11.16.16

The EPO Lowering Patent Quality, Accused of Issuing Invalid Patents, and Promoting Software Patents (Hence Trolls)

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 6:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The future of the EPO is like that of a pipeline/production line, totally drunk on “production” (quantity, not quality)

Very drunk

Summary: The EPO under Battistelli is increasingly just a pipeline of bogus/low-quality patents which fuel patent trolling all around the world and also in Europe (harming the European economy)

THE EPO under Battistelli’s awful leadership gradually becomes more software patents-friendly, whereas the USPTO is moving away from such patents. Such is the nature of the Office under Battistelli, the man who will be remembered as the person who brought down the whole Organisation, severely punishing staff that dared warn about it.

Software patents at the EPO should not be allowed, yet in two counties/continents that forbid these (India also) the EPO keeps promoting these. We have mentioned this many times before, especially last month. Today the EPO did it again and also today an article was published by Tufty The Cat (quite well known in patent circles). “The EPO issues invalid patents too,” said the headline and here is what the body said:

The sole drawing of the patent is shown here on the right. Basically, the patent claims a hairdressing salon in a shipping container (or some other kind of mobile structure) with a window cut into it. This is not, however, even the broadest claim. Claim 9 defines “A mobile structure for a hairdressing salon according to one of claims 1 to 7″. According to the usual EPO interpretation of the word “for”, this would cover any shipping container.

How this application got through the EPO system is at the moment quite beyond me. From a quick review of the prosecution file though, it seems that the examiner was persuaded that adding a window made the invention allowable over US 2006/137188 A1. Just in case anyone has any doubt about whether the invention is novel, let alone inventive, there is prior art in the form of shipping containers repurposed as hair salons such as this article from 11 June 2011 (before the 23 August 2012 priority date of the patent). For further avoidance of doubt, the internet archive wayback machine (which is normally accepted by the EPO as evidence of publication date) confirms that the article was available on 16 June 2011. One of the photographs in the article, shown below, seems to have everything required according to claim 1. Incidentally, the search that led me to this took about five minutes.

The subject of awful patent scope and EPO disregarding the instructions from politicians was discussed in Dutch Parliament yesterday. We have received more information since then and also engaged in a short discussion on the subject with the politician in question. One EPO insider said to us that a “similar debate should simultaneously take place in Germany, Austria and Belgium.”

Speaking of the EPO pushing software patents not only into Europe but potentially India too, see this new article from Jack Ellis at IAM. One patent maximalist said that “Dolby Selects India for Asserting Patents Against Chinese Companies,” but the actual headline is “Dolby is the latest foreign patent owner to select India for asserting against Chinese companies” and it shows a Western company playing a proxy game with patent predators in India (also see IAM’s remarks on this Harman acquisition):

Dolby has reportedly sued Oppo and Vivo in the Delhi High Court, accusing the two Chinese electronics and smartphone manufacturers of failing to pay appropriate royalties for use of its patented technologies. Dolby follows Ericsson in seeking to assert its rights in India, something that may indicate that the jurisdiction is growing in importance from an IP strategy perspective.

BGR India reported on Friday that the Delhi High Court had issued an order relating to cases that the audio technology company had filed against a number of defendants, including Oppo, Vivo and their parent firm BBK Electronics, as well as a number of affiliated local entities. IAM contacted Dolby on this matter, but the company declined to comment.

“Dolby follows Ericsson,” says the above and as we noted last year, Ericsson, a European company, officially brought patent trolls to Europe (to London in fact).

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

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  2. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  3. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



  5. Links 15/1/2021: KaOS 2021.01, Whisker Menu 2.5.2, Istio 1.8.2

    Links for the day



  6. InteLeaks – Part XV: Intel is Blind to Blind and Colour-Blind People

    Intel does not seem to grasp very basic concepts associated with accessibility; nevertheless, Intel shamelessly tries painting itself as "woke" and a "justice warrior" (policing speech while overlooking much-needed practical work)



  7. Links 15/1/2021: GStreamer 1.18.3 and Proton 5.13-5

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 14, 2021



  9. Links 14/1/2021: Wine 6.0, Debian 11 Freeze, and Alpine Linux 3.13

    Links for the day



  10. Patent Propaganda and UPC Jingoism Instead of Actual News

    Today's so-called 'news' about the EPO (Europe's second-largest institution) and the failed UPC is nothing short of shameless propaganda



  11. Links 14/1/2021: Season of KDE 2021 Selection, Mesa 21.0.0-RC1, Tor Browser 10.0.8

    Links for the day



  12. InteLeaks – Part XIV: Technical Incompetence and Incoherence Leading to Alienation and Brain Drain

    The idea that Intel "loves Linux" or "supports Linux" is somewhat of a sham; one needs only to consider what Intel insiders are saying about that, having witnessed it firsthand



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 13, 2021



  14. Links 13/1/2021: $150 RISC-V Computer With GNU/Linux, Intel Replaces CEO Again, and New Fedora 34 Plans

    Links for the day



  15. Unitary Patent is Dead and Lies About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Aren't Ending

    Not "Russian agents" but concerned European citizens are beginning to see the truth behind the Unified Patent Court, which the 'media' has wrongly called "Unitary Patent Court" three times in 2 days



  16. InteLeaks – Part XIII: GNU/Linux Documentation From People Who Never Even Use GNU/Linux

    Inside Intel there's a whole bunch of embarrassing secrets about the Developer/Development eXperience ("DX") team; no wonder documentation efforts have been lacking and far too much time wasted putting such documentation together



  17. Links 13/1/2021: Mozilla VPN, NeoChat 1.0.1 and Sci-Hub Under Attack

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 12, 2021



  19. GNOME Foundation is Still Participating in the Attack on Richard Stallman

    GNOME's supposed 'representatives' (close-knit friends with Microsoft connections) continue to attack RMS (Richard Stallman), the founder of GNU (the G in GNOME) and the Free Software Movement



  20. Links 12/1/2021: GTK 4.0.1 Released, Jailbroken iPhone 7 Running Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  21. InteLeaks – Part XII: Intel Isn't Interested in Improving and Instead It's Shooting the Messengers Who Highlight Areas for Improvement

    It seems rather clear that Intel (quite frankly like many other companies but perhaps even more so than the rest) isn't interested in self-assessment and instead it's looking to muzzle or even oust constructive critics



  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 11, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 11, 2021



  23. Tiger Computing Ltd Afraid of Being Seen as Close to the British Military, Resorts to SLAPP Against Blogger and GNU/Linux Developer

    Tiger Computing Ltd (UK) has resorted to baseless legal threats against critics and sceptics, based on clear and obvious misuse of trademark or copyright laws (they don't even seem to know the difference)



  24. Marketing Companies (Disguised as News Sites) Badmouth Linux, Go, Monero and More

    Another day, another shallow piece associating “Linux” with security risks based on something that has nothing to do with GNU/Linux and generally boils to nothing like a real threat (unlike Windows back doors)



  25. The Media is Slurring and Misleading Linux Users Instead of Just Telling the Mundane and Objective News

    The "big sites" or the so-called 'news' sites seem incapable of just objectively covering the news (in line with journalism/journalistic standards)



  26. Links 11/1/2021: Kdenlive 20.12.1, fwupd 1.5.5, Microsoft Offline Again

    Links for the day



  27. InteLeaks – Part XI: Accountability Issues and Disdain for Views/Opinions of Actual GNU/Linux Users/Developers/Communities

    The truth about internal affairs at Intel and developers' struggle with "low/non-tech involvement," as told by insiders



  28. Links 11/1/2021: Linux 5.11 RC3, Firefox Integrates More Patent Traps

    Links for the day



  29. As Microsoft Windows Drops to Just 30% Market Share the Microsoft-Connected 'Net Applications' Wants You to Think Windows Still Has Over 90% of the Market

    StatCounter says Windows is down to 30% this month (Android is at over 42%) and it’s time to talk about the lies which are still being spread by Net Applications (many so-called ‘news’ sites helped spread those lies last year, including so-called ‘Linux’ sites)



  30. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 10, 2021


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