05.30.13

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The EPO Has Gone Rogue, Disregards the Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The European Patent Office finds itself under fire from a growing list of public interest groups and even politicians, the core issue being patent scope

The EPO was covered here many times before, most recently when it got slammed by German politicians for disregarding the law and granting patents on algorithms. Mike Masnick has this new post bemoaning the EPO’s granting of more patents which are not legal to grant. He says: “Two years ago, we wrote about how the European Patent Organization had granted a patent on broccoli. The patent was originally on the breeding method, but then it was ruled that the breeding methods were not covered by the patents, leaving just the basic broccoli as patented. Both the European Parliament and the German Parliament have said that the EPO should stop granting vegetable patents, but apparently it hasn’t stopped. It’s now issued a patent on a kind of pepper. While the new peppers are supposedly “resistant to insects,” people are pointing out that it was derived from conventional breeding — and that’s what was rejected in the broccoli case. What’s amazing, by the way, is that this pepper patent appears to have gone to Syngenta, which I believe was one of the companies that fought against the broccoli patent.”

“While the new peppers are supposedly “resistant to insects,” people are pointing out that it was derived from conventional breeding — and that’s what was rejected in the broccoli case.”
      –Mike Masnick
To quote more on this subject: “The European Patent Office is continuing to grant patents on conventional plants despite demands from the European Parliament and the German Parliament that the patent office refrain from granting such patents, the coalition of nongovernmental organisations called “No patents on seeds” said in a release.”

The press release can be read in its entirety. We have just set up a Wiki page for the EPO in order to start chastising its offending practices more effectively. When the goal becomes increasing profit rather than public service, then it is absolutely clear that the EPO has gone rogue.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

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