10.09.18

António Campinos Makes Excuses for Granting European Patents on Software in Spite of the EPC

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Empty rhetoric again from the ‘low-profile’ President in his third blog post (in more than 100 days)

EPO frame and shredder
Source

Summary: Continuing the horrid tradition of Battistelli, António Campinos sends patent quality — the one aspect which the EPO was once renowned for — down the drain (or down the shredder, for lack of a better and more timely metaphor)

THE quality of patents granted by the EPO used to be very high; examiners were given a lot of time to study applications and strictly assess every aspect; more than one examiner would deal with a given application, so there was opportunity for verification or peer review. Gone are those days because it’s all about “production” now, where “production” is directly harmed by the concept of quality control. What the Office nowadays calls “quality” is speed; by that definition, top quality would be INPI, i.e. immediate grant with no real scrutiny whatsoever.

“What the Office nowadays calls “quality” is speed; by that definition, top quality would be INPI, i.e. immediate grant with no real scrutiny whatsoever.”After being criticised for further lowering patent quality at the EPO António Campinos writes this fluff in Battistelli’s old blog (warning: epo.org link) — a blog which he hardly even touched. He again added an image of himself, the hallmark of Battistelli. As if it’s all about the person. I’ve almost never uploaded images of myself to articles in Techrights. Anyway, almost immediately the EPO promoted this blog post (as it had done for Battistelli, unlike for the site’s news section). And while António Campinos drones on about patent quality the EPO continues promoting software patents in defiance of the EPC. It does this on a daily basis and this latest example once again calls abstract patents “AI”. “Our Patenting #ArtificialIntelligence conference offered a discussion platform in view of the rapid evolution and spread of AI in the IP world,” it said yesterday.

In his blog post Campinos said that “later in December we are planning a conference on Blockchain to evaluate questions surrounding the patentability of this fast-evolving technology.”

Surely he knows these are software patents and hence fake patents. Software patents like these are null and void even in the US; they’re merely symbolic to actual courts. Here’s a new example from the news:

Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba has applied to patent a blockchain system with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The system, as explained in the patent application filed Thursday, would allow an intervention in a smart contract — computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate or enforce negotiation of a contract — in case of illegal activity.

Blockchain has unique features — openness, unchangeability, and decentralization — but it does not integrate certain practical processes that are usually associated with real-life transactions. For instance, the patent application explains there is real life “administrative intervention” activity, like “when a user performs illegal activities, a court order may be executed to freeze the user’s account.” This kind of an intervention with smart contacts cannot be carried out in the existing blockchain systems.

This is pure software. It should be rejected.

Sadly, however, the EPO no longer even pretends that it objects to software patents. As noted in Mondaq yesterday (article by Caroline Day, Joseph Lenthall, Matthew Howell and Natasha Fairbairn from Haseltine Lake LLP), the EPO just goes ahead with “Computer Implemented Inventions” (i.e. software patents in Europe through the EPO, albeit by another name). To quote “New Guidelines For Examination At The EPO”:

The Guidelines for Examination at the EPO have been significantly revised with the updated version due to come into force on 1st November 2018. The revisions relate to Computer Implemented Inventions, Inventive Step assessment in Opposition, Unity and more.

Haseltine Lake LLP wrote about the soaring number of oppositions at the EPO only months ago. SUEPO amplified them at the time.

It seems to have become a battleground wherein many fake patents are being challenged by outsiders nowadays. They don’t like what’s happening, so oppositions are being filed. Mondaq also published the following yesterday, under the headline “New EPO Guidelines Clamp Down On Scatter Gun Inventive Step Attacks In Opposition Proceedings”; Joseph Lenthall from Haseltine Lake LLP wrote about the EPO trying to curb oppositions to fake patents (just what Battistelli wanted) using the new guidelines (Campinos):

The EPO’s problem-solution approach for assessing inventive step of a patent includes determining the “closest prior art” as the first of a three stage approach. The obviousness of the claimed invention is then determined starting from this document. The closest prior art, therefore, plays a pivotal role in the assessment of inventive step at the EPO.

The current revision to the relevant section of the EPO Guidelines aims to curb Opponents arguing that several documents can be considered the closest prior art and making several inventive step attacks, each starting from a different document. Understandably, Opposition Divisions tend to see such a scatter gun approach as procedurally inefficient, as well as creating more work to review and make a decision on these attacks.

The Guidelines therefore now state that application of the problem-solution approach starting from more than one prior art document as the closest prior art is only required where it has been convincingly shown that these documents are equally valid starting points.

In principle, this is a noble attempt to focus opposition proceedings and the avoid many of the weak attacks from Opponents. However, it is not clear that this addition will provide much procedural efficiency. In particular, the Guidelines imply that the Opposition Division need not consider inventive step attacks from close (but not the closest) prior art documents. We can therefore anticipate that arguments over the selection of the closest prior art may be more detailed both in written and oral proceedings.

If the EPO continues to drift in this same trajectory, it will go down the bin of history. A patent office that disregards the quality of patents will grant fake patents that courts will reject, harming legal certainty.

As noted by Campinos yesterday, they are “planning a conference on Blockchain” by which to legitimise software patents that are disguised using such glorified terms. A few days ago EPO officials had met and then bragged with WIPO (huge proponents of any kind of patents and also serial violators of human rights); the EPO pushed it again in Twitter (late yesterday), having added a group photo with Lutz in it. “EPO fosters international co-operation during WIPO Assemblies,” it said and Banana IP’s “IP News Center” (pushed as press release/blog into Google News) added: “The main focus areas of the co-operation plan will include areas of patent law and patent examination guidelines, examination quality, data exchange, classification, search tools and machine translation along with a joint study on Computer-implemented inventions.”

Yes, a “joint study on Computer-implemented inventions.” (software patents)

This is the pattern. They try to completely legitimise patents on algorithms. The EPC is dead.

The EPO under Campinos may not be seeing as many protests (not as many as before), but when it comes to patent quality it’s more of a cesspool than ever before.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2018/10/09/empty-rhetoric-on-swpats/

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. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door

    The Benoît Battistelli-António Campinos shuffle left some people in the EPO’s upper management better off; they’re being rewarded for complicity, so there’s no incentive to do the right thing but to do the wrong thing



  2. Links 11/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Linux 5.13 Additions

    Links for the day



  3. All EPO Articles Are Available Over Gemini Protocol

    For lighter and more privacy-preserving access to Techrights use the Gemini capsule instead of the Web site



  4. Judge and JURI

    The Committee on Legal Affairs, a.k.a JURI, meets the EPO tomorrow (in 24 hours); will abuses by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli be brought up?



  5. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…

    Before becoming an absent-minded Vice-President of António Campinos Christoph Ernst was posing as the very opposite of what he would become



  6. Gemini Gateways for IPFS

    The World Wide Web is fine for a lot of things, but for controversial publications and publications that invoke the 'wrath' of corporations/states/plutocracy we must look beyond the traditional protocols, choosing decentralised means and self-hosted means of publication (instead or at the very least in conjunction)



  7. Challenging Times for EPO Management

    A discussion of the status quo at Europe's second-largest (but scarcely-understood) institution, subjected to a JURI hearing tomorrow afternoon



  8. “The Fighters of Freedom”

    Some anime fans have made this video about recent events



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 10, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 10, 2021



  10. [Meme] Bundestagate Series Spoiler

    The chain of command/s at the EPO typically leads to major tragedy



  11. Breaking News: Campinos to Appear Before the Legals Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Monday 12 April

    "Some MEPs have been briefed about ongoing governance deficits at the EPO, in particular the lack of GDPR compliance and the sell-out of "digital sovereignty" to Microsoft, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will dare to bring these issues up during the hearing."



  12. Pro-FSF Petition (“An Open Letter in Support of Richard Matthew Stallman Being Reinstated by the Free Software Foundation”) Tops 6,200 Signatures

    Monopolies and their media, along with their NGOs, have spoken and incited based on falsehoods; people now respond so the hate letter has a real crisis



  13. Links 10/4/2021: osbuild 28, KDE Frameworks 5.81.0

    Links for the day



  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?

    We examine the role of Christoph Ernst in EPO management, both in the Benoît Battistelli era and the António Campinos era (plenty to hide)



  15. USPTO for Monopolies, Keeping GNU/Linux in the Dark

    Growing evidence of gross discrimination against GNU/Linux (or Free software, even BSD/UNIX) users at the USPTO is too hard to ignore; some people out there challenge the Office over this travesty



  16. Accessibility and Availability First

    To make Techrights more widely accessible and more difficult to block/censor we've been making further changes, including self-hosting where possible



  17. Self-Hosting Videos With Free Formats and Animated Previews, Watermarks/Logos and Translucency

    We examine the power of video editing with ffmpeg, chained with command-line scripting and HTML5 features



  18. Links 10/4/2021: Linux on M1, Wine 6.6, ClamAV 0.103.2

    Links for the day



  19. Lunduke: On Mob Justice in the Tech Industry

    A new video from the former Microsofter who fears the phenomenon that’s adopted by companies like IBM



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 09, 2021



  21. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli's Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli

    Local copies with evidence of or something concrete about Benoît Battistelli’s connection to unsavoury — and by today’s standards outright fascistic — politics



  22. IBM Doubles Down on Masters Being an Acceptable Word in the Context of Technology

    3 days after this post which disproves IBM's stance or shows its double standards it once again says “Masters” in its official blog (won’t that offend and alienate some people as they insist?)



  23. Hate Letter Against Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) Backfired So Spectacularly That Signers Asked to Revoke Their Own Signatures and the List Was Then Frozen Permanently (Updated)

    "An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation" tops 6,100 signatures (graph generated just moments ago)



  24. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 11: The BMJV's Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

    The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him



  25. Links 9/4/2021: Tanglet 1.6.0 and HPVM 1.0

    Links for the day



  26. The Libel Against Richard Stallman Did Not Age Well

    Almost 2 years down the line libel about the founder of the FSF remains online, uncorrected (in sites funded by Microsoft and IBM)



  27. The Letter in Support of the FSF and Richard Stallman is Backed by the International Community, Not American Monopolies and Nationalistic Elements

    Free software is for everybody to use, internationally, it is not the asset of a bunch of current and old monopolists (connected to the US military) that also control the media; the nature of the signatures says that out loud



  28. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

    The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we're currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities



  29. News Sites That Talk About Patents Have Become Shameless Self-Promotion 'Plugs' by Law Firms (and Sometimes Outright 'Spam' for Litigation)

    The sources of news about patent affairs have dried up; sites that actually used to investigate and report facts have since then shut down or defected to the Public Relations/marketing industry



  30. Links 9/4/2021: Kubernetes 1.21 and FFmpeg 4.4 Released

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts