Edwards Lifesciences AG v Cook Biotech Inc
21 October 2009 Category News
A recent case in the UK Patents Court (Edwards Lifesciences AG v Cook Biotech Inc) has emphasised the importance of regularising ownership of patent applications at the earliest opportunity. The case involved the question of who is entitled to make a priority claim. The court decided that a priority claim on a patent application is only valid when the applicant is either the person who filed the priority application or their successor in title at the date the right to priority is claimed. The court further held that the validity of the priority claim could not be improved by an applicant subsequently acquiring ownership of the priority application.
This contrasts with the law relating to the ownership of patents in the UK which only requires that the applicant is the inventor, the legal owner or a successor in title when the patent is granted.
In practice, when filling a new patent application in the UK which claims priority from an earlier application and where the intended applicant(s) of the new application differs from the applicant(s) of the earlier application, care should be taken to ensure that the legal right to claim priority from the earlier application has been correctly transferred before the priority claim is filed in the UK. If this is not possible, the applicant(s) of the earlier application should be named as the applicant(s) on the new UK application with the intention that a transfer of the new application to the new owners is subsequently registered
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