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11.08.18

EPO Needs to Publicly Apologise for Granting Bogus/Fake Patents to Aggressive Companies Like Monsanto (Now Bayer)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli era patents

Summary: Admission of patents being granted in error and/or against public interest may be a step towards acceptance that there is a problem; EPO management, however, keeps quiet about it

THE quality of European Patents (EPs) is low. António Campinos takes it even lower by openly promoting software patents in Europe — a subject we’ll cover in our next post. How about patents on life and nature? Both the European Patent Office (EPO) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are guilty in this regard. Both grant monopolies on these things which aren’t even inventions.

“EPs were once known for legal certainty; nowadays, upon close enough scrutiny, many can be invalidated.”Belatedly (years late) the EPO admit there’s a problem. It revokes patents. It has no choice. IEG Policy wrote about it, but the European Patent Office (EPO) did not say anything in its Web site, a tweet etc. Maybe they hope nobody will notice; why was such a patent granted in the first place? A lot of anger and a petition led to this.

“EPO revokes controversial broccoli” was the headline from IPPro Patents, which to its credit began writing about EPO scandals about a year ago. Now it covers this wake-up call about EPO granting lousy patents and correcting only after immense public/outside pressure. To quote:

The patent, which was granted to Monsanto in 2013 and later sold to Bayer, covered plant, seeds and harvested severed broccoli heads that grow slightly higher in order to ease harvesting. An opposition to the patent was originally filed in 2014.

No Patents on Seeds protested the patent by erecting the “largest broccoli in the world” outside of the EPO building in Munich. A petition with around 75,000 signatures supporting opposition to the patent was also handed over.

The EPO introduced new rules for examination in 2017, which mean that patents on animals and plants can no longer be granted if they are derived from conventional breeding using methods like crossing and selection. European law prohibits patents on plant varieties and animal varieties.

Why has the EPO not said anything about it? Instead it produced some puff piece about WIPO a few days ago, soon to be repeated by patent maximalists who write:

The European Patent Office has now decided to participate in WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) for the exchange of certified copies of priority documents from 1st November 2018.

DAS supports the automatic electronic exchange of priority documents within participating patent offices (participating Offices). Applicants may request the Office of First Filing (OFF) to make certified copies of previously filed patent applications available to the DAS system and then request Offices of Second Filing (OSF) to retrieve the copies via DAS.

The purpose of DAS is to establish a cost- and time-effective electronic system for processing and exchanging priority documents within participating Offices, by relieving the applicant of the need to submit the documents to the OSF.

What good are these if EPO guidelines have been perturbed to allow abstract patents and examiners are subjected to unrealistic demands which deny them access to sufficient evidence, e.g. prior art?

The EPO is still going in a very dark direction. EPs were once known for legal certainty; nowadays, upon close enough scrutiny, many can be invalidated. It can devastate companies.

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