Nobel, Nobel …

‘Tis the season when the Nobel Prizes get announced, when science and scientists get their share of media attention. This blog joins in the chorus.

Your inventions don’t need to be Nobel-class to get patent protection, but the Physics and Chemistry laureates do hold patents, dozens of them and really fresh ones too. This year however, Awapatent IP Blog directs the spotlight to someone special, Jean Tirole, who is the Economy laureate¹  – and does research on patents!

In one recent article, Prof. Tirole and coauthor study standard-essential patents, the legal rights that committees like the ETSI, MPEG or IEEE have promoted into industry-wide norms. A patent that makes it into a standard will be a basis for steady royalty income, albeit moderated to be FRAND². In complex technologies where hundreds of patents may be essential, basically everyone pays to use the standard, but the stronger your own portfolio is, the smaller your net payment.

The article is joyful reading for a telecom patent attorney like myself. With a background in mathematical research, I also don’t mind spices like Brouwer’s fixed point theorem and other tools from convex optimization theory that Prof. Tirole uses to explore the effects produced by this workflow:


These and other statements are proved:

  • The competitive equilibrium of the licensing game is unique under certain conditions.
  • A patent holder is more eager to avoid price commitments the less essential his patent.
  • If technical functionalities in the candidate IP are ranked by their essentiality, the selection of a standard delivers suboptimal social welfare.
  • So-called structured price commitments would be a better way to negotiate new standards.

Anders Hansson, European Patent Attorney

1) Strictly speaking, he is the awardee of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
2) Fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory – a licensing obligation that is often required by standardizing organizations for members that participate in the standard-setting process.

Sweden and China make new Patent Prosecution Highway agreement

Effective 1 July 2014 the PRV (Sweden) and the SIPO (China) started a new PPH-agreement thus offering especially our Swedish clients a new way of speeding up examination of patent applications in China by requesting that the SIPO use the search and examination results of the PRV in treating an analogous patent application. The PPH agreement between the PRV and the SIPO applies to both national and PCT work products.

Meanwhile, the SIPO has been even more active by also signing PPH agreements with the patent offices of the UK and Iceland.

The PPH-network keeps expanding

Furthermore, the PPH-network continuously keeps expanding as new intellectual property offices take interest in making PPH-agreements. The most recent additions count the Intellectual Property Offices of countries such as Indonesia, Poland and Nicaragua as well as the Eurasian patent office (EAPO). In total the PPH network now counts the intellectual property offices of 32 countries and regions.

The complete overview of existing and working PPH agreements at the time of writing can be seen on the graphic below, courtesy of the PPH web-page compiled by the Japanese Patent Office, JPO:


Troels Peter Rørdam, European Patent Attorney & Certified Danish Patent Agent

Link to the PRV-SIPO agreement at the PRV.

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You have a right to remain silent

(Or: What do midwives and patent attorneys authorized in Sweden have in common?)

As a citizen in a society, you have an obligation to give evidence if you are called as a witness. There are several sanctions that can be imposed upon those who refuse. However, an exception to the obligation to give evidence applies to Swedish authorized patent attorneys (as far as concerns patent matters) and midwives.

According to 5§ chapter 36 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure, lawyers, doctors, dentists, midwives, nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, family advisors, and patent attorneys authorized in Sweden are excluded from the requirement to testify regarding subject matter that has been entrusted to them during their exercise of profession, or that has come to their knowledge in relation to their exercise of profession. The court is not even allowed to ask questions regarding these matters.

According to the Patent Authorization Act, patent matters are matters concerning patentability of an invention, patent application and the prosecution of the patent application, the validity of a patent, the scope of a patent or patent application, and oral proceedings and preparations prior to the oral proceedings.

So now you know one of the perks of being, and hiring, a Swedish authorized patent attorney.

Julia Mannesson, European Patent Attorney and Swedish Authorized Patent Attorney