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

12.24.18

The Quality of European Patents Likely Declined Even Further in 2018

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO saw change of President, but patent examination continues to exacerbate in Europe (and it’s not examiners’ fault)


Reference (Wikipedia): Human capital flight

Summary: Bad leadership and loss of talent are dooming the European patent system, where the sole goal right now seems to be granting as many patents as possible, irrespective of underlying rules and economic analyses

THE American patent system (especially the courts) seems to have improved in the sense that it becomes a lot stricter; patents on software, for example, are harder to get/enforce in the US, but the system in Europe is all backwards. The European Patent Office (EPO) changed a lot — obviously for the worse — after 8 years of Battistelli; we aren’t even talking about all the abuses and corruption but about purely technical things. Examiners and stakeholders both complain — something that has not happened at any moment in history. The EPO makes the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) look like a model organisation.

“The EPO makes the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) look like a model organisation.”The year is about to end and we want to minimise writing while we migrate to another datacentre (data synchronisation being of concern); but before Christmas kicks in (marking about a month since SUEPO last said anything) let’s quickly look at what the patent trolls’ lobby wrote some days ago. Adam Houldsworth, promoter of patents on life, spoke about the EPO’s opening to patents on life again:

EPO announcement signals prohibited plant patents may be back on the cards – The EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal stated that a recently adopted rule of not granting rights for plants produced exclusively by an essentially biological process contradicts the European Patent Convention, suggesting that the office will now begin to grant patents for such inventions again. Following years of uncertainty about the patentability of the products of essentially biological processes under Article 53(b) of the EPC, the EPO Administrative Council provided clarification in 2017 by amending the Implementing Regulations to include Rule 28(2): “Under Article 53(b) European patents shall not be granted in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process.” However, in early December the Technical Board of Appeal issued a notice saying that: “At the oral proceedings, which took place on 5 December 2018, Technical Board of Appeal 3304, in an enlarged composition consisting of three technically and two legally qualified members, held that Rule 28(2) EPC (see OJ 2017, A56) is in conflict with Article 53(b) EPC as interpreted by the Enlarged Board of Appeal in decisions G 2/12 and G 2/13. The Board referred to Article 164(2) EPC, according to which the provisions of the Convention prevail in case of conflict with the Implementing Regulations, and decided to set the decision under appeal aside and to remit the case to the examining division for further prosecution.”

Cooley LLP’s Colm Murphy and Steve Cuss [1, 2] and HGF Ltd’s Ellie Purnell also wrote about it some days ago. The latter was titled “EPO Technical Board Of Appeal Considers Plants Produced By Essentially Biological Process Are In Fact Patentable,” but it’s likely far from over. The management of the EPO is acting in violation of directives and the EPC, i.e. both the authorities and its founding 'constitution'. There’s likely parliamentary (or public interests’ groups) opposition on the way, but it’s too near to Christmas, so none has been waged yet. Wolters Kluwer has meanwhile announced this new (2018) edition of “Visser’s Annotated European Patent Convention” [1, 2, 3]. Those are paid press releases (or copies thereof). Does the EPC even matter anymore? It certainly isn’t being respected.

As always, what worries us most is software patenting in Europe; seeing that the EPO is willing to even grant patents on life/nature is a very bad sign. Consider this new article (Dentons’ Sara Massalongo and Giangiacomo Olivi) that says “Artificial intelligence mainly consists of software—that is why it is also referred to as “super software”—which is typically protected by copyright.”

So stop right there. Stop promoting “AI” patents or calling it “IP” (even in the headline). Here’s the part about the EPO:

Programs for computers and mathematical methods as such are excluded from patentability; however, it is possible to patent the so-called “computer-implemented inventions” (CII), i.e. the inventions that have features realized wholly or in part by means of a computer program and which provide a technical effect.

Therefore core-AI, e.g. the algorithm as such, is not patentable, whereas only AI-related inventions which have a technical character are eligible for patent protection.

The European Patent Office has recently issued guidelines on the patentability of AI-related inventions, moving from the discussions carried out during the EPO conference on “Patenting Artificial Intelligence” held on May 30, 2018.

The EPO just ignores the EPC. It is violating basic rules in order to fake ‘growth’ and this inspires some others. DANIEL Legal & IP Strategy’s Gustavo Sartori Guimarães and Rana Gosain, for example, have just published this article about Brazil and it mentions EPO programmes like PACE, Early Certainty, PPH and other accelerators. They may be missing the point that speed must never be the goal of patent offices but accuracy or validity only. “Despite a reputation for being slow to grant patents, Brazil’s IP office has introduced a number of programmes to expedite examination,” they said. Even the EPO’s applicants have complained about too fast a process, seeing this was sometimes done hastily, sloppily, and shoddily. Speeding up the process and then conflating speed with “quality” is a hallmark of the EPO’s deception. The price for this will be paid over the years (the long run) as the certainty associated with European Patents is diminishing, defeating the purpose of examination.

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. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  2. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  3. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  4. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  6. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  7. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  8. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  9. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  10. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  11. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  12. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO and the USPTO Are Granting Fake Patents on Software, Knowing That Courts Would Reject These

    Office management encourages applicants to send over patent applications that are laughable while depriving examiners the freedom and the time they need to reject these; it means that loads of bogus patents are being granted, enshrined as weapons that trolls can use to extort small companies outside the courtroom



  14. CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for 'Community', Not Microsoft

    After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the "Linux Foundation" (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as "community"



  15. Links 14/3/2019: GNOME 3.32 and Mesa 19.0.0 Released

    Links for the day



  16. EPO 'Results' Are, As Usual, Not Measured Correctly

    The supranational monopoly, a monopoly-granting authority, is being used by António Campinos to grant an insane amount of monopolies whose merit is dubious and whose impact on Europe will be a net negative



  17. Good News Everyone! UPC Ready to Go... in 2015!

    Benoît Battistelli is no longer in Office and his fantasy (patent lawyers' fantasy) is as elusive as ever; Team UPC is trying to associate opposition to UPC with the far right (AfD) once again



  18. Links 13/3/2019: Plasma 5.15.3,Chrome 73 and Many LF Press Releases

    Links for the day



  19. In the Age of Trumpism EFF Needs to Repeatedly Remind Director Iancu That He is Not a Judge and He Cannot Ignore the Courts

    The nonchalance and carelessness seen in Iancu's decision to just cherry-pick decisions/outcomes (basically ignoring caselaw) concerns technologists, who rightly view him as a 'mole' of the litigation 'industry' (which he came from)



  20. Links 12/3/2019: Sway 1.0 Released, Debian Feuds Carry On

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft is Complaining About Android and Chrome OS (GNU/Linux) Vendor Not Paying for Microsoft Patents (Updated)

    Microsoft, which nowadays does the patent shakedown against GNU/Linux by proxy, is still moaning about companies that don’t pay ‘protection’ money (grounds for antitrust action or racketeering investigation)



  22. Watchtroll Has Redefined "Trolls" to Mean Those Who Oppose Software Patents (and Oppose Trolls), Not Those Who Leverage These for Blackmail Alone

    The controversial change to 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidance is being opposed by the public (US citizens who oppose American software patents), so patent maximalists like Janal Kalis (“PatentBuddy”) and extremists like Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) want us to believe that the public is just “EFF” and cannot think for itself



  23. EPO's Latest 'Results' Show That António Campinos Has Already Given Up on Patent Quality and is Just Another Battistelli

    The patent-granting machine that the EPO has become reports granting growth of unrealistic scale (unless no proper examination is actually carried out)



  24. Links 11/3/2019: Linux 5.0.1, Audacity 2.3.1, GNU Coreutils 8.31

    Links for the day



  25. US Patent Law Currently Not Changing Much and Software Patents Are Still in Limbo

    Surveying the news, as we still meticulously do (even if we don't write about it), it seems clear that American courts hardly tolerate software patents and proponents of such patents are losing their voice (or morale)



  26. EPO Examiner: “I Have Been Against Software Patents and Eventually 3/4 of My Job is Examining Software Patent Applications.”

    Overworked examiners aren't being given the time, the tools and the freedom to reject patents, based on prior art, patent scope and so on; it is beginning to resemble a rubber-stamping operation, not an examining authority



  27. Europe Will Pay a High Price for Software Patents Advocacy by António Campinos in Europe's Patent-Granting Authority

    EPO President António Campinos — like Iancu at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — is still promoting software patents in Europe even though such patents are clearly detrimental to Europe’s interests



  28. António Campinos -- Like His Father -- Lacks Support From Colleagues, Endorsed Only From the Top

    History lessons from Wikileaks



  29. Links 10/3/2019: GNU and GNOME Releases

    Links for the day



  30. Koch Brothers' Oil Money is Poisoning Academia and Distorting Scholarly Work/Research on Patents

    Meddling in patent law by the Kochs, the oil tycoons who can be seen everywhere Conservative think tanks are, shows no signs of abatement


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