Monday, 27 May 2013

Chinese prior art: we may be hearing more about it ...

Phil & Ted's Most Excellent Buggy Company Ltd v TFK Trends for Kids GmbH & Others [2013] EWPCC 21 is a fairly unexciting action. TFK alleged infringement, so the claimants took the initiative by bringing an action for unjustified threats, also seeking revocation of TFK's patent. What is interesting here is the last line of the judgment, in which Judge Birss QC (as he then was) finds for the claimants and says: "The patent is invalid in that it is obvious over Chinese Utility Model CN2739058Y (Goodbaby)". This blogger suspects that variants on this last line will be heard with increasing frequency in British courts, among other places, as the sheer volume of Chinese patent and utility model filing continues to grow. The quality of Chinese patents and utility models has been questioned in some quarters and almost all Chinese utility models are filed for domestic consumption but, no matter what the quality of the claims and description, their impact as disclosed prior art in countries far remote from China can scarcely be imagined.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Jeremy, but the threat is double, perhaps triple. It all comes down to the translations of in particular the abstracts. They have in the past been very ambiguous and have used an inordinate amount of text on stating the problem. The third problem comes when an examiner takes such an abstract at its dubious face value. At least with Japanese publications, it would cost in the order of GBP 2000 to have the original text translated by a patent professional, and you may need that to defend your application against the misguided use of a dubious abstract. And who carries the cost for an obvious misjudgment of quality?

Kind regards,