Dr Timothy Letters Recognised in IAM Patent 1000 Survey “World’s Leading Patent Practitioners” for 2014

We are proud to announce that Dr Timothy Letters of Letters & Thoo has been individually recommended in the 2014 edition of IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners in which he is recognised as a real patent expert”  who is particularly well versed in mechanical and physical sciences and pharmaceutical matters“.

The  IAM Patent 1000 also recognises the establishment of Letters & Thoo in Hong Kong, stating that the firm has been set up by “experienced patent attorneys” in Hong Kong based upon the strength of their drafting abilities” who have positioned themselves for the new substantive patent examination regime to be introduced by the Hong Kong government.

IAM Patent 1000, published by Intellectual Asset Management, is considered to be one of the world’s most independent, extensively-researched and well-respected guides to the top patent practitioners in key jurisdictions around the globe. The ratings and information published in IAM Patent 1000 involved over 1,500 interviews over 5 months with numerous attorneys at law, patent attorneys and in-house counsel to gather market intelligence on the leading players in the field.

Legal and attorney firms and individual practitioners qualify for inclusion in the IAM Patent 1000 upon receiving sufficient positive feedback from market sources, and only those individuals identified by market sources for their exceptional skill sets and profound insights into patent matters feature in the IAM Patent 1000.

The full “IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners” recommendation can be seen here.

Letters & Thoo is now listed in www.ip-coster.com.

Letters & Thoo to Present Talk on IP Rights “Hijacking” in China at the Hong Kong Commons

Letters & Thoo partners Laurence Thoo and Timothy Letters will be presenting a talk to entrepreneurs and SMEs at the Hong Kong Commons concerning practical issues in the pursuit and enforcement of IP rights in China.

An issue of particular concern to many IP rights holders today involves the proliferation of bad faith trademark registrations in China resulting in considerable disruption to commercial operations and freedom to operate in China.  However with recent amendments to the Chinese trademark law, the Chinese government has signaled its willingness to improve judicial/administrative mechanisms for cancellation of bad faith registrations so as to encourage foreign investment in China.

Laurence Thoo and Timothy Letters will discuss how these recent changes to the Chinese trademark law may better protect the IP position of foreign companies with existing or anticipated commercial operations in the Chinese  market, as well what important steps may be taken to ameliorate risk of having IP rights “hijacked” in China in future.

Establishment of Specialist IP Court Framework in China

The Chinese government has approved the establishment of a new framework of specialist IP specialist courts aimed at dealing with the growing number of IP-related disputes arising in China.

The proposal allows for pilot courts to be initially established in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong towards the end of 2014 at the earliest with further IP specialists courts anticipated to open in other key economic regions in China in due course.

With the introduction of this new framework of specialist IP courts in China having standing to hear both civil legal and administrative IP-related disputes, it is envisaged that perceived problems relating to the lack of consistency and certainty in judicial interpretation and enforcement of IP rights in China may be addressed and this may ultimately bolster confidence of interested parties in pursuit of IP rights in China.

 

Asian Patent Attorneys Association 62nd Council Meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam 19-22 October 2013

Timothy Letters and Laurence Thoo were pleased to attend the Asian Patent Attorneys Association’s (APAA) 62nd Council Meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam between 19-22 October 2013.

Timothy and Laurence represented the Hong Kong Group during the Patents and Designs Standing Committees meetings respectively during discussions covering the topics of “Deeper harmonization in inventive-step/non-obviousness determination” and “Design protection in Hong Kong for protection of tablet computers and smart phones”.

Next year the 63rd Council Meeting is scheduled to be held in Penang, Malaysia from 8-11 November 2014.

The Global Patent Prosecution Highway for Accelerated Examination of Patent Applications

On 6 January 2014, patentees will be able to utilise the “Global Patent Prosecution Highway” (GPPH) in seeking to accelerate examination of patent applications in multiple jurisdictions based on allowance of corresponding patent claim(s) in a patent application under substantive examination before a participating patent office.

The GPPH pilot scheme will provide a uniform and simplified administrative framework which complements the multitude of bilateral PPH arrangements already existing between various jurisdictions.  Initially, the GPPH pilot scheme will involve 17 participating patent offices and will only be available where certain criteria are met.

Further details regarding implementation of the GPPH are available here.

European Patent Office Repeals 24-Month Rule for Filing of Divisional Patent Applications

The European Patent Office (EPO) has recently repealed provisions of the European Patent Convention which limit the time for voluntarily filing a Divisional patent application to 24-months from issuance of a first communication from the Examining Division.

Under the new rules which are to take effect from 1 April 2014, a Divisional application may be voluntarily filed at any time whilst the parent patent application is still pending.  As such, the new rules will be applicable to any Divisional patent applications that are filed on or after the 1 April 2014 irrespective of whether the 24-month limit has expired as long as the parent patent application is still pending.

As Hong Kong Standard Patents (i.e. a 20-year patent) are able to be recorded in Hong Kong based upon European Patents (which designate the United Kingdom), it is envisaged that this change in European Divisional patent application filing practice may generally provide greater flexibility for patentees to pursue patent protection in Hong Kong for inventions in certain circumstances, should the need arise. Conversely, parties concerned with “freedom-to-operate” in Hong Kong will need to take into consideration the increased risks of potential patent infringement ultimately arising in Hong Kong by virtue of this change in European Divisional patent practice.

The official notice published by the EPO is available online here.