Patents

Patents are monopoly rights which can last for a maximum of 20 years. Potentially extremely valuable, they prevent others from using, importing or selling an invention in the protected country without the owner’s permission. Patents are typically used to protect the way something works, what it is made of, how it is made or used, or what it does. (The visual appearance of a product is normally better protected by a registered design.)

We advise on all aspects of patent protection and policing – including watching and challenging third parties' rights. The particular approach we adopt changes from client to client and case to case, and is shaped by the particular technical and legal requirements.

Our service starts with identifying inventions and extends to drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications in the UK, before the European Patent Office and worldwide, including post-grant procedures. Beyond the preparation and prosecution of patents, our work encompasses: portfolio planning and management; searching for and watching third party rights; infringement and validity opinions; licensing; renewals; and due diligence exercises.

Our experience in policing patents and in litigation and dispute resolution is equally deep. In particular, we have represented clients before the Opposition Divisions and Appeal Boards of the European Patent Office, and before the UK Courts (either alone or as part of a team with solicitors and/or barristers as required). We also have partners who are certified UK Patent Attorney Litigators.

Recognised for our expertise in UK and European patent matters, our team is ranked in the top tier by Managing Intellectual Property, The Legal 500 and Chambers directories. 

If you have any questions about our patent expertise and how we could put it to work for your organisation, please start by meeting our patents team.

If you’d like to know more about patents, please use the links below.

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Recent judgment on informal variation of contracts

In an interesting judgment last month their Lordships have deemed that a commercial contract can be varied by oral agreement or conduct of the parties.

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‘We have lift-off’: Recruitment for UPC Judges has launched

The recruitment process for both legally and technically qualified Judges of the Unified Patent Court (Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal) has been launched.

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Orphan Medicinal Products

On the opposite end of the spectrum to so-called blockbuster drugs, ‘orphan drugs’ can also be appealing - and frustrating - to pharmaceutical companies. A recent Decision by the General Court of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), subsequently upheld on appeal, underlines the strong protection available for Orphan Medicinal Products developed to treat rare diseases.

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Europe's new Unified Patent Court: Managing your freedom to operate

With Europe’s new patent court, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), potentially coming into being early next year, Kilburn & Strode partners Alexander Korenberg and Nick Shipp explore how the new system can be used to manage the increased freedom to operate risks associated with the UPC and compare EPO Oppositions and UPC revocation actions as one aspect.

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