Monday, 20 July 2009

It'll cost your client (a little bit) more ...

A public consultation setting out proposed changes to current patent fees was today announced by the UK's Intellectual Property Office. Among other things,
"Modest renewal fee increases are proposed; an increase in search and examination fees for businesses looking to get a patent is also reviewed, but this is linked to an increased discount for e-filed search and examination requests".
According to the press release,
"The main proposals include:

* Some increases to patent renewal fees, chiefly for mature patents
* An increase in patent search and examination fees but with a larger discount for e-filed search and examination requests
* The introduction of an excess claims fee, and
* The introduction of a litigation fee for contested patent proceedings at the Intellectual Property Office".
You've got till 12 October 2009 to respond, if you fancy doing so. In case you wondered, David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property is quoted as saying:
"Patent fees must be set at levels which allow innovative businesses and individuals in the UK and beyond to access and enjoy the benefits of protecting their intellectual property.

But I also want to ensure that businesses have a functioning and value-generating IP system that supports and encourages innovation in the UK. The Intellectual Property Office needs a sustainable income to continue providing this service to its customers.

It’s important to realise that UK patent fees are, and would still remain, some of the lowest in the world even if these proposals go ahead. These low fees continue to offer the attractive choice of national IP protection for UK innovators".
The review has also considered and made proposals on changes to IPO fees for handling international patent applications and the fees for recording transactions on designs, patents and trade marks. You have been warned ... This is also a good opportunity for engaging with clients -- it's time to remind them that what they don't do now for less they can do later for more.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Come and hear Julian

Australian solo IP practitioner lawyer Julian Gyngell is in London next week to speak to the IP Finance Group on "Phonewords and Finance". He speaks at the offices of McDermott Will & Emery on Tuesday 14 July, at 5.50pm to 7pm. Admission free. Full details here. If you're coming, email me here to let me know.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Facebook Fan Pages

Currently Facebook requires any Page to have at least 100 fans in order to register a username. A week ago they had announced you would need 25 fans, and before that there was merely a 28 June deadline with no minimum number stipulated. Facebook had initially only allowed businesses whose Pages had more than 1000 fans to register their usernames in early June. At that time it was promising others the opportunity to register their usernames on 28 June.

So, unless Facebook has moved the goalposts yet again, if Azrights manages to get another 67 fans, I will finally be able to register Azrights as our Page username.

This is a post to ask you all to become a fan of Azrights. I am more than happy to reciprocate for your Pages. (Incidentally, having a fan page helps in your search engine rankings). Also, I think there is value for businesses to secure their usernames as I suspect Facebook pages for business will become quite important in the future.

Phenomenal publicity was generated by the Facebook user name policy change a couple of weeks ago. There was a flurry of tweets about it on Twitter, and many lawyers raced to advise their clients of the importance of registering their trademarks at Facebook (at least in the sense of notifying Facebook of their registered rights so as to block others registering the name).

It was particularly noteworthy that even INTA took a proactive stance on a ‘private’ matter by emailing all INTA members, a fact that did not go unremarked by Marty Schwimmer of the Trademark Blog.

Currently there is quite a lot of confusion around creating company Pages on Facebook as shown by this page. I suspect now there will be an explosion of Pages being created as more businesses see the opportunities for promoting their brands via Facebook, traditionally regarded as the preserve of purely social networking, and for college kids at that. This video provides a useful insight into how brands can use Facebook to promote themselves. It also explains that the intrinsic difference between Profiles and Pages is that Profiles are private in nature. You have to accept friends into your group. On the other hand, Pages are public, and provide an ideal broadcasting platform for brands. See for example Coca Cola’s Page.

Azrights Facebook Page was created well before 31 May, and the name is trade marked. But lacking sufficient fans means we can do nothing right now to secure Azrights as our username. (Would love to know what Facebook’s thinking is behind this extra layer of delay.)

So, in conclusion please become an Azrights Fan It is risk free!