The End of the 10 Day Rule

1 November 2023

The so-called “10-day rule”, a quirk of European patent practice, is soon only a memory. The 10-day rule introduced the long-standing notion that an official communication from the European Patent Office (EPO) is deemed to be notified 10 days after the date of the communication. Hence, as many of the deadlines set by the EPO are calculated from notification of the relevant communication, the 10-day rule has played an important role in how deadlines are calculated. However, this will no longer be the case.

As of today, the 1 November 2023, official communications from the European Patent Office will be deemed to be notified on the same day as they are dated. For example, an official action dated 4 November 2023 and setting a 4-month term from notification for response, will thus have a due date for response on 4 March 2024, rather than on 14 March as would have been the case had the 10-day rule still applied.

Notably, the change only affects communications dated on or after 1 November 2023. That is, for communications dated before 1 November 2023, the 10-day rule still applies. Thus, for a communication dated on, for example, 29 October 2023 and setting a 4-month term from notification of the communication, the 10-day rule would still apply resulting in a due date of 8 March 2024.

Clients used to the 10-day rule are urged to take notice of this change, and to take extra care when calculating deadlines and providing instructions close to said deadlines.

 

 

Omotion protects theirs innovations and brand

OMotion AB is the company behind the creation in the picture. They make electric vehicles that combine the best of two worlds – the freedom of a motorcycle with the stability of a car. So cool huh!

Hansson Thyresson has helped OMotion AB by conducting an IP scan. Ola Svensson, founder and CEO of OMotion, says:

“There were mainly two things that I thought were good about the IP scan. Firstly, we gained a better understanding of how we should act to protect our innovations and our brand, not least in an international perspective. Secondly, that we can use the IP scan in a dialogue with investors, it will be a confirmation that we have intellectual property rights in our mind when doing our work.”

Does this sound interesting for you and your company?

Do not hesitate to get in touch with any of our certified advisors for the IP-scan, Viveka AnderbergJakob BromanÅsa Olajos, and Maja Modigh, and we’ll tell you more!

 

The product is similar to yours and you suspect infringement!

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To be a patent proprietor has several advantages. One of them is that you may use your patent to prevent competitors from profiting on your invention. If you discover a product that seems to be similar to your patented idea, you should contact us immediately and tell us about your suspicions.

In such situation, it is important to carry out an infringement analysis as soon as possible. A patent infringement may have taken place if the competitor’s product is manufactured, marketed and/or sold in a market where your patent is in force. In this case it is important to act quickly and correctly!

An infringement assessment is roughly performed by the following steps:

  1. In a best case scenario, we have access to the physical product, but depending on the technical field, and availability, our analysis and assessment can be performed using brochures or other marketing material, or website excerpts.
  2. Your patent contains a number of claims which determine the patent’s scope of protection, i.e., what you have patented. Each claim contains in turn a number of features. During the infringement analysis, we compare the features of the claim with the potentially infringing product. If the product meets all the features of the claim, it is likely to infringe the patent.
  1. If infringement seems to be at hand, the next step may be to send a warning letter to the competitor behind the product.

Please read more about disputes here > It is important to monitor what your competitors are doing and how their products are designed, but also where they are manufactured, marketed, and sold. If necessary, we are happy to assist you in preparing and sending warning letters. If you have any questions relating to potential infringement, you are most welcome to contact one of us >

Winnie the Pooh – What happens to the copyright?

 

The 18th of January is the International Winnie the Pooh Day. The well-renowned work about the honey-loving teddy bear Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne is protected by copyright in Europe and was protected by copyright in the US until midnight on New Year’s Eve 2021-2022. At that time, the original book became older than 95 years meaning it entered the public domain according to US copyright law.

On the 15th of February 2023, the film “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” is set to premiere. It is a film in an ENTIRELY different spirit than what we are used to seeing of the beloved teddy bear. Even if the copyright to the original work has expired in the US, The Walt Disney Company (who is the holder of the rights to Winnie the Pooh) has registered trademarks for, among others, the name “WINNIE THE POOH”. The question we ask is therefore, what action has Disney taken? Will Disney try to stop the film? And how will the production company behind the film respond? Will they change the title of the film?

Contrary to copyright (which according to Swedish law is valid from the creation of the work until 70 years after the death of the author), a registered trademark offers indefinite protection for a trademark, as long as the trademark is used. Hence, Disney, as well as other film- and entertainment companies, does not rely solely on the finite copyright protection, but also on complementary trademark registrations for their well-known characters, including Winnie the Pooh, to ensure its exclusive right to these characters.

Do you think it is right to turn Winnie the Pooh into a horror film?

Which is your favourite character in the Winnie the Pooh-stories?

Early Opportunities with the Unitary Patent System

The start of the Unitary Patent System in Europe is approaching, which following the latest delay is set to launch on the 1 June 2023. Only patents which are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) on or after this date are eligible for registration as a Unitary Patent (UP). To give more applicants the chance to register their patents as Unitary Patents (UP), the EPO will offer applicants an opportunity to delay the decision to grant in cases where the patent otherwise would have been granted before the start of the Unitary Patent System.

UPC
 

At the request of the applicant, the EPO will delay the decision to grant of a European patent application such that the patent is granted on or immediately after the start date of the Unitary Patent System, to allow the patent to be registered as a Unitary Patent (UP). Such a request may be filed as soon as the EPO has informed the applicant of the text intended for grant (i.e. the Rule 71(3) communication), but before this text has been approved by the applicant. This opportunity to delay the grant is available from the 1 January 2023 until the start date of the Unitary Patent System, when the measure no longer fulfills its purpose.

As of the 1 January 2023, applicants who have received the text intended for grant will also be given an opportunity to submit an early request to register the patent as a Unitary Patent (UP). This will ensure that the patent is registered as a Unitary Patent as soon as the new system starts.

Please contact one of our patent attorneys for further advice.

UPC is delayed by 2 months

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced earlier today that the starting date of the new Court will be delayed by two months. This means that the new Court won’t open its doors until the 1 June 2023. The sunrise period, during which it will be possible to lodge opt-outs from the UPC, will be similarly delayed and will start on the 1 March 2023 at the earliest. The reason for the delay is that many users have had great difficulty in getting access to the digital authenticity and identification certificates that are required to use the Court’s digital case management system. Read the press release in full here.

UPC set to start on 1 April

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has announced that they plan to open the doors to the Court on the 1 April 2023. We therefore advise all patent proprietors who have not yet done so, to review your patent portfolios and decide on your strategy with regard to the new Unitary Patent System. The first decision you need to take is whether to opt-out from the UPC or not. Our patent attorneys are, of course, available for any questions or advice you may need – or for the lodging of opt-out requests.

As of its starting date, the Court will handle patent disputes and the Court’s decisions will have unitary effect in all participating UPC member states. As we have reported on previously, the UPC will, apart from disputes regarding Unitary Patents (UPs), also have jurisdiction over granted and nationally validated European patent (EP) applications in the participating UPC member states – as long as no opt-out from the UPC has been filed.

When the UPC has started, it will also be possible to register patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) as Unitary Patents (UPs). A Unitary Patent (UP) is a patent with unitary effect in all of the participating UPC member states. Currently, this includes 17 EU countries, Sweden being one of them.

The UPC also announced that the sunrise period that precedes the opening of the Court is expected to start on the 1 January 2023. During the sunrise period, it will be possible to file opt-outs from the UPC for nationally validated European patents (EPs), which will ensure that the patents remain solely under the jurisdiction of the national courts in the same way as it works today. By filing opt-outs from the UPC, a patent proprietor can thus avoid a central revocation action, but simultaneously resigns their ability to, through a single infringement action, stop infringement in all the participating UPC member states in one go.

Since the preliminary starting date has been announced by the UPC, we advise all patent proprietors to review their patent portfolios as soon as possible to decide on your strategy with regard to opting out from the UPC or not. Our patent attorneys are, of course, available should you have any questions about the UP, the UPC, or the filing of opt-outs.

Please note that the above-mentioned dates are preliminary and therefore might be subject to change.

We welcome our new CEO Maja Modigh

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We are pleased to announce Maja Modigh as the new CEO of Hansson Thyresson AB, effective from 1 September 2022. Maja takes over after Lars Thyresson who has successfully led the organisation since its foundation. Maja has worked at the firm since 2018 with HR and Finance as her main areas of responsibility. She has, together with Lars, been part of the firm’s management as Vice President. As an active member of the firm’s Board, Maja has a good insight into the firm’s history and development.

“Anders and I founded Hansson Thyresson 28 years ago with an open mind and focus on making a difference for our clients in achieving the best possible outcome given the specific circumstances in every single case. As CEO, and with Anders as chairman of the Board, we have for the past ten years more than doubled both our revenue and our number of employees. We are a cheerful team who give everything in our pursuit of the best for our clients. It is with pride and happiness that I now pass the baton to Maja. Maja possesses the courage, understanding, and passion required to successfully steer the company on our chosen path.” Lars Thyresson

Lars will remain part of the firm as Director of the Law and Trademark department. He will also, together with Maja and Jonas Delander, continue as a member of the management committee. Both Anders Hansson and Lars Thyresson will remain on the Board, which from 1 September 2022 is led by the new Chairman Mats Jacobson.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to manage, but also develop, Hansson Thyresson further. We have important work ahead of us in educating companies about intellectual property and helping them secure their most important assets. A task that feels both meaningful and exciting. We have a history of being a good employer with happy employees, low staff rotation and much generosity. I want to take that with me. It is obvious to me that everything starts there. Passionate and engaged colleagues who deliver high-level services ensures that our customers remain satisfied. I have many thoughts on how to continue our journey and I am really looking forward to being part of it. Together we will strive to make sure that every company understands and secures their intellectual properties. That’s also our new vision.” Maja Modigh

With Maja in charge, the firm and our employees have an exciting future ahead.

 

The UPC is coming – are you ready?

Have you heard of the new patent system that is about to launch in Europe? Do you know how it will affect both your existing and future patent rights? Or maybe you are sighing because it sounds like you will have to take even more decisions in relation to your patent portfolio? Don’t worry, we are here to help you and will guide you to the decisions most suitable for your organisation.

The introduction of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court represents a major change in the European patent landscape. This new system, offering unitary patent protection across many EU states, is finally, after years and years in making, actually on the way.

 

The Unitary Patent
The Unitary Patent (UP) is, as the name suggests, a single patent with unitary effect in all participating countries. At the moment, this includes 17 countries across the EU, with Sweden, of course, being one of them. Further EU countries may be added as time progresses, but it is worth noting the new system is an EU initiative and that non-EU countries are not and will not be part of it.

When the new system has arrived, it will no longer be necessary (although you can still choose to do so) to validate a granted European Patent (EP) individually in all the countries of interest. Instead, you can obtain a single patent covering all participating countries, meaning only one payable renewal fee for all those countries, only one translation necessary for all those countries, and the possibility to stop infringement in all those countries through one single infringement action. This will likely be a pleasant development for many applicants. However, UPs also have some drawbacks to be aware of, the most important one being the risk of a central revocation action which can invalidate your UP in all the participating countries in one go.

The new UP system will function in parallel to the current system, and it will, as mentioned above, still be possible to validate EPs in individual countries as you do now.


The Unified Patent Court
With the arrival of this new UP system, a new court, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), is also introduced. The UPC will be the court where litigation of UPs (both revocation and infringement actions) takes place, and decisions by the UPC will have unitary effect throughout all of the participating countries.

However, importantly, the UPC will also have jurisdiction over all EPs validated in the classical way in participating countries, this applies even to EPs granted prior to the launch of the UPC. In other words, if you have a patent granted by the EPO, it falls under the jurisdiction of the UPC once the UPC is up and running, unless you choose to opt-out from the UPC, see below.

 

UPC


The possibility to opt-out
During a transitional period of 7 years (possibly extended to up to 14 years) from the start of the UPC, the proprietor of a classically validated EP can opt-out that patent from the competence of the UPC, provided that no action has already been taken in relation to that patent at the UPC.

Opting out an EP means that the patent will fall under the sole jurisdiction of the national courts for the lifetime of the patent, in the same way as it is today. However, a decision to opt-out can be withdrawn (opt-in) provided that no action in the meantime has been brought against the patent before a national court. The possibility to opt-out applies to any EP granted or applied for prior to the end of the transitional period, and it will be possible to file opt-outs from the start of a so-called sunrise period. The sunrise period starts 3-4 months before the launch of the UPC and ends at the start of the transitional period.


When will the new system launch?
It is still uncertain exactly when the new system will launch, but it could happen as early as October 2022, or perhaps more realistically in early 2023. When Austria in January 2022 became the thirteenth country to participate in the provisional application of the UPC agreement, the preparations for the launch of the new system started. Once the preparations are sufficiently far along, Germany, acting as the Gatekeeper, will deposit its instrument of ratification, which will initiate the sunrise period.


Decisions, decisions, decisions
The introduction of the UP and the UPC will have implications for all applicants and patent proprietors interested in patent protection in EU countries. All proprietors and applicants should consider how to take advantage of the opportunities that are offered by the new system while also protecting themselves against any drawbacks that may arise.

As a patent proprietor, the most important thing to note is that if you do nothing, things will change for you. It is therefore time to start thinking about the UPC so that you can make informed and strategic decisions, rather than letting the decisions be made for you.

The first decision you need to take is whether to opt-out your existing EPs and EP applications from the UPC. It is far from an easy decision, and there are many considerations to take into account. Seeing that the new system, and the sunrise period, is only months away, we would advise all EP proprietors to start reviewing their patent portfolio in order to decide on a strategy.

We are, of course, here to help you, and given the potential impact of any strategic decisions you may take (or indeed not take), and the complexity of the new patent landscape, we are always available for a meeting where we can give you the advice that you need.

Please feel free to contact any one of us if you have any questions in relation to the UP, the UPC, or any other aspect of intellectual property.

 

deWiz Golf AB is building an IP portfolio

deWiz Golf AB is building an IP portfolio for securing and increasing the value of its Intangible Assets. Hansson Thyresson was early trusted to work with all aspects of intellectual property services, such as patents, trademarks, and contracts.

deWiz Golf AB is an extremely interesting young technology company that has developed a golf training platform. It was founded by former European Tour pro, PGA of Sweden certified instructor and motor learning author, Markus Westerberg, and entrepreneur and technology business leader, Christian Bergh. The company’s mission is to help golfers around the world elevate their enjoyment of the game through innovative technology that accelerates the pace of learning. To accomplish this, deWiz has developed a revolutionary wearable technology that helps you analyze your swing motion. And what makes deWiz unique is when you break your preset parameters, deWiz generates a tickling electric pulse and audible alert in real time.

– It´s been one of the most exciting journeys in my patent attorney carrier. Starting from zero with two engaging and dedicated inventors, we’ve created an IP portfolio to protect the fantastic new device and to assist in the business development of the company. The product and services around deWiz continue to grow, as does the IP portfolio.
Anders Hansson, co-founder, and chairman of the board of Hansson Thyresson AB.

The development of the IP portfolio has been a continuous process where technical, legal, marketing and business aspects have evolved at different speeds and importance. The value of the IP portfolio and other Intangible Assets cannot be overestimated.

I can’t express enough the importance of having a homogeneous portfolio of patents and trademarks registered in a wide range of countries, partly to protect your invention, but especially when you need to increase the capital of the company and bring in investors. It costs a lot of money to apply for a patent, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
Christian Bergh CEO deWiz Golf AB


Markus Westerberg, co-founder and golf professional – responsible for the golf technique in the development work.