For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Friday, 25 November 2005

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GAT? CONSERVATION OF ENERGY; PATENTING LIVES

Does anyone know ...

... what has happened to Case C-4/03 Gesellschaft für Antriebstechnik mbH & Co.KG (GAT) v Lamellen und Kupplungsbau Beteiligungs KG (LuK)? This was a 2002breference to the European Court of Justice of the following question:

"Is Article 16(4) of ... the Brussels Convention to be interpreted as meaning that the exclusive jurisdiction conferred by that provision on the courts of the Contracting State in which the deposit or registration of a patent has been applied for, has taken place or is under the terms of an international convention deemed to have taken place only applies if proceedings (with erga omnes effect) are brought to declare the patent invalid or are proceedings deemed to be concerned with the validity of patents within the meaning of the aforementioned provision where the defendant in a patent infringement action or the claimant in a declaratory action to establish that a patent is not infringed pleads that the patent is invalid or a nullity and that there is also no patent infringement for that reason, irrespective of whether the court seised of the proceedings considers the plea to be substantiated or unsubstantiated and of when the plea is raised during the course of the proceedings."
The Advocate General issued his Opinion in September of last year, which means that the ruling is about eight months overdue now. Has the case settled? Is the question too difficult for the ECJ to rule on? Is the court objecting to it being phrased in such a long and complex sentence? Is it being consolidated with other cases? Or is it stuck in the same dark hole that the BioMild and Postkantoor cases disappeared into before they finally emerged? The IPKat would be grateful for any clue. Merpel adds, does anyone have an English language copy of the Advocate General's Opinion?


Laws of physics foul patent application again

This little case popped up on the Lawtel subscription-based legal information service this morning: Duckett v Patent Office, a ruling yesterday by Patents Court new boy Mr Justice Kitchin.

Duckett applied to patent an invention with a propulsion unit with electric and hydraulic systems which, he said, used an alternator to maintain a battery at full charge while providing further electricity for auxiliary power. The hearing officer ruled that this application contravened the law of conservation of energy as it appeared to create energy out of nothing. In any event, while the invention was novel, it was obvious. The application was refused for not having industrial application (since it broke the law of conservation of energy) and for lack of inventive step.

Kitchin J dismissed Duckett's appeal, holding that the hearing officer's decision was reasonable. The invention was indeed not only obvious but contrary to well-established principles of physics. The IPKat is starting to wonder whether, in the light of a recent spate of applications to patent inventions that run contrary to the laws of physics, we're about to see a rewrite of the laws of physics ... Stop dreaming, says Merpel.


Patenting Lives

The IPKat's friend Johanna Gibson wants to remind you about the Patenting Lives Conference, which takes place next week (programme here; registration form here). Backed by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, Patenting Lives will be held at the Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, London. Patenting Lives is not just a boring, crusty old conference - it's a multidisciplinary celebration of the various dimensions to the patenting of life and it's not even that dear (£150 for the full two days; reductions for one-day-only participants and students; special rates for anyone accompanied by his/her clone ...)

The project also has its own blog now - so do remember to visit it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that the case will be dealt with together with Roche / Primus & Goldenberg, C 539 / 03 on the interpretation of article 6.1 of the Brussels Convention, and the "spider in the web" theory of the Dutch courts.
Opinion of the AG is expected on 8 December.

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