Thursday, July 24, 2008

WOW

Look what I stumbled upon......

Google now has a patent search facility

www.google.com/patents

A central and translatable patent search facility could be very useful for companies developing new technologies to check what already exists.

However this is still a 'beta' version and is not in a position to replace Patent Attorney searches.

In my opinion Google's services just keep improving!

ICANN means YOU CAN!

On the 26th June 2008 ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decided that it would open up Top Level Domians (TLDs) so that anyone could apply to operate a TLD. In theory you will be able to have nearly anything as a TLD for example a www.xybc.law domain, .firm or .brand.

The expectation is that the first applications will be received in the second quarter of 2009 and the first sunrise periods will occur at the beginning of 2010.

A sunrise period is the period before a new TLD goes live when Trade Mark owners and well established businesses have a preferential rights to purchase a domain name which incorporates that trade mark/name. However, this is still a first come first served basis. Ie Nestle, Volkswagen and Ralph Lauren all want ‘polo’ domain names.

Most commentators are of the view that .com will remain the TLD of choice and is still the best brand for companies. However, new TLDs will mean there will be further similar domains coming into existence and brand owners should look to acquire new domian names for their brands utilising the Sunrise Periods to prevent others from registering them and thus diluting their brands.

I expect you will have read about the much publicised www.narnia.mobi dispute.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pro-Patent decision a warm welcome.

The House of Lords has recently passed down a decision that will help UK patent owners. The case has given guidelines on the test for obviousness when the validity of a patent is being attacked.

A quick recap: in the UK something is patentable if it is novel, has an inventive step (ie it is not obvious), is capable of industrial application and is not excluded by law (ie discoveries or games)

In nearly all claims of patent (or other intellectual property for that matter) infringement the defendant will always counter claim with an attack on the validity of a patent. There argument will be that the patent is not new because of the following prior art and that the in any case the patent is obvious and therefore should not have been granted in the first place.

The case in question should mean that it is more difficult to attack a patent on grounds of obviousness which is good news for patent owners. Of course if there is prior art that anticipates the patent then validity will still be attacked.

This is good news as many commentators were questioning the value of patents because they are always attacked in counterclaims.

Any patent litigation is still very expensive.