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07.15.17

European Commission Betrays the Public by Promoting Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents named

Summary: Software patents named by the European Commission as a given rather than challenged in line with everything that the Parliament, EPC, and European public generally insist on

THE EPO has gone way too far with patent scope. It threatens Europe as a whole, for reasons we’ll show in the coming days (in relation to the US where patent scope is belatedly being narrowed).

“Sadly, however, the European Commission has become part of the problem.”The EPO recently dropped the guillotine on a lot of patents pertaining to plants and seeds, but it ought to go further with a drop of software patents too, as per the directive, the rules and so on. There are many articles these days about the EPO’s decision to eliminate patents in bulk, notably patents on life. Publications are writing about it not just in English but also in French, in German and so on. (via [1, 2]).

Why stop there? As we put it a few days ago, "The EPO Should Throw Away All Software Patents in the Same Way It Threw Away Patents on Plants and Animals" (as per input/instructions from politicians).

“…Elżbieta Bieńkowska from the Commission cares more about the UPC (Trojan horse for software patents) than about justice…”Sadly, however, the European Commission has become part of the problem. As we showed earlier this month, Elżbieta Bieńkowska from the Commission cares more about the UPC (Trojan horse for software patents) than about justice, and the FFII’s founder wrote yesterday that the “European Commission [is] promoting “Responsible Innovation” via software patents” (via the FFII’s president).

To quote what he wrote:

The pattern of promoting software patentability is similar to that of asylum law (e.g. the principle of non-refoulement). There is an agenda that must be followed, beyond discussion, backed by top level judges. Studies must somehow legitimate it, at least in their introductory part or in the executive summary. Discussion about the fundamental issues is systematically evaded. Instead you do have pointless discussions about how to identify the real invention or the real refugee. If you dig down deeper, however, you find that the studies do provide answers to the fundamental question of effects of the touted policy vs the unthinkable alternative, and even ones that are quite devastating to the touted solution. Since it is difficult to completely suppress the truth, those who order the study are satisfied with an executive summary that can be served to fool the public with help of willing journalists who just copy and paste from press releases.

“Responsible Innovation” is the latest catchphrase apparently.

As someone put it: “Innovation killer! This is where a phrase or line of code can be copyrighted and making logical programming within a language, a minefield.”

“Furthermore,” it says in a new report, “we also consider patents on computer-implemented inventions (CII)…”

“What on Earth are they doing and what hope is there that the Commission will not stab software developers in their backs?”Then there’s this: “When the open source and open are applied to the patent system” (FOSS is not compatible with software patents because of its distribution paradigm).

Note at the bottom: “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731940…”

What on Earth are they doing and what hope is there that the Commission will not stab software developers in their backs? They have done this for ages (e.g. with FRAND, discrimination in procurement and so on). We’ve already given many examples where European software developers — including Free software developers — directly suffered from such patents. Does the Commission listen to anyone but huge corporations that are often multinationals rather than European corporations?

As Patently-O incidentally put it yesterday, in some areas “time-to-market has become shorter, and, likewise, product life cycles have become shorter.”

“Why is the Commission — like the EPO — besieging the software industry?”This is one of the many reasons software patents are unsuitable. Patently-O adds: “Competent practitioners should consider several things. One is to recognize that diligent prosecution is becoming more important for clients. Another is that examining whether to discuss with clients the use of Track One, PPH, or the pilot program (or the program — forget its name — that allows for accelerated examination when there’s an older inventor named).”

It doesn’t matter how quickly patents are granted (infringement penalties aren’t calculated since the time of grant); the very concept of patents on algorithms is obscene. Even the US is moving away from that grave mistake. Why is the Commission — like the EPO — besieging the software industry?

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