Unless they went back to the drawing board and restarted all the negotiations, with Britain ruled out and the UPC being something altogether different (maybe renamed, too)…
U.P.C. is the new U.F.O.
Summary: The chorus of the German patent microcosm and Team UPC, including several IP Kat writers, who collectively in their echo chamber want to believe — and also to convince all of us — that the UPC will be ratified in Germany “real soon now!” (but no, they cannot without the UK changing its mind on “hard Brexit”, amongst other tall barriers and legislative obstacles across Europe)
THE source of many deliberate lies, the EPO, continues to amaze us with its incredible lobbying push for the UPC. It’s not only expensive but it also corrupts European media and harms its reputation (e.g. fake news, which we have just learned is spreading to Spanish media). Previously in this evening’s series we summarised the past week’s developments as follows:
Now it’s Germany’s turn. That’s like the heart of this monster, not just the EPO’s but also the UPC’s. There are probably veiled reasons behind Maas refusing to enforce the law against Team Battistelli. With the UPC, unlike with the US patent system (which includes the notorious state of Texas, capital of litigation), there is federalism and fragmentation. Countries like the UK, Poland, and Spain (very large countries) still seem far from joining or being assimilated to the Borg, so to speak. Don’t believe the fake news and the hype from Team Battistelli and Team UPC. They have a long track record of lying and they have already shouted “Wolf!” more than thrice.
“It’s not only expensive but it also corrupts European media and harms its reputation (e.g. fake news, which we have just learned is spreading to Spanish media).”So, what’s the deal with Germany? Not much. Team UPC, Bristows for example, toes the party line. A day ago, on a Saturday, Richard Pinckney said that “German parliament passes two bills required for UPC ratification” and he hopes to give the impression that Germany’s ratification is now imminent and inevitable. But it’s not. Germany won’t ratify as long as the UK does not (and it cannot!).
Watch tweets from UPC proponents who repeatedly use terms like “green light”. This is all conditional, contingent upon lots of things. Citing the Bundestag’s site, this person says “German #Bundestag gives green light to #UPC. Actual #ratification to happen later.”
Look at the certainty. Here is another tweet to that effect: “Lower House of German Parliament #Bundestag has given green light to implement #unitary #patent in Europe”
What do they even mean by green light? Something like Chinese government officials giving the green light for Siemens to relocate to China. It doesn’t mean it will actually happen.
“Don’t believe the fake news and the hype from Team Battistelli and Team UPC. They have a long track record of lying and they have already shouted “Wolf!” more than thrice.”A pro-UPC account (“UPC tracker”) said “Bills providing basis for ratification of UPC passed unanimously by DE Bundestag. Speaker: “doesn’t happen often.””
Well, how often does one vote on UPC? Only once.
Talking about the FFII, Benjamin Henrion urged for action in Germany when he wrote: “You wonder if it is useful to have a German association if no German don’t do shit when UPC goes through Bundestag…”
Alexander Esslinger (a.k.a. “patently German”) wrote: “This news will probably dampen rumors about Germany not ratifying #UPC due to some open questions in connection with Brexit” (not really, unless you are Esslinger, in which case the UPC is desirable to you).
Esslinger alludes to discussion among people from IP Kat (former writers). Birgit, as I told her, should know about this as a German working in the UK. Tufty wrote to her: “I’m suspicious of everything about the #UPC. It would make sense for DE to delay ratification until effect of #brexit is clearer.”
She had said that “all these suspicions… you Germany will still play the Article 50 waiting game? They could have stalled it yesterday?”
She also wrote “Let’s just hope the Bundestag calls the #UPC by its correct name… (not “unified software patent” or similar,” linking to this tweet from a dubious pro-EPO site. It says that “UK has signed the UPC Protocol on Privileges and Immunities ahead of its ratification of the agreement, but whether the country does ratify in the fallout of its vote to leave the EU remains to be seen.”
“What do they even mean by green light? Something like Chinese government officials giving the green light for Siemens to relocate to China. It doesn’t mean it will actually happen.”It does recognise that Germany depends on what happens in the UK. Time is running out for Team UPC (EU-wide) because of Article 50. They know what it would mean to the whole scheme when invoked in as little as weeks from now, so they resort to dirty deeds (like those covered here earlier this evening).
Here comes another UPC proponent, this one also from IP Kat, which never criticises the UPC and only ever promotes it (as recently as a week ago). So much for a ‘balanced’ blog, only ever sobbing if there’s a setback or lack of progress for the UPC.
Mr. Smyth, an occasional booster of the UPC (he does a lot to promote it), wrote: “New #UPC rumour – Germany may not ratify until result of Art 50 negotiations known. Could that be true? If so catastrophic #patentforum2017″
“Catastrophic to your employer,” I told him. “What about people who actually make stuff?”
“I honestly don’t believe that Jo Johnson cares about what’s good/bad for the UK e.g. UPC,” I added later. “Just like his brother on Brexit…”
It increasingly seems like Johnson does not care about legal aspects, either, as he cannot ratify the UPC and pray that it will miraculously survive after Brexit (or that they can ‘patch’ the UPC ‘on the go’ so as to ‘retrofit’ it to an untenable ratification). Might Battistelli pull that famous trick that involves money/gifts?
“Here comes another UPC proponent, this one also from IP Kat, which never criticises the UPC and only ever promotes it (as recently as a week ago).”The whole thing is insane!
“Making rules of procedure of a court with an administrative committee like for the UPC is undemocratic,” Henrion noted, and “against German Constitution….”
A couple of days ago Bristows said in its blog that “PPI will give legal personality to the Unified Patent Court and provide the Court and its judges, Registrar and other staff with the various privileges and immunities.”
How does the post-Brexit UK feel about such ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’ from the EU? This just serves to remind everyone out there how crazy this whole thing is. This would not only bring software patents to the UK from the back door (including litigation and enforcement from courts that don’t speak English!). It would also invite patent trolls from other countries and continents to the UK. All those Chinese companies with sloppily-granted EPs can do a lot of damage here if the UPC passes (not that it’s expected to happen, not in the UK anyway).
The loudest proponent of software patents in Germany asked FFII, “do you really think the #UPC will change anything for the #patentability of #software?”
That’s obvious. One has to be seriously misinformed and deliberately in denial about it to say the above. We covered this subject many times before, citing various luminaries and experts to support that assertion.
As Henrion put it, “yes, it will rubberstamp the insane EPO practice.” (the EPO grants software patents, unlike UK-IPO)
“The whole thing is insane!”Imagine what would happen if, instead of national courts (tied to NPOs like UK-IPO), the above-the-law EPO with its taste/savour for software patents gained prominence here. Imagine what would happen if the UPC ever gained a political foothold. Disaster!
Henrion concluded with, “the unitary patent is an ugly mixture of EU law and international law, not even an EU court [and thus] undemocratic…”
If at any point this month Johnson does the unthinkable and slips in a ratification (without even a debate in Parliament), there will definitely be protests. And if the UK goes ahead with Brexit before ratifying (as should be the case, as per the law), then all the above gossip about Germany is just a crazy pipe dream. █
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At relatively short notice, Managing IP helps Battistelli promote the UPC in the UK (by incredible coincidence while he makes a surprise visit to Jo Johnson)
Follow the money, and be prepared to pay £995 + VAT to enter another short pro-UPC event (unless you are in the patent microcosm, in which case you can “attend the Forum completely free of charge.”)
Summary: The latest echo chamber, misleadingly titled “International Patent Forum 2017″ and scheduled or set to overlap heavy lobbying by Team UPC and Team Battistelli, serves to create even more confusion and almost breed consent for the UPC, even though it is neither possible nor desirable in post-Brexit Britain
THE previous post reminded readers that EPO budget travels a long way in promotion of UPC — to the point of sort of bribing the media to play along and set up pro-UPC events, perhaps even produce these habitual UPC puff pieces. Is this what EPO stakeholders, who are paying this money, prefer to see it spent (wasted) on? Corrupting European media to play along with Battistelli, which only 0% of stakeholders tolerate anyway? The US patent system looks like an ethical angel compared to the EPO.
Not too long ago we wrote about Managing IP organising pro-UPC events with stacked panels [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. All those fake news articles on the subject are apparently not enough [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and as scheduled, coinciding with Battistelli's surprise lobbying trip to the UK (last week), Managing IP does it again! Shame on Managing IP, who are not even good at hiding their motivations and intentions.
Who was at this event? The UPC echo chamber, of course. To quote Managing IP‘s account: “Here’s @EIP_Elements asking a tricky question about #upc at #patentforum2017 The answer involved the Isle of Man! pic.twitter.com/DL4pXjN1Bd”
“Shame on Managing IP, who are not even good at hiding their motivations and intentions.”Guess who weighed in? Bristows, the enemy of British interests and democracy. “Hello,” they wrote, “thanks for your tweet. IoM will be part of unitary patent territory despite not being in the EU – @dominic_adair”
“Isle of Man is not part of the EU,” Benjamin Henrion told them, and “UPC is only open to EU member states…”
But never mind facts. The UPC echo chamber is just there to googlebomb the whole Web with misinformation and self-serving propaganda. Battistelli supplies a lot of money for this propaganda and he wants to get his (actually, EPO stakeholders’) money’s worth.
Obviously, as an outsider might expect, the event was so full of too much one-sided ‘information’ that quoting anything from it would only do harm (without detailed rebuttals). Facts are not convenient to them, but lobbyists try to just make up the law and spread fake news to that effect. That fake news is music to their ears. Garbage in, garbage out.
“Facts are not convenient to them, but lobbyists try to just make up the law and spread fake news to that effect.”Here is Managing IP stating: “Us #upc more of a risk or an opportunity? Interesting responses from #patentforum2017 panel moderated by David Barron of @GowlingWLGIPUK”
Where are the opposers to UPC? Oh, that’s right, they were not invited. And even if they managed to put together a lot of money to actually attend (it’s expensive, about a thousand pounds!), they would receive no speaking position. Opposition is not allowed. It’s a lobbying event and its target audience is British officials and other members of Team UPC, who already drink the Kool-Aid and wish to share it with others.
This, in our view, represents not just lobbying but institutional corruption if not collusion between parties that look to gain behind closed doors, not because it’s acceptable but because they’re allowed to get away with it. We suppose that Team UPC and CIPA feel greatly empowered in the EPO’s presence, as though they almost inherit the same immunity and impunity Battistelli gloats and brags about.
Dr. Luke McDonagh, a scholar who has repeatedly explained why Brexit and UPC cannot coexist, said that “[f]or all those who love/hate referendums – Irish voters will have to vote on the #UnifiedPatentCourt http://www.newstalk.com/reader/47.301.343/92546/0/#.WL1t0DtgkwE.twitter … #patents”
That’s something that we in the UK never had. Now, see the comment in there (Twitter), about “posters” in Ireland….
The cited article is actually news from a month ago. “Action against the Unitary Patent will be needed in Ireland,” Henrion wrote. “going for a referendum on it…”
Commenting on the tweet from McDonagh, one firm wrote: “Establishment of a Unified Patent Court would be “the more complicated part of the reform”, IP manager of Enterprise Ireland points out…”
“Where are the opposers to UPC? Oh, that’s right, they were not invited. And even if they managed to put together a lot of money to actually attend (it’s expensive, about a thousand pounds!), they would receive no speaking position.”Ian Dunt, a journalist who had spoken to McDonagh for quite some length of time before producing an article on the subject, was told that “The UPC is beyond the reach of the national legislator and courts…”
Another person said that “It’s not just a normal EU regulation. It’s #EnhancedCooperation. You can’t have that outside.”
Sadly, a lot of people in the UK don’t grasp patents and the UPC. “Scientists for EU”, for example, wrongly/erroneously chose to view opposition to the UPC as some kind of UKIP thing (maybe because of the source of some articles about it).
To quote: “Brexiteer and tabloid extremists try to sabotage UK jobs, growth and innovation by attacking EU patent system…”
Actually, I was against Brexit and still am. At the same time I am against the UPC. It’s nothing to do with Brexit and people’s stance on the UPC unhypocritically applies irrespective of one’s view on the status of Britain in the EU (or outside the EU). Fools who equates UPC to “UK jobs, growth and innovation” are dangerous fools or useful idiots, who possibly read some EPO-funded puff pieces about the UPC. We have no other explanation for that. Maybe some of them even read something which came out of the staged lobbying event of Managing IP. Remember this older article of ours (from last week), The Very Thought of UPC in the UK “is a Perfect Example of What Lobbying Can Achieve!”
Thankfully, “Scientists for EU” has already received quite a few dissenting responses. Promotions of the UPC using patently false claims are not tolerated, but one person wrote: “All those researchers and industries wanting to be part of a unitary patent system to protect us. Bah! Typical know-all experts.”
“Sadly, a lot of people in the UK don’t grasp patents and the UPC.”“UPC means EU-wide software patents, and trolls that goes with it,” Henrion explained, “tell me that it is good, when you loose your job because of trolls.” (separate tweet)
Some people seem to have gotten the point: “Thanks for that. So outside of EU protection we are more open to trolls?”
Well, it means software patents and more. As or Henrion put it, “as long as EPO grants them, you are still open to trolls.”
Quoting from another thread, one person pointed out that the “plant varieties & Biotech can go to ECJ but see http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/epo-bows-to-eu-commission-on.html?m=1 … The Epo want a common interpretation so ECJ matters anyway…”
Henrion added, “especially when EPO is not strictly and legally bound to it.”
ECJ being involved serves to remind us again that Brexit and the UPC simply cannot coexist, and patent maximalism at Battistelli’s EPO threatens to intrude EU member states. Who would want that except patent lawyers and large clients like international pharmaceutical giants, lovers of broad and harsh injunctions?
“Actually, I was against Brexit and still am. At the same time I am against the UPC. It’s nothing to do with Brexit and people’s stance on the UPC unhypocritically applies irrespective of one’s view on the status of Britain in the EU (or outside the EU).”Going back to the original thread, people quickly realise that they got fooled on the UPC. A UPC sceptic asked: “So does leaving EU make any benefit or harm?”
When it comes to patents, it is a benefit because it makes the UK more attractive as a safe haven from something like the UPC (if something similar ever becomes a reality outside the UK).
“I am not an expert in this,” Henrion humbly responded, “but Unitary Patent is special beast.”
Yes, when it comes to patents, especially now that the EPO is out of control (patent quality, brain drain [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], human rights violations etc.) and barely hires any Brits anyway, the UK is better off outside. But don’t expect Battistelli’s lobbying events to include any discussion whatsoever about this. Not while he is lobbying Mr. Johnson. █
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Weaponised, fake news, courtesy of the militant Team Battistelli
Posted one week ago: The Very Thought of UPC in the UK “is a Perfect Example of What Lobbying Can Achieve!”
Summary: The aggressive lobbying campaign coordinated by self-serving opportunists and partly funded by EPO budget (even through proxies such as FTI Consulting) is proving to be fruitful, as many people out there have embraced the wrong idea that Spain intends to join the UPC and now operate on that false assumption
THE EPO discriminates against the Spanish language and the Spanish government is not interested in the UPC. That’s not news. We recently wrote about some fake news about Spain, including easily-debunked claims from UPC propagandists such as IAM (paid by the EPO's PR firm and supported by the EPO to set up pro-UPC event/s). We can imagine that Spanish media already has seeded in it some puff pieces from the EPO (maybe ghostwritten), but we are not keeping abreast of publications in Spanish.
Over the past week, perhaps in an effort to pressure the UK and Germany, elements of Team UPC in or around Spain tried to stir up some propaganda again. It was despicable. We have never seen anything quite as disgusting from the US patent office or American patent lawyers. What we have here is some fake news recycled/disseminated (people cannot face-check if they cannot comprehend Spanish), sheer distortion of facts, and just about any nefarious trick from lobbyists’ textbooks. Maybe if they keep repeating the lie (lobbying), then people will give up and believe it, accepting an outcome that was far-fetched to begin with.
“We recently wrote about some fake news about Spain, including easily-debunked claims from UPC propagandists such as IAM (paid by the EPO’s PR firm and supported by the EPO to set up pro-UPC event/s).”Watch this tweet from this dodgy new site (no idea who’s behind it, but it’s SUEPO-hostile) that says “Spain edges toward unitary patent” (not true, even patently untrue). Team UPC wants us to believe we’re powerless and that all nations now fall in line with its agenda; they need us to believe that the Unitary Patent is inevitable and there is no reason for anyone to fight back. It’s a classic lobbying tactic that we’ve witnessed with attempted passage of SOPA, ACTA, TPP and so on. Don’t fall for it. Don’t be an easy victim.
The above article says: “Political support for the EU unitary patent system is growing in Spain, where a non-binding motion asking the government to begin talks to join has been passed.”
So that’s all it is? A “non-binding motion”? Watch how a mountain will grow out of this molehill, thanks to endless determination — it not sheer desperation — from Team UPC. Lobbying for UPC has, in our humble opinion, intensified lately because the EPO and Team UPC are growing very nervous. They know the door is closing very soon with Brexit (perhaps end of this month). For them — it’s now or never!
“Watch how a mountain will grow out of this molehill, thanks to endless determination — it not sheer desperation — from Team UPC.”Many parallels can be found and drawn between UPC lobbying right now and what Microsoft did for OOXML about a decade ago: breaking rules, bribing the press, setting up bogus events with stacked panels and whatever else they could get their hands (or wallet) on so as to ram it down all nations’ throats (for ISO approval).
“Spain is now the UPC lobbying target,” a local told me. “Socialists involved…”
Well, they have been involved in this for years, so there’s not much to see here.
IAM, however, greased up for UPC promotion (payments from the EPO’s PR firm for it), has already spread some fake news about it and it just cannot stop. Maybe it’s trying to impress Battistelli for another wad of cash.
“Debate and vote on Spain joining the EU unitary patent system in the country’s Parliament tomorrow,” it said last week. It’s just a debate.
Josep Maria Pujals retweeted Francisco Moreno as saying something in Spanish. “If Spain decides to join the UPC,” he continued, “a local division could be established in Spain working in the Spanish language…”
“IAM, however, greased up for UPC promotion (payments from the EPO’s PR firm for it), has already spread some fake news about it and it just cannot stop. Maybe it’s trying to impress Battistelli for another wad of cash.”But “have you ever tested automated translation in Spanish? An insult to every European citizen,” Benjamin Henrion told him. Yes, it will never work for Spain. Why should the Spanish language not receive priority over French and German? It makes no sense given the popularity of the Spanish language worldwide.
The lobbyists, IAM, later wrote: “Breaking News: the Spanish Parliament has voted in favour of Spain joining the EU unitary patent system.”
This is a lie.
Even IAM knew it was a lie, so then came this correction: “Important to note that vote was non-binding and merely asks the government to do it. All parties voted in favour, apart from governing PP.”
So the lobbyists from IAM posted a lie and never deleted it, either. Maybe they hope that this lie, retweeted by 37 people (far more than is usual for IAM), will help influence the outcome. These people from the patent microcosm heard what they wanted to hear, but not what was true. Money well spent by the EPO and its PR firm?
“So the lobbyists from IAM posted a lie and never deleted it, either.”There’s no UPC without the UK, as we noted in our previous post, so it’s still a limbo scenario (deadlock) for the Unitary Patent either way.
Found via Team UPC (Bristows) was this recycling of bogus or misleading news about the “Committee on Economy, Industry and Competitiveness”. Watch how they rephrased it. Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar wrote the headline “Spanish parliament calls on the government to join the unitary patent and UPC system” (picked up by Dr. Luke McDonagh).
See what’s misleading here? The government is not voting for that, but Team UPC is just misleading people — yet again — with fake news, hoping to make the distortions/lies a reality. Have they no shame?
What the ‘article’ says does not even match the headline.
As Henrion pointed out, “Spanish parliament voting for UPC means Spanish citizens will have to appeal at the Spanish Constitutional Court https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Court_of_Spain …
“How many people fell for it? How many people passed (e.g. retweeted) such false statements and never corrected these, even once they realised these statements were misleading at best?”Contrary to some ‘reports’ (lobbying from Team UPC), the UPC isn’t happening in Spain. But IAM will carry on with tweets like this: “Opposition PSOE has today demanded that Spain’s minister for economy explains to Parliament the government’s opposition to joining the UPC.”
That’s very different from what Team UPC blogs are saying. Consider what the Dutch team is saying in its blog. To quote: “The Spanish parliament will vote today on a non-binding motion of the socialist opposition party PSOE, which calls on the government to reconsider joining the Unitary Patent system.”
Now compare this to the headline which is a quote from one side only, without even an attribution. It says “Parliament votes in favour of Spain joining Unitary Patent system”
How many people fell for it? How many people passed (e.g. retweeted) such false statements and never corrected these, even once they realised these statements were misleading at best? From what we could gather this past week, the fake news is now a sort of consensus, so British and German politician might easily be fooled/bamboozled into the idea that Spain is no longer a barrier to the UPC.
“UPC would be highly damaging to Spanish companies as the vast majority of them are small and currently not susceptible to ruinous litigation from other countries — something that only the UPC would facilitate.”Watch another new blog post of UPC lobbyists, again a selective quote that’s being cast as fact: “It is detrimental to Spain to stay outside the Unitary Patent system”
This is of course an utter lie right there in the headline. First of all, Spain would not stay out of the UPC if there was no Unitary Patent to begin with. The lobbyists pretend it’s inevitable, but they are liars. It’s a lobbying technique. But more to the point, UPC would be highly damaging to Spanish companies as the vast majority of them are small and currently not susceptible to ruinous litigation from other countries — something that only the UPC would facilitate.
Still believe that Spain is about to ratify the UPC? Then send me an E-mail, I can get you a discount on some Martian land and the nicer parts of the Moon. Order today and get a free oxygen bubble. █
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They said we’d have UPC ratified in the UK on March 7th. Nope! Didn’t happen. As usual, it’s faked optimism (a lobbying tactic akin to learned helplessness).
Summary: For lobbying purposes, the EPO pretends that the reality of Brexit in no way undermines UPC and proponents of the UPC (few law firms looking to profit from a transition) keep lying about it, in a coordinated effort — EU-wide — to induce defeatism among UPC opponents, causing political panic and near surrender amid a perceived rush, as if UPC will definitely start soon and those not joining will be left behind
THE EPO recently had the media reprint and repeat its lies, maybe owing to these massive PR contracts that Battistelli had secretly signed and later even expanded with fracking lobbyists. They are truly desperate to sell lies to the public — as facts are not convenient — and as we have witnessed before, that form of lobbying from paid media extends to UPC puff pieces.
The EPO makes it no secret that it meddles and intervenes in UPC matters (politics). “This online course provides easy access to the main concepts involved in patent litigation,” the EPO wrote last week. The chart in the page contains a fictional (wishful thinking) element, Unitary Patent, as if they take it for granted before it even exists, except in draft papers. Meanwhile, the same media which habitually produces puff pieces for Battistelli (silly lies about Apple patents with this publication, and never even a single article about the EPO conflict) helps spread fake news about the UPC. It’s lobbying disguised as news, with the headline “Unitary patent expected this year, despite Brexit” (expected by who? The liars who lobby for it? Or those who want others to believe so and then make it so?).
“The EPO makes it no secret that it meddles and intervenes in UPC matters (politics).”As we showed here before, based on a very recent poll, the large majority of patent professionals does not believe this. “EU will find a way to keep UK in unitary patent, says EPO chief” is another new puff piece. It’s even worse than a puff piece; it’s just a Battistelli placement, not in any way an investigative report (typical for lazy people in the corporate ‘journalism’ business). Éanna Kelly from Science|Business apparently thinks that copy-pasting Battistelli makes this a “report”.
“Brexit is clouding its future role in the new common patent,” says the author, “but Benoit Battistelli, head of the European Patent Office thinks there are ways to keep the UK in the system” (like lobbying and manipulating the media?).
“Meanwhile, the same media which habitually produces puff pieces for Battistelli (silly lies about Apple patents with this publication, and never even a single article about the EPO conflict) helps spread fake news about the UPC.”“The latest EPO “puff piece”,” one reader told us shortly after this press release [1, 2] (warning:
epo.org links), reminds us that Battistelli keeps making photo ops with subservient British politicians who don’t know what they’re doing. “The patent posterboys,” another one of our readers called it. “EPO President meets with Jo Johnson, the new UK intellectual property minister,” says the headline. It’s a lobbying trip, like the one with Lucy (exactly coinciding with the EPO strike).
Here is what this puff piece says:
EPO President Benoît Battistelli met the UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson in London on 8 March to discuss recent developments in patents and their role in supporting innovation. Mr Battistelli and Mr Johnson discussed the European patent system and recent reforms at the EPO to further improve the quality and efficiency of the patent grant process, ahead of the EPO’s future role in the unitary patent system.
Minister Johnson said: “It was a pleasure to meet with President Battistelli today to discuss the European patent system and wider efforts to support innovation. Driving economic growth across the UK is a priority for this Government and therefore IP has never been more important.” He added: “Successful intellectual property regimes protect the hard work of inventors, underpin innovative economies, and help inspiring ideas become a reality.”
EPO President Battistelli said: “I was very pleased to hear the reconfirmation by the Minister that the UK government is committed to finalize the national ratification of the UPC treaty in order for the Court to be operational on 1 December 2017 and thus for the EPO to be able to deliver the first Unitary Patent at the same time.”
These words (the above quotes) sent a wave of shock among UPC sceptics and antagonists, who don’t know that everything the EPO says these days contains a lot of lies. Does Johnson even realise the ramifications of such a move? Brexit is not compatible with the UPC (legally and technically impossible), as we already explained in a series last year. It came in 7 parts:
A few days ago MIP posted: : “Will Poland become a safe haven from the #UPC for manufacturing/service companies? Litigation strategy panel at #patentforum2017 discuss” (there is also a photo in there, it’s a UPC lobbying event/opportunity which we will revisit later).
“But if the brother of Brexit proponent Boris Johnson, together with his new friend
ErdoganBattistelli, defies British law as well as common sense, then Britain will not only lose this advantage but also become easy prey to patent trolls.”The UK would become that safe haven, assuming other countries go on with something resembling the UPC (they need to redo it because the UK would not participate). But if the brother of Brexit proponent Boris Johnson, together with his new friend ErdoganBattistelli, defies British law as well as common sense, then Britain will not only lose this advantage but also become easy prey to patent trolls. Why?
Well, last week we drafted a press release with FFII, with the goal of getting a debate in the British Parliament as soon as possible. We got some quotes from 3 or 4 business people (from the UK). Among the quotes put forth towards the end:
- “The Unitary Patent will be the nail in the coffin for the european software industry. This court will be populated by members of the patent industry, which has broaden the scope of patents to software for the last 30 years.”
- “UK has still 2 years to ratify, the rush is coming from the patent industry and foreign governments who blackmailed the UK government ‘if you don’t ratify now, we will rewrite the UPC and go without you’. The rush for Mr Johnson is to ratify without a new debate in Parliament before the end of March, when Brexit is triggered. No impact analysis of UPC has ever been made for the software industry.”
- “UPC means job losses. Small software companies can’t defend themselves against threats by patent trolls, and this is the biggest risk for the UPC. In the US, the only line of defense for small companies is the Alice decision. But with UPC, the fox will be in charge of the henhouse.”
- “Many other software companies accross Europe are opposing the Unitary Patent. American patent trolls are already lurking at Europe as a better place to do litigation than in the US.”
- “The UPC is a luxury castle for those multinational companies who can afford litigation. This is not the case for small software companies.”
“The worst thing about this is UK companies which trade only in the UK can be hit by Patent Trolls from the EU regardless,” one person wrote the other day.
An E-mail was also sent out by the FFII regarding a new UK-centric campaign against “Unitary Software Patents ratification” (to better target those who are affected in the software industry). Alex Macfie, of FFII UK, eventually sent around the following mail to FFII supporters, expressing concisely what’s at stake:
Dear FFII UK supporter,
Today FFII UK is launching a campaign in order to oppose the ratification of the Unitary Patent treaty. The failed 2005 software patent directive was replaced by the Unitary Patent Court at the request of large software companies, and we are now 12 years later where they are very close to achieve what they wanted.
We are inviting to you to sign the petition, and more importantly, to call your Member of Parliament, and ask him on a parliamentary debate on the consequences of UPC on the software industry:
The UK government wants to ratify this international treaty before the end of March, when the Brexit process starts. This can happen at any day now, and only a Parliamentary debate can stop it.
Please call your MP now, and help us to stop the ratification of this undemocratic treaty.
About 25 companies and more than 100 people have signed the UPC petition, in spite of not many people comprehending patents and knowing what the UPC is actually about. There is still time to sign some more and send the link around (to solicit more signatures). The date which Team UPC said would be the day for ratification is already 5 days behind, so their optimistic prediction (as always) turns out to have been bunk. Just like their job advertisements — for openings that did not even exist and probably will never exist.
“The date which Team UPC said would be the day for ratification is already 5 days behind, so their optimistic prediction (as always) turns out to have been bunk.”But don’t think that Team UPC is defeated. As we shall show in the next few posts, Team UPC works tirelessly and resorts to dirty tricks in an effort to ram the UPC down the UK’s throat by this month’s end. They know it’s going to take a miracle, or simply mischief. Bird & Bird, a large part of Team UPC (trying to profit from this), wrote this a month ago: “#UPP2017 insight. Want to know how to prepare for the #UPC and #UnitaryPatent this spring? Okay, @twobirdsIP have got you covered: pic.twitter.com/TuN3wiRl7r”
So they’re so optimistic about it that they already approach clients for money, as one might expect. One of their vocal workers, Wouter Pors, even takes advantage of Merpel's throwing of the towel to promote the UPC. Here is his self-serving (promotional towards the end) comment:
It is indeed a pity that so far no majority could be reached in the Administrative Council to take the decisions that would improve the situation at the EPO. It is also a pity that the decision to move the Boards of Appeal to Haar, which doesn’t seem to serve any sensible purpose, was not stopped by a majority in the Administrative Council. However, that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. In my view, it is important that those delegations that do strive for improvement and spend enormous amounts of time and effort to achieve positive results continue to be supported. An independent and critical press can play an important role in the process. Your posts are widely read thoughout the EPC conutries and I think it is worthwhile to keep this up.
The EPO as such is a wonderful organisation for patent harmonization and will become even more crucial with the introduction of the Unitary Patent. It is and will remain important to closely monitor developments and stimulate progress, certainly also towards and after 30 June 2018.
Wouter Pors, who has been pushing for the UPC for personal gain, weighs in and pushes the perception that the UPC is inevitable and unstoppable. This isn’t the first time he comments in this British blog to promote the Unitary Patent; of course not. We covered other examples and later on we’ll show how he and his colleagues in the Netherlands use their own blog to advance misleading stories. █
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Also see: With $2.5 Billion in Claimed (and Won) ‘Damages’ in One Single Patent Case of a Pharmaceutical Giant, Does the Patents for ‘Small Guy’ Myth Still Pass Muster?
Summary: Ethical issues associated with patents that limit access to life-saving medicine, as illuminated by recent high-profile patent cases
TECHRIGHTS has spent a lot of time and space writing about or alluding to Life Technologies v Promega Corporation. To name some of the articles that cover or at least mention the case:
Yet another analysis of Life Technologies v Promega Corporation, a high-profile patent case, was recently published to say that the “Court expressly declined to decide “how close to ‘all’ of the components ‘a substantial portion’ must be” but rather held “only that one component does not constitute ‘all or a substantial portion’ of a multicomponent invention under §271(f)(1).” Thus the Court left several questions open. For example, how do you determine how many components are in a claimed invention? And once you determine the number of components, how many must be supplied from the United States to constitute infringement under §271(f)(1)? Is it a percentage of the total number of components? Will courts look to the relative importance of the various components or will it be purely a numbers-based analysis? What if the invention only has two components? In that instance, are the terms “all” and “a substantial portion” synonymous? The only certainty is that these unanswered questions will give rise to future litigation disputes.”
“As regular readers are aware, we oppose primarily software patents, though we are growingly concerned about patents on life, too.”There is another interesting case right now, notably the one revolving around Amgen with biosimilar cases (patents). MIP wrote many articles on the subject lately [1, 2, 3], as did IP Kat [1, 2]. With new extraordinary statements like “Biosimilars Market worth 10.90 Billion USD by 2021″ and a lot of lobbying from patent law firms paid by pharmaceutical giants, we couldn’t help but comment on the subject.
As regular readers are aware, we oppose primarily software patents, though we are growingly concerned about patents on life, too. There are also patents which limit access to life-saving medicine — a subject often covered in our daily links under “Health/Nutrition” (IP Watch wrote about that quite a lot over the years). The EPO is implicated in such issues too, as we last noted three weeks ago.
This one particular new article about it says that the “Hong Kong government does not have an exclusive obligation towards patent holders, let alone to lower for their sake the patentability standards. They also have an obligation towards the citizens of Hong Kong. In safeguarding access to affordable medicines it should take into account innovative options to raise the patentability standards for medical use patents. Hong Kong’s Short-Term patent seems better equipped to protect these kinds of marginal and incremental improvements than the Original Grant Patent or Standard Patent.”
“We certainly hope our readers can recognise that human rights and human lives are more important than so-called “patent rights” (typically privilege of the rich).”The person who wrote it, as the tone serves to show, works for a law firm and blogs at IP Dragon. Contrast this with this other new article IP Watch — one that lays out the UN’s views on access to medicine. “An event held at the World Trade Organization,” it wrote, and “walked through key recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, including strategies for moving some of them forward.”
We certainly hope our readers can recognise that human rights and human lives are more important than so-called “patent rights” (typically privilege of the rich). █
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The litigation lobby rears its ugly head,
but much to its chagrin,
Lee’s career is not dead
Summary: The insulting and condescending nature in which the patent microcosm lobbies for its interests these days, all for the sake of the bottom line of non-practicing and parasitic elements that keep taxing practicing human beings and practicing companies
WE previously gave examples of shame-lobbying for UPC, e.g. in Germany by IAM. That subject will be revisited later on when we publish a series about the UPC. We have been seeing the same thing, however, also in the United States. IAM, which loves patent maximalism (it is promoting software patents, too), has played a key role in the attacks on Michelle Lee. It also promoted if not lobbied for Randall Rader as a replacement to her. Such despicable moves, with despicable proposals on behalf of the despicable Rader (look back at his disgraced history), are the type of things we’ll never forget.
“Such despicable moves, with despicable proposals on behalf of the despicable Rader (look back at his disgraced history), are the type of things we’ll never forget.”Watchtroll meanwhile smears the US Supreme Court for merely improving the patent system, by improving quality. Failing to grasp that software patents ARE what he labels the “weak patents”, Gene Quinn also shames some other entities. It’s a sad shame that a person who doesn’t even know how computer programs work keeps promoting them by insulting judges, insulting PTAB (appeal boards) and so on… Watchtroll is a special case, as it has become an attack site which smeared Lee at least half a dozen times (that we have kept track of).
The patent propaganda site, IAM, views companies as nothing but a pile of patents (this new article has it all over the headline alone) and days ago it said “[e]xpect extreme lobbying from all quarters as a result,” in relation to Lee. Who has been behind this “extreme lobbying” if not IAM, Watchtroll and the likes of them? And watch their highly loaded headline, “The Trump administration’s USPTO silence tells us all we need to know about its patent priorities” (as if they insult the administration for not caring at all about patents). Here is a key part:
Well, I wonder if that silence tells us all we need to know. It was over six weeks ago that the new US leader was sworn in and during that entire time there has been no word from the USPTO about who is in charge at the agency. The very strong rumour just before inauguration day was that Michelle Lee was to carry on in the job – and that does seem like it may now be the case; but if it is, there has been no confirmation. All attempts to find out where things stand have been met with a firm no comment from USPTO spokespeople who, you must imagine, are as frustrated as the rest of us about their inability to say more.
Michelle Lee's position has been officially confirmed actually; uncertainty was cast by malicious actors who sought to undermine her career for personal gain. IAM plays a massive role in the attacks on Lee’s legitimacy, e.g. by promoting Randall Rader and giving a platform to those who spread malicious rumours about Lee. Trump might write something about it, perhaps to the effect of “IAM keeps insulting my staff to accomplish commercial goals. SAD!”
“It’s not news but lobbying disguised as constructive advice. At whose behalf? Look at the income sources of IAM.”In other (fake) news from IAM, here is another new headline: “The Trump administration sees IP-driven profits as a top trade priority; but it should look closer to home too”
IAM, herein, keeps using "China!" to lobby Trump. It’s not news but lobbying disguised as constructive advice. At whose behalf? Look at the income sources of IAM. It’s like a pressure group, yet it’s syndicated by Google as though it is “News”.
“It’s like a pressure group, yet it’s syndicated by Google as though it is “News”.”What China is doing right now (broadening patent scope) is a very bad move which will prove regrettable. It’s bad for Chinese people. Bastian Best, linking to Watchtroll, repeats/amplifies the “China!” lobby (those calling for patent maximalism “because China!”). I kindly asked him to read about the pitfalls such a move would entail, negatively impacting both Chinese and American people. I don’t know if he is receptive to opinions that don’t favour his bottom line, but I certainly hope so. He is at least very courteous.
Speaking of China, see this new article from LexField Law Offices. It’s not hoax for April 1st but repetition of a subject we covered here before, namely:
On March 1, 2017, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (“SIPO”) of China announced formal amendments to its Patent Examination Guidelines. The formal amendments are almost the same as the version SIPO previously published for public comments last year. The amendments will take effective as of April 1, 2017 (and it remains to be clarified whether and how the amendments will be retrospectively applied to existing patent applications and patents).
In a sense, as we have explained here countless times before, China shoots its own foot. Singapore, similarly, is trying to attract and/or create patent trolls rather than foster innovation in a place that is safe/secure from them. Here is what IAM had to say about Singapore last week, being the trolls proponent that it has always been:
Just a couple of weeks back, IAM reported on a Singapore government proposal which suggested that the city-state may consider attracting or creating its own IP commercialisation entities. During last Friday’s IPBC Southeast Asia – our first conference focused on the region – IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) chief executive Darren Tang made clear that he is a big believer in IP monetisation as a way for companies to realise their full value creation potential. Most companies in the region may be far off from monetising large patent portfolios, but they revealed many other reasons why they are getting serious about IP.
What IAM means by “monetisation” and “value creation potential” is basically trolling and aggression. They have been using these euphemisms a lot recently.
Watching the proponents of patent maximalism is essential as they resort to rather nasty tactics and unless they are challenged for that, they are likely to carry on undeterred, causing human suffering and commercial suffering to plenty of productive firms. █
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As if drawing some diagrams of so-called ‘clouds’ renders an old idea suddenly “innovative”
Summary: IBM, its disturbing software patents advocacy, and the new wave of bogus software patents, which hop and ride the wave of the latest buzzwords (the generation preceding that was “on a computer” or “over the Internet” patents)
EARLIER this year and last year we took note of IBM’s dubiously large pile of patents. Statistics about these showed that many of these were about “AI” or “cloud” — something along the lines of “on a computer” or “over the Internet”. We remind readers that IBM is one of the, if not the, proponent/s of software patents and eradication of Alice-related tests. IBM even took leadership role in task forces to that effect and it employs David Kappos as a lobbyist, after he worked both for IBM and for the USPTO.
“They are ‘cloudwashing’ (our term) old stuff in an effort to make new software patents seem like they have merit or are novel.”According to this, “analysis from Envision IP which found that IBM had sold more than 15,000 patents since 1991, with Google the biggest customer” [sic] (customer is the wrong term).
We kindly remind readers that IBM patents a lot of dubious things that should never be granted a patent at all. They are ‘cloudwashing’ (our term) old stuff in an effort to make new software patents seem like they have merit or are novel. IBM is also ‘openwashing’ its operations whilst attacking large GNU/Linux users. IBM was one of the earliest allies of GNU/Linux, but that is no longer the case. The company now has a strategic partnership with Apple and many of its ‘contributions’ to Linux seem to be antifeatures like Treacherous Computing. We are therefore saddened to let go of the myth of IBM as protector if not flag bearer of GNU/Linux interests.
Incidentally, about software patents on so-called ‘cloud’ (a nebulous concept) there is this new article which takes note of trolls’ role in it. To quote a couple of portions:
NPEs (Non-Practising Entities) are businesses that assert patents through litigation to achieve revenues from alleged infringers without practising or commercialising the technology covered by the patents they hold. NPEs are uniquely well placed to monetise their patents at each stage of the litigation cycle. They have access to capital and all necessary forensic and legal resources; and an NPE doesn’t practise its patents so is immune to a counterclaim that a defendant might otherwise be able to bring against a competitor, or a cross-licence that the defendant could otherwise offer.
Although the number of patent litigation cases filed in the USA has declined from a high point of 6,500 in 2013 to 5,600 in 2015, this is still almost double the 3,000 or so launched in 2009, and correlates fairly steadily over the last few years at around 2% of US patents granted.
The above decline is often attributed to AIA and/or Alice. We should add that, based on recent patent filings from IBM, the company is exploiting the AI hype (not a new thing, but the hype is newer), with silly marketing like “Watson”, in order to hoard yet more software patents. There is this new article titled “Of Patents and Artificial Intelligence” and it totally misses the point that patents on AI are typically if not inherently software patents and should thus be denied. Pay attention to who authored the article though; don’t ask lawyers about it. They say what brings them the most income, disregarding actual cases such as Alice.
“They say what brings them the most income, disregarding actual cases such as Alice.”The bottom line is, forget (at least for a moment) about these notorious “on a computer” or “over the Internet” patents and pay attention to the latest wave of “AI” or “cloud” patents, which represent no expansion of innovation but a more creative way to bypass patent restrictions and fool examiners. █
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Lobbying by front/pressure groups disguised as news sites versus the actual facts, which were recently studied by the Harvard Business School Working Knowledge
Summary: More examples of the ongoing “reputation management” by IAM, on behalf of partners and a target audience; A new Harvard HBS study about the real, dire impact of patent trolls
Whenever IAM says “NPEs” it means patent trolls. Everyone knows that IAM is in the business of softening the image of paying stakeholders, including trolls, the EPO, and so on; we often use the analogy of an ATM; some deposit subscription money or event sponsorship in order to later withdraw influence, inaccurate public perception, puff pieces and so on. And watch what is coming; like those that pay IAM to launder their reputation, trolls collectively improve their image through sites like IAM. We don’t mean to be rude but merely to point out what IAM stands for; it’s like a lobbying site, not a news site. Not too long ago the EPO‘s PR firm deposited some money at IAM’s coffers and they seem to be getting their money's worth.
“The term “value-creation effort” is a euphemism for litigation, usually against vulnerable firms.”Here is Richard Lloyd, one of their biggest proponents of patent trolls (others are too, but to a lesser degree), writing about Via Licensing (just a troll or a front for a practicing company). This other new article from IAM teaches us that Broadcom wants to be another Qualcomm (another patent bully) and we believe, based on recent reports, that Softbank (new owner of ARM) is increasingly doing the same thing. Gradually. The trend seems to be the setup of patent-asserting proxies, which are essentially trolls that are immune from legal retaliation (balance of powers). “Broadcom,” IAM explains, “launched a number of patent infringement lawsuits against Asian and US companies this week, in what looks to be the Singapore-based chipmaker’s first concerted assertion campaign since its reconfiguration through merger last year. The litigation is the latest step in an escalating value-creation effort on the part of the new entity.”
The term “value-creation effort” is a euphemism for litigation, usually against vulnerable firms. Herein lies the big problem. They cannot even afford to challenge so many patents, hence their knees buckle and they cough out ‘protection’ money. Hallmark of trolling!
As the figures serve to show, trolls are typically motored by software patents so in order to get rid of both, remove the latter.
United for Patent Reform took note of this new study about “Patent Trolls and Small-Business Employment” (paper title).
“New study by @HarvardHBS finds legislation to combat #patent trolls has positive economic impact on tech startups,” it summarised and here is the complete abstract:
Patent trolls are organizations that own patents but do not make or use the patented technology directly, instead using their patent portfolios to target firms with patent-infringement claims. This paper provides evidence that state anti-troll laws have had a net positive effect for small firms in high-tech industries. There is no significant effect for larger or non-high-tech firms.
Put in simple terms, small businesses suffer the most and the litigation industry gains the most. This is relevant to the debates about the UPC, which would definitely attract trolls. Revisit this position paper from the European Digital SME Alliance. █
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