02.13.18

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Watch Out for Buzzwords That Are Used to Mask Patents on Software, Even in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Blockchain Becomes the Target Not Only of Financial Institutions With Software Patents But Also Trolls

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Blockchain

Summary: The EPO now exploits EPO budget for advocacy of software patents; It’s troubling as it was traditionally the ‘job’ of the patent ‘industry’ and moreover it reveals an EPO so adrift from law and order that it’s a Bavaria-based pariah acting with impunity, posing a threat to software development in the whole of Europe

THE USPTO has been gradually phasing out software patents (owing to Alice and PTAB for the most part). Software patents in Europe, however, continue to spread because the EPO disregards the law. It’s unaccountable and it exploits immunity.

Proponents of software patents in Europe rear their head again. Working around the rules in an effort to patent software may seem legitimate in their minds. “Thanks to my partner Christof Karl for the useful insights on #softwarepatent claim drafting in today’s lunch seminar at the @bardehleIP office,” one of them said. He then continued: “Software is patentable at the @EPOorg if it provides a technical contribution – but there is little guidance on what is actually technical. Lucky to have Stefan Steinbrener on my team, who compiled an extensive “whitelist” of positive Board of Appeal #softwarepatent decisions!”

“The EPO rarely speaks about blockchain, but it certainly says “AI”, “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR” and so on.”So people who profit from patents and (with few exceptions) never wrote a computer program basically get all giddy about fooling examiners. “Those of us practising in the area WISH the EPO were granting software patents as easily as they are made out to be,” one person wrote in response. Here’s a rebuttal: “Also, how is my software copyright protected against patent claims? It’s not. Intellectual property is being stolen by those who can *pay* for patents. That’s why experts in the field want #swpat to be generally excluded. (Yes, single claims as well.)”

I spent the afternoon having some discussion with them about it. They just don’t get it. They don’t write software.

One of the above took it a step further and suggested pursuing software patents using the blockchain hype. He wrote a whole blog post about buzzwords, berating the appeal boards for not using US-favoured buzzwords. To quote:

To my surprise though, there are no (as in absolutely 0) hits for “blockchain”, i.e. it is not mentioned in any board of appeal decision.

Ok, blockchain is a relatively young technology (at least from a patent law perspective) and appeal cases take a couple of years.

Benjamin Henrion called it “yet another computer program. But the EPO might say again it is “technical”.”

The EPO rarely speaks about blockchain, but it certainly says “AI”, “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR” and so on. Buzzwords are a fool’s gold/game/errand. Henrion added that “those last words are inventions themselves. They were created by the patent community.”

“What they don’t say is that this so-called ‘study’ involved the EPO passing money to the media.”“Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4IR) is a new/latest EPO buzzword. It’s how they avoid speaking about software patents. The EPO used those buzzwords only hours ago (Battistelli will have a whole speech about it in an upcoming IAM conference). The EPO said: “Interested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? This study looks at the inventions behind the digital transformation…”

What they don’t say is that this so-called ‘study’ involved the EPO passing money to the media. They actively participate in buzzwords promotion and one might say software patents advocacy (at the expense of EPO budget and at risk of corrupting the media).

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