Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit and IP

In case you have not noticed, there has been a referendum in the UK voting to leave the EU.

This only has effect once an Article 50 TFEU notice is given. It is to be hoped that a reasonable breathing space is given before the Article 50 TFEU procedure commences.

In this respect it should be noted that the referendum is not binding, and the decision has to be made by the UK Government.

The majority for leave was slim 17,410,742 to leave, 16,141,241 to remain.

There are many reports of leave campaigners regretting their decision on the basis that "I didn't think it would happen and just wanted to kick the politicians".

There is a petition to the UK Government seeking a second referendum.

Such petitions are not binding, but it is noteworthy that, at the time of writing, there was around 2.4m signatories and the number is increasing at around 2000 signatories a minute.

On the fanciful hope that this rate of signature continued, by Friday  there would be more signatures for a second referendum than votes for leave. For the current number of signatories, look here.

Regardless of whether this figure is reached, Parliament has a difficult decision ahead of them.

As a Londoner with an internationalist outlook, all I can do is hope that Parliament remembers they are a representative body, and not a body of delegates, and that they think hard before agreeing to an Article 50 TFEU notice.

The prospect of further fissiparous fucking off as Scotland, Northern Ireland and London decide their interests are not those of their fellow countrymen is just too dispiriting.

Not a lot above about statistics (other than counting signatures) or IP (but Brexit would have an effect).

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

How high will the ball bounce?

The hockey stick graph is a familiar issue in climatology. A sudden step change in a measured variable indicating something happening in the background. Are we witnessing a hockey stick phenomenon at the EPO?

The graph below shows the number of B1 publications (grants) from the beginning up to 15th June of the stated years 2008-2016.  As can be seen, these have been in the region 21,000 to 30,000 from 2008-2015, but increase dramatically (to over 41,750) in 2016. This looks like a hockey stick graph to me.

Also shown is the total number of grants from 2008 to 2015, which can be seen to roughly reflect what happens in the first part of the year.

Applying some rough and ready guesswork, one can guess a total number of patents granted in 2016 as in the region 88,000 to 102,000 representing an increase of 29-49% in the number of grants over 2015.

What is  happening in the background that explains this sudden increase?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

But is it appealing?

A proposal to increase the appeal fees at the EPO has received recent comment on IPKat.

It is interesting to see the effect the last big increase in appeal fees (a 50% increase as of 1st April 2014) had on appeal behaviour.

From the Annual Reports of the Boards of Appeal one can derive the following table of appeals filed:-
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
ex parte appeals filed 1226 1241 1310 1242 1200 996 864
inter partes appeals filed 1249 1301 1347 1360 1315 1357 1523

This shows that the increase in fees has dramatically affected ex parte appeals, with appeals before the increase averaging at about 1200 a year and in the first full year after the increase amounting to only 864 appeals (a 28% decrease).

The increase in fees has affected inter partes appeals less, with the number of appeals in opposition roughly tracking the number of grants (roughly 2.5% of grants end up with an appeal in opposition).

If a mere 50% increase in appeal fee has resulted in such a drastic change in applicant behaviour, what effect might the huge proposed increase have?

It is to be hoped that the Administrative Council will recognise that an effective appeal system is essential to maintaining quality at the EPO, and will not increase the appeal fee [at all].