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

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 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

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. Links 17/10/2018: Elementary OS 5.0 “Juno” Released, MongoDB’s Server Side Public Licence

    Links for the day



  2. Improving US Patent Quality Through Reassessments of Patents and Courts' Transparency

    Transparency in US courts and more public participation in the patent process (examination, litigation etc.) would help demonstrate that many patents are being granted — and sometimes asserted — that are totally bunk, bogus, fake



  3. Ask OIN How It Intends to Deal With Microsoft Proxies Such as Patent Trolls

    OIN continues to miss the key point (or intentionally avoid speaking about it); Microsoft is still selling 'protection' from the very same patent trolls that it is funding, arming, and sometimes even instructing (who to pass patents to and sue)



  4. Links 1610/2018: Linux 4.19 RC8, Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

    Links for the day



  5. Judge-Bashing Tactics, Undermining PTAB, and Iancu's Warpath for the Litigation and Insurance 'Industries'

    Many inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leverage 35 U.S.C. § 101 against software patents; instead of putting an end to such patents Director Iancu decides to just serve the 'industry' he came from (a meta-industry where his firm had worked for Donald Trump)



  6. 'Cloud', 'AI' and Other Buzzwords as Excuses for Granting Fake Patents on Software

    With resurgence of rather meaningless terms like so-called 'clouds' (servers/hosting) and 'AI' (typically anything in code which does something clever, including management of patents) the debate is being shifted away from 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101); but courts would still see past such façade



  7. Corporate Media's Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

    A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host's plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills



  8. Links 15/10/2018: Testing Ubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates, KaOS 2018.10 Released

    Links for the day



  9. USPTO FEES Act/SUCCESS Act Gives More Powers to Director Iancu, Supplying Patents for Litigation 'Business' and Embargo (ITC)

    Corruption of the US patent system contributes to various issues which rely on the extrajudicial nature of some elements in this system; companies can literally have their products confiscated or imports blocked, based on wrongly-granted patents



  10. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Decides That USPTO Wrongly Granted Patents to Roche

    Patent quality issues at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — motivated by money rather than common sense — continue to be highlighted by courts; the USPTO needs to raise the bar to improve the legal certainty associated with US patents



  11. Even Judge Gilstrap From Texas is Starting to Accept That Software Patents Are Invalid

    Amid new lawsuits from Texas (e.g. against Citrix) we’re pleased to see that even “reprehensible” Rodney Gilstrap (that’s what US politicians call him) is learning to accept SCOTUS on 35 U.S.C. § 101



  12. Federal Circuit Doubles Down on User Interface Patents, Helps Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Curtail the Prime Competitor of Microsoft Office

    Patent trolls that are connected to Microsoft continue to sue Microsoft rivals using old patents; this time, for a change, even the Federal Circuit lets them get away with it



  13. Let's Hope Apple Defeats All the Abstract Patents That Are Leveraged Against It

    Apple can be viewed as a strategic 'ally' against patents that threaten Android/Linux if one ignores all the patent battles the company started (and has since then settled) against Android OEMs



  14. EPO Insider/Märpel Says President Campinos Already Acts Like Battistelli

    Unitary Patent (UPC) is a step towards making the EPO an EU institution like the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO); but it's not making any progress and constitutional judges must realise that Campinos, chosen by Battistelli to succeed him, is just an empty mask



  15. Quality of Patents Granted by the EPO is Still Low and Nobody Will Benefit Except Lawyers, Jubilant Over Growing Lenience on Software Patents

    Deterioration of patent quality at the EPO — a serious problem which examiners themselves are complaining about — is becoming rather evident as new guidelines are very lenient on software patenting



  16. 100 Days Into the Term of Campinos There is Already an EPO Suicide

    A seventh known suicide at the EPO since the so-called 'reforms' began; the EPO continues to pretend that everything is changing for the better, but in reality it's yet more nepotism and despotism



  17. Links 13/10/2018: Ubuntu Touch OTA-5, MidnightBSD 1.0 Ready

    Links for the day



  18. Links 11/10/2018: PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released, Librem 5 Loves GNOME 3.32

    Links for the day



  19. Friend Brings a Friend, Boss Becomes Subordinate: the EPO Under António Campinos is Starting to Look a Lot Like Team Battistelli 2.0

    The new President of the EPO contributes to the perception that the Office is a rogue institution. Governance is all in reverse at the Office because it still seems like the Office President bosses the Council rather than be bossed by it (as intended, as per the EPC)



  20. UPC Cowardice: Team UPC Uses Cloaks of Anonymity to Discredit Authors of Scholarly UPC Paper They Don't Like

    Team UPC has sunk to the bottom of the barrel; now it uses anonymous letters in an effort to discredit work of Max Planck Institute staff, in the same way (more or less) that ad hominem attacks were attempted against the filer of the constitutional complaint in Germany



  21. New EPO Guidelines: Granting European Patents on Business Methods, Algorithms, Mental Acts and Other Abstract Stuff

    Keeping so-called 'production' high and meeting so-called 'targets' (allegedly set by Battistelli), Campinos relaxes the rules for "computer-implemented inventions" (one among many misleading terms that mean software patents in Europe)



  22. Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents -- Just Like Microsoft -- and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

    OIN loves Microsoft; OIN loves software patents as well. So Microsoft's membership in OIN is hardly a surprise and it's not solving the main issue either, as Microsoft can indirectly sue and "Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact," according to Bradley M. Kuhn



  23. Links 10/10/2018: Unreal Engine 4.21 Preview, Red Hat Openshift Container Platform 3.11

    Links for the day



  24. Links 9/10/2018: Plasma 5.14, Flatpak 1.2 Plan

    Links for the day



  25. Greg Reilly Inadvertently Makes a Case for Replacing/Improving the Patent System With a Wiki, Editable by All as Society Moves Forward

    Editable patents make a lot more sense in the age of the Internet and the World Wide Web; companies that rode the wave of the Net are themselves changing their patents on the go, sometimes because they simply attempt to dodge an evolving patenting criterion which nowadays looks down on software patents



  26. The USPTO's Principal Issue is Abstract Patents (or Patent Scope), Not Prior Art Searches

    In spite of the fact that US courts prolifically reject patents for being abstract (citing 35 U.S.C. § 101) Cisco, Google, MIT, and the USPTO go chasing better search facilities, addressing the lesser if not the wrong problem



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

    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)



  28. Antibody Patents Should Not be Allowed (Nor Should CRISPR Patents)

    The patent extremists are still trying to patent life (and/or nature) and their arguments typically boil down to, "there's money in it, so why the heck not?"



  29. Links 8/10/2018: Linux 4.19 RC7, Mageia 6.1, Calculate Linux 18

    Links for the day



  30. The Federal Circuit Continues to 'Lecture' the Patent Office on Patent Scope and Limits, But Iancu Isn't Listening

    Sadly, the district court have not fully caught up (at least not yet) with SCOTUS; they're more USPTO-friendly.


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