05.09.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

European Digital SME Alliance: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Unconstitutional”, Harms SMEs, Brings Software Patents to Europe, “Should be Based on EU Law and Not on an International Agreement.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another TTIP- or TTP-style behind-closed-doors agreement which infuriates those potentially affected (once they actually find out about it)

European Digital SME AllianceSummary: Position paper from a legitimate (not fake) group of SMEs blasts the Unified Patent Court (UPC) for being little more than a conspiracy of powerful businesses and other opportunists to work around the law, misrepresent SMEs, and undermine Directive 2009/24/EC (effectively a ban on software patents)

EARLIER this morning we wrote about the UPC in relation to misleading new propaganda from patent lawyers. The EPO has been lying to everyone, insisting that the UPC is legitimate and that it’s somehow “for SMEs” when the reality is exactly the opposite, as a recent scholarly paper about SMEs served to show. Patent lawyers who play along with the EPO’s propaganda are doing a lot of damage, but then again, remember that it’s “damages” from which they profit. They want patent war. The more, the merrier. As for the EPO, it now pays obscene amounts of money to a PR firm from the US, which in turn pays to organise UPC propaganda events in the US (definitely not for European SMEs). It takes extreme gullibility/ignorance to fail to see what’s happening here.

“It takes extreme gullibility/ignorance to fail to see what’s happening here.”When talking about SMEs we must remember that there are fake (AstroTurfing) lobbying groups of Microsoft, pretending to be fronts of SMEs (e.g. Association for Competitive Technology), but European Digital SME Alliance is not a fake one (members listed at the bottom of the statement below). As the statement states clearly: “The European Digital SME Alliance aims to ensure that ICT SMEs get talked to rather than just talked about.”

The latter is what has been happening for quite some time. We mentioned this. The European Digital SME Alliance is based in Brussels and Benjamin Henrion, who is also based in Brussels (the EPO increases/maintains lobbying presence there), paraphrased [1, 2] the European Digital SME Alliance as saying “An EU wide patent system should be based on EU law and not on an international agreement [...] UPC rules of procedure are illegal, undemocratic, no parliaments, even unconstitutional in DE” (not exact words).

Here is the statement in full, extracted and edited based on the original PDF:

European Digital SME Alliance

4 April 2016

Position Paper on Agreement on a Unified Patent Court

Insufficient legal protection for digital SMEs

The European DIGITAL SME Alliance is concerned that the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) will undermine the legal protection of software developers against lawsuits based on possibly invalid software patents.
Under this agreement, companies may be convicted for an alleged patent infringement without first proving whether the patent in question is valid or not.

Threats to digital SMEs

The European software market is loaded with tens of thousands of software-­related patents1. Patents can cover several features in a computer program. For small and medium sized software developers it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid those patents by using alternative means. The existence of software-­‐related patents is per se questionable: software is sufficiently protected directly or indirectly by the copyright law for computer programs under Directive 2009/24/EC.

More in general, the validity of software patents is quite uncertain when looking at the overall patent collection. More than 50 % of all oppositions or nullity procedures against software patents lead to a partial or total revocation of patents2. Thus, there is no basis for trust on the reliability and completeness of the patent granting procedure.

All SMEs in the software sector can be accused of patent infringement and receive an injunction by a court. This poses a constant threat to the companies. The defence against a patent infringement lawsuit is costly and can take years. This situation is worse in countries like Germany, where the proceedings for patent infringement can lead to an injunction even though the lawfulness of the patent in question has not yet been determined. Injunctions
_______________
1 The search for patents in the German Patent and Trademark Office containing the phrase „computer program“ in the patent claims led to 20.278 Hits on 10.11.2015.

2 http://www.epo.org/about-­‐us/annual-­‐reports-­‐statistics/annual-­‐report/2014/statistics/searches.html: In 2014, in opposition procedures at the European Patent Office in 31% of the cases, patents were totally removed and in 38% of the cases at least partially removed


force companies to withdraw their product from the market. Years after such injunction, when the SME has accumulated huge losses, a court may judge invalid the patent in question. Hence, companies that own large patent portfolios can use the threat of patent infringement lawsuit to undermine the competition of SME software developers in the market.

Creating a long-­‐lasting legal uncertainty

According to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court, when ruling on an alleged patent infringement, the local and regional chambers of the Unified Patent Court will be empowered to decide in their own discretion, whether an objection for nullity of the patent shall be taken into account. The chambers will have different options:

(a) They can decide about a counterclaim for revocation together with the question of patent infringement;
(b) they can suspend the patent infringement process until the nullity proceeding is ruled or
(c) they can decide about a patent infringement without considering the question of nullity.

Thus, the agreement fails to establish a legal precedence for the clarification of the validity of patents. Should the agreement come into force, it would extend the German approach of a conviction without prior clarification of the legal situation to all participating countries. Worryingly, the choice of an international agreement as operational tool will make it very difficult to review the content of the agreement over the next decades, thus worsening the consequences and perpetuating the damage to SMEs in the digital sector.

Unconstitutional rules of procedure

According to the agreement, an administrative committee composed by representatives of the signatory countries will be alone responsible for setting up the rules of procedure of the new Unified Patent Court. The rules of procedure deal with numerous matters of the procedure that concern the procedural rights of the parties.
The definition of this set of rules that regard the basic rights of the parties without democratic legitimation by the parliaments is, for countries like Germany, even unconstitutional.

Fragmentation of legal positions

Croatia, Poland and Spain are not signatories of this agreement.

The requests of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance

Digital SMEs need a European patent system that protects them from the attacks of owners of extensive portfolios often based on unlawful software patents. For small and medium sized software companies it is essential that the patent system prevent the implementation of questionable patents. Thus, the procedural law should ensure a complete examination of the patent, prior to the decision on conviction for an alleged patent infringement. An EU wide patent system should be based on EU law and not on an international agreement.


About the European DIGITAL SME Alliance

The European Digital SME Alliance (former PIN SME) is an association formed in 2007 to represent the interests of Europe’s ICT SME sector. Currently ten national and regional associations are members, representing tens of thousands ICT SME companies in Europe. The European Digital SME Alliance aims to ensure that ICT SMEs get talked to rather than just talked about. It provides a voice for ICT SMEs in the policy and business arenas and is already represented in several EU expert groups and taskforces.

Membership

BASSCOM – Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BULGARIA), CNA -­‐Comunicazione e Terziario Avanzato, Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media impresa (ITALY), UKITA, United Kingdom IT Association (GREAT BRITAIN), CONETIC – Confederación Española de Empresas de Tecnologias de la Información, Communicaciones y Electrónica (SPAIN), BITMi – Bundesverband IT-­‐Mittelstand (GERMANY), GPNI – Groupement Professionnel National de l’Informatique (FRANCE), it-­‐forum midtjylland (DENMARK), SwissMedia – Swiss IT & Multimedia Association (SWITZERLAND), Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, IT Association (SERBIA), Vojvodina ICT Cluster (SERBIA), STIKK – Kosovo Association of Information and Communication Technology (KOSOVO), Balkan and Black Sea ICT Clusters Network (ALBANIA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, BULGARIA, GREECE, MONTENEGRO, ROMANIA, SERBIA, KOSOVO, TURKEY, REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, UKRAINE)

The UPC basically mirrors what we find in TPP and TTIP. It’s a corporate attack on democracy itself and it is falsely advertised to the public (if it’s advertised at all). Protests may be needed and more antagonism from those affected is now imperative.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 26/10/2021: SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 and Multi-Distro Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  2. Links 26/10/2021: Vulkan 1.1 Conformance for Raspberry Pi 4 and Tor Browser 10.5.10

    Links for the day



  3. [Meme] Sounds Legit

    When not cheating on the wife, the EPO‘s “doyen” cheats in the exams and makes it into the epi Council, in effect working “[t]owards a common understanding [sic] of quality” with “patent attorneys nominated as “assessors” by the EPO, epi and BusinessEurope” (notorious lobbyists for dictators, litigation, and monopolies, neither business nor science)



  4. [Meme] Mayoral Patent Office Chief

    As it turns out, political 'double-dipping' isn't just a thing in North Macedonia, Austria, and EPOnia



  5. Romania's Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

    The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes



  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania

    Romania’s patent office has been in flux this past decade, occasionally led by people with no relevant experience, but rather political connections (like EPO President António Campinos) and sometimes forged documents and fake degrees



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 25, 2021



  8. [Meme] “Social Democracy” at the EPO

    Some comments on the current situation at the European Patent Office from Goran Gerasimovski, the new EPO Administrative Council delegate for North Macedonia and Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Centar (a municipality of Skopje)



  9. [Meme] António Campinos Visits the OSIM

    António Campinos visits OSIM Director-General Ionel Muscalu in February 2014



  10. [Meme] [Teaser] Meet the President

    Later today we shall see what Romania did for Battistelli



  11. Links 26/10/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.3 and Linux 5.15 RC7

    Links for the day



  12. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  13. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  15. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  18. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  19. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  20. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  21. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  23. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  24. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  26. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  27. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  28. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  29. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)


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

Recent Posts