03.06.18

There’s No Patent Trolls Problem in Europe, Say Law Firms That Represent and Front for Patent Trolls

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows LLP and EPO

Summary: In an effort to deny the severity and negative impact of patent trolls in Europe, law firms and publishers that represent such trolls once again downplay the Darts-IP report; at the same time they’re attempting to facilitate yet more trolling by manipulating politicians and constructing the UPCA (along with lies, maliciously constructed so as to accomplish the unthinkable)

TECHRIGHTS is approaching its 24,000th blog post, having written a great deal about patent trolls in the US and well over 2,000 articles about EPO scandals. We’re pretty familiar (not by choice) with the USPTO affairs and the connection to patent trolls.

“We’ve long warned that the same thing would happen in Europe if it didn’t abstain from granting software patents.”SUEPO has just highlighted yesterday’s article from an author who spent almost a decade writing about software patents and patent trolls. He’s pretty good at that area. We typically cover USPTO matters in the weekend, but this one relates to the EPO because the trolls epidemic is expanding in Europe, thanks in part to Team Battistelli. To quote the article:

Why the roots of patent trolling may be in the patent office

In recent years, American companies have faced a growing threat from patent assertion entities derisively called “patent trolls.” These often shadowy firms make money by threatening patent lawsuits rather than creating useful products. A recent study suggests that the roots of the patent trolling problem may lie with the US Patent and Trademark office—specifically with patent examiners who fail to thoroughly vet patent applications before approving them.

So-called patent trolls “disproportionately purchase and assert patents that were granted by ‘lenient’ examiners,” write Harvard economist Josh Feng and his co-author Xavier Jaravel of the London School of Economics in a December paper.

Patent examiners don’t just decide whether or not to approve a patent. They’re also supposed to narrow a patent’s claims to make sure it only covers what the inventor actually invented. But some examiners do a better job of this than others. Feng and Jaravel found that examiners who demand the fewest changes to patent claims account for a disproportionate share of patents that ultimately wind up in patent lawsuits.

And these effects are large: the pair found that patents reviewed by examiners who are one standard deviation more “lenient” than average are 63 percent more likely to be purchased by a patent enforcement entity and 64 percent more likely to be involved in litigation.

The study reinforces earlier research suggesting that the country’s problems with low-quality patents and rampant patent litigation is driven by inadequate scrutiny of patents by patent examiners. It suggests that giving patent examiners better training and more time to scrutinize each patent could improve patent quality and bring down frivolous patent litigation over time.

We’ve long warned that the same thing would happen in Europe if it didn’t abstain from granting software patents. We warned about this long before we covered EPO scandals.

“The UPC, suffice to say, would considerably exacerbate things by giving more leeway to the trolls.”We’re unfortunately entering a phase wherein patent trolls aren’t just a reality in Europe; they’re becoming a lot more common. I heard from some firms in the UK; they’re being threatened by trolls. They phone me. A lot of this isn’t public knowledge and isn’t in the public domain/record because lawsuits — not threats thereof — are what’s visible.

The UPC, suffice to say, would considerably exacerbate things by giving more leeway to the trolls. Firms like Bristows, which promote the UPC in the UK, keep cheering for trolls that operate in the UK. It’s done openly in their blogs, including IP Kat. We wrote about that in past years. Bristows and others like it also sponsor all sorts of publishers in the UK; this means that those publishers too are lobbying for the UPC (albeit it’s disguised as a ‘news’ service). Check who Bristows targets as clients and actively represents. It’s pretty revealing; we urge readers to research this on their own.

Speaking of publishers with their lobbying, see what Ellie Mertens published some hours ago. We already knew that Managing IP was bad (close to Battistelli and promoting the UPC). But to give a platform/puff pieces to Erich Spangenberg is a new low for them. He’s a malicious patent troll looking for a buck through blackmail. He also sent me vague death wishes some months ago (during Christmas).

“Most of the post is copy-paste of someone from University College London (where Stephen Jones of CIPA, a Battistelli ‘friend’ and former ‘Kat’], is a Visiting Lecturer).”Anyway, the main thing we wanted to point out is a new post from Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows), a proponent of software patents (in spite of § 101), trolls, FRAND etc. She put it at IP Kat as usual and patent maximalists are linking to it (presumably because they wish to help her distort the record). She did that last month and she is doing it once again. The troll denialists from Bristows (whose clients include patent trolls) attack the study which highlights patent rolls as a problem in Europe. IAM, which is partly funded by trolls, was happy to boost this. It was also boosted by like-minded patent maximalists in the US and in Germany. Benjamin Henrion told one of them that “as long as small companies cannot defend themselves, there is a problem.”

Most of the post is copy-paste of someone from University College London (where Stephen Jones of CIPA, a Battistelli 'friend' and former 'Kat', is a Visiting Lecturer). Here’s a portion:

First, while it is true that there is some rise in NPE litigation, overall NPEs are responsible for initiating only a small number of patent infringement cases in Europe (around 5%, with a bit more in Germany). This suggests that there is hardly a problem with “abusive” patent litigation.

Second, the study highlights that it may be actually getting harder to monetise patents in Europe. NPEs mostly initiate patent infringement suits against large international telecommunication companies, presumably after prior licensing negotiations have failed. NPEs are also having their patents challenged in invalidity proceedings before courts and opposition proceedings before patent offices, presumably by the same large telecommunication companies. It seems that increase in NPE litigation may be actually attributable to hold-out tactics by large companies.

There are many falsehoods above and it would take a long time to correct them all. But Bristows is happy to put forth this nonsense, calling trolls “NPEs” and adding:

What do readers think? Merpel, herself, has some follow-up questions: Should Europe wait for more data and analysis before taking any action? Or should they look to the US experience and guard against that potential? Does it matter that NPEs target large companies instead of SMEs? Does that somehow neutralize the perceived problem? Is the absolute number of NPE-related patent actions what matters, or is the trend (increase/decrease) in the number of actions more important? Is it correct to suggest that NPE litigation is attributable to “hold out”, or is that an oversimplification of what is really going on/is it fair to call that “hold out”?

So far, the only comments there (or the only ones permitted by Bristows) are in support of the trolls too. IAM has taken note of the source of some of these comments when it said: “We came to a similar conclusion. http://www.iam-media.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=84c119aa-7ec3-453b-bb4e-efca499f88a7 … Note comment at the end of the IP Kat piece from Richard Vary – ex-Nokia, now of Bird & Bird.”

“The same Bird & Bird which lobbies for UPC almost as much as Bristows does? Do they even know what a patent troll is and acknowledge such a thing exists?”The same Nokia that conspired with Microsoft to pass loads of patents to patent trolls (as we covered in past years)? The same Bird & Bird which lobbies for UPC almost as much as Bristows does? Do they even know what a patent troll is and acknowledge such a thing exists? Many are proud denialists of such a problem.

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2018/03/06/trolls-deny-trolling/

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