Machines cannot be inventors rules EPO, Toyota launches new IP Licensing Program and other patent updates

In this week’s Patent News – EPO rejects two patent applications that designate a machine as an inventor; Toyota launches new IP Licensing Program; Michelin files design patent infringement suit against Tri-Ace and other news updates.


IPO publishes four presentations related to PCT Roving Seminars
As our readers are most likely aware, the Indian Patent Office (IPO) in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been organizing a series of PCT Roving Seminars in India, the most recent ones being conducted on 25th, 27th, 29th November 2019 and on 2nd December 2019 across various Indian cities. In an effort to maximize public awareness and knowledge building, the IPO has published the presentations used during the events on their official website thereby providing easy access to the presentations for the general public. The presentations published on 17th December 2019, can be access through the links provided below:


Michelin files design patent infringement suit against Tri-Ace
Michelin North America Inc. last week filed design patent infringement suit against Tri-Ace Wheel & Tire Corp. and its subsidiary Black Bear U.S.A in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The suit, filed on 17th December 2019, accuses Tri-Ace and its subsidiary of infringing Michelin’s design patent for the BFGoodrich All-Terrain A/T KO2 tire. At a press release, Michelin said that Tri-Ace’s tires consist of virtually identical tread design with substantially the same features as those protected by Michelin’s patents.
Toyota launches new IP Licensing Program
On 19th December 2019, Toyota launched a new program called Toyota IP Solutions in order to license its Intellectual Property to interested persons. According to the company, the objective of the program is to promote IP licensing and act as a central point. To begin with, Toyota will provide access to its patent portfolios in four different areas, namely – Omnidirectional Structural Color, Bio-Active Material, Nano-Material Synthesis, and Electronics Thermal Management. In addition to the above, the company is currently assessing more portfolios to be offered for licensing in the near future. Chris Reynolds, the CEO of Manufacturing and Corporate Resources for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) said that the technologies being offered through the program are not restricted to the automotive industry and can be used in other products as well.
You may click here to access the Toyota News Room for more information and here to access the Forms to request a license.


EPO and ARIPO sign Reinforced Partnership Agreement
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a Reinforced Partnership Agreement on 16th December, 2019. The MoU was executed in Zimbabwe by EPO President António Campinos and ARIPO Director General Fernando dos Santos. According to the notification on the EPO’s website, the partnership agreement between the two offices will enhance international cooperation and will result in strengthening the global patent system. According to the notification, EPO will provide assistance to ARIPO in building its capability to efficiently search and examine patent applications in a manner that is validated by its member states. The agreement will remain effective for a period of five years, on completion of this term, the patent offices may choose to extend the partnership agreement for an additional period of five years. You may click here to access the notification on the EPO website.
EPO rejects two patent applications that designate a machine as an inventor
The EPO has refused two European Patent Applications that designated a machine as an Inventor. The refused applications numbered EP 18275162 and EP 18275174 portrays “DABUS” as the Inventor and is described as – “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence.” According to the EPO notification, the applicant has stated that they acquired patent rights from the inventor by being its “successor in title.” The EPO conducted non-public oral proceedings on the 25th November 2019 and on hearing arguments from the applicant, the EPO refused the application on the grounds that the inventor did not meet the requirement laid in the EPC which states that that the inventors must be a human being. You may click here to access the patent applications – EP 18 275 162 and EP 18 275 174.
Authored by Vibha Amarnath
About BIP’s Patent Attorneys
The patent news bulletin is brought to you by the patent division of BananaIP Counsels, a top patent and IP firm in India. Led by Senior Partners, Somashekar Ramakrishna, Nitin Nair and Vinita Radhakrishnan, BIP’s Patent Attorneys are among the leading patent practitioners in the country. They work with clients such as Mahindra and Mahindra, Samsung, HCL, Eureka Forbes, to name a few. The patent attorneys at BIP have strong technical and legal expertise in areas such as IT/Software, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Electronics and Telecommunication, Mechanical, Automotive, Green Energy, Traditional Medicine and Bio/Pharma domains. The firm is a first choice for clients looking for support in patent filing, prosecution, management and strategy in India, and across the world.
This weekly patent news bulletin is a part of their pro bono work, and is aimed at spreading patent awareness. You are free to share the news with appropriate attribution and backlink to the source.
If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please feel free to write to [email protected]
Disclaimer: Kindly note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.

Leave a comment