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04.12.19

The EPO is Slipping Out of Control Again and It’s Another Battistelli-Like Mess With Disregard for the Rule of Law and Patent Scope

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ignorance is bliss

Antonio Campinos

Summary: The banker in chief is just ‘printing’ or ‘minting’ lots and lots of patents, even clearly bogus ones that lack substance to back their perceived value

WE ARE very thankful for 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice/Mayo (SCOTUS). Earlier today we asked for recent examples of court outcomes that can overturn/overrule 35 U.S.C. § 101 precedents. We got none. Nothing of high importance/level (higher courts) and/or precedential. Nothing since Valentine’s Day of 2018 (Berkheimer). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the ITC are managed by patent maximalists like the EPO‘s António Campinos, who is promoting software patents in Europe. But what has far more weight is a combination of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), which are still effective at squashing software patents in the US, and the Federal Circuit affirming PTAB much of the time and correcting (overturning) district courts if they tolerate software patents. I’ve put links about it in Techrights daily links. We try to focus on the Linux Foundation and the EPO instead. Our battle against software patents has been partly successful in the US, but not in Europe. Not yet anyway.

“Apparently, everything (or just about anything) software or code or computer or machine or algorithm is “AI” now.”Focusing on Europe, as usual, yesterday we caught the EPO tweeting about “blockchains” again (i.e. illegal patents that the EPO keeps granting in defiance of caselaw, EPC, instructions from European authorities and demands from software professionals).

“Have a look here to learn how patent professionals are navigating the changing landscape of blockchain,” the EPO wrote, linking to the usual nonsense.

Also yesterday (nighttime) Managing IP published 3 new articles. The first said “Argentina’s trademark updates continue clumsily” and readers can guess what they mean by “clumsily” (not as profitable for us and our clients). So says a headline of a lawyers’ front group, funded by law firms to masquerade as a news site and grant them awards, puff pieces, lobbying events…

On the same night the site resumed promoting software patents disguised as “AI”, alluding to its “US Patent Forum” as follows: “Conversations around artificial intelligence (AI) innovations concluded with more questions than answers at Managing IP’s US Patent Forum in New York City on April 4.”

“So the USPTO basically continues granting patents which it knows in advance courts would reject.”Apparently, everything (or just about anything) software or code or computer or machine or algorithm is “AI” now. It’s a passing fad, surely, which faded away before (the term ot the concept is hardly new). Then the site promoted this sheer nonsense about patents on “tech and life sciences” (they mean software and nature/life). This article is thoroughly false as its title (yet again) claims “USPTO eligibility guidance could create consistency” even though the opposite is true (judges throw out patents while puring cold water on Iancu).

So the USPTO basically continues granting patents which it knows in advance courts would reject. This is the same thing the EPO is nowadays doing. This is one of the many reasons examiners have complained for about half a decade.

“It’s like a copy of the EPO’s press release, which was dishonest.”IPPro Magazine’s Rebecca Delaney has just published this article that’s a puff piece (as it’s not Barney, her colleague). It’s like a copy of the EPO’s press release, which was dishonest. We wrote about it yesterday, stressing that the EPO is again offering money for sellout 'scholars' who produce propaganda disguised as 'research' in an effort to “encourage more academic research” (to use their words).

Research like what? How wonderful patents on pigs, figs and seeds would be? As recently as yesterday we saw patent maximalists like Andrew Bentham (J A Kemp) not caring about common sense, only litigation euros, even over patents on life itself (and nature itself). In Mondaq J A Kemp published (probably for a fee):

Recent weeks have seen important developments in the debate on patent-eligibility of plants in Europe, with the EPO’s Boards of Appeal and its President, Administrative Council and member states pulling in opposite directions. The President has now referred questions, published today, to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, but the admissibility of the referral is uncertain, so it is unclear how or when the Enlarged Board will react. Applicants in this field will therefore face further delay and uncertainty. More generally, this is also a highly unusual, polarised situation that highlights the potential for conflict between different branches of the European patent system. Fortunately, however, this issue only directly affects some plant-related applications, not all that generally relate to plants in some way.

Rose Hughes also wrote about it yesterday (third time in recent weeks!) to say:

The President’s referral follows swiftly from the Board of Appeal (BA) decision in T 1063/18 (Pepper). For the full background to the case see IPKat post here. In summary, the EBA found in G 2/12 (Broccoli/Tomato II) that Article 53(c) did not exclude plants produced by essential biological processes from patentability. The European Commission subsequently issued a notice of the (non-legally binding) opinion that the biotech directive excluded plants produced by essentially biological processes from patentability. In response, the Administrative Council (AC) amended Rule 28 EPC to explicitly exclude plants produced by essentially biological processes from patentability.

The BA in T 1063/18 (Pepper) found that the AC’s interpretation of Article 53(b) EPC by amendment of Rule 28(2) EPC was in conflict with the prior interpretation of the Article by the EBA in G 2/12 (Broccoli/Tomato II). The Board in T 1063/18 (Pepper) found that the AC Rule amendment was void. The Board in T 1063/18 (Pepper) also did not feel it necessary to refer the issue to the EBA, reasoning that the EBA had already decided on the question in G 2/12 (Broccoli/Tomato II).

Sadly, EBA cannot rule as it sees fit as per the law; there’s a risk involved, having witnessed the fate of Judge Corcoran, their former colleague (back in the days before the exile to Haar, which is rightly perceived as collective punishment and a stark warning).

“…the EPO is again offering money for sellout ‘scholars’ who produce propaganda disguised as ‘research’…”A comment was left yesterday to speak about the defunct EPO structure: “It will be interesting to see how independent from the president and the AC the members of the BoA and of the EboA are under the new performance evaluation system which has a direct influence on their reappointment.”

People aren’t forgetting. The above site (IP Kat) has also just published an article for the notoriously aggressive law firm the EPO hired to stalk and bully me (Mishcon de Reya). Rosie Burbidge published for these thugs something about “IP [sic] and the gaming industry”. Yesterday I got a couple more threatening letters asking me to remove articles — a request I strongly reject. I will say more on that sooner or later as we examine and consult people who know how to handle it.

“Yesterday I got a couple more threatening letters asking me to remove articles — a request I strongly reject.”The book in question does not mention “IP”, but Mishcon de Reya interjected this nonsense into the headline. There is no such thing as "IP", but yesterday the EPO wrote: “University spin-offs need access to the relevant IP early on.”

I responded by asking: “Did you mean to write patents and then some PR person or lawyer rewrote it?”

That misleading propaganda term is again supposed to make us think that patents are rights, are property (hence “property rights”) and are granted some magical power for being “intellectual” (are plants and seeds intellectual even though they had existed in nature since before humans even existed?). We’re supposed to think nature itself is science.

“That misleading propaganda term is again supposed to make us think that patents are rights, are property (hence “property rights”) and are granted some magical power for being “intellectual” (are plants and seeds intellectual even though they had existed in nature since before humans even existed?).”“We’ll be discussing the business advantages of IP,” the EPO also wrote a short time apart, “illustrated by the story of a successful SME, at this event in Bucharest…”

Here are some more “IP” tweets from yesterday, some with “IP” in their hashtags too.

We’re guessing that the EPO will resort to more two-letter acronyms like PR, IP and AI because that’s about short enough for the mental capacity of Team Campinos, a team led by a former banker with zero background in science and several of his former colleagues.

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