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11.18.18

The European Patent Office is Attracting Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Enforcement of software patents in Europe by the large patent troll (disguised as a pool) MPEG-LA means that European software developers cannot develop software with full multimedia support (not without sudden disruption to their peace)

THE race to the bottom of patent quality isn’t a new thing at the European Patent Office (EPO); it had become very obvious under Battistelli and António Campinos made it worse. Unlike the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the EPO is becoming more software patents-friendly over time and it seems to be choosing China as a partner, knowing that Chinese patents are of low quality and barely matter to European Patents (few of which are assigned to Chinese firms). Months ago we explained why Software Patents Are a Dying Breed of Patents Except in China (and Maybe EPO) and also published Racing to the Bottom, the António Campinos-Led EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents, Just Like China.

“Huawei and ZTE are impacted (the Chinese giants) and this can cause an increase in prices all over Europe. Who benefits from all this? the trolls of course…”China is just playing catchup, seeing trade wars and sanctions creeping in. China’s government offers incentives to generate/spur many patent applications domestically (literally millions of them) and these may get granted irrespective of quality, prior art etc. This is a recipe for trouble as it opens the door to patent trolls — an issue that China already wrestles with (being tough and aggressive/oppressive, China already arrests some trolls). This US patent troll/parasite called iPEL [1, 2], which targets China for the most part, is being promoted by Watchtroll this month. Watchtroll has published puff pieces/ads for this notorious patent troll (e.g. “Why Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) Are Good For China”) and we keep seeing lots of articles about China’s new appeal procedures/courts. Guanyang Yao (Liu, Shen & Associates) has done an article about it, as did some patent maximalists’ sites lately.

Of most interest to us, however, is news about MPEG-LA taxing Chinese companies in the usual ways; These patent trolls are having a good time nowadays in Germany. In Associated Press (press release) and elsewhere they celebrate this enforcement of software patents in Europe. Huawei and ZTE are impacted (the Chinese giants) and this can cause an increase in prices all over Europe. Who benefits from all this? the trolls of course…

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