Bonum Certa Men Certa

If Patent Offices Ran the World

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

--Richard Stallman



Summary: The EPO thinks it's the European Commission (EC), the EC thinks it's a patent authority, and out of this whole affair comes a bastard child called software patents, lodged right inside people's standards (which everyone must implement to and be taxed by merely to become compliant/compatible)

ACCORDING TO this announcement [PDF], the European Commission shows its close connection to the EPO and bending over regarding the sensitive subject of patents in standards.



The president of the FFII accuses the EPO of corrupting the European Commission. To quote:

EPO corrupting the European Commission to promote software patents barriers in standards, conference next 22 november: http://ur1.ca/1nw1r


The document is a one-page announcement about an event scheduled to take place two months from now. It says:

Tensions between Intellectual Property Rights and the ICT standardisation process : reasons and remedies



Brussels, 22 November 2010

The European Commission and The European Patent Office (EPO) are jointly organising a Conference to further discuss "IPR in ICT standardisation " related issues; the objective is to find policy solutions for identified challenges. Standardisation can make an important contribution to unlock the potential of innovative markets and strengthen the position of European economy through more efficient capitalising of its knowledge basis. European ICT producers in particular need to be able to rely on standards to ensure interoperability and success of new products as this would lead otherwise to fragmented ICT markets. However, as key ICT standards are perceived by many as critical technology platforms with a strong public interest dimension, concerns are voiced that Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and their exclusivity potential, may hinder or prevent standardization. Are today’s IPR features still compatible with fast moving markets and the very complex requirements of ICT standardisation in a global knowledge economy environment? Where are problems that we can we fix? To find out, the European Commission and the European Patent Office (EPO) are organising a conference to address some specific issues on patents and ICT standards.

Interoperability is a critical issue for the further development and market acceptance of innovative ICT services and applications. Consensus building between stakeholders on relevant technical matters often leads to standards. A common approach is therefore of importance both for European consumers and companies and will allow the EU to become a global leader in the sector.

However as technology, and thus interoperability, becomes more complex every day, ownership, patents, copyright and related IPR policies play an increasingly important role in ICT standardisation. Some maintain that problems related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues may hinder or prevent standardization and thus even become a barrier to the introduction of services and applications. On the other hand, the rights of those owning intellectual property incorporated in standards compliant solutions need to be properly taken into account and rewarded. Although all agree that this should happen in a fair, balanced and predictable way, there is often disagreement whether these principles are always followed, at least in key standardisation endeavours.

The conference is part of an open dialogue process that the Commission is undertaking with key stakeholders and the first in cooperation with the EPO in this very important domain.

The event aims to provide a platform to exchange ideas and suggestions on the following topics:

● Who needs standards-related patent registers and how should they look like? ● Is there a need to improve standards-related patents quality and how can we achieve it? ● How should ex-ante commitments of licensing terms be best drafted? ● How to ensure certainty on the availability and continuity of essential IP rights for licensing? ● What is the best relation between standards and open source software and freely available technologies?

The two conference partners envisage further events and meetings on relevant issues around IPR and ICT standards to improve transparency and predictability in this critical field. A previous workshop organised in November 2008 was a "fact finding" event to map the challenges and stakeholder positions. The current and future conferences aim at finding policy solutions to the identified challenges.


This is not acceptable because: 1) the EPO is not supposed to take the EC by the hand; if anything, things should be done the other way around and 2) software patents are not legal in Europe and some of the above legitimises them.

As a side note, patents -- and not just software patents -- have their basis challenged in TechDirt right now:

Gillette received patents in 1904 on both the razor and the blade. As Picker notes, conventional wisdom would suggest that this is the perfect point for Gillette to have used the famed razors-and-razor blades strategy, since it could use the patents to exclude competitors from offering compatible blades. But, it did not. The same "conventional wisdom" would then argue that once the patents expired, and others could offer compatible razors, the razors-and-blades strategy would not work. And yet, it was after the patents expired and when there were compatible blades on the market that Gillette finally went to this form of strategy.... and its sales and profits shot up.

[...]

The whole thing is quite fascinating in thinking about these kinds of business models. Printer companies, especially, might learn a thing or two, as they've now become quite aggressive in using patents to block competitors from offering compatible ink cartridges or ink refills. But, the example of Gillette suggests they could be better off not fighting it, but focusing on providing better quality that doesn't annoy users quite so much.


Those who want patents in software (including software standards) are typically those who control this area of software and those who work for them, including lawyers. If the EPO is allowed to have a say in European policy, then the tail wags the dog and it harm's the Commission's reputation.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Australia: Bing Lost Market Share Since the LLM Hype ("Bing Chat")
Google rose, Bing went down
[Meme] Canonical Has Basically Become Novell II
Today's Canonical...
[Meme] The Doyen and the Colonel
EPO continues to prioritise lawbreaking over knowledge
Microsoft Poetterix is Work in Progress
Linux's New DRM Panic 'Blue Screen of Death' In Action
 
Microsoft Windows is Being Abandoned in the UK, Relative to Other Platforms (New All-Time Lows)
Windows at new lows
Links 18/06/2024: More Executives Leave Microsoft, Attacks on the Press in Russia and 'Exile'
Links for the day
[Meme] Always Livecasting
Wait Till Systemd-Recall
Gemini Links 18/06/2024: Unconscious Consumption and Firewall Autoban
Links for the day
While Everyone is Furious at Vista 11 (Over TPM, Recall and Other Malicious 'Features') Canonical is Selling It to People
So the only thing Canonical says about Windows is that you should give it a try?
Links 18/06/2024: Adobe and Internet Archive in Trouble
Links for the day
Peter Duffy Explains SystemD
Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer!
EPO Union Action: Next Week SUEPO The Hague and SUEPO Munich Talk About New Pension Scheme (NPS) and Salary Savings Plan (SSP)
So there are basically 32 days left for more people to intervene
[Meme] Wait Till Systemd-Recall
The only thing Linux still needs is a forensics backdoor
GNU/Linux Up This Month in India (or Why Famous Criminal Bill Gates Keeps Visiting Modi)
truth tends to catch up with people
24/7 Work Discipline
it's not so much about how much (or how long) one works, it's about how one works and whether one feels comfortable doing it
Adamant Conformism is an Enemy of Science
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man"
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 17, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 17, 2024
Links 18/06/2024: Further Mass Layoffs and Gemini Leftovers
Links for the day
At IBM, "Brownnosing is the Norm."
Many of these comments are from IBM insiders
Myanmar/Burma: Google Gains One Percent, Microsoft Loses One Percent Since the LLM Hype ('Bing Chat')
it's not hard to understand LLMs didn't replace real search and didn't replace Google, either
[Meme] KISS, not SAAS
Gemini Protocol turns 5 in exactly 2 days
Hostageware: The Threat of Clown Computing (or 'SaaS', Another Misnomer or Buzzword) to Computer Users Everywhere
This problem isn't limited to Free software adopters
Jean-Pierre Giraud, Possible Forgeries & Debian: elections, judgments, trademark already canceled, archaeologist
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Six on the Beach: After Losing Six Continents Microsoft is Losing Oceania Too
Based on the 6- or 7-continent view of the world
Links 17/06/2024: Mass Layoffs Accelerating in Tech, Concerns About Impact of the Net
Links for the day
Gemini Links 17/06/2024: Hyprland Analysed and No Use for Betrusted
Links for the day
Microsoft Can Never Make a Comeback Anymore, the Community is Shutting It Out
We're relying on the real community, not fake ones or coopted ones
The World is Becoming (or Has Already Become) Linux
An intercontinental success story
Georgia: Bing Share Fell by Half Since 'Bing Chat' (LLM Hype), Fell Behind Yandex As Well
Georgia's situation is interesting
[Meme] Community of People to be Exploited, Then Thrown Away, Left Behind or Even Slandered
Debian.org front page
Alexandre Oliva's FSF disposition
During my recent trip for LibrePlanet, I was fortunate to have, or at least start, long conversations with nearly everyone in FSF staff
[Meme] SPI and 'FSFE': Sponsored by Microsoft to...
women's instincts do not matter to these strongmen
One More (Failed) Attempt to Deplatform the Sites by Harassing and Threatening Webhosts
What we're seeing here is a person who abuses the system in Canada at Canadian taxpayers' expense trying to do the same in the UK, at British taxpayers' expense
[Meme] Shitburger of an LLM
IBM and the Hololens
Links 17/06/2024: Chatbot Nonsense Thrown Under the Bus (Severe Failure, Pure Hype), How to Finance Free Software 'Hackers'
Links for the day
Debian's Personal Attacks Are Upsetting Women, Too
Female Debian Developer: "I Believe Daniel [Pocock] is On the Right Track."
Microsoft's Bing is So Irrelevant in Moldova (1%) That Russia's Yandex is About 5 Times Bigger
How much longer before Microsoft throws in the towel?
12 Days Have Passed Since the Edward Brocklesby Revelations and Debian Project Has Said Absolutely Nothing About That
One must therefore assume they have nothing to say in their defence (covering up severe security failings)
Yes, You Can
Unless you live somewhere like Russia...
[Meme] Listen to the Experts
Bill Gates didn't even finish university]
Roy and Rianne's Righteously Royalty-free RSS Reader (R.R.R.R.R.R.) and the Front-End Interfaces
As the Web deteriorates the availability, quality and prevalence of RSS feeds is not improving, to put it mildly
Algeria Shows High GNU/Linux and Android Adoption, All-Time High and Almost Three-Quarters of Web Requests
GNU/Linux was below 3%, now it is above 3%
Mass Layoffs at Microsoft-owned GitHub (About 80 Percent of the Staff in India Laid Off)
It's not just in India
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 16, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, June 16, 2024
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Scarecrows, Moles, Ham Radio, and No IPs
Links for the day
Africa is Android and Green (Chrome, Not Just Android Logo)
In Africa Firefox is almost below 1% now
Coercion From the "Consent" and "CoC" Crowd is a Self-Defeating Tactic
Freedom of the press; Nothing less
Covering Abuses and Corruption
We'll never surrender to blackmail
According to statCounter, GNU/Linux Increased From 3.77% to 3.89% This Month (Worldwide), Windows Now Below 20% in 78 Nations, Below 10% in 27 Nations
Highest since March (for GNU/Linux)
Ubuntu Running Out of Energy
Its planet too is deteriorating
Links 16/06/2024: In Defence of Email and Why Recycling Symbol Lost All Meaning
Links for the day
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Computer Science Course Union and Potentiometer
Links for the day
Cross border crime: sale of Swiss insurance in France and European Union without authorisation
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Letting Microsoft systemd Manage /home Was a Terrible Idea All Along
systemd-tmpfiles, deleting /home
Patriotism is OK, But We Need Facts and Reason, Not Blind Obedience to Authority
Very seldom in the history of human civilisation has groupthink proven to be of real merit
When You Touch One of Us You Touch All of Us
We have a principled, uncompromising stance on this matter
Links 16/06/2024: New Sanctions Against Russia, Fentanylware (TikTok) Causing More Problems
Links for the day
Social Control Media in Japan: Twitter (X) Has Collapsed, YouTube Rising (Apparently)
What a genius Mr. Musk is!
Windows Cleansed in South Africa (Already Hovering Around 10% Market Share)
Plus Microsoft's mass layoffs in Africa
[Meme] Satya Nadella's Windows PC RECALLS Not What He Did
Satya got lucky
Usage of Let's Encrypt in Geminispace Has Collapsed (That's a Good Thing!)
Ideally, or eventually, all capsules will sign their own certificates or have their own CA
North Macedonia: Windows Down From 99.2% to 28.5%
Last year it was even measured at 26%
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 15, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, June 15, 2024
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Hand Held Maneuvering Unit and Hugo Static Files
Links for the day