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02.12.18

Patent Maximalists Won’t Get Their Way and UPC Will Likely Never Happen (Even After Battistelli)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Max gross weight

Summary: The incautious optimism from the patent ‘industry’, trying to convince us all that expansion of patent scope and litigation would be a boon to innovation, faces growing resistance; contrary to what the patent microcosm is saying, it’s extremely unlikely that the UK and Germany will ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC), i.e. open the door for patent trolls in Europe

THE EPO, unlike the USPTO, nearly allowed patents on genetics. We say “nearly” because an opposition was recently successful, insinuating likely interpolation/extrapolation to similar patents, pending an appeal to the Boards. Prior to this it had granted patents on seeds and plants, albeit the European authorities intervened and virtually voided these patents overnight. In the US, as we show every weekend, software patents are being voided very rapidly. It looks as though the USPTO carries on granting such patents (based on their latest descriptions here), but courts would not tolerate these. It’s now very rare/unusual for US courts to uphold software patents. We shall continue to supply evidence of this on a regular basis, refuting the misleading marketing pitch of the patent ‘industry’. We’re vastly outnumbered by them in the media/Web, but the facts are on our side.

“So, earlier today the EPO wrote about CPC (not the Communist Party of China).”In Iceland, based on this report from yesterday, there’s a push against patent maximalists; Iceland is apparently not being held hostage by them (just as it’s no hostage of bankers, whom it arrests instead).

From Iceland Review (citing the better known RÚV):

Icelanders hold no patents for geothermal heat utilization methods in Iceland, and have no such patent applications in progress, RÚV reports. However, a number of patents in this sector are already owned by foreign entities and there are 45 additional, foreign-owned patent applications related to geothermal utilization under review at the Icelandic Patent Office even now.

This information was announced at a symposium on intellectual property rights within the geothermal sector that was hosted by the Icelandic Patent Office and the Ministry of Industries and Innovation on Friday. The purpose of the symposium was to urge companies in the geothermal and energy industries to consider the importance of knowledge and ingenuity in their fields, as well as the importance of protecting intellectual property so as to remain competitive in the industry.

So, earlier today the EPO wrote about CPC (not the Communist Party of China). Benoît Battistelli’s latest ‘blog’ post was quickly promoted in Twitter, as usual (warning: epo.org link). They seem to promote his blog more frequently and a lot faster than they promote the ‘news’ of the EPO (typically also just a bunch of quotes from Battistelli, complemented by his latest photo op/s). Benoît Battistelli speaks of “enhancing the quality and efficiency of patent search and examination” (which he destroyed). He has, in practice, harmed the EPO’s reputation and ability to cooperate in good faith. His blog post is titled “Argentina, CPC and the prospect of reinforced cooperation” and it’s about a meeting which we mentioned last week.

“Benoît Battistelli speaks of “enhancing the quality and efficiency of patent search and examination” (which he destroyed).”We carefully check to see if he mentions the UPC. He used to talk a lot about it, but nowadays it’s a rarity. He prefers not to bring the subject, knowing that he failed to make real progress after nearly 8 years at the Office. The UPC, if anything ever came out of this mess, would enable trolls from outside Europe to prey on European companies. SMEs complain about the UPC, but firms like Bristows habitually lie ‘on behalf’ of SMEs. Earlier today a British writer (for a lawyers’ gazette) said that UK-IPO “confirms that the Order on Privileges and Immunities for the Unified Patent Court has been approved by the privy council.”

“UK ratification edges ever closer,” he concluded from that.

“SMEs complain about the UPC, but firms like Bristows habitually lie ‘on behalf’ of SMEs.”There’s nothing new there except a screenshot of some text confirming what happened. But it does not indicate that UPC is imminent (or even UK ratification being imminent). I responded to him with: “Foreign Office of Boris Johnson? Brexit separatist? He won’t let European courts (in other languages) control UK firms…”

Quite frankly if not bluntly, the British government has more urgent things to deal with than this. And to make commitments to European courts at this stage would not only be premature. It’s unrealistic to expect that.

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