05.17.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  3. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  4. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  5. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  6. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  8. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  10. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  11. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  12. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  13. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  14. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  15. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  17. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  18. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  19. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  20. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  21. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  22. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  23. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  24. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  26. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  27. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  28. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  29. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021


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

Recent Posts