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

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’.

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

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. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  2. The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

    We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM's past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing



  3. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars



  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020



  5. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."



  6. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)



  7. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)



  8. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States



  9. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020



  11. Links 23/10/2020: 'Groovy Gorilla' Everywhere in the News

    Links for the day



  12. For Better 'Tech Rights' in the United States (and the World at Large) the 'Orange Man' Needs to Go

    With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale



  13. [Meme] Microsoft Never 'Brought' Skype to GNU/Linux (It Just Bought Skype) and It Never 'Brought' Edge to GNU/Linux Either (Google Did)

    Foolish media or gullible 'journalists' are giving Microsoft credit for other people's work; this isn't the first time either, but it helps perpetuate lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" (so who cares about facts anyway?)



  14. It's Going to be a Long, Long Winter

    Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we're reflecting and pondering what comes next



  15. TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as 'News'

    TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It's just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of "news"; today we deal with the latest example (among many).



  16. Links 22/10/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.7, Septor 2020.5, Ubuntu 20.10 Released, FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 21, 2020



  18. Living Humbly (With Older Technology or None) is More Compatible With Privacy- and Freedom-Respecting Technological Lifestyle

    Simplicity sometimes trumps so-called 'novelty', especially when it comes to human rights and users' freedom



  19. Reasons Why You (and Everybody Else) Should Join the Fight for Software Freedom

    Society is being closely watched and controlled (more so during/after the latest pandemic) and people must carefully consider the true importance of resisting proprietary technology (controlled remotely by state actors)



  20. Ways and Means to Reduce One's Dependency on Google's Various Monopolies and Near-Monopolies

    Getting rid of Google means a lot more than embracing DumbDumbGo (DDG) or some other sites that spy just like Google; we're taking stock of some options



  21. The European Commission is Still M.I.A. Regarding EPO Corruption (and the EPO's Management Plays Dirty, as Always)

    There's no change in the EU; the EUIPO and EPO enjoy complete and total immunity/impunity, with the Commission being manned by those who are deeply complicit



  22. 10 Reasons Why All This 'Edge for Linux' Coverage is a Total Farce

    The fake hype surrounding "Edge" is an inauthentic hype/buzz campaign made to coincide with anti-Google sentiments spread by Microsoft front/pressure groups



  23. Microsoft's IIS Has Collapsed Again This Past Month (and IIS Will Not and Cannot Survive This Way)

    Netcraft shows that Microsoft's decline further accelerates in the Web servers space; IIS is becoming financially unviable



  24. Links 21/10/2020: Alpine 3.12.1, Tor Browser 10.0.2

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] US Department of Justice Should Have Taken on Microsoft Again, Not Google

    When lobbying, connections and political sway determine the actions of the American government it's hardly surprising that Bill Gates gets the Trump administration to fight for him (to make him even richer)



  26. [Meme] Banning Words, Gaslighting Volunteers

    What happens when institutions are themselves in violation of a CoC (institutional violation) and massive corporations that fund such institutional violations are defending demonisation of the individual (squashing ‘uncomfortable’ voices, even volunteers’)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 20, 2020



  28. Links 21/10/2020: $8000 GNU/Linux Desktop, Tails 4.12, Open Infrastructure Foundation and Firefox Release

    Links for the day



  29. Never Feed the Internet Trolls, No Matter How Tempting It Becomes

    The tactics for removing critics of abuse (by framing them as "abusive") have evolved a lot in recent years; the best course of action is to never entertain provocateurs in any way whatsoever (just ignore them, give them no attention which they crave and feed on)



  30. Bill Gates: “I'm Not a Lawyer” (He Dropped Out of College, Where He Studied Law Before and After Breaking the Law Chronically)

    How Microsoft blackmailed other companies into supporting nothing but Microsoft and Windows; Bill Gates repeatedly lied to the interrogators about it, then said "I'm not a lawyer" (IANAL) even though he went to college to become one, just like his father who died last month


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