EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.09.18

Patents on Nature, Life and the Environment: Lessons From EPO and Australian Courts

Posted in Australia, Europe, Patents at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly does not solve issues; especially when granted on things that always existed

Iguazu Falls

Summary: The subject of patent scope revisited in light of news and views about patents “on life” (typically DNA, genetics, plants, seeds, animals); we focus on Europe and on Australia, which is known for CSIRO’s controversial patent-related activities

THERE are different types of people in the patent “profession” (or domain), ranging from examiners to litigators. There are also different mindsets, ranging from patent rationalists to patent extremists, where the extreme views pertain to patent scope, litigation zeal, and sometimes boil down to fundamental hatred of science and technology (that’s what sites such as Watchtroll stand for).

“It’s important that — in order to avoid protest if not revolt from the public — patent law should be restricted or confined to public interest.”We don’t want to generalise and we also recognise that many people read this site because they want to read alternative viewpoints, recognising that Techrights is not against patents but pro-patent reason. It’s important that — in order to avoid protest if not revolt from the public — patent law should be restricted or confined to public interest. It should adhere to common sense, economic models, and scientists’ interests, not law firms’ interests. Lawyers should ideally be there to help the scientists, not just to help themselves. In practice, however, this rarely happens, as we shall explain in our next post (about UPC).

“Lawyers should ideally be there to help the scientists, not just to help themselves.”Hogwash from Joanna Rowley (Haseltine Lake, LLP) came just before the weekend, both in their Web site and others (throwing copies elsewhere), titled “World Environment Day – How patents are saving our environment”.

They’re piggypacking “World Environment Day” for self promotion. Giving people a monopoly on how to improve things actually harms, prevents solutions from being implemented. We wrote this many times before in response to greenwashing of patents by EPO management. There’s also the class of patents which pertains to nature and life; those are even more problematic.

EPO insiders are generally aware of the limits of patenting and why these limits are needed. “Stop patents on life,” one of them told us the other day, is something we “might be interested in.” The insider linked to “Patente auf Leben stoppen!” (in German). We wrote about this subject many times before, since more than a decade ago. So did many patent critics like Kinsella, whose latest episode is titled “Nothing Exempt”. Kinsella is one of those former and disgruntled insiders, who nowadays advocates even abolition of so-called ‘IP’. He’s pretty high-profile a voice and we assume many of our readers are already familiar with his work (we covered that many years ago).

“This was a subject of much/great debate earlier this year when oppositions folks at the EPO denied a CRISPR patent, overturning some prior decisions (by extension at least).”That brings us to some news from Australia’s top court. As should be obvious, at the very least based on the “Australia” section of our “Software Patents Around the World” page, we are mostly interested in Australia because of its software patents stance/policy. On few occasions we wrote about Australian patents on life itself, as ‘championed’ by CSIRO in Australia. This was a subject of much/great debate earlier this year when oppositions folks at the EPO denied a CRISPR patent, overturning some prior decisions (by extension at least). People and firms have begun questioning whether it’s even worth pursuing patents on DNA/genetics in Europe anymore.

A new article by Michael Zammit and Scott Philp (from the software patents booster, Shelston IP) speaks of “strategic use and management in the resources sector” (in relation to patents). Another new article by Kazumasa Watanabe, Anthony Muratore and Stephanie W. Wang (Jones Day) has just been plugged into Mondaq, taking note of a new case at the High Court of Australia. Background and conclusion/outcome/closing words below:

Pfizer manufactures and supplies the biological medicine Enbrel (etanercept), used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Pfizer brought an application pursuant to rule 7.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 for preliminary discovery of certain SB confidential documents that Pfizer believed would enable it to decide whether or not to commence proceedings for patent infringement against SB. The patents in suit concerned processes relating to one of the phases in the development of biological medicines.

[...]

On appeal, the Full Court allowed Pfizer’s appeal: Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals v Samsung Bioepis AU Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 193, holding that preliminary discovery applications are not intended to be mini-trials. The essence of rule 7.23 focuses on what “may” be the position. The foundation of any application is that the prospective applicant reasonably believes that it may have a right to relief; that is, the belief must be reasonable and about something that “may be”, not “is”, the case.

In practice, to defeat such a claim, it will be necessary either to show that the subjectively held belief does not exist or, if it does, there is no reasonable basis for thinking that there may be such a case. Showing that some aspect of the material on which the belief is based is contestable, or even arguably wrong, will rarely come close to making good such a contention. Many views may be held with which others disagree, but that does not make the views necessarily unreasonably held.

Therefore, the relevant question was not whether one scientific view was more or less persuasive than another but, rather, whether Dr Ibarra’s views so lacked foundation that Mr Silvestri’s reliance on them did not demonstrate that he reasonably believed that Pfizer may have a right to obtain relief. As Dr Ibarra’s views were not criticised as ones that could not reasonably be held by anyone in her position, this question was answered in the negative.

In its special leave application to the High Court, SB argued, inter alia, that the Full Court shifted focus away from an objective assessment of the facts as to whether a reasonable basis was provided for the prospective applicant believing it may have the right to relief to an assessment of the subjective state of mind of the particular deponents who asserted the relevant belief. However, the High Court was not persuaded to grant special leave to appeal.

The Australian system (especially the legal system) follows the structures and standards of the old English system and is heavily inspired by the US. When it comes to patents, there’s not much difference either. We are glad to see that software patents are on their death throes in Australia and hope that the same will happen to patents on nature/life. Those aren’t the sorts of ‘inventions’ the patent system’s founders had in mind at this system’s inception time.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Reader's Article: Affaire Benalla Strongly Connected to EPO/OEB/EPA and Former President Benoît Battistelli

    A Macron scandal has led French media to finally (and years too late) exploring some of the much more explosive scandals at the EPO, revealing some interesting new details in the process



  2. Language Patent Lawyers Are Using to Warp the Debate and Decrease Public Understanding of Patents

    The patent microcosm, trying to get the public all baffled/confused about the patent system, continues (mis)using words to convey things in misleading ways



  3. USPTO FEES ACT Makes the US Patent Office a Money-Making Machine That Systematically Disregards Patent Quality

    The lingering issues with patent assessment at the US patent office, which unlike US courts isn't quite so impartial an actor (it benefits more from granting than from rejecting)



  4. Guest Post on Ronan Le Gleut and Benalla at the French Senate (in Light of Battistelli's Epic Abuses)

    Thoughts on the possibility that Battistelli will belatedly be held accountable for his abuses, knowing that a senator representing French Citizens residing Abroad comes from the EPO



  5. A Lot of US Patents Are Entirely Bogus, But Apple Was Willing to Pay for Them

    Apple's resistance to Qualcomm's patent aggression was preceded by very heavy ("thermonuclear" by Steve Jobs' description/words) patent wars against Android and even legitimisation of clearly bogus software patents from Amazon



  6. 'Owning' Nature, Thanks to Patent Insanity and People Who Profit From That

    Questionable patents on things that always existed and are merely being explained or reassembled; those sorts of patents typically serve to merely discredit the patent system and courts too increasingly reject such patents (e.g. SCOTUS on Mayo Collaborative Services and Myriad Genetics, Inc.)



  7. Patents Stranger Than Fiction and 'Protection' From Fictional Things

    Fictional things are being treated like "inventions" and insurance companies now look to exploit fear of fictional things (man-made concepts), such as ownership of mere ideas or words



  8. Benoît Battistelli Refuses to Talk to the Media About Bringing Firearms to the EPO

    Benoît Battistelli's highly aggressive approach has attracted the attention of French media; Battistelli has reportedly refused to comment on that matter, knowing that he lacks a defense (same thing happened after he had hauled millions of EPO euros to his other employer)



  9. Patent Law Firms Have Become More Like Marketing Departments With an Aptitude for Buzzwords

    What we're observing, without much reluctance anymore, is that a lot of patent lawyers still push abstract software patents, desperately looking for new trendy terms or adjectives by which to make these seem non-abstract



  10. Interlude: The Need to Counter Misinformation From the Patent and Litigation 'Industry'

    24,500 posts reached; so we pause and reflect, seeing that many sites/blogs of patent maximalists gradually ebb away



  11. Advocacy of the Unitary Patent System Has Become Almost Identical to the 'Leave' (Brexit) Campaign

    The charades of Team UPC carry on in Kluwer Patent Blog — a blog which for a very long time served no purpose other than Unified Patent Court (UPC) advocacy



  12. Open Invention Network is Rendered Obsolete in the Wake of Alice and It's Not Even Useful in Combating Microsoft's Patent Trolls

    Changes at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in US courts' outcomes may have already meant that patent trolls rather than software patents in general are a growing threat, including those that Microsoft is backing, funding and arming to put legal pressure on GNU/Linux (and compel people/companies to host GNU/Linux instances on Azure for patent 'protection' from these trolls)



  13. Bogus Patents Which Oughtn't Have Been Granted Make Products Deliberately Worse, Reducing Innovation and Worsening Customers' Experience

    How shallow patents — or patent applications that no patent office should be accepting — turn out to be at the core of multi-billion-dollar cases/lawsuits, with potentially a billion people impacted (their products made worse to work around such questionable patents)



  14. EPO is Like a Patent Litigation (Without Actual Trial) Office, Not a Patent Examination Office

    Examination of patent applications isn't taken seriously by an office whose entire existence was supposed to be about examination; bureaucracy at the top of this office has apparently decided that the sole goal is to create more demand (i.e. lawsuits) for the litigation 'industry'



  15. Philippe Cadre From the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) Wants to Join António Campinos

    Yet another example of INPI's creeping influence if not 'entryism' at the EPO and this time too patent quality isn't a priority



  16. Links 22/9/2018: Mesa 18.2.1, CLIP OS, GPL Settlement in Artifex/First National Title Insurance Company

    Links for the day



  17. Links 21/9/2018: Cockpit 178, Purism 'Dongle'

    Links for the day



  18. Criticism of Unitary Patent (UPC) Agreement Doomed the UPC and Patent Trolls' Plan -- Along With the Litigation Lobby -- for Unified 'Extortion Vector'

    The Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC) was the trolls' weapon against potentially millions of European businesses; but those businesses have woken up to the fact that it was against their interests and European member states such as Spain and Poland now oppose it while Germany halts ratification



  19. It Wasn't Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The EPO scandals deepen in light of a very major scandal which has occupied the French media for a couple of months



  20. Links 20/9/2018: 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Blackboard's Openwashing

    Links for the day



  21. Links 19/9/2018: Chromebooks Get More DEBs, LLVM 7.0.0 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/9/2018: Qt 5.12 Alpha , MAAS 2.5.0 Beta, PostgreSQL CoC

    Links for the day



  23. Today's European Patent Office (EPO) Works for Large, Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies in Pursuit of Patents on Nature, Life, and Essential/Basic Drugs

    The never-ending insanity which is patents on DNA/genome/genetics and all sorts of basic things that are put together like a recipe in a restaurant; patents are no longer covering actual machinery that accomplishes unique tasks in complicated ways, typically assembled from scratch by humans; some supposed 'inventions' are merely born into existence by the natural splitting of organisms or conception (e.g. pregnancy)



  24. The EPO Has Quit Pretending That It Cares About Patent Quality, All It Cares About is Quantity of Lawsuits

    A new interview with Roberta Romano-Götsch, as well as the EPO's promotion of software patents alongside CIPA (Team UPC), is an indication that the EPO has ceased caring about quality and hardly even pretends to care anymore



  25. Qualcomm's Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

    Qualcomm's multi-continental patent battles are an effort to 'shock and awe' everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from 'Qualcomm territories'



  26. Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

    Links for the day



  27. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

    PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents



  28. Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

    A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there's little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot



  29. “Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

    Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the "blockchain" hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent 'protection' (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)



  30. Qualcomm's Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

    Qualcomm's dependence on patent taxes (so-called 'royalties' associated with physical devices which it doesn't even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too "thick"


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts