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11.04.18

EPO Granting European Patents on Nature and on Thoughts

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: ‘Artificial’ nature and algorithms that make decisions ‘artificially’ become monopolies in defiance of common sense and the law; the aspiration is to facilitate as many lawsuits as possible, not rewarding or promoting science

IT IS very simple to demonstrate, based on quantitative data, that software patents in Europe are promoted under António Campinos a lot more often than under Battistelli. Corrupt management doesn’t understand anything other than numbers (e.g. patents granted) and it measures “quality” in terms of speed — the equivalent of a restaurant assessing the quality of its dishes based on the number served per hour. Dissatisfaction rates are measured by the litigation ‘industry’ (not even stakeholders at large) rather than courts or those on the receiving end of lawsuits rather than patents.

“Dissatisfaction rates are measured by the litigation ‘industry’ (not even stakeholders at large) rather than courts of those on the receiving end of lawsuits rather than patents.”To make matters worse, the EPO is ruining lives by granting patents on life — something which the USPTO too has been doing. The US patent office is nowadays granting patents on life itself and Kevin Noonan, who promotes this nonsense for a living, seems happy. He published “University of California/Berkeley Granted Another CRISPR Patent” several days ago and IPPro Patents’ coverage said that “[t]he US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the University of California a patent covering RNA guides that, when combined with Cas9 protein, can be used in gene editing. [...] In the most recent ruling, the US Court of Appeals concluded that the use of CRISPR-Cas9 in plant and animal cells is separately patentable from University of California, Berkeley, scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna’s use of CRISPR-Cas9 in any environment.”

“Seed patent growth prompts litigation and licensing fears,” said another new headline, alluding to the EU Biotech Directive and EPC:

European seed companies traditionally did not own many patents. The European Patent Convention and the EU Biotech Directive (98/44) sets out that plant varieties and essentially biological processes for plant production are excluded from patent protection – in stark contrast to other jurisdictions, such as the US.

The laws do not rule out patent protection on plant varieties altogether, but they did have the effect of severely limiting how many inventions seed companies could register in Europe.

These companies have instead relied on plant breeders’ rights (PBRs) for a long time to protect their inventions on the continent. Those rights grants them exclusive control over the propagating and harvesting material of a new plant variety so long as it is new, distinct, uniform and stable, and allow competitors to request and buy protected varieties to further breed and develop them.

But over the past five years, agritech has taken a massive leap forward and new tools have allowed businesses to more easily discover and replicate specific plant traits that may encompass several varieties. These traits and the technology used to find them can be patent protected in Europe.

As recently as weeks ago Campinos liaised with those who promote patents on seeds. Campinos, being anything but a scientist himself, can possibly use lack of understanding as an excuse (as Battistelli did).

“As recently as weeks ago Campinos liaised with those who promote patents on seeds.”Does Campinos know what “AI” is? Does Campinos just use the term because the marketing industry does? In Lexology-syndicated coverage from Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC’s Jennifer B. Maisel and Eric D. Blatt we continue to see law firms piggybacking “AI” in an effort to sell abstract patents. It’s becoming easy as Campinos has just 'legalised' software patents by using buzzwords like "AI". He’s helped by Battistelli-connected sites like IAM, which only days ago wrote tweets like [1, 2]: “Sarboraria – we did a study a few years ago on AI-related patent applications post-Alice and found allowance rates in mid-80% range. Shows that innovators should not be dismissive of patenting for AI related inventions because of [Section] 101 [...] Last panel of the day – @Google’s Aaron Abood, @Arm’s Robert Calico, @intel’s Helen Li and Kenneth Lustig from @realwearinc discuss the IP challenges when protecting AI…”

Even the hardware industry is nowadays (name-)dropping the term “AI” for marketing purposes. Sometimes they say “Machine Learning”, which is a slightly different thing. They use these terms to market themselves; “European Patent Office Gives Guidance on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” from Cooley LLP’s Arthur Laycock and David Wraige (as mentioned here days ago) has been reposted in another site; all they care about is getting clients. World Intellectual Property Review wrote that “AI examination guidelines come into force at EPO” while mentioning “algorithms” explicitly:

Guidelines on the patentability of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies came into force yesterday at the European Patent Office (EPO).

In its annual update of its examination guidelines, the EPO—for the first time—provided guidance for examiners on the fast-growing area of AI and machine learning.

According to the guidance, AI and machine learning are based on computational models and algorithms which are of an abstract mathematical nature, regardless of whether they can be “trained” based on training data.

These are just algorithms!

As Benjamin Hernion noted, “EPO replaces the EPC exclusions with the “technical” character, mentioned 10 times in here to make math and AI patentable https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/guidelines/e/g_ii_3_3_1.htm …”

But algorithms are definitely forbidden a patent monopoly. So what is going on here?

“These are just algorithms!”The EPO is meanwhile boasting about yet another event that openly promotes software patents (monopolies on algorithms) in Europe by writing: “You’re invited to join us for a thought-provoking day to discuss the issues involved in the global #patenting of emerging technologies and help define the way forward. For more info and to sign up, click here: http://bit.ly/indoeur”

This links to a page (warning: epo.org link) that says: “This provides opportunities for emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, capable of “Machine Learning” and optimising systems too complex for manually programmed algorithms; and Blockchain, for digital-speed processing of secure transactions.”

The EPO also tweeted about “AI” explicitly just before the weekend: “We have published this summary of our conference on patenting #artificialintelligence. Read it for the main takeaways from the event: http://bit.ly/AIpatents” (they call software patents “AIpatents”).

“So the EPO basically allows patents on thoughts or minds or a thinking process.”When will politicians intervene (if ever)? Last month IP Kat wrote about this nonsense and it has just received this reply from Wim Mooij, who wrote: “Part of the confusion originates from the strange way people treat results of a class of computer algorithms under the classification AI. These “AI” algorithms require inputs and the selection of the inputs determines the results. Before showing the results, there like has been a further selection process. The creative aspects are: conceiving the idea of using these tools, finding a set of meaningful inputs and filtering the results. Surely worthy of copyright protection.”

But these are still algorithms; they’re just being categorised as if that magically makes them OK with the EU Directive, EPC etc. There’s clearly no “device” involved.

The following comment then says:

So the problem as I see it is that a work to which 9(3) applies has no human creator, and yet must still be original. This problem arises even in the not-so-AI computer games cases like Nova. But maybe there is no contradiction, if what is required is for the computer to demonstrate originality. This is in line with some definitions of what AI actually is – “AI seeks to make computers do the sorts of things that minds can do” [1] (things like produce original art in the copyright sense?).

So the EPO basically allows patents on thoughts or minds or a thinking process. As we shall demonstrate at a later stage, the other such term the EPO nowadays misuses is “Blockchain” and patents on software are being granted provided the applicant overuses such terms.

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