Posts by: Love Koci | (3) posts

The 2014 World Cup from an IP perspective

Football enthusiasts all over the world indulged in the fantastic spectacle of the World Cup in Brazil this summer, enjoying a large goal average (2.88 goals per group stage game), witnessing flabbergasting results (e.g. Spain vs. the Netherlands 1-5 and Brazil vs. Germany 1-7) and reading everything about the headline-making profiles such as Neymar, Suarez, Rodriguez, Robben and Müller. Eventually, as you all know, Germany won their 4th World Cup title.

As a devoted patent attorney, I cannot escape from the thought of the important role IP plays on the pitch (well, perhaps it shouldn’t be construed as the 12th player, but you’ll see my point soon). For example, does the beautifully composed preamble of patent application US2012148741 ring any bells? “A foaming composition for generating temporary foam-made indications used for marking lines and/or areas to be clearly visualized during a limited period of time and then disappearing without leaving any residues or traces…” A great story lies behind this application: the (alleged) inventor of this “vanishing spray” is the Argentinean journalist Pablo C. Silva (seems like a great name for a football player, too). During a football match, Silva had a free kick blocked by defenders rushing towards him. When driving home later after losing the game, Silva thought he must invent something to stop this, eventually leading to the efficient spray now used by many referees.

What about the balls? Needless to say, they are the subject of many patent applications and patents. Adidas AG is the proprietor of US8529386 which reveals the technology leading to the making of the Brazuca match ball. People with expertise in the field say that the ball flies true and doesn’t knuckle anywhere near the extremes that its predecessor managed, making life a bit easier for the goalkeepers. It should be noted that during the World Cup, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) reported a confiscation of 4,000 fake versions of these Brazuca balls. Furthermore, IMPI reported that in addition to this, two containers with almost 17,000 (!) fake Brazuca balls were retained since a previous confiscation. Enough is enough.

For supporters, the recently published Brazilian (surprised?) utility model BRMU9002206 “Camisa de futebol com dispositivo musical” discloses a football shirt with an incorporated electronic musical device which plays the hymn of the shirt’s team or country. Indispensable, if you ask me.

With the ever-increasing development of football gear and materials, it is of vital importance to obtain protection for the innovations associated therewith. Furthermore, considering that games may attract up to a billion television spectators, the possibility for multinational companies to expose their brands is paramount. Hence, IP plays a vital role in football and means big business – just as Neymar.

Love Koci, Patent attorney

The pride and joy of working as a Patent Attorney

What was your dream job as a child? My best guess would be astronaut, musician, actor, fireman, veterinarian or soccer player. But what about Patent Attorney? Not on your list?

Definitely, the dream job changes if you ask a child compared to a university student or a newly-graduated student. Lists are regularly published regarding the most popular professions and employers for this group, which is not surprising – the information about the favourite professions is used by politicians, universities, etc., to monitor the educational trends, and companies are more than keen to see how popular they are as an employer.

If you study a recent list of the most popular professions in Sweden, you will find engineer, economist and teacher at the top positions. Furthermore, for engineers, traditional and relatively large Swedish companies constitute the major part of the list of the most popular employers, although foreign companies like Google, Microsoft and McKinsey also do well.

Looking from my own perspective, the profession as a Patent Attorney is hard to come across in surveys of this kind. Even though the mentioned list of the most popular employers does not reveal what kind of profession these companies are looking for, my guess is that an employment as a Patent Attorney at the company is not what comes up first in mind for a student. Furthermore, one could note that no patent agency is to be found in the Swedish top 50 list.

My explanation for this is that the profession – for many people – is rather anonymous. When asked my profession at meetings, parties, etc., I actually get the feeling that my answer puzzles my interlocutor. However, when I continue to describe the details in what I do, i.e. having meetings with companies, universities and inventors regarding their technical development and inventions, drafting patent applications and constructing patent strategies, debating with patent offices and having world-wide contacts with fellow patent agencies, the facial expression of the person in front of me often changes as if he or she was thinking “hey, that sounds interesting!”

So, looking for a career where you can combine a technical knowledge with a linguistic aptitude, see the leading edge of technology, get international contacts, develop your legal knowledge and defend the rights of your company/client? Look no further. The job as a Patent Attorney is interesting, dynamic, challenging, fun and rewarding, and should most definitely qualify amongst the most popular professions around.       

Love  Koci, Patent attorney

Explore the benefits of a first national filing

The filing of a patent application is associated with numerous considerations. Should it be firstly filed as an international PCT application? Would it perhaps be better to directly enter one or more regional phases in combination with some selected countries of interest? Alternatively, should the application firstly be filed nationally before deciding how to proceed?

 Obviously, there is no default answer to these questions. Instead, the patent application filing strategy must be decided on a case-to-case basis by considering factors such as geographical locations of clients, competitors, manufacturer sites, possible future markets etc., as well as the applicant’s financial allocation for the application. It is the duty of the patent attorney to analyze these factors and to protect the interests of the applicant, based on the conditions at hand, when deciding where and how to file.

By firstly filing a patent application nationally, the applicant may start the patent journey cautiously and avoid relatively high costs at an early stage. Seen from a local perspective, a patent application may be filed nationally with the Swedish Patent Office (PRV). A filing with the PRV is beneficial in that the filing fee is relatively inexpensive and that the search/opinion regarding the patentability of the application is issued relatively fast. These aspects may be of special interest for applicants desiring to keep initial costs low and/or being unfamiliar with the prior art in the field of the application. Furthermore, a relatively quick patent application procedure gives the applicant a further insight regarding the possibility of obtaining a Swedish patent and/or an indication when contemplating a PCT-route wherein priority is claimed from the Swedish application. In some cases, it is even possible to obtain a national Intention to Grant Communication (“slutföreläggande”) within the priority year, which may even further contribute to the evaluation of a possible PCT filing.

A national patent application may be filed with the PRV in English, followed by a later translation into Swedish. A first filing in English is advantageous in that a continuation into the international PCT phase may thereby be prepared. Furthermore, in a recent press release from 30 June 2011, issued by the Swedish Ministry for Industry, Employment and Communications, it was announced that the Swedish government has decided to investigate the possibility of abolishing Swedish translations of national patent applications filed in English. It will also be investigated if national patents could be granted in English similarly to the validation of European patents in Sweden. The mentioned measures, if put into practice, will lead to further procedural simplifications and translation cost savings for the applicant, and will moreover, as related to this context, influence the step of where/how to file the application.

 To conclude, the above highlights several beneficial aspects of a first national filing. On the other hand, it should be noted that directly filing an international or regional patent application could be preferred, dependent on the case at hand. Although the way of filing a patent application hereby seems rather complex, the content of this text may, as a final remark, be summarized in one sentence: a sound patent application filing strategy, whether international, regional and/or national, is based on the interests of the applicant and the expertise of the patent attorney, aiming to protect these interests.

Love Koci, Patent Attorney, Awapatent