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11.17.18

The European Patent Office Comes up With a Plethora of New Buzzwords by Which to Refer to Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents, RAND at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European authorities play along with a “Study on the interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND” (these are not compatible)

A muscle car
They now proudly grant patents on computer vision (my field), which is basically mathematics

Summary: The permissive attitude towards software patents in Europe is harmful to software developers in Europe; the officials, who never wrote a computer program in their entire life, pretend this is not the case by adopting marketing techniques and surrogate terms

THE GRANTING of software patents in Europe appears to have accelerated under António Campinos as President of the European Patent Office (EPO), or at least advocacy thereof.

This is very troubling in light of the fact that the US goes in the opposite direction, with 35 U.S.C. § 101 used to routinely squash such patents, citing Alice (SCOTUS) — a subject we’ll focus on tomorrow.

“This is very troubling in light of the fact that the US goes in the opposite direction, with 35 U.S.C. § 101 used to routinely squash such patents…”As shown in [1] below (several readers have independently alerted us about it), the European politicians now actively participate in this toxic agenda and OIN seems very happy with this (it calls FRAND proponents “charities” now), being a proponent of software patents itself. We’ve seen some troubling statements in relation to [1] and various tweets on the subject have been abound (FFII, OIN, Red Hat etc.). Is violation of the EPC considered acceptable now? Not only at the EPO but also the EU/EC?

Just before the weekend we saw the EPO promoting “AIpatents” (as it does every day; it has done this for months, more so under Campinos). Here’s one example: “Key discussions and insights from our conference on patenting #AI are available here. Take a look if you are interested in #artificialintelligence: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

Here’s another new “AIpatents” tweet: “Experts from industry, academia and the IP world discussed possible future considerations for patent laws in view of #artificialintelligence at this recent conference: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

“Just before the weekend we saw the EPO promoting “AIpatents” (as it does every day; it has done this for months, more so under Campinos).”Then came “IoT”: “Interested in the #InternetOfThings & standard-essential patents? At this conference, you can discuss this trending topic with experts from all around the world: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/XAON4cTF8F”

Many so-called ‘IoT’ patents (basically software on devices) are just software patents. Pure and simple. How about “blockchains”? It’s not just a buzzword (unlike “AI” and “IoT”), but it’s a hype wave. The EPO wrote: “What is the examination practice at the European Patent Office of #blockchain technology? Find out at this conference in the Hague: https://bit.ly/2PGRp79″

Now there’s also "SDV", the latest of many three-letter acronyms that the EPO paid to manufacture or at least spread through the media (we’ve seen about a dozen ‘reports’ about this, not just in English, and they all boil down to EPO PR, naming António Campinos personally). The EPO has just tweeted: “Europe and the US are the global leaders in self-driving vehicle innovation. See which European countries filed the most applications for this technology here: http://bit.ly/SDVstudy #SelfDriving #FutureOfCars pic.twitter.com/Jnk1Qlep3P”

“Many so-called ‘IoT’ patents (basically software on devices) are just software patents.”Then there’s “4IR”. Yesterday the EPO tweeted: “Join the discussion on patenting some of today’s most dynamic areas of innovation at this conference in Munich, co-hosted with @GoI_MeitY: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/xjDm3QcWyh”

This links to a page about “emerging technologies” (warning: epo.org link) that starts as follows: “The 4th Industrial Revolution continues to gather momentum, and the digital transformation is affecting all aspects of life, as shown by the EPO’s report on “Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are converging with all traditional areas of technology.

“Notice that buzzwords ‘salad’; most if not all refer to algorithms.”“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.”

Notice that buzzwords ‘salad’; most if not all refer to algorithms. It’s a pretty shallow deceptive layer.

Additionally, widely promoted by patent maximalists is this Watchtroll article from Andrea Perronace (epi); here’s how he’s described by his own bio: “European Patent Attorney and has been working in the IP field for 17 years. [...] Andrea is a full member of the ICT Thematic Group of the European Patent Practice Committee (epi) and participates in EPI’s Guidelines’ and ICT subcommittees e whose aim is to submit to the EPO proposals for improvement of the Guidelines for Examination. As an epi delegate, he was a speaker at the “Patenting Artificial Intelligence” Conference at the European Patent Office in Munich, May 30, 2018.”

To quote: [via]

The new Guidelines entered into force on November 1, 2018. Like the previous edition, this year’s Guidelines include substantial and valuable improvements with regard to guidance on the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions (CII). These sections of the Guidelines have been discussed with the European Patent Institute (epi), in particular with the ICT Thematic Group of the European Patent Practice Committee within the epi. The EPO website includes a useful html index for the Guidelines, including those sections relating to computer-implemented inventions.

He even uses the term “CII” and the headline says “Computer-implemented inventions”; much of the rest is a lot of buzzwords, which surely EPO examiners have become familiar with.

“After the attack on judges from the Boards of Appeal we very much doubt any of the Boards of Appeal can confront the EPO over this gross abuse of power to grant patents, even in defiance of courts, Parliament, and the founding document of the Office/Organisation, the EPC.”We’re not sure if this disturbing trend can be stopped, but we at least hope to highlight it. Mitscherlich PartmbB’s Christian Rupp has just published this article about a decision of the Boards of Appeal (T0642/14), but it has nothing to do with the above. After the attack on judges from the Boards of Appeal we very much doubt any of the Boards of Appeal can confront the EPO over this gross abuse of power to grant patents, even in defiance of courts, Parliament, and the founding document of the Office/Organisation, the EPC.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. JRC stakeholder consultation on open source software and standardisation

    In the context of the on-going Study on the interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-discriminatory) licensing in Standardisation we carry out a survey with interested stakeholder groups.

    [...]

    Deadline: 30 November 2018.

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