German Media About Industry Patent Quality Charter (IPQC) and the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More translations (with more languages) available in the site of the EPO‘s union, SUEPO

EPO shot
Siemens is one of the largest applicants at the European Patent Office.
Source: Matthias Balk/dpa

Summary: SUEPO has just released 3 translations of new articles in German; this is the first of the three (“Industrie kritisiert Europäisches Patentamt”)

THE following was translated by staff of the EPO. The staff wants to general public to know this:

Industry criticises European Patent Office

An initiative of several large companies is concerned about the quality of patent examinations at the European Patent Office. There, speed comes before accuracy, they say. The office sees things differently.

The European Patent Office (EPO) has come in for criticism from industry. An initiative of now 21 companies is concerned about the quality of patent examination. “We have the impression that the EPO is primarily concerned with processing as many patents as possible,” says Beat Weibel, head of patents at Siemens, who initiated the Industry Patent Quality Charter (IPQC), in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Examiners, he says, are exposed to ever-increasing production pressure and are therefore no longer in a position to examine thoroughly enough. “While in our case we see that the amount of work required for a patent application on average is always bigger, things have to move faster and faster at the EPO,” explains Weibel. “That worries us because the quality of the examination suffers as a result. He does not receive exact figures from the EPO on the time budget of the examiners, he says. “But if you look at the number of examiners and the number of examinations patents, the result is roughly a halving over the past ten years.”

Jörg Thomaier, head of patents at Bayer, which is also a member of the IPQC, shares Weibel’s

“The EPO used to be known for taking a long time to test. In recent years, we have the impression that more attention is paid to speed and that examinations are no longer as thorough,” he says. “Things are faster now, but the revocation rate in the patent appeal process has gone up.”

Such a revocation is extremely unfavourable for the patent applicants. “Patents are extremely important for a company like Bayer,” Thomaier emphasises. “It’s not so much the quantity that matters, but that I can enforce them – if necessary – and that they don’t fall over at the first gust of wind of a review.” The Swiss company Roche, which has also joined the IPQC, says: “As an industry, we depend on reliable patents. That is the basis for investing in our research.”

Siemens is one of the largest applicants at the European Patent Office. Last year, the Munich-based company was number six among applicants at the EPO, and number two among European companies – behind Ericsson. The Swedes are also members of the IPQC.
“We would like the auditors to have more time to do their job, because the Patents are becoming more and more complex,” says Gabriele Mohsler, Vice President Patent Development there. “In individual cases, we have also seen that the searches were not sufficiently thorough.”

Overall, however, her assessment is not quite as critical: “Basically, I think the quality at the EPO is good. But we don’t want it to drop and in some areas it could be higher,” says Mohsler.

Thomaier from Bayer also says: “In a global comparison, the quality of the EPO is not bad. But it is a long way from what it once was: the clear gold standard. And that’s where we as an industry want to get back to.” A key solution in his eyes: more staff.
“More applications also require more examiners,” he emphasises. “At the moment, we have the
impression that the capacity is not sufficient.

The EPO, on the other hand, emphasises on request that the quality of patent searches “always has top priority”. Many countries regard its work “as a global benchmark for patent quality”. This is also reflected in surveys by “leading intellectual property journals”, in which the EPO “consistently ranks first among patent professionals”. Some of the figures used by the IPQC, however, are inaccurate.

In addition, the Patent Office points out that it has its own working group on quality in its Standing Consultative Committee with 74 members from 40 countries. Last October, it also published a new Quality Charter, “in which our commitment to high quality and excellence at every stage of the patent granting process is set out”.

There are two more English translations that we wish to reproduce for plain text and Gem(ini)Text. Then comes a new video.


[Meme] When the Patent Office Controls Kangaroo Patent Courts and Judges

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All EPO-granted patents are valid

Summary: The EPO has been hijacked by industry and its lobbyists; now the same is happening to EU patent courts, even though it is illegal and unconstitutional


FFII: German President of the Unified Patent Court Rewrites the Treaty Like a Dictator

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:27 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Benjamin HENRION


Brussels, 22 May 2023 — The German President of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), Klaus Grabinski, has decided alone to rewrite the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) at this own will, and move London to Paris and Munich due to Brexit. FFII condemn this abuse of power and violation of the Rule of Law. This a decision typical of a dictatorship, not of an institution governed by the separation of powers. Judge Grabinski will also have the last word over software patents in Europe, without any possible appeal to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

The President of the UPC decided the following:

In its meeting of 8 May 2023, the Presidium of the Unified Patent Court decided that, as from 1 June 2023, actions pending before the central division related to patents in IPC section (A) shall be assigned to the seat in Paris while actions related to patents in IPC section (C) shall be assigned to the section in Munich. […] the Presidium has exercised its managerial power under Article 15(3) of the Statute of the Unified Patent Court in the aforementioned sense.

— Unified-Patent-Court.org: Decision on the provisional distribution of actions related to patents in IPC sections (A) and (C) pending before the central division | Unified Patent Court (unified-patent-court.org) https://www.unified-patent-court.org/en/news/decision-provisional-distribution-actions-related-patents-ipc-sections-and-c-pending-central

Article 15(3) of the Statutes of the Unified Patent Court does not mention any power to decide on such a political topic to relocate the Court from one place to another, except a broad “management” responsibility:

  1. The Presidium shall be responsible for the management of the Court and shall in particular:
    (a) draw up proposals for the amendment of the Rules of Procedure in accordance with Article 41 of the
    Agreement and proposals regarding the Financial Regulations of the Court;
    (b) prepare the annual budget, the annual accounts and the annual report of the Court and submit them to
    the Budget Committee;
    (c) establish the guidelines for the training programme for judges and supervise the implementation thereof;
    (d) take decisions on the appointment and removal of the Registrar and the Deputy-Registrar;
    (e) lay down the rules governing the Registry including the sub-registries;
    (f) give an opinion in accordance with Article 83(5) of the Agreement.

Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (2013/C 175/01) https://www.unified-patent-court.org/sites/default/files/upc_documents/agreement-on-a-unified-patent-court.pdf

The decision of the UPC’s President is not an item in the list between points (a)-(f), but under the broad “management of the Court” broad spectrum. This is an abuse of the Rule of Law, as judges are not supposed to rewrite the Content of Treaties. This power is the one reserved to law makers, not to judges.

The whole game is to change the Treaty without having to call for a diplomatic conference. People in Germany have invented this idea that the UPCA can be changed without a diplomatic conference, using the art87(2) UPCA, which will be active on the 1st of June 2023 at 00h01. The Administrative Committee will then rubberstamp the relocation of London competencies to Paris and Munich without having to pass by National Parliaments. Countries are playing with fire as tribunals (here the appeal court) need to be established by LAW according to the ECHR art6.1.

The Rule of Law is dead (art2TFEU), but that we know it since the legal service of the Council decided to declare the UPCA into force despite the signature of the UK being still missing.

This decision of the President is also not challengeable in front of another tribunal, as international organizations are shielded from challenges, enjoy immunity and impunity. This is what had been created: an EPO-like monster, a new country where all abuses are now possible, including recruiting judges from Nokia or Airbus, which are like Judge Grabinski ardent supporters of software patents.



[Meme] Illegally and Unconstitutionally Starting ‘Unified Patent Court’ in Violation of Numerous Conventions

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 8:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Milan is in London?

Summary: Team UPC has privately decided that Milan is in London and it’s time to start a kangaroo court for the EPO’s aristocrats, who granted lots of fake patents, which need fake judges to approve them


This is Proof That We Need to Speak Even More About Free Software and Explain What Freedom Means (Not Price, It’s Not ‘Freeware’)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Law, Patents at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is false:

Karen Melchior et al before Amendment 130

Summary: Free-as-in-Freedom (FaiF) or freedom-respecting software is under attack; the “source code available” crowd (like Microsoft GitHub) is warping the debate and suggests not mentioning freedom at all

THE OSI, a de facto front group of Microsoft, is trying to eradicate the “F” in FOSS or to stop saying FOSS altogether. We wrote about this on Friday morning [1, 2]. But they’re lying. They’re self-serving sellouts. If anything, the misconception in the above page (screenshot of page 12 of this document by Karen Melchior et al) highlights the need to better explain — or to explain more often — what Free/libre software is, how it works, and how it is developed.

“For the EU side of things see point #129,” an associate said. “Amendment 130 is the place where Software Freedom needs to be mentioned.”

Here is the relevant part:

Amendment 130 pages

“The very term “freedom” is being actively, quickly, and quietly erased from society across the board,” the associate noted. “Remember that RMS gets (or got) brigaded for having the audacity to mention the F-word loudly and publicly.”

“I’d also say that opponents have now dusted off the term “freeware” after a very long hiatus to try to increase confusion about freedom and specifically about software freedom.”

Reporting That Embarrasses Powerful People Online is at Risk (Politicians Are at It Again)

Posted in America, Europe, Law at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 326ca25a0add9eb3055664d6d0bc1cc5
Restrictions in Canada and EU
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Journalism online is under attack, especially through centralised “services” (especially social control media and proprietary search engines, which are veiled disservices or censorship mechanisms) and as usual this is disguised as combating piracy, protecting children, and protecting adults from “misinformation”

THE other day we added two important items under the “politics” category of Daily Links. One concerned Canada’s “Liberal Party Policy Proposal” and the other concerned DSA’s (Digital Services Act) Article 37 and Article 44, which is open for feedback until the start of June. The former explores options to “hold on-line information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.” The latter “is to set out the necessary rules for the procedures, methodology and templates used for the audits of very large online platforms and very large online search engines as required under the Digital Services Act (Article 37).”

“…what the European Commission does typically gets implemented in north American countries and vice versa for political and cultural reasons.”As noted in the video above, what the European Commission does typically gets implemented in north American countries and vice versa for political and cultural reasons. They habitually refer to this as harmonisation.

In recent decades we saw a whole bunch of laws put forth as “bills” and “proposals”, resulting in less speech online or more censorship by large, centralised “services”, including search and social control media. When in Canada they say “limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced” they basically mean only people that the oligarchs can punish for disclosing “embarrassing” information. That would hurt anonymous sources. As an associate put it, this is one “among the many other problems with that approach.”

“In recent decades we saw a whole bunch of laws put forth as “bills” and “proposals”, resulting in less speech online or more censorship by large, centralised “services”, including search and social control media.”“Among several reasons it is very relevant to Techrights because of the sources relied upon and need for protecting them from retaliation and other abuse.”

In the video above I give the examples of Novell, Microsoft, and the EPO. Source protection is very immportant. In the case of the EU, they still seek/strive to control “very large online search engines” (such as Google) and it seems to be geared towards changing or controlling the narrative. They try to get those corporations to serve some political agenda.

If you live in the EU, you can read the documents listed here and provide feedback by June 2nd (someone has already submitted a comment in French). They may or may not listen, but it’s the best we can do at the moment.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Covers Software Patents Again

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cory Doctorow
By Dominik Butzmann / re:publica – re:publica faces 2019, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Summary: Cory Doctorow and Joe Mullin (EFF) wrote about software patents this week; this shows that the EFF can still pivot in the right direction if it really wants to

As it turns out, Joe Mullin is fortunately still around (at the EFF, he used to be in the media) and the other day he cautioned “the U.S. Solicitor General Trying To Change The Law To Benefit Patent Trolls”. His EFF colleague, Mr. Doctorow, said at almost the same time: “In theory, patents are for novel, useful inventions that aren’t obvious “to a skilled practitioner of the art.” But as computers ate our society, grifters began to receive patents for “doing something we’ve done for centuries…with a computer.” “With a computer”: those three words had the power to cloud patent examiners’ minds.”

He then changed the subject from software patents to patent trolls (the EFF habitually changes the subject to “bad patents” or “trolls”). To quote: “Patent trolls – who secure “with a computer” patents and then extract ransoms from people doing normal things on threat of a lawsuit – are an underappreciated form of “tech exceptionalism.” Normally, “tech exceptionalism” refers to bros who wave away things like privacy invasions by arguing that “with a computer” makes it all different.”

Quoting Mr. Mullin, regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and 35 U.S.C. § 101: “Government officials should be working to reduce, not increase, the burden that low-quality patent lawsuits impose on innovators. So we’re concerned and dismayed by recent briefs filed by the U.S. Solicitor General, asking the Supreme Court to reexamine and throw out the best legal defenses regular people have against “patent trolls”—companies that don’t make products or provide services, but simply use patents to sue and threaten others.

“To truly stop patent trolls, we’ll need wholesale reform, including legislative change. But the current framework of rules governing Section 101 of the U.S. patent laws, including the Supreme Court’s 2014 CLS Bank v. Alice decision, were important victories for common-sense patent reform.

“The Alice decision made clear that you can’t simply add generic computer language to basic ideas and get a patent. The ruling has been consistently applied to get the worst-of-the-worst software patents kicked out of the system. For the most part, it allows courts to state, clearly and correctly, that these patents are a form of abstract idea, and should be thrown out at an early stage of litigation. A win under the Alice rules spares the targets of patent trolls not just from an unjust trial, but from an invasive and expensive discovery process, fueled by a patent that never should have been issued in the first place.”

It’s encouraging to see that the EFF still covers this issue, however seldom, and we hope it’ll do so as frequently as it used to do.


Suitable Online Bank(rupt)ing

Posted in America, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Law at 1:32 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Alexandre Oliva (FSFLA and FSF)

For the past couple of decades, I've entered various fights with Brazilian banks over their threats to my software freedom in their Internet banking services. Back in 2002, the main threats were websites that required Internet Explorer, or the then-still-proprietary Java plugin, and there were plenty of alternatives without such abusive requirements. Nowadays, in the early 2020's, most banks require users to install security-theater malware and to use tracking devices, and those that make exceptions to the malware upon request are becoming very hard to find. Before running out of alternatives to these morally bankrupt practices, I've started legal action to defend my freedom using my consumer rights.

Java Trap

I was a happy customer of Banco do Brasil until around 2001, when it rolled out a Java applet for authentication. The Java VM only became free software years later, but even if the Java Trap had already been disarmed, the applet itself was a nonfree program I'd be required to run on my own computer, analogous to the JavaScript Trap that became a grave problem later on.

Both of these requirements were unacceptable to me, and I let the bank know in no uncertain terms. For some time, changing the browser-presented User-Agent identifier to pretend to be running some Java-incompatible system served as a workaround. When that was cut off and it became clear that there weren't going to be workarounds any more, I took my business to banks that did not impose such abusive requirements.

JavaScript virtual keyboards

Banespa and Real, both now part of Santander, at some point also started demanding a so-called "security" program on the customer's end, but both of them made exceptions upon request, so I didn't have to move on from them. Eventually, they also rolled out virtual keyboards for authentication in security theater, and at that, I blinked: without GNU LibreJS to warn me, I did not realize those were also nonfree programs running on my computer after being automatically installed by the browser. When I learned that this was the case, I had already accepted these features for too long, and I rationalized them as layout silliness that was borderline acceptable, and so I kept on using them. I'm embarrassed and sorry that I did; resisting back then might have made things easier for everyone else later on.

Hostile take-over

In 2008, my then-employer started paying salaries at Citibank. I gave it a try and was happy with how little JavaScript it used, so it became my favorite banking platform, and it served me well for some 10 years, until Itaú-Unibanco (henceforth just Itaú) bought its retail operations in Brazil and switched all customers to its own Internet banking service. That brought me two major problems: in order to perform banking transactions, they demanded a piece of malware they deemed "Guardian" (Diebold's Warsaw, really) to be installed on the desktop or laptop computer, and the bank's own One-Time Password (OTP) TRApp had to be installed on a portable tracking device (of the kind that usually can also make phone calls) for authentication purposes.


Some colleagues mentioned that changing to FreeBSD the operating system name sent by the browser in the User-Agent identifier would disable the malware requirement, but authentication remained a challenge. It was no use to argue that my phone ran GNU/Linux (my smartphone has been a Neo Freerunner for way over a decade) and they only had nonfree apps, for other also-nonfree mobile operating systems; or that there were other OTP apps I could run, on it or elsewhere, that would serve the same purpose.

Backup plan

Santander still worked for me, but it's very uncomfortable to be tied to a single option, so I contacted a banking cooperative/credit union, Sicredi, explained that I was looking for a bank that would offer me Internet banking services without requiring me to install anything but a standards-compliant browser on any operating system of my choice, that this was the reason I had left Banco do Brasil before, and was leaving Itaú now, that I was very serious about not running nonfree software, to the point of maintaining my own Free version of Brazilian income tax software to avoid the government-provided nonfree version. They told me that they could indeed meet my requirements, and they'd be happy to take my business.

Plot twist

So I signed up with Sicredi, went to a branch of Itaú to transfer the balance, and then, only then, did Itaú think of offering me a hardware OTP token for authentication, just like the one Sicredi had offered me. I figured I could give Itaú a try, so I didn't trasfer the whole balance. I'm glad I didn't! I went back to the Sicredi branch, confirmed the transfer that activated the account, got the hardware token, moved a significant chunk of the balance to a long-term investment fund, and went home.

When I got there, I tried to access the Internet banking service and check everything out, just to find out that it demanded the installation of the same piece of "security" malware as Itaú. Unlike Itaú, I couldn't even see my balance without it, whereas Itaú worked beautifully once I had its hardware token and the User-Agent workaround.

For some time, I had FreeBSD as the operating system name in User-Agent to authenticate with Itaú, but eventually I tried GNU instead of the misnomer Linux, and that worked too.

Once again, GNU helped me keep my freedom!

Seeking consumer protection

Still, I felt unsafe, because the User-Agent workaround was not documented nor recommended. The bank even denied its existence. It also unilaterally decided to stop sending me monthly statements by mail, which was part of the service I'd hired and was quite important to me, since the viable alternative, namely getting the file with the Internet banking service, could be cut off at any time. So I filed complaints about both Itaú and Sicredi with the local consumer protection agency, Procon.

Not that I expected much to come out of it: in my experience, Procon could only fine violators, that would be taken as cost of business, and even protect the violators from any further complaints from me over the same issue.

In this case, I wasn't even sure Procon would recognize my rights; its agents were not familiar with the notion of software freedom, but once I explained that in terms that made sense to consumer protection agents, they seemed quite excited about it. Procon eventually found in my favor in both cases, fined both banks, and confirmed the fines on appeal.


I expected the banks wouldn't change their behavior over it, though. It turned out I was surprisigly wrong. Not long after the initial Procon decision, Itaú started changing its Internet banking service. It wasn't for the better, though.

Progressively, over several years, some kinds of transactions would no longer accept authentication with the secure and entirely offline hardware token, and instead insisted on a tracking device-based OTP instead. After some time, they'd start demanding the Guardian malware, or their own brand new app, now available for a small selection of operating systems, including GNU/Linux/x86_64, but nonfree software nevertheless.

As I write this, relevant features I've noticed as blocked are payments of bills that aren't scheduled automatically, payments of some taxes, outgoing wire transfers, international wire transfers, credit card statements, activating new cards, and even updating contact and investor information and obtaining the consolidated information needed to fill in income tax returns, all in name of "security". At least the tax information is made available on another website maintained by the bank, that clearly doesn't care so much about "security".

That wasn't all at once. One day a feature worked, next day it didn't any more. Then another. And another… For some time, even redeeming from investment funds (to avoid a negative balance over automatically scheduled payments) stopped accepting confirmation with the hardware token, but at least on this one they seem to have retreated. Not on the others.

Not fine

Meanwhile, Sicredi accused me of dishonesty: they wouldn't believe I hadn't come across the very clear information about their software requirements, shown on a web page that's not even reachable without JavaScript, reason why I ended up contacting the branch to explain my requirements. That absurd accusation earned them a reprimand in the appeal decision, but not a higher fine.


As Itaú tightened the knot, I talked to my lawyer about defending my rights with a lawsuit. He wasn't enthusiastic about it at first, apparently expecting the bank to take back on the impositions, not realizing back then how they were show-stoppers for me, while most people wouldn't even notice or realize that there was an injustice there. We couldn't count on a public uproar for the bank to retreat.

We had to demand the bank to live up to the obligations it acquired along with the Citibank retail business: it couldn't unilaterally change the terms, quality and requirements of the service I had so carefully selected because I wouldn't use a service that demanded nonfree software. So, in the middle of 2022, he filed a lawsuit against Itaú on my behalf, grounded mainly on consumer rights, asking the court to order the bank to offer the services I had hired, under the conditions I had hired them, restoring the services that it was progressively discontinuing.

Picking battles

Ironically, because of COVID-19, I had to attend a conciliation session held through nonfree software. My lawyer was surprised that even that sort of online program would be objectionable for me, and invited me to attend along with him at his office. That's no way to get full justice, but… that's another fight, that we're going to have to have at a higher court. He's optimistic about the legal arguments in the ongoing lawsuit, and though they're not quite founded on software freedom, we do mention freedom and dignity as constitutional rights that the bank's imposition violates.

2023-02 update

In February 2023, a sentence landed ordering Itaú to abide by our request, restoring services without demanding the installation of additional programs, with a small daily fine in case of noncompliance. It's a full victory in the first round, but my lawyer tells me theirs are likely to file an appeal, so we can celebrate some, but this is not over yet.

In other news, the month before Itaú emailed me about its renewed plans to phase out the hardware token: no new ones would be issued, though the ones in use would be usable as long as their batteries lasted. The lawsuit will hopefully enable us to come to an agreement so that I can start using oathtool or FreeOTP+.

2023-04 update

Surprisingly, there was no appeal. The sentence is final. It remains to be determined whether it will be obeyed.

Procon fines Sicredi

Back on the week the lawsuit had been filed, coincidentally, Procon published the appeal decision in the case against Sicredi, and I was contacted by its lawyers trying to find some way to reach an agreement and avoid the fine. I wrote and published a long open letter (in Portuguese) explaining why I rejected that and any other piece of nonfree software over philosophical (defending my software freedom on principle), practical (defending my freedom to choose what computer and operating system to use) and security (the alleged need for obscurity suggests insecurity) concerns.

I restated my wish for service delivered through a standards-compliant browser on any operating system, noting the possibility of removing the requirement for specific users, before or after authentication, and offering an alternative: getting documentation on the networked programming interfaces that their own apps rely on, for me to implement relevant features on Gnucash.


A few days later, I was supposed to make a payment to my lawyer for his service in preparing the initial filing against Itaú. I went on to Santander's Internet banking website, that had served me well while Itaú and Sicredi let me down, and I couldn't get in: it was demanding me to agree to a so-called "privacy policy" (in Portuguese) that, besides requiring JavaScript to be viewed and not allowing printing or saving as a whole, contains abusive terms unrelated to the notion of privacy policy, or even to the terms of use bundled with it.

That policy had allegedly been in effect for nearly a whole year, so it seemed an unbelievable coincidence that they'd start demanding agreement to it right then. The next day, the requirement was gone, only to return a couple of weeks later. Meanwhile, I could make the payment, but my lawyer joked he could already tell the next bank we were going to sue.

Some of the abusive terms were the power to choose computers and operating systems the customer would have to use to get service, and the power to discontinue the service unilaterally for any reason, including changes to the technological platform. My lawyer's guess is probably right, but I've started by filing a complaint with the consumer protection agency and agreeing only to the terms identifiable as privacy policy. The bank did not dispute my understanding in its response, so the case got closed with the understanding that they agreed, but the fight goes on.

Copyright 2022-2023 Alexandre Oliva

Copyright 2023 FSFLA

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document's official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.


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