11.16.17

EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eponia Star Wars
Source

Summary: Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. “computer-implemented inventions” (or “CII”), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope

TO say that the EPO operates as though it’s above the law would be an understatement. We have covered many dozens of examples to that effect.

Our original gripe/complaint about the EPO was solely about software patents in Europe. This actually started under Battistelli’s predecessor, more so after her “as such” debacle, but here we are almost a decade later and the EPO continues to disregard the rules. It just refers to software patents as “CII” in order to give the impression that algorithms are “inventions”.

Yesterday, the EPO’s buddies at IAM published this article which was immediately thereafter copied across from IAM to its new “partner” site. Jacobacci & Partners’ Andrea Perronance repeated the term “CII” (they don’t even want to say “software”, so they say “computer” instead) and here is the core of it. It came into effect a fortnight ago:

The European Patent Office Guidelines 2017 were recently published on the European Patent Office (EPO) website. They entered into force on November 1 2017.

Like the previous edition, this year’s guidelines include substantial, extensive and comprehensive improvements with regard to guidance on the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions (CII) parts. These parts have been discussed with the European Patent Institute (epi), in particular with the CII sub-committee of the European Patent Practice Committee.

The changes appear mainly in Parts F-IV and G-VII of the European Patent Convention Guidelines (the Patent Cooperation Treaty Guidelines are also available) and deal with the presentation of information eligibility and patentability. There is also a substantial revision of one example of eligible/non-eligible, patentable/non-patentable subject matter in CII, as asked and suggested by epi (see relevant article in epi Information 1/2017).

Why is this still even up for debate and why is the European Patent Institute there and not any software developers? It says a lot about the underlying intentions. It has nothing whatsoever to do with science or innovation. It’s just about cash for the EPO and the patent ‘industry’. This is just wrong.

Incidentally, the same site also published this take on patents in Denmark, courtesy of Accura Advokatpartnerselskab’s Morten Bruus and Christoffer Ege Andersen. Software patents are banned in Denmark, as can be expected (they’re banned in just about every European nation, as least in principle). But there are tricks around that. Remember that the DKPTO’s chief until 1.5 months ago was Battistelli’s protector, who immediately entered the private sector after he had allegedly been pushed out (maybe for conflict of interest) and turned out to have lied about retirement.

Anyway, from the relevant sections:

To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?

In general, software as such is not patentable (Section 1(2) of the Patents Act). However, it is possible to patent software as part of a patent whose subject matter is a process. Further, software is patentable if it has the potential to bring about, when run on a computer, a further technical effect that goes beyond the normal physical interactions between the program and the computer.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

In general, business methods as such are not patentable (Section 1(2) of the Patents Act). That said, business methods can be patented as part of a patent whose subject matter is a process. However, jurisprudence shows that it is difficult to invent business methods that essentially differ from known methods, which is why patents are rarely granted for business methods.

To what extent can inventions relating to stem cells be patented?

Stem cells that have an inherent ability to create human life (so-called ‘totipotent stem cells’) cannot be patented, whereas pluripotent and multipotent stem cells can be patented, as they cannot create human life.

That last part is a reminder of the fact that, just as EPs got invalidated in bulk for being inappropriately granted (on organisms), one day EPs on software too may get invalidated in bulk. We are waiting for that day.

That same site also mentioned former French colony Tunisia, whose special arrangement with the EPO we published in full a couple of months back. Marks & Clerk, writing in Lexology, say this:

From 1 December 2017, it will become possible to validate European patents in Tunisia.

Until now, patent protection in Tunisia could only be obtained as a national patent filed directly or by national phase entry from a PCT application. From December, applicants wishing to file in Tunisia will be able to do so via a European patent application.

Who would that be useful for if not few of Battistelli’s French friends? No disrespect for Tunisia, but it’s hardly known for EPs, let alone patents in general. Such validation agreements make the EPO look feeble and pathetic. Battistelli and his cronies have already traveled to sign such deals in countries with not a single EP! What’s the point?

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

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. Links 29/10/2020: LibreOffice 7.0.3, Linux 5.9.2, NVIDIA 455.38 Linux Driver

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/10/2020: Istio 1.6.13, Krita 4.4.1 and PyPI Key-Signing Ceremony

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 28, 2020



  4. Links 28/10/2020: Linux Dropping WiMAX Support, Istio 1.7.4, Ubuntu is “Hirsute Hippo”

    Links for the day



  5. Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women's (and Minorities') Voices for Public Relations

    Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo



  6. In a State of Flux Due to Maintenance and Improvements

    For the first time since summer of 2019 we're investing time and effort improving the site in a number of ways



  7. Links 28/10/2020: Torvalds on Succession, PyTorch 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] Stealing the Competition

    After the fall (and fail) of CodePlex Microsoft decided to grab the Linux Foundation and most Git-based projects (through GitHub) — a strategy even Microsoft can learn to love



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 27, 2020



  10. Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  11. Taking Our Efforts to the Next Level in an Increasingly Proprietary and Hostile Web

    Web users are being repressed by mechanisms of mass manipulation, control and restrictions; the Web may not be going away any time soon, but architectural and topological issues need to be overcome (the sooner, the better)



  12. Read Techrights Without a Web Browser

    Any text editor can now be used to read Techrights, owing to a daily bulletin we've set up and will maintain every day



  13. [Meme] Torvalds Assimilated

    People belatedly realise that Microsoft’s plan for Git (and for Linux) isn't for the betterment of those projects but for Microsoft monopoly



  14. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  15. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  17. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  18. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  19. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  20. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  21. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  22. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  24. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  26. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  27. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  28. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  29. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  30. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements


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