08.15.17

Gemini version available ♊︎

The Collapse of Patent Quality at the EPO is Inviting to Europe Some of the World’s Worst Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Patents (EPs) too are now weapons of blackmail and extortion

EPO trolls

Summary: As troll litigation soars in Europe we must take a careful look at the sorts of patents granted by the EPO these days and the policies that support such grants

THE utter disregard for patent quality should be a reason for concern if not panic. Patent trolls would benefit greatly from that as they cannot get sued; there’s nothing for them to get sued for/over. So the broader the scope of patents, the worst off society will be. There’s a reason why sites funded by and/or connected to trolls push so hard for patent maximalism; worth noting is also the correlation (in my experience) between blowhard Conservative Trump proponents and patent trolls; they want more and more deregulation; they want chaos. To them, from chaos comes income.

“To them, from chaos comes income.”Battistelli, a Conservative politician, is pushing towards patent chaos in Europe. It’s not just the UPC (the EPO was pushing for this lame duck earlier this week and also in this very recent tweet). Earlier today, for instance, the trolls-connected Rovi showed up in news from Belgium, wielding what seems like an EP on software:

The recent CJEU judgment and subsequent national interpretation in Rovi Guides v Telenet will have a significant impact on the predictability of legal costs and should be taken into account when setting up an IP litigation strategy in Belgium, as Steven Sarlet and Ben Brigou explain

Rovi Guides Inc (previously United Video Properties (UVP)) initiated an infringement action against Telenet NV on June 7 2011 based on European patent 1327209 (systems and methods for providing storage of data on servers in an on-demand media delivery system)….

We have written extensively about Rovi; it’s connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. They’re reaching out for Europe already. Crossing the Atlantic bridge for litigation purposes…

“The farce of patent “quality” at the EPO under Battistelli has lowered the bar even below the USPTO’s and applicants are starting to notice.”As noted here earlier this year, the EPO openly promotes software patents even though they should all be disallowed. As of this week, moreover, the EPO is openly promoting such patents yet again, this time under the guise of “CII”. “Guidance on EPO procedures for US CII applicants at this event in Palo Alto,” it wrote, pointing to this seminar whose programme says “EPO CII approach – Christian Platzer, Director, Information & Communications Technology, EPO” and two sessions are titled “Guidance on EPO procedures for US CII applicants” (CII is just a synonym for software patents).

“By all means, unless the EPO manages to get patent quality under control again (this would also mean invalidating many patents granted under Battistelli), too few stakeholders would be willing to pay application and renewal fees.”Morever, based on this article from earlier this week, the EPO is granting a patent (monopoly) on life yet again. Are CRISPR patents next to be thrown away? Why are they being granted at all? The EU has been very clear in its opposition to such patents and Allen & Overy LLP has just published this analysis titled “EPO reverses its position on the patentability of products obtained by essentially biological processes” (can be viewed as applicable to the above too). “The firm,” says the article, “a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA, said the EPO has issued a ‘Notice of Intention to Grant’ a broad patent for the company’s CRISPR technology.”

Why are these patents being granted? The farce of patent “quality” at the EPO under Battistelli has lowered the bar even below the USPTO‘s and applicants are starting to notice. Even legal firms are noticing and saying so to audiences at public events.

There was this discussion yesterday regarding the “abstract idea” test in the US and the infamous “technical effect” test. Here are just two of the more relevant comments:

I agree with the notion of allowing the case law to evolve. Some of the arguments against having a specialist patent appeal court in the US are that it would allow other case law doctrines to evolve if more than one court was involved, and ultimately that makes case law richer and more dynamic, but also of increase uncertainty. There will be directions that are ultimately found to be unhelpful and so case law then has to change direction, etc.

However in terms of what a claim is, I don’t think it can be said to be the same as the ‘technical effect’. Sometimes applicants will want to voluntarily limit their claim scope (for example due to an agreement with another party), or to minimise the chance of an opposition happening (I have been in that situation). And so the literal scope is important as a sign of what the applicant chose to pursue at that time (and chose to limit to in examination). I therefore think that whilst the technical effect is an important component in determining claim scope it cannot be only one. And I agree that the system needs to be thrown into this new uncertainty to decide whether we want to think in terms of a ‘flag’, and whether a usable test based on that can emerge. [People of course do not like uncertainty and so this will be a painful journey]

I think the ‘abstract idea’ test in the US is interesting because the Supreme Court has chosen to say little about it, and it is being allowed evolve at the hands of the Federal Circuit, where it will I am sure end up being the same as a ‘technical effect’ test. You will be familiar with the level of criticism that that test has encountered, but I think it is a great experiment. The Supreme Court had the wisdom to be minimalist about it, and let it evolve, realising the test was too complex to be derived by simply thinking of one. A test will come into being which is found to be useful in the cases that the Federal Circuit has before it.

I agree with you on “abstract” and I agree that fixing the scope of protection is not the same as identifying the technical effect. I like the Neuberger evolved version of the Catnic Questions.

Courts need a residual degree of wiggle room to do justice. Neuberger gives them just enough, but no more than that. Like the EPO’s Problem and Solution for framing the obviousness debate, the Neuberger 3 Question rubric gives the parties a framework for efficient debate on scope of protection.

In my view, the evolved Three Question routine represents an optimal compromise between fair protection for the patent owner and reasonable legal certainty for those under threat from the patent.

By all means, unless the EPO manages to get patent quality under control again (this would also mean invalidating many patents granted under Battistelli), too few stakeholderx would be willing to pay application and renewal fees. Paying for something that’s already worthless (or can be rendered invalid overnight, without even a trial) is like falling for a scam.

The EPO was supposed to be a world leader in terms of solid, defensible patents. What it’s becoming more and more like over time is a facility which fuels patent trolling (already soaring in Germany).

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. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  2. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  4. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  5. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  6. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  7. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 20, 2021



  9. [Meme] EPO Legal Sophistry and Double Dipping

    An imaginary EPO intercept of Administrative Council discussions in June 2013...



  10. Links 21/10/2021: PostgreSQL JDBC 42.3.0 and Maui Report

    Links for the day



  11. [Meme] [Teaser] “Judge a Person Both by His Friends and Enemies”

    Fervent supporters of Team Battistelli or Team Campinos (a dark EPO era) are showing their allegiances; WIPO and EPO have abused staff similarly over the past decade or so



  12. 'Cluster-Voting' in the European Patent Office/Organisation (When a Country With 1.9 Million Citizens Has the Same Voting Power as a Country With 83.1 Million Citizens)

    Today we examine who has been running the Finnish patent office and has moreover voted in the EPO during the ballot on unlawful "Strike Regulations"; they voted in favour of manifestly illegal rules and for 8.5 years after that (including last Wednesday) they continued to back a shady regime which undermines the EPO's mission statement



  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki's Accord

    The Finnish outpost has long been strategic to the EPO because it can help control the vote of four or more nations; evidence suggests this has not changed



  14. [Meme] Living as a Human Resource, Working for Despots

    The EPO has become a truly awful place/employer to work for; salary is 2,000 euros for some (despite workplace stress, sometimes relocation to a foreign country)



  15. Links 20/10/2021: New Redcore Linux and Hospital Adoption of GNU Health

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 19, 2021



  17. Links 19/10/2021: Karanbir Singh Leaves CentOS Board, GPL Violations at Vizio

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Giving the Knee

    The 'knee' champion Kratochvìl and 'kneel' champion Erlingsdóttir are simply crushing the law; they’re ignoring the trouble of EPO staff and abuses of the Office, facilitated by the Council itself (i.e. facilitated by themselves)



  19. Josef Kratochvìl Rewarded Again for Covering Up EPO Corruption and the EPO Bribes the Press for Lies Whilst Also Lying About Its Colossal Privacy Violations

    Corrupt officials and officials who actively enable the crimes still control the Office and also the body which was supposed to oversee it; it's pretty evident and clear judging by this week's press statements at the EPO's official Web site



  20. [Meme] Sorry, Wrong Country (Or: Slovenia isn't Great Britain)

    Team UPC is trying to go ahead with a total hoax which a high-level European court would certainly put an end to (if or when a referral is initiated)



  21. How Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden Voted on Patently Unlawful Regulations at the EPO

    We look back and examine what happened 8 years ago when oppressed staff was subjected to unlawful new “regulations” (long enjoyed by António Campinos, the current EPO autocrat)



  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc

    We start our investigation of how countries in northern Europe ended up voting on the unlawful “Strike Regulations” at the EPO and why



  23. Proof That Windows “11” is a Hoax

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  24. Firefox Becomes as Morally Reprehensible as Apple, Facebook, or Uber

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. Links 19/10/2021: GNU dbm 1.22 and Godot 3.4 RC 1

    Links for the day



  26. [Meme] [Teaser] GitHub an Expensive and Dangerous Trap (Also: Misogyny Hub)

    The ongoing Microsoft GitHub exposé will give people compelling reasons to avoid GitHub, which is basically just a subsidised (at a loss) trap



  27. Norway Should Have Voted Against Benoît Battistelli's Illegal (Anti-)'Strike Regulations' at the European Patent Office

    Benoît Battistelli‘s EPO faced no real and potent opposition from Norwegian delegates, who chose to abstain from the vote on the notorious and illegal so-called ‘Strike Regulations’ (they’re just an attack on strikes, an assault on basic rights of labourers)



  28. Links 19/10/2021: Sequoia PGP LGPL 2.0+, Open RAN Adoption

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] [Teaser] Benoît Battistelli, King of Iceland

    Later today we shall see how the current deputy of the head of the EPO‘s overseeing body was in fact likely rewarded for her complicity in Benoît Battistelli‘s abuses against EPO staff, including staff from Iceland



  30. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 18, 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