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

11.10.18

Latest Loophole: To Get Software Patents From the EPO One Can Just Claim That They’re ‘on a Car’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO is riding (or driving) hype waves again

A muscle car

Summary: The EPO has a new ‘study’ (accompanied by an extensive media/PR campaign) that paints software as “SDV” if it runs on a car, celebrating growth of such software patents

THE age of ‘computerised’ cars is here. What does that mean? Usually general-purpose computers inside cars, that’s all. Innovative? Maybe. Exciting? Arguably. A novel/new concept? Not quite. Some computers are there just for entertainment (like in commercial aircrafts/airliners), whereas others connect to various mechanisms inside the car, e.g. brakes, throttling, steering, electric system, seats/belts and physical locking (windows, doors). None of that is particularly complicated except the steering as that relies on sound input and computer vision; both of those are reducible to software. Sensory components are general-purpose sensors. We wrote about them before, e.g. US patent number 10,000,000.

Take for example these new (days-old) reports about Tesla [1, 2]. The latter of these says: “A recently published patent has revealed that Tesla is exploring the idea of a user interface allowing drivers to launch and display up to four apps simultaneously in a four-way split screen arrangement. What’s more, Tesla also seems to be preparing a setting that will enable users to customize the arrangement of icons in their vehicles’ main taskbar.”

That’s just a classic software patent, likely invalid as per/in lieu with 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). So why was it granted? We know that Tesla pledged not to sue with its patents, but how is this considered innovative and patent-eligible? It’s neither. There’s also prior art in other contexts/domains.

Unfortunately, things like the above are becoming normal and more fake patents (or software patents) are being granted to entities in the capital of patent trolls. Several days ago Dallas Business Journal showed ‘news’ ‘coverage’ being reduced to spammy advertising of malicious patent bullies and a site called Dallas Invents (or Innovates) revealed new patents, including one of Toyota whose summary/abstract says: “An adaptive vehicle control system that includes processors, memory modules communicatively coupled to the processors, and machine readable instructions stored in the one or more memory modules that cause the adaptive vehicle control system to determine an autonomous operation profile of a target vehicle positioned in a vehicle operating environment, wherein the vehicle operating environment includes a roadway having one or more lanes, determine an autonomous operation profile of one of more neighboring vehicles positioned within the vehicle operating environment, compare the autonomous operation profile of at least one of the one or more neighboring vehicles with the autonomous operation profile of the target vehicle, and alter a condition of the target vehicle such that the autonomous operation profile of the target vehicle matches an autonomous operation profile of an individual neighboring vehicle of the one or more neighboring vehicles positioned in the same lane as the target vehicle.”

This boils down to algorithms. It’s very easy to see this. But because cars are a physical thing we assume that examiners can somehow convince themselves that it’s not abstract.

To make matters worse, the EPO under the leadership of António Campinos constantly promotes software patents in Europe and the latest stunt is pretending these patents have something to do with “cars”. They started a whole new PR campaign (the EPO keeps coming up with new three-letter acronyms by which to promote software patents), so the media plays along, e.g. German media (RTL), east European media [1, 2], and British media (examples to follow below). There’s even Les Échos coverage, not noting that it’s actually a paid propaganda apparatus which Battistelli notoriously used to mislead the public. Here’s a new article about “automotive software” that mentions patents. A Web site of a law firm, Out-Law.com, also helped the EPO some days ago when it wrote: “Technology and telecoms companies dominate the list of companies that have filed the most applications for European patents relating to driverless cars, according to data compiled by the European Patent Office (EPO).”

They use the acronym SDV to make it sound catchy. The distribution of such patents is the same as for other areas: “Europe, the US, Japan, South Korea and China are the five most popular jurisdictions for applying for driverless car patents, according to the EPO.”

So how’s that even unique? It’s not. On Friday the EPO wrote: “We had a look at the trends in European #patent applications for one of today’s emerging technologies: self-driving vehicles. Read our findings here: http://bit.ly/SDVstudy #FutureOfCars #SelfDriving pic.twitter.com/oLYhJL0YI9″

They do exactly what Battistelli did; they commission their own ‘study’ to advance some questionable agenda. IPPro Patents wrote that the EPO “conducted [this 'study'] in cooperation with the European Council for Automotive research and development (EUCAR)…”

No vested interests there? These are mostly software patents (e.g. computer vision, my research domain in which I developed car navigation software) referred to by another name; the EPO should be shamed of itself. We should note that about half of all EPO tweets on Thursday (about a dozen in total) promoted software patents. They also retweeted this thing about patents on “cars” (actually software, albeit used somewhere inside a car) and retweeted this blog post’s tweet that said: “@EPOorg has just published a report on “Patenting and Self-Driving Vehicles”. This is one of the fastest growing technologies for patent applications. The report analyses and categorizes the patent data and considers some of the uses for those technologies https://nipclaw.blogspot.com/2018/11/patents-and-self-driving-vehicles.html …”

Notice how none of them bothered checking the underlying patents, except naively assuming that they’re something to do with “a car”; never mind if those mostly come down to algorithms that aren’t patent-eligible as per the EPC.

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 10/12/2018: Linux 4.20 RC6 and Git 2.20

    Links for the day



  2. US Courts Make the United States' Patent System Sane Again

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and other factors are making the patent system in the US a lot more sane



  3. Today's USPTO Grants a Lot of Fake Patents, Software Patents That Courts Would Invalidate

    The 35 U.S.C. § 101 effect is very much real; patents on abstract/nonphysical ideas get invalidated en masse (in courts/PTAB) and Director Andrei Iancu refuses to pay attention as if he's above the law and court rulings don't apply to him



  4. A Month After Microsoft Claimed Patent 'Truce' Its Patent Trolls Keep Attacking Microsoft's Rivals

    Microsoft's legal department relies on its vultures (to whom it passes money and patents) to sue its rivals; but other than that, Microsoft is a wonderful company!



  5. Good News: US Supreme Court Rejects Efforts to Revisit Alice, Most Software Patents to Remain Worthless

    35 U.S.C. § 101 will likely remain in tact for a long time to come; courts have come to grips with the status quo, as even the Federal Circuit approves the large majority of invalidations by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) panels, initiated by inter partes reviews (IPRs)



  6. Florian Müller's Article About SEPs and the EPO

    Report from the court in Munich, where the EPO is based



  7. EPO Vice-President Željko Topić in New Article About Corruption in Croatia

    The Croatian newspaper 7Dnevno has an outline of what Željko Topić has done in Croatia and in the EPO in Munich; it argues that this seriously erodes Croatia's national brand/identity



  8. The Quality of European Patents Continues to Deteriorate Under António Campinos and Software Patents Are Advocated Every Day

    The EPC in the European Patent Office and 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the USPTO annul most if not all software patents; under António Campinos, however, software patents are being granted in Europe and the USPTO exploits similar tricks



  9. Team UPC is Still Spreading False Rumours in an Effort to Trick Politicians and Pressure Judges

    Abuses at the European Patent Office, political turmoil and an obvious legislative coup by a self-serving occupation that produces nothing have already doomed the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC); so now we deal with complete fabrications from Team UPC as they're struggling to make something out of nothing, anonymously smearing opposition to the UPC and anonymously making stuff up



  10. Patents on Life and Patents That Kill the Poor Would Only Delegitimise the European Patent Office

    After Mayo, Myriad and other SCOTUS cases (the basis of 35 U.S.C. § 101) the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is reluctant to grant patents on life; the European Patent Office (EPO), however, goes in the opposite direction, even in defiance of the European Patent Convention



  11. EPO 'Untapped Potential'

    "Campinos is diligently looking for ways to further increase the Office’s output without increasing the number of examiners," says the EPO-FLIER team



  12. Links 9/12/2018: New Linux Stable Releases (Notably Linux 4.19.8), RC Coming, and Unifont 11.0.03

    Links for the day



  13. Links 8/12/2018: Mesa 18.3.0, Mageia 7 Beta, WordPress 5.0

    Links for the day



  14. The European Patent Organisation is Like a Private Club and Roland Grossenbacher is Back in It

    In the absence of Benoît Battistelli quality control at the EPO is still not effective; patents are being granted like the sole goal is to increase so-called 'production' (or profit), appeals are being subjected to threats from Office management, and external courts (courts that assess patents outside the jurisdiction of the Office/Organisation) are being targeted with a long-sought replacement like the Unified Patent Court, or UPC (Unitary Patent)



  15. Links 7/12/2018: GNU Guix, GuixSD 0.16.0, GCC 7.4, PHP 7.3.0 Released

    Links for the day



  16. The Federal Circuit's Decision on Ancora Technologies v HTC America is the Rare Exception, Not the Norm

    Even though the PTAB does not automatically reject every patent when 35 U.S.C. § 101 gets invoked we're supposed to think that somehow things are changing in favour of patent maximalists; but all they do is obsess over something old (as old as a month ago) and hardly controversial



  17. The European Patent Office Remains a Lawless Place Where Judges Are Afraid of the Banker in Chief

    With the former banker Campinos replacing the politician Battistelli and seeking to have far more powers it would be insane for the German Constitutional Court to ever allow anything remotely like the UPC; sites that are sponsored by Team UPC, however, try to influence outcomes, pushing patent maximalism and diminishing the role of patent judges



  18. Many of the Same People Are Still in Charge of the European Patent Office Even Though They Broke the Law

    "EPO’s art collection honoured with award," the EPO writes, choosing to distract from what actually goes on at the Office and has never been properly dealt with



  19. Links 6/12/2018: FreeNAS 11.2, Mesa 18.3 Later Today, Fedora Elections

    Links for the day



  20. EPO, in Its Patent Trolls-Infested Forum, Admits It is Granting Bogus Software Patents Under the Guise of 'Blockchain'

    Yesterday's embarrassing event of the EPO was a festival of the litigation giants and trolls, who shrewdly disguise patents on algorithms using all sorts of fashionable words that often don't mean anything (or deviate greatly from their original meanings)



  21. The Patent Litigation Bubble is Imploding in the US While the UPC Dies in Europe

    The meta-industry which profits from feuds, disputes, threats and blackmail isn't doing too well; even in Europe, where it worked hard for a number of years to institute a horrible litigation system which favours global plaintiffs (patent trolls, opportunists and monopolists), these things are going up in flames



  22. Links 5/12/2018: Epic Games Store, CrossOver 18.1.0, Important Kubernetes Patch

    Links for the day



  23. Links 4/12/2018: LibrePCB 0.1.0, SQLite 3.26.0, PhysX Code

    Links for the day



  24. EPO Management Keeps Embarrassing Itself, UPC More Dead Than Before, and Nokia Turns Aggressive

    The EPO’s race to the bottom of patent quality continues, it’s now complemented by direct association with patent trolls and law stands in their way (for they repeatedly violate the law)



  25. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and IBM Are Part of the Software Patents Problem in the United States

    IBM's special role in lobbying for software patents (and against PTAB) needs to be highlighted; even Ethereum’s co-founder isn't happy about IBM's meddling in the blockchain space (with help from Hyperledger/Linux Foundation)



  26. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Not Falling for Attempts to Prevent It From Instituting Challenges

    In the face of patent maximalists' endless efforts to derail patent quality the tribunal keeps calm and carries on smashing bad patents



  27. Links 2/12/2018: Linux 4.20 RC5, Snapcraft 3.0, VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 3

    Links for the day



  28. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Federal Circuit Will Get 'Tired' of Rejecting Software Patents

    Trolls-friendly sites aren't tolerating this court's habit of saying "no" to software patents; the Chief Judge meanwhile acknowledges that they're being overrun by a growing number of cases/appeals



  29. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Continues to Crush Software Patents and Even Microsoft Joins 'the Fun'

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and even courts below it continue to throw out software patents or send them back to PTAB and lower courts; there is virtually nothing for patent maximalists to celebrate any longer



  30. The Anti-Section 101 (Pro-Software Patents) Lobby Looks at New Angles for Watering Down Guidelines and Caselaw

    By focusing on jury trials and patent trolls the proponents of bunk, likely-invalid abstract patents hope to overrule or override technical courts such as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)


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