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

11.29.11

‘Pulling an ACTA’ to Legalise Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Globe

Summary: Secretly and without honour for the rule of law, politicians and lawyers (sometimes the same thing) are bringing software patents into Europe, via the back door

NOW that Linux/Android devices come under embargo attacks by the ‘patents army’ in Germany, we must take the patent question very seriously. In Germany we are told that the Green Party (not the Pirate Party which takes funds from software patents supporters) is taking action against software patents.

Germany has a lot of impact over the EPO and via Glyn Moody we discover that “Coming To Plates In Europe [are] Patented Vegetables, Produced By Conventional Breeding” — the same thing that Germans protested against in the streets some years ago. “The European Patent Organization (EPO) is a strange entity. Despite its name,” explains Masnick, “it has nothing to do with the European Union. Instead, it was set up on the basis of the 1973 European Patent Convention to grant patents under that Convention.

“But things are getting worse as British patent lawyers quietly try to overhaul the patent the system in Europe, tilting it further in their advantage.”“As an independent body whose only reason for existing is to oversee the issue of patents, it has a natural tendency to widen their reach. One of the most hotly-contested areas where that is happening is software patents, which are not granted in Europe “as such” (you can imagine what fun the lawyers have with those two words).”

But things are getting worse as British patent lawyers quietly try to overhaul the patent the system in Europe, tilting it further in their advantage. The only article we have found about it says:

An Anglo-German tug of war is developing over the site of a new European patents court that could generate hundreds of millions of pounds of business for UK lawyers and scientists.

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (Cipa) has written to the prime minister and will on Tuesday lobby the government’s intellectual property office for the European patents court to be established in London.

Germany has proposed that Munich, where the EU’s patent office is already located, should become home to the court that will adjudicate in disputes over ownership of industrial designs and inventions.

Glyn Moody, who recently mentioned Lehne (politicians who at the same time serves a lawyers’ firm, mushrooming a conflict of interest), also wrote about the latest patent scandal:

It’s those last points that are particularly worrying. The European Patent Office has nothing to do with the European Union, and is essentially a completely independent body. Worse, it’s entire raison d’être is to issue patents, and so it is only natural that it will want to issue more of them, and in more fields. Its rulings have already pushed software patents closer to acceptance, and there can be little doubt that the unitary patent will make software patents the norm throughout Europe.

This is a disaster waiting to happen, and already we are seeing the political machine swing into action to make sure that it does happen. That such an important change in the European patent system should be decided by a few people behind closed doors is an utter outrage, and symptomatic of the deeply dysfunctional approach that is routinely adopted.

The only way we can hope to change this culture is by protesting about it whenever we encounter it until the politicians realise that even if we can’t see what they are doing in secret, we do at least know they have something to hide.

This oughn’t escape the attention of the European Commission as not only does the above illustrate democracy fracturing (a form of corruption) but it is also the invitation of more patent wars of greater magnitude. Given that the EU can see the negative effects of patent wars, it musn’t stay idle. To quote: “A funny thing has happened to patent law in the 21st century. Instead of protecting intellectual property rights, patents have been hijacked by rich companies to take control of a market — and the problem is particularly acute in the mobile space.
“Reuters reported last week that the EU is beginning to think companies are using patents unfairly to harass market rivals.”

There is more on that in a new article which says:

In recent times, an increasingly competitive and litigious smartphone industry has spawned a patent arms race, and the need for participants to bulk up their proprietary patent portfolios.

Specifically, an eruption of patent lawsuits has occurred between almost every major developer of smartphone hardware and software in the industry. In many respects, companies are buying insurance against future legal action, injunctions, etc.

Early in 2011, a consortium led by Apple and Microsoft paid an astounding $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents owned by the now defunct Nortel Networks.

For anyone without a calculator handy, that equates to roughly $750,000 per Nortel patent. To put the intensity of competition for Nortel’s patents into context, Google opened the bidding at just $900 million (Nortel’s creditors will be happy), and was ultimately shut out completely.

Not to be without a dance partner, Google recently purchased Motorola and its 17,000 patents for $12.5 billion in cash, as well as a thousand or so patents from IBM for an undisclosed sum. This may work to put a lid on the patent race/bidding frenzy in the near term, because Google was really the one driving it.

Mark Shuttleworth said that “The Whole Patent System Is A Sham” (going by the headline from Muktware). To quote: “Mark Shuttleworth, the charismatic founder of Ubuntu, slammed the patent system as broken. He also said that Microsoft’s biggest mistake was to think that they could use patents against competition and wasted most of a decade.”

Ubuntu is based in the UK, so the patent question matters a lot and the EU needs to turn away software patents. Over in the US, we still see new examples of patents on compression, games, and just about everything someone can explain in words. Regarding compression, Canonical already pays a patent tax on it. To quote that latter example: “Full Tilt Poker’s unique “Rush Poker” innovation, which allows a pool of players to play quickly and to continuously be rushed to a new table upon folding their cards at their previous table, is a concept that is neither exclusive nor patentable, according to Per Hildebrand, chairman and vice president of sales at InstaDeal Poker Network.”

Of course this is not novel, but when systems permit any digitised equivalent of real-life processes to become a patent, there’s chaos. This chaos is profitable for lawyers and it hurts small companies the most.

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

A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    November 29, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Gravatar

    It would be great if the US and the EU got together and overhauled their patent systems to roughly match. They would not, of course, be exactly the same but if they were similar then companies that sell to both markets would have consistent rules to follow.

    And where the US takes things too far, the EU can balance that and help make things more sane for everyone. I do not pretend to think it would come to an idea solution but it almost surely would be better than what we have now.

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  2. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  3. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  4. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  5. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  6. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  7. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  8. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  9. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  10. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  11. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  12. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  13. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  14. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  15. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  16. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  17. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  18. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  19. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO and the USPTO Are Granting Fake Patents on Software, Knowing That Courts Would Reject These

    Office management encourages applicants to send over patent applications that are laughable while depriving examiners the freedom and the time they need to reject these; it means that loads of bogus patents are being granted, enshrined as weapons that trolls can use to extort small companies outside the courtroom



  21. CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for 'Community', Not Microsoft

    After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the "Linux Foundation" (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as "community"



  22. Links 14/3/2019: GNOME 3.32 and Mesa 19.0.0 Released

    Links for the day



  23. EPO 'Results' Are, As Usual, Not Measured Correctly

    The supranational monopoly, a monopoly-granting authority, is being used by António Campinos to grant an insane amount of monopolies whose merit is dubious and whose impact on Europe will be a net negative



  24. Good News Everyone! UPC Ready to Go... in 2015!

    Benoît Battistelli is no longer in Office and his fantasy (patent lawyers' fantasy) is as elusive as ever; Team UPC is trying to associate opposition to UPC with the far right (AfD) once again



  25. Links 13/3/2019: Plasma 5.15.3,Chrome 73 and Many LF Press Releases

    Links for the day



  26. In the Age of Trumpism EFF Needs to Repeatedly Remind Director Iancu That He is Not a Judge and He Cannot Ignore the Courts

    The nonchalance and carelessness seen in Iancu's decision to just cherry-pick decisions/outcomes (basically ignoring caselaw) concerns technologists, who rightly view him as a 'mole' of the litigation 'industry' (which he came from)



  27. Links 12/3/2019: Sway 1.0 Released, Debian Feuds Carry On

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft is Complaining About Android and Chrome OS (GNU/Linux) Vendor Not Paying for Microsoft Patents (Updated)

    Microsoft, which nowadays does the patent shakedown against GNU/Linux by proxy, is still moaning about companies that don’t pay ‘protection’ money (grounds for antitrust action or racketeering investigation)



  29. Watchtroll Has Redefined "Trolls" to Mean Those Who Oppose Software Patents (and Oppose Trolls), Not Those Who Leverage These for Blackmail Alone

    The controversial change to 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidance is being opposed by the public (US citizens who oppose American software patents), so patent maximalists like Janal Kalis (“PatentBuddy”) and extremists like Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) want us to believe that the public is just “EFF” and cannot think for itself



  30. EPO's Latest 'Results' Show That António Campinos Has Already Given Up on Patent Quality and is Just Another Battistelli

    The patent-granting machine that the EPO has become reports granting growth of unrealistic scale (unless no proper examination is actually carried out)


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