EPO launched a new beta version of ESPACENET


The European Patent Office launched the beta version of its refreshing database for patent searching ESPACENET. The new version is more modern, dynamic, intuitive and it is optimised to work on different devices including desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones.

The beta version is accessible here. For more information about it, you can watch the hereunder video presentation. EPO encourages sending feedback, which can be done from here.


Malawi joins the Madrid Protocol

malawi-674475_960_720WIPO reports about the accession of Malawi to the Madrid Protocol for international registration of trademarks. In that way, the participating Member States become 102.

Registration of international marks for the country will take up to 18 months, the period when a refusal can be issued. Apart from this, any trademark license in order to be valid on the territory of Malawi has to be registered in the local Patent Office.

The Protocol will come into force for the country on 25.12.2018.

More information here.

Can military reports be subject to a copyright protection?

military-jet-fighter-569907_960_720The Advocate General of the European Court M. SZPUNAR gave his opinion on Case  C‑469/17 Funke Medien NRW GmbH versus Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which concerns the following:

The defendant, the Federal Republic of Germany, has a military status report drawn up every week on the deployments of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces, Germany) abroad and on the developments at the deployment locations. The reports are referred to as ‘Unterrichtung des Parlaments’ (Parliament briefings, ‘UdPs’) and are sent to selected members of the Bundestag (Federal Parliament, Germany), to sections of the Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (Federal Ministry of Defence, Germany) and other federal ministries, and to subordinate bodies of the Federal Ministry of Defence. UdPs are categorised as ‘classified documents — Restricted’, the lowest level of confidentiality. At the same time, the defendant publishes summaries of the UdPs known as ‘Unterrichtung der Öffentlichkeit’ (public briefings, ‘UdÖs’).

The applicant, Funke Medien NRW GmbH (‘Funke Medien’), a company incorporated under German law, operates the website of the daily newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. On 27 September 2012, it applied for access to all UdPs drawn up between 1 September 2001 and 26 September 2012. The application was refused on the ground that disclosure of the briefings could have adverse effects on security-sensitive interests of the federal armed forces. The defendant nevertheless obtained, by unknown means, a large proportion of the UdPs and published several of them as the ‘Afghanistan-Papiere’ (Afghanistan Papers).

The Federal Republic of Germany took the view that Funke Medien had infringed its copyright over those reports and thus brought an action against it seeking an injunction, which was upheld by the Landgericht (Regional Court, Germany). Funke Medien’s appeal was dismissed by the appellate court. By its further appeal on a point of law, Funke Medien maintains its form of order seeking dismissal of the injunction action.

In those circumstances, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) decided to stay the proceedings and refer the following questions to the Court for a preliminary ruling:

‘(1)  Do the provisions of Union law on the exclusive right of authors to reproduce (Article 2(a) of Directive 2001/29) and publicly communicate their works, including the right to make works available to the public (Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29), and the exceptions or limitations to these rights (Article 5(2) and (3) of Directive 2001/29) allow any latitude in terms of implementation in national law?

(2) In which way are the fundamental rights of the Charter … to be taken into account when ascertaining the scope of the exceptions or limitations provided for in Article 5(2) and (3) of Directive 2001/29 to the exclusive right of authors to reproduce (Article 2(a) of Directive 2001/29) and publicly communicate their works, including the right to make works available to the public (Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29)?

(3) Can the fundamental rights of freedom of information (second sentence of Article 11(1) of the Charter) or freedom of the media (Article 11(2) of the Charter) justify exceptions or limitations to the exclusive rights of authors to reproduce (Article 2(a) of Directive 2001/29) and publicly communicate their works, including the right to make works available to the public (Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29), beyond the exceptions or limitations provided for in Article 5(2) and (3) of Directive 2001/29?’

13. The request for a preliminary ruling was received at the Court on 4 August 2017. Written observations were lodged by Funke Medien, the German, French and UK Governments and the European Commission. The same parties were represented at the hearing on 7 July 2018.

The Advocate’s position:

Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, read in conjunction with Article 52(1) thereof, must be interpreted as precluding a Member State from invoking copyright under Article 2(a) and Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society in order to prevent the communication to the public, in the context of a debate concerning matters of public interest, of confidential documents emanating from that Member State. That interpretation does not prevent the Member State from applying, in compliance with EU law, other provisions of its domestic law, including those relating to the protection of confidential information.

New database for protected plant varieties and animal breeds in Bulgaria

vegetables-vegetable-basket-harvest-garden.jpgThe Bulgarian Patent Office has launched its brand new online database for protected plant varieties and animal breeds in Bulgaria. This will allow everyone who has an interest in to do a search online. The database has a version in English too although you have to bear in mind that to search for protected plant varieties and animal breeds you need to do that using their names in Cyrillic.

The database is accessible here.


Alibaba tries to use blockchain to combat against IPRs infringements

blockchain-3277335_960_720WIPR reports about a new patent application filed by one of the biggest online retailer Alibaba in the US. This patent concerns a blockchain technology that allows government agencies or authorised parties to freeze accounts in Alibaba for which there are suspicious for an infringement of intellectual property rights.

This will facilitate the enforcement of IPRs which is a challenge in the digital era.

According to the article, Alibaba possesses more than 10% of all patents related to blockchain technology in the world for the last year. This technology is deemed as a potentially effective tool for combating against online IPRs infringements.


When employees can legally reveal trade secrets in Finland?

pexels-photo-1024248Antti Rajamäki – DLA Piper published a brief article regarding the implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive ((EU) 2016/943) in Finland. One very intriguing aspect of this is the cases when an employee can reveal legally its employer’s trade secrets and the way how he can do that.

The full article can be found here.

WIPO Magazine – Issue 5

Untitled.pngWIPO published issue 5 of its WIPO Magazine where you can find the following:

  • Artificial intelligence and intellectual property: an interview with Francis Gurry
  • Bringing AI to life
  • Pat-INFORMED: a new tool for drug procurement
  • Intellectual property and e-commerce: Alibaba’s perspective

For more information here.