05.04.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 27/05/2022: Fwupd 1.8.1 and GCC 9.5

    Links for the day



  2. Visual Proof That Twitter Very Likely Faked Its Magnitude the Moment Musk et al (KSA, Ellison and so on) Wanted to Buy

    There's a very compelling case for the allegation that Twitter is defrauding shareholders and participants in the platform; Twitter is a lot smaller than it used to be (fewer people are actively involved), it is losing money, and it is so desperate to be acquired that it's shamelessly faking traffic



  3. Links 27/05/2022: Wayland 1.21 Alpha, KDE Adds Flatpak and Snap Permissions to Discover

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 26, 2022



  5. Links 27/05/2022: Many More Microsoft Security Failures (and Spin/Lies)

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/05/2022: KStars 3.5.9 and Chrome 103 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 26/05/2022: AlmaLinux OS 9.0, MooseX::Extended for Perl Introduced

    Links for the day



  8. Links 26/05/2022: Kernel Events and Systemd-Free GNU/Linux Distributions

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/05/2022: DuckDuckGo Increasingly Exposed as Microsoft Proxy

    Links for the day



  10. EPO Celebrates Software Patents Again, Dubbing Them 'Hey Hi' (AI) and '4IR'

    The ludicrous state of the EPO is demonstrated by yesterday’s puff piece about “four million” (merely requests for monopoly in Europe; most come from outside Europe) and L’Oréal, which claims to have “invented” something that was already done in the 1990s if not the 1980s



  11. [Meme] EPO's Monkey Business: Lowering the Patent Examination Bar

    As we shall show in a moment, EPO President António Campinos has lowered the quality of patents and applications; sooner or later he might outsource the job to ‘livestock’



  12. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 25, 2022



  13. Heads of Patent Offices Are Immune to Coronavirus

    The overconfident chiefs of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and EPO might love speaking about COVID-19 (in relation to patents), but they do not take it seriously themselves



  14. Links 26/05/2022: Plex Finally on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  15. The General Consultative Committee of the EPO Exposes a Disaster and a Lack of Genuine Dialogue

    The General Consultative Committee (GCC) at the EPO deals with unlawful proposals from António Campinos (he’s happy to violate laws, constitutions, protocols, conventions, just like Benoît Battistelli did) and once again the abuses by managers is covered up; it’s as if the Office is run by unaccountable gangsters who arrogantly curse at everyone whilst insisting they’re the nicest people ever



  16. The Latest Letter to Josef Kratochvìl and the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

    A week-old letter from the Central Staff Committee (CSC) to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation highlights the nature of a crisis; there's no genuine dialogue and staff of the EPO (i.e. the scientists who do all the actual work) is constantly under attack



  17. [Meme] The Recordings Must Have Accidentally Been Lost While Breaking the Rules

    The EPO‘s “nicest” chief, Monopoly Tony, won’t even mention the recordings…



  18. Links 25/05/2022: ‘V Rising’ on GNU/Linux and Pearl Linux OS 11

    Links for the day



  19. Links 25/05/2022: Librem Tries Another Approach

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 24, 2022



  21. Links 24/05/2022: nginx-1.22.0 and WordPress 6.0

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] Divine Protection

    You won’t find Monopoly Tony (António Campinos) wearing a mask at the EPO because the rules of the Office do not apply to him



  23. António Campinos and the Alicante Clique (EPO Management, Appointed Based on Nepotism Despite Lack of Qualifications) Nowadays Exploiting Kids for PR Charades

    The sick old habit of exploiting kids for Public Relations (PR) and marketing purposes is all too common at the EPO (they’re constantly exploiting “the children” to associate criticism of the EPO with demeaning the young and innocent), but the management — which enjoys nepotism and immunity rather than relevant skills — carries on today and it’s being called “inaugural”



  24. [Meme] Snake on a Plane

    The EPO‘s President ‘Monopoly Tony’ (António Campinos), whom you never see wearing a mask (none of the photo ops; he does not even socially distance himself from peers, he wears sneakers instead of masks) during the height of a pandemic, is the "f***ing president"; don’t tell him to wear one…



  25. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XX — Entering Phase II

    We're about to resume the long-running series about the sick clique which ran GitHub until the assault on women became too much of a liability (among other wrongdoings and PR blunders)



  26. Links 24/05/2022: Fedora 37 Test Days and Tor Browser 11.0.13

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft Vidal, as USPTO Director, Already Plays 'Political Cards' to Disguise and Deflect Away From the Corporate Agenda

    Microsoft Vidal, another corporate pawn in charge of the world’s most dangerous patent system, is using soft-spoken defle



  28. Links 24/05/2022: WAL-G 2.0

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 23, 2022



  30. Unethical Advertising, Published as So-called 'Articles', in CNX Software

    As we noted earlier this year, the CNX team is looking for money in the wrong places


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

Recent Posts