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Dr Nigel Tucker

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Memberships
  • CIPA
  • EPI
  • Institute of Physics
Qualifications
  • European Patent Attorney
  • Chartered Patent Attorney
  • Chartered Physicist
  • PhD Surface Science, University of Liverpool
  • BSc Physics, University of Liverpool

While my academic background lies in physics (I have a PhD in Surface Physics), I have spent most of my professional life specialising in the field of aerospace. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly having an impact in this field, and I have now worked on many patent applications resulting from these developments.

I spent an early part of my career as an in-house Patent Attorney for BAE Systems, with responsibility for their research and development centres, and I have been constantly involved in aerospace work since moving to Boult. Hence, I have developed a great deal of expertise in the field. Inevitably, this has included more or more experience of working on AI-related patent applications as this exciting new tool has been increasingly applied to aerospace problems.

An example is the use of AI in non-destructive evaluation of structures, such as those found in aircraft and other vehicles. Such systems often make use of networks of sensors that monitor the structure and look for signals indicative of damage such as cracks within composite structures that will grow and eventually lead to failure of the structure. These sensors generate a huge amount of data, both from healthy and increasingly damaged structures that are now being used to train AI to identify damage and even potential damage at an earlier stage.

Another major area of application for AI is that of automation. I am seeing this being applied increasingly in aerospace, particularly in unmanned vehicles that are seeing ever-increasing levels of autonomy. The uses of AI and ML are becoming more and more diverse, and it will be fascinating to see how this continues over the coming years and how patent law responds.

As in any emerging area of technology, patent law around the world takes time to harmonise. Consequently, drafting patent applications relating to AI and ML requires special care to ensure that the different requirements can be met. This is also true when bringing patent applications drafted elsewhere into Europe. The amendments we make upon filing in Europe align patent applications better with the European Patent Office and UK Intellectual Property Office’s specific requirements regarding AI inventions, and lead to greater success for our clients.

Recent experience

Amending US-filed patent applications prior to filing in Europe to ensure they comply with requirements specific to the European Patent Office, thereby avoiding objections being raised that might otherwise prevent grant of a patent.

Assisting a client developing a new product with review of intellectual property and developing an IP strategy to protect multiple inventions in a cost effective manner.

Representing a client in an opposition case that is being keenly contested, first before the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office, then the Board of Appeal and, after a successful appeal, once more before the Opposition Division.

Publications
  • Contributing author on Concise European Patent Law, published by Kluwer Law International.
Relevant Search Terms
Recommended Sites
Suggested Media
Recognitions
Additional Info
Languages
“The uses of AI and machine learning are becoming more and more diverse, and it will be fascinating to see how this continues over the coming years and how patent law responds.”
Aerospace     
  • Commercial aviation
  • Defence and security
  • Space and satellites
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Automotive   
  • Electric vehicles
  • Engines
Communications and networks       
  • Cloud computing
  • Wired and wireless networks
Computing and software      

Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Communications and networks
Data and software security, cryptography and digital rights management (DRM)
Data management and storage, databases and data compression
Digital assistants, virtual assistants and software agents
FinTech and AdTech
Machine vision
Metaverse, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
Multimedia, audio/video processing and animation
Robotic process automation
Signal processing
Software applications and systems, mobile applications, user interfaces

Communications and networks
Consumer goods and retail  
  • Anti-counterfeit devices
    Beauty
    Fashion
    Food and beverage
    Health, fitness and sport
    Household goods
Electronics and electrical devices    
  • Computer and IT architecture and system design
    Medical devices
    Optics
    Robotics
    Scientific instruments
    Semiconductor devices
    Testing systems, control systems, signal processing
    Wearable tech and human interfaces
Energy and green technologies        
  • Fuel cells and battery technology
  • Water, oil and gas, nuclear, fusion, fission
Industrial manufacturing and processing      
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Printing tech
Materials       
  • Advanced materials
  • Composite materials
  • Metallurgy and alloys
  • Nanotechnology
Medical devices and diagnostics      
  • Devices
    Diagnostic Instruments
    Digital health
    MedTech

While my academic background lies in physics (I have a PhD in Surface Physics), I have spent most of my professional life specialising in the field of aerospace. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly having an impact in this field, and I have now worked on many patent applications resulting from these developments.

I spent an early part of my career as an in-house Patent Attorney for BAE Systems, with responsibility for their research and development centres, and I have been constantly involved in aerospace work since moving to Boult. Hence, I have developed a great deal of expertise in the field. Inevitably, this has included more or more experience of working on AI-related patent applications as this exciting new tool has been increasingly applied to aerospace problems.

An example is the use of AI in non-destructive evaluation of structures, such as those found in aircraft and other vehicles. Such systems often make use of networks of sensors that monitor the structure and look for signals indicative of damage such as cracks within composite structures that will grow and eventually lead to failure of the structure. These sensors generate a huge amount of data, both from healthy and increasingly damaged structures that are now being used to train AI to identify damage and even potential damage at an earlier stage.

Another major area of application for AI is that of automation. I am seeing this being applied increasingly in aerospace, particularly in unmanned vehicles that are seeing ever-increasing levels of autonomy. The uses of AI and ML are becoming more and more diverse, and it will be fascinating to see how this continues over the coming years and how patent law responds.

As in any emerging area of technology, patent law around the world takes time to harmonise. Consequently, drafting patent applications relating to AI and ML requires special care to ensure that the different requirements can be met. This is also true when bringing patent applications drafted elsewhere into Europe. The amendments we make upon filing in Europe align patent applications better with the European Patent Office and UK Intellectual Property Office’s specific requirements regarding AI inventions, and lead to greater success for our clients.

Recent experience

Amending US-filed patent applications prior to filing in Europe to ensure they comply with requirements specific to the European Patent Office, thereby avoiding objections being raised that might otherwise prevent grant of a patent.

Assisting a client developing a new product with review of intellectual property and developing an IP strategy to protect multiple inventions in a cost effective manner.

Representing a client in an opposition case that is being keenly contested, first before the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office, then the Board of Appeal and, after a successful appeal, once more before the Opposition Division.

Publications
  • Contributing author on Concise European Patent Law, published by Kluwer Law International.
Relevant Search Terms
Recommended Sites
Suggested Media
Recognitions
Additional Info

Insights

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Bulletin

Priority following consolidated cases G1/22 and G2/22

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Bulletin

The end of the EPO’s ten-day notification rule

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Bulletin

Proposed changes to US patent law – patent eligibility, inter partes review and post grant review

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UPC

Initial thoughts after one week of the Unified Patent Court

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UPC

New UPC Central Division location announced to be Milan

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Bulletin

2023 Changes to the EPO Guidelines – Section F-IV, 3.4 – Inconsistencies

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Bulletin

Increases in the European Patent Office’s Official Fees.

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Bulletin

Changes to the EPO Guidelines for Examination.

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Bulletin

Electronic signing of assignments.

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INSIGHTS