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07.05.19

Only After Millions Were Spent on Lawyers Microsoft’s Patent Troll in Europe Loses European Patent Used to Shake Down Android (Linux) Vendors

Posted in Asia, Europe, GNU/Linux, Patents at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Conversant (formerly MOSAID) loses a tooth, but it doesn’t mean it’s toothless

Missing old tooth

Summary: More cautionary tales about European Patents being wrongly granted, potentially causing billions to be wasted and millions to be spent in legal fees; Microsoft’s attack dogs are still active and their targets demonstrate who the EPO really serves these days

THE patent trolls’ business has seen ‘healthy’ growth in Europe, based on surveys conducted by people who add up the number of court cases and their origin (plaintiff type/s). The Campinos/Battistelli attack on patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) is unprecedented. Sure, Brimelow permitted software patents [not] “as such”, but things went totally out of control under Battistelli. Contrariwise, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saw a decline in the number of patents granted last year (some would attribute this to 35 U.S.C. § 101). Only a lawyer or a liar would assert that this means decrease in American innovation.

“Contrariwise, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saw a decline in the number of patents granted last year (some would attribute this to 35 U.S.C. § 101).”The pile-up of low-quality patents in Europe will harm the most those least able to afford a court battle. The economics of patent trolling rely on these, e.g. SMEs. The last thing a troll wants or needs is lengthy court battle which may result not only in the loss of patents but also having to compensate the wrongly-accused defendant (this increasingly happens in the US). Thankfully, the UPC is more or less dead already, so at least we can still rely on courts (to some degree, assuming one can afford the battle).

Here’s some news: citing this older post predating the latest twist of events, Sidney Martin (Quebec Daily Examiner) wrote (emphasis ours): “The European Patent Office (EPO) opposition division has narrowed Afilias Technologies Plc’s device detection patent EP2245836B1 in Europe, as a result of an opposition brought by rival firm 51Degrees. The EPO concluded that the patent as initially granted was not valid.

“Thankfully, the UPC is more or less dead already, so at least we can still rely on courts (to some degree, assuming one can afford the battle).”Had it not been for this opposition, it would be granted and quality is only sliding further and further. It’s hard to keep up and file oppositions (the time windows for oppositions were also narrowed in recent years). Kilburn & Strode LLC’s Julia Venner and Kristina Cornish have also just published this article about Actavis v ICOS (covered here), demonstrating the narrowing of patent craze in courts, which unlike offices don’t just rubberstamp everything and more often than not toss out European Patents.

During Independence Day not many people paid attention to English language news (let alone to court battles). Writing about patents-in-standards (so-called ‘SEP’, or “standard-essential patents”, part of the cynical “FRAND” agenda that includes evergreening ploys in 5G), Rose Hughes takes notes about EP1797659, which is now tackled by Huawei, a Chinese giant (hence Huawei v Conversant), affecting also other Chinese giants such as ZTE.

It’s about a patent troll, MOSAID/Conversant, that Microsoft was arming — using Nokia‘s ‘core’ patents — to attack Microsoft’s competition, even in Europe. Guess what… the Supreme Court found that the European Patent is not valid. Quoting Hughes:

The FRAND/SEP saga continues today with a UK High Court decision on the validity of Conversant’s patent for 3G mobile phone technology. Mr Justice Arnold found that Conversant’s patent is essential and infringed by Huawei and ZTE, but invalid for added matter: Conversant v Huawei [2019] EWHC 1687 (Pat).

For a background summary of the dispute see IPKat here. In short, the case relates to standard essential patents (SEP) patents and Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licences. SEPs are patents protecting a technology which its owner has declared to be essential to the implementation of one or more of the telecommunications standards. To prevent anti-competitive behavior, standard setting organisations require SEP holders to licence the technology on Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

In Huawei v Conversant [2019] EWCA Civ 38 (IPKat post here), Conversant sued both Huawei and ZTE in the UK courts for infringement of, what it claimed, were its essential patents. Conversant sought an injunction, damages and a declaration that it had made FRAND offers to the defendants. Huawei and ZTE responded that the English courts did not have the jurisdiction in determining the terms of a global FRAND licence. The Court of Appeal found that the English courts did have jurisdiction to decide on the global licence terms, but could not force Huawei to enter into a global licence (but that they may face and injunction on the basis of the UK designation). The UK courts could, however, decide on the validity of the patent and whether Huawei infringed. Huawei and ZTE have been given permission to appeal this jurisdictional aspect of the dispute to the Supreme Court (the hearing is expected in October this year, see IPKat post here).

In the latest decision Mr Justice Arnold considered whether Conversant’s European Patent (UK) (EP1797659) was essential, valid and infringed by Huawei and ZTE. Conversant argued the UK patent was essential to an aspect of the 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard (“UMTS”), Uplink DRX. Conversant also argued that Huawei and ZTE marketed mobile phones complying with the UMTS, and were therefore infringing the patent. Mr Justice Arnold accepted Conversant’s arguments. The Judge agreed that Huawei was not infringing under a literal interpretation of the claims. Particularly, the claims did not cover Uplink DRX under a literal interpretation, but could be found to be essential and infringed under the doctrine of equivalents (Actavis) (para. 201).

Here we have a good example of the harms done by European Patents wrongly granted; no doubt a bunch of law firms made lots of money from it, but at whose expense? It’s not too hard to answer that question…

05.28.19

First South Korea and Now China: The Move Away From Microsoft Windows

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obviously North Korea as well, straining the monoculture Microsoft heavily relies on

Terracotta Army

Summary: East Asia is putting Microsoft’s monopoly on desktops/laptops at great risk; there might be more discussion about this in days/weeks to come

THE Linux Foundation has said nothing about this (not even a link), but Microsoft’s predatory pricing and collusion with the NSA (new incidents related to this in Baltimore) may be costing it the biggest businesses and largest clients (governments). South Korea may already be yesterday's news; now it’s China. It’s not just about Huawei and about Android, either. There was an impact on Microsoft and Windows as well (mentioned in our daily links last week).

“China already has several of its own distributions and they are pretty well maintained. Some are RHEL based and in recent years Debian- and Ubuntu-based (Deepin and Kylin) distributions emerged as well.”China has, over the years, adopted GNU/Linux, but Bill Gates soob came there to sabotage such initiatives, under the auspices of his fake ‘charity’ (lobbying and tax evasion).

Perhaps we’ll know more about it in the coming days (it was a long weekend in the US). It seems like the world’s second-largest military (even largest based on some criteria) may be moving to GNU/Linux. Turkey’s military reportedly did something similar about a decade ago. Now China’s (but this goes beyond that, based on the report “Chinese Military Will Replace Windows Operating System“). They know that reliance on Free software isn’t just cost-saving but also a matter of national security. The article speaks of UNIX, which we assume means proprietary old UNIX, not GNU/Linux. To quote: “The group does not trust the “UNIX” multi-user, multi-stroke operating system either, which is used in some of the servers within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Kanwa reported. Therefore, Chinese authorities ordered to develop an operating system dedicated to the Chinese military.”

Will it be based on GNU/Linux? It does not say, but that seems rather probable. China already has several of its own distributions and they are pretty well maintained. Some are RHEL based and in recent years Debian- and Ubuntu-based (Deepin and Kylin, respectively) distributions emerged as well. There’s no lack of manpower.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates about Chinese people

05.19.19

South Korea’s Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements.”

Microsoft Confidential

Summary: Microsoft’s hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone ‘dares’ use it outside Microsoft’s control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say “no” to Microsoft?

THIS MONTH’S news from Kerala (India) was very encouraging. Microsoft has long attempted to impose Windows on all children; Bill Gates himself lobbied endlessly to also take schools under his control (Charter Schools), fearing that future generations would not be enlisted into his cult. But that’s a subject for another day (recall EDGI and how it was used in India).

The latest news, which first emerged on Friday, comes from South Korea. It’s about a government and a rich nation long known to be imprisoned by Windows because of ActiveX. The original report [1], followed by more coverage citing it [2-6], sounded good. And then came Microsoft boosters, who even earlier today caught up with the news and did some damage-limiting doubt-shedding [7-8].

“Bill Gates has bribed so many publishers (where Microsoft is also a leading advertiser, i.e. client of the publisher), so they love deflecting all public uproar to companies like Google.”Will the migration happen? We sure hope so. But we’re also certain that Microsoft works hard to undermine this already (e.g. with typical tactics, such as ousting people). We already saw that in Munich, even after the migration. Microsoft would do anything to ‘demonstrate’ that GNU/Linux is a ‘failure’ on the desktop. It used the services of Gartner Group, HP and Accenture among others. A little marketing disguised as ‘studies’ can help morph perception and make success stories seem like failures. Not a word is being said by the rather useless Linux Foundation, which acts as though it signed a non-disparagement deal with Microsoft. Its own chief doesn’t even use GNU/Linux himself.

We shall be watching closely what happens next in South Korea. We expect mischief to follow. We covered many such examples in the past, including Microsoft bribery whose sole purpose was to undermine GNU/Linux.

According to the main article, “the ministry said it would test if the system could be run on private networked devices without security risks and if compatibility could be achieved with existing websites and software which have been built to run on Windows.”

Korea Herald makes “no mention of freedom, and does include some security FUD,” said one of our readers about the seminal report in English. And “therefore: probably just trying to talk Microsoft down on the price…”

Microsoft boosters have begun smearing or belittling this plan, so we shall be watching them too. Longtime Microsoft propagandists such as Bogdan Popa still try to maintain the lie/perception of “Microsoft loves Linux” while at the time time viciously attacking GNU/Linux (which Microsoft bribes governments to reject or — failing that — dump). Microsoft is still a highly abusive and corrupt monopoly. It just got too many officials in its pockets, so rarely if ever does it get punished. Bill Gates has bribed so many publishers (where Microsoft is also a leading advertiser, i.e. client of the publisher), so they love deflecting all public uproar to companies like Google.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. S. Korean government to switch to Linux: ministry

    The government will switch the operating system of its computers from Windows to Linux, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said Thursday.

    The Interior Ministry said the ministry will be test-running Linux on its PCs, and if no security issues arise, Linux systems will be introduced more widely within the government.

  2. South Korea will ditch Microsoft Windows for Linux

    Windows 7 support will end in January of next year, and that is a huge problem for both business and home users that are still running the aging operating system. Can’t these people just upgrade to Windows 10? Well, yeah, but many just don’t want to. Windows 10 has extreme telemetry that many people consider to be spying. As a result, they simply don’t trust Microsoft’s latest operating system. Not to mention, for businesses and organizations with many computers, the upgrade to Windows 10 could prove to be a costly affair.

    And now, as a result of the upcoming death of Windows 7 support, the South Korean government has reportedly decided to ditch Microsoft Windows entirely. According to The Korea Herald, the Asian country’s government will switch from Windows 7 to a Linux-based operating system.

  3. South Korean government planning Linux migration as Windows 7 support ends

    With just seven more months of support left for Windows 7, the South Korean government is planning to migrate to Linux, according to the Korea Herald, which notes that the Interior Ministry will begin “test-running Linux on its PCs, and if no security issues arise, Linux systems will be introduced more widely within the government.”

    The Herald quotes the Interior Ministry as indicating that the transition to Linux, and the purchase of new PCs, would cost about 780 billion won ($655 million), but also anticipates long-term cost reductions with the adoption of Linux. The report doesn’t mention a specific distro, instead “hopes to avoid building reliance on a single operating system.”

    “Before the government-wide adoption, the ministry said it would test if the system could be run on private networked devices without security risks and if compatibility could be achieved with existing websites and software which have been built to run on Windows,” the report stated.

  4. South Korean Government Planning Linux Migration as Windows 7 Support Ends

    With just seven more months of support left for Windows 7, the South Korean government is planning to migrate to Linux, according to the Korea Herald, which notes that the Interior Ministry will begin “test-running Linux on its PCs, and if no security issues arise, Linux systems will be introduced more widely within the government.

  5. South Korea Plans To Shift To Linux From Windows

    Until now, Windows 7 was being used on government machines but the government wants to be future-proofed. That’s because Microsoft will pull the plug on the free technical support for the popular OS in January 2020.

    For reference, Windows 7 was released back in 2009 and its mainstream support ended in 2015.

    According to the Ministry of Interior and Safety, the switch won’t be made right away. First, the Linux-based OS will be tested for thorough compatibility with the existing software that’s meant for Windows. After successful testing, it will be implemented across the entire system.

  6. South Korea Thinks Of Switching From Windows To Linux Platform

    The government has opted for Linux instead of Windows 10 to save a significant amount of money Windows is a paid OS whereas Linux is a free, open-source operating system. It would cost around 780 billion won or 655 million dollars for switching to Linus platform and buying new PCs.

    Another reason for this change is that the Linux platform has lesser security risks compared to Windows. This is the main factor that most of the enterprise networks around the world uses Linux based OS to run their machines.

  7. South Korea Government prefer Linux to Windows 10

    A report from the Korean Herald stated, “Before the government-wide adoption, the ministry said it would test if the system could be run on private networked devices without security risks and if compatibility could be achieved with existing websites and software which have been built to run on Windows.”

    It is not exactly clear which Linux distribution the South Korean Government are eyeing.

  8. Government Planning to Replace Windows 7 with Linux, Not Windows 10

    While specifics on what Linux distro they want to embrace are not available, it looks like the first step towards this migration to the open-source world is a security audit that should help the government determine if their data is protected or not.

03.18.19

Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

Posted in Asia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s “truce” as long as Microsoft receives billions of dollars from its rivals for its “Linux patents”

A happy piranha

Summary: Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network

THE parasites and predators are still at it. They’re exploiting software patents wrongly granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and they go after Microsoft’s rivals.

“Microsoft and Bill Gates are culpable as Intellectual Ventures effectively came from them and was bankrolled by them.”Days ago we saw the Intellectual Ventures-armed Dominion Harbor losing yet again. As it turned out, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) helped squash fake patents of this Microsoft-connected patent troll, owing to an inter partes review (IPR) which came from Unified Patents. In their own words (from Friday):

On March 13, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. First Class Monitoring, LLC IPR2017-01932 invalidating claims 1-5, 7, 9, 10 and 16-22 of U.S. Patent 6,014,089 owned and asserted by First Class Monitoring, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and a well-known NPE. The ’089 patent, directed to transmitting data via conventional SMS messages over a control channel of a personal communications system transmission protocol, has been asserted against various financial services companies such as Citigroup, Bank of America, USAA, JP Morgan, and PNC.

Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures, as it turns out yet again, is still engaging in blackmail in Eastern Texas. Even directly (not the likes of Dominion Harbor). As per the media (also Friday):

A jury in a federal district court in Texas has awarded a patent firm $1.5 million in a dispute with an Old Republic International Corp. unit in a patent infringement case.

The Tyler, Texas, jury on Wednesday decided in favor of Bellevue, Washington-based Intellectual Ventures II LLC, which buys, licenses and develops patents, in its dispute with Old Republic unit Sioux City, Nebraska-based Great West Casualty Co. in Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. Great West Casualty Co.

According to the January 2015 complaint in the case, Great West infringed one of Intellectual Ventures’ patents in connection with its online services and other systems.

Microsoft and Bill Gates are culpable as Intellectual Ventures effectively came from them and was bankrolled by them. To whose benefit?

“It seems clear that Microsoft has not changed. It was all PR, just smoke and mirrors for the cameras.”The Eastern District of Texas is also leveraged yet again against Taiwanese companies. Also from Texas: “Taiwanese Manufacturer of Smartphones Subject to Personal Jurisdiction in Texas in Patent Infringement Case Because of its Allegedly Purposeful Efforts to Serve the US Market Even Though all US Distribution was Orchestrated Independently…”

We already noted the other day that Microsoft goes after another Taiwanese company and it’s about a deal they signed 6 years ago, involving patents Microsoft claims Android and Chrome OS (GNU/Linux) to have infringed. It is starting to seem rather clear that Microsoft joined OIN only after extorting the lion’s share of OEMs that ship Linux-powered products. If they stop paying, Microsoft will sue them. Some “truce”, eh? Here is what Bloomberg wrote about this Microsoft patent extortion as recently as yesterday:

A lot has changed at Microsoft Corp. in the five years since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive officer. But sometimes the past comes roaring back, this time in the form of a patent suit that has gotten nasty.

Microsoft last week sued Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. for failing to pay royalties on intellectual property owned by Microsoft as part of a 2013 deal. Microsoft says Hon Hai, which is also known as Foxconn Technology Group, owes it missed payments and interest. In its filing with a California court, Microsoft alleges that for the past three years, Hon Hai hasn’t submitted the royalty reports required by the 2013 agreement and has refused to submit to an independent audit, which the agreement stipulated in the event of a dispute.

Foxconn’s billionaire chairman Terry Gou earlier this week accused Microsoft of a personal attack on him and his company, terming it a “wrongful” attempt to extract royalties on Android mobile operating software. While Hon Hai is the party named in the lawsuit, Hon Hai only makes iOS devices, and it is Foxconn’s Hong Kong-listed unit FIH Mobile Ltd. that makes Android phones for Huawei Technologies Co., Xiaomi Corp. and other vendors, according to Gou and FIH CEO Calvin Chih.

The amount in question is not significant, according to a person familiar with the dispute who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. But neither side wants to back down. Gou doesn’t want to pay and Microsoft wants to make a point that a deal is a deal.

So Satya Nadella is just another Steve Ballmer. His mask keeps falling off. There have been a lot more articles about this (we mentioned only a few of the earlier ones), including “Foxconn CEO: Microsoft’s real target is Huawei” (from the patent trolls’ lobby), “Foxconn lashes out at Microsoft over royalties” (Asian media), “Foxconn rejects Microsoft patent lawsuit” (British media) and “Foxconn rejected patent infringement lawsuit by Microsoft”. Here’s the side of the story which Western media does not like to tell, preceded by Microsoft’s usual nonsense:

Microsoft, in its statement, said that it had signed a contract with the Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai in 2013 and the lawsuit is relevant to the audit and royalty reporting terms of that contract.

As Microsoft take serious approach towards fulfillment of its contractual obligations, so it also expects other companies to be following their contractual commitments seriously too; and Microsoft is working to resolve the disagreement with Hon Hai because of the importance of relationship with the company, Microsoft said in a statement.

Foxconn was previously operating as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, and got the global attention after starting assembling iPhones for Apple.

[...]

At the news conference Gou said that Software companies not to bully the manufacturers, and questioned in a Facebook post earlier on Tuesday, why they would not claim from software using vendors to pay for patent royalties.

This is about software patents and about Linux-based operating systems. It seems clear that Microsoft has not changed. It was all PR, just smoke and mirrors for the cameras.

01.20.19

The Indian Ministry of Commerce Tries to Bend Patent Law in Favour of Foreign Monopolies

Posted in Asia, Patents at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopolies and monopolists have long attempted to accomplish this

India hand

Summary: There’s an attempt to tilt patent law against the interests of India; but vigilant few are observing and reporting it, even in English

THE ISSUE or the subject of software patents in India — like software patents in the EPO, the USPTO and China — is central to this site. We’ve long written on the matter, seeing that the EPO increasingly grants such bogus patents, the USPTO drifts further away from courts (35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw) [1, 2] and patent trolls’ front groups try to compel India to allow such patents. The patent microcosm and the patent ‘industry’ (patent offices included) is eager to grant yet more fake patents which would be invalidated if challenged in courts such as the Federal Circuit or the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The way they see it, that’s not their problem and the price will be paid by scientists and technologists, who are basically being ‘taxed’ by law firms.

“The monopoly of patents is often justified as an incentive to promote R&D. But in practice, patents are used to control competition and give fewer options to consumers.”
      –The Wire
“The government’s new proposals on patents may increase frivolous patents,” warned this new article (from last week), noting a recent proposal:

The Ministry of Commerce has floated proposed changes to the rules of the Indian patent Act.

Two of the proposed changes are very concerning. It proposes a new mechanism which will expedite decisions on patent applications. This proposed fast-track process seems to come with various other compromises on the functioning of India’s patent architecture and for protecting access to medicines, for example.

The monopoly of patents is often justified as an incentive to promote R&D. But in practice, patents are used to control competition and give fewer options to consumers. Towards this purpose, big corporations are known for obtaining multiple patents claiming minor changes on the same technology or molecule. This practice of creating patent-fences adversely impacts the industrial and technological development of countries like India, by preventing their firms from catching up with the latest technology.

India is a relatively poor country (if measured per capita), so patent maximalism never made sense for it. Some patents may be fine, but those which price medicine out of reach (for those in most desperate need) would be fatal. Since one of India’s biggest exports is software (code), software patents make no economic sense, either. Let alone purely practical sense…

01.02.19

The Real Harm of Really Bad European Patent Grants

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO is measuring speed rather than quality of work

Measuring

Summary: Patents that are of questionable validity/legitimacy do incredible harm/damage to the market; the EPO, however, is willing to look the other way while its rogue policies break the economy and remove products from the market

LAST MONTH Qualcomm dominated the news about patents. As Taro Yaguchi (Keisen Associates) put it, “Qualcomm And Apple Fighting In China Over Software Patents” and they fought elsewhere too, including in Europe (there was a widely-publiced ban on older models of iPhone). This was so widely reported/covered that we saw no urgent need to mention it (I was actually in Germany at the time, hence offline). Currently, only China is (still) a large economy that allows (explicitly) software patents. As we showed before, Qualcomm actively advocates software patents, which it then uses to embargo rivals’ products (or products of those unwilling to pay for questionable patents).

This brings us to the António Campinos-led European Patent Office (EPO), where software patents are being granted, not to mention all sorts of questionable patents on life and nature. As an insider noted earlier today, Team UPC publicly admits that European Patents granted by the EPO are of poor quality — a subject that Campinos won’t tackle. He just met the people in question and sought to remove the causes of criticism — whatever that means. He specified no actual plan. In the words of a Team UPC firm:

Furthermore, the remarkably high fees for a patent application and the EPO’s large reserves are rightly criticised. It cannot be that the EPO tends to want to make profits. Especially if you end up paying for mistakes with heavy fees.

And not only attorneys and lawyers, but also patent experts from the industry express criticism. According to the JUVE Patent Survey 2018, they want more professionalism. Only a few are behind the idea of the fastest possible registration process.

The EPO nowadays acts like a money-printing machine; it prints out monopolies, so what’s not to like? It’s just minting lots of rubbish, causing a gross hyperinflation of patents in Europe. Who will suffer? Certainly European companies on the receiving end of frivolous lawsuits.

11.17.18

Patent Maximalists in Europe Keep Mentioning China Even Though It Barely Matters to European Patents

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO white flag

Summary: EPO waves a “white flag” in the face of China even though Chinese patents do not matter much to Europe (except when the goal is to encourage low patent quality, attracting humongous patent trolls)

PRESIDENT António Campinos continues the tradition of his predecessor, posing with Chinese officials as if China is strategic to Europe’s patent system. Campinos and the man who gave him the job possibly fancy China because of its notoriously low standards/quality of patents, which in turn usher software patents into Europe (‘normalising’ this illegal practice, which is only legal in China).

“As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par)…”A European Patent Office (EPO) director, Peter Albrecht, speaks to patent maximalists, for one can assume that to become a director (or Director) at the EPO one must be a patent maximalist (to get promoted to that position if not just to keep that position).

As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par), yet this propaganda site of patents on life/nature (Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review is exactly that) uses Albrecht as follows, citing a lobbying event/think tank called “LSPN Europe”. Here they go:

Last year, for the first time in European Patent Office (EPO) history, a Chinese company filed the most European patent applications, making an “impressive statement” on what companies in the country are doing, according to Peter Albrecht.

Albrecht, who serves as principal director of the EPO’s healthcare, biotech and chemistry sector, was speaking at LSPN Europe 2018 today.

In 2017, electronics company Huawei claimed the top filing spot with 2,398 patent applications, in a move that Albrecht said was a “surprise”. Huawei bumped Siemens (based in Germany) into second place, ahead of competitors LG, Samsung and Qualcomm.

In China those few very large companies are typically connected to the government and they have a lot of patents; this gives the false impression that China matters a lot to the EPO. But it doesn’t. Less than one in 20 European Patents/applications are Chinese in source/origin.

“IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”.”Meanwhile, CCIA‘s main patent person wrote that “[t]he [Chinese] media has come up with new Chinese coinages translating to ‘patent scoundrel’ ‘patent cockroach’ and ‘patent monster’.” Patent troll suddenly seems so dated and staid.”

This is also based on an old report from IAM (from a Chinese-speaking writer); IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”. IAM’s ‘PR’ campaign for IPEL, a patent troll looking to prey on China (see some background in [1, 2]), is hard to forget; it was recently mentioned again by Managing IP, another proponent of patent trolls.

The article cited by the above says:

A recent article titled “Why non-practicing entities are good for China” has attracted notice in the English-language IP blogosphere. Originally featured on Chinese IP news site Zhichanli, which is affiliated with litigation data provider IP House, the article puts forth the case that greater activity by foreign NPEs in China can lift the value of Chinese patents, boosting the entire innovation ecosystem. By contrast, it warns, “failing to embrace foreign NPEs would immediately tell investors around the globe that Chinese patents are a bad investment”.

The article was posted by Zhichanli’s news editor, but contains a note explaining that it was compiled based on “relevant” material and does not necessarily reflect the site’s own point of view.

Much of the article focuses on iPEL, the NPE helmed by Brian Yates and Rasheed McWilliams that announced it had raised $100 million to buy and monetise Chinese patents earlier this year and claims to own around 1,000 former Huawei and ZTE rights. iPEL is framed as a company that is entering the market to target overseas infringers that are “stealing intellectual property from Chinese companies”. The NPE could hardly come off better if the article were written by Yates himself.

We already published about a dozen articles about how China (or “CHINA!”) was exploited by patent maximalists to manipulate politicians and steer agenda/policy, based on fear, hate, jealousy, and stigma. Similar political strategies exploit “RUSSIA!” but Russia isn’t too keen on this domain, so the patent maximalists typically settle on “CHINA!”

“The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from.”One has to be careful about these thinly-veiled xenophobic tricks or pseudo-patriotism if not overt nationalism. They make China seem like a potent threat based on patents that aren’t even prevalent in the West. But such is the agenda of sites like IAM, which does this to India as well; they wrote about Dolby in relation to India some months back and days ago they issued the latest ‘PR’ for Dolby’s patent aggression (in their site and in Twitter).

The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from. Obviously that’s a problem — one that well-educated patent examiners can recognise and routinely warn about publicly.

10.26.18

The EPO is Trying to Make Software Patents Look and Feel ‘Healthy’

Posted in Asia, Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, Microsoft (at the time)

Summary: India’s loopholes for software patents aren’t too easy to exploit, unlike the EPO’s because of the management, which goes out of its way to make software patents in Europe really easy to attain

THE EPO‘s loopholes for software patents in Europe have long been faux relation to a “device”, which makes the algorithms not ‘pure’ software “as such” (or “per se” in India). We wrote a lot about it, even more than a decade ago.

This new article by Rajeev Kumar and Pankaj Musyuni says that the Indian “Patent Office has also been developing examination guidelines in different technology areas, and, based on the stakeholder’s feedback, revised the guidelines for computer-related inventions in June 2017. The revised guidelines were significant for patent applicants since the revision involved the removal of the requirement that software patents can be claimed only in conjunction with novel hardware.”

“The above ‘article’ from LexOrbis is pure marketing and Mondaq masquerades as a news site. Its business model is charging money for law firms to be syndicated in ‘news’ form.”Whatever they mean by “novel hardware” (usually just some general-purpose computer on which the algorithm is run/executed). LexOrbis is a frequent proponent of software patents in India, as we noted before [1, 2]. So whatever it says on this subject ought to be taken with a grain of salt. They just try to sell services, such as software patent applications. The same goes for Managing IP, which is like a front group of this whole ‘industry’, albeit in Europe. After several EPO tweets to that effect, combining software with something about “medical” or “health” (we wrote about it earlier this week; last week the EPO attempted to associate software patents with “green” and “environment”), Managing IP comes out with this article titled “Life sciences firms reveal how AI could disrupt patent strategies” (euphemisms galore).

Combing their "Life sciences" nonsense with the buzzword which is “AI”, sites of the patent extortion (or litigation) ‘industry’ push patents on life and on maths in tandem. They’re shameless about this sick EPO agenda, which we last saw in yesterday’s EPO tweets. To quote the summary (there’s a paywall):

In-house counsel at life sciences companies reveal how machine-learning innovations are driving uncertainty over future filing strategies

They’re alluding to algorithms; I know this, having done programming in the area of machine learning a decade and a half ago during the Ph.D. programme. They hope that by throwing some words like “medical” they will manage to dress up computer programs as “ethical” and make patents on these seem “ethical” as well. As if lives are being saved by these patent monopolies. That’s just objectionable, but then again consider the objectionable people who nowadays run the EPO. António Campinos is just a quieter Battistelli.

Apropos or vis-à-vis, mind this new press release about a “medical” European Patent. It’s worth noting that the Associated Press (AP) disseminates such press releases as much as I’ve never seen before. Has AP been reduced to a ‘spam farm’ of press releases? A new business model? Business ads disguised as news using the “AP” brand? It’ll backfired surely because it can cheapen the brand, making “AP” synonymous with ads. Yesterday we wrote about how law firms hijacked and are presently paying the media to relay their marketing in 'article' form. The above ‘article’ from LexOrbis is pure marketing and Mondaq masquerades as a news site. Its business model is charging money for law firms to be syndicated in ‘news’ form. AP is apparently going down a similar route.

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