07.18.20

Marks & Clerk Reveals That António Campinos, With Zero Experience in Software, is Lobbying Judges (Who Are Supposed to be Independent But Are Actually Controlled by Him) to Open the Floodgates to Illegal Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is it Campinos v BoA G 1/19?

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Summary: There seems to be no improvement when it comes to the autonomy of judges at the EPO; the ‘king’ of EPOnia does everything by decree, but it’s more or less disguised as an extensive legal process (see G 2/19)

THE EPO became so bad at or uncaring about patent quality that it became more lenient than even the USPTO (home of software patents) when it comes to granting software patents. Marks & Clerk, a large law firm, said so publicly.

“…we already know that the judges, who certainly lack autonomy, are being pressured by the Office. This clear lack of independence (in principle and in practice) taints the outcome, whatever it may be.”Putting aside yet more fluff/propaganda sourced from the EPO (e.g. “Report [sic] Reveals UK at the Forefront of 3D Printing” from 3D Printing Progress; there’s more in languages other than English*), we’ve just found an article by Lara Sibley (Marks & Clerk), on behalf of software patents boosters. It is about a hearing to which one had to sign up (register) in advance. It was published in Mondaq on Friday (two days after the said hearing). As a reminder, António Campinos is already meddling in the case, pushing for an outcome that favours software patents in Europe, because just like Benoît Battistelli he doesn’t believe these judges have independence and EPC is just some ‘nuisance’ to be bypassed, not something to be respected.

“A pending case (G 1/19) relating to computer implemented simulation has been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal,” Sibley wrote. “The case is relevant to the patenting of simulations in particular, but is potentially also relevant to the patenting of software more generally.”

This is why it can become an Alice-like test for Europe. Here are bits of the article with our comments added in yellow:

Computer simulations are widely used in the development of new products. Often simulations can have significant real world impact – much of the response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for example has been driven by detailed simulations of the impact on transmission rates of differing policy approaches [here we go again; opportunistic exploitation of COVID-19 by patent maximalists; this case predates COVID-19]. As with other software-based innovation however, patent claims directed to methods of simulation, design or modelling generally comprise features which in Europe are considered to fall under the category of mathematical methods [because that’s just what it is; statistics and predictions based upon statistics].

A pending case (G 1/19) relating to computer implemented simulation [“computer implemented” just means software, but they make it sound fancier and physical] has been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The case is relevant to the patenting of simulations in particular, but is potentially also relevant to the patenting of software more generally. A hearing was held for G 1/19 on 15 July 2020. The background to this case, together with an overview of the hearing, is presented below.

[...]

Turning to the details of the case, G 1/19 concerns a computer-implemented method [read: algorithm] of modelling pedestrian crowd movement in an environment that includes the simulating of movement of a plurality of pedestrians through the environment.

The appellant submitted that the invention produced a technical effect in the form of “a more accurate simulation of crowd movement”. As to the technicality of simulating crowd movement, the appellant argued that simulating the movement of pedestrians yielded results which were no different from those obtained by modelling an electron using numerical methods. [Classic software patent]

The Board of Appeal was not convinced that numerically calculating the trajectory of an object as determined by the laws of physics is in itself a technical task producing a technical effect. In the Board of Appeal’s view, a technical effect requires, at a minimum, a direct link with physical reality, such as a change in or a measurement of a physical entity. [Sounds like they’re preconditioned/warm to the view that this is abstract, as per the US (case)law]

However, the EPO Guidelines for Examination refer to an important case (T 1227/05) where the Board of Appeal allowed a claim to a numerical simulation of a noise affected circuit. [Under whose administration?]

[...]

The referred questions 1 to 3 were then considered in order. The submissions concerning Question 1 were the most extensive, with some of these submissions also being referred to during the discussion of the later questions.

As regards Question 1, the meaning of a computer-implemented simulation “as such” was discussed. [Back we go to Brimelow’s “as such”; it is quite meaningless and in India it’s “per se”] The questions i) to v) posed by the Enlarged Board in their communication of 22 June 2020 (and summarised in the section above) were then considered. On question i), the appellant and the representatives of the President both made submissions that the “COMVIK case law” was suitable for the examination of computer-implemented simulations. During the discussion of potential and virtual technical effects in relation to question ii), various hypothetical examples were put forward by the representatives of the President, including that of a virtual wind tunnel, in which a virtual technical effect could solve the same technical problem as a real technical effect. On question iii), the appellant and the representatives of the President also both put forward submissions that a feature relating to a “non-invention” (such as a mental act) can still contribute to technical character in the context of a claim to a solution to a technical problem [Notice meddling by the Office, on behalf of patent maximalists]. Concerning question iv), and consideration of the purpose of the simulation, the appellant raised an intermediate example, lying between the case where a claim specifies simulation of an undefined “technical system” and the case where a claim specifies a very specific technical purpose (for example, simulation of a circuit subject to 1/f noise, as specified in T 1227/05). In relation to question v), it was submitted by the appellant that in the present case, the simulation of human behaviour is used to control a technical system, in particular the simulation can be used to improve the building structure. The representatives of the President also put forward the view that a technical contribution could still be present in certain circumstances, even where the simulation models human behaviour. Simulations used in the field of self-driving cars were put forward as an example here. [Very weak arguments from the President, who never wrote a single computer program in his whole life]

[...]

Once issued, the decision in G 1/19 may have a significant impact not just on patenting of simulations but also on the patenting of software at the EPO more generally, depending on the response and reasoning of the Enlarged Board. Encouragingly, [for this author’s litigation giant] the EPO President’s response to the questions are in favour of maintaining the patentability of simulations without, for example, requiring a direct link with physical reality, and expressed the view that it is sufficient the simulation method reflects, at least in part, technical principles underlying the simulated system or process. However, the Enlarged Board is not bound in any way by the President’s comments and will reach its own conclusions. [Nonsense! You clearly are in denial, perhaps out of convenience, about the Office’s abuse of these judges and there may be consequences for ruling the ‘wrong’ way.]

The outcome will likely be known later this year; we already know that the judges, who certainly lack autonomy, are being pressured by the Office. This clear lack of independence (in principle and in practice) taints the outcome, whatever it may be.
____
* As we noted before, we’d rather not spend too much time obsessing over this misuse of shallow journalists who think their job is to just amplify for PR departments of corporations and organisations (the “easy job”; no fact-checking needed, no real understanding or investigation of the underlying issues). Judging by sentences like “European inventors and businesses accounted for almost half of all AM patent applications filed with the EPO in the period from 2010 to 2018,” among others, we can tell they put no effort into actual journalism. They just reprint ‘prepared’ sentences from the EPO’s PR department.

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