10.13.15

EPO Management Lobbies for the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Uses This to Advance Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More profit for the Office, so what’s not to like?

Looking for tumour

Summary: A short notice regarding the EPO’s verboten involvement in European politics and European policy-making; comparing the situation in Europe (with the EPO) to that of India, where highly discreet and notoriously intensive lobbying by foreign corporations led to the apparently-irrevocable phasing in of software patents, to the detriment of locals

THERE is a very clear and widely-recognised reason why the EPO must stay out of patentability criteria debates, especially now that the EPO operates like a business whose sole (or at least primary) goal seems to be maximising profit, not encouraging/fostering innovation. The fox must not be left to guard the hen house. Nevertheless, as we showed just one day ago, the EPO is intervening politically in UPC-related debates. This is just wrong. It should not ever be done, but then again, for the EPO to step out of line with the law would not be unprecedented. The EPO enjoys impunity (no clear jurisdiction due to ambiguity) and immunity from European laws. It’s like a cancer at the very heart of Europe (hence the photo signifying a potential tumour above), always seeking to expand its sphere of influence and power, even if by expanding patent scope beyond what’s necessary and tactful (not a facts-based analysis), lowering the patent bar (e.g. by rushing examiners whose goal is to identify duplicates), and raising fees by asserting that applicability — border-wide — is further broadened for injunctions/embargoes/sanctions, higher damages, and so on. One can easily see how this relates to TPP, especially if one is already familiar with TPP (and/or the likes of it).

“It should not ever be done, but then again, for the EPO to step out of line with the law would not be unprecedented.”The “EPO admits,” said the FFII’s President this morning that “[t]he Unitary Patent is about software patents after all” (as he warned all along). IP Magazine is quoted by him as saying that the EPO’s “G[rant] Philpott [said] UPC to provide strong harmonisation in ICT applications that will play a dominant role in patent world” (remember what ICT means). Guess whose system they hope to integrate with, eventually? Also recall that TPP pushes for software patents, requiring signatories to phase them in, in due course. It means software patents in Europe. According to this page about CeBIT 2016, Grant Philpott (shown to the right) is “Principal Director of the main ICT area at the European Patent Office, managing the EPO’s operational areas of Computers and Telecommunications and responsible for nearly 700 examiners in The Hague and Munich.”

Grant PhilpottIt sounds like he is highly regarded, but remember that his systems are also blocking Techrights. Too gory a Web site? Gross censorship is what this really is. Techrights is safe for work (SFW) and it provides plenty of references to support its allegations. Techrights was never censored before; not until it covered the EPO affairs. This culture of censorship and self-censorship at EPO has truly become a disease, as we last explained about 6 weeks ago. Then there is mass surveillance (the perfect blunt instrument for inducing self-censorship) just as well — a topic we remarked on in posts such as the following:

Philpott’s computer systems should focus on helping to grant well-earned patents, not replicate the Stasi in a ‘public’ building in Munich (further enhanced with keyloggers and remote screen grabbers).

India Too Experiences Assaults on Software Patents Exclusion

Watch out as not only Europe is having software patents injected into it, using all sorts of secret treaties like TPP and the UPC. Recall the recent efforts to officially introduce software patents in India, after giant corporations (like those which Modi recently visited aplenty in the US) lobbied the Indian government, as always beforehand. There has been a very strong push from the likes of Microsoft and even IBM to do so.

There is now a response to all this, composed by Mishi Choudhary, a famous Free software proponent from India and Director of International Programs at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). She says that “Section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970 excludes mathematical methods, business methods,” but she also reminds readers of what gave Indian startups their edge. It’s the lack of software patents, not saturation of them, contrary to what some lobbyists are misleadingly claiming right now (we named some of them last week and they include IAM 'magazine'). Choudhary says that “[e]very city or town, big or small, is seeing a spurt of startups that do path-breaking work in the areas of software products, mobile apps and embedded products. However, these firms could soon be threatened by the dark clouds looming large over the technology horizon of India in the form of software patents.”

The same goes for European software firms, irrespective of their licensing method/s, be it proprietary-leaning or Free software (copyleft). There is a coordinated attack by software conglomerates against any challenge from small firms anywhere in the world. It’s protectionism for the already-affluent and it shouldn’t be tolerated by the public. People should protest; the more vocal and the louder the public becomes, the harder it will get for politicians to sign such atrocious deals (or new laws) in secret, usually at the behest of their shady corporate masters.

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