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. 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