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Top 50 IP law firms prosecuting EP filings in 2020

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Further, two interesting observations are in place.

First of all, if to analyze data for the top 50 IP law firms specifically, it turns out that German and the UK agents handled 45% and 43% of EP filings respectively (see Figure 2). This is almost an equal share, given that in total, representatives from Germany prosecuted virtually as twice as many patent applications as British representatives (see Figure 1). This implies that EP filings are scattered among the larger group of smaller German firms and concentrated among the smaller group of prominent UK agents. Additionally, this could mean that a significant part of German EP filings was handled by the corporate IP departments.

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Source: https://www.patent-pilot.com/en/2021/07/12/top-50-ip-law-firms-prosecuting-ep-filings-in-2020/

Patents

Düsseldorf on new ground with partial AASI against Xiaomi

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The Regional Court Düsseldorf has delivered a judgment confirming an anti-anti-suit injunction against Xiaomi (case numbers: 4c O 73/20; 4c O 74/20; 4c O 75/20). In December, Philips, General Electric and Mitsubishi Electric had already obtained an AASI ex-parte against the Chinese mobile communication company.

HEVC filed the AASI to protect pending actions at the same court. The main proceedings, which began in August last year, concern Xiaomi’s alleged infringement of HEVC Advance’s patents (case numbers: 4c O 49/20; 4c O 50/20; 4c O 68/20).

HEVC and Xiaomi in Düsseldorf

Usually, in ASI proceedings in Germany, a continuous or imminent risk of infringement must precede the injunction claims. This includes the need for the defendant to provide a concrete indication of imminent or planned infringement.

However, in the Xiaomi case, the Düsseldorf court upheld its first-instance decision without the suing parties presenting such evidence. This pre-emptive granting of an anti-anti-suit injunction is new ground for the Düsseldorf court, although the German judiciary is becoming more vocal in such matters.

It was not all bad news for Xiaomi. The latest decision, handed down by the court at the end of June, was upheld only to a limited extent. It limits the scope of the original granted AASI. As such, whereas the first order prohibited Xiaomi from obtaining an ASI in any jurisdiction outside Germany, the current order is only enforceable against ASIs in China.

HEVC advance an AASI

Philips, General Electric and Mitsubishi Electric are all part of the HEVC patent pool. In summer 2020, in main proceedings four members of the HEVC pool launched a wave of lawsuits against Xiaomi over the video coding standard HEVC/H.265. The pool members accused Xiaomi of infringing the standard.

In December 2020, the three claimants filed for an anti-anti-suit injunction at the Regional Court Düsseldorf. The pool was reacting to the prevalent trend of Chinese companies filing ASIs.

Initially, the judgment covered all the applicants patent rights, including cases other than the current one, as well as having a global effect on Xiaomi’s ability to file ASIs at other courts.

Xiaomi hits back

However,  in March, Xiaomi filed an opposition against the ex-parte AASI, arguing that the court could not grant the injunction without concrete evidence of impending risk of infringement. Prior to the first judgment in December, Xiaomi had not filed any defence with the court.

The latest judgment now restricts the AASI in relation to the filing of an ASI in China.

Furthermore, the decision also only covers HEVC Advance’s patent rights from the current main proceedings. The first decision was broader in scope, covering patent rights for other proceedings too.

Munich the usual forum

During 2020, anti-suit injunctions became more popular with Chinese companies as a means of prohibiting companies based elsewhere from filing proceedings outside of China.

However, an AASI without an ASI remains rare. Here, although Düsseldorf is the main forum for the entire HEVC vs. Xiaomi proceedings, some observers consider it an unusual forum to bring ASI and AASI suits. This is because Munich is the usual go-to court for such cases.

For example, last month the Munich Regional Court gave IP Bridge the green light to proceed against Huawei with three SEP suits. The judges rejected Huawei’s opposition to an AASI (case ID: 7 O 36/21). Under German law, parties can oppose an AASI judgment at the same chamber before appealing it at a higher court.

Tilman Müller

The Munich Regional Court has also upheld numerous AASI applications in the past, after Chinese courts granted ASIs against patent suits in Germany.

Among other reasons, an increase in AASI requests is why, next month, the Munich Regional Court is establishing a third patent chamber.

An array of attorneys

Xiaomi relies on a mixed team around Munich-based Vossius partner Georg Rauh.

In a separate case, MAS Elektronik also instructed the firm for its dispute against HEVC Advance, with Düsseldorf partner Kai Rüting leading the Vossius team. In new HEVC litigation against the Advance patent pool, partner Andreas Kramer leads for TCL.

Eisenführ Speiser partners Volkmar Henke and Tilman Müller lead the case for the HEVC Advance pool, specifically in this case for Philips, Mitsubishi Electric and General Electric. The relationship between the mixed IP firm and the patent pool goes back four years, since HEVC Advance members first filed litigation suits in Germany.

Georg Rauh

Eisenführ Speiser also represents pool members in other litigation proceedings against TCL in Munich, as well as against Turkish applicance company Vestel in Düsseldorf.

In the latter case, Vestel retains mixed law firm Grünecker.

For Xiaomi
Vossius & Partner (Munich): Georg Rauh (lead); associates: Moritz Bloser (German attorney), Zhuomin Wu (Chinese attorney)

For HEVC Advance 
Eisenführ Speiser (Hamburg): Volkmar Henke, Tilman Müller
In-house (Mitsubishi Electric): Takao Tominaga

Regional Court Düsseldorf, Chamber 4c
Sabine Klepsch (presiding judge)

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Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/cases/dusseldorf-on-new-ground-with-partial-aasi-against-xiaomi/

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Patents

Paris Court of Appeal confirms no preliminary injunction against Mylan

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The Paris Court of Appeal has upheld a first-instance decision, originally handed down by presiding judge Nathalie Sabotier, to reject Allergan’s request for a preliminary injunction against Mylan. This includes product recall, and Allergan obtaining damages from Mylan.

The decision suggests that, contrary to previous notions, the French courts are not the go-to jurisdiction in which a patent holder can obtain a preliminary injunction.

Mylan and Allergan go back

EP 17 54 434 concerns an eye drop treatment for glaucoma, a common eye condition where fluid build-up at the front of the eye damages the optic nerve. Allergan filed an application for EP 434 in March 2006, under the priority of US patent application 83261 of 16 March 2005. The European Patent Office granted the patent in 2009, and it is valid until 2026.

In the early 1990s, Allergan developed an ophthalmic solution to help treat glaucoma, the product Lumigan 0.3mg/ml. This contains, along with other compounds, active ingredient bimatoprost which helps reduce eye pressure. The solution also contains disinfectant preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK). However, some observers criticised the combination of bimatoprost and BAK as causing side effects in patients, such as eye inflammation.

EP 434 covers a composition containing a lower concentration of bimatoprost and a higher concentration of BAK, as contained in product Lumigan 0.1mg/ml. The European Medicines Agency granted Allergan Ireland a marketing authorisation for Lumigan 0.1 (no. EU/1/02/205/003-004) in January 2010. Since May 2010, Allergan France has marketed Lumigan 0.1 mg/ml in France on this basis. However, in April 2017 Mylan also obtained a marketing authorisation for its eye drops solution, the so-called Bimatoprost MylanPharma 0.1 mg/ml. The company has marketed this in France since February 2020.

First to second instance

In June 2020, after Allergan initiated proceedings, Mylan received notice of a preliminary injunction hearing at the Paris Court of First Instance. However, presiding judge Nathalie Sabotier declared a challenge against the validity of Allergan’s EP 434 for lack of inventive step, particularly taking into account the prior art. Now, following another challenge to the patent’s inventive step, the Court of Appeal has upheld Sabotier’s first analysis.

Allergan maintains that product Bimatoprost Mylan 0.1 mg/ml constitutes a generic of Lumigan 01, mg/ml. Therefore. Allergan argues, it reproduces the characteristics of claims 1, 5 and 12 of EP 434. Leaving aside arguments on validity, the company also argues that, in view of the balance of interests involved, it is seeking proportionate interim measures due to suffering significant economic damage from Mylan’s generic product.

In February 2021, the court launched the case on the merits. Now, in October, both parties will attend a case management conference as part of the ongoing case. However, the court has not yet scheduled the hearings for this part of the proceedings.

Up against the courts

EP 434 also faced two oppositions at the European Patent Office. German pharmaceutical company Ratiopharm initiated the first proceedings in February 2010, with Teva following up with a second opposition one day later. However, in 2011 the EPO rejected the opposition and maintained EP 434 in an amended form. Teva withdrew its appeal against this decision in 2017.

In 2014, the US District Court Eastern Division of Texas dismissed invalidity claims against several of Allergan’s US patents. All patents were equivalent to EP 434, which were prohibiting Mylan from marketing the corresponding generic drugs. In 2015, the court confirmed the decision on appeal. Canada also handed down a similar decision.

On the other hand, in 2018 the UK High Court of Justice annulled the English part of EP 434, based on the claims lacking inventive step.

One boutique, one full-service

Paris-based IP boutique Schertenleib led the case for Mylan, a relationship which goes back several years. Name partner Denis Schertenleib is the lead partner in the case. He is regularly active for generics pharmaceuticals companies in high-profile litigation cases. However, associates Estelle Vard and Yasmine Azzaoui have worked with Mylan on the dispute with Allergan since it began.

Allergan and Bird & Bird have a long-running relationship, with the full-service international firm working for the pharmaceutical company in numerous disputes. The interplay between Bird & Bird’s European teams remains strong, with the firm’s London office representing Allergan in the 2019 UK proceedings. Partner Yves Bizollon leads the case in Paris.

For Mylan
Schertenlieb Avocats (Paris): Denis Schertenleib (partner); associates: Estelle Vard, Marc Lauzeral, Yasmine Azzaoui

For Allergan
Bird & Bird (Paris): Yves Bizollon (partner)
SCP Grappotte Benetreau (Paris): Anne Grappotte Benetreau

Paris Court of Appeal, Paris (first chamber)
Isabelle Douillet (president); Françoise Barutel, Déborah Bohée (advisors); Karine Abelkalon (clerk)

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Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/cases/paris-court-of-appeal-confirms-no-preliminary-injunction-against-mylan/

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Patents

The Largest Patent Prosecution Firms in Japan

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Commonly known and widely accepted is that Japan is one of the most innovative nations in the world. In 2019 Japanese businesses produced roughly 245,372 patent applications and were outperformed only by China and the United States.

Since 2016 and up until 2020, SHIGA INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE (88,510 patent applications), SAKAI INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE (58,887 patent applications), and ITOH INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE (37,984 patent applications) were the three most prominent IP law firms in the country. Japanese leaders handled roughly 22% of the total volume in the same time window.

Regarding the prosecution work distribution among the firms, the upper 15 representatives accounted for roughly 56% of all the applications first published between 2016 and 2020. This indicates a relatively high concentration in the Japanese patent market.

While being the leading country in terms of the number of patent applications, Japan remains out of reach for some international applicants. Indeed, the cumbersome local rules make it rather difficult for non-locals to get protection in the country. This resulted in the situation when the most significant local IP law firms get their volumes from domestic clients. For example, out of all applications received by SHIGA INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE or TAIYO, NAKAJIMA & KATO between 2016 and 2020, only 29% or 33% were foreign filings. As for SAKAI INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE and ITOH INTERNATIONAL PATENT OFFICE, the share is even lower – 4% and 10% of patent applications from internationals. Only SEIWA PATENT & LAW handled roughly 50% of foreign filings, which is the highest share among the top 10.

Thus, as a rule of thumb, in the case of Japanese representatives, the number of domestic patent applications can be a potential indicator of the patent firms’ prominence.

The share of PCT-based filings was diverse, ranging from 92% to almost 1%. In general, for the upper 10 IP law firms, the percentage of applications filed at PCT went around 50%. The few exceptions are TAIYO, NAKAJIMA & KATO – 38% and ONDA TECHNO INTL. PATENT ATTYS. – 34%. Given the agents’ focus on local applicants and the volume of prosecuted filings, we can assume that at least half of Japanese inventors were targeted towards the international market.

To sum up, the largest Japanese IP law firms tended to focus their business on the local clients who ensure the large scale of prosecution work. The top ten IP law firms unchangeably remained in their position (with small fluctuations) and took over the significant volume of the domestic filings since 2016. Instead, the less-scaled representatives rather emphasized international applicants.

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Source: https://www.patent-pilot.com/en/2021/07/16/the-largest-patent-prosecution-firms-in-japan/

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Gaming

Can you imagine a banana as a game controller?

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Yes! Sony made it possible to imagine.

Yes! Sony made it possible to imagine. New technology is going to allow people to use a banana or any object as a game controller.

Finally! we are not confined to use only some mathematical shape’s (circle, triangle, square) in the form of remote control; Sony has filed for a patent that details a method of turning any object, either banana, bread or a bottle, into a game controller. The patent application described the method of turning a banana into a PlayStation controller. Basically, this technology turns an object which can’t produce its own light “nonluminous passive object being held by a user” into a controller, overlaid virtual buttons on top of it, with a banana being detailed as the example, a camera could “detect the object so they could detect user’s finger in the obtained image to coincide with the location of the virtual buttons”. The idea is to use any object or fruit as a video game controller; this will give an amusing and different look to the PlayStation controller. It would be desirable if a user could use an inexpensive, simple and non-electronic device as a video game peripheral, “says the patent application”. The disclosure seeks to alleviate some of the identified problems; initially, the application may seem unusual. However, Sony trying to solve a problem with this technique; as the designers note in the application, the existing controller can be a barrier to entry because of technical complexity, but as you know, some complexity is always there as a part of the design in technology. Well, as in the case with any patent application, there’s no guarantee Sony will ever commercialize, however according to The Indianexpress, they confirmed that they are working on a new PlayStation VR headset for its popular PlayStation 5 console. The new next-generation VR system will offer conspicuous leaps in performance and synergism & even “greater sense of presence”. The VR headset for PS5 will also feature a new controller inspired by the PS5’s Dual sense and require only a single cord to associate. Companies with new technologies are making intensive efforts to overwhelm society in the form of gadgets and sometimes with antique design of games and game controller.

source image: indianexpress

Author: Copywriter Bhawna Bana

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Source: https://www.thepatent.news/2021/07/16/can-you-imagine-a-banana-as-a-game-controller/

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