Fighting spam email — guilt by association

Yesterday our firm came face-to-face with one of the ways that email system administrators fight spam — a very interesting guilt-by-association system called UCEProtect-Network.  This system collects spam reports and carries out a “cluster analysis” (Wikipedia article), aggregating the reports by groups of IP addresses from which the spam emails originated.  The practical result is that everybody who uses Microsoft to host their inbound email has stopped receiving any email from our firm (“oppedahl.com”) or from our listservs (“oppedahl-lists.com”).  This is not because either of our IP addresses has ever been the source of spam (neither IP address has ever been a source of spam) but because other IP addresses that are “nearby” to our IP addresses have been the source of spam.  Continue reading “Fighting spam email — guilt by association”

Why is June 1, 2021 important for applicants of Chinese design patents?

(I am delighted to offer this guest post from Beijing Elite Group Intellectual Property Law Office which is a Chinese patent law firm.  Until they told me about this imminent change in Chinese design protection law, I knew nothing about the imminent change.)   US filers who are considering filing for design patent protection in China will find this article to be very interesting.


Why is June 1, 2021 important for applicants of Chinese design patents?

As you may know, there are three types of patents in China: patents of invention (similar to a utility patent in the US), utility models, and design patents. The design patent protects any new ornamental design of the shape, the pattern, or their combination, or the combination of the color with shape or pattern, of a product.

A first reason why June 1, 2021 is important — broken-line practice. In some design protection Offices (including the US), it is possible to use broken lines to indicate portions of the design that are not claimed. It has not, until now, been possible to use broken lines in this way in China.  For example, a bottle-neck cannot be protected solely if it cannot be separated from the rest of the bottle. Starting on June 1, 2021, it will be possible to make use of broken-line practice in China.

The availability of broken-line practice in China will be tied to the filing date of the particular design patent application. Thus, for example, if an applicant is considering filing a Chinese design patent application that claims priority from a non-Chinese design application that makes use of broken-line practice, and if the end of the six-month priority period falls on or after June 1, 2021, then the applicant might wish to consider postponing the filing of the Chinese design patent application until on or after June 1, 2021.

If a Chinese design patent application was filed before June 1, 2021 (and is thus not able to make use of broken-line practice), then it might be thought that an applicant could file a divisional application in China on or after June 1, 2021, making use of broken-line practice. We are uncertain, however, whether the new law will apply to divisional applications filed on or after June 1, 2021, tied to a parent case filed before that date.

Currently, when you have drawings in broken lines, the Chinese Patent Office will either ask you to remove the broken lines or change them into solid lines. However, the applicant cannot do it one way (for example, removing the broken lines) in the current case and file a divisional application in the other way (for example, changing the broken lines into solid lines). With this partial design protected, we do not know for sure whether the US continuation practice, for example, the parent case is all in solid lines and the continuation has some solid lines changed into broken lines to broaden the scope, is permissible.

A second reason why June 1, 2021 is important — longer patent term. Another benefit for filing the design application on or after June 1, 2021 is that the patent term is extended from 10 years from the Chinese filing date to 15 years. (The purpose of the patent term change is to help China to get ready for membership into the Hague Agreement.) This is thus a second reason to postpone the filing of a Chinese design patent application if circumstances permit the applicant to do so.


My thanks to Beijing Elite Group Intellectual Property Law Office for sharing this guest posting.  

Upcoming webinars for sequence listing enthusiasts

There are two upcoming webinars for those who frequently work with sequence listings:

  • WIPO Sequence Validator.  May 12, 2021 at 4 AM Mountain Time.  Duration, 90 minutes.  To register, click here
  • WIPO ST.26: Advanced.  May 19, 2021 at 5 AM Mountain Time.  Duration:  90 minutes.  To register, click here

Upcoming webinar: Understanding PCT incorporation by reference

US practitioners toss the phrase “incorporation by reference” into patent applications as a matter of routine.  But in the world of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and in many designated Offices in which one might enter the national or regional phase from a PCT application, there are only very limited circumstances in which an applicant can rely upon incorporation by reference.  

Attend this webinar, presented by WIPO, to learn just what the limited circumstances are in which a PCT applicant may rely upon incorporation by reference.  The presenters will be Matthias Reischle-Park, Deputy Director and Hanna Kang, Legal Officer, PCT Legal and User Relations Division.  Continue reading “Upcoming webinar: Understanding PCT incorporation by reference”

Sign up for a webinar on ePCT

WIPO will be providing a two-hour overview of ePCT and its functionalities. Attendees will be shown how to do several important things, including:

  • how to file PCT applications online,
  • how to perform online Actions,
  • how to share access rights, and
  • how to best manage applications by using the many practical features offered by ePCT.

The speakers will be Viviane Gross, Head, PCT eServices, and Pascal Piriou, Customer Service Assistant. Continue reading “Sign up for a webinar on ePCT”