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11.10.18

Pro-Litigation Front Groups Like CIPA and Team UPC Control the EPO, Which Shamelessly Grants Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: With buzzwords and hype like “insurtech”, “fintech”, “blockchains” and “AI” the EPO (and to some degree the USPTO as well) looks to allow a very wide range of software patents; the sole goal is to grant millions of low-quality patents, creating unnecessary litigation in Europe

THE death spiral of patent quality is overseen by Iancu and Campinos, two non-scientists who head the USPTO and EPO, respectively. The only quantity or currency they understand is money. Campinos, being a former banker himself, would no doubt drool over the amounts of money gained by just printing papers (European Patents). It doesn’t seem to bother them that 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the EPC should in principle deny US patents that are abstract (like algorithms) and software patents in Europe. Those ‘pesky’ laws are just ‘obstacles’ when one’s objective is to maximise revenue, not quality, innovation etc.

“Those ‘pesky’ laws are just ‘obstacles’ when one’s objective is to maximise revenue, not quality, innovation etc.”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which deals with trademarks as well as patents, makes over 3 billion dollars (latest figures) in exchange for granting man-made monopolies, mostly to large corporations that bully rivals (money out of nothing). It’s great, isn’t it? Money by the billions… for just printing things.

IPPro Patents has just repeated self-promotional claims about “insurtech” — a fairly new buzzword for what typically alludes to fake/bogus patents on software and/or business methods. We mentioned “insurtech” some days ago; it’s similar to “fintech”, which we’ll come to in a moment.

We’d like to focus on the EPO, however, because its software patents extravaganza truly went out of control last week. On Thursday, for example, half of its tweets promoted such patents. The EPO promoted (RT) this tweet which said: “We are teaming up with @EPOorg to deliver an online services workshop, making online filing easier to understand. Join us on 14 or 15 Nov at @TheCIPA in #London.”

“Remember that someone from UK-IPO becomes a Vice-President at the EPO next month.”So this coming week UK-IPO will do a ‘workshop’; CIPA is a litigation ‘industry’ front group and the EPO is notoriously corrupt. Not too wise for UK-IPO to associate with either of these (as opposed to scientists), but this is where we are today…

Remember that someone from UK-IPO becomes a Vice-President at the EPO next month.

And another event is coming. It’s called “Global patenting and emerging technologies”, but the corresponding page makes it very clear that by “emerging technologies” they mean software patents. The EPO already promotes this; it’s advancing software patents very shamelessly (if not aggressively) in this event. Those are disguised using buzzwords, as usual.

On Friday the EPO wrote: “Speakers from @Siemens , @Samsung , @Tatacompanies, @Wipro and @Ericsson will take to the stage at our “Global patenting and emerging technologies” conference in Munich. To book your place, go to http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/kAiLXNxtfz”

They also asked: “Are you involved in patents and #blockchain developments?”

“So that same old “AI” and “blockchain” nonsense has also been interjected into the Patent Information Conference.”By “blockchain developments” they mean software development — something on which they’re marketing patent monopolies; this was also promoted in the following tweet: “The @EPOorg has an exciting agenda for next week’s Patent Information Conference in Brussels! #AI, #blockchain, #textmining and more: bit.ly/2RqxlmP Visit us at stand 4 to hear what’s coming in 2019! #patents pic.twitter.com/dB3PBxbNSj

So that same old “AI” and “blockchain” nonsense has also been interjected into the Patent Information Conference. They know why they do this. The law firms gleefully play along. James Gatto (Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP) is now reposting in more sites his article titled “10 Lessons On Blockchain And Open-Source Licenses” (mentioned before in Techrights). JD Supra (press release/coverage) is the latest. They falsely assert that such patents are compatible with Free/Open Source software. Meanwhile in the US Salesforce is getting bogus patents or software patents disguised by buzzwords/hype like “blockchain”. Here’s one example:

U.S. software company Salesforce has won a patent to detect spam emails using blockchain technology. The patent filing was published on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Salesforce, which offer its customers is a cloud-based mailing platform, patented a solution that allows for the detection of whether an initial email was modified while being sent. In addition, the blockchain-driven program could help improve the existing filters that often fail to distinguish between spam and regular emails, such as promo letters.

As explained in the technical part of the document, to assure the authenticity of the message, the first email message server will record a selected component of the current message into a block to get other nodes’ approval. When the second server receives the message, it checks the blockchain record to find out whether the data has been replaced. If the two messages match, the email is marked as wanted. If the content has been altered, the mail goes to the spam folder.

“Salesforce Awarded New Blockchain Patent For Blocking Email Spam via Custom Matching System,” another article said (specialising in this area). It explained this as follows:

Salesforce, a giant of the software industry, has recently been awarded with a patent that will outline how a platform based on the blockchain technology could be used in the prevention of spam and other unwanted emails that fill up people’s inboxes with trash.

The document that outlines this story was published Tuesday, November 6, by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to it, the idea is to create a platform powered by the technology of the blockchain that can be used to check your emails and their integrity (in the case of malware) using a matching system.

These are very obviously software patents and the USPTO oughtn’t be granting these (Section 101). We saw many articles about this last week, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Funny how nobody mentioned that these patents oughtn’t be allowed? Too mesmerised by hype waves? Here they go again:

This platform is going to use a blockchain matching system to determine if emails are being sent legitimately to the address owner. When a user sends emails, part of it will be recorded on the blockchain. As soon as the second server receives the message, it will cross-reference it with a component and determine if it matches the part of the email that was saved on the blockchain. As long as the component matches, the email will be forwarded to the inbox. If it doesn’t match, it will be marked as spam. The system makes sure that messages are not modified during transit from one server to the other.

This is very clearly an algorithm. How can anybody claim otherwise?

Another example of patents on algorithms being granted came out a few days ago in the form of a press release/publicity with buzzwords like “bank, fintech, retail, and cloud service customers.”

“This is very clearly an algorithm. How can anybody claim otherwise?”This speaks of “detection algorithms. BehavioSec has also received new patents related to its new capabilities.”

Well, software patents are bunk. Section 101 applies it they themselves call it “algorithms”. See the press release [1, 2]. Are they no longer shy to use the word “algorithms”, even in the post-Alice era? How about IronClad’s latest press release that says: “IronClad Encryption Corporation (OTCQB: IRNC), a cyber defense company that secures digital assets and communications across a wide range of industries and technologies, today announced that it has received notice from the United States Patent and Trademark Office that six of its patents have been allowed and should be issued by the end of the year.”

But those are software patents.

“Section 101 applies it they themselves call it “algorithms”.”Going back to the EPO, notice how it’s again bringing up “AI” by saying: “A summary of the EPO’s first conference on patenting #artificialintelligence as well as recordings of the keynote speeches, panel discussions and Q&A sessions are now available here: http://bit.ly/AIconf pic.twitter.com/3gS9IcMdwu”

Mark Bell from Dehns (Team UPC) has meanwhile encouraged — yet again — software patents in the UK. He does so even though they’re not worth a quid; he uses EPO-promoted buzzwords like “AI” to mislead potential clients when he writes (e.g. in Mondaq):

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are very much growth technologies that are being exploited in many different industries. These techniques aim to replicate the intelligence and learning capabilities of humans in machines and computers. Examples of uses include speech recognition, self-driving cars and robotics.

It follows that new inventions using AI and machine learning will be the desired subject of patent protection from companies investing in these technologies. However, not all jurisdictions allow these types of “inventions” to be patented. For example, there are restrictions on being able to obtain patents for pure computer software, in which AI and machine learning will often be implemented. Handily, in Europe, the European Patent Office (EPO) publishes their “Guidelines for Examination” which set out how the patentability of such inventions should be examined.

A recent update to the examination guidelines includes, for the first time, a section on how patent applications directed towards inventions for AI and machine learning in particular should be assessed. This section notes that the computational models and algorithms behind AI and machine learning (e.g. neural networks, genetic algorithms, support vector machines, k-means, kernel regression and discriminant analysis for classification, clustering, regression and dimensionality reduction) may be of an abstract mathematical nature and thus prohibited from being granted patent protection.

These people (like Dehns) continue to rely on bypassing actual patent courts; they still fantasise about an EPO-connected UPC — one that would accept software patents. Lexology has just carried this article of Wrays’ Phil Burns on “The impact of BREXIT on UK & European patents”; well, the UPC is dead, but EPs — whose rapidly-declining quality is a growing concern — are still a threat to Brits. It doesn’t bother these law firms because such threats are something for them to gain from (financially). They ‘monetise’ threat and risk.

“…the EPO isn’t too concerned about facts. All it cares about is money and if the law stands in the way, then it will construct some phony justification for ignoring or working around the law.”“Kluwer Patent blogger” (typically the patent zealots from Team UPC who profit from litigation) has just joined in, trying to make excuses for the EPO granting software patents in defiance of EPC (the law/legislation today’s EPO is based upon). A days days ago it said:

As these models and algorithms “are per se of an abstract mathematical nature, irrespective of whether they can be ‘trained’ based on training data”, the guidance concerning mathematical methods (G-II 3.3) – which are generally excluded from patentability, applies.

However, “If a claim is directed either to a method involving the use of technical means (e.g. a computer) or to a device, its subject-matter has a technical character as a whole and is thus not excluded from patentability under Art. 52(2) and (3).”

The new guidelines give two examples of technical application of AI and ML: “For example, the use of a neural network in a heart-monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats makes a technical contribution. The classification of digital images, videos, audio or speech signals based on low-level features (e.g. edges or pixel attributes for images) are further typical technical applications of classification algorithms.”

That’s just a bunch of algorithms; I should know, having developed some a decade and a half ago. But the EPO isn’t too concerned about facts. All it cares about is money and if the law stands in the way, then it will construct some phony justification for ignoring or working around the law. The mistreatment of EPO staff proves to be a consistent pattern at the EPO. Lawlessness is now ‘normal’.

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