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. Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

    Links for the day



  2. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  3. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  4. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  5. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  6. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  7. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  8. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  9. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  10. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  11. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete



  12. ODF on the Rise

    Milestones for OpenDocument Format (ODF) and the launch of FixMyDocuments



  13. Links 17/9/2014: CoreOS, ChromeOS, and systemd

    Links for the day



  14. Italy is Cracking Down on Microsoft's Monopoly Abuse While Gradually Moving to GNU/Linux

    Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs



  15. OpenSUSE's 'Assurances' Are Classic MBA School Hogwash

    OpenSUSE is not part of any commitment, except for SUSE's; the impact of the Novell/SUSE acquisition casts uncertainty on the project's future



  16. Links 16/9/2014: Firefox OS Smartphones in Bangladesh, “Treasure Map” of the Internet

    Links for the day



  17. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism



  18. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  19. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  20. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  21. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  22. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  23. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  24. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  25. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  26. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  28. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  29. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day



  30. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

    The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President has a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption


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