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07.24.18

China Belatedly Tackles Patent Trolls, Albeit After Giving Them the Green Light With Broad and Low-Quality Patents Such as Software Patents

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 3:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIPO/EPO race to the bottom takes its toll

Paper cut

Summary: An epidemic of patent trolls outside the United States is a real problem and officials are able to recognise it; in Europe, however, the EPO is largely apathetic and actively helps pass legislation to further assist these trolls

THE EPO is a lost cause which grants software patents routinely and flagrantly breaks the rules, the law etc. In contrast, the USPTO has become tougher on software patents (see this local news site about “recent local patents awarded”) and the US courts more so. There aren’t so many patent cases involving software patents anymore. China has become pretty much the only large country to formally allow software patents and it’s hardly surprising that it’s being exploited by patent trolls.

“China has become pretty much the only large country to formally allow software patents and it’s hardly surprising that it’s being exploited by patent trolls.”IAM, for a change, uses the term “patent troll activity” in its headline, which is rare (they typically promote patent trolls who fund them and use euphemisms/PR terms/acronyms to describe these). The headline says “Husband and wife accused of patent troll activity face criminal extortion charges in Shanghai”. So, at least in some sense, if in China you’re a patent troll the government will see you for what you are: an extortionist. In the US, however, it’s just “business as usual”; it’s considered acceptable as trolls have lobbyists who ‘normalise’ it and some even receive eulogies when they die like their spiritual leader. From IAM:

Two people have been charged in what could be China’s first criminal prosecution of alleged patent trolls. On 21st July, prosecutors in Shanghai announced a criminal case against a married couple who had obtained patent settlements with a series of pre-IPO companies using litigation, reports to securities regulators and, in at least one case, forged documents. It’s a sign that criminal authorities are taking a close look at business practices around China’s fast-growing patent assertion environment. The couple, pseudonymously surnamed Li and Sun, are patent agents by profession, IAM understands.

What about Europe, where patent trolling has been on the rise? Well, some are still salivating over the UPC, falsely believing that it is about to come. Yesterday we saw this tweet which said: “Interesting @ para 151 of the White Paper, UK commits to remaining in the Unified Patent Court, which refers to the CJEU for preliminary rulings, binding on the UPC. Anyone noticed? ”

“It did not commit to it,” I’ve corrected her, as it’s untenable and there’s more spin about it. António Campinos actively participates in this spin and yesterday someone (from Klunker) also mentioned this patent troll in Europe:

In a joint effort with colleagues of @Preu_Bohlig we could nullify #monitoring #patent EP1196856B1 (goo.gl/dEeWpt) of #PatentTroll #PacketIntelligence thus endig their #litigation campaign against @HPE, @Sandvine and @HuaweiEU in Europe. Will surely have an impact on US pic.twitter.com/KLg9y3zYpr

It’s rather reassuring to see recognition of this problem in Europe and in China, not just in the US. Patent trolls offer nothing to society, to the economy etc. It’s just blackmail, pure and simple.

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