Pictured above: CIPA delegates meet IPTA council members
Partner Mike Jennings has now returned from the AIPPI’s World Congress in Sydney. Whilst there, Mike contributed to the work of the AIPPI’s international study committee focussing on the need for harmonization of national laws relating to the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, including computer programs. After a very positive discussion involving delegates from many countries, AIPPI agreed the following resolution on 17 October 2017:
“AIPPI resolves that:
- As a question of principle clearly reflected in the TRIPS Agreement, and taking into account other reasons of a legal, economic and practical nature, patents should be available and patent rights enjoyable without discrimination for inventions in all fields of technology, including Clls.
- There should be no general exclusion from patentability of Clls, including computer programs.
- A claim directed to a Cll should be eligible for patent protection if it defines an invention in at least one field of technology. A claim directed to a Cll should be examined using the same criteria as applied to other kinds of inventions.
- Eligibility of a Cll for patent protection should not depend on the prior art or any assessment of novelty or inventive step.
- The assessment, including examination, of whether one or more claims directed to a Cll define an invention in at least one field of technology should be made on a claim by claims basis, and in relation to each claim as a whole.
- A claim directed to a Cll can be a claim directed to, inter alia:
- a system or apparatus;
- a method or process executed by at least one processor;
- instructions that can be executed or interpreted by at least one processor to execute steps of a method or process, whether stored in or on at least one storage medium or in the form of at least one signal or data carrier, whether in the form of a computer program or otherwise; or
- a data structure generated by a computer-implemented method or process, whether stored in or on a storage medium, or in the form of at least one signal or data carrier.”
The work to achieve increased harmonisation of laws will continue within the AIPPI.
On 18 Oct 2017, Mike joined a CIPA delegation and met members of the Institute of Patent and Trademark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) and presented a webinar to IPTA members on the practical topic of Managing costs and timeliness at the EPO and UKIPO. In his webinar, Mike noted recent progress at both offices to address timeliness issues, but also noted issues that still require proactivity from UK/European attorneys. Mike highlighted that there is sometimes a need to discuss patent strategy before incurring the cost of European patent filing, to help decide whether to file at all and which countries to file in, while taking account of whether the applicant wants proactive acceleration or deferral of costs and deciding whether to pay additional search fees and excess claim fees. Mike gave advice on acceleration and cost management at various stages in the patent filing and prosecution process, as well as advice on how to increase success rates – to help applicants maximize their return on investment. Referring to his role on the EPO’s new Quality Working Group within the Standing Advisory Committee to the EPO (SACEPO), Mike praised the EPO management for their responsiveness to recent recommendations from A.A. Thornton & Co.
Mike and the CIPA delegates then met IPTA council members for a very positive discussion on a number of areas of shared interest to CIPA and IPTA, including professional education.
Mike commented “AIPPI committee members deserve praise for an excellent Congress, which was both productive and very enjoyable. Working towards improved and harmonised IP laws was also an excellent excuse to visit old friends in Sydney! Many thanks to them all for such a fantastic welcome. We look forward to continuing the work of AIPPI and hosting the World Congress in London in 2019.”