Intellectual Property News

Profession:Minter Ellison



Parliament will introduce experimental use exception to Patent Act

The Australian parliament has announced its intention to make amendments to the Patents Act to ensure that researchers and businesses can accelerate the pace of innovation. The move comes after the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) was asked to examine the patent system in Australia. The Government accepted all of the ACIP's recommendations, including that an experimental use provision be introduced. The amendments will outline the research activities which can be undertaken without infringing a patent holder's right, including: determining how the invention works, determining the scope of the invention, determining whether there are avenues for improvement, and assessing the validity of the claims. The changes are said to give researchers greater scope to test fresh ideas and rediscover something new about an invention without the threat of patent infringement.

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Microsoft wins reversal of $USD1.5 billion patent payout

A trial Judge in the US District Court of California has reversed a $USD1.5 billion jury verdict against Microsoft for infringement of a patent for MP3 technology held by Alcatel-Lucent (Lucent). Microsoft uses the MP3 patent in its 'Windows Media Player' software, and paid a licence fee to a consortium, which includes the Fraunhofer institute (a co-owner of the patent), for the use of the right. Lucent claimed that Microsoft infringed patents relating to the technology before it worked with Fraunhofer, and was therefore owed royalties from Microsoft. In overruling the jury verdict, the trial judge held that since one of the particular patents was not owned outright by Lucent, and because Microsoft had a licence to use the patent through its co-owner, Fraunhofer, Microsoft did not infringe Lucent's patent. Microsoft saw the ruling as a 'victory for consumers of digital music and a triumph for common sense in the patent system'. Lucent may appeal the ruling.

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Patents continued

Patent suit brought against Apple for iPhone keyboard

SP Technologies, a Florida-based technology company, has filed a patent infringement claim against Apple in a US Federal Court in Texas...

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