01.20.19

EPO Defying Patent Restrictions/Limits From the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Countries It Claims to Represent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Convention (EPC) does not matter to the European Patent Office (EPO) anymore

European Parliament

Summary: The departure from the EPC (and from the rule of law) at the EPO still means that patents are being granted on things that, as per the constitutions, should never have been patentable

THERE is that boring old saying/canard, “the revolution won’t be televised…” (or similar; along those lines)

At the moment, so-called ‘IP’ blogs (patents are not property) aren’t saying much, if anything, about the EPO. IP Kat continues to intentionally overlook the rapidly-declining quality or lowered patentability bar at the EPO. Instead, in writing about the EPO/EPC a couple of days ago, it said this: “In order to satisfy the sufficiency requirement of the European Patent Convention (EPC), it is necessary for the applicant of a European patent application directed to a medical use to show that the claimed therapeutic effect is credible. However, when an patent application is filed, human clinical trial data are often not available. The claimed effect must therefore be demonstrated by data from in vitro experiments and animal models that are representative of the human disease. This practice reflects that of academic science, in which potential treatments are first tested and published using animal models before they are translated to the clinic. However, an applicant can face an uphill battle in convincing the European Patent Office (EPO) examiner that animal model data credibly demonstrate the claimed effect.”

“Many patents are nowadays being painted as “medical” or “clinical” even though they’re not…”There were similar articles (similar to the above) lately and usually the comments are a lot more informative. Many patents are nowadays being painted as “medical” or “clinical” even though they’re not; it’s that same old strategy of pretending denial of a patent would “cost lives…”

The EPO meanwhile angers everyone by granting patent monopolies on fruit and vegetables, plants and seeds, or basically nature itself. A few days ago an article was published to bemoan this; it turns out that the backlash foreseen before Christmas is already materialising, however slowly:

In June 2017, the European Patent Office (EPO) decided that no more patents would be granted on vegetables and fruit that originate from classical breeding techniques. However, the Technical Chamber of Appeal of the EPO concluded that this prohibition is in conflict with the European Patent Convention. According to current regulations, patents may still be granted on plant properties.

This is a huge setback, according to Dutch MEP Jan Huitema, since the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European countries have spoken out against this in order to prevent fruits and vegetables from falling into the hands of a small number of large companies and stifling innovation.

We’ve long opposed patents on such things; even many EPO insiders recognise the dangers of such patents. Then there’s the threat of patents on algorithms or on mathematics — something that wasn’t envisioned in the days of the EPO’s inception. How far down can the patent bar go?

“Courts’ rejection of such patents will, in the long run, devalue European Patents and harm the reputation of this whole system.”“You can watch the recordings of the EPO’s #PatentingBlockchain conference,” the EPO wrote at the end of the week, citing an event that advocated software patents in Europe; invited to the panel/keynotes were literal patent trolls, notably the patent troll most notorious in this domain. This seems to be happening a lot under António Campinos, whose management team converges with trolls' front groups.

Remember that patents on computer vision (my research area) are also software patents and the EPO promoted these as recently as days ago, citing an “EPO study”…

It’s worrying to see the EPO getting away with this intentional and reckless degradation of patent quality. Courts’ rejection of such patents will, in the long run, devalue European Patents and harm the reputation of this whole system. This is exactly what happened to patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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