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. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  2. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  3. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  4. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  5. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  6. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  7. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  8. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  9. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  10. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  11. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  12. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  13. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  14. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  15. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  17. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  18. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  19. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  20. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  21. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  23. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  24. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China



  25. Patent Maximalism -- Like Copyright Maximalism -- Relies on Misconceptions and Mass Deception

    The latest examples of discussions about patent scope, courtesy of those looking to benefit financially by pushing such monopolies to the max



  26. Software Patents Still Promoted by IBM and Its Lobbyist (and Former Employee) David Kappos, in Defiance of Much-Needed US Patent Reform

    While the corporate media celebrates IBM as though it's some kind of 'champion' for hoarding patents that it then uses to attack companies which actually grow



  27. Brexit/Trump Effect: Patent Systems With Institutional Corruption and Nepotism

    Rumours about Britain's head of patents (and copyrights etc.) being the brother of the Brexit campaigner and Foreign Minister; meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, rumours suggest that the corrupt judge Rader might be the next head of patents in the United States



  28. Links 11/1/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.1, GitHub's Atom 1.13

    Links for the day



  29. The Patent Microcosm is Already Sucking up to Donald Trump in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Everyone's Expense

    Four new examples of patent maximalists embracing/adopting the pseudo-populist slogan to advance their goals of increasing litigation (which they profit from) and undermining PTAB (which made patents great in the quality sense)



  30. Patent Quality in the United States Can Only be Assessed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Courts

    The travesty of patent offices in the US and China, where the goal or the accomplishment is measured in terms of the number of patents rather than their quality


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