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07.28.10

USPTO Wants Feedback About Post-Bilski Guidelines, EPO Might Let Monsanto Patent Life

Posted in America, Europe, Novell, Patents at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Patents on software and on life are making headlines again and there is also room for public participation

IP WATCH is telling readers that the USPTO seeks comments on post-Bilski guidelines (direct link [PDF]) and this is important because it may help determine that some software is not patentable in the United States (some software patents die over there due to the Bilski case [1, 2]).

According to this, Novell — like Microsoft — has also some long history as a victim of software patents. To quote:

We’ve all seen high-tech lawsuits that amounted to little. A prime example: The infamous Roger Billings vs. Novell lawsuit, in which Billings claimed Novell violated his patent for client-server computing. Novell ultimately won the case, though Novell customer Bank of America allegedly paid Billings $125,000 to go away.

Over here in Europe, the debate over Monsanto patents carries on. Should Monsanto be allowed to “own” certain life forms?

Monsanto holds a European patent that covers modified soybean DNA sequences that confer herbicide immunity on the plant (so-called “Roundup Ready” soybeans). A “European” patent is in fact a bundle of national patents issued by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. (The EPO was established by a treaty, the European Patent Convention, and is not a European Union institution.) The EPO applies a single standard for judging patentability, but enforcement of patents is then delegated to the courts of the individual European countries, and those standards may differ. Monsanto’s European patent is in effect in several countries, including the Netherlands, where Monsanto brought this infringement action.

Need European farmers take it to the streets again?

EPO backlash

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