09.13.17

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EPO Gets Together With Patent Radicals to Promote Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More of that push for software patents in Europe (even though these are not allowed)

EU software patents directive
Reference: EU software patents directive

Summary: Watchtroll, a widely-known site of patent extremists with the agenda of promoting software patents, gets together with the EPO for a puff piece in the form of an “exclusive” interview

LAST night we were rather shocked to see the EPO‘s top-level management engaging with Watchtroll. No kidding!

One wonders if they know that Watchtroll is bullying and harassing officials simply because they don’t support patent maximalism, i.e. they’re not useful for the bottom line of patent maximalists (as opposed to industry). Watchtroll also curses at judges and spreads malicious rumours.

To even associate with such a site would be a mistake for most, but not for the thin-skinned Grant Philpott apparently. He gets together with Watchtroll to promote software patents and explain how they work around the law:

HILPOT: Your question is a good one. Regarding the expression CII, we are repeating the terminology used in the EPC, and we use the term computer-implemented inventions because Article 52 EPC refers indeed to the exclusion of computer programs from patenting. We try to be precise and stick to CII because “software” in itself is a term which lacks precision. It can refer to a high level program, a machine level program, or it can be an executable program. But if we speak about a computer-implemented invention the core of the discussion is rather on the technology. We have a general purpose computer and we program it, and when it runs it executes the instructions and performs certain functions. So the essence of our approach is to ask what the software does. Software of course can do a variety of things, many of which can be totally out of the patentable area if they’re purely abstract or purely business oriented. But when software solves a technical problem you are definitely in the area where a patent is possible. That is the core element of our approach.

Can the EPO sink any lower than this? So the authorities told the EPO to stop granting software patents, but Grant knows better and continues granting them anyway. He is trying to work around the rules, by his own admission. And when one writes about him things that he doesn’t want published, he and the EPO threaten litigation. That really says a lot about today’s EPO, which bullies not only inwards but also outwards.

No software patents are allowed in Australia, for example, after a report showing the downsides of these and policy accordingly made to ban these. As someone put it last night:

The Australian government published its response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into IP arrangements at the end of August. Important proposed reforms the government plans to make span patent, copyright and trade mark law.

Why can’t the EPO too follow its own instructions/guidance and stop granting software patents? Surely the EPO just feels as though it’s above the law because nobody (not even ILO or Dutch courts) can enforce a ruling against the EPO.

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