The Eurasian Patent Organization and Office

The Eurasian Patent Organization and Office (EAPO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1995 with the aim of promoting the development and protection of intellectual property across the region, in accordance with the Eurasian Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC was first signed on September 9, 1994 and entered into force on August 12 of the following year, formally establishing the EAPO.

Member states to the EAPO include countries from both the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and non-CIS countries, fostering international collaboration in the field of IP. These Member States in 2024 include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The EAPO headquarters are located in Russia with the official language of the Office being Russian.

The EAPO's main aim is to facilitate intellectual property protection for inventions and industrial designs via one Eurasian application that is valid throughout all 8 Member States. As such, the Office plays an important role in streamlining the IP application process throughout Eurasia, providing a unified platform for inventors and businesses to seek protection for their ideas in multiple member states simultaneously. The EAPO system therefore simplifies procedures for patent and design protection, reduces costs, and enhances efficiency, contributing to the growth of innovation and technology within the region.

The Office has provided protection for Eurasian patents since its origin, and began to accept applications for regional industrial design protection in June 2021 following the adoption of the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the Eurasian Patent Convention in 2019.

In order to obtain a Eurasian patent valid in all EAPO Member States, an applicant should file just one application to the EAPO which can be submitted in any language so long as it is followed by a Russian translation within a 2 month period, or within 4 months if the corresponding fee is paid. A Eurasian patent may also be obtained on the basis of a PCT application by entering the Eurasian regional phase within 31 months from the earliest priority date. Eurasian patent applications are subject to substantive examination with an applicant required to submit a request for the same within 6 months from the date of publication of the search report for conventional applications. For PCT based applications the substantive examination should be requested upon regional phase entry.

Once a Eurasian patent is granted, the patent holder is able to decide which Member States they wish for the patent to be maintained, as well as restore lapsed Eurasian patents due to unpaid maintenance fees. Applicants may also extend the term of validity of Eurasian patents in certain invention areas. During the period of time between the publication of the Eurasian patent and the payment of the first annual maintenance fee, the patent holder has the exclusive right to their invention in all Eurasian countries.

All fees in relation to Eurasian patents or industrial designs are paid to the EAPO directly, as opposed to each respective EAPO Member State individually. The filing fee for Eurasian patents may be reduced by 25% if the application contains an already produced international search report or PCT search report by another ISA, and by 40% if such reports were produced by the Rospatent.

As of 2022, the EAPO also acts as an international search authority (ISA) and an international preliminary examination authority (IPEA) in accordance with the PCT.

The EAPO has participated in multiple international collaborations, including the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU's) with the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Moreover, the EAPO also engages in Patent Prosecution Highway programmes with several IPO's worldwide inclusive of the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) and the EPO, facilitating an expedited patent processing time through the sharing of examination findings with the respective IPO's of the PPH agreements.

The EAPO's commitment to intellectual property rights underscores its significance in fostering a conducive environment for research, development, and economic growth in the region. If you would like to find out more information on how to file for IP protection in Eurasia or via the EAPO, please contact us via our social media platforms or here!

The European Union Intellectual Property Office

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is a regional IP office and European Union Agency founded in 1994, located and headquartered in Alicante, Spain. As such, the EUIPO facilitates the protection of European Union trademarks (EUTM), formerly a "community trade mark", as well as Registered Community Designs (RCD). An alternative name for the EUIPO is in the French language, namely “Office de l'Union européenne pour la propriété intellectuelle”.

The office was founded and operates on the basis of Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the European Union trade mark. As an international hub for intellectual property matters, the office operates in five working languages, namely English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Applications received by the EUIPO can be processed in the twenty-three official languages of the EU.

Registered Community Designs, as well as EU trademarks registered through the EUIPO, benefit from unitary protection effect across all EU Member States. Registered trademarks and designs with the EUIPO are published and the information made publicly available in the corresponding IP registers managed by the office. The Register of European Union trademarks, for example, contains particulars of all EU trademark applications and registrations, whilst the Community Design Register contains information pertaining to registered EU designs. Both of these registers are continually updated to track any amendments to EUTM's or RCD's such as ownership information and licencing.

The EUIPO also publishes the EU Trade Marks Bulletin and Community Designs Bulletin containing said registrations, as well as other relevant information available to the public.

In addition to facilitating the registration of RCD's and EUTM's, the EUIPO also maintains the Orphan Works Database, providing access to information relating to orphan works contained in the collections of publicly accessible forms such as educational establishments and archives in Member States.

Furthermore, the office oversees the Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, aiming to assist in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy by raising public awareness through the encouragement of best practices and cooperation. The EUIPO has overseen both Orphan Works and the Observatory of Infringements since 2012.

The EUIPO is a vital IP office for the facilitation of intellectual property throughout the European Union, with the office examining over 150,000 EUTM applications and 90,000 RCD applications every year. Moreover, the office allows for a multitude of international cooperations and initiatives spanning across the globe, aligning with the European Commission external actions policy priorities. As such, the EUIPO aims to create awareness on the benefits of IP protection and registration, encouraging innovation as a source of economic development across the EU.

Furthermore, the office supports the development of the administration of IP and enforcement services by modernizing legislation and promoting participation in international IP Treaties. Through Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), the EUIPO forges collaborations with other IP offices directly, identifying actions that can benefit the IP field in EU Member States and the IP sphere on a global level.

The EUIPO also engages in the TM5, consisting of five major IP offices for trademarks, and the ID5, comprising five major IP offices for industrial designs. These five offices include the CNIPA, EUIPO, JPO, KIPO and USPTO in close collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The EUIPO serves as a focal point for not only the European IP sphere, but for IP protection on a multi-regional level too.

Power of Attorney
October 04, 2022

A Power of Attorney, often abbreviated to POA, is a legal document which provides written authorisation for another party to act on behalf of, or represent, another party in relation to certain affairs or matters. Such matters may include those of legal proceedings, corporate and commercial matters, and even personal affairs, for example, a Lasting Power Attorney (LPA).

When it comes to intellectual property rights specifically, many applicants and rights holders choose, or are obligated by the applicable national or regional IP legislation, to appoint a legal representative or agent as a third party who will act on behalf of the applicant.

Such legal representatives may include a patent attorney, for example, who would represent the IP applicant or registrant before the IPO and/or courts of the relevant country or region in regard to the assigned patent matters. A POA in this instance would serve as written authorisation for the attorney to act on behalf of the patent applicant in relation to the filing and maintenance of the applicant's patent(s).

A Power of Attorney may also be utilised in intellectual property matters in relation to the development of inventions and patents in the workplace. Instances of this nature may ensue when a company has a POA to act in relation to, or obtain, an employee's inventions that had been created and evolved during their employment.

The requirements in relation to obtaining a Power of Attorney, and for providing proof of the same for use in IP matters, vary from country to country. The law in relation to the use of a Power of Attorney in US Law, for example, states that there are multiple requirements for the obtainment and validity of a POA in the jurisdiction.

As such, in order to constitute a valid POA for a legal entity in the US, it must contain the date of POA execution, and be signed by the principal or by another adult being empowered to execute the document in the principal’s presence and under their direction. Furthermore, a POA in the US must be signed and acknowledged before a notary public or be signed by two witnesses.

In addition to domestic legislation and requirements for obtaining a POA initially, national and regional law also obligates applicants and right holders to adhere to rules before the relevant IPO's in which IP is to be filed or maintained. In some countries, for example, the representative or agent with the POA must be an attorney registered within the jurisdiction in which the IP is filed or registered, however, this obligation is not present for all states.

Further, many jurisdictions require the submission of a document confirming the signatory who has executed a Power of Attorney on behalf of the applicant in order to obtain a filing date for their IP, with some countries also mandating that the POA supplied must be an original paper copy, and be a legalised notarised version of the document in order to be valid, an obligation which is not present in every jurisdiction.

A Power of Attorney is an important and oftentimes vital aspect of the registration and maintenance of IP rights. With international legislation and requirements differing, it is important for IP applicants and right holders to pay close attention to the necessary requirements of POA execution and submission in order to successfully manage their IP portfolio.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets can take many forms, such as products, processes, practices, and many others, and can remain protected on three conditions: the subject matter has to be unknown to the general public, bring economic value by not being disclosed, and its owner has to make sure it remains confidential. If one of these criteria is not met, trade secret protection ends.

When you file a patent application, you are obliged to share your invention with the public. In return, you are granted exclusive rights for exploiting your product for a certain period of time, and moreover, you can license it to other people.

Meanwhile, if you choose to protect your IP with a trade secret, you don’t have to share your invention with the public, and it instead brings you profit by staying undisclosed.

The main benefits of utilising trade secrets over patent protection, for example, is that there is no registration cost, whilst the patent registration process can be relatively costly, and trade secrets have an infinite validity period, whereas patents in most countries are valid for 20 years.

The only people that are allowed to use information which is protected under trade secret laws are those who discover the "secret" on their own, without using illegal means or breaking the law. For example, it is not a violation of trade secret law to research a legally manufactured product and calculate its trade secret.

If we take a look at Coca-Cola, we can observe that the company owns multiple patents relating to the bottle designs, vending machines, artificial sweeteners and many more. After 20 years, all of those patents will expire, and the information will be available for the public.

However, the recipe of Coca-Cola has been protected as a trade secret for over 100 years, and is likely to stay that way unless someone comes up with the identical recipe on their own, which is highly unlikely.

Negotiating the trade secret protection landscape in various countries can be a complicated business. Each country has its own rules on what can be protected, how it’s protected, and the remedies available, therefore we recommend contacting a professional IP attorney to assist with such protection.

Public health and pharmaceutical patents

It is safe to say that we all know the importance of innovation and its place in society. Pharmaceutical inventions, for example, have saved countless lives, with vaccines being one of the most discussed topics of 2020. They are vital to public health, and policy makers must weigh up the factors of pharmaceutical patent rights compared to the accessibility of the inventions to the public, but what is a pharmaceutical patent?

A pharmaceutical patent, much like a regular patent, grants exclusive right over the use of an invention to the patent owner, however there are a few differences in terms of validity periods and licensing. In addition to the basic validity period of 20 years from the filing date, a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) may be granted in respect of pharmaceutical patents in more than 20 countries, including the US, UK and some countries of the EEA (European Economic Area), for example. The latter issues the SPC, which allows for an extension providing either an overall maximum of 15 years of exclusivity from the date of the first marketing authorisation (MA), or 5 supplemental years after the expiry of the patent, and is designed to compensate the inventor(s) for any time lost between the granting of the patent and the MA of the same.

In the UK an SPC will not extend the term of a patent, but gives similar protection, which enters into force when the patent expires and can last for up to 5 years. An SPC for a medicinal active ingredient may also be extended for a further six months if it has undergone the appropriate pediatric testing. It is worth noting that this may be subject to change after Brexit is finalised.

A similar system applies in the US, however, the Certificate Extending Patent Term applies to the entire patent in this jurisdiction. Furthermore, the term of a patent eligible for extension shall be extended by the time equal to the regulatory review period for the approved product. Such period occurs after the date the patent is issued, whereas in the EEA the scope is narrower, applying only to the active ingredient(s) of the patented product.

The duration of the certificate can also be limited in certain instances, for example, when a patent term has already been extended under a specific national law.

Although patent protection contributes to greater pharmaceutical research funding, which is a strong incentive to continued development of life-saving inventions, it can also hinder individuals from obtaining the treatment they need due to monopolization of patented treatments and corresponding increases in costs. A possible remedy to this is compulsory licensing, a mechanism which allows another party to produce a patented product or process without the express consent of the owner of the pharmaceutical patent itself. Safeguards such as this ensure that the pharmaceutical industry can be compensated for its scientific advances and contribution to the public health, while also preventing monopolization. On the flip side, however, critics have argued that licensing may create incentive issues, with companies purchasing licenses and increasing treatment costs as opposed to researching and developing new ones.

The socio-ethical implications of pharmaceutical patent rights on the wider public health are contentious, and require a collective approach of resolution. A combination of policy reform, standardised pharmaceutical state funding, company obligations, and a collaborative commitment to the stabilisation of pharmaceutical treatment costs may be the key to fairness and accessibility for the good of public health.

How Copyright Works

A copyright is a legal right protecting an original work created by an individual and fixed in a tangible medium. Similarly to other types of IP rights, copyrights prevent others from using original work without prior permission from the owner. This can include the prevention of other people copying or adapting your work, distributing, renting, or putting copies of your work online, or performing your work in public. However, one of the most significant differences of copyrights from other types of IP is that they are granted automatically, as opposed to needing to be applied for and examined prior to the granting of protective rights by a specific patent office. A copyright is therefore assumed to be in place from the moment one produces original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including photography, as well as non-literary written work such as software, web content or databases. The layout of published versions of written, dramatic or musical works, recordings of film, television, sound, music, or broadcasts are also subject to copyright protection.

The validity period of copyrights can vary for each type of work in different jurisdictions, and can be governed in other countries by national laws based on minimal standards provided in international agreements such as the Berne Convention.

In the UK, written, dramatic, musical and artistic works, including photography, are typically protected by copyright for 70 years following the year of the author's death, films for 70 years from the death of the director, screenplay, author and composer, whichever occurs last, and sound and music recordings for 70 years from the first date of publication. Broadcasts are protected for a lesser term of 50 years from the first broadcast, whilst a layout of published versions of written, dramatic or musical works is valid for 25 years from the first publication date.

Whilst a copyright is automatically available for the aforementioned works, the onus is on the owner of the right to protect it against infringement. In this regard, although some use of a copyright is allowed under certain circumstances, such as fair use, the majority of third parties who wish to use a work for a commercial purpose must first obtain a permission or license, a contractual agreement between the owner and the user of the right. A licence can be used to control the ways in which the work is used, as well as the length of time it can be used for. Other contractual agreements also come into play when it comes to things like negotiations of the sale or transfer of rights via assignment, or the organisation of economic rights, for example.

Certain parties such as schools, archives, public administration or libraries may be able to use the work without permission from the copyright owner, and therefore it is important to verify if the use you wish to halt qualifies as infringement before taking action.

The above covers the basics of copyright in the UK, however, the law on copyright in other countries may differ. For more information on copyright in your jurisdiction, please contact us.