New factory in Suzhou will produce the Touring, which is popular in UKScania and Higer cemented the nine-year relationship that spawned the successful Touring coach by opening a new, dedicated factory in China on Wednesday last week (9 November).Built in Suzhou in eastern China, the plant represents an equivalent investment of £23.5m and can produce over 1,000 coaches per year, including the Touring.So far, the partnership has seen the production of 2,035 coaches that have been exported to over 40 countries around the world, including the UK.Scania Great Britain has reported strong sales of the cost-effective Touring, which is mounted on a chassis manufactured in Sweden bodied in China by Higer and shipped to Antwerp, where internal fitting out takes place.Last week’s ceremony was attended by Scania President and CEO Henrik Henriksson, Higer General Manager Huang Shuping and Consul General of Sweden Lisette Lindahl.www.scania.co.uk
Earlier attempts at creating a Community Patent ended in failure, blocked by a few national governments. Far from boosting the EU’s economic competitiveness, they became symbolic of the EU’s failure to implement the Lisbon Agenda. But does this week’s consultation paper signal the Commission’s intention to give ground and to contemplate alternatives to an EU-wide patent?Businesses and lawyers have urged the Commission to back a 2003 proposal, drafted by countries belonging to the European Patent Office (EPO) – which includes EU members and other states such as Switzerland and Turkey – to create a single legal system for enforcing patent rights. This proposal, known as the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), would mean patent-holders could challenge infringement of their rights in one court and the judgement would be valid across the EU. But the suggestion has been blocked by the Commission on the grounds that it should retain exclusive jurisdiction in this area.For European business, the advantages of a pan-European judicial system are plain. It would dramatically cut the costs for patent holders and could boost their competitiveness vis-ˆ-vis other innovators, particularly in Japan or the US, which face much lower costs both in applying for patents and enforcing them. “The current patent system is working and the industry uses it, but there could be huge improvements,” said Ilias Konteas from European business association UNICE. “Irrespective of whether there is agreement on the Community Patent, the EPLA could be part of those improvements.”The EPLA scheme also has wide support from European judges and lawyers despite the legal difficulties involved in changing national patent law to fit the new system. In October, 24 top patent judges signed a resolution backing a proposal based on the EPLA.“Idealists would push for the Community Patent but I believe, and so do many others, that realistically the EPLA is the only alternative and it is one that would go a long way towards achieving the goals,” said Nigel Jones, head of intellectual property at Linklaters law firm in London.Though officially the Commission is still throwing its weight behind reaching an agreement on the Community Patent, a spokesman said that a shift on the EPLA “remains one of the big questions”.“But obviously we wouldn’t be launching a consultation if we didn’t think changes were going to have to be made,” he said.If the EPLA were implemented, it would also go some way to pacifying those, such as German Christian Democrat MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne, who have called for the alignment of national rules on patents. This would ensure that courts judging a case would be likely to come to the same conclusion – something that is not currently the case. All observers apart from the Commission seem convinced of the futility of pushing to establish an EU-wide patent. The latter idea dates back to 1975 when a proposal created total deadlock because it would have meant companies paying for translation into all EU languages and would have allowed one national court to condemn a patent throughout the EU.After decades of debate, the Commission in 2000 put forward a new proposal and national governments reached a compromise in March 2003 which would have the EPO issue patents that would be translated only into English, French or German and then in all languages within two years. A single court would have been exclusively responsible for infringement claims.But later that year, EU capitals failed to agree on the delay for translating patent claims and the legal validity of translations with errors.While France, Britain and Germany backed the two-year period, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and most new member states feared that their countries’ translation businesses would suffer and demanded a shorter time period. Ministers rejected a proposed compromise of nine months in March 2004. Similar political difficulties apply to another solution which was proposed in 2000 by countries that are signed up to the EPO to cut translation costs by 50%, known as the ‘London agreement’. Under this, members would waive their right to require a full translation into one of their national languages.Signed by 11 of the then 28 (now 31) EPO members, the agreement can only come into force once the UK, France and Germany have ratified it and so far France is stalling.
GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES The rankings, which will be updated weekly, are determined by the points each athlete earns based on their performances, with the standard of each competition taken into consideration and given weight.“The IAAF world rankings will drive and shape the global competition system including entry into future major championships and enable everyone in and interested in our sport to know who is No. 1 in the world,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said on the federation’s website.Sprinter Noah Lyles of the United States tops the men’s overall rankings after winning five 200-meter races since May, while Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who specializes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is the overall women’s world No. 1.Hirooki Arai, a Rio Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist, sits No. 2 in the men’s 50-km race walk rankings led by Ukraine’s Maryan Zakalnytskyy.At 18th in the world, Ryota Yamagata is the best Japanese sprinter in the high-profile men’s 100 rankings, which are led by American Ronnie Baker. Yoshihide Kiryu, who holds Japan’s national record at 9.98 seconds, sits 25th while Asuka Cambridge, who was a member of Japan’s Rio Olympic silver medal-winning 4×100 team along with Yamagata and Kiryu, is ranked 41st.According to the federation, the world rankings will not be used for qualification to the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.The IAAF will decide at a board meeting in March whether the rankings will be taken into consideration when determining which athletes qualify for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics. GENEVA – Koki Ikeda was named the first 20-km race walk world No. 1 when the International Association of Athletics Federations launched its new official rankings system on Tuesday.The 20-year-old Ikeda won his spot atop the list after placing in the top-5 in three races since February 2018. He won gold at May’s World Race Walking Team Championships in China and finished second and fourth in two domestic competitions. KEYWORDS IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 Koki Ikeda celebrates winning the men’s 20-km race walk at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships on May 6, in Taicang, China. | GETTY/ VIA KYODO RELATED PHOTOS Ryota Yamagata, IAAF, Koki Ikeda