EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.17.09

Is the EPO Selling Out to Microsoft?

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Alison Brimelow

ACCORDING TO THE FFII, the EPO which is headed by Alison Brimelow (above) is perhaps acting against common sense and violating ethical guidelines by allowing the European Parliament no room in an important debate over software patents. What about the EBoA, which seems to be neglected for the time being?

“Microsoft-sponsored Czech presidency is working to ram software patents down the throat of the EPO using the so-called ‘Community’ patent.”Meanwhile, as we’ve been seeing recently [1, 2], the Microsoft-sponsored Czech presidency is working to ram software patents down the throat of the EPO using the so-called ‘Community’ patent. Those scare quotes are there to indicate that it’s one of these words which come to mean exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to mean, similar examples being “globalisation”, “harmonisation”, “libertarian”, “democracy”, and “conservative”. It’s an attack on people’s vocabulary and their ability to express ideas, even the ability to criticise what becomes glorified euphemisms.

The ‘Community’ patent is very anti-community in the sense that it’s means for banning Free software which is developed by real communities. According to IAM Magazine (subscription needed), the Czech deputy prime minister is the latest among the culprits.

Only last week the Czech deputy prime minister was saying: “The key to innovation at times of crisis is incentivisation. Lack of IPR can be fatal to SMEs, who are the main drivers of our economy and who, according to many studies, outperform larger firms in terms of technological importance of their innovations.” For this reason, he continued, the Czech presidency of the EU is “deeply committed” to finding solutions to the current Community patent and single jurisdiction impasses. It truly is a funny old world; especially in Europe

The rather alarming new press release is added below, in full. It sure seems like the EPO too has become part of this charade and already, as Microsoft’s Marshall Phelps put it quite recently, the EPO “can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”


EPO seeks to validate software patents without the European Parliament

Brussels, 17 March 2009 — At the highest level of the European Patent Office (EPO), the legality of software patents in Europe is about to be tested. The FFII warns that the European Parliament is being bypassed by allowing a decision with EU-wide implications to be made without its involvement or any real debate.

The President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Alison Brimelow, has asked the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) to decide on the interpretation of the European Patent Convention (EPC) regarding the exclusion of software from patentability. The EBA is replacing the European Parliament in order to validate software patents EU-wide without the need of a debate.

Benjamin Henrion, President of the association, says: “The current plan of the patent lobby is very clear: avoid a new software patent directive, validate the EPO practice via a central patent court, and guide the hand of the courts via a decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. They want to avoid the intervention of the European Parliament in substantive patent law.”

The European Parliament has already criticized the lack of separation of powers within the EPO in its resolution of March 2000 on human cloning: “Considering that the EPO is an institution acting as judge and party, where the attributions and procedures have to be revised. [...] Demand the revision of rules of function of the EPO in order to guarantee that this institution can publicly justify the accountability in the exercise of its functions [...].”

Influential persons such Alfons Schäfers, German lawyer and President of GRUR, were pointing at the lack of democratic control over the EPO and was calling for a return within the EU legal framework: “The EPO should become part of the European Union, like the OHIM in Alicante. To keep the EPO outside that framework is quite ridiculous at a time when the EU is expanding to the political and historical boundaries of Europe. The EU institutions – especially the European Parliament, must be given the wherewithal to exercise firm democratic control and to frame and implement European patent legislation. That is the only way to overcome the European Parliament’s growing suspicion of patent law.”

Henrion finishes: “What the EPO is doing is taking the place of the Parliament and skip the debate. The objective of this move is to guide the hand of the judges in order to achieve validation of software patents without a new law.”

Interested parties have up to the last day of April to send their comments to the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  2. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  3. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  4. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  5. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  6. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  7. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  8. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  9. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  10. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  11. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  12. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  13. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  14. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  15. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  16. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  17. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  18. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  19. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  20. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  21. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  22. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  23. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  24. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  26. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  27. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  28. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  29. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  30. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts