This week on MIP: DABUS endgame, litigation funder battle
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This week on MIP: DABUS endgame, litigation funder battle

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We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP

AI can’t invent, UK Supreme Court rules

The UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously that only people, not artificial intelligence tools, can be named as inventors under UK patent law.

The keenly awaited decision, on Wednesday, December 20, was a final defeat for the legal team behind the so-called DABUS case that sought to establish an AI tool as the inventor of a food storage system.

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Lawyers battle over litigation funder’s role in Microsoft patent dispute

A lawyer has asked to withdraw from a patent dispute involving Microsoft, citing a conflict with a litigation funder and allegedly unpaid fees.

William Ramey, a lawyer at Ramey LLP, filed a motion at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in which he asked to withdraw himself from CTD Networks v Microsoft.

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Other articles published by Managing IP this week include:

UK govt: AI inventorship reform must be global

Weekly take: Why 2023 was a mixed bag for the IP legal market

The IP Lounge: The top 50 in IP 2023, year in review

Five minutes with … Hiroyuki Hagiwara, Paul Hastings

Sources: IP lawyers well-placed to handle China’s diminishing judicial transparency

Behind the case: How Hungry Jack’s overcame TM beef over burger names

Elsewhere in IP

Watch stopped

Apple paused sales of some smart watches on Monday, December 18, amid a high-profile patent infringement row with medical technology company Masimo.

The US International Trade Commission imposed an import ban on the watches earlier this year after Apple was found to have infringed Masimo’s patents.

But that decision is subject to a potential veto by President Joe Biden, who has until December 25 to decide whether the ban should stand.

Apple said it was pausing sales of the allegedly infringing Apple Watch models as a pre-emptive measure.

Fantasy lawsuit

Amazon and the estate of fantasy writer JRR Tolkien have won a US copyright suit brought by the author of a so-called “sequel” to ‘Lord of the Rings’.

Demetrious Polychron filed the suit at the District Court for the District of California, claiming that Amazon’s “The Rings of Power” series copied his book “The Fellowship of the King”.

But Polychron’s complaint backfired when the Tolkien estate filed a countersuit for copyright infringement.

Judge Steven Wilson awarded Amazon and the Tolkien family $134,637 in attorney’s fees after finding Polychron’s suit was “frivolous from the beginning”.

SPC refusal

Merck has missed out on a supplementary protection certificate for multiple sclerosis drug cladribine after a defeat at the England and Wales High Court on Tuesday, December 19.

The UKIPO refused to grant the SPC for the drug, for which the patent will expire in December 2025, after finding Merck didn’t qualify under the Court of Justice of the EU’s Santen decision, issued in 2020.

Merck argued that it developed its cladribine product with the “legitimate expectation” that it would be entitled to an SPC under Neurim, an earlier CJEU decision from 2012.

But King's counsel Michael Tappin, sitting as a deputy high court judge, criticised this argument.

Price tag

The Unified Patent Court’s Munich Local Division refused to grant a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit over patents covering electronic price tags on Wednesday, December 20.

Judge Matthias Zigann said the court wasn’t satisfied that electronics company SES-imagotag’s patent was infringed by competitor Hanshow Technology.

The written order has yet to be published.

That's it for 2023, see you again next year. We wish you all a happy festive period and new year.

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