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. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  2. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  3. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  4. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  5. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  6. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  7. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  8. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  10. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  11. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  12. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  15. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  16. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  17. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  18. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  19. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  20. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  21. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  22. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  23. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  24. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  25. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  26. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2014: LXLE 14.04 in Headlines, Plasma 5

    Links for the day



  28. OpenDocument Format (ODF) Still Alive and Kicking

    Caligra, WebODF and various influential nations' departure from Microsoft Office will help famous projects such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice make ODF the only international standard for editable documents exchange



  29. The Effect of Corporate Media Bias: FOSS Demonisation and Microsoft Openwashing

    A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience



  30. The NSA's Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

    Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)


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