Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents on Life and Patents on Software Serve to Show That EPO Patent Quality Fell Well Behind the US (PTO)

The Liar in Chief keeps lying about quality while it sinks to bottom low

Battistelli and IAM



Summary: Anything goes at the EPO, except dissent; any patent application seems to be grantable, provided one uses simple tricks and persists against overworked examiners who are pressured to increase so-called 'production'

I USED TO be proud to say that we have the best patent office, which denies software patents among many other things. But today's EPO is in shambles and it now grants patents on the same things which the USPTO no longer grants patents on. In simple terms, there has been a reversal of roles and right now the EPO looks like 'SIPO Europe'. It's not only sad but also scary to humble companies whose entire operation is now at risk of falling prey to patent trolls.



Yesterday, a high-profile magazine published "Europe says University of California deserves broad patent for CRISPR" and for those who don't know what CRISPR is about, start here. It's one of those areas where the EPO's patent scope has demonstrably gone bonkers. Even patents on life are now permitted (not just plants). To quote:

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced on 23 March its “intention to grant a patent” to the University of California (UC) for its broad-based claims about the genome-editing tool popularly known as CRISPR. UC, on behalf of several parties, has been in a pitched battle with the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, over CRISPR patents, and the new decision marks a sharp departure from the position of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

[...]

It’s unclear whether EPO’s actions will have any immediate impact. Companies already pay fees to these warring parties or their affiliates to license CRISPR patents. Some agreements cover international use of CRISPR to make products, and if the UC CRISPR patent stands up to challenges in Europe, companies that banked on the Broad may have to enter more licensing agreements. Companies technically do not need a license until they have a product on the market—that could take a decade for CRISPR-made medicines—but as Cook-Deegan notes, “Licensing is usually smoother and easier while there is still a veil of uncertainty so everyone has a stake in cutting the deal and gets a bit of what they want, even though they don’t know if the license is actually needed in the end.”


Remember that even the USPTO rejects it. Not the EPO...

And the same goes for software patents after Alice. In the US software patents have become rather toothless (more on that later today), but in the EPO they are actively advocated, as we last noted days ago. They even do this publicly. They have no shame about it, in spite of the ban on software patents in Europe. It's like the EPO flagrantly ignores the law and spits on the EPC. Grant Philpott, for instance, promotes this whole "CII" nonsense, bypassing restrictions by semantics. Then there's this long rant from yesterday, courtesy of Rui Seabra. Have a look:

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846345323073196032

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846366877857316865

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846365416578564096

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846362715174178817

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846359167111761922

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846356163889434625

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846350874083540995

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846349229681524736

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846348408361242626

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846348057281204224

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846347535245594624

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846345923307454464

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846326332158066688

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846323500390535168

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846318410132803585

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846318018800029696

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846317119897845760

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846314710089814016

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846313972819263488

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846313205592936448

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846310893784838144

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846309753756270592

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846308220679458816

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846307704813572096

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846307409157132289

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846306495407046657

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846306267199164417

https://twitter.com/RuiSeabra/status/846279644752023552

Maybe it's time for European software developers to write a little less code and write more about what goes on inside the EPO, clearly a pariah organisation. Not even the law can stop it from granting patents that are in defiance of the EPC.

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