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

08.04.18

António Campinos is Not Improving Patent Quality or Even the Social Climate at the EPO (False Promises)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Campinos says he wants to further increase so-called ‘production’ (beyond already-absurd [1, 2] levels)

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Reference: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Summary: Exploiting its immunity, the EPO continues to break the law and ignore court orders, rules, examination guidelines and even the EPC because the sole goal nowadays is granting as many patents as possible (even though examiners rightly object to that, citing relevant laws and public interest)

THE management of the EPO — like the management of the USPTO — strives to grant as many patents as possible. The reasons are selfish and purely economic (at the public’s expense). The law restricts its ability to do so, but the EPO famously disregards the law, e.g. when it comes to software patents in Europe (the original/early complaint we had about the EPO).

Have things improved under António Campinos? Of course not. We didn’t expect them to, either.

Here’s Jacobacci & Partners (Italy) lobbying for software patents in Europe (not quite legal) under the guise of "AI" — the guise facilitated/promoted by the EPO. IAM wrote the following a few days ago: “The patentability of artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic, mainly due to the tremendous expectations around this emerging, disruptive and pervasive technology. On 30 May 2018 the EPO held an international conference on patenting AI in Munich to explore this topic in detail. The EPO has recently published material and videos of the conference on the e-courses section of its website.”

So the EPO is basically saying, “call your software “AI” and then we’ll probably accept a patent on it.” The same goes for terms like “4IR” and several others. Over the past week alone the EPO wrote about half a dozen tweets to that effect.

One might then ask, “so has Campinos actually improved the climate?” (given that patent scope/quality remains a problem)

The answer appears to be no. SUEPO has just linked to a new article (behind paywall) about SUEPO and the new EPO President, Mr. Campinos. This was published [PDF] in SUEPO’s Web site just before the weekend. SUEPO seems to be growing impatient and as the article puts it: “Campinos’s insistence on maintaining the exhausting pace of patent grants while at the same time boosting patent quality is not a good sign. Campinos had one chance to make a good first impression but missed it by circumventing elected staff representatives and meeting directly with employees, a source close to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) said in an interview. Contrary to what Campinos trumpeted online, it does not appear to be a priority for him to work on the social agenda, said the source.”

So has anything at all improved under Campinos and his pretty much identical (to Battistelli’s) leadership? From what we can gather, things quieted down because the EPO isn’t saying much. But “quiet before the storm” comes to mind. And without a storm there’s no potential for any improvement/change.

A few days ago we learned about this company called Physna (“Physna is short for physical DNA,” it says) and saw this press release about “Cell and Gene Therapies” patents. Then came another press release, this one about RNA-related patents at the EPO. To quote:

RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: RXII) a biotechnology company developing the next generation of immuno-oncology therapeutics based on its proprietary self-delivering RNAi (sd-rxRNA) therapeutic platform, announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) and Japan Patent Office (JPO) have granted patents for the Company’s novel self-delivering RNAi (sd-rxRNA®) therapeutic platform. The EPO Patent #: 2949752 B1 and JPO Patent #: 620309 cover composition of matter, specifically structural and chemical attributes of sd-rxRNA. These patents will be set to expire in 2029.

So it certainly sounds as though the EPO still grants what we colloquially refer to as “patents on life”. Does it not matter that European authorities repeatedly say no to such patents? Does the EPO follow the law at all? Considering failure to obey court rulings (even by Campinos), this does not shock us.

Incidentally, a high European court (CJEU) — not just the political ‘pillar’ — has just weighed in on a related subject. To quote:

Last week, the CJEU ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are, in principle, subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive. The implication of this decision is that products produced by gene-editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas-9, will be subject to the same regulations as transgenic organisms. The Agritech industry has met the CJEU decision with dismay, arguing that it will further stifle agribiotech innovation in the EU.

[...]

In a dramatic turn-around, on 25th July 2018, the CJEU ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs and are subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive. The CJEU also particularly ruled that GMO Directive applies to organisms obtained by mutagenesis techniques that have been developed since adoption of the GMO Directive, reasoning that these techniques can now be used to produce organisms similar, from a risk perspective, to those that can be produced using transgenic methods.

In answer to the specific referred question as to whether organisms obtained by mutagenesis are excluded from the GMO Directive by Annex IB, the CJEU first noted that, under EU law, the GMO Directive should be interpreted by consideration of not only its wording “but also the context in which it occurs and the objectives”. The Court noted that the objective of the wording of Annex IB was to exclude organisms that are “obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record”.

[...]

Gene editing technologies are immensely valuable from a research perspective. The relatively permissive regulatory environment for the cultivation of gene edited organisms in the EU also provided a clear commercial advantage to the technologies over transgenics. The CJEU decision has been so far met with dismay by the industry, with the outcry that “classification of genome-edited organisms as falling under the GMO Directive could slam the door shut on this revolutionary technology” (source: Rothamsted Research). Are we likely to see a falling-off in European patent filings directed at gene edited organisms? At the very least, we may expect the urgency to specifically claim a gene edited form of GMO products to lessen.

Following the EPO decision last year in Tomatoes II G 2/12 and Broccoli-II G 2/13, together with the latest CJEU decision, the agritech industry faces ongoing challenges to the development of new plant products in the EU. On the one hand, plants and plant products produced by “natural” breeding methods cannot be protected under the patent system, whilst plants and plant products produced by transgenic, and now gene editing, techniques, are subject to crippling legislation. The EPO and EU must of course balance the promotion of innovation with ethical concerns regarding genetic modification, but has the right balance been struck?

A bunch of comments have been posted there since then, notably those dealing with health implications, including in the case below (potentially) ISDS:

In those matters the precautionary principle should prevail, and I am inclined to find the decision very wise.

I have read some reports that the famous CRISPR/Cas-9 techniques are by far not as precise as it was made us to believe. In this respect, the decision is fully justified.

The safety of the methods themselves, be it for transgenic or mutagenetic modifications, and their impact on our environment has by no means be demonstrated.

The safety regulators are still too much influenced by large lobby groups, when they do not simply put their name on documents provided by industry.

People in Europe are not ready to swallow everything which is put in their dishes, and it is good so.

When looking at the latest blog published on Kluwer Patent blog,

http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2018/08/01/international-investment-arbitration-extraordinary-remedy-concerning-decisions-european-patent-office-future-unified-patent-court/

I would not be surprised if firms engaged in these techniques will not end up with bringing States before arbitration chambers, the legality and usefulness of which has still to be demonstrated.

Notice how UPC is being exploited by patent maximalists before it even exists (it will never exist). A timely reminder of the agenda of EPO management, which exploits its immunity to ignore the law, disregard the courts and basically grant patents on just about anything.

We’ll deal with the UPC in our next post.

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. Links 20/1/2019: Exo 0.12.4 and Libhandy 0.0.7 Released

    Links for the day



  2. JUVE Creates English Site, Promotes Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The generally good press outlet has taken a turn for the worse; it looks like it's doing more lobbying than reporting nowadays



  3. The Indian Ministry of Commerce Tries to Bend Patent Law in Favour of Foreign Monopolies

    There's an attempt to tilt patent law against the interests of India; but vigilant few are observing and reporting it, even in English



  4. The EFF Must Return That 'Internship' Money to Google or It Would Disgrace the Patent Reform Movement (by Association)

    Whether real or perceived, the EFF’s alleged bias is at stake now that Google money — not just money from a billionaire (Cuban) — lands on its lap; it can, by extension or association, serve to discredit patent reformers



  5. EPO Defying Patent Restrictions/Limits From the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Countries It Claims to Represent

    The departure from the EPC (and from the rule of law) at the EPO still means that patents are being granted on things that, as per the constitutions, should never have been patentable



  6. The UPC is Dead. But Bristows is Now Fully Engaged in Necrophilia.

    In an effort to float a dead project the deceiving folks from Team UPC pretend that everything is ready to go (commence) because they've managed to find some gowns and robes



  7. Links 19/1/2019: Wikipedia Cofounder Moves to GNU/Linux, Wine 4.0 RC7 Released, Godot 3.1 Beta 2, NomadBSD 1.2 RC1

    Links for the day



  8. Links 18/1/2019: Mesa 18.3.2, Rust 1.32.0

    Links for the day



  9. Links 17/1/2019: ZFS Debate Returns, AWS Pains Free Software

    Links for the day



  10. US Patent Lawyers Will Need to Change Profession or End up Becoming Abundantly Redundant, Unemployed

    In the age of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and 35 U.S.C. § 101 it’s too risky to sue with dodgy patents; moreover, the Federal Circuit‘s growing adoption of Alice means that no recent cases have given hope to patent maximalists and litigation frequency has fallen again (at double-digit rates)



  11. Links 16/1/2019: Deepin 15.9 Released and Mozilla Fenix

    Links for the day



  12. Brexit Has Failed, But So Has the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Even though all signs indicate that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will never become a reality spin is to be expected from Team UPC, still looking to profit from more litigation and expanded scope



  13. IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

    Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM's takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it's very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe



  14. Team UPC on Dead UPC: Choosing Gowns for Corpses

    The campaign of lies, long waged by Team UPC in order to manipulate politicians and courts, hasn’t stopped even in 2019 (IAM threw in the towel, but some of Team UPC is still ‘embalming’ UPCA)



  15. Links 15/1/2019: MX Linux MX-18 Continuum Reviewed, Mageia 7 Artwork Voting

    Links for the day



  16. Council of Europe (CoE) Recognises There's No Justice at the EPO

    It’s now the Council of Europe‘s turn to speak out about the grave state of international organisations that exist in Europe but aren’t subjected to European law (which they routinely violate with impunity)



  17. Dominion Harbor -- Armed by Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll -- Goes After the World's Biggest Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung

    Dominion Harbor, the patent troll that gets bucketloads of patents from Intellectual Ventures (a patent troll strongly connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates), is still suing using shell entities



  18. Links 14/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC2 and DXVK 0.95 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Only the Higher Courts -- Not Trump's 'Poster Child' -- Can Bring Back Software Patents

    Software patents are not making a "comeback" as some like to claim; in fact, the latest court cases and notably their outcomes suggest that nothing has changed



  20. “Uniloc is a Lawsuit Factory”

    Apple is a very secretive company, so it is hard to know what goes on with the patent troll Uniloc



  21. European Patent Office a Textbook Example of Lawless, Rogue Institutions

    The tyrannical nature of the EPO is still being demonstrated by the sad fate of Patrick Corcoran; technical judges at the EPO are feeling intimidated by nontechnical politicians and bankers



  22. No, Software Patents Are Not Poised to Make a Comeback Under New US Patent Office Rules

    Poor understanding of the difference between patent courts and patent offices is to blame for widely-spread misinformation from Ars Technica (part of Condé Nast)



  23. IP Kat Has Turned From EPO Critic (to the Point of Being Blocked by the EPO) to EPO Whitewasher That Gags EPO Whistleblowers

    The EPO tried to forcibly gag (block) IP Kat like it blocks Techrights (since 2014); failing that, the EPO got the blog to just act as a whitewashing operation for Team Campinos (more or less the same as Team Battistelli)



  24. Linspire 'Reborn' is Still Working for Microsoft and Facilitating Surveillance on GNU/Linux Users

    GNU/Linux spyware scandals may be back (and it's not about Canonical and Amazon but Linspire and Microsoft); Microsoft is meanwhile exposing innocent kids to pedophiles and it refuses to explain or defend this



  25. Links 12/1/2019: Wine 4.0 RC6, X-Plane 11.30, SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta, LibreOffice 6.2 RC2

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's Low Patent Quality Can Kill the European Software Industry and Kill People Too

    The patents granted by the EPO are often invalid as per courts' decisions, which means that fake/illegitimate European Patents saturate the market and discourage development (e.g. of software and life-saving drugs)



  27. The Fiction That Spain (or Italy) Can Salvage the UPC

    The proponents/lobbyists of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), firms that make money from patent litigation (we collectively call these "Team UPC"), are nowadays backpedaling, having come to grips with the death of the UPC, realising it's time to save face by pretending everything they said in the past wasn't a lie



  28. Links 11/1/2019: IBM-Red Hat Obstacle Cleared, Toyota Chooses Linux

    Links for the day



  29. EPO President “Campinos is Wasting His Credibility With “Sweet” Communiqués Full of Hot Air and Storytelling”

    EPO insiders insist if not demand that all those responsible for the corruption and the abuses be removed; Campinos has done the opposite by promoting those who caused harm and turning his overseer into his subordinate



  30. The Emptiness of the Linux Foundation's Commitment to Linux and Its True Openness... to Corporate Cash (in Exchange for Influence)

    Like Pence and Moreno, who exchange a political refugee for loans, the Linux Foundation abandons its commitment to GNU/Linux in exchange for maximisation of financial contributions


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