18 November 2005

IP/it-Update - Case Notes on Priority and Construction of Claims

Two more old case notes form the old NIPCLAW site updated and transposed, ladies and gents: one on the EPO president's reference of 29 July 1998 on what constitutes priority for the purpose of art 4A (1) of the Paris Convention and art 87 (1) of the EPC and the other on General Clutch Corporation v Sbriggs Pty Ltd an Australian decision on the meaning of "comprising" in a patent claim. The interesting point about General Clutch is that Mr Justice Lindgren referred to dicta of Sir John Bennett, Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster, in Chain Bar Mill v Wild (1939) 56 RPC 446 which reminded me that there was once a time when patent cases used to take place in the North.

Despite the brave words of the professor (whose name I have forgotten) who closed the first day of the BEX North West exhibition at the Manchester International Convention Centre that Manchester is a new city for the new economy I could not help but reflect on the extent to which times have changed. Overall it was a good show and congratulations to all concerned, but while the Patent Office and Manchester Patent Library managed to make an appearance there was only one trade mark agent, one firm of solicitors and no patent agents. There was a trace of cultural cringe. In a hypothetical chaired by Anthony Wilson and sponsored by Pannone there was a long winded and I hope improbable story about some plucky Wythenshawe motherboard manufacturers harassed by London bankers, a Chinese villain named after the founder of the modern Chinese nationalists (I hope nobody is looking for business from Taiwan) and some very speculative journalism. I walked out just before the denouement because I heard a loudspeaker announcement that drinks were on offer. Give the hypothetical a miss next year, lads.

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