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Enforcement of intellectual property rights.pdf by longze569


									                                                                                                                                        Nº 31, January -
                                                                                                                                         February 2006

                                                                 Enforcement of intellectual property rights
                                                                 Mr Lászlo Kovács
                                                                 EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union

................................   1        Counterfeiting and piracy are reaching both new          SMEs, that are increasingly threatened by fakes.
                                            heights, in terms of the range and numbers of prod-      Current legislation provides the means for right
                                            ucts being copied, and new depths, with criminals`       holders to alert customs in 27 Member States of the
                                            willingness to copy anything regardless of the risk      main risks they encounter when criminals infringe
IP & RTD: Articles                          to human life.                                           their intellectual property rights. We know, never-
................................   2                                                                 theless, that it is difficult for businesses, and partic-
                                            Figures collected by Customs at EU borders show          ularly SMEs to rapidly ensure that information gets
                                            the range and scale of the problem. Dangerous            to the appropriate control point when high-risk con-
                                            goods seized in 2005 included more than five mil-        signments are discovered. However, starting in
IP in practice                              lion fake foodstuffs, including alcoholic drinks con-    2007, IT tools are currently being into place to en-
                                            taining health threatening chemicals, and pharma-        able business intelligence to be rapidly transmitted
................................   8
                                            ceuticals, which are either dangerous to the health      to customs risk management centres around the
                                            or which provide no protection because they lack an      Community to enable interventions to be made at
                                            active ingredient. To this can be added the side ef-     any point of the Community’s external frontier.
                                            fects of the counterfeit industry, the link to illicit
    Patent of the                           drugs and organised crime, the exploitation of child     However with the continued growth in counterfeiting
    month                                   labour in producing regions and the damage to the        and new developments, such as increasing internet
    ............................   8        investment and competitiveness of European busi-         sales, leading to more but smaller transactions,
                                            nesses, which in turn costs taxes and jobs.              placing an increasing strain on limited enforcement
                                                                                                     resources, we need to continuously update our ap-
                                            Tackling this growing menace requires a strong re-       proaches.
    esp@cenet Quiz                          sponse by enforcement authorities, by right holders
    ............................   8        and business in general, as well as by the public.       Keeping up with the counterfeit industry is difficult
                                                                                                     enough, but to protect the health and jobs of citi-
                                            Customs is the main enforcement agency for the           zens we need to do more. We have to improve en-
                                            prevention of international trade in fakes, and in the   forcement efforts and increase penalties to prevent
                                            Community we have been pro-active in tackling            counterfeiting from being regarded as a low-risk,
    IP eModules                             what is an increasingly sophisticated and ruthless       high-profit business and hence a soft option for
    ............................   10       business operating on an industrial scale. We have       criminals. We also need to make full use of the joint
                                            renewed the Community Customs legislation1 in            public and private partnership interests. This con-
                                            this area to make it easier and cheaper for right        cerns not only right holders and other economic op-
                                            holders to request customs intervention. The Com-        erators but also the public at large. We must get
                                            mission has also set out an Action Plan2 detailing       across the message that buying cut price fakes is
Editorial Board                             concrete customs actions that are now being imple-       not a bit of holiday fun but a deadly business where
................................   12       mented to tackle the industrialised production of        profits are made from human suffering and jobs and
                                            fakes.                                                   the ability of businesses to compete fairly in the
                                            In addition to actions in Europe, such as the cre-       global market with criminals are undermined.
                                            ation of a task force of customs officials to improve    I believe that close co-operation between regula-
                                            operational performance and targeting, we have           tors, the business sector, the public and enforce-
                                            been looking at how we can improve co-operation          ment agencies will enable us to tackle this problem
                                            at the international level. We are strengthening our     by reducing potential profits and considerably in-
                                            operational contacts with the U.S. through a series      creasing both the risk of detection and the penalties
                                            of concrete customs initiatives and through in-          imposed.
                                            creased information exchange under our Customs
                                            Co-operation Agreement. We are also strengthen-
                                            ing our operational co-operation with China under
                                            the Customs Cooperation Agreement which entered          1
                                            into force in April 2005. My visit to China toward the   Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003 and Com-
                                            end of 2005 and subsequent high level contacts           mission Regulation (EC) No. 1891/2004
                                            with my Chinese counterparts indicate that together
                                            we can do a lot to meet the threat we jointly face. It   2
                                            is clear that China is a major producing region, but     COM(2005) 479 of 11th October 2005
                                            it should not be forgotten that China, and develop-
                                            ing regions such as Africa, often suffer greatly from
                                            fake medicines, children’s food and similar prod-
                                            Finally we have been looking to see how we can
                                            work better with right holders, and in particular

                                        The IPR-Helpdesk is funded by the European Commission, DG Enterprises and Industry,
                                                  under the 6th RTD Framework Programme of the European Union
                                                   IP & RTD: Articles                           Nº 31, January - February 2006

       Invest in your IP rights-a 12x Return on Investment
       Andrew Watson
       ip Value Added
                                                hind them, in most cases a wasted in-       of our specialisations), creating a so-
    1. An Attention Statement
                                                vestment.                                   phisticated understanding of IP risk,
    The CEO of one of our client compa-                                                     and embedding in the company the
    nies stated that, in the context of the     How to get started?                         skills to manage its own IP strategy.
    sale of his last business to Qualcomm,      As with any problem, ask yourself how       And bringing the IP story to maturity
    he realised that by investing in product,   much you know and how much you              before the sale.
    he could generate a return on invest-       need someone else to help you.
    ment of 3x on realisation, but by invest-                                               The future
    ing in his intellectual property he could   Do yourself the favour of picking out
                                                                                            I remember that in the early 1990s, Eu-
    generate a return in excess of 12x.         any of your U.S.-based competitors
                                                                                            rope really did not understand environ-
                                                and comparing your number of patents
    A recent study by the IP investment                                                     mental risk issues. I was an M&A
                                                and applications to theirs. If you come
    bank Ocean Tomo (our American part-                                                     lawyer at the time and acted for Ameri-
                                                out with less by a factor of two or more,
    ner) found that more than 80% of the                                                    can acquirers who were verging on
                                                ask why? Unless you aspire never to
    value of businesses on the S&P 500                                                      paranoia about taking on environmen-
                                                be successful in the U.S. or never to
    Index now resides in intangibles. For                                                   tal risk. Five years later, Europe’s cor-
                                                sell your business to one of the global
    all of our client companies, the propor-                                                porations and regulators had acknowl-
                                                technology giants in your market, ask
    tion of intangibles versus other assets                                                 edged the issues (many learned by los-
                                                yourself why this is the case.
    is well over 80%. We act for venture                                                    ing value) and closed the gaps.
    capital and private equity backed tech-     Once you’ve acknowledged that you
                                                                                            Five years from now, IP will take the
    nology companies that are always in a       might have a problem, then find an ex-
                                                                                            same path. So your choice is simple:
    growth phase and often pre-revenues.        pert to talk to. But don’t be fooled into
    Basically these businesses have little      thinking that your lawyers or patent at-    ·   Play by the rules that the global
    other than intangibles as assets.           torneys can solve the problem without           tech giants have created, acknowl-
                                                help. Lawyers are rarely business peo-          edge that you are in an IP arms
    Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, HP and the like    ple who understand your business and            race and take advantage of the op-
    describe themselves as being in an “IP      markets, so you will need someone to            portunities this creates; or
    arms race” and have a history of pay-       act as a bridge between your business,
    ing premium values for businesses with                                                  ·   Don’t, and remain naïve and vulner-
                                                corporate and product strategies and
    strong IP rights; so our proposition is                                                     able.
                                                your IP strategy. The aim of the project
    simple;                                     should be to make you look and feel         If you need a final reason to take this
                                                like your American competition and to       area seriously, here it is. IP is a sexy
    2. By investing in high quality IP
                                                give you confidence and skills to           asset! IP rich companies have that feel
    rights, you can increase your value
                                                demonstrate that your IP is worth a         of sexy sophistication. That is perhaps
    on sale.
                                                premium on your valuation.                  why I love it so much and never have a
    Why have an IP strategy?                                                                problem getting out of bed in the morn-
    Why not? You have strategies for your       A typical project                           ing.
    products, for sales, for marketing, for     We always start our projects with an
                                                                                            Andrew Watson is a founder of ip
    technology and probably for your exit.      understanding of our client’s business.
                                                                                            Value Added, an IP strategy consul-
    Why not have a strategy for your most       Its markets, products, competition,
                                                                                            tancy and IP broker based in London,
    important category of assets?               business aims and the timetable we
                                                                                            Munich and Gothenburg. Andrew can
                                                are working with before the business
    With patents, the issue we come                                                         be       contacted      at       an-
                                                aspires to sell itself, and we want to
    across consistently is that the business                                       .
                                                know who the likely acquirer may be.
    sponsor in charge of IP decisions has a
    different view from the patent authori-     We then educate the business and its
    ties as to what is actually patentable      sponsor to remove the misconceptions
    and sets the bar too high. The answer       mentioned above.
    is basically any novel invention. The
                                                With those foundations in place, we
    answer is not, repeat not, the smartest
                                                then work with the business over a pe-
    or coolest ideas.
                                                riod of typically 4-6 months, enhancing
    In Europe, this approach results in thin    the business’ IP assets (rating and
    portfolios with no strategic thought be-    ranking inventions for IP quality is one

Nº 31, January - February 2006

   Registered Community Designs. A valid instrument for protecting innovation
   Director of the Designs Department
   Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)
                                                                                           2. Advantages of the RCD system
This article1 analyses the Registered
                                                                                           and some practical examples
Community Designs (RCDs), the ad-
vantages of the system and highlights                                                      Protecting new products against com-
important changes that ocurred in 2006                                                     petitors is a necessary business prac-
or are projected for 2007.                                                                 tice. Depending on what features need
                                                                                           to be protected, companies have sev-
1. The Registered Community                                                                eral options: trade marks, patents,
Design system and how companies                                                            copyright and designs. RCDs consti-
use it                                                                                     tute a valuable instrument for a number
Since 2003, more than 200,000 RCDs                                                         of reasons:
have been registered. The system was                                                       ·   Enforcement via a single procedure
established after an intensive consulta-                                                       throughout the entire European
tion with industry. Its main characteris-      German companies are the most fre-              Union (relevant in view of the auto-
tics are speedy and simple application         quent users of the system. They ac-             matic extension in the case of en-
and registration, low fees and uniform         count for 24% of all filings, followed by       largement of the EU).
protection in the entire EU.                   Italy (16%), the U.S. (9%), France and
                                               the United Kingdom (8% each) and            ·   The holder of an RCD can prevent
What can be protected as a design?             Spain (7%).                                     third parties from producing, selling,
The appearance of an industrial prod-                                                          importing or exporting products
                                               The most frequent users of the system           where the design is incorporated.
uct     (including   packaging,       get-     are SMEs: 75% of all OHIM clients
ups/presentations, graphic symbols             have filed 5 designs or less, whereas       ·   Shipments can be stopped at the
and typographic typefaces), or part of         only 30% of all RCDs belong to compa-           EU border in case of infringement
it, can be protected. This refers to           nies that own 100 or more designs.              by presenting the RCD registration
lines, contours, colours, shape, texture                                                       certificate3.    Thanks     to    the
and/or materials of the item itself, or its    Applying for an RCD is easy and can             ‘immediate’ availability of RCDs (8
ornamentation. In order to be subject to       be done by mail, fax (not recom-                weeks), it is often convenient to use
protection, such an item has to be new         mended due to possible problems of              the RCD as a first line of defence.
and have individual character 2.               image quality) and electronic filing. The
                                               fee is €350. The design is examined         ·   Companies with high rotation of
The industrial sectors using RCDs              (fees, images, identification of the ap-        products (e.g. in the fashion or toy
most are the furniture sector account-         plicant, not against public policy or           sectors) often combine unregis-
ing for 13% of filings, followed by cloth-     morality), registered and published,            tered designs with RCDs. A
ing and packaging (8% each) and sani-          and a certificate is sent. Only 2% of all       12-month grace period allows a
tary equipment (6%). 77% of filings            applications are rejected.                      company to test the new designs in
have their origin in 13 sectors.                                                               the marketplace and to protect only
It is important to mention the so-called                                                       the successful ones.
unregistered Community Designs:                                                            RCDs and Community trade marks are
They come into existence when a new                                                        frequently used together because of
product becomes publicly available but                                                     their clear overlap. This relates in par-
has not been registered. The scope of                                                      ticular   to   shapes      of   products
protection (only useful in the case of                                                     (three-dimensional trade marks are
clear copies), the legal certainty                                                         sometimes difficult to get) and to logos
(possible doubts about their valid exis-                                                   or graphical symbols. Depending on
tence) and the duration (only three                                                        what type of protection is needed, com-
years) are less than for the RCD.              50% of the applications include more        panies may file an RCD, a Community
                                               than one design allowing significant fee    Trade Mark or both.
                                               savings, provided they belong to the
                                               same product class.
                                               9% of RCDs are kept secret up to 30
                                               months upon request from clients and
                                               payment of a special fee.

                                                                                                Nº 31, January - February 2006

                                                Less than 0.2% of all RCDs are subject     of a textile company against a pre-
                                                to invalidity claims before the Office.    sumed infringer in relation to copied
                                                The following examples should show         handbags based on the combination of
                                                how product development and innova-        the RCDs and the unregistered de-
                                                tion protected by RCDs can be de-          signs.
                                                                                           Example 3:
                                                Example 1:

    Companies also use RCDs to protect a
    specific embodiment of an invention
    (usually covered by a patent), achiev-
    ing an enforceable right long before a
    patent is granted, and at low additional

                                                                                           A second case at the second instance
                                                                                           court (Tribunal de Marcas de
                                                                                           Alicante)5: The joint protection of a
                                                The left hand side RCD was registered      Community Trade Mark and an RCD
                                                for radiators for heating.                 (shown on the left hand side) stopped
                                                It came under invalidity attack based      the infringement of handbags.
                                                on another RCD (shown on the right)
                                                also registered for radiators.             3. Changes for OHIM clients during
                                                                                           the year 2006 and upcoming
                                                The Invalidity Division rejected the       improvements
                                                claim, stating that the RCD did not lack   OHIM aims for client-friendly interpreta-
                                                novelty or individual character.           tion of the legislative framework, under-
                                                Example 2:                                 standing that RCDs have to support
                                                                                           companies by improving their competi-
                                                                                           tiveness. Early in 2006, the results of
    Another important feature of RCDs is                                                   the first OHIM customer satisfaction
    that the scope of protection is not lim-                                               survey revealed that RCDs are consid-
    ited by the product that is the basis for                                              ered one of the major strengths of the
    registration. Some examples:                                                           Office. OHIM believes constant im-
    ·   The holder of a nice decorative ce-                                                provement is needed in order to keep
        ramic bottle can prevent its use by                                                up with the changing requirements of
        another ceramic manufacturer, but                                                  our users. Since October 2006, we
        also by a perfume company that                                                     have been committed to registering
        copies the design for perfumes.                                                    and publishing designs within 8 weeks
                                                                                           from filing.
    ·   A designer who creates a fantasy
        logo, protected under copyright but     Original handbag                           After three years of constant and im-
        not used as trade mark, could avoid                                                portant growth, in 2006 OHIM received
        its use in a different context.                                                    approximately 69,000 RCDs (+9%
                                                                                           compared to 2005). The electronic fil-
    ·   A car manufacturer protects his car                                                ing system for RCDs has by now
        design not only against other car                                                  reached a good level of acceptance
        manufacturers, but can also pre-                                                   (one third of all filings), thanks to its im-
        vent its use on T-shirts.                                                          proved reliability. Last, but not least,
    The legislature provided for the verifi-                                               ‘RCD-Online’ – the consultation tool for
    cation of novelty and individual charac-                                               designs for our clients, which was im-
    ter after registration and at the request                                              plemented in mid-2005 – has seen im-
    of third parties in order to keep the                                                  portant user acceptance.
    RCD system simple and affordable. In-                                                  Starting in the 2nd quarter of 2007,
    validity claims can be presented at                                                    OHIM will change from weekly to daily
    OHIM or as counter-claims in infringe-      Infringed handbag                          publication of RCDs, thus allowing a
    ment proceedings before a Community                                                    speedier delivery of certificates to
                                                The second instance court (Tribunal de
    Design Court (Member State courts).                                                    clients.
                                                Marcas de Alicante) decided4 in favour

Nº 31, January - February 2006

During the year 2007, the EU will ac-       ing application numbers show that the       3
cede to the Geneva Act of the Hague         system has been consolidated and of-        Council     Regulation     (EC)      No.
Agreement. This will enable companies       fers clients a valuable tool for protect-   1383/2003 of 22nd July 2003 concern-
to request design protection for the EU     ing their new products and innovations.     ing customs action against goods sus-
via the World Intellectual Property Or-                                                 pected of infringing certain intellectual
                                            Businesses depend more and more on          property rights and measures to be
ganisation (WIPO) at Geneva, making
                                            speedy innovation and product devel-        taken against goods found to have in-
it simpler and cheaper for them if they
                                            opment. OHIM wants to continue to be        fringed such rights
need a geographical scope of protec-
                                            a reliable partner for companies and
tion that goes beyond the EU.                                                           4
                                            strives for constant improvement of the
                                                                                        For more information see also
During the second half of 2007, OHIM        RCD system, in terms of quality,
plans to introduce a new and more effi-     shorter delays and client-friendliness.
                                                                                        s/cdcourt.htm, case of 14/4/05
cient electronic filing system for RCDs,
allowing significant improvements for                                                   5
clients: simplification of the form, im-                                                For more information see also
mediate sending of a filing receipt, pay-   The views expressed in this document
ment by credit card, integrated formal-                                                 s/cdcourt.htm, case of 1/3/06
                                            are exclusively those of the author. Any
ity verification, improved quality con-     reproduction of a design is made for
trols and speedier treatment.               the purpose of making citations
4. Summary                                  2
The RCD system has shown its useful-        For more details, see COUNCIL REG-
ness for more than three years. Very        ULATION (EC) No. 6/2002 of 12th De-
positive customer feedback and grow-        cember 2001 on Community designs


                                            sible for the European Space Agency
                                            Technology Transfer Program since
                                            1990, will implement cutting-edge
                                            methodological developments in the
INNO-vention, a Specific Support Ac-        field of Collaborative Technology
tion co-funded by the European Com-         Transfer and will maximise the use of
mission DG enterprise, offers Euro-         existing information resources, sup-
pean companies the opportunity to es-       porting companies throughout the
tablish new business contacts and to        Technology Transfer, including:
benefit from Technology Transfer con-                                                   For this purpose, INNO-vention will
cepts in a rapid, efficient and target-     ·   Technology Scouting
                                                                                        benefit from the opportunities provided
oriented way across technologies            ·   Opportunity Assessment                  by the project partners who will provide
and branches focusing on the tex-                                                       different skills and knowledge:
tiles, automotive and aerospace in-         ·   Sectoral Needs Identification
dustries.                                                                               ·   D’Appolonia (IT), the coordinator,
                                            ·   Product Conception                          an engineering and consultancy
Since innovations, and the related          ·   Intellectual Property Rights Man-           company with a highly qualified
IPR issues, are essential for a com-            agement                                     staff consisting of more than 200
pany‘s competitiveness today, knowl-                                                        engineers active in almost all tech-
edge transfer across technologies           ·   Need and Offer Linkage                      nological and industrial fields
and branches is important, but, until       ·   Partner Identification
now, successful Technology Transfer                                                     ·   DITF-MR (GE), the Centre for Man-
conclusions have required the concur-       ·   Financing                                   agement Research belonging to the
rent involvement of multidisciplinary                                                       German Institutes for Textile and
                                            ·   Brokerage                                   Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF)
teams, making the Technology Trans-
fer (TT) time consuming and resource                                                    ·   University of Alicante (ES), co-
intensive.                                                                                  ordinator of the European IPR-
INNO-vention,       coordinated      by                                                     helpdesk, whose role is to assist
D’Appolonia, the Italian agency respon-                                                     companies in exploiting benefits of

                                                                                                  Nº 31, January - February 2006

                                                                                                 dentially by the Technology Trans-
        valuable ideas                           Their main role is to support the identi-
                                                                                                 fer specialists of the INNO-Vention
                                                 fication of cutting-edge technology
    ·   APRE (IT), member of the IRC net-                                                        Team
                                                 gaps and innovation needs.
        work, the Italian Agency for the Pro-
                                                                                             ·   to gain direct insight into innovative
        motion of European Research              The Innovation Champions will be di-
                                                                                                 concepts for Technology Transfer
                                                 rectly involved in the definition of the
    ·   Bayern Innovativ (GE), member of                                                         in their sector
                                                 Pilot Cases and will be the first target
        the IRC network, the corporation for
                                                 community of project results and find-      ·   to experience Collaborative Tech-
        innovation and technology transfer
                                                 ings.                                           nology Transfer and Inventive Prob-
        in Bavaria
                                                                                                 lem Solving within an international
    ·   Capital High Tech (FR), a private                                                        and multidisciplinary working group
        consulting company specialised in
        the management of technology                                                         If you would like more information
        transfer processes, particularly in                                                  about the INNO-vention project or be-
        the area of Space                                                                    coming an Innovation Champion,
                                                                                             please     send    an    email     to
    ·   FIRE (PL), the Polish foundation for
                                                                                    or visit
    INNO-vention will offer an initial set of
    ten “pilot cases” for a specific group
    consisting of “Innovation Champions”,        There will be some very important
    i.e. SMEs and Large Enterprises with         benefits    for     the      Innovation
    in-depth experience in successful inno-      Champions:
    vation or with relevant interest in Tech-    · to have the possibility to promote
    nology Transfer.                                their needs, offers or visions as Pi-
                                                    lot Cases to be investigated confi-

        Innovating Regions in Europe
        Elzbieta Ksiazek
        IRE Secretariat

    Innovation happens within a region           sion to formulate innovation strategies     port from the European Commission. In
    It is truism to say that the place where     that will better support the needs of lo-   addition, regions that have been con-
    innovation actually happens is in a          cal companies and strengthen the re-        sistently implementing their regional in-
    company that takes the risk of putting a     gional innovation support system. In        novation strategies for a few years de-
    novelty to work to see whether the           many cases, RIS has brought together        clare that their RIS projects started a
    market buys it or not. In recent years,      representatives of companies, adminis-      process of dialogue and collaboration
    however, innovation has become an in-        trations and research institutes for the    between organisations that set new
    creasingly important policy issue in Eu-     first time to debate what to do together    standards in regional policy making.
    rope on all political levels. It is gener-   to boost innovation in their own region.    Some can already show in hard num-
    ally known that innovation is more                                                       bers how much the regions have
                                                 The RIS methodology has become a
    likely to happen in the favourable envi-                                                 changed since then.
                                                 good practice in ‘innovation gover-
    ronment of a well-working innovation         nance’ because of its focus on compa-       Taking advantage of Innovating
    system, and that enhancing the innova-       nies, commitment to reaching consen-        Regions in Europe
    tion systems pays off in terms of better     sus and the involvement of regional
    economic performance.                                                                    The Innovating Regions in Europe
                                                 stakeholders in the whole process,
                                                                                             (IRE) is a large and mature network
    The fact that innovation takes place         from verbalising the vision for the re-
                                                                                             made up of 240 member regions, all of
    within a region has become clear since       gion to analysing the assets and
                                                                                             which have carried out RIS projects. It
    the early 90s, when the European             needs, preparing the strategy and tak-
                                                                                             is open to any region committed to de-
    Commission started to promote and            ing actions for implementation.
                                                                                             veloping its innovation capacity as the
    support innovation strategies at the re-     A clear indicator of the success of the     basis for boosting regional economic
    gional level. Up to now, more than 150       RIS methodology is the fact that many       development. It provides a unique
    European regions have taken advan-           regions have undertaken similar pro-        ‘learning platform’ to compare strate-
    tage of Regional Innovation Strategy         cesses, even without any financial sup-     gies, develop best practice methodolo-
    (RIS) projects financed by the Commis-

Nº 31, January - February 2006

gies and engage in collaboration and        There is a variety of services available     2b rue Nicolas Bové
mutual support as a way to improve re-      from the Secretariat, all described on
                                                                                         L-1253 LUXEMBOURG
gional innovation performance.              the IRE website . Those not yet familiar
                                            with the network should have a look at       Tel.: + 352 441012 2200
Any organisation involved in innovation
                                            the website and subscribe to the ‘ IRE
support activities – be it a public au-                                                  Fax: +352 441012 2055
                                            News Alert ’ to receive e-mail notifica-
thority, a regional development agency,
                                            tions on important activities, events,       E-mail:                          con-
a university, a research centre or an in-
                                            publications and collaboration opportu-
novation professional – is entitled to
                                            nities. The best way to get the get a
take advantage of the network and the                                                    IRE                           website:
                                            real flavour of the knowledge embed-
wealth of expertise and experiences                                            
                                            ded in the network and to meet its
that has been collected over the years
                                            members is to attend the IRE good
by IRE members.
                                            practice workshops, which are organ-
To make the access to the IRE network       ised twice per year, or other IRE
easier, the European Commission has         events . The experts at the IRE Secre-
implemented the IRE Secretariat as the      tariat are available daily for any queries
first contact and ‘door opener’ to the      related to regional innovation issues:
experiences of and collaboration with
                                            IRE Secretariat
IRE members.

                                                       IP in practice                           Nº 31, January - February 2006

                     Patent of the month

       Striking at the heart of the disease…and the market
    The Belgian Professor Désiré Collen,        biotechnology sector was protected by       portant and successful business de-
    a world reference for cardiovascular        a patent and subsequently licensed to       veloping new medicines to treat car-
    diseases, was the first to produce tis-     one of the world’s biggest biotech          diovascular diseases, eye diseases
    sue plasminogen activator (tPA) for         companies, the U.S.-based Genetech          and cancer conditions caused by mal-
    clinical use in his laboratory at the       Inc. Genetech incorporated tPA into         functions of the vascular system.
    University of Leuven. tPA is an ex-         its products, and its distribution al-
    tremely effective thrombolytic agent        lowed thousands of human lives to be
    that helps treat heart attacks when ad-     saved. Furthermore, it proved to be an      Article related to Professor Désiré
    ministered to the heart-attack victim in    outstanding commercial success that         Collen (in Dutch)
    time.                                       generated significant royalty income
                                                for the University of Leuven.               ThromboGenics home page

                                                Professor Collen used this money to         Tissue plasminogen      activator   in
                                                support research and researchers at         Wikipedia
                                                Leuven University, while also reinvest-     Related patent from espa@cenet
                                                ing part of it in the creation of a spin-
                                                off company meant to work as a link
                                                between research and the market.
                                                Some years later, Professor Collen
                                                established ThromboGenics, a bio-
                                                pharmaceutical company focused on
                                                the development of therapeutics for
                                                conditions related to the vascular sys-
    This   important    invention   in   the    tem. Today ThromboGenics is an im-

       New patent search quiz

    Catching water from fog                     communities in the developing world,        supply problems in certain remote re-
    This article depicts a fog collecting de-   fog could mean getting enough clean         gions.
    vice producing drinking water:              water to drink. Indeed, a small group
                                                                                            Scientists in Chile have experimented
                                                of scientists and researchers is creat-
    “To most people, fog is a bad thing. It                                                 with man-made fog collectors for sev-
                                                ing techniques for wringing the water
    delays flights, endangers drivers, runs                                                 eral decades. The northern coastal ar-
                                                from fog. And their success suggests
    ships aground, ruins the view from                                                      eas of the country are extremely dry
                                                that fog collection may be among the
    mountaintops and generally makes for                                                    but get a lot of fog at the same time.
                                                simplest, cheapest and most environ-
    gray, damp weather. But to some                                                         One such place is the fishing village
                                                mentally friendly solutions to the water

Nº 31, January - February 2006

                                                                                          ferent aspects of the invention -- can
Chungungo, home of one of the first          Poster depicting a not-for-profit organ-
                                                                                          be defined:
fog water projects and still the largest     isation promoting fog collector projects
project to date. "There are extensive                                                     - weed
                                             More on fog collectors
layers of low clouds over the ocean,
                                                                                          - herbicide*
so if you're standing in Chungungo,          Solution to the last quiz: find the
you look up and there is the bottom of       patent of the weed destructor                - detect*, optic*
a cloud and it's a few hundred meters
above your head," Schemenauer1               The machine depicted below was de-           The combination fog weed herbicid*
says, describing the site. "The wind         veloped at the University of Illinois.       detect* yields a preliminary list con-
pushes that cloud against these                                                           taining some good documents:
                                             "It is just like a human," said Lei Tian,
coastal hills. So where the cloud is         an associate professor of agricultural       CA2487115 , Light sensor with modu-
touching the hill, you have fog. And         and biological engineering at Illinois.      lated radiant polychromatic source
that fog will flow through passes in the     "If it sees a weed, it can actually tell
hills, it may cover the hilltops or it may                                                RU2129785 , Apparatus for controlled
                                             how far away it is."
just push against the hillside."                                                          weed fighting
                                             An on-board computer offers access
Taking the fog-gathering technique of                                                     US5842307 , Self-adjusting, automatic
                                             to information that provides the mor-
trees a step further, the artificial kind                                                 spot weed sprayer
                                             phological features of plants, to help
use large, vertical mesh panels. As          the robot determine what is and isn't a      US5768823 ,Controlled application of
the fog drifts through the mesh, some        weed. Once a weed is identified, a           weed control chemicals from moving
of the droplets hit the weave, run           robotic arm attached to the front of the     sprayer
down the panel and are collected.            machine engages a device the re-
This water can then be used for hu-          searcher calls "a custom-designed            DE4329343         ,    Image-analytical
man consumption or agriculture or to         end effector." There are two layers to       method, suitable for use in the field,
reforest the area. In that last case, the    the device, according to Tian, who is        for the automatic detection and com-
resulting vegetation can then function       also the director of the Illinois Labora-    batting of types of weed
as natural fog collectors, eventually        tory for Agricultural Remote Sensing.        Step two: continue the search us-
passing part of the gathered water on        One layer cuts the weed, while the           ing the classification symbols as-
to the soil, feeding other plants,           second layer applies herbicide to the        signed to the relevant documents
wildlife and small streams that hu-          cut weed.                                    found
mans can use.”
                                             "This type of application is extremely       Various classification symbols have
Using esp@cenet® try locating patent         effective," said Tian, "because it ap-       been assigned to the relevant patents.
documents on systems producing               plies herbicide directly to the plant, in-
drinking water from fog.                     stead of broadcasting uniform rates          The best classification symbol cover-
                                             across a field."                             ing our invention is A01M21

                                             Try finding similar devices that detect      corresponding to “Apparatus for the
                                             weeds and apply herbicides in a tar-         destruction of unwanted vegetation,
                                             geted manner to reduce the environ-          e.g. weeds”
                                             mental hazards due to heavy uniform          From there on the search can consist
                                             herbicide broadcasting across a field.       in a combination of this classification
                                             To do this, use the worldwide patent         symbol with the concept optical detec-
                                             search service esp@cenet®.                   tion. Combining A01M21 with optic* or
                                             More on the device described above.          detect* or camera yields this list .

                                             Step one: To find similar patents,           In this list, additional     interesting
                                             identify the most pertinent aspects          patents can be found like:
                                             of the invention -- common techni-           WO9821943 , Vegetation recognition
                                             cal features that may be found in            system
                                             patents relating to the subject --
                                             and for each aspect, define a com-           DE4446481 , Measurement and con-
                                             prehensive set of synonyms. This             trol system for identifying plants for
                                             set of synonyms can then be com-             contaminant free weeding and treat-
                                             bined as keywords in the patent              ment of field
                                             database.                                    This initial search showed that this
                                             In this case, the following concepts --      type of devices are widely known and
                                             groups of synonyms covering the dif-         protected. The presence of many pos-

                                                                                                   Nº 31, January - February 2006

     sible classifications requires a deeper     fringe third party’s patents.
     search if one wants to be more ex-
     haustive. Before developing such a
     product, a professional search is           1
     needed in order to have a genuinely
     innovative product and possibly not in-

                             IP eModules

                                                 there is a low number of relevant doc-       ·   OCR-problem US 814049 : Issue
     Our readers must be kept informed of
                                                 uments covering the invention), this             date 6 Mar 1000 instead of 6 Mar
     a recent development in this world.
                                                 tool will not be of more help than oth-          1906
     Google just launched a new service to
                                                 ers. This quiz for instance (A chip un-
     enable searches in the U.S. patent                                                       ·   strange titles probably due to
                                                 der your skin replacing your wallet) re-
     collection. This module will provide                                                         OCR-problems e.g. " Other Publi-
                                                 quires a better strategy than simply
     you with the essential information re-                                                       cations ", " Prior Art ", " xx x xx ", "
                                                 entering a text or keywords.
     garding this service and its use in the                                                      D526233 "
     context of your R&D projects.               To sum up, do not refrain from using
                                                                                              ·   Searching for "Google" finds,
                                                 this tool to perform some initial quick,
     What are the differences between                                                             among     others      responses,
                                                 superficial searches that can reveal
     this and other similar free patent                                                           US2126697 referring to a Goggle
                                                 relevant documents.
     search offerings?                                                                            set
     The main difference between this and        The limitations                              ·   limited hit list (max. 1116 hits) of
     other products is that Google Patents       This tool cannot be considered ad-               which only the first 600 can be dis-
     is based on the powerful Google Book        equate for performing the profes-                played (max. 12 result pages with
     Search technology and ranks search          sional search needed in many                     50 patents/page)
     results. The search is conducted in         cases in the course of an R&D
                                                                                                  examples: apparatus = 1116 hits,
     the complete text of the U.S. patent        project.
                                                                                                  method = 1116 hits, device = 1116
     collection which consists of more than
                                                 Patent information specialists have              hits
     7 million documents.
                                                 detected many inadequacies like:
                                                                                              ·   search with/without OR-operator
     Is it advisable to use this service?        ·   coverage limited to 7 million U.S.           leads to different results, exam-
     Because of its intuitiveness, this ser-         documents (this is by far not all            ples: business OR method = 1116
     vice is a very nice gate to patent infor-       prior art available in patent docu-          results, business method = 1100
     mation. Laymen can usually easily ob-           ments)                                       results
     tain relevant documents relating to a
                                                 ·   no truncations/wildcards in key-             page numbering of search result
     given technology by entering a few
                                                     words or classification possible (a          not consistent and not always cor-
     keywords or even a sentence.
                                                     very limiting feature)                       responding       to  actual     page
     Earlier esp@cenet quiz published in                                                          (example:       keyword    "oligonu-
                                                 ·   no European classification (ECLA)
     this newsletter can also be treated us-                                                      cleotide" within US4683195 leads
     ing this tool. In some cases, we obtain                                                      to non-consistent order of page-
     initial results by simply entering a text   ·   no proximity operator                        hits (2 + page 14), hit on page 37
     string describing the invention:                                                             (is actually column 37) though no
                                                 ·   search is done in OCRed image                highlighting on this page/column
     Straw filtering water                           (not the actual full-text): words with       (but keyword oligonucleotides ex-
                                                     line-break are not found (example:           ists --> fuzzy search ?)
     Keys with devices for indicating
                                                     ampli- fication only found when
     whether the last operation was locking
                                                     keyword "ampli" is used)                 ·   strange citing back : US4683195 at
     or unlocking
                                                                                                  USPTO       (REF/4683195:     1462
                                                 ·   OCR-problems, e.g. US Pat. 2                 patents) and at Google (6 patents)
     For more complicated cases (when

Nº 31, January - February 2006

On the other hand, the full-text index-      isting professional sources to the best   the latter yields very superficial re-
ing enables searches like:                   benefit of end users. As usual, infor-    sults.
                                             mation literacy is key in order not to
·   Quick text string search in U.S.                                                   More on the OCR technology being
                                             be misled by initial results showing
    patents: " metal contacts to gallium                                               used by Google
                                             your invention is new or has not been
    nitride "
                                             protected. As the saying goes, "Ab-       A nice presentation on Google
·   An easy reference number re-             sence of evidence is no evidence of       Book Search giving some hints on
    trieval, but beware there is abso-       absence".                                 the Google vision
    lutely no guarantee of not missing
    a document: 5-124,890 provides           Further reading
    you with this list of results contain-   Google Patents described in wikipedia
    ing this Japanese patent number.
                                             An article analysing the tool
This shows that in spite of the current
                                             A thorough professional analysis : In a
limitations there is potential to further
                                             year-based comparison of a USPTO
develop such tools to supplement ex-
                                             search and a Google Patents search

                                                                  Editorial Board                                           Nº 31, January - February 2006


            Lucía Sirera, IPR-Helpdesk, Alicante


            Paul Schwander, EPO (European Patent Office), The Hague
            Alicia Blaya, IPR-Helpdesk, Alicante

            Digital Edition

            Francisco Gallego, IPR-Helpdesk, Alicante
            José Manuel Sánchez Navarro, IPR-Helpdesk, Alicante
            Jorge Maciá, IPR-Helpdesk, Alicante


            Kate Brumback, English
            Théodoros Stamatiadis/ Nadia Hamdini, French
            Patrizia A.J. Selzer, German
            Salvatore Amico, Italian
            Mª Carmen Torres, Spanish
            Leszek Bajkowski, Polish

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