Ericsson files 5G Foundation patent application

Ericsson has filed its 5G Foundation patent application with WIPO (worldwide) and USPTO (US). As per Ericsson’s website “The patent application, which combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors, is the largest in cellular communications in terms of number of inventors, anywhere in the world. It shows the industry how Ericsson has approached 5G standardization with a comprehensive view that connects individual inventions in a complete 5G telecommunications network, rather than focusing on any smaller individual inventions.

The patent application contains all details required to build a complete 5G network, from devices, the overall network architecture, the nodes in the network, methods and algorithms, and also shows how to connect all this together into one fully functioning network. The invention is believed to have a huge impact on industry and society as it will provide low latency with high performance and capacity. This will enable new use cases like the Internet of Things, connected factories and self-driving cars.

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IPR Exchange

The federation of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (FISME), with support of the prosperity fund through British High Commission in India, have established and IPR Exchange , an online platform for commercial exchange of Intellectual property rights (IPR) (http://www.iprexchange.in/index.php). It is a platform for buying, selling & licensing IPRs.

As per the website “IPR Exchange seeks to alleviate these problems and create an efficient trading platform for buyers and sellers of intellectual property rights.” Essentially, the market for IP continues to suffer from illiquidity, high transaction costs, a lack of price discovery, and other information asymmetries and IPR Exchange seeks to solve the same.

The inbuilt online IPR management tool in the exchange keeps record of  IPR instruments of the users and sends them reminders/ alerts and therefore helps manage IP. The platforms serves not only to identify and manage IP, but also provides various additional services:-

  • P Audits: Conducting IP Audits  to help identify IP assets in MSMEs
  • IP Valuation: Valuation of  IP assets of MSMEs by a panel of IP Experts
  • IP Management:  a unique  net-based IP management system for management of IP assets of MSMEs
  • Technical Landscaping:  Special technical research reports for Technology mapping and scoping for specific sectors and products
  • Legal Agreements:  Assistance in drafting legal agreement for technology transfer, franchising, licencing etc.

The simple steps for exchange of IP using the platform are provided on the website as follows: —

If you are a seller

  • Get your IP protected and acquire rights for : Patent, Copyrights, Trademarks, Designs  etc,
  • Register with IPREXCHANGE.IN, fill details of your IP
  • Specify whether you would like to sell the IPR rights outright or  you would like to licence it or give franchising rights etc.

If you are looking for technologies or buying IPRs:

  • Register your details
  • Search as per your interest: product/ sector specific offers; read the details of offers
  • Negotiate and strike a deal

 

Initiatives by the CGPDTM office

The Controller General of Patents Design and Trademarks (CGPDTM) office is taking various measures to make the system of the patent office more user friendly and transparent. Two steps taken in this regards are :

  1. SMS alert facility for patent applications has been operationalized – The CGPDTM has started the SMS alert facility for Applicants and Agents whereby they will receive alert informing them the progress of applications at various stages of processing. The alerts will also be indicating  timelines and non-compliance which may lead to refusal/abandonment of applications. The updates would be sent on the mobile numbers provided in the address for service.
  2. Publication of Examination reports generated – CGPDTM will publish in the weekly official journal of the Patent Office, the details of the First Examination Reports (FER) generated.

This is indeed a commendable step towards streamlining the processes especially when the of FERs issued every month is significantly higher than ever in the past. For reference, Journal dated 27th October, 2017   shows reports for the week of 16th October 2017.

WIPO AND IPO Collaborate

Controller General of Patent Design and Trademark and Director General of World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) have signed Cooperation agreement on 5th October 2017 at Geneva Switzerland to facilitate the exchange of data between these offices including Indian Patent documents , search and examination reports through WIPO CASE and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS) to make priority documents available electronically.

The agreement also envisages the regular data exchange between WIPO and Indian Patent Office (IPO).

 

Constitution of confidentiality club for Telecom Patent dispute resolution

The Delhi High Court in a recent decision has allowed an application of the plaintiff, Ericsson to constitute a Confidentiality club (See decision  here- )Ericsson v Xiaomi- Confidentiality Club Order (2). Ericsson had filed a suit for permanent injunction against the defendants, XIAOMI seeking a restrain from violation and infringement of its rights in its patents being as (i) IN 203034; (ii) IN; (iii) IN 234157; (iv) IN 203686; (v) IN 213723; (vi) IN 229632; (vii) IN 240471; (viii) IN 241747. The said suit is pending adjudication before Delhi High Court and is currently at the initial stages of trial.

Ericsson filed an application seeking constitution of confidential club. It was argued by Ericsson that the court has to determine as to whether Ericsson has offered to XIAOMI a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms and whether Ericsson is entitled to damages or payment of royalties from the Defendants for sales made by it devices infringing Ericsson’s patented technology and if so, for what period and on what terms. It was further argued that in order to assist Court, Ericsson would be producing various patent licensing agreements with similarly placed parties, including competitors of the Defendants. These agreements are highly confidential in nature and contain, apart from licensing rates, business sensitive information relating to such similarly placed parties, hence the plaintiff is seeking constitution of confidentiality club wherein all confidential licence agreements relating to similarly placed parties be permitted to be filed in sealed cover and be kept in the safe custody of the Registrar General and its access shall be to limited personnel from either side.

The defendants were not averse to the constitution of such confidentiality club but pressed the defendant/clients be allowed to be a party to such club or to have an access to the information.

The Court appreciated that in today’s world of globalization, where competition is at its peak, the organizations may not be inclined to disclose trade secrets/confidential agreements or its details, it had entered with different parties lest may cause serious prejudice to such parties. Hence the Court held that there is no impediment if the confidential club is created and its access is limited with procedure to be adopted as below :

  1. All confidential license agreements relating to similarly placed parties be permitted to be filed in a sealed cover and be kept in the safe custody of the Registrar General;
  2. Each party be directed to provide on an affidavit, a list of no more than five lawyers (who are not and have not been in-house lawyers of one of the parties) and no more than three external expert witnesses, who alone will be entitled to see the aforesaid confidential documents/patent license agreements;
  3. Said lawyers and expert witnesses will be bound by confidentiality orders passed by this Court and will not make copies or disclose the contents of the said aforesaid confidential documents/patent license agreements to anyone else or anywhere else, including in other legal proceedings, oral and written communications to the press, blog publications etc., so that the spirit of the confidentiality regime would be preserved;
  4. The parties i.e. the Plaintiff and the Defendant No.l and Defendant No. 2 will be allowed to inspect said patent license agreements only through the confidentiality club members and no copies will be made of such confidential documents/license agreements. After the inspection, the aforesaid confidential documents/patent license agreements be resealed and again deposited with the Registrar General of this Court;
  5. Direct that during recordal of evidence w.r.t aforesaid confidential documents/patent license agreements etc. only members of the confidentiality club shall be present;
  6. During proceedings of this Court, when the said documents are being looked at, would be in camera to the effect that only members of the confidentiality club be permitted to be present.
  7. The parties would give copies of the aforesaid confidential documents/patent license agreements to the members of the confidentiality club only after redacting the confidential information including the name of the parties. However, the rates/products will not be redacted.
  8. Any evidence by way of affidavit/witness statement which may contain aforesaid confidential information/terms of the agreement(s) shall be kept in a sealed cover and would only be accessible to the members of confidentiality club. However, a party filing such evidence by way of affidavit would give to the opposite party a copy of such affidavit after redacting the confidential information/ terms of the agreement(s);

 

Madras HC decision in a patent matter

The Madras High court recently dismissed a petition in Mannivanan v. IPAB & Ors. The petitioner in this case, K. Manivannan is a manufacturer of a machine that is used to thresh paddy. Respondent, M. Mani had filed an infringement suit against the petitioners. Countering this, the petitioners filed for revocation of the respondent’s patent, which was eventually dismissed by the IPAB. A writ was filed by the petitioner in the Madras High Court challenging the order of the IPAB maintaining the patent. The Madras High Court dismissed the writ petition challenging the dismissal of a revocation application by the IPAB.

The petitioner argued for revocation on grounds of lack of novelty and that apart, from lack on Novelty by prior publication, the invention claimed by the 3rd Respondent, was fully anticipated by prior public knowledge and also referred to many advertisements published in various Tamil Dailies from the year 2000 till the date of filing of the Application for Patent by the 3rd Respondent. The petitioner also argued that the respondent’s patent was a mere rearrangement of known devices, and therefore falls under section 3(f).

The primordial plea taken on behalf of the Petitioner is that the 3rd Respondent/Patentee had made some minor changes to the invented machine of the Petitioner in particular using the plates instead of studs and further that, the Patentee had fraudulently filed the Application for grant of Patent on 14.09.2004 keeping entire technology of the Petitioner, but making variation in respect of studs and filter.

On analysing the machine of the petitioner and the respondent, the Court said that the two machines were different. The “constructional features” of the respondent’s machine are sufficiently different from the petitioner’s and would constitute an invention. The respondent’s machine used thresher roller instead of rotor studs to beat raw material and thresher vanes instead of helix plates for the threshing operation. The Court further held that the difference between the two machines lies in the distinction between a ‘claim’ and a ‘disclosure’. ‘Claims’ of another patent would result in infringement, while a ‘disclosure’ would take away from the novelty of the other patent. An infringement would always imply a lack of novelty, but the opposite need not be true.

As per the court the claims as worded appear to be distinct. For fuller and better appreciation, the Appellate Board had pointed the difference in the constructional features and the distinct factors to the words employed by the respective parties. The Court also agreed with the Appellate Boards finding at paragraph 12 of its impugned order that the copies of the Tamil dailies relating to the advertisements, do not show any constructional aspects or the important features of the threshing cum separating machine. The Patentee on the other hand had specifically characterized the inventive features in his principal claim defining the scope of the invention and therefore not anticipated by prior knowledge as well.

The court did find that the respondent’s machine could not be a rearrangement of known devices under Section 3(f).