Litigation

Umfassende Beratung

Mit Standorten in Deutschland und dem Vereinigten Königreich berät
EIP Legal Sie in allen Bereichen des
IP‑Rechts.

Wir bieten unseren Mandanten Beratungsexpertise über das gesamte IP‑Spektrum (Patent‑, Marken‑, Design‑, Urheber‑ und Wettbewerbsrecht).

Wir beraten Sie in allen Phasen streitiger IP‑Auseinandersetzungen und vertreten Sie vor allen ordentlichen Gerichten. Zudem unterstützen wir Sie bei der Anmeldung von Schutzrechten, der Bewertung und Optimierung Ihres IP‑Portfolios sowie bei der Gestaltung und Verhandlung von IP‑Verträgen.

Eingespieltes Team

Als ausgewiesene Experten im IP‑Recht bieten wir unseren
Mandanten zielfokussierte Beratung.

Wir verfügen über Prozesserfahrung in sämtlichen Instanzen und vereinen Spezialwissen mit wirtschaftlichem Verständnis. Als rechtlich und technisch versierte Experten blicken wir über den Tellerrand hinaus und erarbeiten für unsere Mandanten praxisnahe und ökonomische Lösungen.

Strategische Standorte

London und Düsseldorf - Wir sind an den wichtigsten europäischen
IP‑Gerichtsstandorten vertreten.

Durch unser grenzüberschreitendes Team sind wir in der Lage, die jeweiligen Vorzüge der deutschen bzw. englischen Gerichtsverfahren insbesondere bei Patentstreitigkeiten für unsere Mandanten maximal auszuspielen und so optimale Ergebnisse mit Bedeutung für den europäischen Markt zu erzielen.

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Globale Prozessführung

Wir haben umfassende Expertise in der Koordination von multinational geführten Patentstreitigkeiten.

Durch eingespielte Kooperationen und langjährige Erfahrung haben wir die nationalen Besonderheiten von grenzüberschreitenden Patentstreitigkeiten im Blick und können eine effektive und ökonomisch sinnvolle Prozessführung gewährleisten.

Litigation Team

Alex Morgan

Managing Associate

Solicitor

Andrew Sharples

Partner

UK and European Patent Attorney, Solicitor

Angela Jack

Managing Associate

Employed Barrister

Azadeh Vahdat

Associate

Foreign Qualified Lawyer

Catherine Howell

Senior Associate

Solicitor

Christof Höhne

Partner

Attorney-at-law

Dimitri Kosenko

Associate

Attorney-at-law

Emily Atherton

Trainee Solicitor

Eugene Chan

Associate

Solicitor

Florian Schmidt-Bogatzky

Partner

Attorney-at-law

Gary Moss

Partner

Solicitor

Hebah Berhan

Trainee Solicitor

Isabelle Schaller

Senior Associate

Attorney-at-law

Jack Dickerson

Associate

Solicitor

Joanne Welch

Senior Associate

Patent Attorney Litigator

Kathleen Fox Murphy

Partner

Solicitor

Liam Rhodes

Associate

Solicitor

Liz McAuliffe

Senior Associate

Solicitor

Mark Lubbock

Partner

Solicitor

Matthew Jones

Partner

Solicitor

Maximilian Häger

Associate

Attorney-at-law

Myra Sae-Heng

Senior Associate

Solicitor

Owen Waugh

Associate

Solicitor

Rachel Bunn

Of Counsel

Solicitor

Rita Nissim

Associate

Solicitor

Robert Lundie Smith

Partner

Solicitor

Schi-Hwa Chae

Associate

Attorney-at-law

Sebastian Fuchs

Managing Associate

Attorney-at-law

Sunny Bansal

Managing Associate

UK and European Patent Attorney

Tom Brazier

Partner

Solicitor

Tom Leigh

Associate

Solicitor

Practice areas

Patentstreitverfahren

Nationale und internationale Patentstreitverfahren aus einer Hand.

Patentstreitverfahren sind in der Regel komplex und erfordern neben der rechtlichen und technischen Expertise eine gute Organisation und die richtige Strategie.

Unser internationales Team besteht aus erfahrenen deutschen und englischen Rechts- sowie englischen Patentanwälten. Neben umfangreicher grenzüberschreitender rechtlicher Erfahrung bieten wir somit auch technische Expertise, die wir gezielt für unsere Mandanten nutzen. Zudem sind wir in Deutschland durch langjährige Zusammenarbeit gut vernetzt und haben Zugriff auf exzellente Patentanwälte, die wir je nach technischem Gebiet und den Erfordernissen des Falles gezielt hinzuziehen. Hierdurch können wir für unsere Mandanten maßgeschneidert das beste Team für den konkreten Fall zusammenstellen.

Markenschutz und Wettbewerb

Marken sind ein Schlüsselfaktor für den Erfolg Ihres Unternehmens mit nicht zu unterschätzender Bedeutung. Sie stehen für die Qualität und Herkunft Ihrer Produkte und Dienstleistungen und schützen ihre Einzigartigkeit.

Wir wissen worauf es ankommt und helfen Ihnen dabei sich umfassend zu schützen.

Von der Kreation Ihrer Marke, ihrem Schutz bis hin zur Verteidigung bei Markenverletzungen, Kennzeichenmissbrauch und unlauterem Wettbewerb: Wir sind Ihr Partner in jeder Phase Ihrer Markenstrategie und stehen Ihnen jederzeit mit Rat und Tat zur Seite.

Standards und FRAND/RAND

Die Durchsetzung von standardessentiellen Patenten, wie auch die Verteidigung in entsprechenden Prozessen ist ein hochspezieller Nischenbereich des Patentrechts mit kartellrechtlichen Implikationen.

Die Beratung und Vertretung in diesem Bereich setzt neben einschlägigem Wissen um den Umfang der Standardabdeckung voraus, den parallelen Anforderungen einer Lizenzierung zu FRAND/RAND (engl.: fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory") Bedingungen gerecht zu werden. Hierbei ist insbesondere Erfahrung in der außergerichtlichen Korrespondenz und bei der Verhandlung entsprechender Lizenzverträge erforderlich.

EIP Legal hat umfassende praktische Erfahrung in standardessentiellen Streitverfahren mit FRAND Implikationen und vertritt aktuell Patentinhaber in diesem Bereich in Deutschland und England. Besonders hervorzuheben ist das durch EIP Legal erstrittene wegweisende Grundsatzurteil vor dem High Court of England & Wales in dem Verfahrenskomplex Unwired Planet ([2017]EW HC 711 (pat)), in welchem festgestellt wurde, dass die Patentinhaberin ihren FRAND Verpflichtungen entsprochen hat und in welchem sich ein europäisches Gericht erstmals zu der Bestimmung einer FRAND-Lizenz ausdrücklich geäußert hat.

Urheberrecht

Wir unterstützen Unternehmen und Kreative und begleiten Schaffensprozesse von Anfang an.

Wir beraten Sie bereits vor der Schöpfung Ihres Werkes mit Blick auf die Schutzvoraussetzungen, flankierende Schutzmöglichkeiten durch Marken, Designs und ggf. Patente, sowie Ihre Urheberpersönlichkeits- und Verwertungsrechte.

Wir entwerfen und gestalten Ihre Nutzungs- und Lizenzverträge und führen für Sie Vertragsverhandlungen. Wenn Ihre Urheberrechte verletzt wurden, kümmern wir uns um die Durchsetzung Ihrer Ansprüche.

Darüber hinaus vertreten wir Sie sowohl außergerichtlich als auch gerichtlich bei persönlichkeitsrechtsverletzenden Äußerungen und der Verletzung des Rechts am eigenen Bild.

Unsere Kanzlei engagiert sich verstärkt im kreativen Bereich und ist stolz darauf, in London eine enge Verbindung mit Europas größter Universität für Kunst und Design, der University of the Arts, zu pflegen. Dort sponsern wir Ausstellungsräume und begleiten Absolventen durch eigene Mentorenprogramme. EIP hat zudem mit den Chicago Lawyers of the Creative Arts zusammen gearbeitet und bietet in diesem Rahmen Unterstützung bei amerikanischen und europäischen urheberrechtlichen Auseinandersetzungen in der Film- und Musikbranche an.

Unsere Anwälte bieten zudem pro-bono IP-Beratung an und halten Vorträge und Seminare u.a. zum Thema "Urheberrecht für Urheber".

Ergänzende Schutzzertifikate

Ergänzende Schutzzertifikate – ein komplexes Thema betreffend die Verlängerung der Schutzdauer von Patenten für Arznei- oder Pflanzenschutzmittel.

Das europaweit einheitlich durch Verordnungen geregelte Recht der ergänzenden Schutzzertifikate wirft in seiner praktischen Anwendung umfangreiche Fragestellungen auf, die zu zahlreichen Vorlageentscheidungen des Europäischen Gerichtshofs geführt haben. Trotz vieler ergangener Entscheidungen entstehen immer wieder neue Fragestellungen, deren Beantwortung maßgeblich für die strategische Positionierung von Pharmaunternehmen ist.

Wir sind versiert im Umgang mit Rechtsstreitigkeiten bezüglich ergänzender Schutzzertifikate und beraten Mandanten regelmäßig hierzu.

Designrecht

Wir beraten einzelne Designer und Unternehmen bei Designrechtsverletzungen.

Das Design eines Produktes ist immer häufiger der bestimmende Faktor für seine Marktmacht. Es ist ein maßgeblicher Vermögenswert für jeden Designer oder Hersteller.

Ein Schlüsselaspekt bei der Durchsetzung oder Verteidigung eines Designs ist die Identifikation des Formschatzes, mit dem das angegriffene Design verglichen werden soll. Hier arbeiten wir eng mit unseren Europäischen Designanwälten in London zusammen und nutzen deren Ressourcen. Ein Umstand, den Sie so bei anderen Kanzleien nicht finden werden. Er erlaubt uns, die Erfolgschancen eines Verletzungsvorwurfs (oder einer Verteidigung dagegen) schnell und zutreffend einzuschätzen und Sie bezüglich der richtigen Strategie kompetent zu beraten.

Seit die online Bewerbung von Produkten und Designportfolios im digitalen Zeitalter Gang und Gäbe ist, hat dies zu einem (weltweiten) Anstieg von Verletzungen geführt. Denn dank des Internets ist es ein Leichtes geworden, geschützte Werke aufzufinden und zu kopieren. Das daraus resultierende grenzüberschreitende Wesen vieler design-basierter Verletzungen macht die Durchsetzung von Designrechten zu einer komplexen Aufgabe. Insbesondere für den einzelnen Designer und kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen.

Wir beraten Sie bei allen Fragen der Verletzung von Designrechten, auch im Zusammenhang mit der Problematik der Einfuhr verletzender Produkte von außerhalb der EU.

Betriebs- und Geschäftsgeheimnisse

Wir bieten fachkundige Beratung mit dem notwendigen Fingerspitzengefühl bei unberechtigtem Gebrauch von Betriebs- und Geschäftsgeheimnissen.

The formalities involved in any form of litigation will prove to be a distraction from a party's day to day operations – an even greater distraction, and burden, in cases involving more than one jurisdiction. Successful management requires an understanding of different court rules and procedures and the administrative burden of managing multiple law firms and the associated co-ordination of cases. The issues involved are particularly prevalent in pan-European litigation, where an overarching understanding of European law may also be required.

Through its offices in the UK, US and Germany, EIP can offer its clients litigation services in three key IP jurisdictions. Through the management experience of its litigation team (both private practice and in-house) the firm can also shoulder a wider burden for its clients by managing litigation teams in other jurisdictions.

Choosing the 'right' jurisdictions for a particular case can be a key strategy decision in itself. Our litigation team's experience of multijurisdictional litigation and knowledge of the interplay between different national procedures puts EIP in a prime position to advise on these issues.

Design-Rechte

Working with EIP's European Design Attorneys to advise individual designers and companies on design right infringement.

The design of a product is more often than not a key driver in determining its market power. It is a key asset for any designer or manufacturer.

However, in the digital age the promotion of products and design portfolios online is commonplace and has led to an increase in infringement (globally) due to the ease of identifying and copying works. The resultant cross border nature of many design-based infringements turns enforcement of design rights into a complex task, particularly for the individual designer and for SMEs.

EIP’s litigators regularly advise individual designers and companies on matters of design right infringement, including in relation to wider issues arising out of an infringement stemming from importation of infringing products from outside of the EU.

EIP’s litigators are equally comfortable advising designers and companies facing allegations of design right infringement. One key aspect of any design enforcement or defence is the identification of the design corpus with which to compare the design being asserted (to assess its validity). The ability of EIP’s litigators to interface with our in-house European Design Attorneys provides EIP Legal with access to a significant resource not found in traditional practices allowing for a quick and robust assessment of issues relating to validity and also the freedom of the nominal designer the purposes of assessing infringement (or defences thereto).

Litigation Updates

EIP retains rankings in Legal 500 UK 2023

The 2023 edition of the Legal 500 UK has been published and EIP has retained its rankings for its patent attorney and patent litigation practices.

For the second year running EIP's patent attorney practice is rated in the top tier and received feedback including: ‘Consistent, reliable, extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and very personable.’

Yet again EIP's combined patent offering received recognition: 'One rare aspect of EIP is that it is a firm both of solicitors and patent attorneys, the latter being highly relevant to (and important in) their work in patent litigation – the patent attorneys are usually heavily involved in the technical aspects of the litigation, providing essential input.'

Our top tier ranking patent attorneys received great client feedback including: 'the team at EIP has consistently shown an exceptional level of professionalism.' and 'the EIP patent attorneys I work with have all had great breadth and depth of knowledge of both the law and subject matter of our patent applications.' Several team members are listed in the rankings, in particular Heather McCannwho 'is outstanding, friendly and simply a leader in the field of patents' and Luke Galloway'is a real rising star and our go-to contact on our patent portfolio' while Laurence Brownis 'thorough, commercially minded, technically brilliant and an absolute pleasure to work with.'

EIP's patent contentious team is recognised as 'standout for its FRAND litigation capabilities' and 'unstuffy and its staff are very personable.' Head of EIP Litigation Gary Moss is ranked as a leading individual and noted as 'clearly an excellent patent litigator, and has done an impressive job of building EIP.’ and Robert Lundie Smith is ‘hardworking and conscientious’ with fellow partners Andrew Sharples, Matthew Jones, and Kathleen Fox Murphy also listed.

The Legal 500 rankings are based on feedback from 300,000 clients worldwide, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers, and a team of researchers who have unrivalled experience in the legal market.

UKIPO Case Studies Open the Black Box on Examining Patent Applications Relating to AI Inventions

On 22 September 2022, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published Enhanced Guidance on Examining Patent Applications Relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI) Inventions (referred to hereafter as the Guidance). The Guidance may be seen as an effort to address the concerns of certain respondents to the IPO’s Call for Views on AI and intellectual property (IP) earlier in the year, many of whom expressed that it is difficult to predict the outcome of IPO decisions on patentability of AI inventions, and that more favourable results are often obtained at the European Patent Office (EPO).

Along with the Guidance, the IPO published 18 case studies each involving a brief description and claim to an AI invention, along with reasoning on whether the AI invention is excluded from patentability. For this analysis, the IPO distinguished between “applied AI inventions” and “core AI inventions”.

The primary obstacles to the patentability of AI inventions in the UK are the exclusions under Section 1(2) of the Patents Act, and in particular those relating to mathematical methods and programs for computers as such. The Guidance broadly confirms that these exclusions are applied for AI inventions in the same way as for any other computer-implemented invention. Put simply, a computer-implemented invention is no more likely, or less likely, to fall foul of the exclusions by virtue of involving an AI technique as opposed to, say, a rules-based algorithm performing an equivalent function.

The relevant test as to whether the exclusions bite is the “technical contribution” test established by the Court of Appeal in Aerotel/Macrossan, along with the five “signposts to a relevant technical effect”, set out in their current form in HTC v Apple, indicating that the following factors can be used to determine whether computer-implemented invention makes a technical contribution:

i) whether the claimed technical effect has a technical effect on a process which is carried on outside the computer;

ii) whether the claimed technical effect operates at the level of the architecture of the computer; that is to say whether the effect is produced irrespective of the data being processed or the applications being run;

iii) whether the claimed technical effect results in the computer being made to operate in a new way;

iv) whether the program makes the computer a better computer in the sense of running more efficiently and effectively as a computer;

v) whether the perceived problem is overcome by the claimed invention as opposed to merely being circumvented.

The IPO defines an applied AI invention as one in which an AI technique is applied to a field other than the field of AI. An applied AI invention may perform a process or solve a problem lying outside the computer on which it runs, or may perform a process or solve a problem relating to the internal workings of the computer itself.

From the case studies, it can be inferred that an applied AI invention is unlikely to be excluded from patentability if it involves an AI algorithm processing measurements of a physical entity, separate from the computer on which the AI algorithm is run, in order to provide information about that physical entity or to generate a control signal. Case studies falling into this category include (1) an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system, (2) monitoring a gas supply for faults, (3) analysing and classifying movement from motion sensor data, (4) detecting cavitation in a pumping system, (5) controlling a fuel injector in a combustion engine in dependence on measurements of engine characteristics, and (6) measuring percentage of blood leaving a heart. In all of these cases, signposts (i) and/or (v) come to the rescue.

On the other hand, an applied AI invention is likely to be excluded from patentability if it involves processing data that is not derived from a physical system (generally corresponding to what the EPO refers to as administrative data). Case studies in this category include (7) automated financial instrument trading, and (9) identifying junk email based on its semantic content. Furthermore, little hope is held for AI inventions which perform a purely administrative function, such as (8) analysing patient health records to group patients into risk groups. Although in this example the input data may include measurements of physical entities (patients), the invention is not directed towards specific processing of these measurements, but instead towards generic processing that is agnostic to the physical nature of the data (in contrast with case studies (1) to (6) above). Such inventions are likely to be excluded as programs for a computer as such (and potentially also as business methods as such).

Those familiar with IPO practice in relation to computer-implemented inventions will probably consider most, if not all, of the above examples to be relatively clear-cut and predictable. Murkier waters are encountered when applying the exclusions to an applied AI invention that performs a process or solves a problem relating the internal workings of a computer. While many would not be surprised that the example of (10) cache management using a neural network manages to escape exclusion via signposts (ii), (iv) and (v), two further case studies are presented in which the exclusions are avoided, and these warrant careful consideration:

Case study (11): continuous user authentication. In this example, a determination is made of whether a current user of a computer is a malicious user, based on a comparison between behaviour scores calculated by a machine learning model for the current user and a known genuine user. The Guidance describes this functionality as monitoring the internal workings of the computer, and characterises the detection of a malicious user as solving a technical problem lying within the computer system. Therefore, the invention escapes exclusion by virtue of signposts (ii) and (v).

Case study (12): virtual keyboard with predictive text entry. In this example, a machine learning model predicts and ranks next words to be typed by a user of a virtual keyboard on a touch-screen device. The predicted words are displayed on the touch screen to alleviate the burden of manually typing the words. The Guidance indicates that this solves a technical problem concerning the operation of the device by improving the speed and accuracy of text entry, which in turn leads to a more efficient and effective device. Therefore, the invention escapes exclusion by virtue of signposts (iv) and (v)

Case studies (11) and (12) are instructive, and suggest that an applied AI invention that solves a problem relating to the internal functioning of the computer has a good chance of avoiding exclusion from patentability, where the definition of “the internal functioning of the computer” may be applied quite generously. It is worth noting that in the case studies presented as positive examples, the applied AI inventions are not limited to specific software applications (as may be the case for e.g. identifying junk email), but improve more generic aspects of the computing system, namely memory usage, security, and a user interface.

The IPO defines a core AI invention as an advance in the field of AI itself (e.g. an improved AI model, algorithm, or mathematical method).

Put bluntly, core AI inventions are much more likely to be excluded from patentability than applied AI inventions. In particular, innovation which results in an improved AI algorithm or method, irrespective of the hardware on which it is run, will likely run into trouble. Case studies which did not escape the exclusions involve (13) optimising a neural network, (14) avoiding unnecessary processing of data by a neural network, and (15) active training of a neural network.

By contrast, inventions in which specific hardware is leveraged to facilitate or improve the functioning of an AI algorithm, may avoid exclusion. Case studies in this category include (16) processing a neural network on a heterogeneous computing platform, (17) a special purpose processing unit for machine learning computations, and (18) a multiprocessor topology adapted for machine learning. In these examples, signpost (iii) may be invoked, along with possibly signpost (iv) if the innovation represents an improvement in the efficiency of existing hardware (there appears to be an error in the IPO’s publication here, which points to signpost (v) instead).

The Guidance briefly discusses the extent to which a dataset using in training an AI invention must be disclosed to satisfy the requirement of sufficiency of disclosure in the UK. In summary, an application relying upon features of a dataset to achieve a technical contribution should teach the details of the dataset in such a manner that the invention can be worked across the entire scope of the claim without undue burden. We expect that this can be achieved either by identifying at least one suitable publicly-available dataset, or by disclosing a procedure for collecting data to generate a suitable dataset. In the latter case, the burden of actually collecting the data would probably not be considered an undue burden, whereas having to guess or work out how to collect the data may well be an undue burden.

Unsurprisingly, one thing that remains unchanged is the elusive nature of the word “technical”. Nevertheless, the IPO’s case studies will undoubtedly prove useful in assessing whether to file a UK patent application for an AI invention, and if so in arguing for the patentability of the invention. Applicants will be on firmer ground to argue for patentability if they can draw analogy to one or more of the case studies, suggesting that the case studies could end up playing an important role in prosecution similar to the way that the Subject Matter Eligibility Examples published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can play an important role in the examination of US patent applications. The case studies are particularly illuminating in relation to AI inventions addressing problems relating to the internal functioning of a computer.

It is likely to remain difficult to obtain patent protection for core AI inventions in the UK, other than in the rare situations where the invention leverages a specific arrangement of hardware. In many instances, we do not see this to be a problem because the value in protecting core AI using patents at all is debatable, given the speed and incremental nature of advances in the field. If patent protection is desired, then the EPO may be a more favourable route provided that some innovative technical effect can be identified.

As an interesting aside, the Guidance suggests that an AI invention claimed as a hardware-only implementation (i.e. not relying on a programmable device), would automatically be exempt from exclusion under Section 1(2). This could provide an alternative route for protecting AI inventions (core or applied), if the reality of a hardware-only implementation has any commercial value.

Significant inventions that have gone under the mainstream radar

Most people interested in sports will be aware of Project 1.59 – Eluid Kipchoge’s 2019 first sub-2 hour marathon. Technology played a significant part; he had an arrow-shaped formation of lead runners to draft, a car to pace him and prototype shoes including a carbon fibre plate (which has been the subject of much discussion in the running world and has resulted in new rules about what shoes can be worn in competition).

But what about his fuelling? Kipchoge has relied on Maurten, a carbohydrate-based drink to fuel his runs for a number of years (and Maurten also sponsor professional cycling teams and Tottenham Hotspur FC).

More recently, I’ve been looking at my on-the-bike and triathlon fuelling strategies and found some intersection with my professional life as a patent attorney; there are a large number of companies selling energy powders which are made up into drinks, and many of them have filed patent applications directed to the composition. However, Maurten claim their powder/drink works in a unique way which offers athletes a competitive advantage and this grabbed my interest.

It has long been known that that drinking carbohydrate solutions during exercise increases performance. Ancillary fuelling products like energy bars and gels are now routinely available but many athletes find that high concentrations of sugar cause slower gastric emptying and gastro-intestinal distress. Manufacturers are trying to solve how to deliver higher carb loading in energy products, whilst maintaining digestibility. This is something of an arms race, with most manufacturers offering high-carb products which are said to be easier to digest. This is accompanied by investment in patent filings and spending of a sizeable chunk of marketing budgets trying to push the USP into consumer consciousness.

The Maurten solution is to use a powder composition which includes alginate (a seaweed component) and pectin (fruit fibre). On contact with the acidic environment of the stomach, the drink forms a hydrogel - a 3D network of hydrophilic polymers with a high water content. This hydrogel has matrix structure that encapsulates salts and carbohydrates present in the drink and allows effective transit through the stomach, with the carbohydrates and salts protected from the stomach acid. Once into the intestine, the hydrogel dissolves, and the body can absorb the salt and carbohydrates. This approach slows absorption of the carbohydrates and is said to make digestion easier.

Other manufacturers have other solutions; Science in Sport’s Beta Fuel and OTE’s Super Carb products both utilise specific ratios of maltodextrin to fructose to ‘optimise’ carbohydrate delivery. Which is best? The different technological approach taken my Maurten is certainly interesting and seems to have escaped general awareness despite some high profile use of the drink. However, in the end, most products claim to deliver similar carbohydrate concentrations so it probably comes down to personal preference!

Innovation is mushrooming

Everyone knows mushrooms. Most people eat them. But I suspect very few people have heard of mycelium, and even fewer will know of the innovative work that is going on around this material. Mycelium has the potential to change what you eat or wear, to provide plastic-free packaging alternatives and to upcycle waste food. Is this the biggest innovative technology to have gone under the mainstream radar?

Mycelium can be thought of as the ‘root structure’ of mushrooms. Mycelium is root-like, made up of a mass of branching, thread-like cells which can spread over substantial areas (acres and larger). The branched structures naturally extend and interweave to maximise surface area and the ability to distribute enzymes or carry nutrients. The cell walls include chitin (which is what give insect shells their strength). This means that the threads interweave to form a network which is strong, can resist substantial applied pressure and is resistant to water and decay. Moreover, mycelium is involved in the enzymatic degradation of foodstuffs (which can include toxins) to form nutrients.

So how will mycelium be used? Research is ongoing in two main streams:

Mycelium-based products are on the market an innovation is accelerating; patent filings are increasing. What does this mean for the public? It depends on the rate of progress, but food security and environmental credentials mean that this area is on-trend and is attracting significant investment. Perhaps the future is a fungus…

Are electric vehicles tackling climate change?

Governments across the world are encouraging the switch to electric vehicles as part of the global effort to combat climate change. California recently enacted regulations to require 100% of new vehicles sold in the state must be electric, hybrid or hydrogen-powered by 2035. The UK government is more ambitious, intended to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and for all new cars and vans to be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.

Consumers appear to be embracing electric vehicles; in 2021, 190,000 battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the UK. This was more than the five previous years combined, and nearly 1 in 8 of all new cars sold. We have all seen more electric vehicles on the road, and public transport is not being left behind. First Bus recently announced that it has placed one of the UK’s largest electric vehicle bus orders. So, the switch to electric seems to be well under way.

To cope with the increasing electric vehicles on our roads, carparks, workplaces and homes are including charging stations. The UK Government wants to have 300,000 public charge points as a minimum in the UK by 2030. However, 75% of electric vehicle charging is estimated to be from home.

The above table taken from the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES): electricity (updated 28 July 2022) shows the share of electricity sources of the national grid for the years 2015 to 2021.

It is clear the electricity which is charging the electric vehicles is not necessarily green. Volvo research for their C40 range shows if you charge a battery electric version with the global energy mix over 200,000 km driven, emissions are only about 20% less than the petrol version. Volvo also conclude that, even when charging with fully renewable energy, an electric vehicle only has lower overall emissions than the petrol version after driving 49,000 km!

Then there is the high carbon footprint of an electric vehicle’s Lithium-ion battery production to consider. Volvo’s reports note the battery has a contribution of approximately 30 per cent each to the total footprint of all materials and components in the C40 Recharge. Interestingly, one of the reasons for the high carbon footprint of producing lithium batteries is the source of energy used during the manufacturing process. Typically, the batteries are made in countries such as China that still today produces 60% of its electricity from coal.

The carbon footprint of an electric vehicle is thus inextricably linked to how green the electricity source is, not just in the use phase but during production too. It seems clear that we need to transition more quickly to renewables or low-carbon energy sources, which also may have a positive knock-on effect on today’s energy prices across Europe. The UK is currently building offshore wind farms with the world's largest offshore wind farm Dogger Bank currently under construction off the Northeast coast of England. In the Net Zero Strategy, Government set out that, subject to security of supply, all UK electricity will come from low carbon sources by 2035. Of course, the move to clean energy sources needs to be a worldwide effort to encompass the Lithium-ion battery production carbon footprints. The UK has also placed a high importance on Gigafactories which produce batteries for electric vehicles. Forecasts suggest that the UK will host up to eight gigafactories by 2040.

A key part of greening up our energy sources and lowering the carbon impact of electric vehicle production is innovation. Innovative ideas directed towards higher energy capture, easier installation, more efficient transport are just a few mechanisms of improving our current and future green sources. Patents can be used to protect these innovations and claim revenue to offset the R&D investment.

In 2011, electric vehicles overtook consumer electronics as the biggest growth driver for Li-ion battery-related inventions measured in terms of international patent families (IPFs), each of which represents a high-value invention for which patent applications have been filed at two or more patent offices worldwide.

While only some of these inventions may relate to improving the carbon footprint it seems plausible that certain improvements in battery technology also contribute to reduce the carbon footprint of running an electric vehicle. BASF have stated “By 2025, with our innovations in electric car battery materials, we aim to double the driving range of midsize cars from 300 to 600 km on a single charge.” Could increasing the range of an electric vehicle on a single charge reduce the overall energy consumption?

In recognition of the importance of green innovation the UKIPO has a green channel which speeds a patent toward grant if the invention has an environmental benefit. The UK was the first country to introduce the green channel and also further encourages innovation through tax relief incentives such as the patent box and R&D tax credits. Greater battery production in the UK has the potential to be both economically and environmentally favourable. While not yet in effect, there seems to be positive signs of China looking to implement green patent policies too.

So, are electric vehicles really tackling climate change? The answer seems to be an eventual yes. However, the importance of encouraging companies to innovate to reduce the global carbon footprint at all stages of the electric vehicle’s lifetime cannot be understated.

EIP launches regional hub in Sweden following strategic hires

EIP, the patent law firm specialising in high-value and complex matters, is expanding its presence in the Nordics by opening in Sweden. It is the international firm’s first Nordic office, and the move will bring the firm closer to its existing clients across the region and facilitate further expansion.

Ensuring it has an on-the-ground presence in the Nordics is a strategic move for EIP given the region’s highly intensive patenting landscape. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are all in the top five of countries with the most post patent applications per capita,* and the company will focus especially on the active life science, chemistry and digital sectors.

The new Sweden office will be led by experienced patent attorney Inga-Lill Andersson. Inga-Lill has a background in chemistry and biotech and joins from AWA, where she headed the Chemistry team in Stockholm before taking on the role as Business Area Manager for North Sweden.

Magnus Hallin, CEO of EIP, commented on the new office and hires:

“The expansion into Sweden is fantastic news as it gives us a base in the Nordics from which to support our existing clients in the region and also welcome new clients in the future. This expansion shows EIP’s commitment to growth in highly innovative countries where patents are core to development. Sweden is a hub for talent, and I am delighted that EIP will now have a base in the region from which to grow.”

Inga-Lill will be joined by Rikard Kånge, a patent attorney who specialises in polymer chemistry, surface chemistry and medtech and joins from a position as partner at Groth & Co where he worked for five years. Prior to Groth & Co he worked alongside Inga-Lill at AWA, focusing on clients within life science, pharma and medtech.

Further adding to the life science sector expertise, Ida Christensen will join the team from Brann, where she worked since 2008. She has worked mainly with biotech and medtech clients, but also as a patent examiner at the Swedish Patent Office responsible for the training and examination of fellow examiners.

Finally, EIP has hired digital expert Daniel Enetoft, who was previously CEO at a deep tech company developing artificial intelligence (AI) products and brings with him extensive experience of both private practice and working in-house. Daniel is based in the Lund/Malmö area of Sweden where he will work, as well as working from EIP’s Stockholm office.

Inga-Lill Andersson, new Head of the Stockholm office and EIP’s practice in Sweden, said:

“Myself and the rest of EIP’s new Sweden team are excited to be part of this new venture and are thrilled to be joining at such an exciting time for Swedish innovation across various sectors. We hope that we will contribute to EIP’s development more widely, and also look forward to expanding our horizons internationally and bringing our combined expertise to clients, both existing and new.”

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