12.12.15

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The European Patent Office is a Lobby Organisation, Was and Still is Lobbying for Expansion of Patent Scope (Also to Software) Through UPC

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has historically been stepping outside the area of its authority and is still doing so right now, particularly when it comes to the Unitary Patent

THE EPO is widely misunderstood. We mean that in a bad way. A lot of people honestly believe that the EPO is a good idea badly or poorly implemented, or that change of management alone would resolve all the issues.

According to this site, serving as a puff piece platform for Benoît Battistelli, the EU ‘unitary’ patent is less than a year away. To quote their summary: “Matthew Newman, senior correspondent for MLex market insight, is joined by Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO) to discuss the new and long-awaited ‘unitary’ patent and how it will help boost investment and innovation in Europe.”

“A lot of people honestly believe that the EPO is a good idea badly or poorly implemented, or that change of management alone would resolve all the issues.”Well, not sure what they mean by “senior correspondent”, we deem the whole thing a sort of hogwash, like a media "presence" campaign. It was spread online with soft messages like “EuropeanPatentOffice’s President discusses the long-awaited #UnitaryPatent” (“long-awaited” by who?).

The FFII’s President has responded by saying that “the only thing the Unitary Patent will boost is patent litigation and patent filings.”

Linking to this Unitary Patent (or UPC) Web site, a City of London-based patent lawyers’ site (MIP) wrote: “Here they are at last: the final #UPC Rules of Procedure” (see attachment in there)

“Well, not sure what they mean by “senior correspondent”, we deem the whole thing a sort of hogwash, like a media “presence” campaign.”“Just the 142 pages,” they added, “happy reading!”

Happy for who? For lawyers. It’s not even of any (or much) value to patent examiners, boards, and so on. The London-based courts, as we showed here before, are being set up before Brexit/referendum. There is a push for finalisation by the patent lawyers, who are fast-tracking it so as to make reversal more difficult. The management of the EPO has been doing the same thing. This isn’t democracy, it’s more like a coup. Citizens aren’t even being consulted.

Coming up on December 28th is a talk by Reinier Bakels, Iga Bałos, and Józef Halbersztadt. Speaking at the popular CCC (in Germany), they will give a lecture titled “Software and business method patents: call for action”

“It’s not even of any (or much) value to patent examiners, boards, and so on.”To quote their abstract: “Ten years after the rejection of the European software patent directive by the European Parliament, the software patent problem still is not over. Political action is required.”

Reinier Bakels is well known for his work under the FFII, e.g. this one. The FFII has been warning about software patents for a very long time and its current President once took note of the “EPO CII microsite”. It’s no longer there, but it’s worth recalling what it used to say. Here is how the EPO microsite justified its selling of software patents: “As with all inventions, computer-implemented inventions are only patentable if they have technical character and solve a technical problem, are new, and provide an inventive technical contribution to the prior art.”

“What ever happened to separation of powers and executive branches?”The EPO called these CII (an alternative name for those controversial software patents, making them sound more sophisticated) and the address of the microsite used to be http://cii.european-patent-office.org/.

The site first appeared in 2005 (around the time of the famous vote on the matter) and it vanished some time between February 2007 and November 2007 (when it was already gone), based on the snapshots taken by the Web Archive.

Here is the page in question before in vanished and here is a screenshot of it:

EPO on CII

Well, in 2008 it already redirected, later (soon thereafter) to just vanish. Here is a screenshot:

EPO on CII

“The EPO lobbied Brussels,” we have learned from the FFII’s President, Benjamin Henrion. Here is how the EPO lobbied Brussels, based on MIP again:

Sant and his team are taking part in a working group of the EU Council that was formed after the Competitiveness Council approved the Community patent agreement on March 3.

As Henrion put it at the time: “So the EPO sends lobbyists to Brussels, who then take part in Council working groups.”

Around that time,”lobbying and influencing [of] the legislators” was alleged by Benjamin Henrion (see the original photo from Henrion, which we have digitally enhanced to make it a little more legible).

EPO lobbying

Has anything changed since then?

Well, judging by the EPO’s lobbying for the UPC these days, it is still the same [1, 2], only the names have changed a little. As we have shown here before, citing experts, the UPC will likely bring with it software patents.

What ever happened to separation of powers and executive branches? Well, the EPO isn’t just a tyranny inside Eponia. It tries to expand its breadth of influence as far as Brussels, still. Why is this tolerated and when will the public interest finally be considered?

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