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12.28.15

Today’s Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Talk: EU Software and Business Method Patents: Call for Action

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today’s talk about software patents in Europe and a petition calling for action to stop these (again)

AS EPO examiners probably know by now, despite software patents (“as such,” as per Brimelow) not being legal in Europe, the EPO does occasionally entertain patent applications that pertain to software, even if it euphemistically names them CII to nymshift and add smoke to the debate. This can devastate famous European companies.

A CCC talk which was mentioned here over the weekend is now available for viewing online. It was presented earlier today and we were hoping to find a static file (Ogg/WebM preferable) as soon as possible in order to share information about software patents in Europe. EPO workers might wish to watch this in order to better understand how the management dodges the rules. The above video is from YouTube (the speaker has just sent it to us) and the MP4 version is already mirrored in the FFII’s Web site (1.1GB file in a heavily-patented multimedia format, ironically enough).

“A CCC talk which was mentioned here over the weekend is now available for viewing online.”“Henrion and colleagues are on at 32C3 now,” a reader wrote to us earlier, so some people were evidently streaming it live. This reader of ours tracked down the petition mentioned at the end of the talk. “It seems risky,” the reader said, as more people now realise that the EPO is out of control and UPC needs to be shunned. “According to the petitioner,” says the European Parliament’s Web site, “the European Patent Office is an international European institution which does not fall under EU law. He proposes that the EU contacts the EPO in order to conclude an interinstitutional agreement which would enable Members of the European Parliament to address parliamentary questions to the EPO and improve the parliamentary supervision of the EPO. The petitioner also asks the European Commission to harmonise national substantive patent law so that patent law becomes part of the acquis communautaire and the major differences which currently exist between the national patent law systems are removed. The EPO cannot deal with these differences, but has become the de facto harmoniser of patent law owing to its position as the provider of patents. According to the petitioner, the current situation is lacking a legislator and the development of patent law is concentrated in the hands of the executive and the judiciary. This is contrary to the separation of powers. The lack of balance between the powers means that it is difficult to respond to the fact that patent law affects areas other than that of EU policy, such as industrial policy, European standardisation and research policy. Moreover, the petitioner believes that the lack of harmonisation of substantive patent law weakens the negotiating position of the EU in matters relating to patent law with respect to third parties (WIPO, SPLT, TRIPS+, etc.).”

Incidentally, earlier today we found more articles about India rejecting software patents (for now…)

An article by RNA, who call themselves “Intellectual Property Attorneys” (it’s not hard to guess whose side they’re on), was published earlier today, around the same time of an article with the title “The Murky Waters Of Software Patents”.

“The one side isn’t “patent supporters” but mostly large corporations.”“India has announced a hold on plans to clarify the software patent process within the country,” wrote the reporter of the latter article, “a move that has both critics and supporters up in arms. In one camp, patent supporters argue that the investment in a new piece of software has to be protected both financially and by reputation against cheap imitators, while critics of software patents claim that software patents do nothing but lead to expensive litigation to fight infringement claims.”

The one side isn’t “patent supporters” but mostly large corporations. They’re not even Indian. They support not patents but software patents in India, which makes no sense for this economy that thrives in software and isn’t wealthy enough to withstand legal actions from aboard (mostly north America, obviously). That’s the kind of thing which UPC passage would enable, attracting all sorts of patent trolls and bring them to Europe with their software patents (that’s what trolls typically use for extortion purposes, where small companies are attractive targets that cannot afford legal battles and may quickly settle instead).

Learn from the mistakes of patent scope at the USPTO (whose official site is reportedly still not fully working today, based on IP Kat‘s comments, even 4 days after the outage).

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