In this week’s Patent News – Citrix and VMware to settle patent dispute; Michelin sues American tire manufacturer for patent infringement of BFGoodrich tread; Hitachi joins WIPO GREEN program as Contributing Partner; Apple, Microsoft, BMW and several others urge EU Commissioner to keep patent trolls in check; WIPO gears up to appoint its 5th Director General; IP5 hold inaugural meeting of joint Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence; IBM joins LOT Network to fight PAE’s; IBM beats own record, receives highest number of Patent Grants for 27th consecutive year and other patent news updates.

Patent Disputes / Infringements / Settlements / Licensing

Citrix and VMware to settle patent dispute

American software major Citrix and California based software MNC – VMware have agreed to settle the patent dispute between the two companies relating to the VMW-acquired Avi Networks. The decision to settle the dispute comes after Citrix announced wanting to end the suit, citing the friendlier relationship with VMware. Citrix is reportedly dropping the infringement claims without prejudice and its charges of unfair competition and false advertising with prejudice. The settlement agreement however still needs to be approved in the federal court.

Michelin sues American tire manufacturer for patent infringement of BFGoodrich tread

Tire manufacturing giant Michelin has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston division against Tri-Ace Wheel & Tire Corporation and its Black Bear USA affiliate, a company based in Houston, Texas, for importing and selling a Chinese counterfeit tire that violates patent protections for the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.

In its complaint, Michelin has alleged that  the Black Bear All-Terrain II tire from Tri-Ace features a virtually identical tread design with substantially the same features as those protected by patents for the All-Terrain T/A KO2.

Source: Tire technology International

International Patent News

Hitachi joins WIPO GREEN program as Contributing Partner

On 17th January 2020, Hitachi. Ltd., announced that the company has joined WIPO GREEN as a Contributing Partner. According to Hitachi’s 2021 Midterm Management Plan, the company has framed a new IP concept called “IP for Society.” Hitachi’s decision to join WIPO GREEN is fired by the drive to realize this concept and to make a contribution to improve the environment. As per reports, Hitachi will make efforts to promote IP management strategy to increase Social Innovation Business and achieve the goals set in the 2021 plan.

WIPO Green was established in 2013 to support Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by using IP to disseminate environmentally friendly technologies. It acts as a platform to connect owners of new environmentally friendly technologies with potential individuals or companies looking to commercialize green technology.

Apple, Microsoft, BMW and several others urge EU Commissioner to keep patent trolls in check

Apple, Microsoft, BMW and about 32 other companies along with four industry groups, have reportedly written to the EU Commissioner for Technology and Industrial Policy, Thierry Breton, to frame new rules and regulations in order to keep patent trolls in check. The companies have demanded a regulation system that will prohibit patent trolls from “gaming the system.” They have also asked the EU Courts to pass orders that are less unforgiving as some Judges have previously issued orders that ban products across multiple countries even when a single patent has been infringed. According to the companies, if EU Courts were to continue to frequently ban products due to the infringement of a single patent, it would deter companies from negotiating and reaching a settlement.

WIPO gears up to appoint its 5th Director General

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is preparing to appoint its new Director General who will begin to dispense the responsibilities of the office from the month of September, this year. The current Director General, Francis Gurry will retire in the same month after having consecutively served two six-year terms. The new Director will be selected by the WIPO Coordination Committee after several rounds of voting and consultations. The name of the 5th Director General will be announced on 6th March 2020 before the official appointment in the month of September.

The following list provides the names of the candidates proposed by their respective governments for the position of the Director General of WIPO in 2020 –

  • Saule Tlevlessova – Proposed by the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Daren Tang – Proposed by the Republic of Singapore
  • KenichiroNatsume – Proposed by Japan
  • Wang Binying – People’s Republic of China
  • Edward Kwakwa – Proposed by Ghana
  • Marco Matías Alemán – Proposed by Colombia
  • Dámaso Pardo – Proposed by Argentina
  • Professor Adebambo Adewopo – Proposed by Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • Ivo Gagliuffi Piercechi –Proposed by Peru
  • Jüri Seilenthal – Proposed by Estonia

IP5 hold inaugural meeting of joint Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence

The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) jointly organized the inaugural meeting of the joint Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence of the five largest Patent Offices in the world, the IP5. The meeting was held on 15th and 16th of January 2020 at the new Patent Office established by the EPO in Berlin. Over 30 experts from the legal department, patent examination division and the IT department of the IP5 offices were present at the meeting. The participants discussed the developments of work in field of AI and other emerging technologies in their respective offices as well as the collective application of AI in their working group. A list of possible areas in which the IP5 could improve cooperation was also laid out. You may click here to access the Summary report of the meeting.

IP5 Patent Offices comprise of the EPO, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The IP5 are said to collectively handle about 85% of the world’s patent applications. 

IBM joins LOT Network to fight PAE’s

In an effort to safeguard itself from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), IBM made an announcement that the company has joined the LOT Network Inc. The company’s entry into the LOT network brings protection to over 80,000 patents as well as patent applications.

The LOT Network currently holds over 2 million patent assets. If any one of these assets were to reach the hands of a PAE, all members of the Network will receive a license to the concerned patent. This in-turn negates the authority of the PAE to claim damages by instituting patent infringement lawsuits against its members.

IBM beats own record, receives highest number of Patent Grants for 27th consecutive year

As per the findings of the data curated by IFI Claims, a company that tracks patent activity in the U.S.A, IBM has once again secured the highest number of Patent Grants in US in 2019, for the 27th consecutive year. According to the data made public, IBM secured 9,100 patent grants in 2018 and 9,262 grants in 2019, thereby beating its own previous record by 2%. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. and Canon Inc., have secured the second and third position, by receiving 6,468 and 3,548 patent grants, respectively. Further, the USPTO itself set a new record by granting 333,530 patents in 2019, representing an increase of about 15% compared to the preceding year. In addition to the list of patent grants, IFI Claims also released a list of the top 250 companies that hold the highest number of active patents, globally. According to this data, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. pushed IBM to the second position by holding 76,638 active families while the latter currently holds 37,304 patent families.

You may click here to access the list of top 50 US Patent Assignees and here for list of top 250 Global Patent holders.

Authored and Compiled by Vibha Amarnath

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