2022 recap: IP, science and technology trends that shaped last year – Lexology

From developments in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to the exploration of space, there have been numerous advancements plus trends in the fields of science and technology that have garnered attention. IP has played a crucial role and has allowed innovators to reach new horizons with the help of IP protection. In this article, we have focused on some of the most exciting plus influential styles that possess dominated throughout 2022.

Artificial intelligence and progress in patentability

AI and ML have gone from strength to power in the last couple of years – plus the development of these technologies shows no sign associated with slowing down. Moving forward, it is clear – as it has been for a while – that AI will play a considerable role in our everyday lives. With these types of technology becoming progressively more commercialised, and with an increasing number of AI/ML patent applications making their way through the various patent offices, there is an escalating amount of consideration associated with the patentability of these technologies. For example, the UK Intellectual Property Office has recently released the guidance note on the protection of AI inventions. While this guidance note will be far from perfect, it is an indication of the desire for patent workplaces to provide more concrete assistance for an uncertain area. As AI/ML patent applications become increasingly commercialised, we might expect to see a commensurate number of court decisions that provide further guidance for applicants.

Free-from sector continues to grow throughout 2022

The market with regard to free-from products, which include non-dairy milk, low or no-alcohol beverages, and meat alternatives, offers seen significant growth all through 2022 due to a variety of factors. This includes health concerns, increasing awareness of food sensitivities, and concerns about the environmental impact of traditional meat plus dairy items. This market is now predicted to be worth $1 trillion by 2026. Leading companies, like Unilever, are looking to significantly expand their offerings within this area in order to compete for some of this ballooning market share. Because a result, there is expected to be intense competition among established free-from brands, new entrants, and conventional food and drink companies hoping in order to enter the market. However , as the cost of living rises, innovation relating to more cost effective methods of producing these products may come in order to the forefront.

Brands in this growing market are becoming more aware of the effectiveness of IP in safeguarding their own market share. For example , on 9 March 2022, Impossible Foods Inc started infringement proceedings against Motif FoodWorks. Impossible Foods considers Motif’s sale of HEMAMITM – a bovine myoglobin composition which “tastes plus smells like meats because it uses the same naturally occurring heme protein”, along with burgers produced containing the HEMAMITM molecule, to infringe the particular claims of their patent. In response, Motif FoodWorks has requested a review of the validity associated with Impossible Food’s patent. In addition to the legal risks, brands must also consider the particular potential effect on their particular reputation when pursuing litigation, as exemplified by Oatly’s unsuccessful suit against Glebe Farm Food items, which led to negative publicity and social media backlash. As the free-from marketplace continues in order to expand, the potential regarding intellectual property disputes will also increase. While legal action may be necessary in some cases, the cost of litigation is the factor to be taken into consideration. Depending on the particular facts of the case, alternative methods for resolving disputes may be worth exploring.

Blockchain – is there a chance associated with a crypto comeback?

Publicly traded cryptocurrencies have suffered huge losses in the past few months, and several prominent exchanges have got collapsed, so at first glance blockchain might seem in order to be a doomed technologies. Nevertheless , blockchain continues to be a good area of interest across many industries and a substantial quantity of patent applications are still being filed for this technology. While the days of rampant speculation and valuations built on hype alone seem likely to be at an end, right now there does still seem in order to be potential for blockchain systems to make it to market.

While cryptocurrencies and blockchain are synonymous to much of the population, many blockchain innovations – and patent applications – are not directed towards cryptocurrencies, so even if the cryptocurrency markets do not recover there is no reason to think the particular recent troubles are a death knell intended for all blockchain technologies. And from an IP point of view, the increased scrutiny of blockchains might well increase the relevance associated with patent protection. With buzz and good marketing no longer being sufficient to gain the interest of investors, evidence of innovation is likely to turn out to be an ever more important factor in bringing blockchains to promote.

Personalised therapies are upon the rise

2022 has been another exciting 12 months for personalised cell immunotherapies. These take immune cells and modify them so that they can kill tissues in the particular body associated with a disease. To date, they have normally used the patient’s own tissue, but this year saw important steps in the development of treatments based on donor cells. These have long been sought after, as they remove the need to tailor an individual’s own cellular material, and allow treatments to be made available faster, plus potentially for a larger amount of patients.

Two stories of particular interest occurred at the end of the yr. Base editing was successfully used for the first time to create modified T-cells that provided the therapy to get a patient with otherwise untreatable T-cell leukaemia. The particular complex approach was needed to allow the particular modified cells to kill cancerous T-cells, but not damage each other. The treatment proved a great success, and appeared to completely eradicate the cancer. Inside other exciting news, the particular European Commission issued the world’s first marketing authorisation for a good ‘off the particular shelf’ T-cell immunotherapy based on modified cells obtained from healthy donors.

Climate change continues in order to spark clean tech development

In 2022, we now have seen the continued growth associated with clean tech, with particular developments within clean energy generation plus technologies to adapt to the impact of climate modify. One of the most notable technological advancements has been the particular recent announcement that scientists at the National Ignition Facility have achieved nuclear fusion ignition, generating a hydrogen fusion reaction that released more power than was required in order to initiate the reaction. This is a significant milestone towards building the first nuclear blend power plant which – if accomplished – could produce energy without releasing greenhouse gases and without generating the radioactive by-products associated with nuclear fission power.

Technological developments in thoroughly clean tech are also likely to be influenced by the outcomes of the particular COP27 conference , especially the agreement regarding a ‘loss and damage’ fund for vulnerable countries. The particular fund will help developing nations adjust to climate change by financing innovation in areas such as sea defences or breeding crops that can better withstand drought. All these adaptations will require fast paced innovation in order to help keep up with the implications associated with climate alter, leading to an increase inside inventions plus patent programs relating to climate adaptation technologies.

Unified Patent Court makes great strides – prepare for 2023 launch

Following a series of setbacks and delays in previous years, 2022 was a year in which the long-awaited Unitary Patent (UP) and Unified Obvious Court (UPC) finally began to pick up momentum.

The year began along with Austria getting the thirteenth country in order to formally ratify the Protocol on Provisional Application, a necessary move to allow the final stages of preparatory work for the particular UPC in order to commence. These types of included the official recruitment plus appointment associated with judges and court staff, and the finalisation of the Court’s IT systems. Selection plus appointment associated with judges took place, with the particular final list (barring two remaining vacancies) being made public in October. However , some questions remain as to how conflicts of interest will be managed given the fact that will the judicial appointments consist of a number of practitioners working in-house or within private practice, who will become permitted to act as UPC judges on the part-time basis.

Another substantial development took place when the Netherlands pulled out of the particular race in order to host the section of the particular UPC’s Central Division which usually had originally been destined for London. This leaves Italy – specifically, Milan – while the only publicly-declared candidate to host the “London” section, which will deal with life sciences and pharma cases, along with Paris and Munich hosting the other sections of the Central Division. With five months to go before the particular UPC is usually expected to open its doors, might we expect a good official statement on the final arrangements for the Main Division in the in the next couple of months?

Amid all this progress, it was anticipated that Germany would complete its ratification of the particular UPC Agreement in December 2022, paving the way for an April release date. Nevertheless , problems with finalising the particular electronic situation management system gave increase to a last-minute delay. It’s right now expected that Germany will certainly complete its ratification within February 2023, with the start of the ‘sunrise period’ (allowing early registration associated with opt-outs) scheduled for 1 March 2023 and the opening from the UPC on one June 2023.

Although predictions of start dates possess come plus gone previously, it really looks like 2023 will be the season of the UPC as well as the UP system. Now is the particular time to make decisions whether to leave existing particular portfolios within the UPC’s jurisdiction or to opt out, as well as regardless of whether to use the UPC pertaining to infringement/revocation actions, and to decide on whether or not to validate European patents as UPs once the particular possibility becomes available.


The future is always uncertain and there are numerous possibilities meant for what can happen in the wonderful world of science and technology. One question that will remains is whether cryptocurrencies may regain popularity and whether plant-based diets will continue to end up being a trend. However , there is one development that is certain to bring significant switch to the field of intellectual house: the implementation from the UPC.