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12.09.18

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

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even several times per day, as shameful as it may seem

EUIPO outsourcing

Summary: 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

DISREGARD for the rule of law is pretty normal at the EPO. There are endless examples of it and a broad range of aspects to it. We spent years covering that. Today, however, we would like to focus on how the EPO (as well as the USPTO) gets to grant software patents, never mind if courts dismiss these.

Mostly illegal software patents that pertain to my research field (computer vision) are being openly promoted and bragged about by today's EPO. This did not happen under Battistelli; this is a Campinos thing. We cannot stress often enough that as far as software patenting is concerned Campinos seems a lot worse than Battistelli; judging by how often the EPO promotes such patents under the leadership of Campinos (as opposed to Battistelli’s). It is a race to the bottom. Just before the weekend the EPO wrote: “The number of European patent applications relating to self-driving vehicles increased by 330% between 2011 and 2017.”

A few days ago a news report was published under the headline “GM Patents the Blockchain Solution for Driverless Cars”.

“We cannot stress often enough that as far as software patenting is concerned Campinos seems a lot worse than Battistelli; judging by how often the EPO promotes such patents under the leadership of Campinos (as opposed to Battistelli’s).”Combining two buzz/hype waves, blockchains and SDV (the EPO’s buzzword/term of choice), these people nowadays facilitate and permit patents on software. Software patents are bogus however. They’re likely worthless too as most judges would laugh them out of court (if it ever gets this far).

And speaking of blockchains, which the EPO promotes patents on (misleadingly-named event, which is actually about patents but doesn’t explicitly say so), mind this new article from Swiss media (in French). The headline speaks of blockchains and “open source”; a French-speaking Free software (“open source”) developer just said: “Software patents, the end of free software…”

By granting patents on blockchains the EPO blatantly tramples/stomps on Free/Open Source software, which is fundamental to the adoption of blockchains.

We understand that the Campinos-led EPO saw a hype wave and decided to ride/surf it, but at what cost? The concept of blockchains is being brought up even by those who don’t understand it; several days ago Forbes published “Blockchain For Business: This Startup Thinks It Solves All Of Blockchain’s Worst Problems” (marketing disguised as an article).

This is eerily similar to the “AI” hype, which resurfaced about a year ago. Everyone started rebranding things “AI”, years after they had rebranded everything “smart” and “cloud” or whatever (more buzzwords to be mentioned below).

“By granting patents on blockchains the EPO blatantly tramples/stomps on Free/Open Source software, which is fundamental to the adoption of blockchains.”Even the lawyers admit it’s just hype/buzz. This new article from a law firm starts with this sentence : “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a loaded technology buzzword that comes in different forms in various commercial products.”

Yes, it’s a buzzword. So far this month we’ve seen an “Artificial Intelligence Trading Expert” [1, 2] (just using algorithms; nothing new) and this article titled “‘Buzz about AI’ lends to Linguamatics win”. Calling mere algorithms “AI” is now as commonplace as can be. Here is an example from a few days ago: “Artificial intelligence technology has helped build software that can analyze videos for better capturing of events, understanding patterns and surveillance.”

“Everyone started rebranding things “AI”, years after they had rebranded everything “smart” and “cloud” or whatever…”All of these examples (above) mention patents and “AI”. Everything is being called “AI” these days… for marketing purposes. “iCAD Announces FDA Clearance of ProFound AI™ for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis,” says this new press release. Here comes the Allied Security Trust (AST) and the “AI” hype; lots of bogus patents as usual. But… “AI”! So it’s innovative!

Software potentially puts the patent ‘industry’ in the ashtray; so they call software “AI” now, as usual (because they’re technically inapt). “Wave Computing®,” states another new example, “the Silicon Valley company that is accelerating artificial intelligence (AI) from the cloud to the edge…”

All the above are from the past fortnight alone; “AI” and “patents” everywhere. It is intentional. As we recently noted on numerous occasions, even the USPTO has swallowed the “AI” hype and offers it as a route towards software patentability. An article by Sameer Gokhale (Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, LLP) makes it very obvious. They’re pretty shameless about it.

“As we recently noted on numerous occasions, even the USPTO has swallowed the “AI” hype and offers it as a route towards software patentability.”How about “Smart” and “IoT”? These are two more buzzwords recently embraced everywhere (globally even).

“Smart devices in IoT need a smarter patenting strategy,” IAM’s new headline says. Just keep stuffing buzzwords like “smart” and “IoT” in hope of enabling software patents, right?

“This article provides a comprehensive report on the challenges faced in patenting technology in the Internet of Things domain,” it says. It’s a domain that just means devices with an Internet connection. It’s far too vague, intentionally so.

We are meanwhile seeing European law firms trying hard to find all sorts of ways to patent software. Philip M. Nelson and Ronald J. Schoenbaum (Knobbe Martens), for example, have published [1, 2] “Will New PTO Guidance Be The Antidote to Alice In The Medical Device Patenting Process?”

“We are meanwhile seeing European law firms trying hard to find all sorts of ways to patent software.”Here they go again with “Medical Device”, two cheeky terms combined to associate software with “life-saving” and “physical” (even when it boils down only to code).
Marks & Clerk’s Thomas Prock has just published “A feather in one’s app: why the UK could lead the way for medical app patents” (similar talking point). It adds the buzzword “app”…

Suyoung Jang, Cheryl T. Burgess and Mauricio Uribe (also of Knobbe Martens) are still pushing anti-Section 101 lies. It’s that classic software patents propaganda, spread at all costs (even to multiple publishers that charge for it; it’s cross-posted [1, 2] again). They’re using the fata morgana that is "Berkheimer and Aatrix"; the latter became known for little more than that patent lawsuit (Aatrix is mostly/only mentioned in relation to patents, even when it’s not about patents) and the former became a placeholder for “I don’t like Alice and Alice sucks because fact-finding.”

“Today’s EPO is rotting with corruption and fake patents (that bear no presumption of validity).”António Campinos may not say much on the subject, but his actions in a leadership position are revealing. The EPO’s Twitter account has just quoted Campinos as saying: “In my time at the EPO I’ve been able to rely on the expertise, dedication and commitment of an experienced staff to help in the transition process…”

What transition? Some staff calls him “mini Battistelli” and some claim that he’s even worse than Battistelli; it’s clear that nothing is changing, except for the worse. Today’s EPO is rotting with corruption and fake patents (that bear no presumption of validity). Staff cuts are implemented (he did the same in another agency) by means of limited (with time limits) contracts, longterm hiring freeze and encouragement of early departure/retirement.

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