Archives for January 2010
In an opposition decision that was published in December 2009, the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) disallowed the registration of the mark VINELBINE in the country.
Pierre Fabre Medicament, the owner of the mark NAVELBINE opposed the application for the mark VINELBINE by Dabur Pharma Ltd. The application was opposed on a number of grounds, the main one being that the mark VINELBINE was devoid of distinctive character in relation to the goods they are applied to, namely pharmaceutical products containing the active ingredient known by its International Non-proprietary Name (“INN”) or generic name of vinorelbine.
That the mark VINELBINE was confusingly similar to their mark NAVELBINE was one of the ancillary grounds put forth by the Opponent.
In today’s hugely competitive technology market, there is bound to be many instances where one company knowingly or unintentionally uses a patented technology without the consent of the patent owner.
In a recent sparring match between two major players in the mobile phone manufacturing industry, Nokia Corp (“Nokia”) threw the first blow in October when they filed a suit against Apple Inc (“Apple”) for allegedly infringing 10 of its patents. The technology covered by these patents includes both phone calls and Wi-Fi access.
Apple has since responded by counter-suing Nokia, claiming infringement of 13 of its patents. Most of these patents are clustered around technology related to the iPhone, such as: connecting a phone to a computer; teleconferencing; menus on a touch screen; power conservation in chips; and “pattern and color abstraction in a graphical user interface”.
In a recent patent revocation case in Thailand, the Thai Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Thai IP Court to revoke Thai Patent No. 8912 entitled “Herb Ingredient from Pueraria Candollei” for lack of novelty and an inventive step in view of a document which was published in 1931.
Pueraria Candollei is a herb found in various parts of South East Asia, particularly in Thailand. It is believed that this herb can improve health and directly extend the lives of users.
Patent No. 8912 was granted in 1999. The patentee subsequently advertised in the media that they had obtained a patent for such an invention and warned other manufacturers to stop producing or selling any product which may be infringing their patent.
Feeling aggrieved, these manufacturers filed a patent revocation suit at the IP Court to obtain a declaration that the patent lacked novelty and an inventive step and was therefore invalid. The IP Court concurred with this, declaring the patent invalid. The patentee then filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.
The 1931 document describes a product containing Pueraria Candollei and milk, while in Patent No. 8912, the patentee claims a product containing Pueraria Candollei, milkAND/OR three other ingredients i.e. sweetener, other herbs, and colouring and odour enhancing substances.
During the proceedings, the patentee had argued that the product as claimed in Patent No. 8912 was different from the product disclosed in the document published in 1931 because it contained three other ingredients which were not disclosed anywhere else, including the 1931 document.
The manufacturers argued that the use of the words “AND/OR” in the claims showed that the three other ingredients were just optional features and therefore, the patent was claiming what had been disclosed in the 1931 document i.e. a product containing Pueraria Candollei and milk.
The manufacturers also argued that the patent specification of Patent No. 8912 did not provide any experimental data which showed any significant effect to the product as claimed.
The Supreme Court found that the 1931 document rendered the invention disclosed and claimed Patent No. 8912 to be not novel and not inventive, upholding the IP Court’s decision.
In view of this decision, we strongly recommend that those who are planning to file patent applications in Thailand review the patent specification to ensure that the words chosen to describe the invention, particularly in the claims, are appropriate.
Our Regional Office in Singapore, KASS Regional IP Services Pte. Ltd., can assist you with any request or enquiry that you may have on any South East Asian IP matters, including Thai IP matters. Please do not hesitate to contact our Singapore Office firstname.lastname@example.org.
The source of wine has always been associated with Europe, in particular France, Italy and Germany. This premier position has recently been challenged successfully by wine producers from the new world, namely Australia, New Zealand, USA (in particular California), Peru, Chile and South Africa. More recently we also hear of good quality wines from India and China. How and why did this change of pole position take place? What were the transformations? Let us explore the reasons.
Firstly with globalisation, many countries removed the trade barriers, enabling the import of wines from non-traditional trade partners (e.g., wine from Peru and Chile into Malaysia). This removal of trade barrier contributed to the increased demand for wine globally.