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. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  2. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  3. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  4. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  5. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  6. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  7. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  8. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  9. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  10. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete



  11. ODF on the Rise

    Milestones for OpenDocument Format (ODF) and the launch of FixMyDocuments



  12. Links 17/9/2014: CoreOS, ChromeOS, and systemd

    Links for the day



  13. Italy is Cracking Down on Microsoft's Monopoly Abuse While Gradually Moving to GNU/Linux

    Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs



  14. OpenSUSE's 'Assurances' Are Classic MBA School Hogwash

    OpenSUSE is not part of any commitment, except for SUSE's; the impact of the Novell/SUSE acquisition casts uncertainty on the project's future



  15. Links 16/9/2014: Firefox OS Smartphones in Bangladesh, “Treasure Map” of the Internet

    Links for the day



  16. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism



  17. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  18. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  19. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  20. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  21. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  22. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  23. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  24. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  25. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  26. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  27. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  28. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day



  29. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

    The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President has a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption



  30. Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

    Links for the day


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