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08.15.18

President Battistelli ‘Killed’ the EPO; António Campinos Will ‘Finish the Job’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reducing jobs, only months after outsourcing jobs at EU-IPO (sending these overseas to low-salaried staff, even in defiance of EU rules)

Closed

Summary: The EPO is shrinking, but this is being shrewdly disguised using terms like “efficiency” and a low-profile President who keeps himself in the dark

THE number of granted patents continues to decrease (a steady decline) at the USPTO, representing improvements (restrictions) imposed there by the courts. We’ll say a little more about that later.

“These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”).”At the office in Munich, however, patent maximalism reigns supreme. The agenda has nothing to do with science and technology; the management lacks background in science and technology. The President is a former banker and his predecessor is a politician. These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”). It’s all about money. All. About. Money. Short-term gain. What doesn’t count to them is the long-term survival of their ‘company’ (it’s actually not a company but an institution with a monopoly, which should not strive for profits but instead serve public interests).

“The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.”
      –Märpel
Anyway, Märpel says that the EPO is “closing shop.” (that’s her headline). It is not literally but metaphorically doing so; it was ‘killed’ by Battistelli and his friend António Campinos (French successor of choice) ‘finishes the job’.

Here are some details from last night (some of this is new to us):

As discussed in the last post, the EPO experiences difficulties in finding candidates. Recruitment is stopped.

The tipping point was last spring, when President Battistelli had a project to move all staff to 5-years contracts. That project shocked the staff, especially staff from Germany. They spread the news to their friends and relatives, far beyond the borders of the Office: in Munich, even the lay person on the street knows that there is a problem at the big building near the Isar. Märpel was actually surprised to hear that message from distant relatives, even her doctor!

The project was put on hold, but this will not be sufficient to undo the damage done to the reputation of the EPO as an employer. Nowadays, prospective employees know that work contracts with the Office can be changed any moment to their disadvantage.

[...]

Instead, one of the first announcements of President Campinos was that the target for 2019 shall be lower than the one for 2018 (that announcement is not public but was told in several meetings). Why that surprising announcement when each preceding year saw the target increase by stunning numbers? The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.

This is, in general, how institutions get diminished. Maybe Campinos hopes to covertly reduce the size of the workforce without having to announce layoffs, instead relying on people to leave (because their salary gets halved), their now-limited contract ending and so on. The net effect is the same.

What if this office wound up being just a big pile of stakeholders’ money (tied to toxic mortgages), lots of low-quality patents (of questionable validity), no high-quality staff, and a construction site?

08.14.18

Patent Lawyers Writing Patent Law for Their Own Enrichment Rather Than for Innovation

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anathema, antithetical to the very concept/purpose of patents

A payment

Summary: We have become detached from the original goals and come to the point where patent offices aren’t necessarily run by people qualified for the job of advancing science and technology; they, unlike judges, only seem to care about how many patents get granted, irrespective of their quality/merit

THE conundrum which lawmakers sometimes face depends on who pays (or bribes) them. We recently wrote about Orrin Hatch, sponsored the most by the pharmaceutical industry, trying to make pharmaceutical patents immune/exempted from Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). The USPTO is itself run by a lot of lawyers, not just scientists; look who has been appointed its Director.

There has always been this danger that nontechnical people (like Battistelli and Campinos) would doom patent offices, making them little more than litigation pipelines, preparing the patents for lawsuits, even frivolous ones.

“There has always been this danger that nontechnical people (like Battistelli and Campinos) would doom patent offices, making them little more than litigation pipelines, preparing the patents for lawsuits, even frivolous ones.”“The UK will also be excluded from the EU’s unitary patent framework,” says a British magazine this week, perpetuating the false belief that something constructed by lawyers for personal gain is actually worthwhile for all of us. But more importantly, however, there is no such framework. The Unified Patent Court is dead, irrespective of Brexit. It never existed and it doesn’t seem as though it ever will.

The EPO has said virtually nothing about the UPC for over a month now. Moreover, it’s not desirable to Britain or any other country. Only to patent lawyers and trolls. These ‘unitary’ patents are of no real value for SMEs, for instance, and more often than not companies that aren’t even European want these.

Here’s the relevant part:

33. The UK will depart the EU’s intellectual property regime, with EU trademarks ceasing to have British application. The UK will also be excluded from the EU’s unitary patent framework.

Which doesn’t even exist?

Over in the US, Watchtroll constantly complains. It moans, even on Monday, about anything at all which reduces patent scope and improves the quality of patents (based on obviousness in this case). Such is the nature of the litigation ‘industry’. It always wants more and more patents — even low-quality ones — to saturate the system and hammer on the dockets (of courts).

Gene Quinn is again lobbying the PTO, trying to tell it what the rules should be. He said “the rule the MPEP should be revised to contain is this: “The prior art reference (or references when combined) must teach all the claim limitations. Only in the most extraordinary of situations where the missing claim limitation is ‘unusually simple and the technology particularly straightforward’ is it appropriate for common sense to be relied upon to supply a missing claim limitation.””

Dennis Crouch said that “[t]he USPTO has quietly proposed adding new annual bar dues ($240 – $410) for patent practitioners as well a continuing legal education (CLE) requirement. The proposal is buried in the Table of Proposed Fees that will serve as the basis for an upcoming September 6, 2018 PPAC meeting on fees.”

These are indoctrination programs for patent maximalists (“practitioners”). They’re people who look to make money out of patents without actually creating anything, i.e. they’re not practitioners per se. Joseph Herndon wrote about the fee increases over at Patent Docs:

On August 8, 2018, Director Iancu issued a letter to the Patent Public Advisory Committee notifying of proposed fee increases at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and institution of new annual fee for active patent practitioners.

The Director stated that the fee increases are needed to ensure commitment to fiscal responsibility, financial prudence, and operational efficiency.

This is a patent fee proposal open for comment at this stage, and the Director stated that it is anticipated that the fee adjustments resulting from this effort will not be implemented until the January 2021 timeframe. Generally, there are across the board fee increases, and the USPTO stated that given the nearly three-year gap between the implementation of the last fee adjustments and the anticipated effective date of this fee setting effort, a five percent increase to fees is similar to fees rising by 1.6 percent annually.

At the end of last year two scholars, Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman, explained why the patent office lost touch with reality. If wasn’t for SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit issuing judgments that reduce confidence in granted patents, the patent office would still be awarding loads of nonsensical patents. In Europe the courts have come under an unprecedented attack; the patent office waged a war on judges and made it harder to reach justice for judges might dare point out the decline in the quality of patents.

08.13.18

PTAB is Loathed by Patent Maximalists Because It Can Potentially Invalidate Thousands of Software Patents (More Than Courts Can Handle)

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

It’s nowadays needed more than ever because of examination sloppiness

Intuitive visions

Summary: The US patent system has become more resistant to software patents; courts, however, are still needed to invalidate such patents (a potentially expensive process) because the USPTO continues to grant these provided some fashionable buzzwords/hype waves are utilised (e.g. “facial recognition”, “blockchain”, “autonomous vehicles”)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), increasingly dealing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) barriers (based on SCOTUS rulings), no longer grants software patents quite so easily; the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its inter partes reviews (IPRs) sometimes prevents examiners from granting such patents, so software patents are prevented from even existing in the first place. The Federal Circuit (CAFC) typically approves all this. So where can the patent maximalists turn? Who can they blame? Who will they attack?

“”Blockchain patents” are another type of bunk patents on algorithms, i.e. patents that should not be granted as per Section 101/Alice. Existing ones should be invalidated en masse, e.g. one by one at PTAB.”Jeremy Doerre is the latest to moan about Section 101. He does this in Watchtroll. These people just want software patents because they want more patent litigation, not because of any other reason. Remember that Watchtroll routinely attacks PTAB, CAFC and even SCOTUS. This is what we have come to expect because nothing else has worked. Attacking courts and judges won’t help either; that’s just likely to alienate.

Another site of patent maximalists has just promoted a patent maximalists’ ‘event’ about PTAB (among other things). “Webinar” is what they call it; there’s also a FCBA webinar about the USPTO being promoted/advertised there (a day ago). In spite of its name, FCBA has nothing to do with CAFC; it’s arguably against CAFC’s interests because patent maximalism is the goal. What troubles us is that these sites and groups basically strive to undo all the patent progress. All they want is litigation; lots and lots of it! In order to better facilitate such litigation they need to broaden patent scope and make courts more plaintiff-friendly.

We’re still seeing all sorts of abstract patents being granted and then bragged about. This example from a few days ago is a press release and there was plenty of press coverage about a new Intuit patent on Bitcoin stuff (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and lots more — perhaps dozens — like that). These are software patents (likely invalid, abstract); why grant these? Generally speaking, software patents are abstract and thus bunk. These should never be granted as courts would not honour them. That merely reduces confidence in patents and lowers certainty associated with patent litigation. Some of the applicants try to work around Section 101, falsely believing that fooling examiners would also mean that judges and experts can be fooled. In practice it doesn’t work that way because in the courtrooms (or even at PTAB) they quickly catch the errors; examiners are inclined to grant, unlike PTAB and the courts.

“On a car” patents, which are basically software patents, are showing up again. Apple, based on other reports [1, 2], patents new ways to distract drivers. Even European Patent (granted by the EPO). “Over the last eight months a wide range of patent applications covering autonomous vehicles have come to light,” said a news site citing a pro-Apple site, “with many of them discovered in Europe. In that time frame we also learned that Apple is working with Volkswagen on an autonomous vehicle. Earlier today Patently Apple discovered yet another European Patent application from Apple that was published on Wednesday August 1, 2018.”

But once again, these are just software patents which the EPO should not have granted. Where are the oppositions and the appeal boards? EPO examiners told us specifically about Apple that they were pressured to grant bogus patents to it. It’s like they have no choice (otherwise the job is at risk).

“Blockchain patents” are another type of bunk patents on algorithms, i.e. patents that should not be granted as per Section 101/Alice. Existing ones should be invalidated en masse, e.g. one by one at PTAB.

Mind this new report titled “Blockchain Patents Will Shape Innovation – and That’s a Little Bit Scary”, stating that “[t]here were 1,240 blockchain patents filed last year. That’s not normal. The number of blockchain patent applications, in fact, has grown over 600 percent since 2016. This year, retailing giant Wal-Mart secured blockchain patents for crypto household energy payments, wearable medical records, and a security system. They also filed patents for drone delivery and “autonomous ground vehicle” delivery systems.”

See that pattern of “autonomous ground vehicle” patents? This is, once again, software. They’re just pursuing software patents by another name/label, “fintech” if not stuff like “blockchain”. “Tech Giants Lead the Way on Fintech Patents, Ahead of Banks,” Watchtroll wrote. Sadly, the USPTO actively promotes software patents under the guise of “blockchain” (abstract); the EPO facilitates similar tricks, but courts won’t fall for it. As one site put it some days ago: “The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published on Thursday a series of patent applications, some of which were related to distributed ledger technology (DLT), also called blockchain. Among the applicants, we noticed companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Northern Trust Corporation, British Telecommunications, and JPMorgan.”

What’s curious here is that the USPTO willfully promotes patents which it probably knows would be invalidated under Section 101 (if assessed properly). Also mind this new report about “IBM facial recognition patents”. These too should be invalidated as they’re on algorithms, not just because IBM is "trolling" many companies with many such bogus patents. To quote: “The media has gone into a frenzy over Google’s latest facial recognition patent that shows an algorithm can track you across social media and gather your personal details. We thought, we’d dive further into what other patents Google has applied for in facial recognition tehnology in 2018. What we discovered was an eye opener (pun intended). Google is only the 3rd largest applicant with IBM and Samsung leading the patents race in facial recognition. As of 10th Aug, 2018, 1292 patents have been granted in 2018 on Facial recognition. Of those, IBM received 53. Here is the summary comparison of leading companies in facial recognition patents in 2018.”

Well, facial recognition patents are patents on algorithms. Why are they being granted at all? “As of 10th Aug, 2018, 1292 patents have been granted in 2018 on Facial recognition,” the above says. What does that mean for software developers and what does that say about the USPTO?

Many software developers despair at the sight of such ‘thickets’ of patents; they cannot practically read thousands of patents (for just one single domain of theirs) and they don’t want to risk litigation. PTAB and courts need to make it clear to examiners that patent maximalism should not be tolerated. It’s better to reject in haste than to wrongly grant an abstract patent.

08.11.18

EPO-Style Problem-Solution: Tackling Backlog by Granting Lots of Low-Quality (Bogus) European Patents, Causing a Surge in Troll/Frivolous Litigation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: The Patent Trolls’ Lobby, Bristows and IAM Among Others, Downplays Darts-IP/IP2Innovate Report About Rising If Not Soaring Troll Activity in Europe

SCSI

Summary: The EPO’s lack of interest in genuine patent quality (measuring “quality” in terms of speed, not actual quality) may mean nothing but a litigation epidemic; many of these lawsuits would be abusive, baseless; those harmed the most would be small businesses that cannot afford a legal defense and would rather settle with those who exploit questionable patents, notably patent trolls

THE decline/demise of patent quality at the Munich-based patent office isn’t just an hypothesis; firms and examiners speak about it. They’re concerned. They even pen open letters with many signatures. Sometimes petitions. They rightly worry and they understand the long-term ramifications, knowing that the Munich-based patent office (other locations too) relies on its reputation and the high legal certainty once associated with patents assessed to be awarded/granted. Those who understand how the patent system works (either as examiners or law firms’ staff) want what’s best not only for themselves but also for their country/ies. As we last stressed a few days ago, patent maximalism is generally a threat to the entire patent system. Greed can cause the entire thing to collapse.

“…patent maximalism is generally a threat to the entire patent system. Greed can cause the entire thing to collapse.”Frivolous litigation is nowadays being reported in Europe; we privately hear some stories and the EPO is to blame. “Opposition proceedings in the EPO are currently under appeal to the Technical Bureau of Appeal (“TBA”),” say Matheson’s Michael Finn and Deirdre Kilroy. It’s about Ireland. Yesterday they wrote:

The Irish Commercial Court has departed from a long standing precedent and refused to suspend national patent revocation proceedings whilst parallel opposition proceedings are ongoing in the European Patents Office (the “EPO”). This has the potential to result in an increase in litigating national patents devolved from European patents in Ireland. In this article, IP litigator Michael Finn highlights some of the key aspects of the decision.

[...]

On 31 July 2018, the Court refused to suspend the entire proceedings. The Court suspended the trial until late 2019. However, in a departure from previous Irish case law, the Court directed that all pre-trial steps in the proceedings should go ahead.

[...]

In deciding to suspend the trial until November 2019, the Court was influenced by the prospect that the EPO proceedings could potentially be resolved completely within 12 months, and the potential waste of court resources would outweigh other considerations.

Some of these European Patents should never have been granted in the first place. Once granted, they can form the basis for frivolous lawsuits, causing a lot of trouble and costing a fortune.

We have always been particularly concerned about software patents. The USPTO moves away from software patents, whereas the EPO is actively promoting software patents in Europe (several times per day lately; it got worse after António Campinos had taken over).

“They’re “politely” if not “silently” destroying what used to be the world’s best patent office.”FB Rice’s Eddie Walker, Jeremy Dobbin, Madeleine Kelly, Steve Gledhill, Andrea Ruhrmann, Will Morgan and Toby Thompson now have this new article. It is about Australia, which disallows software patents, imitating Europe’s loopholes rather than be inspired by Alice (SCOTUS). Does Australia not know that the EPO does not follow European law, EPC etc.? They’re alluding to what’s often used as a ‘trick’ by which to patent algorithms.

To quote:

A new consultation regarding legislation that will change the way inventive step is considered for Australian patents has been announced, with the intention being to raise the threshold by aligning with European standards. In future, the EPO “problem-solution” test will usually be adopted when assessing inventive step in Australia, which is a different assessment from the lower level problem-solution assessment currently used here.

It remains to be seen whether other aspects of the European inventive step assessment will also be imported into Australian practice. A principal reason for the current difference in standards is that the circumstances under which two prior art documents can validly be mosaicked to sustain an obviousness attack are much broader in Europe. Unless this aspect of Australian practice also changes, the legislative amendments may not have as significant an effect as desired.

[...]

Whilst an EPO-style problem-solution approach may become the norm for assessing inventive step in Australia, the Draft Explanatory Memorandum sets out that there will be flexibility to adopt other tests in some circumstances.[ix] This is also welcome, since although the rigid approach of the EPO in following problem-solution provides relative legal certainty, it is not necessarily the best approach for all situations.

The approach of “problem-solution” is, in our humble assessment, unhelpful. It dodges underlying tests like Section 101 in the US — a subject which we’ll explore again later this weekend. The most distressing thing is Campinos and his silence on these matters; there’s zero transparency, zero accountability and almost zero words from Campinos. They’re “politely” if not “silently” destroying what used to be the world’s best patent office. In the process they harm European firms.

08.09.18

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement is Paralysed, So Team UPC is Twisting Old News

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPCA paralysis

Summary: Paralysis of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) means that people are completely forgetting about its very existence; those standing to benefit from it (patent litigation firms) are therefore recycling and distorting old news

THE FIRST step of António Campinos as EPO President was UPC promotion, which includes attacking constitutions across many countries in Europe. Since then the EPO has been promoting software patents virtually every day (sometimes more than once per day) in spite of the ban in Europe. So it’s like the pertinent laws and truth itself don’t matter to the EPO. It’s like Battistelli is still in charge, but his face looks a little different now (nationality is the same).

“Actually, the United Kingdom does not want the Unified Patent Court; it’s just a bunch of law firms with a powerful lobby like CIPA that wants it and misrepresents SMEs, the country at large, and people who actually work in science and technology.”We have stumbled upon quite a few Unitary Patent puff pieces this week. IAM’s UPC propaganda mill was today’s biggest culprit. It’s like that same old UPC propaganda which the EPO’s PR agency paid IAM for.

Some hours ago David Holland, Roger Lush and Melanie Stevenson (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP) overlooked major UPC barriers. Citing UK-IPO (which is biased for obvious reasons), they promote/perpetuate two famous lies and say: “Looking to the future, the government proposes that the “UK should continue to participate in the unitary patent system and the Unified Patent Court that underpins it”, confirming the United Kingdom’s long-held desire to participate in this new pan-European system.”

Actually, the United Kingdom does not want the Unified Patent Court; it’s just a bunch of law firms with a powerful lobby like CIPA that wants it and misrepresents SMEs, the country at large, and people who actually work in science and technology. This is what happens when law firms write “the news”; it’s just marketing and lobbying. Speaking of law firms, hours ago Jörg Prechtel (Weickmann & Weickmann PartmbB) wrote this piece about the UPC, missing the point that the principal issue with UPC, as per the constitutional complaint in Germany, isn’t just conditions for renewal of judges’ contracts but the EPO having a long track record of breaking the law, attacking judges, and defaming them. Prechtel wrote this:

On 18 March 2018 the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe permitted the appointment of judges for a limited time (Richter auf Zeit), but only under specific conditions (Docket 2BvR 780/16).

This decision may affect a pending constitutional complaint against the UPC Agreement (for more information please see “Constitutional complaint against UPC Agreement”), since Article 4 of the Statute of the UPC provides that judges may be appointed for a limited time (six years) and can be re-appointed.

[...]

In light of this decision, the court’s stance regarding the UPC Agreement remains uncertain. While it considers the employment of Richter auf Zeit admissible in principle, there are restrictions (ie, temporary personnel requirements and the prohibition of re-appointment).

However, since the court system proposed by the UPC Agreement is international, the Federal Constitutional Court may not apply its strict national standards.

They are just trying to influence the outcome of the constitutional complaint against the UPC Agreement (UPCA); they’re not even good at hiding it. There are apparently four components to this complaint and it may not be decided/ruled on before next year or 2020. In the meantime UPCA languishes to the point where Team UPC has nothing at all to report; all they do is spin of old news.

08.08.18

WeMove.EU Tackles Low Patent Quality at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Far too broad a scope for patenting

No patents on beer
Now at 175,179 out of 200,000 signatures

Summary: The breadth of European Patents, which now cover even nature itself, worries public interest groups; Team UPC, however, wants patent scope to expand further and António Campinos has expressed his intention to further increase the number of grants

THE EPO is demonstrably out of control. Patent scope has gone crazy and firms like law giants (lawsuits ‘industry’) have the most to gain from it. The same goes for large monopolies/oligopolies like Big Alcohol/Breweries. We previously mentioned Carlsberg's patents on barley and the subject has just reemerged because WeMove.EU initiated a petition on the matter:

WeMove.EU group has launched a petition at European Patent Office (EPO) to deny patent grants for regular bred plants and technology used in the process of beer making.

WeMove.EU claimed that the EPO has granted patents to both Heineken and Carlsberg for regularly bred barley, which it argues is “knowledge that’s been around for thousands of years”.

It added: “With the patent these transnational corporations own the barley from the seed to the pint of beer. Not only is it outrageous these greedy corporations want to own a tradition that has been around for thousands of years, but in granting the patent, the EPO is in breach of EU law. Not only, for every patent they approve, they get paid.”

The group claim that it will “claim barley back and take this chance to urge Member States to stop the EPO from breaching EU law”.

WeMove.EU say that brewing companies would profit three times over from patenting regur;ar barley, selling the seeds to farmers, then buying them back to turn them into beer for consumers, in what the group refer to as control “from the field to the pub”.

As longtime readers are aware, we’ve always focused on the absurdity which is patents on abstract ideas and on life (which predates the patent system). Nature is not an invention and messing around with nature isn’t an invention either; it’s a modification at best.

“Nature is not an invention and messing around with nature isn’t an invention either; it’s a modification at best.”Patent maximalists don’t think that’s enough though. They always want to broaden patent scope further and further; they profit from it. David Hansom from Clyde & Co has just published this Mondaq self-promotional piece that mentions the Unified Patent Court (no news in that domain at all!) and Out-Law did the same thing today. “Unified Patent Court: UK to be a member during Brexit transition,” says a site owned by a Team UPC firm. It sounds positive (promoting the two famous lies), but that does not address constitutional issues with UPC and issues associated with Brexit in general (Britain cannot remain in UPC unless it remains in the EU). So basically, this whole Unitary Patent spin continues unabated. Pure propaganda. To quote:

The deal, between UK and EU27 Brexit negotiators, was agreed in March, but its relevance to the UPC was subtly referenced in a new guidance document for life sciences companies published on Monday.

The new UPC system, years in the planning but yet to become operational, foresees a Europe-wide court system to ensure that businesses have a streamlined process for enforcing patents through a single court where the patents are within the scope of the UPC – including new unitary patents. The UPC is to include central, regional and local divisional courts across Europe.

An international agreement, the UPC Agreement, was adopted in 2013 by 25 of the 28 EU member states. It provides for the creation of the UPC framework.

That was 5 years ago. We wrote about that at the time, but ratification has since then halted and there’s a growing number of constitutional challenges, including successful challenges. The goal of the UPC is to phase in patent maximalism, including raids, sanctions and expanded patent scope (including software patents in Europe). It attempts to bring to Europe exactly the type of mess the USPTO has been trying to get away from.

08.07.18

Racing to the Bottom, the António Campinos-Led EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents, Just Like China

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shen (SIPO), Lutz, Battistelli, and Lamy at the end of 2016 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

SIPO Lamy and Battistelli

Summary: The EPO is being transformed into ‘SIPO Europe’ [1, 2], a dangerous gamble which would leave European firms more susceptible to frivolous litigation and generally reduce the value of previously-much-coveted European Patents

THE number of patents granted by the USPTO is declining. That’s not a bad thing; what’s most important is the quality of granted patents. The opposite thing is happening at the EPO and based on the internal EPO communications/memos, António Campinos is perfectly happy to automate patent examination tasks and still increase so-called ‘production’, even by means that examiners warned about (it’s easy to work around or bypass algorithm-based prior art searches).

“Software patents in Europe were always our foremost concern and there’s no sign of them stopping.”This is a disaster in the making, but the Outsourcer in Chief Campinos doesn’t seem to mind. He’s copying China. Less than a day ago we saw recognition of the fact that China nowadays grants truly appalling patents. The EPO now goes down the same route…

“SIPO’s stats for the first half of 2018 highlight growth in patent filings but practitioners are concerned about quality,” Karry Lai wrote from Hong Kong in a patent maximalists’ site. Meanwhile, according to an ad from Watchtroll (posted yesterday), “USPTO Seeks Senior Counsel for China Intellectual Property Policy”.

Software patents in Europe were always our foremost concern and there’s no sign of them stopping. In fact, the EPO was promoting software patents less than a day ago when it wrote: “Régis Quélavoine, a director in Mobility and Mechatronics at the EPO, will discuss patenting computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence at the EPO at this event in Chicago…”

And then (on the same afternoon) the EPO 'dressed up' software patents as "artificial intelligence" when it wrote: “Over 350 experts from industry, academia, patent law firms and national patent offices attended the first-ever event on the impact of #artificialintelligence on the patent system.”

Worryingly enough, these sorts of tweets have become very frequent since Campinos took over (maybe more frequent than back in the Battistelli days).

08.05.18

Law Firms Are Offering Very Misleading and Self-Serving Advice Regarding ‘Unitary’ Effect for European Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Web of deceit

Recent: Beware Team UPC’s Biggest Two Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

Pure greed

Summary: Living up to the tune/cliché of “lawyers are liars”, various law firms — especially British firms that profit from patent maximalism/aggression — want us to think that it’s time to ‘stock up’ on ‘unitary’ patents, relying on some prospective existence of a system that’s basically up in flames before its forever-postponed commencement

HAVING already published many rebuttals on this subject, we were reluctant to make yet another, but we’ll keep this one short. The EPO grants many low-quality patents while at the same time pushing for a plaintiff-friendly court system (UPC) that would be ruinous to SMEs and favourable to patent trolls (and law firms that these trolls operate through). The USPTO is a cautionary tale here, conjoined with the Eastern District of Texas. Trolls want to be able to enforce patents in relatively biased courts or simply issue threats in a lot of US states (or EU member states) in order for small and defenseless companies to ‘cough out’ money. Will that succeed? Thankfully no. It doesn’t look like it.

“The two famous lies (we see them repeated every week) are that UPC is about to become a reality and the only remaining question/unknown is Britain’s participation in it.”We already wrote quite a lot of rebuttals to law firms which twist the words of the British government. They perhaps hope to attract/create a ‘demand’ for ‘unitary’ patents. Down To Earth Magazine (classified press release/blog) has just repeated CIPA’s talking points (CIPA is one of the worst culprits when it comes to UPC lobbying). Speaking as though UPC is certain to happen, it also does not properly frame it w.r.t. constitutional complaints. If that’s not bad enough, this was republished (pushed out again) a few days later under a different headline. From the text:

A major concern is regarding Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Laws, for instance, on the fate of the Unitary Patent and the highly “Europeanised” areas of IP law, such as trademarks and design. The immediate impact is going to be on the Unified Patent System and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The European Patent with Unitary Effect (EPUE) was signed on February 19, 2013, by 24 EU member states including the UK and is currently ratified by all current EU members, except Spain and Croatia, making it effective in 26 EU member states.

Nothing is actually effective at all and UPCA is stuck if not dead. We soon found Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Rachel Montagnon and Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Wolfgang Schönig, Sana Ashcroft, and Robert Grohmann writing similarly misleading pieces, easily contradicted by the government's own statements.

So basically, no… the UPC isn’t happening. The two famous lies (we see them repeated every week) are that UPC is about to become a reality and the only remaining question/unknown is Britain’s participation in it.

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