,” he added.
Trademark applications for NFTs and metaverse soar at USPTO
The number of US trademark applications filed this year that specified non-fungible tokens and the metaverse has already surpassed the figure for the whole of 2021, it was revealed this week.
So far, applicants have filed 4,150 trademark applications specifying the metaverse, virtual services, and Web3 at the USPTO in 2022, representing a 120% rise on the previous year.
In 2021, they submitted just 1,886 such applications.
In addition, applicants have filed for 5,800 NFT-related trademarks, representing a 177% increase on the 2,087 marks filed for in 2021.
The figures were valid as of August 31.
The data from the USPTO was compiled and tweeted by intellectual property lawyer Mike Kondoudis, owner of the Washington DC-based firm The Law Office of Michael E Kondoudis, on Tuesday, September 6.
March was the busiest month for metaverse (759) and NFT-related applications (1,078). July and August were quieter months.
Last month, luxury brand Hermes filed a US trademark application for its name that specified the metaverse and NFTs.
Other brands including Meta, Mastercard and McDonald’s have all made virtual-related filings at the USPTO this year.
EUIPO turns 28 and looks to the future
The EUIPO turned 28 years-old on Sunday, September 4, and the office has been looking back over its busy history.
In a press release published by the EUIPO on Monday, September 5, the office said the Sunday just gone had marked the anniversary of when 12 EU member states set the foundations for what would go on to become the EUIPO.
It would not be until around 19 months later, in April 1996, that the office started to accept EU trademark (EUTM) applications.
Originally known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, with its headquarters located in Spain, the office was tasked with the management of EUTMs or ‘community trademarks’ as they were once called.
In the years since, the EUIPO has expanded to manage registered community designs (RCDs).
In addition to EUTMs and RCDs, the office has been heavily involved in geographical indications (GIs), which protect certain food and drink products. In November, GIview, the database for GIs worldwide, will celebrate its second anniversary.
The European Commission has outlined a proposal to extend GI protection to European craft and industrial products, meaning the EUIPO – as the potential administering agency for this new right – could soon expand into new areas.
Bank of America breaks its patent record
Bank of America was granted more patents in the first six months of 2022 than it was in the first half-year of any in the business’s history, the firm announced on Wednesday, September 7.
The bank obtained 341 patents between January and July 2022, representing a 50% increase from last year. These patents related to security, fraud detection, privacy, payment technologies, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobile banking.
Women made up 26% of the company’s inventors, compared to 17% of inventors in the US.
The company obtained more US patents than any other financial services business, a spokesperson said.
Aditya Bhasin, chief technology and information officer at Bank of America in North Carolina, said the diversity of the bank’s portfolio represented the diverse experiences and unique perspectives of more than 6,500 inventors around the world.
“Their desire to address client needs, safeguard information and create new solutions that help clients build better financial lives drives our record-breaking patents streak.”
Managing IP interviewed the bank’s chief intellectual property counsel Keith Agisim in April 2020.
Federal Circuit hears licensing standing dispute
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in a dispute over whether a licensing deal undermined a non-practising entity’s standing on Tuesday, September 6.
Uniloc defaulted on a loan from Fortress Investment Group that it had used to fund cases against Motorola Mobility, Google and Apple.
In doing so, it gave Fortress the right to sublicense the patents, although the investment group never did license them.
Motorola argued that the District Court for the District of Delaware and the District Court for the Northern District of California had correctly ruled that Uniloc no longer had standing to sue because it didn’t have exclusive rights to the patents.
But the NPE argued that it did have this standing and that the Federal Circuit should overturn the lower courts’ decisions.
Uniloc obtained a $26 million loan from Fortress in December 2014. It sued Motorola in the District of Delaware in 2018 and appealed the case to the Federal Circuit in January 2021.