IP Recap #56

October 8, 2018


China and EPO Strategically Partnered

The Story
As the US patent system continues to be criticised, IP in Europe and China continues to grow. This could continue to be the trend as the European Patent Office (EPO) and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) have just signed a strategic partnership to strengthen the patent system, focussing on law, examination guidelines, data exchange, classifications, searching and machine translation, as well as a joint study on computer-implemented inventions which could be crucial in the wake of Alice and subsequent cases on this subject.

Why it Matters
The EPO and CNIPA have a history of cooperation, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 1985, which was part of China’s modernisation of their patent system. As the EPO and the CNIPA continue to show strong growth in filings, could this alignment lead to them becoming the go-to territories for enforcement?

China-US Trade Debate is an IP Debate

Trade War China US

The Story
The US recently imposed significant tariffs on goods imported from China, citing claims that these tariffs are needed in order to protect IP of US businesses, as well as trying to reduce the trade deficit. China’s state council then returned fire by publishing a white paper, featuring sections titled “the trade protectionist practices of the US administration” and “the trade bullyism practices of the US administration”. In this white paper, they point out that China has drastically increased payments for use of US IP, with payments doubling between 2011 and 2017. However, IAM has pointed out that when compared to Japan, China exports 5x more goods to the US, yet only pays 33% more.

Why it Matters
While this indicates that China is getting rather more US market share for their money than the US would like, if the dispute is IP centric then is the solution not IP centric too? The white paper refers to how IP rights holders are increasingly filing in China, and as such it will continue to become increasingly important. Is a trade sanction as effective as IP enforcement campaigns?

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? Is it the Future?

The Story
As both car and tech firms make headway with autonomous vehicles, advancement in flying car technology is clearly developing too. There are a lot of companies working towards airborne personal transport solutions, for example, Toyota’s recent filing for a rotor-bladed flying car. However, patents being filed and granted for very futuristic concepts is nothing new, as IPWatchdog has pointed out with their recent overview of patent filings with this type of tech in mind.

Why it Matters
Even though it is seemingly a long way off, as always there is a breadth of IP that is ahead of the game, covering modular air-land vehicles, multi-rotor flying cars, drone taxi systems and even a mouth-operated “personal propulsion device”. This shows how there is always IP filed that’s ahead of the game and stresses the importance of looking at the prior art to check what’s already been filed to help bridge the gap between science fiction and reality.

Back in January, we published an overview of some of the technologies that are being developed to make flying cars a reality. There are a lot of players in this space and it is an interesting intersection of industries – automotive, sensor, telecoms, drone, and aerospace to name a few.


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