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German patent firm alliance opposes compulsory video oral proceedings




For the European Patent Office and the Boards of Appeal, oral proceedings by video conference are an opportunity to conduct hearings without health risks during coronavirus. Furthermore, they are a way to prevent a severe case backlog. Initially, however, video hearings were only possible with full party consent.

However, at the beginning of the year, the EPO and the Boards of Appeal changed this practice. In their view, too many hearings failed to take place, as too often one party did not agree to the video conference solution.

G 1/21 referral to Enlarged Board

A Board of Appeal has referred the dispute Andrew AG vs. Rohde & Schwarz to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. Now, the new policy is subject to a judicial review by the EPO’s highest judicial body. The court will clarify whether compulsory oral hearings by video conference are compatible with the European Patent Convention.

The EBO will hear the submission on 28 May 2021, via video conference. Therefore, interested members of the public can also watch via video link.

The parties involved had until 27 April to submit comments on the much-debated issue. A total of 22 companies, law firms, individuals as well as professional and industrial associations used the opportunity. In addition to well-known corporations like Bayer, Siemens, BASF, Philips and Hoffmann La Roche, various patent attorney associations also filed amicus curiae briefs.

Among them are the associations of European, German and Swiss patent attorneys. For example, the Patentanwaltskammer (Chamber of Patent Attorneys), BDPA (Federal Association of Patent Attorneys), Vespa, the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi) and the European Federation of Intellectual Property Agents in Industry (FEMIPI).

Numerous patent attorney firms also submitted comments, including Christian Menges from Munich-based firm Diehl & Partner, and French firm Plasseraud.

Powerful German patent firm alliance

Several large German patent attorney firms also submitted a joint comment. Among them are Boehmert & Boehmert, Cohausz & Florack, Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner. Ursula Kinkeldey, former presiding judge at the EPO Boards of Appeal, also signed the comments. Kinkeldey now works as a solo lawyer.

The firms are opposed to compulsory oral hearings by video conference. They argue that the EPO should only conduct oral hearings via video conference with the consent of all parties.

Gottfried Schüll, partner at Cohausz & Florack, says, “We believe that, by making video conferences compulsory, the EPO is not respecting the established standard for oral hearings in the contracting states and is thereby granting itself authorities at constitutional level.”

An expert opinion submitted by Siegfried Broß supports the comments by the seven Munich and Düsseldorf patent attorney firms. The former German Constitutional Court judge concludes that, against the backdrop of the European Convention on Human Rights and general principles of the rule of law, it is unlawful to make oral hearings by video conference compulsory for the parties involved.

However, according to Broß, oral hearings via video conference should be possible if the parties agree.

Separating the powers

Broß and some of the firms have already engaged in trying to control the powers of the EPO and the Boards of Appeal. During the era of controversial EPO president Benoît Battistelli, Broß had strongly advocated for a separation of the office and the EPO court. Ursula Kinkeldey also repeatedly called for a clearer division of the two parts of the EPO.

Law firm Maiwald is also supporting a complaint from client Perdue at the German Constitutional Court, concerning the lack of a legal hearing at the EPO court.

Additionally, Maiwald was a member of a group of four which sent an open letter to Battistelli, and designated successor Antonio Campinos, in 2018.

In the letter, parties expressed concerns regarding the quality of the EPO’s patent granting procedure. This led to a heated debate among patent experts about the quality of patent granting. Besides Maiwald, the group comprised Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle and Vossius & Partner. Later, Cohausz & Florack also publicly supported the cause.

UK firms take different view

Although many German patent attorneys are against compulsory video hearings, numerous supporters abound. Currently, hardly any other topic is being debated so passionately.

On one hand, in certain instances it is in one party’s interest to delay the case. On the other, opportunities for patent attorneys to participate in in-person hearings vary greatly depending on where they are based. For example, patent attorneys living in Munich and The Hague have it easier than their international colleagues to take part in opposition division hearings, or proceedings at the Boards of Appeal in Haar.

In addition, many patent attorneys tell JUVE Patent they feel that judges are more difficult to convince in proceedings via video conference. In particular, patent attorneys would prefer to conduct economically high-stakes hearings, or those with many participants, in person.

Only a few, like Plasseraud, strongly argue that video hearings are a good solution.

Generally, UK law firms are also happy to use video conferencing. Furthermore, some count on this to divert business away from strong Munich firms. A presence at the EPO’s headquarters could become a less important factor in clients’ hiring practices.

The majority of companies submitting comments reject compulsory video conferencing as the new normal for EPO oral hearings.

Andrew AG against Rohde & Schwarz

The submission to the Enlarged Board of Appeal is based on a dispute over a patent of Andrew AG. In the case (T 1807/15), the Technical Board initially postponed the hearing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The board then rescheduled it for 8 February 2021 as an oral proceeding in the form of a video conference. However, this was without the parties’ consent.

German electronics and security technology company Rohde & Schwarz had filed an opposition against a patent of the Swiss company Andrew AG.

Alice Findlay, of London firm Reddie & Grose, represents Andrew AG. Rohde & Schwarz works with Thomas Körfer from Mitscherlich in Munich. (Co-author: Mathieu Klos)

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9000+ Trademarks Registered this Week, Increase of 69% in Trademark Examination this Week




9000+ Trademarks Registered this Week, Increase of 69% in Trademark Examination this Week


9000+ trademarks registered this week, Increase of 69 percent in total trademark applications examined. A total of 9634 applications have been granted registration. These statistics have been compiled from the official journal of the trademark office published weekly on Mondays.


There has been an overall increase in the working capacity of the Trademark Registry. There has been an increase of sixty nine percent (69%) in the total trademark applications examined. Similarly, there has been an increase of twelve percent (12%) in the total number of hearing notices issued. However, no renewal notices have been issued in the previous week.

Weekly Indian Trademark Statistics

Particulars Last Week This Week Change in %
Total Trademark Applications Examined by Trademark Office 5838 9885 An increase of 69%
Total Applications Disposed through Show Cause Hearings 2103 2309 An increase of 10%
Total Applications Published in the Trademark Journal 3657 2350 A decrease of 36%
Total Registrations Granted 8457 9634 An increase of 14%
Total Hearing Notices Issued 3902 8797 An increase of 12%
Total Renewal Notices Issued 768 0 A decrease of 99%

Trademark Statistics by Office

Total Number of New Applications Received between April 28th to May 5th, 2021

 Sr. No Jurisdiction New Applications Examined Published Registered
1 AHMEDABAD 928 739 346 1502
2 CHENNAI 1706 948 328 1862
3 DELHI 2028 1839 888 3483
4 KOLKATA 391 326 161 425
5 MUMBAI 1812 1186 391 2110
Total   6865 5038 2114 9382

Yearly Trademark Statistics

Trademark Statistics from January 1st, 2021 to May 5th, 2021

  • Total Number of Trademark Applications Filed – 156994
  • Total Number of Trademark Applications Examined – 72576
  • Total Number of Trademark Applications Published – 82145
  • Total Number of Trademark Applications Registered – 147262

Authored and compiled by Uma T.S & Shreya Chaddha

About BIP’s Trademark Attorneys

The Trademark News Bulletin is brought to you by the Trademark/Copyright, IP Transactional Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. Led by Sanjeeth Hegde, BIP’s trademark attorneys are among the leading experts in the field. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: Trademark News.

The weekly trademark news initiative is a part of their pro bono work and is aimed at spreading trademark awareness. You are free to share the news with appropriate attribution and backlink to the source.

Disclaimer: Kindly note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down

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Mishcon de Reya hire expands patent partnership in London




Helen Conlan (43) has joined the patent practice of UK mixed firm, Mishcon de Reya. Conlan joins from leading global firm Bird & Bird, where she began her career as a trainee in 2002 before working her way up to the partnership in 2013.

Helen Conlan, Mishcon de Reya

Helen Conlan

Mishcon’s recent partner hire brings its total number of patent partners to four, as well as three legal directors. Conlan is particularly experienced in the telecommunications and technology sector.

Interest in FRAND and AI

Conlan says, “I was particularly drawn to the energy and commitment that Mishcon de Reya is putting into the growth of its Innovation Department. I am delighted to bring my 17 years of experience as a patent litigator to the team.

“It is certainly an exciting time to be joining the firm.”

Conlan’s practice focuses on technology, media and telecommunications (TMT). While she works predominantly in patent litigation, including cross-border disputes, Conlan also has experience in the trade secrets and copyright areas. This is as well as experience litigating in telecommunication disputes concerning FRAND. She also works in AI-related disputes.

Previous clients include acting for Nokia in cases concerning standard essential and non-standard essential patents.

Conlan has also represented the European Central Bank in a dispute concerning security features of the Euro bank note.

Previously, Mishcon de Reya has acted for Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in a damages enquiry against Warner-Lambert and Pfizer. This is a high-profile case relating to generics’ second medical use patent for pregabalin for anxiety. The firm also acted for Lupin in a claim for invalidity against Gilead’s supplementary protection certificate (SPC) GB05/041. This concerned Gilead’s Truvada product, used to treat HIV.

Bird & Bird makes new partners

In December 2020, another former Bird & Bird partner Tim Harris moved to another growing team at Osborne Clarke, to bolster its life sciences offerings. The London office of Bird & Bird now has 14 patent partners, alongside two Of Counsel.

However, Bird & Bird is also actively recruiting in Europe. On 1 May, the firm announced several promotions into its IP practice partnership, including in London, Milan and Munich.

The firm also announced the hire of Henri Kaikkonen as a new patent partner and its head of IP in Finland. Kaikkonen joins from a senior associate role at mixed national firm Krogerus, which is based in Helsinki.

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UK court rules Sisvel patent non-essential to 4G standard




The UK High Court has found Sisvel patent EP 19 25 142 not essential to the 3GPP Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G standard, and not infringed by defendants Xiaomi and Oppo (case ID: HP-2019-000014). Presiding judge James Mellor based his findings of non-infringement and non-essentiality on literal construction and the doctrine of equivalents.

In March 2021, the UK High Court heard the technical trial, known by the parties as Trial 2. The current judgment relates to the first half of the trial, which was split into two parts. However, Trial 2 covered both EP 142, and EP 22 54 259 and EP 19 03 689. The former is a divisional patent, while EP 689 is a parent patent. Parties await the court’s upcoming judgment on EP 259 and EP 689.

Mitsubishi and Sisvel also sought to amend the granted claims of EP 142 by introducing two unconditional claim amendment requests, to exclude the ‘single SDU embodiment’ from the patent’s scope.

However, in his decision, James Mellor noted that the amendments failed to achieve their purpose. Mellor notes that, even if the claims were to be amended, the claimants’ argument of infringement still fails.

Dispute over 4G standard

In summer 2019, Mitsubishi Electric and Sisvel brought an infringement case before the UK High Court (case ID: HP-2019-000014). The infringement complaint was originally against five defendants over 12 cases, with three patents in question. Mitsubishi owns the two other patents, with Sisvel owning EP 142.

All three patents in dispute were part of a patent pool and concern 4G technology. However, French electronics company Archos, and Chinese companies Nuu Mobile and Sun Cupid Technology, have already agreed on a FRAND licence, with Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus the remaining defendants. The latter two are both subsidiaries of Chinese conglomerate BKK Electronics.

In December 2020, before the UK High Court heard the first technical trial, Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus settled the case regarding one Mitsubishi patent EP 657.

A FRAND trial will follow in October 2021, whereby the UK High Court will determine a value for the entire patent portfolio owned by Sisvel and Mitsubishi. JUVE Patent is not yet aware whether Mitsubishi and Sisvel are appealing the current technical trial decision.

Spotlight on Sisvel’s patent

Sisvel and Xiaomi are also fighting in other European countries, with cases pending in Italy and Germany. Sisvel is also challenging Xiaomi and Oppo in the Netherlands.

Bird & Bird’s UK patent team has a long-standing relationship with Sisvel. The firm runs the cases in the UK, as well as coordinating the cases in Europe and China. Xiaomi relies on Kirkland & Ellis, in a team led by partner Steven Baldwin. The US firm’s London patent team also runs other cases for the Chinese company.

Taylor Wessing has an already-existing relationship with Oppo. However, in this case, its patent team is acting for the Chinese company for the first time.

The judgment is one of James Mellor’s first decisions in his new position as UK High Court patent-specialist judge. Mellor joined the Chancery division in January 2021, alongside another new judge Richard Meade who was appointed in September 2020.

According to the judgment, “The trial was heard as a fully remote trial on MS Teams, with electronic bundles on CaseLines, a convenient feature of which enables all participants to accept prompts to jump to a particular page, so that everyone looks at the correct passage in the bundle.”

For Mitsubishi and Sisvel
8 New Square (London): Adrian Speck, Michael Conway
Bird & Bird (London): Richard Vary, Jane Mutimear (partners); associates: Mark Livsey, Louise O’Hara

For OnePlus and Oppo
8 New Square (London): Andrew Lykiardopoulos
11 South Square (London): Adam Gamsa
Taylor Wessing (London): Chris Thornham, Tom Foster

For Xiaomi
8 New Square (London): Andrew Lykiardopoulos, Isabel Jamal
Kirkland & Ellis (London): Steven Baldwin (partner); associates: Peter Pereira, Rory Clarke

UK High Court, London
James Mellor (presiding judge)

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Funky Tesla Patent With Swivel Chairs In Front




The CEO of Snow Bull Capital, Taylor Ogan, noticed something interesting this week in a Tesla patent filing. The patent filing, which is primarily about a different matter (“Improper seatbelt usage detection”), included swivel chairs in the front of a Tesla vehicle.

Before we jump in a little more, I think it’s worth spending a moment to put some context around patent filings. Below are a few key points to keep in mind.

First of all, the patent was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on January 12, 2021, but it was actually filed years ago (Dec 6, 2017).

Also, patents are frequently filed in order to allow the company to include something in their vehicles. The company files the patent on the idea before another company does so and then tries to block you from implementing the idea, or tries to charge you for doing so.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to see that Elon Musk and team have long thought about putting swivel chairs in the front of a vehicle.

There are other interesting things in there as well, like a steering wheel in the center of the car, and also seemingly on a structure that could slide from one side of the car to another.

Again, this is not to say Tesla will ever implement such a thing. It just reserves the right to do so. One commenter on Twitter also pointed out that it’s common to stick a bunch of different ideas in a single filing even if there’s no intention to mix them all together as drawn — just so that the company can protect more ideas from patent trolling.

Any other takeaways from this patent filing, or any other filings?

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