This week in IP: EPO staff urge patent quality focus, Nokia signs two deals
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This week in IP: EPO staff urge patent quality focus, Nokia signs two deals

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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

EPO staff vote through resolution urging quality control

A resolution by EPO staff that urges the office’s leaders to reinstate a genuine quality management system and prioritise granting “legally sound patents” received overwhelming support at a general assembly meeting in Munich.

The general assembly, which included staff representatives from EPO offices in Munich, Haar, and Brussels, voted in favour of the resolution with 416 supporting it, 4 against, and 31 abstentions.

The resolution, passed on January 24, also proposed increasing recruitment, especially for those who perform core tasks.

To read the full article click here.

Nokia and Vivo end SEP row with 5G cross-licence

Nokia and Vivo have ended their standard-essential patent disputes globally by entering into a 5G cross-licence, the Finnish company announced on Monday, February 5.

The multi-year licence requires Vivo to pay an undisclosed amount as royalties to Nokia, as well as catch-up payments covering the disputed period.

No other terms of the deal were disclosed.

To read the full article click here.

European Parliament backs ban on patents for NGT plants

The European Parliament has backed a committee of lawmakers’ proposals to ban all patents on plants produced by new genomic techniques.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour by 307 to 263 during a plenary session on Wednesday, February 7. There were 41 abstentions.

To read the full article click here.

Lathrop GPM partner hopes new role will remove administrative ‘burdens’

Patent prosecution partner Robert Lord said he hopes that his move to Lathrop GPM with a seven-member team will ease the administrative burden on him and his colleagues.

Lathrop GPM announced on Tuesday, February 6, that it had hired an eight-person Dallas-based team from Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta.

To read the full article click here.

Other articles published on Managing IP this week include:

The top IP issues keeping in-house pharma counsel awake at night

Behind the case: How Polish firm drove Audi to CJEU success

Weekly take: Why the UK’s IP litigation framework is unsustainable

Five minutes with… Kiyoko Tamura, Japan Patent Office

Follow the leader: how IP firms select their top brass

Elsewhere in IP

AI impasse

A planned code of practice covering artificial intelligence (AI) and intellectual property has been shelved, it emerged this week.

A panel of stakeholders convened by the UK Intellectual Property Office to draft the voluntary code failed to reach an agreement.

A government spokesperson said on Monday, February 5, that the government is continuing to engage with stakeholders to work towards a shared approach that allows the AI and creative sectors to grow together.

Colombia opens access

Colombia has paved the way for the generic supply of HIV medicine dolutegravir by inviting applicants to make use of a compulsory licence for the drug.

The step by Colombia’s Secretariat of Trade and Industry, announced on Friday, February 2, means applicants can apply to make generic versions of the drug without permission from patent owner ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Shionogi.

Bitcoin bitterness

A high-profile dispute surrounding the origins of bitcoin began in London this week.

The Crypto Open Patent Alliance, which wants cryptocurrency technology to be free from IP rights, has asked the England and Wales High Court to declare that computer scientist Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

Since 2016, Wright has claimed that he and Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the cryptocurrency’s creator, are the same person. Wright has previously asserted his copyright over the 2008-published whitepaper that gave rise to bitcoin’s creation.

Nokia’s ‘concluding’ deal

In addition to its agreement with Vivo, Nokia then announced on Thursday, February 8, that it had signed its "last remaining major smartphone patent licence agreement" and concluded a licence renewal cycle that began in 2021.

Nokia Technologies – Nokia’s licensing business – said it will now enter a period of stability with no major smartphone agreements expiring for “a number of years”.

Design arguments

The full Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in LKQ Corp v GM Global Technology Operations on Monday, February 5.

The case focused on whether the Federal Circuit should modify the Rosen-Durling test, which is used to determine whether design patents are obvious. LKQ argued that the Federal Circuit should modify this test.

Newman latest

Sticking with the Federal Circuit, Judge Pauline Newman lost an attempt to get her suspension from hearing cases reviewed on Wednesday, February 7.

Newman and her legal team had asked the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability to review the Federal Circuit’s decision to suspend the judge from hearing cases for one year or until she undergoes medical examinations.

However, a panel found that the suspension didn’t exceed the Federal Circuit Judicial Council’s authority and that Newman was not denied due process.

BMW parks dispute

BMW secured a resolution in a case in which it was accused of infringing a patent owned by non-practising entity Arigna Technology, it was announced Tuesday, February 6.

Ireland-based Arigna agreed never to sue BMW Group again over the asserted patent, US number 7,049,850.

BMW was advised by Finnegan.

Partner farewell

IP firm Reddie & Grose has announced that partners Patrick Lloyd and Simon Goodman will retire at the end of March, after more than 30 years.

Alice Findlay, chair of the firm, said: “While we are saddened to bid farewell to these exceptional individuals, we celebrate their accomplishments and the impact they’ve had on our firm.

“On behalf of myself, my colleagues, and our clients, I wish Patrick and Simon a long, happy, and well-earned retirement.”

That's it for today, see you again next week.

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