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

05.17.10

Backlash Against The European Patent Office (EPO), The Extended Board of Appeal (EBoA), and Trolls-Friendly Patent Systems

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alison Brimelow

Summary: Why the EBoA does not resolve Europe’s problem with software patents; the patent systems continue to favour monopolies with imaginary arsenals, not inventors with concrete ideas

THE EBoA decision has thus far been covered by us in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is the conclusion of one long comment from Groklaw.

Indeed, I fail to see anything positive in this ruling.

Gary Barnett has assessed this and he writes: “Sheesh – EPO’s decision not to conduct review is apalling! Software is STILL patentable in Europe, rules are STILL inconsistent”

A Swedish member of the FFII (see FFII.se) argues that the “European Patent Office bites its tail in order [to] blur what’s patentable – again”:

This week, we finally learned that the questions The European Patent Office (EPO) sent two year ago to clarify what can be patented where inadmissible by its own patent high court, The Extended Board of Appeals (EBA). Its all the usual mess from EPO with slippery and indecisive wordings creating endless loops without clarifications.

[...]

To put an extra spin on this mess, the EPO PR interpret this non decision as a win for software patents. Hilarious and said, since this is just right – leaving questions unanswered and matters diffused is just was has created this situation from the start.

Florian comments about the Defensive Patent Licenses (DPL) which was brought up by a Microsoft writer just over a week ago [1, 2]. He still dislikes IBM’s stance on patents (rightly so) and writes: “How useful the DPL is going to be remains to be seen. Being better than IBM’s and similar pledges is a low hurdle and I’m quite confident the DPL will set a far higher standard in that regard. The toughest test, however, will be inhowfar such a initiative can affect not only the decisions of benevolent parties but also those of malicious aggressors. Only getting the “good guys” to contribute to a defense initiative isn’t enough to make a really noteworthy difference if there isn’t going to be a major impact on the “bad guys”. That will be a key criterion for gauging the potential effectiveness of the DPL.”

He also wrote to us to say:

It will still take weeks if not months before the Defensive Patent Licenses (DPL) is published. This is a first look into the issue, to the extent that it’s possible to comment prior to having seen the proposal. So far, no compelling reason for anyone to contribute patents is visible, but maybe the final thing will offer one if its authors figure out a way to achieve an increase in retaliatory potential for those who join. Even if it might end up being unable to make any noteworthy difference, it’s at least a sincere attempt to solve a problem in part, unlike the “pledges” made by IBM, Sun and others.

Concerning the state of the anti-swpat movement, I had explained to you in a recent email how hopeless the situation is with those SMBs. The post on the DPL doesn’t elaborate on it in such detail but explains that absent a forceful push for abolition, defensive approaches should at least be looked into constructively…

That part about SMBs is noteworthy. Florian used to consult for them and they know the headache of software patents.

Meanwhile, the president of the FFII says that “Patent Trolls seems to be a sector specific issue” and asks, “high correlation with software patents?” Here is the data (“Ranking of Operating Companies by Number of NPE Lawsuits”) and here is what Patently-O wrote some days ago about “Patenting by Small-Entities”:

The number of small-shop innovators continues to dwindle. In a sample of recently issued patents,* only 20% claim “small entity” status. Of those, 30% (6% of the total) are held by the original inventors.** According to the PTO Rules, large universities and non-profits still qualify as for the small entity price-break so long as the patents-in-question have not be assigned or licensed to a non-qualifying entity. At least 12% of the small entity patents are assigned to universities or non-profits. These small entities include multi-billion-dollar operations including Battelle Energy Alliance, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the Korean government funded ETRI. The remaining small entity patents are largely held by companies and partnerships such as Audible Magic, PixArt Imaging, and Alverix.

In other words, this confirms our long-standing allegation that the patent system serves large companies and harms the smaller ones. The system has lost sight of its original goals. Moreover, as we pointed out some days ago, this system is exceedingly tolerant of patent trolls and TechDirt provides yet more proof of that:

Court Won’t Move Patent Lawsuit Out Of East Texas, Despite Plaintiff’s ‘Ephemeral’ Connection To Texas

[...]

As has been discussed plenty of times, a disproportionate number of patent lawsuits are filed in East Texas, under the belief that the venue is the most friendly to patent holders (there is some debate lately about how accurate this is, but either way it remains, by far, the most popular place for patent lawsuits). This happened even in cases where there was clearly no reason for the case to be heard in Texas. My favorite is the story of two San Jose, California companies, whose offices were blocks away from each other… who ended up in an East Texas court to fight a patent battle. Two years ago, the Federal Circuit suggested courts should be more willing to transfer cases that don’t really belong in their district — a clear warning shot at East Texas.

This system favours lawyers/trolls and monopolies, not innovation. Unless evidence contradictory to this claim is presented (we have seen none), it seems pretty safe to establish it as truth.

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. The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

    The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation



  2. Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

    Links for the day



  3. What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  4. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  5. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  6. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  7. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  8. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  9. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives



  10. Released Late on a Friday, EPO Social 'Study' (Battistelli-Commissioned Propaganda) Attempts to Blame Staff for Everything

    The longstanding propaganda campaign (framing staff as happy or framing unhappy staff as a disgruntled minority) is out and the timing of the release is suspicious to say the least



  11. Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

    Links for the day



  12. White Male-Dominated EPO Management Sinks to New Lows, Again

    Benoît Battistelli continues to make the EPO look like Europe's biggest laughing stock by attempting to tackle issues with corny photo ops rather than real change (like SUEPO recognition, diverse hiring, improved patent quality, and cessation of sheer abuses)



  13. Journalism 102: Do Not Become Like 'Managing IP' or IAM 'Magazine' (the Megaphones of the EPO’s Management)

    Another look at convergence between media and the EPO, which is spending virtually millions of Euros literally buying the media and ensuring that the EPO's abuses are scarcely covered (if ever mentioned at all)



  14. Journalism 101: Do Not Believe Anything That Benoît Battistelli and the EPO's Management Say (Also Don't Fall for the UPC Hype)

    A survey/review (or an overview) of recent articles about the EPO and why they're wrong (mostly because they parrot the official lies from Battistelli's department)



  15. Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM 'Magazine' Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

    Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent



  16. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More 'Linux Patent Tax'

    Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn's MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)



  17. Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

    Links for the day



  18. Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat's Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

    Links for the day



  19. The Patent Law Firms in the US Relentlessly Lobby for Software Patents Resurgence by Placing Emphasis Only on Rare Outcomes

    Decisions against software patents continue to be ignored or intentionally overlooked by patent law firms, which instead saturate the media with the few cases where courts unexpectedly rule in favour of software patents



  20. Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

    Links for the day



  21. Like Big Tobacco Lobbyists, Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC Are Just Chronically Lying and Manipulating Politicians With Their Lies

    Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC continue to meddle in politics and mislead the public (through the press) about patent quality as well the UPC, which is now in effect sunk inside the ashtray of history



  22. The EPO's 'Investigative' Function is Totally Out of Control and Continues to Get Bigger, Whitewashed by So-called 'Review'

    An update on the situation which still causes great unrest at the European Patent Office (EPO), namely abuse of staff by the so-called Investigative Unit (Eponia's equivalent of unaccountable secret services)



  23. Microsoft and Patent Law Firms in the United States Can't Stop Writing About McRo in a Coordinated Push to Resurrect Software Patents

    Microsoft is pursuing more Linux 'patent tax' (using software patents) and patent law firms are preoccupied flooding the media with their shameless self-promotion which is also software patents promotion



  24. For Abuse Like Plagiarism and Malpractice, the US Patent System is Still World Champion

    Low patent quality, abusive litigation (e.g. by patent trolls) and various other elements that globally discredit the USPTO are only symptoms of a wider problem, which is a greedy system motivated by neo-liberal values rather than professionalism and servitude



  25. Links 20/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Preview, Absolute 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Links 19/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC7, KDevelop 5.0.1

    Links for the day



  27. Patents Roundup: Disclosure Requirements, Mobile Patents, Patent Lawyers' Plagiarism, USPTO Getting Sued, and Corporate Domination of the Patent System

    The unwanted elements of the patent system (as it stands at present) illuminated by very recent news and patent court cases



  28. With or Without the UPC (Which Will Probably Never Happen) Battistelli is Crushing the EPO and Ejects Experienced Staff, a Future Without Examination Possible

    A pessimistic but probably realistic take on what is happening at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is undergoing a silent transformation so wide-ranging that stakeholders deserve to know about it



  29. When EPO Liar-in-Chief Benoît Battistelli Defamed His Staff in Parliament, Comparing Them to Nazis and Criminals

    A reminder of the audacity of Benoît Battistelli, who in his capacity as a politician -- a problem in its own right -- slanders EPO staff



  30. After McRO v Namco Case (at CAFC) the Patent Microcosm Works Overtime to Produce Pro-Software Patents Propaganda, Smear the Supreme Court

    Increasingly desperate to convince people to pursue software patents and/or use their software patents to initiate growingly risky lawsuits (high risk of losing), the patent microcosm hugs McRO v Namco while distorting the complete record of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on this subject


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