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

04.01.19

Patent Trolls Destroy the European Economy Because EPO Gives Them Questionable Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Demolishing crane eating the building

Summary: The EPO’s lust for patents (as many as possible, as that’s what productivity or “success” will be measured by) is a blessing not for European businesses but for those eager to prey on them

NOTHING is improving at the European Patent Office (EPO), certainly not the quality of granted patents. António Campinos can smile and flatter himself all he wants, but he hasn’t done a darn thing to improve matters, except at the most superficial level (like silencing the union and representatives*). He or his administration is aggressively promoting European software patents, which are favoured among patent trolls.

“How long can the EPO grant patents on nature, life, maths and even food without the public retaliating?”The EPO doesn’t speak about “software patents”; it uses all sorts of sneaky buzzwords such as “AI”. One can see Bristows LLP staff getting slapped down for spreading “AI” hype and lies a few days ago. To quote the comment: “Stop taking us for simple minds and define something as being intelligent which actually only is something defined by a programmer.”

We used to write a lot of articles about this “AI” hype and how it relates to patents. We no longer do this as it would seem repetitive. Last week Bastian Best wrote: “AI and patents: Does the @EPOorg grant software patents for text document classifiers?”

Those classifiers aren’t “AI” but algorithms; The EPO will typically grant software patents if one calls them “AI”, however, so Best’s colleague Patrick Heckeler wrote (without invoking this buzzwords nonsense) that it is considered “non-technical”, as per the Board:

As a result, the Board ruled that a the claimed mathematical algorithm does not contribute to the technial character of the claimed method. The only implementation features specified in the claim are references to the method being “computerized” and the text documents being “digitally represented in a computer”. The skilled person, when given the task of implementing the algorithm, would certainly have chosen to represent text documents “digitally in a computer”. The Board further considers that the skilled person, using only his common general knowledge, would have had

Bastian Best did a post of his own and said aloud: “Data modelling is hardly patentable in Europe, at least on an abstract level…”

There’s a case (referral to the Board) coming soon that can eliminate every such patent (by mean of legal extrapolation). There may also be a decision to end patents on seeds and plants some time soon (see “Open-source seeds: protecting new crops from privitisation”, a new article written by Katie Burton).

How long can the EPO grant patents on nature, life, maths and even food without the public retaliating?

We have sadly seen IAM rearing its ugly face again in recent days. It gave a platform for Team Battistelli and then wrote: “The @EPOorg received over 7,000 4IR-related patent applications in 2017, says Yann Meniere the office’s chief economist…” [sic]

More buzzwords for software patents from the EPO. How does he even define “4IR” and classify patents accordingly? It’s pseudoscience. This man is a pseudo ‘scientist’, who calls himself an “economist” when all he really did was perpetuation of Battistelli’s lies (that’s his real job).

IAM also proceeded to promoting a patent troll, as it so habitually does (it’s paid for it). “Big news from Sisvel this morning,” it wrote, “the launch of a new licensing programme covering VP9 and AV1 video compression technology. Should cause a few waves!”

It linked to this puff piece outside the paywall: (to help the troll)

Sisvel has announced that it is launching a new platform which will license patents reading on the VP9 video encoding format, made available by Google in June 2013, and the AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) open video coding format developed by the Alliance for Open Media (a consortium founded in 2015 by Apple, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix), the first version of which was released in June 2018.

Both VP9 and AV1 have been described as royalty free, but Sisvel claims that there are a number of innovators whose patent protected inventions have been implemented by the codecs.

This is about European trolls, which aren’t being discussed enough in the media (not in English anyway). IAM is advertising a blackmail expert and a patent troll, Sisvel. And if one checks the funding sources of IAM, it’s ever more clear that it’s a front group of trolls.

Jan Ozer, over in “Online Video News”, was also doing a puff piece (maybe they don’t realise how truly evil this troll is). Here is the corresponding press release. It’s about software patents.

If nowadays in Europe patent trolls can write articles and present talks, even keynotes, why not issue press releases too? Thanks to corrupt EPO management, these patent trolls (some from the US!) nowadays get a treatment of a 'celebrity' (EPO is constantly legitimising trolls).

“Luxembourg smells fiscal evasion,” Benjamin Henrion remarked on this particular troll. “Sisvel patent troll now attacking Google’s “royalty-free” VP9 and AV1,” he added, “the patent nightmare continues in the quest for a “free web”…”

This troll was last mentioned yesterday by IAM. “Sisvel is launching a new video compression licensing programme covering patents reading on the VP9 video encoding format and the AV1 open video coding format,” it wrote. Hardly a good description of what’s happening here. These are software patents being leveraged by a villainous troll in Europe, without having to even face a court.

Days ago we saw this report that said: “Intel has released an open source CPU encoder for the AV1 video format developed by the Alliance of Open Media (AOMedia) consortium. As one of its founding members, Intel has been involved in the development of the royalty-free next-generation format that was released last year.”

Meanwhile the patent troll from Europe goes after it with software patents that aren’t valid in Europe.

But worry not; according to IAM, there's no troll problem in Europe. IAM denies the underlying facts while flattering the EPO for “quality” of its patents. A few days ago IAM also cheered for US trolls that buy patents in auctions. “We recently released an analysis of US patent sales for the last three months of 2018 using data provided by Allied Security Trust,” IAM wrote. “Although the amount of assets transacted significantly dropped from 3,977 to 1,831, due to the absence of large-scale transactions, deal numbers increased 25% compared to the same period in 2017.”

So they spin the numbers, turning the halving in number into “increase”. Nice spin you got there. Typical IAM.

This patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, is also promoting software patents under the guise of “AI” [1, 2] (copied into Lexology) — a pattern we’ve noted at the start.

At the end of the day it all boils down to one thing: Quite extrajudicially software patents are being enforced in Europe by the likes of Sisvel and MPEG-LA, who in Germany act as fronts for Philips and Fraunhofer.

The latest post from Florian Müller in Germany shows that Germany is coming to grips with the fact that a lot of patent trolls have come: [via]

As a cross-jurisdictional patent litigation watcher I can tell that injunctive relief is what attracts plaintiffs to Germany more than anything else. That’s why they tend to play the lottery: they assert a bunch of patents, most of which tend to be weak, just in hopes of securing an injunction that allows them to settle an entire dispute on their preferred terms. Until the Court of Justice of the EU handed down its Huawei v. ZTE opinion, it was hard to avoid injunctive relief in Germany even over standard-essential patents (SEPs).

This may change, and I’m one of those who hope it will. Last week I attended a really great conference entitled “Enforcing Patents Smoothly–From Automatic Injunctions to Proportionate Remedies” that was organized and hosted by the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where academics, practitioners, and a Mannheim judge (Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Tochtermann) discussed this subject. I wish to thank Professor Franz Hofmann for chairing this conference, and the ip2innovate industry body for supporting it. It clearly exceeded my expectations. At that conference I learned about a legislative initiative in Germany that appears to be in its embryonic stages.

Meanwhile I’ve obtained official confirmation from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany that an “expert talk” will take place on May 20, 2019, for the stated purpose of preparing a legislative initiative in the area of intellectual property policy. Industyr groups, academics and judges will discuss one of the potential elements of said initiative: a potential reform of the legal framework governing patent injunctions, particularly in connection with SEPs and, more generally, complex products.

All of the presentations at the Erlangen conference were great, and most of them would actually deserve to be discussed in greater detail, which I may do at a different point in time. What I do wish to share here is the impression that those advocating a more eBay-like approach in Germany, which would require some proportionality principle to be enshrined in statutory law, likely have far more political clout than those opposing it. And they have EU law on their side: the IP enforcement directive comes with a proportionality paragraph, just that Germany transposed it into national law only in connection with other types of intellectual property rights than patents.

[...]

Professor Christian Osterrieth, one of the name partners of the Reimann Osterrieth Köhler Haft (ROKH) firm that is now part of Hoyng Rokh Monegier, explained how eye-opening it was for him to see a case in which a single patent covering a secondary aspect of a technology could have had disruptive impact on Germany’s highway toll collection system. The way Professor Osterrieth described the problem was reminiscent of Justice Kennedy’s famous and influential eBay concurrence.

Professor Hofmann made a more theoretical argument for greater flexibility. Professor Thomas Cotter (University of Minnesota, and author of the Comparative Patent Remedies blog that I’ve recommended on various occasions) focused on the economics of patent injunctions. Simply put, injunctive relief creates a situation in which the parties will negotiate a price, and a court-determined ongoing royalty would be another, so the key question is which approach results in a more reasonable valuation. It’s about avoiding overcompensation as well as undercompensation.

So they merely try to ameliorate things; instead, maybe they should take a hard look at what goes on at the EPO in Munich, having systematically stonewalled and disregarded complaints from EPO staff.
____
* According to Dutch media, a key supporter of SUEPO is also suffering, so it may be part of a broader trend. [via]

The biggest Dutch trade union federation FNV is poised to cut its workforce by almost 20% or 400 full and part-time jobs, the Volkskrant said on Friday.

Membership numbers are declining and this is forcing the union to make cuts totalling €16m a year, the paper said. It bases its claim on the plan to reorganise the union’s operations.

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. Links 24/4/2019: Chrome 74, QEMU 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Supreme Court of the UK, Which Habitually Throws Out European Patents, May Overturn Troublesome Unwired Planet v Huawei Decision

    A lot of European Patents are facing growing scrutiny from courts (Team UPC, including Bristows, publicly complains about it this month) and "greenwashing" of the Office won't be enough to paint/frame these patents as "ethical"



  3. German Federal Patent Court Curbs the Patent Maximalism of the EPO, Which Promotes Patents on Nature and/or Maths Every Single Day

    European courts are restraining the EPO, which has been trying to bypass or replace such courts (with the UPC); it certainly seems as though European Patents rapidly lose their legitimacy or much-needed presumption of validity



  4. Any 'Linux' Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

    Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership



  5. Links 23/4/2019: Kodi 'Leia' 18.2 and DeX Everywhere

    Links for the day



  6. Code of Coercion

    Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the "be nice!" (or "be polite!") crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover



  7. António Campinos Would Not Refer to the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal If He Did Not Control the Outcomes

    António Campinos and his ilk aren’t interested in patent quality because his former ‘boss’, who publicly denied there were issues and vainly rejected patent quality concerns as illegitimate, is now controlled by him (reversal of roles) and many new appointees at the top are "yes men" (or women) of Campinos, former colleagues whom he bossed at EUIPO (as expected)



  8. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  9. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  10. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  11. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  12. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  14. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  15. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  16. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  17. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  18. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  19. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  21. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  22. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  23. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  24. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  25. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  26. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  27. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  29. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  30. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe


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