04.10.18

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EPO in ‘Low Profile’ Mode, Only to be Mentioned in Relation to India’s Oil Drilling/Miners

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) decides to grant a patent to Oil India Limited (OIL) and the Indian media goes insane

THE famous rejection of software patents in India is exactly the opposite of what has been happening at the EPO, more so under Battistelli. We quite like and very much appreciate India’s attitude towards patents; the country takes nothing for granted and actually assesses the impact of particular patent “families” on the general population. India is a software powerhouse and programmers reject software patents with almost no exception (none that we’re aware of).

Karry Lai, based in Hong Kong, said yesterday that “[a]fter the retirement of Hon’ble Justice K N Basha on May 13 2016, India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) was almost non-functional for 19 months.”

“India is a software powerhouse and programmers reject software patents with almost no exception (none that we’re aware of).”We covered this before. IPAB is only vaguely similar to PTAB in the US and BoA in Europe. It’s a similar acronym, but they aren’t quite the same.

What was most curious, however, was yesterday’s news in India. Even the English-speaking sites alone. Millions (or about a million per year) of patents get granted. Need there be a “news” article about each of these? Why did the Millennium Post decide to write a whole article about one? “Authorities at European Patent Office (EPO) have communicated their decision to grant patent to Oil India Limited (OIL) for an invention titled “A method for preventing wax deposition in oil wells with packers”,” it says. EnergyInfraPost said the same and so did mainstream business press in India. To quote:

Oil India has been granted patent by the European Patent Office for an invention titled ‘A method for preventing wax deposition in oil wells with packers.’

Securing this first-ever patent grant signifies a major milestone for OIL and especially its Research& Development (R&D) Unit, which actively develops innovative solutions to oilfield exploration and production problems and has filed few other patent applications in recent years.

Equity Bulls wrote about this too:

Authorities at European Patent Office (EPO) have communicated their decision to grant patent to Oil India Limited (OIL) for an invention titled “A method for preventing wax deposition in oil wells with packers”. Securing this first-ever patent grant signifies a major milestone for OIL and especially its Research& Development (R&D) Unit, which actively develops innovative solutions to oilfield exploration and production problems and has filed few other patent applications in recent years.

Why are there so many articles about one single patent? Why did mainstream media find that so newsworthy? Maybe a PR campaign?

This is not a software patent, but we find all this hype curious and noteworthy. This actually dominated EPO news this week; there’s not much else except this blog post from Miquel Montañá, who spoke of the “problem and solution approach” of the EPO:

In one of the saga of cases that involved Societé des Produits Nestlé and companies that are trying to market capsules compatible with Nescafé’s Dolce Gusto system, the defendant alleged, among other arguments, that some of the patents asserted were null due to a lack of inventive step. The case was handled by Commercial Court number 5 of Barcelona which, following a long-standing Spanish tradition, decided to examine inventive activity following the “problem and solution approach” traditionally applied by the European Patent Office (“EPO”). Although Spanish Courts have highlighted in several cases that following this method is of course not compulsory, they find some comfort relying on a conceptual framework that allows them to make a more principled assessment of the technical arguments asserted by the parties.

Patent courts in Barcelona, as we noted yesterday, have already embraced patent maximalism, just like the EPO under Battistelli.

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