Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft, the EPO, and the European Patent Mafia (Sisvel) Join Hands

Alison Brimelow



Summary: Familiar bedfellows come together for an event that celebrates intellectual monopoly (Innovation 2009)

SEVERAL months ago we argued that the European Patent Office (EPO) sells out to Microsoft. This relationship is proving problematic for Free software, but Microsoft is a major client (i.e. payer that feeds this whole self-fulfilling, mutually-protecting patent system). Someone has just shown us this event called "Innovation 2009". President of the EPO, who was harshly criticised before deciding to quit (in 7-8 months from now), is spotted as a speaker in this event (conflict of interests), which is sponsored by the armed & dangerous patent bully, Sisvel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

A corporate viewpoint is to be provided by allegedly former communist [1, 2] Jan Muehlfeit, who is now the European chairman of Microsoft. He is lobbying in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4] and participating in questionable practices that we covered before.



The panel is to be moderated by a patent maximalist, who makes a living out of an excess of patent news (which usually means legal actions). "But the best are the questions," says our source, which quotes:

● How to describe the relationships between innovation, IP, and wealth creation? ● Is IP really a remedy against crisis? if so, why? and how? ● How to treat the global "4.2 million unprocessed patent applications" problem. What would solutions to this bring to the economy? ● How far is Europe concerned? Are parts of the issue already addressed? What lies ahead? ● Sharing the Backlog, act 1: what are Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programmes for? What is the expected benefit? ● Trilateral pilot projects: what expectations for their implementation at the beginning of 2010 ? ● Sharing the Backlog, act 2: would the mutual exploitation of search and examination documents, and/or of patent data, be a major step? ● Global harmonization of patent-granting rules and criteria: dream or possible reality? ● Can translation be entirely automated? What are the other tracks in terms of workflow optimization? ● Does the impressive growth in China call for new co-operation agreements, notably between the EPO and the SIPO? Beyond the implication of EPO though the IPR-2 initiative, what could these cover? ● Financing the European Patent Office: what are the related challenges for member states and the industry?


We have also been told about this new interview with Detlef Eckert, who was hired (and thus silenced) by Microsoft*. According to our source, he might be "back at the Commission, looking for revenge."

It is important to remember what is happening with Microsoft's Courtois these days [1, 2]. He forms close relationships with the very same people who are supposed to regulate his behaviour and penalise his company. _____ * As we noted back in September, Microsoft loves hiring the very same people who become a threat to Microsoft because this way "they are removed from the "gene pool" of those who can tell the story and provide satisfactory material to support strong claims."

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