01.25.19

Declining Patent Quality and Lies About Software Patents at the EPO

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Decreasing credibility, improved PR

António Campinos FTI

Summary: The quality of patents — and the legal certainty associated with them — has collapsed even further under the new management; even insiders can recognise the difference, but they just can’t speak about it publicly (for fear of retaliation)

WE REGRET to say and to see that nothing has changed for the better under António Campinos, except the whitewashing. As insiders can attest/say anonymously — as some do — things have gotten even worse in some aspects.

“The relationship may nowadays seem symbiotic because the EPO is also publicly supporting patent trolls.”Yesterday we saw the European Patent Office (EPO) once again associating with patent extremists who attack courts and attack judges, having already attacked a technical Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) until she was replaced by Iancu, who serves law firms and patent trolls, not science and technology. The relationship may nowadays seem symbiotic because the EPO is also publicly supporting patent trolls. This wasn’t always the case. Far from it…

Not too long ago the EPO set up a conference that invited patent trolls to lead a discussion (as lead panelists, not just conferees), promoting illegal software patents in Europe under the guise of “blockchain”. The EPO brought that up again yesterday when it asked: “How does CNIPA deal with #blockchain patents?”

“Well, the EPO even granted patents on chewing gums.”The EPO also retweeted this nonsense which said: “There are 5,050 #patents related to #skiing in the @EPOorg database … #IntellectualProperty is everywhere…”

Well, the EPO even granted patents on chewing gums. EPO insiders are joking at this; they’re upset to see the rapidly-declining quality of European Patents these days. Judges too seem to be realising that there’s an issue.

A new press release, pinned in Associated Press and elsewhere, speaks of a patent being revoked. To quote:

Today the European Patent Office revoked Pacific Biosciences patent EP3045542 with claims to a single molecule sequencing process wherein two strands of DNA are linked by a connecting nucleic acid. The validity of the patent had been challenged by Oxford Nanopore.

The EPO ruled that the claims to a single molecule sequencing process were unsupported in the application and that the application only supported a template-directed synthesis sequencing method. As Pacific Biosciences were unwilling to accept this change, the patent was revoked.

Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, which promotes patents on life, soon caught up and wrote about the EPO’s granting of invalid European Patents (and then taking these away):

The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked a patent held by a US biotechnology company, Pacific Biosciences, after its UK-based rival Oxford Nanopore Technologies challenged the validity of the patent.

Oxford Nanopore announced the news in a press release today, January 23. The EPO granted Pacific Biosciences the now-invalidated patent (EU number 304552) in 2016 for “methods for nucleic acid sequencing”.

This has also just happened at the UK High Court (at great cost). As this press release [1, 2] put it, “Regen Lab had attempted to enforce its European Patent No. 2073862 against Estar Medical who, in turn, counter-claimed that the patent was invalid.”

Here’s more, with some context:

Regen Lab’s patent was challenged by Estar Medical. This UK judgment adds to the recent German court’s decision denying Regen Lab’s patent infringement claim against Estar Medical, the European Patent Office preliminary opinion which found the same Regen Lab patent to be invalid on multiple grounds and the venue judgment in New York in which Regen Lab lost its case against Estar Medical.

[...]

Regen Lab had attempted to enforce its European Patent No. 2073862 against Estar Medical who, in turn, counter-claimed that the patent was invalid. The UK Court agreed with Estar Medical’s position and revoked the patent. In its ruling, the UK Court stated that the Regen Lab patent “is invalid for lack of novelty and inventive step. Regen’s application to amend the Patent is refused on the ground that the amended Patent would still be invalid”. The court also found Regen Lab’s owner and CEO, Mr. Antoine Turzi, to be “not a reliable witness”. Estar Medical is pleased that the UK Court ruled in its favor, agreeing that the Regen Lab patent lacks both novelty and inventive step. Estar Medical has remained confident throughout the case of its ability to sell its leading products in the UK and elsewhere and is gratified to see that confidence affirmed by the UK Court.

It ought to be clear by now that there’s a severe patent quality problem and the public pays for it; who profits? Lawyers.

Isobel Finnie (Haseltine Lake LLP) has just commented on a subject which is often discussed these days:

Second medical use claims are used before the European Patent Office (EPO) for inventions involving additional or improved treatments using already known drugs. For example, using a known drug to treat a different disease or changing the dosage regimen of a known drug to provide a better effect or to treat a different patient group. In the context of second medical use claims the EPO has made it clear that the therapeutic effect must be made plausible…

The problem, however, is that there’s no potent body to enforce rules; the appeal boards, for instance, are about 10,000 cases behind and there’s no recruitment, there’s no pretense that this kind of backlog the EPO’s management wants to bother with. Moreover, the appeal boards still lack independence.

In the meantime, as usual, more software patents are being granted; they’re just disguised using fashionable buzzwords. Yesterday the National Law Review published for a law firm (as usual, as the site serves their agenda) an article from Michael T. Renaud. “As previously discussed,” he wrote, “the European Patent Office (EPO) issued new guidelines for the patentability of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) inventions. These guidelines create a seemingly insurmountable threshold for patentability of AI and ML inventions. However, patenting AI and ML inventions within this framework is possible and even predictably likely with historical knowledge of the EPO’s examination practice coupled with creative strategies for the new patentability challenges.”

“Until or unless the EPO takes patent scope and patent quality seriously (those two things are intertwined and related) it does not work for Europe but for law firms and patent trolls.”These are just software patents. The EPO has just tweeted: “How does the EPO deal with the challenges of AI in patent applications? Find out here: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

There is no such thing as “AIpatents”; those are just software patents where algorithms are spun as “AI”. As usual, however, the Office keeps granting software patents in clear defiance of its own rules, the EPC, EP, courts and common sense. Why does it get called “European Patent Office” if it’s there just to harm Europe? That’s what I told the FFII’s President after he had pointed out this new article from Rose Hughes of IP Kat, in which she promoted European software parents. Here’s one example:

WO2018064591 (Generating video frames using neural networks, see full file here) has now entered the EP regional phase, i.e. it is now in the hands of the European Patent Office. DeepMind took the unusual step of entering the EP regional phase early (5 months before the January 2019 deadline). The majority of applicants wait until the deadline for entering the EP regional phase. Applicants generally request early entry when they wish to achieve a quick grant. Given that DeepMind has purportedly indicated that their patent strategy is defensive, why the hurry?

“EPO Examiner observed that the claimed method had the technical effect of decreasing the computational requirements to generate audio waveform,” Benjamin Henrion quoted and then added: “it is a computer program dude…”

Until or unless the EPO takes patent scope and patent quality seriously (those two things are intertwined and related) it does not work for Europe but for law firms and patent trolls. It’s a sad but real reckoning to some insiders — that realisation that joining the EPO did not mean helping to advance science but to sabotage it.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 18, 2021



  2. The US Election Was Not Rigged, But the Nomination Process Was (Undermined to Maintain Control by Oligarchy)

    Cheating/driving the left out of the Democratic Party seems like a longstanding tradition and we know who stands to gain from it; moreover, problems remain in the voting process because it's controlled by secret code of companies like Microsoft (in spite of the openwashing)



  3. InteLeaks – Part XX: Redacted (for Names Only) Release of Intel File About Developer eXperience (DX) Meddling in GNU/Linux

    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  4. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  5. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)



  6. Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

    Links for the day



  7. InteLeaks – Part XIX: Intel's Web 'Experts' Seen as Microsoft Champions Dealing With the Platform Microsoft is Looking to Destroy

    Things aren't rosy at Intel because the hires aren't suitable for the job of documenting and/or presenting GNU/Linux-centric products (whose target audience is Free software developers)



  8. Adding Images as Characters to the Daily Bulletins of Techrights

    Our daily bulletins now have inside them coarse graphics, depicted using characters alone, and the tool used to generate them announced a new release earlier today; we showcase some of its features (in a new video)



  9. Links 18/1/2021: Weekly Summaries and Linux 5.11 RC4

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  11. The Oligarchs' Parties Will Never Choose the Side of Software Freedom Because Free Software Cannot Bribe Officials

    The tough reality is that next week's (or this coming week's, depending on what Sunday counts as) inauguration ceremony is partly symbolic as all the same and important issues remain largely untouched, for corporations control almost everything of significance



  12. COVID-19 Has Actually Helped Software Freedom Due to Financial and 'Spare Time' Factors

    Developers and users are increasingly exploring what the Free software world has to offer; this is actually measurable and it contradicts claims to the contrary



  13. Future Plans and Using Videos to Complement Text

    Remarks on recent and impending site changes; We are not replacing text with video, we're just trying to enhance the presentation a bit, especially where visuals help make a point or where browsing through Web sites (or leaks) is more suitable than static, linear presentation



  14. InteLeaks – Part XVIII: Intel Does Not Know How to Properly Do Research and It Seems Apparent Unscientific Methods Are Used to Justify Poor Documentation

    There appears to be a severe crisis at Intel; they cannot recruit scientists (or those whom they recruited are walking away) and as a result the company produces bad products with poor documentation (or highly defective chipsets that top-notch marketing cannot compensate for); in this video we walk through some examples of how studies are being conducted (as already noted in Part XVII)



  15. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part III: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Seems More Like a Victim of Destabilisation Campaigns

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which turns 36 later this year, is looking to raise money that helps support the GNU Project, soon 38 years old and likely the most important Free software project to exist (ever)



  16. Links 17/1/2021: EasyOS on Raspberry Pi and GNU libsigsegv 2.13

    Links for the day



  17. InteLeaks – Part XVII: The High Cost of Microsoft Windows Users in GNU/Linux Development Teams

    A look inside Intel explains what holds back the technical team, which bemoans the lesser technical people getting in the way and not even using the product that they are writing about



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  19. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been 'banished' by the founder



  20. Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

    Links for the day



  21. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  22. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  23. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



  25. Links 15/1/2021: KaOS 2021.01, Whisker Menu 2.5.2, Istio 1.8.2

    Links for the day



  26. InteLeaks – Part XV: Intel is Blind to Blind and Colour-Blind People

    Intel does not seem to grasp very basic concepts associated with accessibility; nevertheless, Intel shamelessly tries painting itself as "woke" and a "justice warrior" (policing speech while overlooking much-needed practical work)



  27. Links 15/1/2021: GStreamer 1.18.3 and Proton 5.13-5

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 14, 2021



  29. Links 14/1/2021: Wine 6.0, Debian 11 Freeze, and Alpine Linux 3.13

    Links for the day



  30. Patent Propaganda and UPC Jingoism Instead of Actual News

    Today's so-called 'news' about the EPO (Europe's second-largest institution) and the failed UPC is nothing short of shameless propaganda


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

Recent Posts