06.15.17

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Software Patents in Europe Are Still Promoted by the EPO, Even in Defiance of the Ban

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CII at EPO
This EPO presentation from just months ago spoke of software patents (“CII”). Photo credit: EPO Patent Information Conference 2016 (Grant Philpott)

Summary: The European Patent Office continues to ignore the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, which had software patents disallowed with an overwhelming majority of 648 to 14 votes at the European Parliament

THE patentability of software in the US patent system, or at least the enforceability of such patents in courts, is in a sharp decline. We have a lot of articles about that coming (several dozens of drafts), but EPO is a priority for now.

“Has it been privately decided in Battistelli’s secret penthouse that patent quality no longer matters, only the perception/illusion thereof?”Software patents are not permitted in Europe, yet in public events the EPO's spokespeople have the audacity to repeatedly defend and promote these. It pushes in a similar direction in India, which has similar laws for similar exclusions (athough India’s patent office actually obeys these exclusions, unlike the EPO).

The EPO further expanded to patents on life and genome (not a joke!) and days ago we saw some press release and coverage about Transgenomic. How far will the EPO go? Has it been privately decided in Battistelli's secret penthouse that patent quality no longer matters, only the perception/illusion thereof? Stakeholders were not consulted about this and many holders of EPs will inevitably see the value of their patent/s perish.

“Software patents are not allowed in Europe.”The EPO is pushing software patents again, in defiance of the law (see paragraph 3 in this epo.org Web page) that EPO promoted here and also (about a day later) here. To quote the relevant part: “The consequences for the patent system are potentially tremendous, and they challenge some of the fundamental concepts of the system, such as the definition of “industry” and “inventor”. There will be a greater overlap and interplay between the types of rights, and as software pervades through all technologies a greater debate on the patentability of software.”

There was already a debate and it was concluded. Software patents are not allowed in Europe. We wrote about the above, “Industry 4.0″, several months ago, and particularly about how it was used by the EPO to promote software patents, not just in the past but also at present.

“…Siemens had a lot to do with the push for software patents in Europe, not just in Germany…”This report which the EPO is promoting this week was quoted as saying that “They [presumably those who actually produce software] feel that software patents must be abolished or greatly restricted.”

Attributed to Siemens, a top patentor at the EPO, is this quote: “novel hardware in order to be patentable is “an alarming development”…”

As we wrote here a very long time ago, Siemens had a lot to do with the push for software patents in Europe, not just in Germany [1, 2].

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