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

05.04.13

The European Patent Office is Breaking the Law Regarding Software Patents, German Parliament Finally Complains

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli not above the law

Benoît BattistelliSummary: The EPO’s sheer disregard for laws relating to patent scope gets the attention of very influential politicians in Europe, who explicitly ask the EPO to stop what it is doing

The situation with regards to software patents in the EU has been outrageous, with a German court legitimising controversial Linux-hostile software patents nearly half a decade ago and a British court doing something similar in a case involving Symbian (later fully acquired by Nokia). There are some news articles in French and in German which allude to a pushback from those above the courts. The patents boosters say that EPO “nominates a software #patent (an otherwise excluded matter) for its #EIA13 prizes show” and the response to it from more crass and rude bloggers (like IAM) is rather distasteful, characterising politicians that uphold the existing law as pirates (see “IP owners should be mindful of the lasting influence of Pirate politics in Germany“). Watchtroll, another exceptionally vocal patents maximalist, uses so-called software people to promote software patents, making fellow patent lawyers actually believe that programmers want such patents. This is unthinkable, but the lawyers’ microcosm is an echo chamber of disinformation and it shows. Glyn Moody called the latest government intervention “some good news for change” but said that there are “dangers looming” based on his analysis which says about software patents:

European Patent Convention forbids them, and the European Parliament explicitly rejected them again in 2005. Fans of intellectual monopolies just keep coming back with new ways of getting around those bans, which means that the battle to stop them crippling the European software industry has to be fought again and again.

An interesting example of the growing confidence of the pro-software patent lobby is that the European Patent Office has even included a software patent in this year’s nominees for the European Inventor Award…

Here is a good take on the news:

The German Parliament has held a first reading of [corrected] a joint motion against the growing trend of patent offices to grant patents on software programs. The resolution on “Secure Competition and Innovation in the software development,” obliges the German government to take steps to ensure that software is protected by copyright only and no additional patent protection is granted.

The FSFE’s message (citing/quoting Karsten Gerloff) is almost identical:

The German Parliament, the Bundestag, has voted on a joint motion against software patents. The resolution urges the German government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs.

In the resolution, the Parliament says that patents on software restrict developers from exercising their copyright privileges, including the right to distribute their programs as Free Software. They promote the creation of monopolies in the software market, and hurt innovation and job creation. [Correction 2013-04-24: Parliament did not yet adopt the motion, but rather decided to pass it to the parliament committees for further consideration.]

“Software patents are harmful in every way, and are useless at promoting innovation”, says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “We urge the German government to act on this resolution as soon as possible, and relieve software developers from the needless patent-related costs and risks under which they are currently suffering.”

As we noted here before, there are two main loopholes for software patents in Europe, except trying to make them look like patents on physical devices (the characterisation/deception loophole). One trick is FRAND, a thicket-like trick, and another is the unitary patent, an assimilation instrument. Andy Updegrove addressed the issue of FRAND in the US the other day, alluding to Microsoft’s patent war on Android.

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this.”

Ante Wessels

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. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  2. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  3. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  4. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  5. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  6. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  7. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  8. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  9. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  10. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  11. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  12. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  13. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  14. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  16. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  17. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  18. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  19. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  20. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  21. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  22. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong



  23. How Microsoft Handles Disasters: Grace Hopper Conference Has Been Infiltrated by "Microsoft Disaster Response"

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) must be a disaster to Microsoft's bottom line because Microsoft is sending "Microsoft Disaster Response" to infiltrate and disrupt a conference about women in FOSS



  24. Links 8/10/2014: Gummersbach Moves to GNU/Linux, Docker Acquires Koality, KDE Frameworks 5.3

    Links for the day



  25. Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3

    Links for the day



  26. Benoît Battistelli's Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V

    How the European Patent Office facilitated the inclusion of previously-connected elements that are best known for misconduct and dirty politics



  27. Symptoms of Post-x86 Era: Even Intel Apologists Turn Against Bribes-Dependent Intel While Microsoft Continues to Deceive Journalists on Patents in Order to Create a Scare

    The Wintel press, which is bribed by companies that it covers, is challenged by prominent developers and Microsoft continues to plant its patent propaganda in the Wintel-centric (and paid) press



  28. Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

    More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft's dirty assault on Free software in France



  29. Links 6/10/2014: Linux 3.17, OpenELEC 4.2.1, FreeBSD 10.1 RC1, Debian 8.0 Beta 2 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 4/10/2014: WebOS is Back

    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