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EPO Promoting Illegal Software Patents Under the Guise of NET/Hey Hi

Video download link

Summary: More shameless promotion of illegal software patents under the guise of "emerging technologies (NET) and artificial intelligence (AI)"; when will there be a mass revocation of them all? When judges at the EPO finally regain their independence?

SHORTLY after António Campinos had joined the EPO the Office bragged about spreading software patents to other continents and patent offices even though those patents aren't even legal in Europe. Don't they see how much of an embarrassment this is to Europe? Even the US, the 'home' of such patents (almost 50 years ago), is pushing hard against such patents. Every day in our Daily Links one can find reports about the Federal Circuit affirming Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) that squash software patents, citing 35 U.S.C. €§ 101/Alice (SCOTUS). Our next batch of Daily Links will be no exception. Even the software patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) over the past 20 years are being thrown out, sometimes not by courts but an internal tribunal of the Office. It's therefore safe to say that the EPO became a lot worse than the USPTO (in that particular regard, quality and compliance with patent law).

Got so drunk that I started granting patents on 'hey hi'Last night the EPO published (warning: link) another mysterious buzzwords salad, this time accompanying "Hey Hi" (AI) with some more fluff. Whether you call it "hey hi" or artificial intelligence (AI), it doesn't mean very much. Nowadays almost every computer device or algorithm is being called "Hey Hi" or "Smart"; it doesn't really mean anything anymore. Anything that does some "logic" is now synonymous with "Hey Hi". To quote the EPO itself:

The IP5 NET/AI task force held its second meeting virtually from 3 to 5 March 2021 to discuss the main elements for a comprehensive IP5 NET/AI roadmap. The roadmap will guide the IP5 Offices' joint endeavours in response to the challenges and opportunities arising from the increasing use of new emerging technologies (NET) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The task force was set up in 2019 to coordinate initiatives and develop a roadmap for possible joint projects in the areas of NET and AI. At its first meeting in early 2020, representatives from the IP5 Offices and WIPO developed a scoping document outlining candidate co-operation areas. The IP5 Heads of Office later endorsed this document in July 2020.

The video at the top discusses this. WIPO, which itself has its share of violations, is happy to see endless growth in number of patents irrespective of their impact on society. A lot of the "Hey Hi" reports are from WIPO and this hype has come from WIPO/UN as well.

Incidentally, hours ago the EPO admitted a decrease in the number of patent applications received (in spite of lowering the bar). (warning: link)

Instead, as usual, they only focus on the cherry-picked parts of the data that suit them better:

Statistics published today by the European Patent Office (EPO) show that innovation in healthcare drove patenting activity in 2020: Medical technology was the leading field for inventions in terms of volume, while pharmaceuticals and biotechnology were the fastest-growing areas.

Despite the pandemic, the overall number of European patent applications filed in 2020 was nearly on a par with the previous year's, decreasing by 0.7%. The EPO received 180 250 patent applications in total last year, which was slightly below the record level attained in 2019 (181 532).

The EPO's management, which is clueless, wants the public to think that the sole goal is to increase the pace of patent grants. As if a world in pandemic-induced closures would be miraculously be saved by yet more monopolies. Maybe they think people can also eat patents...

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