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

01.19.11

Patents Roundup: A Quick Look at Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World marble

Summary: Recent articles that shed light on the patent situation in Europe, including enforcement

THIS is the last part of a long series of posts about software patents. It’s more of a list of somewhat orphaned articles. Previously we dealt with disheartening news about the second version of EIF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which Microsoft and the BSA managed to push patents into. Jochen Friedrich says it’s a conciliation:

Sure, the value of the first European Interoperability Framework incarnation was that is got exposed to attacks. However, the policy document got hardly read and ressembled more a general work programme. In reality the EIF v1 was an unimportant document barely able to generate substantial results in the field, in particular not in those parts of its contents which were not disputed such as multilinguality. The European Commission regularly releases official “communications” which do not generate direct results but are rather followed by more of the same, the next strategy, green paper, white paper, agenda. Neither the EIF v1 nor the EIF v2 did even reach that minor document status level of a “communication”. To me it looks like India took better conclusions from the EIF v1 as it set up a straight document on interoperability. Most critics and proponents are mislead about the role of the EIF v2 in an overall upcoming EU interoperability architectural framework and fail to see how the EIF v1 was sacrificed, as a decoy we get the EIF v2.

Incidentally, EDRI issues this warning about injunctions:

Just before Christmas, the European Commission published its report on the application of the IPR Enforcement Directive.

The text, while written in fairly neutral terms, does subtly show the Commission’s plans for the enforcement of intellectual property rights and the dangers that these hold for citizens’ rights. Two points in particular stand out – the circumvention of the E-Commerce Directive, in particular to overturn the ban on imposing a “general obligation to monitor” on Internet providers, and the intended weakening of the EU’s data protection regime for the benefit of copyright holders.

The EPO is meanwhile working to extend its scope/jurisdiction beyond Europe. “European patents may become valid in Morocco” says this blog post:

The President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli and Morocco’s Minister for Industry, Commerce and New Technologies, Ahmed Reda Chami, have signed an agreement on the validation of European patent applications and granted European patents in Morocco. The agreement will enter into force once the necessary implementing legislation has been passed by the Moroccan parliament.

Last night we learned about “[e]nhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection”, which is an attempt to further globalise the patent systems and along the way increase damage and probably add software patents [via FFII]. Well, not so fast! Italy and Spain are opposing despite attempted blackmail [1, 2] and Axel H. Horns, a patent attorney, says: “Long Live The EU Patent – But A New EU Patent Court System Is Dead?”

Otherwise, the Enhanced Co-operation group might rubber-stamp the required legal texts very soon, starting with the implementation early next year. However, there is another obstacle: Even the reduced system established under the Enhanced Co-operation scheme will need to revise the European Patent Convention (EPC) by means of a Diplomatic conference in accordance with Article 172 EPC. Italy and Spain might, at least theoretically, try to obstruct such conference. However, the quorum of a two-third majority in accordance with Article 172 (2) EPC can be met even without Italy and Spain. And, if, after the Diplomatic Conference, Italy and Spain don’t ratify some amended version of the EPC in due time, they will be squeezed out of the EPC in accordance with Article 172 (4) thereof.

Horns also said that the “EU Commission [is] about to conduct various interesting ICT and/or patent related studies — http://tinyurl.com/2wdjutz”

As an example of a study, see this new piece of work titled “Internet-based Protest in European policy-making: The Case of Digital Activism” [PDF]. To quote the summary:

European Institutions, especially the European Parliament, are venues of access for digital activist networks wishing to influence policy-making on issues of intellectual property rights, internet regulation and the respect of civil rights in digital environments. We refer to these networks as “digital activism”. They are more or less loosely rooted in the hacker culture and are intensively making use of online tools in order to organize and consolidate a collective identity and build a transnational public sphere. This study focuses on the “no software patents” campaign led by this movement that aimed at influencing the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (2002-2005). By discussing the advocacy techniques – both online and offline – that were developed by this digital activist network, we provide an insight into power struggles that are currently taking place in Europe, but also in other regions of the world.

Related to activism there is this new article “Blocking Patents and Political Protest”:

Another way to think of this is that a patent could be acquired for the sole purpose of stopping certain kinds of expression. You could call this content discrimination or a sort of blocking patent. I think this is really troubling once it’s combined with the expansion of patentable subject matter to business methods. Here is an illustration:

Imagine that in 1960 business methods were patentable. A segregationist group that is thinking outside of the box decides to apply for a patent on sit-in protests. The patent is granted. When the civil rights activists in Greensboro start their demonstration (at the lunch counter depicted above at the Smithsonian), they are sued for infringement.

Regarding the report which says that the “EU court [will] discuss patents for embryonic stem cells” Glyn Moody asked, “patents more important than ethics?”

The never-ending debate on patenting human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) will receive fresh wind in its sails today as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) holds a hearing to discuss the definition of ‘human embryos’ and their industrial and commercial use.

Now, watch what the EPO Boards of Appeal is doing: [via David Hammerstein]

In case T 1051/07, the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.03 decided on allowability of EP 1 365 368 of Korean mobile service provider SK Telecom. The application relates to a system for executing financial transactions in that a mobile account is issued to a mobile phone subscriber and is administratively managed by the service provider, while a transaction with the mobile account is effectuated by a transaction between a bank account of the subscriber and intermediate accounts (“juridical body accounts”) of the mobile service provider at different banks.

The same author, Falk Metzler, says that New Zealand’s “Guidelines Try to Render “Embedded Software” Patentable Without Specifying this Legal Term”

In April 2010, the parliament of New Zealand voted for a major Patents Reform Bill to tighten the standards of patentability of software-implemented inventions (see related posting). The bill, as drafted by the Select Commerce Committee in July 2010, accepted that “protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model” and that “computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition” – intensely accompanied by various lobbying organisations. Clause 15 (3A) of the Patents Bill now reads:

A computer program is not a patentable invention.

For background about New Zealand see this wiki page. It is a similar situation to that which prevailed in Europe, where software patents are not legal in theory, but loopholes exist to bypass the restrictions, notably by tying to a “device”, at least in the patent application.

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 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  2. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  3. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  4. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  5. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  6. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  8. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  9. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  10. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  11. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  12. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  13. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  14. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge



  15. Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

    Links for the day



  16. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)

    French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong



  17. Microsoft, the Back Doors Company, is Gradually Dying and Trying to Embrace the Competition

    The world is leaving Microsoft's common carrier (Windows) behind, so Microsoft, which is shrinking, tries to conquer Free software and GNU/Linux



  18. Battistelli's Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić's Many Criminal Charges Don't Exist

    Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug's reputation



  19. Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

    Links for the day



  20. Strategy of Litigation With Patents Has Collapsed Since SCOTUS Ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank

    The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour



  21. Patent Lawyers Can't Help Rewriting Alice v. CLS Bank History

    The league of patent lawyers -- people who profit at the expense of software producers -- keeps brainwashing the public about the patentability of software (both the rationale and the potential)



  22. Myths and Hype About Patents

    Distortion of history and fabricated reports about patents in the corporate media leave many people confused and ultimately unable to make rational judgment



  23. Large Corporations, Including Microsoft Allies, Call for Abolition of Software Patents

    The calls for ending all patents on software are getting louder and patents as a whole are de-emphasised as a business strategy



  24. Links 17/1/2015: Lennart Poettering in Headlines, Mageia 5 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  25. Links 16/1/2015: Chapeau 21, Tails 1.2.3

    Links for the day



  26. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Releases, Ubuntu Phone Delays

    Links for the day



  27. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta, Elive 2.5.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  28. Google Has Eliminated Microsoft's Dominance in Operating Systems, Microsoft Resorts to Propaganda, Child Exploitation, and EEE

    As Linux becomes the dominant kernel at Windows' expense Microsoft pulls old tricks including media manipulation, AstroTurfing, co-opting schools (making Windows obligatory for future generations), and EEE (embrace, extend, and extinguish)



  29. Microsoft -- Like David Cameron -- Attacking the Computer Security Industry

    Microsoft's latest moves that help expose its real policy when it comes to computer security and people's privacy



  30. Working to End Oracle's and CAFC's Inane War on Interface Reuse

    The US Supreme Court may soon start dealing with a legal assault on Android and in the process hopefully end the notion of copyright on APIs


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