Around the IP blogs!

Your weekly tour of the IP blogosphere is here! Highlights this week include controversy over a patent relating to Ethiopia's national bread, a decision in Denmark on ICOS's Tadalafil dosage regime patent and the potential competition law issues arising from automated and connected cars.

Patent for injera?

Afro-IP picks up on a recent article in the South African Mail & Guardian claiming that the EPO has recognized a Dutchman as the inventor of Ethiopia's ubiquitous sourdough flat bread, injera. The Mail & Guardian identified an EP patent EP1646287 for a method of processing teff flour, the key ingredient of injera. As Afro-IP points out, the patent is not directed to teff flour per se, but an improved form of teff flour, obtained by ripening the teff grains post-harvest before grinding. Given the simplicity of the method, Afro-IP is doubtful that prior to the priority date of 2003, no one in Ethiopia produced teff flour that would have fallen under the scope of the patent: Nuances of Patents and TK.

According to the patent, the invention is a selection invention, in which teff flour having a particular characteristic within a selected range can be used to make products (including injera) that are surprisingly "good and tasty". The patent was opposed on the grounds that the invention was insufficiently disclosed, because the claim did not mention that to obtain a teff product having the claimed features, the grains must be ground. However, the opposition board rejected these arguments and maintain the patent unamended. By contrast, in the US the equivalent case was abandon during prosecution following an objection that it would be obvious to a skilled person to produce teff flour having the claimed characteristics.

Having problems fermenting your own teff flour? See here for this Kat's favorite recipe for an injera substitute.
Ethiopian meal with injera
US patent eligibile subject matter

Patentlyo reports on another patent eligibility decision by the US Federal Circuit. The patent related to a phonetic symbol system using English letters, as opposed to the symbols traditionally used by linguists. The court agreed with the USPTO that the invention related to an abstract idea, and was therefore not patent eligible. Patentlyo asks if the claims of the patent could be amended to overcome the objection?: Phonetic Symbol System Not Patent Eligible.

phonetically:ˈbrɪtɪʃ bluːˈkɪtn 
Tadalafil - Denmark
Last year, IPKat reported the UK Court of Appeal decision regarding the validity of ICOS's patent for a dosage regime of Tadalafil (CIALIS) (licensed to Eli Lilly). Tadalafil is an orally administered drug for treating sexual dysfunction that works in a similar way to Pfizer’s famous blockbuster drug VIAGRA. The Court of Appeal overturned a previous ruling by the UK High Court that patent claims directed towards a particular dose regime would have been obvious to try given the standard procedures followed in clinical trials (see here for helpful summary diagrams). EPLaw reports on the recent decision by the Danish High Court that selection of the dosage regime would not have been obvious: DK - Eli Lilly v Sandoz/The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court (Tadalafil)

Competition law

TrustInIP highlights indications from the European Communion that data generated by automated and connected cars might be considered an “essential facility” under competition law, such that access to these data could not be refused to third parties such as insurers: Do data generated by connected cars raise antitrust risks? As TrustInIP describes, the Commission is responding to the probability that automated and connected vehicles will generate a large amount of data, that may be used in car-related services such as roadside assistance, vehicle insurance, vehicle repair and car rental.


IP Draughts considers the issue of how to make an exclusion clause in standard contract terms legally enforceable, following the recent UK Court of Appeal case Goodlife Foods Ltd v Hall Fire Protection Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1371When is a total exclusion of liability enforceable?


The 1709 blog reports on the recent development in EU Copyright Reform: BREAKING NEWS - EU Copyright Reforms Stalled.
Around the IP blogs! Around the IP blogs! Reviewed by Rose Hughes on Thursday, July 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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