Monthly report: October’s exclusive content
Managing IP was first to report major stories that matter, from a Peppa Pig dispute to the UPC sunrise period and new targets for the Indian and UK IP offices
India IPO sets 2023 target for operation overhaul
In the midpoint of the month, our Asia reporter Sukanya Sarkar secured an exclusive interview with the controller general of patents, designs and trademarks at India’s intellectual property office.
Unnat Pandit told Managing IP the office planned to finish remodelling its operations within a year. The office is set to revamp its internal systems and processes and increase its workforce by hiring examiners across different divisions of its five branches, Pandit said.
The IP office also wanted to revamp its online portal as part of the remodelling. Pandit noted that practitioners had complained on several occasions of trouble uploading and digitally signing documents and accessing papers filed by other parties on the platform.
Peppa Pig owner slams 'groundless' Vietnam lobbying
Attention also turned to Vietnam, where a multi-jurisdictional dispute between eOne, the owner of the Peppa Pig franchise, and SConnect, a Vietnam-based video company which produces a series about a cartoon wolf called ‘Wolfoo’, is boiling over.
Canadian company eOne has sued SConnect in the UK, but, as news editor Max Walters revealed last month, the complaint has begun to stray into new – and potentially problematic – territory that blurs the boundaries between legal and administrative disputes.
In a letter seen by Managing IP, eOne wrote to the Vietnamese government in the last few weeks to clarify its position after it emerged ministers had been asked to stop YouTube from taking down allegedly infringing material.
The Vietnam Digital Communications Association said it had contacted YouTube-owner Google and the Vietnamese government on behalf of SConnect because eOne’s takedown requests related to Wolfoo were causing damage.
But eOne said this was “totally groundless and unreasonable” and that disputes on these issues should be resolved by a competent court, not the government.
UKIPO to fast-track new One IPO platform
In more developments concerning revamps and modernisations of IP offices, reporter Rory O’Neill brought you the news that the UKIPO had brought forward the launch date of its new digital platform.
UKIPO deputy chief executive Andy Bartlett revealed that the platform would be launched a year ahead of schedule. The office will start adding patents to the new system next year and begin work on trademarks and designs in 2024.
Under the original schedule, designs would not have been available to manage through the new platform until December 2026.
Unified Patents plans to challenge IP at UPC
US organisation Unified Patents is best known for challenging and invalidating patents at the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board – but it could soon become an important player in Europe too, if this story from our US reporter Rani Mehta is anything to go by.
The company plans to challenge registrations at the Unified Patent Court (UPC), according to Jonathan Stroud, the organisation’s general counsel.
Stroud told Managing IP on October 28 that the company considered all forums that allowed for public challenges.
“It’s certainly something that we’re actively looking at and considering and will be participating in for sure,” he said.
EPO sunrise news suggests UPC launch on May 1
At the start of October, there was still some uncertainty regarding the Unified Patent Court, while judges had not been named and a start date had not been revealed.
In a story published on October 5, Managing IP revealed that the three-month sunrise period for opting out European patents was expected start on January 1. This was later confirmed by the UPC’s organising committee in its predicted roadmap.
There is still some speculation over when the overall project could finally get off the ground. The UPC organising committee has earmarked April 1 as a potential start date.
However, sources pointed out to Managing IP that as the training programme for judges was not expected to conclude until March 31, it would be unreasonable to expect those judges to start work the very next day. As a result, all this pointed to May 1 as a more likely start date.