Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

EP-Oh! (Information about the European Patent Office)

Posted in General Commentary, Practice Commentary by Mike Dockins on July 25, 2007

We recently were posed a question about European Patent Office (EPO) procedure, specifically: “What is a European patent and what rights does it confer?”.

An issued EPO patent, while substantively reviewed and prosecuted, is nothing more than a conduit to enter European member states.  Once the EPO reviews, approves, and issues the patent, the applicant has 3 months to supply to the desired member state’s industrial property office a translation of the patent  in one of the member state’s official language or, where the State has prescribed the use of one specific official language, in that language.  The period of three (3) months may be extended on a state-by-state basis. See European Patent Convention (EPC), Article 65.  The only exception to the three-month rule appears to be Ireland, which allows the filing of a translation within six (6) months.  Once the time period for filing a translation has lapsed, the EPO patent is deemed void ab initio in all member states in which a translation was not filed.  That’s right, the EPO patent provides no protection in those countries and it is as if the application never existed.

The filing of a translation and payment of any fees required by the member state is the only step required to obtain patent protection in the state.  The EPO has already performed the prosecution and review.

The moral of the story is as follows:  once one obtains an EPO patent, the clock starts to get an application on file in all of the desired member states.  Once the translation is on file and the fees are paid, the member state will “rubber stamp” and accept the patent.  An English, a French, and a German translation should cover the vast majority (if not all) of the EPO member country requirements.  Admittedly, however, there may be countries in which that may require a translation in their particular language.

They Invented What? (No. 57)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on July 25, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,259:  Pet lover’s board game.

 dog game

What is claimed is:

1. A pet lover’s board game, which comprises:

(a) a playing board having a predetermined continuous path with spaces for movement of pieces therealong in accordance with rules, said playing board including:
(i) marked breed spaces designating a specified dog, said breed spaces identifying its specified breed by name, pictorial representation or combinations thereof, and having a specified action of a player when a piece lands thereon;
(ii) marked action spaces, each designated so as to require a specified action of a player when a piece lands thereon wherein said marked action spaces are disparate corner spaces on said playing board and wherein at least one said corner marked action space is labeled “Take A Nap” wherein a player must skip exactly one turn before resuming playing after landing thereon after collecting accumulated play money from a middle of said board accumulated from payments made on dog spa and dog boarding spaces; and
(iii) marked event spaces, each designated so as to represent an event which may initiate a payment or other event of a player when a piece lands thereon;
(b) a random movement means for randomly determining numbers of spaces to be moved by players in accordance with rules;
(c) a set of dog ownership papers for marked breed spaces provided to a player in exchange for payment of play money if a player qualifies to purchase and elects to purchase in accordance with rules;
(d) a set of event cards corresponding to at least one marked event space to be read and acted upon by a player when a piece lands on a corresponding event space;
(e) a plurality of different icon pieces for use by a plurality of players wherein said icon pieces have a topographical shape of a dog;
(f) play money in predetermined denominations;
(g) a play money holding tray having at least one compartment sized and shaped for holding said play money and having a dog bone topographical shape; and
(h) rules defining use of the aforesaid by order of play, use of said random movement means, movement of pieces, acquisition of ownership papers, sale of ownership papers, action apace play, event space play, use of event cards, payments of landing fees, and how games may be won or lost.