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04.10.19

EPO Benefits European Patent Trolls With Dodgy European Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grasshopper

Summary: The EPO is a stepping stone for parasitic entities looking to leverage patents for exploitative extortion rackets all over Europe; if they get their way, companies that manufacture and sell things will pay a hefty tax to those who create nothing at all and are often not European, either

EARLIER this year we wrote on a number of occasions about the European Patent Office (EPO) and Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) getting together; it was upsetting but not shocking because we had already seen the EPO getting together with patent parasites and trolls.

LESI now has this new press release about “[j]oint LESI-EPO training course for SMEs on technology commercialisation” (typical “SME” spin) and this was retweeted by EPO PR people yesterday, saying that they have “jointly developed 2-day training course, “Succeeding at Technology Commercialisation and Negotiation” to be held in Basel, Switzerland, 26 – 28 June.”

“The patent maximalists are like politicians who leverage “the kids” and “terrorism” in order to get their way. They use words like “pirates” and “theft” (when talking about similarity of things).”It’s bad enough that the EPO is liaising with front groups of patent trolls in another continent. António Campinos has done that several times before, reinforcing the perception that the EPO is a foe of European people and ally of large non-European multi-national corporations. This is more of what we have come to expect, having seen the EPO doing interviews with American patent extremists (sites that promote software patents and patent trolls, bash judges and bully officials). We’re thinking primarily (but not only) about Watchtroll. To give examples from this week, Eileen McDermott (editor) is now trying to paint software patents as “medical” — the new lie/trick of patent extremists. She calls it “diagnostics and computer-implemented inventions” as in (as per the summary): “Current patent eligibility concerns tend to tip the scales against patenting. Uncertainty about being able to get a patent and license it weighs against pursuing diagnostics and computer-implemented inventions—at least in the United States.”

Over at Watchtroll, software patents gradually become “computer-implemented inventions” (CII) and even though there is nothing inherently "medical" about algorithms they use terms like SaMD. This relatively new “medical” slant on software patents is designed to steer us into a moral panic, as in “if you don’t grant me software patents, then people will die!”

The patent maximalists are like politicians who leverage “the kids” and “terrorism” in order to get their way. They use words like “pirates” and “theft” (when talking about similarity of things).

Watchtroll also wrote this yesterday: “Recently, I’ve written several articles laying the blame for the patent eligibility crisis squarely on the Federal Circuit.”

So says Gene Quinn, who regularly attacks judges and courts which aren’t patent extremists like him. Paul Morinville does not get it either. Patents are a monopoly, yet he says “Startups with Patents are the Ultimate Anti-Monopoly” and was unable to put together a coherent argument when challenged over it last week. Startups are most vulnerable to patent lawsuits. Morinville and Quinn regularly bash PTAB (the equivalent of EPO judges) and promote software patents. These are the sorts of people the EPO nowadays chooses to associate with. But thankfully, Watchtroll is collapsing. The same is true for other such site. The patent microcosm in the US is in a state collapse/disarray. So their sites are rotting too. I remember when they used to regularly write articles. Actual articles. Analyses…

When not posting ads for events, Patent Docs reduces itself to marketing spam for companies that do privateering with patents (as it did yesterday). Patently-O barely even writes a single article per day now. It used to do several.

Going back to Europe, where does it stand on patents? Well, a couple of weeks ago we wrote about a European patent troll, Sisvel, targeting the Free software community by aiming software patents at Free/libre codecs. “The Alliance for Open Media Statement” has just been published to say:

The Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) unites leading internet and media technology companies in a collaborative effort to offer open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of media delivery. AOMedia is aware of the recent third-party announcement attempting to launch a joint patent licensing program for AV1. AOMedia was founded to leave behind the very environment that the announcement endorses – one whose high patent royalty requirements and licensing uncertainty limit the potential of free and open online video technology. By settling patent licensing terms up front with the royalty-free AOMedia Patent License 1.0, AOMedia is confident that AV1 overcomes these challenges to help usher in the next generation of video-oriented experiences.

A large German patent troll has a lot to do with it, as well as the American front group, MPEG-LA, which is supported by Microsoft, Apple, and Nokia. They try to impose software patents on everything. In the case of video, Unified Patents keeps targeting Velos, as this post from yesterday reveals:

On April 8, 2019, Unified filed a petition (with Finnegan serving as lead counsel) for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent No. 9,100,634, owned by Velos Media, LLC (Velos), as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone.

The ‘634 patent and its corresponding extended patent family is one of the largest families known to be owned by Velos. Including this petition, Unified has now challenged patents representing over 35% of Velos’ total known U.S. assets.

Unified Patents has already gone after several other patents of Velos and there’s this Microsoft-connected patent troll (Dominion Harbor armed by Intellectual Ventures) perishing in PTAB because Unified Patents makes new gains. Also on the subject of Microsoft, which truly turned Mokia into a patent troll (and troll feeder), mind this latest post at FOSSPatents. “My NokiaPlanP [Patents] is happening,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, citing this report:

It is high time that the automotive industry stopped being the ideal target of shakedown attempts by standard-essential patent (SEP) holders due to its sheer size, the high prices of its end products, and its pacifist attitude. For a long time, car makers used to be on the sidelines of major disputes. They generally resolved any IP issues out of court, respecting exclusionary rights in some cases and cross-licensing (or simply refraining from hostilities) in many others. But times have changed, and with cars increasingly becoming smartphones on wheels, those car makers are no longer dealing with a herd of sheep when it comes to patent assertions but have entered a jungle teeming with predators. As a result, they must confront those challenges more decisively, lest they be eaten alive.

Against this backdrop I’d like to promote (not getting anything for it) an upcoming Munich conference hosted by the Bardehle Pagenberg firm: Automotive Patent wars — To pay or not to pay: That is the question.” on May 9.

[...]

Having watched Nokia in litigation over many years (even going back to its first dispute with Apple), and the unfortunate (for Nokia and its stakeholders, though not for consumers) demise of its mobile device business that changed its attitude toward patent monetization, I’m not surprised that it apparently made demands that Daimler wasn’t willing to meet without a fight. Daimler is also defending itself against Broadcom’s German lawsuits (as is BMW).

The EPO has already adopted a bunch of new buzzwords and acronyms like SDV, which it used to disguise abstract patents "on a car".

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