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01.15.18

Roundup of Patent News From Canada, South America and Australia

Posted in America, Australia, Patents at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World Globe

Summary: A few bits and pieces of news from around the world, serving to highlight patent trends in parts of the world where the patent offices haven’t much international clout/impact

THIS site typically focuses on the EPO, the USPTO and sometimes the patent offices in east Asia (primarily JPO, KIPO, and SIPO) because these are some of the most influential ones, with corresponding buzzwords like “IP5″. But as an aside, here’s a quick update from a few of the rest.

Canada

A few hours ago Managing IP published “Canada’s eight most important IP cases in 2017″, “Cases and trends to watch in Canada in 2018″, and “CIPO’s IP Canada report reveals global focus among IP applicants” (CIPO was recently mentioned quite a lot in relation to the EPO and PPH).

“Last year we wrote about sinking patent quality at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) and half a decade ago we wrote about the threat of software patents coming to Brazil.”We have been covering CIPO for a long time; the matter of fact is, large Canadian companies tend to focus on the USPTO and litigate in the United States.

South America

Managing IP wrote about Argentina the other day, noting that the “Argentine government has issued a decree that affects trade marks, patents and designs.”

“The biggest change is oppositions will need to be settled within three months,” Michael Loney added. The Argentinian patent system would most likely be used by locals and rarely by foreign companies. Such is the nature of low-impact patent offices (same for CIPO to some degree). It is to do with the size of the economy.

“It’s not hard to see that the scope of patents has gone mad, in some places more so than others (China for instance).”There’s a similar thing going on in Brazil, where some suggested eliminating backlog by just granting everything. Numerous reports suggested that such a plan had since then been shelved, yet Watchtroll keeps pushing that idea and IAM tries to make it sound reasonable by stating: “Wouldn’t this be the de facto creation of a utility patent system in Brazil? The only big difference with what they have in Germany, China etc is that in Brazil the patents would have a longer shelf life.”

It’s hardly surprising that patent maximalists such as Watchtroll and IAM would push in such a direction. To them, patent quality is a foe and an undesirable thing. As we noted last night, this is why they also attack PTAB. Last year we wrote about sinking patent quality at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) and half a decade ago we wrote about the threat of software patents coming to Brazil. They’re not quite there yet, but the patent microcosm can hope…

It’s not hard to see that the scope of patents has gone mad, in some places more so than others (China for instance). Even lives are already being patented and there’s an upcoming event striving to push that agenda.

Australia

Mark Summerfield, who promotes software patents, has just written about computer-generated patent applications. If such lunacies are permitted, the patent system will become obsolete or collapse (we wrote about this many times over the past year because the press had brought it up repeatedly). But here’s how he put it:

As I shall explain, however, I do not agree with Professor Abbott that computers can, or should, be regarded as inventors for the purpose of granting patents. Furthermore, while Abbott accepts claims that patents have already been granted on what he calls ‘computational inventions’, I firmly believe that a computer is yet to ‘invent’ anything. In my view, the researchers and technologists who claim otherwise have an interest in promoting a particular perspective, and in doing so they are subtly extending the definitions of ‘creation’ and ‘invention’ to encompass the contribution of their machines, to the detriment of the human operators who are responsible for providing the true creative input in the process.

The patent system wasn’t intended for machines to process; it’s a repository of knowledge for humans to organise and utilise (see “2017 Patent Applications Can Predict Innovations of the Future” from the end of December). But to those who make a living out of patent bureaucracy the notion of explosion in the number of patents sure seems seductive.

At the start of the month Summerfield wrote about his occupation and gave the following numbers:

Of the 1004 registered trans-Tasman patent attorneys, 1003 have contact information enabling their country of work and/or residence to be identified. The map and table below summarises the various places around the world where trans-Tasman attorneys may be found.

Relying on people to feud or sue each other with patents? That’s their everyday life. Sadly, there too they have a strong grip on the media. When it comes to policy, however, their grip has slipped. Both Australia and New Zealand have made it hard to pursue software patents, among other things.

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