Policy Workshop: IP News Archive

Michel Barnier says EU is looking into relocating London-based patent court

Doubt continues to hang over the future of the court, with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator suggesting it may have to move after UK leaves the EU

Call for looser rules in Horizon 2020

Researchers tell MEPs that audit culture, reimbursement system, and evaluation criteria for eastern countries should be reformed

Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, US and UK top the Global Innovation Index 2017

In the tenth edition of the Index, China becomes the first-ever middle income economy to be ranked in the top 25

New analysis of tech clusters puts Europe in the shade

A ranking of the world’s clusters on the basis of patent filings puts Tokyo-Yokohama in Japan first by a large margin. The top-ranked in Europe is Paris in 10th place

Imperial College tech commercialisation group rejects takeover bid from IP Group

Combination of the two would create £1.3 billion university technology investment company

KU Leuven out-innovates the competition again

Belgian university tops Reuters innovation league table for second year running

China’s global patents filings jump 45% in one year

Tech giants in China continue to surge forward with new inventions, leaving the country poised to outpace US and Japan within the next few years. European companies did not see the same rapid growth, but held on to their global share

Universities should co-invest in research clouds

University of Eastern Finland head Jukka Mönkkönen talks to Science|Business about pushing harder and faster on open data to make pan European data stores available on tap

EU will find a way to keep UK in unitary patent, says EPO chief

Brexit is clouding its future role in the new common patent, but Benoit Battistelli, head of the European Patent Office thinks there are ways to keep the UK in the system

Registration open for Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award 2017

Do you have an innovative idea with commercial or societal impact? Then register your idea before 22 March for a chance...

And finally: after much delay, the EU’s independent satnav Galileo goes live

The Commission claims the service is the most accurate satellite navigation system in the world, with real-time positioning down to a metre or less. Europe now has autonomous access to space and is a key player

How to turn Europe’s large research infrastructures into engines of innovation

Europe has the opportunity to enhance its innovation capacity by strengthening cooperation between analytical research institutes and companies, providing industry with new ways to access expertise and powerful state of the art machines

EU Commission to propose strong text and data mining rights for researchers

Leaked papers reveal data analytics start-ups would not benefit from new text and mining rules, however

Switzerland still world’s top innovator, study says

Fifteen of the top 25 innovators in the world are in Europe, including the top three

Wellcome Trust launches new open access platform

Scientists will be encouraged to publish findings ahead of peer review, with papers going online just a week after submission. The research charity hopes other funders will follow its lead

US Supreme Court strengthens patents (for a change)

The decision earlier this month in the case of Halo v Pulse, will give owners of US patents a greater likelihood of being awarded enhanced damages. This will raise the value of patents - and increase the incentive to sue for infringement

Too much talk of innovation?

Ahead of Horizon 2020’s midpoint review next year, researchers express concern that there’s too much focus on corporate innovation, jobs and economic growth – to the detriment of science

Surge in US patent applications in Europe

Registrations for new inventions at the European Patent Office are up for the sixth consecutive year. Dutch giant Philips reclaims top spot from Korea’s Samsung

European Institute of Innovation and Technology to be reformed following audit

Education Commissioner Navracsics sets up expert panel ‘to improve the EIT’ in advance of a special performance audit from the EU’s accounting watchdog

UCL sets up £50 million fund for technology commercialisation

Imperial Innovations and the European Investment Fund are each to put £24.75M into the University College London fund UK, which will be managed by the VC firm Albion Ventures

Unitary European patent system tiptoes closer

Several big hurdles have recently been cleared, but a new court system still needs to be accepted by 5 participating countries before the new intellectual property regime can come to life

Shaping up basic research for translation to market

While the European Research Council exists to fund excellent basic science, its proof of concept grants allow researchers to go one step further and embark on the path to commercialisation. A spinout formed as a result has been named ‘Most Investible Company’

How to develop a good tech transfer office

As universities come under increasing pressure to demonstrate the wider impact of their research, Science|Business brings together some of Europe’s most experienced technology transfer offices to discuss the dos and don’ts

EU Commission announces plans to reinforce the single market

New measures are unveiled to simplify business rules, improve competitiveness, lower prices. But the Commission shies away from proposing a single market approach to ‘sharing economy’ companies like Uber and Airbnb which many view as unfair competition for professional services firms

Small companies head to Brussels for financing

EU financing programmes for SMEs are growing fast – but will they fix what really ails the European system of raising money for small companies? A Science|Business Network roundtable debates

How to bridge Europe’s SME finance gap

Clever intellectual property (IP) management and carefully designed government policies can help SMEs raise more finance, reducing the risk for banks and venture capital investors, according to new Science|Business reports

High renewal fees for unitary patent would be a tax on innovation

After all the promises about lower fees, small companies are in danger of being priced out of Europe’s new patent regime, complains Eurochambres in a letter to the EU industry chief

US, China and Japan dominate patent filings in Europe

Registrations for new inventions at EPO are up for the fifth consecutive year, but Germany is the only EU country in the top five. Things look better at a corporate level, with five European companies in the top ten

New guidance provides optimism for securing software patents in the US

The US patent office has given specific examples of what types of software can get protection. This provides long-awaited clarification, says patent expert Andrew Thompson

A look ahead at the science stories that will make it big this year

Science|Business makes some guesses at what research and innovation topics are likely to be among the most discussed in 2015.

Struggle continues to get Europe’s new patent regime over the line

The long-gestating Europe-wide patent, due to arrive at the start of 2015, is late. There remains uncertainty over the fees and the strength of the unified patent court, but EPO head Benoît Battistelli says don’t rush to judgement

Europe stalling in innovation race

China and the US set the pace on patent filings in 2013, while the number of patent applications received by the European Patent Office fell

Spain’s challenge to unitary patent should be thrown out, says Advocate General

Adviser’s opinion expected to influence the European Court of Justice

Licensing and patents are an untapped source of cash for young companies

Selling ‘knowledge assets’ can help fund growth and lend start-ups credibility with investors. As China educates a new generation of innovators about intellectual property, Europe needs to raise its game.

Ideas matter: more training in intellectual property needed to secure economic fruits of research

Leading entrepreneurs working to commercialise publicly-funded university research point to a lack of understanding of how IP should be shaped and protected to ensure commercial success.

MEPs approve new rules to modernise EU data protection

A single European law will see greater protection for consumers, but raises concerns for medical research and digital companies. And an EU-controlled gateway will be set up to police international exchange of data

Europe’s unitary patent to launch in 2015 – but will companies embrace it?

Renewal fees could make or break the unitary patent. And companies are worried a single patent court could prompt a deluge of patent infringement suits by “patent trolls.” But top EU officials insist the new system will actually help European inventors – while keeping trolls at bay.

Entrepreneurship awards scooped by Danish, Swiss, French and UK spin-outs

The winners of the 5th annual Academic Enterprise Awards have been announced at a conference that brought together Europe's innovation leaders to discuss the importance of research, innovation and entrepreneurship

Single patent takes another step forward

Ministers from 24 countries signed the agreement establishing a single court to deal with patent disputes. It’s an important advance for the Single Patent – but now for the hard part - securing national ratification in time for the first patent to be granted in April 2014

Plotting the shifts in Europe’s innovation ecosystem

Academics, SMEs and large companies are doing much more research in partnership. Science|Business looks back at some of the highlights of the move to open innovation in 2012, and the policy initiatives that are supporting this

Single patent gets political nod

After more than four decades of negotiation, impasse and posturing, 25 member states agree to create a unitary patent. MEPs who voted for the move promise simplification, lower costs and time-saving for hard-pressed SMEs.

Final EU patent deal could be in reach

MEPs reached a tentative compromise with Member States this week on the Single Patent. All that’s needed now is for EU ministers give the proposal a nod in December and for the European Parliament to vote yes too

EU leaders in deadlock over European patent

As lawmakers in Brussels frantically look for ways to break the stalemate over the Single EU patent, Science|Business takes a closer look at the political and legal dispute

Commission launches new push to complete the European Research Area

After twelve years horsetrading, a voluntary agreement between the European Commission and Europe’s research bodies aims to get 27 national research systems functioning as one, and complete the European Research Area (ERA)

Horizon 2020 research articles to be accessible for free

Scientific articles based on Horizon 2020 funded research must be made available for free, says the Commssion. But there will be an exception for commercially sensitive raw data

What Europe’s Unitary Patent Court will mean for business

It should help boost innovation: “Devil is in the details,” experts say

European Parliament blocks EU patent deal

MEPs threaten to take Council to EU Court of Justice after member states limit involvement of EU legal system in patent litigation without consulting Parliament

Europe failing to reap returns, as its IP in key technologies is exploited by China and Japan

The EU must take action to translate expertise in key underpinning technologies such as biotechnology, photonics and nanotechnology into industry-powered growth, says EU Commissioner Antonio Tajani

Deal reached: Unitary patent court to have three homes

Forty years’ horse trading has ended in a eurofudge, as EU heads of state have agreed on a compromise proposal to split the court that will litigate the EU Unitary Patent between Paris, Munich and London

How the US and EU can boost trade - through a harmonised patent system

New laws on both sides of the Atlantic are changing the way patents will work. A Science|Business conference in Washington May 7 examined how this historic convergence could help inventors - and the economy

Science ministers agree to Horizon 2020 structure

After long and hard negotiations, science ministers have given their approval to the proposal to reconfigure EU research around seven Grand Challenges

Judgement on software copyright will drive innovation

The European Court of Justice has ruled the functionality embodied in computer programs cannot be copyrighted. This will spur innovation and interoperability say experts

ACES winner powers long-range electric cars to market

EVO Electric has applied novel technology to develop motors that combine high power with low weight, promising to increase the efficiency and appeal of electric cars and reduce CO2 emissions from hybrid petrol/electric cars

ACES winner shows how magnetic particles can fight cancer

In one of the first clinical applications of magnetic nanoparticles to reach the market, Endomagnetics has developed a technology that offers a safer, cheaper way to detect whether breast tumours have spread

So you want to be an entrepreneur?

Start-up entrepreneurs learn how to pitch their companies at a joint EIT and Science|Business master class

Changing the face of science

ACES winner Mendeley is revolutionising the way research is done – using cloud computing to create the largest crowd-sourced library in the world. Its software lets academics organise and annotate journal articles, and share and discuss their work with researchers around the globe

The growing pool of Science Business ACES winners are bringing breakthroughs to market

Past winners of Academic Enterprise Awards are making progress in the commercialisation of their research

ACES profile: Clariton’s hand scanner tackles hospital-induced infections

The winner of the Science|Business Academic Enterprise (ACES) award for entrepreneurs under age 30 – presented at the Royal Academy of Science in Brussels in February – deploys ultra violet reflective powder and a scanner to determine just how clean are a pair of washed hands.

It’s a small world – Making EU initiatives SME friendly

It can be difficult for technology start-ups to locate the support and finance needed to grow

Change the mind-set around innovation in Europe

Europe needs a fresh cycle of innovation to create a more “reactive economy” that can absorb shocks and bounce back, the European Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou tells the Science|Business European Entrepreneurship Summit

Seven entrepreneurial start-ups from across Europe recognised in double awards ceremony

The EIT launches its first awards – ACES enters its fourth year. Start-ups from the UK and Germany lead the list of winners, which also includes Spanish and Hungarian companies.

Huge boost to UK university spin-outs as £150M private fund is launched

A private equity firm is to raise the largest specialist fund in the world dedicated to commercialising university R&D. The money will be invested in partnership with three of the UK’s leading research universities

UK companies lead finalists for European spin-out awards

Entrepreneurs from the United Kingdom gained the most nominations at this year’s Academic Enterprise Awards. Three UK spin-outs are among the top 12 chosen to go through to final awards in Brussels on 21 February, 2012.

Pharma companies and research institutes will share IP in neglected diseases research

A consortium of public and private sector organisations is to open up intellectual property to promote the development of new treatments for neglected tropical diseases

Patents not worth the paper for small businesses

SMEs need better protection of their patent rights to prevent big companies stealing their ideas

Trademarks are most sought after form of intellectual property

Data on worldwide IP activity in 2009, published this week, show Asia now accounts for 37 per cent of trademark applications

Falling patent quality hits innovation, says OECD

The quality of patent filings has fallen by 20 per cent over the past two decades. And the rush to protect even minor improvements in products or services is overburdening patent offices

All change for US patent law

A comprehensive reform of US patents takes effect today (16 September), when the America Invents Act is made law. The changes bring the US patent system into greater conformity with the rest of the world.

US patent reform high on agenda after summer break

When the US Congress reconvenes next month, the Patent Reform Act of 2011 - the first major overhaul of the American patent system since 1952 - will be top of its agenda.

IMI moves to quell intellectual property rows as it launches €105M call

The Innovative Medicines Initiative has set out guidelines on how collaborative partners should approach the thorny issue of IP rights, in time for its fourth call

Europe needs to lower the barriers to global innovation

The INGINEUS study, ‘Challenges and Barriers of European Firms in Global Innovation Networks’ says Europe needs better management skills and better IP protection

Spain, Portugal and Czech Republic make strides in biotech

The Third Annual Worldview Bio-Innovation Scorecard report, published by Scientific American, points to progress in Europe

Single patent hits new barriers

Under pressure from the EU Court of Justice, the Commission issued proposals scaling back ambitions for the single patent court, while Spain and Italy launched a legal appeal

EU calls for comprehensive revamp of intellectual property rights

Plans to update Europe’s intellectual property laws for the digital age, and to put more effort into preventing piracy and counterfeiting were unveiled on Tuesday

New tool to help universities manage their intellectual property

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published an updated version of its guide to universities on maximising the value of their intellectual property

UK report calls for reforms to intellectual property law

The UK should make achieving a unified EU patent system and patent court the highest immediate priority and update its copyright laws for the digital Internet age

Cost of a single European patent set at €680 for protection in 25 member states

The Commission is ploughing on with the single patent despite legal uncertainties, putting new legal proposals at the heart of efforts to revive Europe’s open market.

International trademark activity rebounds in 2010

The number of trademark applications received in 2010 by the World International Property Organisation have increased by 12.8 per cent compared to the year before

India to spread its method of barring patents based on traditional knowledge

The Indian government and the World International Property Organisation will work together to prevent biopiracy and help countries protect herbal remedies, plant lore and other traditions

Call for policies to help small businesses tap into Open Innovation

Experts attending the Science|Businesses ACES awards at ETH Zurich last month agreed Open Innovation can boost companies of any size, but policy changes are needed to help small businesses get involved

Products derived from embryonic stem cells are not patentable

Therapies based on human embryonic stem cells should not be granted patents, according to the latest opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union. If confirmed, this will have a major impact on stem cell research in Europe and on the European life sciences industry as a whole

European Patent Court wouldn’t be legal

The European Court of Justice has thrown a huge spanner into the plans for a single Court to deal with patent disputes, saying it is incompatible with EU law

Europe’s academic innovators recognised in ACES awards

Academic entrepreneurs from Switzerland, Finland, the United Kingdom and Israel were recognised in the third annual ACES awards, held in Zurich on 3 February and awarded by the Science|Business Innovation Board.

EIT announces awards for entrepreneurs

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology – the EIT, set up by the European Union to encourage innovation – is to launch an awards programme for young entrepreneurs next year, in partnership with Science|Business. The move is part of a push to change attitudes to entrepreneurship in Europe, and was announced today (3 February) by EIT Board member Daria Tataj at the ACES Academic Enterprise conference, held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

10 percent up - patent applications at the EPO on the rise again

The European Patent Organisation has received 10% more applications last year, and expects a further increase in 2011.

EU Orphan drugs regulation hailed as a success

A review of the decade-old Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation shows that research has been boosted and more drugs are available to treat rare diseases.

Lisbon Treaty’s enhanced cooperation clause may be invoked in patents deadlock

The Commission is ready to back those countries which want to go ahead with the single EU patent, despite a lack of unanimity within the EU.

Siemens to increase investment in R&D after bumper year for patents

After registering 57,900 patents last year, covering 8,800 inventions, Siemens pledges to increase its investment in research and development.

Belgian presidency fails again to get patent agreement

“There will never be unanimity on an EU patent” says Belgium’s Minister for Enterprise, after a specially-convened meeting of ministers fails to agree to the latest proposals.

US and European patent offices to develop common classification system

The USPTO and the EPO have agreed to jointly develop a patent classification system on the basis of the European Classification system, ECLA.

US reverses ruling that genes are patentable

In an unexpected change of heart, the US government has reversed its previous and long-held stance that genes can be patented.

Belgian Presidency pledges to press ahead on patents

Delivering the EU patent just got harder. But the Belgian presidency says it won’t give up on this daunting task.

UK IP Office unveils new research programme

The UK Intellectual Property Office has kicked off a year long research programme into intellectual property and its value to the economy.

Legal opinion delivers blow to plans for single patent

The proposal for a unified patent court is incompatible with EU Treaties, says Europe’s Advocate General, a serious setback for the creation of the European Patent.

Recession is a time for innovation

Times may be hard, but it remains possible to be innovative, Henry Chesbrough, the father of Open Innovation and ESADE Visiting Professor, tells Science|Business.

IMI stakeholders ask for urgent revision of IP policy and funding model

A row has broken out over intellectual property rights and the funding model of Europe’s €2B flagship research programme, the Innovative Medicines Joint Technology Initiative.

Court of Justice ruling restricts scope of biotech patents

Europe’s Court of Justice has delivered its first-ever judgment on the extent of protection of biotech patents under the EU Biotechnology Directive.

Patenting holding back stem cell research in Europe

A lack of clarity over the patentability of therapies developed from stem cells is holding back European research in the field, according to a new report.

WIPO launches free online IP database

The World Intellectual property Organisation has launched WIPO GOLD, a free, on-line global intellectual property reference resource.

Ireland to overhaul its intellectual property regime

The Irish government has revealed plans for an overhaul of its intellectual property laws following the recommendations of a recent report on innovation strategy.

Changes made to speed up European patents could harm biotech says survey

Recent changes designed to speed up the application process at the European Patent Office have not gone down well with pharma and biotech.

Geoghegan-Quinn promises to “finish the job” on single EU patent

A new take on innovation, new public private research partnerships and a new push on patents will be at the heart of the EU’s new Research & Innovation Strategy.

Glaxo’s patent pool for tropical diseases gathers momentum

MIT and South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency are to join the Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases.

World’s five largest patent offices move ahead with work-sharing projects

The five largest intellectual property offices have agreed to move ahead on ten Foundation Projects, to provide a framework to support work-sharing.

Global financial crisis hits international trademark filings in 2009

International trademark filings under the WIPO’s Madrid System dropped by 16 per cent in 2009 as a result of the global economic downturn.

New head chosen for EPO

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office has elected Benoît Battistelli as its new President.

EPO extends IP training for small companies and tech transfer offices

The European Commission and the European Patent Office (EPO) have agreed a two-year extension to the ip4inno programme.

International patent filings dip in 2009 global downturn

International patent filings under the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Patent Cooperation Treaty fell by 4.5 per cent in 2009.

Is it time for simplified licensing?

A US university has drawn up a standard, “one-size-fits-most” license fee scheme. It aims to save time, but is the industry ready for it?

Commission to study patents in drugs anti-trust investigation

The Commission is taking further action in investigating if there have been deals to keep generic drugs off the market.

EU ratifies Internet copyright treaties

The European Union has ratified the so-called WIPO Internet Treaties, designed to make the world’s copyright laws appropriate for the Internet.

Swedes claim breakthrough on patents

Agreement on a Single EU Patent and Patent Court is an important battle won, but war continues to be waged over translation.

Manchester Manifesto calls for new view on commercialising science

Leading names in science and ethics are calling for a rethink in attitudes to the commercialisation of scientific knowledge.

EU antitrust case over Qualcomm patents withdrawn

The Commission has closed its antitrust proceedings against the US chipset manufacturer after failing to reach a conclusion.

WIPO extends online access to previously undigitised patents

WIPO’s Patentscope, which currently hosts data on more than 1.6 million international patent applications, has been extended.

Signs of consolidation in UK university technology commercialisation

Two of the UK’s quoted university technology commercialisation companies are cosying up, with IP Group plc investing £2.9 million in Fusion IP plc.

EU and Russia to harmonise intellectual property rights

Representatives of the EPO will meet their Russian counterparts next week to work towards harmonising the Russian and European patent systems.

Imperial Innovations says it is gaining momentum, despite the recession

The tech transfer arm of Imperial College London said it is gaining momentum and the portfolio is maturing as it reported results for the year to 31 July 2009.

WIPO to simplify design registration

The countries of the World Intellectual Property Organisation last week suspended the earliest of the three acts that govern the International Deposit of Industrial Designs.

Four candidates in the running for EPO Presidency

The European Patent Office has published the names of the four candidates who will be interviewed for the post of President, which falls vacant on 1 July 2010.

Progress check on innovation: much achieved; more to be done – especially on IP

Innovation performance has improved but there is more to be done, particularly on patents, according to a EU Communication published this week.

Ireland brings patenting law into line with Europe

Patent laws in the Republic of Ireland have been amended to streamline the system and bring it into line with the rest of Europe.

WIPO launches programme to promote use of IP for economic growth in Africa

A new programme has been set up to promote the use of IP as a catalyst for economic and commercial development in Africa and LDCs.

Germany, the Netherlands and the UK top new global index of IP competitiveness

A new report from law firm Taylor Wessing ranks countries as places to obtain, exploit, enforce and attack intellectual property.

Is the demand for patents stifling reform?

Even as campaigners step up their demands for patent reform, patent offices themselves are being buried under a deluge of applications.

Nokia's embarrassment of riches

Nokia is to give away some of its intellectual property for free, in a scheme set up to recycle unused ideas and innovations to other Finnish companies.

Number of international trademarks tops one million

The number of international trademark registrations topped the one million mark when an Austrian company, Grune Erde, registered its mark this month.

EPO announces plans for quality improvements

The European Patent Office has announced measures to improve the quality of patents while improving efficiency in the granting process.

Patents: slow and steady wins the race?

The world patent isn’t coming any time soon, but the EPO hopes that a new series of measures could lay the foundations for patent reform.

EU Patents mill grinds on

A harmonised European patents regime has come one tiny step closer, with a recommendation of what the Unified Patent Litigation System should look like.

WIPO agrees deal to simplify structure of the international patents system

International experts at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have agreed to simplify the structure of the international system for classifying patents.

Large cut in trademarking fees from May

The European Commission has announced a 40 per cent cut in the cost of a Community Trademark, bringing the cost of applying online for a trademark to €900.

Glaxo opens up 800 patents to stimulate R&D in neglected tropical diseases

GlaxoSmithKline is to place over 500 granted patents, and over 300 pending applications, into a pool to help others to develop medicines for neglected diseases.

ACES profile: From student union to spin-out

Small start-ups can do big things when they know both their limitations and opportunities, says Neville McClenaghan, the co-founder of University of Ulster spin-out Diabetica Ltd.

EPO says fewer patents equals higher quality

The European Patent Office rejected more patent applications than it passed for the first time last year, a move that it says will to raise the quality of the patents it grants.

Trademarking holds up as recession looms

International trademark activity remained robust in 2008 with the World International Property Organisation (WIPO) receiving a record 42,075 applications.

ScanBalt develops new metrics for assessing knowledge transfer in life sciences

The Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute for Intellectual Property Management has developed a set of indicators of the commercial viability of collaborative life-science projects.

Needed: Patent reform in a world market

A group of European entrepreneurs and academics meet to compare notes on the problems of patenting in a global marketplace.

Europe and India collaborate on natural medicine

India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the EPO have made a deal allowing the EPO to access India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.

New EU/China agreement on intellectual property rights

The EU and China have agreed to strengthen cooperation on protecting intellectual property rights, signing a deal to curb the export of fake goods from China.

Norwegian government steps in to rescue biotech, as the UK sector lobbies for support

The Norwegian government has responded to lobbying from its biotech sector with a package to help the industry, and UK biotech is asking for similar support.

ACES profile: Get lots of advice early on – and question all of it

For ACES winner Andrew Lynn, starting and running a successful business benefits from the essence of being a scientist: question everything and trust your gut.

UK’s Wellcome Trust to fund tech transfer projects in mainland Europe

The Wellcome Trust is reaching outside the UK to fund translational research and derisk projects for future investors.

Macedonia becomes EPO member

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has ratified the European Patent Convention and, on 1 January, became a member of the European Patent Organisation (EPO).

Director General of INPI appointed chair of EPO Council

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Benoît Battistelli as its next chairman.

WIPO approves programme for change

The World Intellectual Property Organisation is to align its programmes, resources and structures with a new set of goals.

Research in magic circles

GE Healthcare reckons that innovation happens more quickly if researchers from different laboratories pool their ideas.

EPO draws line under cancer gene patent row

US genomics firm Myriad Genetics regains limited rights to BRCA1 breast cancer gene on final appeal.

Finding the upside in a down market

Select companies can still find funding from venture capitalists and the public market; others are using the depressed economy to cut costs.

Meet the ACES

It’s tough to spin out a company from a university in Europe. Read about those who have done it – and may be named the winners of the first pan-European awards for university spin-outs in Stockholm on 2 December.

The ACES Selection Committee

The finalists for the ACES Academic Enterprise Award were selected at a meeting on 5 November at University College London. Here are the participants.

Patent offices unite to clear red tape and improve patent quality

The world’s five major patent offices are to join forces to banish duplication, make examination procedures more efficient and improve international patent rights.

Austrian MEP wins EPO’s research and innovation award

Austrian MEP Paul Rübig received the European Patent Office’s 2008 award for Research & Innovation in recognition of his strong advocacy for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Germany discusses changes to law on employees’ inventions

The German government is currently discussing major changes to the German Act on Employees’ Inventions to simplify and streamline the existing provisions.

Patent offices launch pilot to speed US–European patent applications

The US and European patent offices have launched a trial of the Patent Prosecution Highway, a scheme they say will speed up the granting of patents.

Old era in intellectual property is coming to an end

A report by the self-styled, ‘International Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation And Intellectual Property’ says a new era is opening for intellectual property (IP).

Environmental patents donated by leading companies

Bosch, DuPont and Xerox Corporation have joined a business-inspired movement to put environmentally important IP into the public domain.

Open Source software movement hails legal ruling on copyright

A contradiction in terms it may be, but the Open Source movement has welcomed a US court ruling that free software has copyright protection.

UK court rules gene sequence patent invalid

The UK High Court issued its judgment Eli Lilly & Co v Human Genome Sciences Inc, the first UK case to decide the validity of a gene sequence patent discovered through bioinformatics.

Total number of patents in force worldwide tops 6 million

Increased patent filings China, South Korea and the US drove growth in worldwide filing of patent applications to 1.76 million in 2006 a 4.9 percent increase over 2005.

Commission thinks again about patent arbitration

After frowning on the idea of avoiding patent litigation through arbitration, the European Commission appears to have changed its mind.

Humboldt secures precedent-setting €50M tech transfer fund

Humboldt-Universitat has set a new standard for technology commercialisation in Germany with a €50 million fund to invest in spin-outs.

Influence of universities in UK knowledge economy growing, says survey

Higher education institutions are becoming increasingly influential in the UK knowledge economy according to the latest survey for the academic year 2006-2007.

Enterprise recognised at ACES event

Four university researchers who cast off the cosy embrace of academe at a fringe meeting at the ESOF conference in Barcelona this week.

Biofusion raises £2.2M, expands commercialisation deal with Sheffield

Biofusion is extending its agreement with the Sheffield University to include the commercialisation of all research-generated intellectual property.

European biotechs in new patent war over smallpox vaccine

Just under a year since the last suit was settled Bavarian Nordic is going back to court, seeking a slice of a lucrative cancer vaccine deal.

Irish No vote to hit innovation agenda

In theory the French EU Presidency’s aims on research and innovation shouldn’t be impeded by fissures in the Lisbon Treaty. In practice, this political crisis will be hugely distracting.

ITI sees first return from publicly funded project

Edinburgh Instruments has made its first sale of a new product containing technology developed in an ITI R&D programme, triggering a royalty payment to ITI.

EPO hears stem cell appeal

Two days were reserved by the European Patent Office to hear an appeal over the application for a stem cell patent. But only one was needed in the end.

The rise of trade secrets in biotechnology

Supreme Court Rulings and patent reform are making it harder to defend patents in the US – and biotechs are falling back on trade secrets to protect their IP.

Accountants team up with Oxford’s tech transfer arm for IP support service

The accountancy firm Grant Thornton has joined forces with Oxford University’s Isis Enterprise to set up an IP acquisition support service for technology businesses.

Machine translation could break patent deadlock

Brussels is abuzz with speculation that Europe’s fragmented, costly and complex patent regime is about to reform – aided by advances in machine translation. But support is not unanimous.

New UK investment in synthetic biology

Four of the UK’s Research Councils have come together to invest £890,000 in new projects designed to rapidly build the expertise and capacity in the emerging field of synthetic biology.

China poised to overtake US and Japan in patents

On current growth rates China will overtake the US to become the world’s largest patent filing jurisdiction by 2012, according to market analysts Evalueserve.

EPO launches new scheme to uphold intellectual property rights in China

The European Patent Office has launched a €16 million plan to try to ensure that the intellectual property rights newly enshrined in China are upheld.

Open Innovation in action

In 2007, the UK’s largest retail chemists chain set up a dedicated centre at Swansea University to promote open innovation. One year on, the first product is about to hit the market.

Lost in translation: language barriers still hold back the Community Patent

Europe’s politicians claim they are inching towards the Community Patent. But translation is still an issue and a single litigation area remains a distant hope.

UK appoints members of new IP strategy board

The UK government has announced the members of a board set up to provide it with strategic advice on intellectual property issues.

China launches patent translation service

The State Intellectual Property Office of China has launched a free online machine translation service for patent information searchers.

New guidelines on gene patents published

The European Society of Human Genetics wants to ban the patenting of genes and DNA sequences but allow patents on genetic tests.

Innogenetics seals final settlement in hepatitis patent row with Abbott

Innogenetics NV has settled its patent dispute with the US pharma giant Abbott over hepatitis C genotyping technology.

Commission IP recommendation sparks criticism

A clause in a Commission initiative aimed at encouraging technology transfer between public and private sectors of the economy sparked criticism this week.

UK Patent office launches online searchable service

The UK has launched a new free searchable database for published patents data, allowing users to search and download published patent information, on-line, free of charge.

.eu domain name celebrates it second birthday

In the past two years 2.8 million European internet identities have been registered, making .eu, at its second birthday, the fourth most popular top level domain in Europe and the ninth worldwide.

Cybersquatting disputes on the rise

There was an unprecedented number of cybersquatting cases in 2007, according to the latest statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

EPO spies success as patent numbers fall

Small is beautiful: patent applications are continuing to rise, but the European Patent Office is pleased that the number it grants is falling.

EU, US, Japan agree common patent form

A common format for filing patent applications to the European, Japanese and US patent offices will be introduced at the beginning of next year.

Record number of trademarks registered in 2007

A record 39,945 international trademark applications were received in 2007 by the World Intellectual Property Organization, up 9.5 per cent on 2006.

Slovenia, France build pressure for Community Patent

After more than 30 years of failure there could be political agreement paving the way for a Community Patent by the end of the year.

Scotland says technology commercialisation success validates its model

ITI Life Sciences, Scotland’s publicly funded innovation group, is to invest a further £2 million in its programme to develop new drug discovery tools.

Record number of patent filings in 2007

A record 156,000 patents were filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2007, up 4.7 per cent over the previous year.

Exclusive: How Merck keeps its pipelines pumping

Thomas Geelhaar, Head of Chemicals R&D at Merck in Darmstadt, Germany, describes how the company scouts for technologies and interacts with universities.

Major change ahead at European Patent Office

Three decades of relative calm in the world of patents is coming to an end, says recently installed EPO head Alison Brimelow.

‘Big science’ projects to get legal aid from EU

The European Commission is planning legislation to make it easier to set up collaborative laboratories in the European Union.

EPFL takes the overhead route

Like many others, the Swiss EPFL has grand plans to attract international companies. Its secret weapon: renouncing royalties in favour of overhead financing.

Innogenetics wins out in patent battle with Abbot

The US Appeals Court has upheld the finding that Abbott Laboratories infringed Innogenetics’ hepatitis C virus genotyping patent

Jean Stéphenne: the inside conqueror

Intrapreneur Jean Stéphenne, manager of GSK Biologicals, has transformed the company’s research organisation and revolutionised the global vaccines market.

US tech transfer continues at a good clip

The pace of new product introductions picked up in the US in 2006, although the number of start-up companies spun off from research institutions fell, according a new survey.

Alexander von Gabain: People, not location

Alexander von Gabain and his team laid the foundations of an enterprise that would rise to the top of the continent’s biotechnology pile – and rewrite the region’s rules for biotechnology start-ups.

Portugal pushes for Community Patent

Current holder of the EU presidency Portugal is claiming a breakthrough in the long-running drive to create a unified patent litigation system across Europe.

Patent pools: should pharma share IP with the developing world?

The WHO is looking to patent pools to prevent blocking IP and give earlier access to generics manufacturers as part of a plan to improve healthcare in developing countries.

Valuing intellectual property

It's been tough to actually put a price on patents. Will reform of the US patent rules make it easier to capitalise on intellectual property?

Patents: France says Oui

With the French Senate ratifying the London Agreement on patent translation, technology companies can look to a much cheaper future.

ERA plans draw over 800 responses

The Green Paper on the formation of a European Research Area attracted more than 800 responses by the time the consultation came to an end this week.

Imperial’s ‘experiment’ reports a step-up in investments

The technology transfer arm of Imperial College London reported rapid growth in its investment portfolio in its first full year as a publicly traded company.

UK launches intellectual property consultation

The UK government has opened a public consultation on proposals to introduce fast-track processing services for patent and trade mark applications.

Should do better: OECD verdict on China

China needs a better return on its fast-rising investments in R&D and higher education if it is to become an “innovation-oriented” economy by 2020, OECD.

The commercialisation of IP commercialisation

Others in Europe may envy the UK’s professionalised approach to tech transfer via a band of quoted commercialisation companies. But does it work?

Patents poised to break the language barrier

France is ready to break a linguistic obstacle that has for decades burdened patent applicants wanting to use their inventions across Europe.

EU and Japan reach research accord

The EU and Japan agreed to strengthen their research ties at a summit last week with plans to improve cooperation and the protection of intellectual property rights

Over-patenting in biotech not preventing development of new treatments, says BIO

The claim that over-patenting hinders the development of new treatments is not supported by the evidence, says the US Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Output of biotech patents from academics is outpacing corporates

When it comes to biotech, the public sector is forging ahead in terms of intellectual property outputs, but the lead taken by academic institutions is almost entirely limited to the US.

McCreevy pledges to have one last try on patents

The EU is meant to be good at compromise. Not so on patents. As the latest compromise bit the dust, Commissioner McCreevy promised to have one, last, go.

Business angels support Warwick spin-out

Angel network Oxford Early investments is backing a spin-out company from Warwick University that is developing a fingerprint identification technology for use in personal ID cards, passports and access control systems.

Protein processor wins grant to improve techniques

A company set up to commercialise technology from the University of Cambridge has been awarded a £200,000 grant to help develop a technique that could revolutionise the manufacturing of protein-based drugs.

After the float: Imperial Innovations

How will Imperial College London's newly floated tech-transfer affiliate invest its stock-market millions? After raising the money, now comes the fun part: spending it.

Blue biotech emerges from the deep

Blue biotech is getting into its stride, as the tools of genomics and high throughput screening are applied to unlock the chemical diversity of the oceans.

VC firm moves on after Fraud Office enquiry

Merlin Biosciences has been under the cloud of an investigation by the UK's Serious Fraud Office. Now founder Chris Evans says the firm is planning new investments.

UK government to invest £16 million in new technologies for unmanned flights

The UK government said it will contribute £16 million to a £32 million programme aimed at ensuring the safe operation of unmanned aviation vehicles (UAV) in civil airspace.

GREAT consortium to bring sat nav to the masses

The GREAT Consortium has been set up to design a mass market receiver for Galileo, Europe's new global satellite navigation system that is due to come into operation in 2012.

New rules make it easier for governments to make equity investments in SMEs

The European Commission adopted new rules for investing public money in small private companies that it says will make it easier for start-ups to raise risk capital.

New approaches needed to make sure Phase I trials are safe say experts

New approaches are needed for predicting the safe dose of novel drugs that are designed to interact with highly specific human targets because existing preclinical toxicology studies may be inadequate.

FP7 passes despite stem cell controversy

Research ministers from the 25 countries in the European Union agreed Monday to continue devoting part of the Union's research budget to stem cell research, despite efforts by Germany to put a stop to the controversial practice.

Stem cell issue could derail FP7 at the 11th hour

The European Union’s €54 billion research budget for the next seven years may not be approved in time for the beginning of next year – if Slovenia carries out its threat to oppose the funding of stem cell research.

£181M price tag set for Imperial Innovations float

The technology-transfer unit of Imperial College London, continuing preparations for its stock-market debut on 31 July, said it has completed a £25 million private placement and set a public share price that would value the business at £181 million.

ESF faces up to research council challenge

There’s a new kid on the block. How will the European Science Foundation justify its existence once the EU’s new pan European funding body moves into town?

China bids for scientific supremacy

China has now set its sights on developing its scientific prowess in the same way - and at the same rate – as it has modernised its economy.

Energy nanotech: thinking small to solve a big problem

The pressing need for alternative energy sources is driving investment into nanotechnology devices for energy applications such as photovoltaic solar cells.

Imperial tech-transfer unit sets date for stock market debut

Imperial College London is set to become the first university to float its technology-transfer office directly on the stock market.

EIF steps into the seed funding gap

This week the European Investment Fund took the first step in its ambitious new plan to unleash a wave of technology transfer across Europe. In doing so it endorsed a model pioneered in the UK.

UK nano under the microscope...again

Less than 18 months since the policy was put in place, the UK government is reviewing progress on its approach to nanotechnology.

SMEs say yes to Framework

SMEs across Europe are backing to Framework Programme 7 - provided it avoids the funding pitfalls that emerged over the life of its predecessor.

The fission season is back

On Tuesday the UK became the latest country to jump back on the nuclear energy bandwagon. But 20 years after Chernobyl, how easy is it to turn on the nuclear tap?

European Investment Fund sets up first joint fund, with the UK's IP Group

The European Investment Fund has partnered with UK technology commercialisation company IP Group to form a venture capital fund to invest in university spin-outs.

India's space aspirations unruffled by failure

India's failure to launch a functional communications satellite using a home-grown rocket is likely to spur even more investment in space programmes.

Europe’s patent regime at the crossroads

As the European Commission ponders the single European patent, the European Patent Office is under attack from national patent offices that want some of its functions.

Make innovation demand driven, says Finland

Finland wants to use its six months presiding over the EU to change innovation policy. It picks up the gauntlet at a meeting of competition ministers next week.

Drug trial fiasco company goes bankrupt

TeGenero, the company behind the drug trial fiasco that put six healthy volunteers into intensive care, has announced it is filing for insolvency.

Israeli incubators blaze a trail

Israel’s high-tech incubator companies are joining the stock market – and perhaps providing a new model for technology commercialisation

German spin-outs 'not contributing to modernisation'

Germany's academic spin-outs are not such a force for developing the economy after all, according to an in depth study of 20 of their number.

UK and Ireland to join forces in clinical research

The Health Research Board of Ireland is to join the consortium of UK research funders developing a single gateway to the largest pool of patients in the world.

Drugs on the way to tackle obesity epidemic

Obesity has been promoted from lifestyle issue to global health problem. But can fatness be cured? A new drug may be a turning point.

Public not to blame for tech gap with US

The claim that European public opinion contributes to the technology gap between the US and Europe is invalid, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.

UK capital fund programme jumps ahead

The UK government has announced the formation of two further Enterprise Capital Funds, one more than it intended to set up in the first phase of the programme.

Partnership proposes animal testing curbs

The EU's attempt to reduce the amount of animal testing became more concrete last week with the publication of an action programme.

Nano recharges battery technology

Battery capacity has been blamed for holding back innovation in many fields, from renewable energy to mobiles. Now nanotech is providing the answer.

EU research budget approved

Funds should start flowing at the start of 2007 in the €50 billion Framework Programme 7 after the European Parliament approved the budget.

York gets $13.6 million to improve malaria plant

York University's Centre for Novel Agricultural Products has won a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to complete research into an antimalarial plant.

Cambridge-MIT spins out comms network

The Cambridge-MIT Institute has spun out its Communications Research Network project as a company to step up the pace of innovation in communications.

Oil services firm reaches out to academia

With the end of easy oil, French oil services giant Schlumberger Clamart Technology Centre is transforming its research and development activities.

Finally, the market wakes up to resistance

Novartis’s move to take over UK biotech NeuTec Pharma at a large premium highlights how the so-called “superbugs” have reinvigorated pharma’s interest in antibiotics.

R&D spend dictates regional innovation

Economic disparity across Europe's regions can be linked directly to investment in research and development and adoption of information technologies, says an official report.

EU votes to continue supporting stem cell research

European Union has voted to continue funding embryonic stem cell research after a heated debate at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

EU launches Biofuels Technology Platform

The EU wants 25 per cent of transport energy will come from biofuels by the year 2030 – and is backing research that it will help it get there.

EU stem cell funding hangs in the balance

The future of European Union funded embryonic stem cell research hangs in the balance after a heated debate at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Rolling Indian biotech attracts EU attention

It may have started from a low base, but the Indian biotech industry is hurtling past the global growth rate. And overseas companies are anxious to get in on the action.

Patenting goes the offshore route

Indian firms are training large numbers of patent agents - with their eye on the large number of companies abroad looking for cheaper patenting.

Berkeley courts industry as funding declines

Cuts in federal funding have forced UC Berkeley's RAD Lab to seek industry funding. But the money may not be enough to plug the gap.

Microsoft wants to sell its ideas - to you

An unusual programme by the software giant to spin out its technology has netted nine sales to small companies - with more on the way.

Better medicines on the way for children

Drug companies finally have an incentive to carry out safety testing in children following new EU legislation approved last week.

Transgenic technology finally delivers the goods

The first protein drug extracted from the milk of a genetically modified animal has finally received European approval.

Sun to shine on Europe's energy policy

Active Solar Buildings – entirely heated and cooled by solar thermal energy – should become the standard by 2030 if the vision of the EU’s latest Technology Platform is realised.

Out to break biotech's IP stranglehold

The Open Source software movement has broken the stranglehold of expensive, proprietary products. Could the same thing happen in biotechnology?

Investors head for the central nervous system

Advances in neuroscience are opening up the treatment options for central nervous system diseases - at the same time as the ageing population is increasing the market for these products.

Neurotechnology: the next frontier

With global revenues of $110 billion last year, and an aging population, the nascent "neurotechnology" market appears poised for huge growth.

What is to be done? 'You tell us', says EU Research Directorate

Some may consider there is no more that can be said on the subject, but the Research Directorate has launched a consultation to get the public’s views of how to improve communications and knowledge transfer between academe and industry.

Why isn't Europe working?

European biotech is a hot topic among investors. They have supported as many start-ups as in the US but have seen far from equivalent returns. So what's going on? Science|Business talks to biotechnology consultant John Hodgson.

UK announces funds to bridge equity gap

The UK government has created two new Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) under its £40 million scheme to aid high tech businesses caught in the equity gap.

Can biotechnology embrace openness?

Open source software has broken the stranglehold of proprietary software vendors. Could the Biological Open Source initiative do the same in biotech?

European biotech long way from US in investors' mojo, study finds

The lack of funding from the private sector is still holding back the development of the European biotech sector vis a vis the US despite a similar number of companies in each.

Memo to CEO: spend more on R&D

The European Commission wants businesses to spend more on research and development - and to help encourage that, the agency is preparing a volley of government proposals for the Autumn.

ITER set to change the face of energy

A cross-continent project to develop fusion as an energy source has moved once step closer to reality with the signing of a formal agreement.

France trumps the EU's biofuel objective

The European Union was trumped last week when France announced plans to boost the country's biofuel use to 10 per cent by 2015.

No special favours for technology institute

The controversial proposal for a new European Institute of Technology hit more political turbulence, as the EU’s research commissioner questioned whether it should receive preferential funding.

The battle for second-generation biofuels

On 8 June the European Commission starts the evaluation of the biofuels technological platform it will support in 2007 - 2013. But the choice will be mired in political treacle.

Political problems dog research budget

A nagging political question still hovers over the EU funding debate: should the roughly €54 billion be spent exclusively on Europe's established crème de la scientific crème?

Europe looks to make healthy food taste good, too

Having our cake and eating it – Europe's food research strategy wants the most appetising food to be the healthy option, too.

EU declares hydrogen bus project a success

The European Union has declared its pilot programme to promote the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles a success – and announced a further €105 million scheme.

RFID: it's here, but is it ready?

Tracking goods by Radio Frequency Identification is said to be the next big market for wireless communication. But some in the field doubt the technology is mature enough.

Europe's largest cancer charity pushes new treatments to market

Cancer Research UK plans to rescue viable compounds stuck on the shelves of pharma and biotech companies.

Shape up, Commission tells universities

The European Commission told universities to modernise and pull their weight in the EU’s plans to become the leading knowledge-based economy, as it released an action plan for change.

IP: Europe drags its feet in nanotech patenting

As early nanotechnology applications make it to market, Europe is lagging behind, according to a new global survey. Nuala Moran investigates.

Venture-backed company exits rise

The number of venture-backed exits grew in value and number in 2005 – and the upward trends are expected to continue into 2007.

Nanotechnology: from hype to hypermarket

Nanotechnology is beginning to leave the laboratory and hit the high street – but health scares could stop this commercialisation process in its tracks.

Lab Notes

On inventive Californians, technology transfer, how to approach the business press, and other insights into R&D management.

Intellectual Property: Last chance for Europe's biotech pioneers

With the US in regulatory limbo, Europe is winning the race to be the first regulated drugs market to approve generic copies of biotech drugs - despite the protests of the biotech pioneers who created them.

Investing: An ecosystem for young companies

A new Swedish company backed by government and business angels aims to create an entire funding ecosystem for young companies until they become ready for venture capital.

Cambridge split over new IP proposals

Cambridge University wants rights to the intellectual property generated by its staff. The idea has divided scientists in a university well known for its high-tech spin-outs.

Clinical trials slump after European directive, say researchers

The European Commission's Clinical Trials Directive was meant to make trials more simple. But it looks as if the effect has been to stop many trials taking place at all.

Nanotech: what makes investors bite

Investing in technology that's a few years from commercialisation can be tricky. Lori Valigra finds out how some venture capitalists sort the wheat from the chaff.

Investing: Anyone got €500 million?

A new proposal from the European Investment Fund seeks to accelerate the success of European technology transfer projects. A noble idea, says Mary Lisbeth D'Amico in her fortnightly column, but no one has yet stepped up to foot the bill.

Photonic lasers - the quick guide

Better, brighter, faster – that's where photonic lasers are trying to take us. A lay guide to the technology.

Intellectual Property: Take your partners

With licensing and collaboration now the lifeblood of the drug industry, the annual BIO-Europe get-together was focused on partnering. Nuala Moran was there.

Need some money? Then take a close look at your patents

Some strange new ways of raising money are starting to emerge - but would-be borrowers and lenders are still making sense of them.

The big test

New regulations on the registration and testing of chemicals could have some problematic knock-on effects on European R&D – but they could also bring some lucrative work the way of contract research organisations.

An end to France's biotech drought?

It has been six years since a French biotech company made a stock market debut – and now two, BioAlliance and ExonHit, are doing so. Is the European market reawakening?

REACH's tortuous timetable

REACH, the EU's proposed legislation on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals, is the trickiest piece of legislation that MEPs have ever had to deal with.