11.25.17

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EPO Becoming Like China is Something to Worry About, Not Something to Celebrate

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The emergent home of patent trolls is something to remain as distant as possible from

China's patent trolls
Chinese media on patent trolls
From last month’s article by Bing Zhao

Summary: The EPO has nothing to brag about except growing ‘demand’ from China (patent applications numbers are down in most other nations) and media is doing a copy-paste of the EPO’s ‘press release’

YESTERDAY, not to our surprise, World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) decided to join in as a stenographer (among other stenographers), parroting the EPO’s ‘press release’ rather than doing any investigative work. It’s easier to just copy-paste some ‘prepared’ Battistelli quotes than to actually research the underlying facts. We are pretty certain that the EPO‘s PR people (Rainer, Jana Mittermaier and external help) were responsible for this. We already heard how that works.

“It’s easier to just copy-paste some ‘prepared’ Battistelli quotes than to actually research the underlying facts.”What was the ‘story’ about? Well, it was just a ‘press release’ retitled “EPO and SIPO renew patent cooperation” (i.e. nothing really changes). As a hallmark of corruption, last year Battistelli brought the Chinese officials to his home town where he works as a politician. He’s not even good at hiding his motivations and eternal mischief. Maybe he became blind to it as it became so routine.

Either way, the patent trolls’ megaphone (and Battistelli’s megaphone, which is an overlapping task) decided to revisit the situation in China, having recently hired Chinese staff (because that’s where patent trolls go nowadays).

China is burdening itself with a trap that will bring nothing but patent trolls [1, 2, 3] and less than a day ago IAM wrote:

In a speech that garnered a lot of attention around the world, the Chinese president declared that: “Wrongdoing should be punished more severely so that IP infringers will pay a heavy price.” More recently, IP got one mention in Xi’s marathon 19th Party Congress speech last month, as he called for China to become a “country of innovators” and create a “market-oriented system for technological innovation”.

For the time being, President Xi’s vision (or “priority list”) seems to be lots and lots of patent trolls. Urging for people to apply for patents by the millions isn’t going to make a “country of innovators” but a country of litigation. This is already happening and it’s not at all desirable. Perhaps if China had a multi-party system — i.e. not a single person held all the power (Xi) — saner patent policy would be chosen.

“Perhaps if China had a multi-party system — i.e. not a single person held all the power (Xi) — saner patent policy would be chosen.”Another country where there’s a de facto single-party system (PAP) that has ruled for about half a century (it actively attacks political opposition/dissent) has gotten a similar problem. We are talking about Singapore, whose recently-deceased leader emulated China’s autocracy and at times hailed crackdown on protests. Singapore’s patent trolls problem was covered here earlier this year and yesterday Lexology said that “[c]laims to software [in Singapore] that are characterised only by source code and not by any technical feature” are not patentable…”

There are loopholes, however, and they’re described below:

To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?

Claims to software that are characterised only by source code and not by any technical feature cannot be considered an invention on the basis that the actual contribution would be a mere presentation of information.

However, computer programs may be patentable if the invention involves a technical contribution outside the excluded subject matter.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

Pure business methods are not considered inventions and are not patentable. However, similar to computer programs, business methods may be patentable if they involve technical contributions outside the excluded subject matter. For example, claims relating to a computer-implemented business method would be considered an invention if the technical features (eg, servers, databases and user devices) interact with the steps of the business method to a material extent and in such a manner as to overcome a specific problem.

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

The Patents Act contains no specific provisions barring stem cells from patentability. Inventions determined by the examiner to fall within the list of acts prohibited by the Human Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Act will be objected to.

China, unlike Singapore, has pretty much no restrictions on software patents (not anymore, the bars were lowered earlier this year), which makes it similar to the chaos caused by and promoted by Grant Philpott at the EPO (they just call it “CII” instead of software patents).

Are SIPO and EPO going to become a controversial pair whose lowered patent quality will have them characterised as worthless? If the EPO going to transform to mere registration or pure automation a la INPI? Whatever it is, the EPO looks like a shadow of its former self and it’s the fault of Battistelli’s policies. Only God (or Buddha) can save the EPO now…

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