March 10, 2011

Consensus, Mostly

After decades of dickering, 25 of 27 European Union countries voted to have a unitary patent regime. Spain and Italy opposed, because patent applications wouldn't have to be translated into Spanish and Italian, only English, French and German. Cost is the advantage of a one-stop EU patent. Presently, a Euro patent for 13 countries runs about 20,000 euros, about 70% eaten up in translations. The European Court of Justice (ECOJ) has already rained on the parade of creating a new patent enforcement court, as incompatible with existing law that partitions judicial power between national courts and the ECOJ.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:46 PM | International

February 2, 2011

What Resistance?

WSJ reports on the Borg: "patent laws favor Chinese companies and mandates that essentially require foreign companies to transfer technology to China if they hope to sell in that market." Borg patent law mirrors U.S. patent law, which only recognize prior art in English, and allow U.S. patents to be granted on technology that foreigners invented. Borg leader Hu Jintao: "You have been assimilated. There has been no resistance." Beginning in 1972, U.S. business leaders, drooling over profit potential because of the size of the Borg population, have willingly transferred technology. GE recently announced its intentions to transfer advanced jet engine technology to the Borg, in return for greater market access. Still, American business leaders feign shock over what they have done. Pouted one pudgy American high-tech exec: "It's the crisis." At least the Borg cannot corner the market on hypocrisy.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:23 AM | International

October 22, 2010

Chinese Junk

China, historically notorious for intellectual property theft, didn't have any law on patents until 1985. The dragon has turned: the Chinese government is now anxious to promote domestic innovation. The way things are going, China will soon be the world's top patent generator, maybe as early as next year. But that hype is bunk for junk. Like the USPTO, China's patent office is paid by patent grant, and so there is a built-in incentive to ladle junk patents. China's two-tiered patent system guarantees it.

Continue reading "Chinese Junk"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:55 PM | International | Comments (3)

June 9, 2010

Disturbing the Calm

The BBC is reporting that the "Indian government is planning to patent nearly a thousand yoga postures." Swami Pragyamurti Saraswati is not pleased: "In fact, I'm distressed at the way things have developed in recent years." Maybe the good Swami needs to take a lesson from Elvis Costello: "I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused."

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:27 AM | International | Comments (4)

June 22, 2009


"We are revising all the doctrines and laws related to patents, which should be compatible with the international treaties that we have signed and respect and honor. Patents have become a barrier to production, and we cannot allow them to be barriers to medicine, to life, to agriculture." Sounds like the Coalition for Patent Fairness, doesn't it? Venezuela is stealing their shtick. South American socialist Hugo Chavez plies his pith: "That a laboratory does not allow us to make a medicine because they have the patent, no, no, no."

Continue reading "Compatible"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:12 AM | International | Comments (9)

June 14, 2009

Pompous Pirate

Rambus has been bullied by the European Union to license its patents on the cheap. Europe constantly seeks to denigrate patent protection because they are lagging behind in technological prowess and world commercial competitiveness, and have scant chance of catching up. Europe has a strong anti-patent stance, not even allowing patents for software, once of the most innovate art areas for decades. For industrialized nations, continental Europeans on average work less and vacation more. The European entitlement mentality shows most distinctively in their willingness to pirate the inventions of others while covering themselves with a fig leaf of self-righteousness.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:40 PM | International | Comments (11)

April 25, 2009

China Ascendant

In the 18th century, America was the world's leading intellectual property thief: appropriating copyrighted works and infringing patents as part of its economic development. That same disapprobation has been applied to China in the past decade, as it was to Japan in the 1950s. China only started allowing intellectual property in 1985. Today, it leads the world in patent applications: over 800,000 in 2008.

Continue reading "China Ascendant"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:14 PM | International | Comments (6)

April 23, 2009


For the first time, the USPTO "issued more patents to foreigners than to Americans," reports Business Week. "[T]he slippage comes amid recent reports that show the U.S. losing its edge when it comes to innovation." South Korea, China, and Japan are becoming more productive inventors. "All told, American inventors received 92,000 patents in 2008, down 1.8% from the year before and a rise of just 1.4% over the past decade. Meantime, patients issued to foreigners rose 4.5%, to 93,244, in 2008 and 28.6% since 1998."

Continue reading "Sagging"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:01 PM | International | Comments (7)

April 9, 2009

International Feel

Taking a wide-angle lens to patent enforcement, International Patent Litigation is a knowing compendium of litigation practices around the world, including numerous European countries, Japan, and the United States. Alas, China is not covered. Editor David Wilson opens the book on "developing a strategy and managing international patent litigation." From there and onwards, a wealth of information.

Continue reading "International Feel"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:33 AM | International | Comments (16)

November 4, 2008

PCTs Down Under

Add IP Australia to the list of patent offices selectable as international searching authority and international preliminary examining authority for PCT applications filed with the USPTO. The Australian Patent Office joins the ranks of the USPTO, the EPO, and the Korean Intellectual Property Office, all eagerly awaiting to assist inventors with all of their PCT needs.

Continue reading "PCTs Down Under"

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 9:09 AM | International

August 4, 2008

2006 World Patent Review

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published its 2008 statistical review. 2008 is the publication date. The statistics are for 2006. The highlights: a 4.9% rise in patent filings from 2005 to 2006, mostly in China, South Korea, and the U.S. Pendency, in other words, patent office inability to deal with workload, an increasing problem. Statistically more computer-related patent filings relative to biotechnology. 6.1 million patents in force in 2006, with increased opposition and validity challenges.

Continue reading "2006 World Patent Review"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:52 PM | International

June 19, 2008

Examine This

While Jon Dudas, head of the USPTO, blames idiot inventors with their bad ideas and pathetic prosecutors pushing punk paper as the cause of the pendency problem, head of the European Patent Office Alison Brimelow blames the European Patent Office. How refreshing. "I am worried. You cannot pretend the patent system is maintaining its integrity if you are looking at global backlogs."

Continue reading "Examine This"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:44 PM | International | Comments (11)

May 5, 2008

EPO Oppositions & Appeals

From HLBBshaw: "After grant of a European patent, there is a nine-month window in which a person may file centrally at the EPO a notice of opposition to the patent, alleging that the patent was wrongly granted. Oppositions are relatively common because they represent an economically attractive way of removing an IP obstacle to a planned commercial activity over a substantial market place."

Continue reading "EPO Oppositions & Appeals"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:47 PM | International | Comments (6)

April 19, 2008

Made in China

China's free-for-all in intellectual property is becoming past tense. The number of patents and patent lawsuits has doubled in the past five years. Over 850,000 Chinese patents are now active. The big winners are Chinese patent lawyers.

Continue reading "Made in China"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:54 PM | International

March 6, 2008

Patent Looting

A mob of more than 180 German police and customs officials goose-stepped into Europe's largest gadget uber-fair, and hauled off 68 cartons of booty alleged to be patent infringing. While "innocent until proven guilty" is the lip service, guilty until proven innocent is the reality worldwide; the raid was instigated by "criminal complaints by the holders of patent rights in the run-up to CeBit."

Continue reading "Patent Looting"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:04 PM | International | Comments (8)

February 24, 2008

Worldwide Patent Survey

Joff Wild of Intellectual Asset Magazine surveyed the 2007 international patent scene, and found some patent puppies with growing pains, while old dogs are up to tricks both old and new.

Continue reading "Worldwide Patent Survey"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:09 PM | International

February 21, 2008

A View from Tel Aviv

Bernard Frieder is a consultant to technology companies in Israel, miffed at the U.S. Congress for threatening to wreck the U.S. patent system with its Patent Reform Act of 2007.

Because inventors, research organizations and startup ventures around the world rely on US patents to protect the output of their labor, changing the US patent system has global repercussions.

Continue reading "A View from Tel Aviv"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:37 AM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

Infringement Kimchee

Korea Aerospace University Professor Lee Keung-hae invented software for automatic linguistic switching between Korean and English. Lee lost his initial patent assertion against Microsoft for its Korean version of Word, in 2000. At the time, Lee claimed $42,000 in damages. Following trial, Microsoft countersued Lee in 2001 to invalidate the patent, but the Korean Supreme Court ruled that Lee was holder of a valid patent. As a result, a lower court recently ruled in Lee's favor. Lee is now totting up damages, expected to be at least an order of magnitude greater than those originally sought.

Continue reading "Infringement Kimchee"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:42 AM | International

February 19, 2008

All Good

The U.S. Patent Reform Act of 2007 is a gift, a most welcome change, if you are an Indian generic drug maker. The view from Mumbai:

The immediate impact of the law change will be to ease challenges on drug patents and also lower legal costs in such challenges.

Continue reading "All Good"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:29 PM | The Patent System

February 9, 2008

Drilled in Norway

Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling company, has a patent portfolio for multiple-activity offshore drilling that has been a gusher, scoring licensing agreements from major competitors, including Nobel and Pride International. Now a Transocean drill has been bit: two Norwegian patents have been invalidated by a Norwegian court in Transocean's suit against Smedvig, acquired by Seadrill in 2006. Transocean was ordered to pay all litigation expenses. An appeal is being mulled.

Continue reading "Drilled in Norway"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:39 AM | International

January 27, 2008

Ni Nihongo

Translations of select entries in The Patent Prospector are available in Japanese.

Continue reading "Ni Nihongo"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:24 PM | International

December 7, 2007

Golden Handshake

Kamil Idris, WIPO director general for the past decade, agreed to step down, after a typographical error in his birth date and some mix-up about his educational degrees caused an uproar. Idris will get a full year's salary of over $300,000 and full pension benefits. In related news, WIPO is changing its name to WIMPO, and, in Japanese, CHIMPO.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:38 AM | International | Comments (4)

November 28, 2007


Lancor owns Nigerian and U.S. patents on four-shift keyboards, used in the Konyin Multilingual Keyboard. After fruitless licensing negotiations, last Thursday, Lancor sued, in Nigeria, a fellow Massachusetts company, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Association.

Continue reading "Shift"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:17 PM | International

November 15, 2007


Kamil Idris, Sudanese national, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for a decade, is retiring early in the wake of protest that he had been inventive with his biographical particulars.

Continue reading "Wiped"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:20 PM | International | Comments (2)

August 28, 2007

Patent Remedy

Ronald Cass rails in the Wall Street Journal against Thailand's patent grab, as if the military junta there gives a coconut.

Despite efforts of health activists to portray the world community as accepting - even endorsing - Thailand's conduct, there is growing appreciation that trampling patents to allow a middle-income nation to cut its spending on drugs seriously threatens the world's system of protections for innovation.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:25 PM | International

May 25, 2007

Upside Down Down Under

In a unanimous decision Wednesday, recognizing the value of patent protection for incremental invention, the Australian High Court ruled in Lockwood v Doric that "a "scintilla of invention" remains sufficient in Australian law to support the validity of a patent." "'Obvious' means 'very plain'." Most notably, unlike the arrogantly parochial U.S. Supreme Court, relying upon its own cogitations and no other, the Australian High Court draws from understanding and precedent worldwide.

Continue reading "Upside Down Down Under"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:32 AM | International | Comments (1)

April 14, 2007

Sinking Patent Sun

Japan may lead the world in junk patents, according to a recent study of patent enforcement in Japan. Patent assertions in 2006 held up only 11% of the time; 89% died in trial, and 80% of appeals were upheld.

Continue reading "Sinking Patent Sun"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:41 PM | International

April 10, 2007

India Begs

The Health Minister of India, Anbumani Ramados, is begging Novartis to drop its challenge to India's patent laws. Facing mounting pressure from interest groups, and some internal criticism from shareholders, Novartis has changed tack slightly in recent weeks, but has yet to yank its lawsuit. The begging is a velvet glove over the mailed fist of compulsory licensing.

Continue reading "India Begs"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:09 PM | International

January 29, 2007

Thai Patent Snatch

Thailand has pulled the plug on patent protection for two drugs: Plavix, a blood-thinner, and Kaletra, a "second-line" treatment for HIV/AIDS. The move is not against World Trade Organization rules, called TRIPS, which allow a government to unilaterally declare a public health crisis and peddle patented drugs under compulsory license. Naturally, the drug companies are howling.

Continue reading "Thai Patent Snatch"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:49 PM | International

January 27, 2007


Lipitor is the best-selling drug in the world, having raked in worldwide sales last year approaching $13 billion. Thursday, an Ottawa district court judge invalidated one of the Canadian patents protecting Lipitor. (T-507-05)

Continue reading "Heartthrob"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:23 AM | Litigation

January 26, 2007

Standardized Application

At a meeting Wednesday of the Intellectual Property Forum of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Japan proposed standardizing patent application forms and sharing examination results among member nations.

Continue reading "Standardized Application"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:31 PM | International

December 13, 2006

Asian Cooperation

People's Daily Online (China) reports that the heads of patent agencies of China, Japan, and Korea met in Beijing on December 4 and signed an agreement to share patent search databases and patent examination results. This was the sixth such powwow.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:14 PM | International

December 5, 2006

Merck Bangkocked

The Thai government issued its first compulsory license of a patented HIV-AIDS drug, for a generic version of Merck's Efavirenz. Merck responded with predictable alarm at the precedent.

Continue reading "Merck Bangkocked"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:46 PM | International

December 4, 2006

India's Patent Law

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin L. Lavin went to New Delhi as a stalking horse for a delegation of U.S. corporations, and thought he'd get a little bitching in.

Continue reading "India's Patent Law"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:54 AM | International

November 28, 2006

Lost In Translation

Last Friday the Supreme Court of Korea affirmed patent infringement by Microsoft of Korean patents for automatic Korean to English translation, used in the local version of Microsoft Office.

Continue reading "Lost In Translation"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:07 PM | International

November 16, 2006

Tackling Chinese Infringement

China's State Intellectual Property Organization (SIPO) offers low cost patent enforcement: though limited in power, it's fast and cheap. And it's underused by American and European companies, who more regularly go with costly lawsuits.

Continue reading "Tackling Chinese Infringement"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | International

November 11, 2006

Patent Death in Japan

Streamlining patent litigation in Japan has spelled its demise. After creating a specialized IP court system, the net effect has been to snuff patent enforcement.

Continue reading "Patent Death in Japan"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:13 AM | International

October 23, 2006

Chinese Patent Spats

The Financial Times reports that Chinese companies, learning the ropes, are becoming increasingly assertive about patent rights in the U.S.

Continue reading "Chinese Patent Spats"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | International

October 16, 2006

NE Asian Patenting Tsunami

WIPO reports patent activity worldwide for 2004. The most common press report is how the Chinese have got patent fever, but the Mainichi Daily News naturally angles that Japan continues to file the most patents.

Continue reading "NE Asian Patenting Tsunami"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | International

June 19, 2006

The Weige Alliance Strikes Back

After a rare China court appeal victory by Pfizer to protect its patent protection for Viagra, an alliance of 13 Chinese generic drug makers have stiffened, appealing to a higher court for the right to thrust into the virility market.

Continue reading "The Weige Alliance Strikes Back"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:53 PM | International

June 6, 2006

IT Industry in Fear of Patent Trolls

"The global IT industry lives in fear of sharp operators that file patents and sue others that use the technology or device covered by it to force lucrative settlements. These so-called patent trolls have no production lines or staff of their own - they are usually merely a handful of patent lawyers. Sometimes they simply buy patents from bankrupt companies."

Continue reading "IT Industry in Fear of Patent Trolls"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:58 PM | International

Great Brother

Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Friday upheld the validity of Pfizer's patent for Viagra in China, overturning a 2004 decision by China's patent review board. Pfizer's shares stiffened up on the news.

Continue reading "Great Brother"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | International

April 30, 2006

Patent Litigation in China

Litigating a patent in China is a different dragon altogether than in the U.S. With both patent grants and litigation rising, the legal system China has now is a wild frontier for protecting inventions.

Continue reading "Patent Litigation in China"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:17 PM | International | Comments (1)

March 9, 2006

Blue LED

Back in 1990, Shuji Nakamura, working for Nichia in Tokushima, southwest Japan, developed the blue LED. It was a crucial breakthrough, paving the way for LED screens, and with other uses as well. Nakamura was compensated ¥20,000 ($170) for the patent that came from his work. He wasn't satisfied.

Continue reading "Blue LED"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:29 AM | International | Comments (1)

February 23, 2006

China Patent Bootstraps

People's Daily Online reports that over 90% of Chinese companies have no patent application experience, and only .03% have any intellectual property rights.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:34 PM | International

January 16, 2006

EU - Third Time's Charm?

In a bid for rationality, the European Commission (EC) is trying again to harmonize patents throughout Europe. Currently, according to a recent European Union (EU) survey, under the current regime requiring separate registration in each member state, to register a patent across the EU costs four to six times what it costs in the U.S.

Continue reading "EU - Third Time's Charm?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:46 PM | International

December 31, 2005

China Patent Update

According to an official press report from China, patent applications in China for 2005 are expected to be around 110,000. This past year, 378,000 utility patents were filed in the U.S.

Continue reading "China Patent Update"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:11 AM | International

December 29, 2005

New China IP Weblog

IP Dragon is a new weblog focused on intellectual property activities in China. If they keep up with the sassy capitalist running dog pro-foreigner coverage, as in today's post, no doubt they'll be banned in China in no time. You go, dragon bloggers!

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:31 PM | International

Japan To Up Patent Infringement Penalties

The Japan patent office has decided to seek legislation next year to update its maximum patent infringement penalties for companies, from ¥150m ($130 million) to ¥300m ($258m). The patent office is expected to request a maximum penalty for patent infringement by individuals of ¥5m ($4.3m) and up to five years in prison. The penalties exclude licensing fees. The changes sought would take effect in 2007.

Continue reading "Japan To Up Patent Infringement Penalties"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:27 AM | International | Comments (1)

December 23, 2005

Japan Patent Office Update

Japan is working on improving and expediting its examination processes by increasing the number of examiners, outsourcing, and urging industry to be selective in filing applications.

Continue reading "Japan Patent Office Update"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:37 PM | International

October 31, 2005

Hunan's Prince of Patents

Qiu Zeyou has 1,051 utility patents. Why? "I am strengthening my defenses."

Continue reading "Hunan's Prince of Patents"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:08 AM | International

August 26, 2005

Euro-Patent Soul Searching

The European Commission (EuroCom) is seeking to find the true meaning of patents. Out for tender to contractors is an RFQ for a study on the "strategic use of patents".

Continue reading "Euro-Patent Soul Searching"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:37 PM | International

July 30, 2005

Wily Foreign Company Traps

Under the title "China-made chips infringe on no foreign intellectual property", China View reports the highly tuned sensitivities of the Chinese to intellectual property rights.

Continue reading "Wily Foreign Company Traps"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:06 PM | International

July 17, 2005

Savvy Bill Thompson

Snooping across the puddle, encountered an excellent opinion piece by Bill Thompson about EU software patents, published by BBC News. For the digital literati, check out Bill's weblog, The BillBlog.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:45 PM | International

July 10, 2005

Do you want kimchi with that?

The South Korean government was planning on testing a new system to identify fake resident registration cards. Not so fast.

Continue reading "Do you want kimchi with that?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | International

July 6, 2005

EU Software Patent Goose Cooked

The European Parliament rejected harmonization of software patents throughout the EU by a vote of 648 to 14. Oliver Drewes, a spokesman for EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, told a news conference: "Patents will continue to be issued by national patent offices and (the) European patent office under existing law... It means fragmentation. It means 25 different systems competing ... and less clarity for operators and for member states."

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:55 PM | International

Strasbourg Foie Gras

Strasbourg, in eastern France, is famous for pâté de foie gras. On Wednesday, July 6, it's going to be famous, or infamous, depending on point of view, for a different sort of pâté - software patents for Europe. Just like pâté de foie gras, someone's goose is going to be cooked, or so the opposing sides on this issue think.

Continue reading "Strasbourg Foie Gras"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | International

May 11, 2005

Patents In Iraq Gone To Seed

This just hit my radar screen, and finding it an interesting read, recommend: Iraq’s New Patent Law: A Declaration of War Against Farmers.

Continue reading "Patents In Iraq Gone To Seed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:29 AM | International

April 3, 2005

Neem Saved From Biopirates

As a backgrounder, the Neem Foundation has a nice site explaining, well, you know.

On Friday, April 1, 2005, the European Patent Office (EPO) upheld an invalidity revocation of a processing patent related to the fungicidal properties of neem seeds, granted to W.R. Grace and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The EPO rejected W. R. Grace's appeal against an initial May 2000 ruling, upholding India's plea that the medicinal plant was a part of traditional Indian knowledge.

Continue reading "Neem Saved From Biopirates"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:34 PM | International

March 26, 2005

Death by Patent?

The effect of patents is typically money changing hands - richer, poorer, but no one dies. Often, as chronicled here and elsewhere, participants in patent disputes behave like silly weasels, more entertaining than consequential to society. Patents are seldom cast as a matter of life or death; but the issue of morality with regard to patents at the moment looms large with the passing of a new patent law in India.

Continue reading "Death by Patent?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:51 PM | International