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A Year in Patents - 2020

Issue 4

Editor's Note

Welcome to our annual review of patent law and practice developments.

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Patentability, Entitlement and Validity

The approach to AI related inventions has been the focus of both judicial and regulatory consideration, alongside an assessment by the Supreme Court of the approach to insufficiency.

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In 2020, the Courts continued to consider infringement on the basis of both the normal interpretation and the doctrine of equivalents.

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2020 was again a busy year for FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) and SEPs (standard essential patents) cases in the UK courts, with multiple hearings often occurring in relation to the same parties.

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The Courts considered a range of interesting points on remedies in 2020 including relating to the grant of interim injunctions and public interest defences.

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Practice and Procedure

Common themes in 2020 include the preferred approach for instructing experts, as well as the framework for constructing confidentiality clubs.

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Supplementary Protection Certificates

As well as developments arising as a result of Brexit, both the CJEU and UK Courts issued important SPC decisions in 2020.

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The existing regime for obtaining patent protection via a UK patent granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) or for a European Patent designating the UK via the European Patent Office has not changed following the end of the Brexit transition period. The UK is a participating member state of the European Patent Convention and this continues to be the case after 1 January 2021.

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