IP Updates

IP Updates

Recent developments in the world of IP

These are very brief summaries of recent developments which may be of interest to our direct clients. Last updated: 6 December 2021.

Australia to introduce a 12-month grace period for filing a design

Commencing on 10 March 2022, Australia will bring in a 12-month grace period for filing a design application following public disclosure of the design. Without a grace period, prior public disclosure of the design could be prejudicial to the novelty of the design. This brings Australian design law on grace periods into conformity with design law in several other major IP jurisdictions, including US, Europe and UK.

United Arab Emirates joins the Madrid Protocol

From 28 December 2021, it will be possible to designate the UAE in new applications (and subsequent designations) under the Madrid Protocol, a centralised mechanism for obtaining international trade mark protection. This is important because the UAE has always been an extremely expensive territory in which to obtain trade mark protection by the filing of direct applications. Nevertheless, the official fee for designating the UAE is expected to be large relative to the majority of other countries.

The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court might be coming in 2022 or 2023...

The Unitary Patent (UP) is a long-discussed mechanism to enable owners of European Patents to obtain a single right covering participating EU countries; there will also be a Unified Patent Court (UPC) for enforcement and other actions concerning this right. These have been delayed by a legal challenge before the German Courts and by the UK leaving the European Union. In particular, the branch of the UPC dealing with Life Sciences matters was meant to be located in London and the United Kingdom was specifically referred to in some of the implementing legislation. Germany and a number of other remaining EU countries have recently ratified the relevant Agreement and it looks like the UP/UPC may go live before too long. We will send clients more information as and when it does go live.

Period to file Comparable UK Trade Marks and Designs came to an end

With a limited exception for some international trade mark registrations, 30 September 2021 was the final date for proprietors of EU trade mark and design applications which were pending on 31 December 2020 to apply for comparable rights in the UK. The EU and UK trade mark and design registers are now entirely separated.

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