12.05.18

EPO, in Its Patent Trolls-Infested Forum, Admits It is Granting Bogus Software Patents Under the Guise of ‘Blockchain’

Posted in Deception, Europe, OIN, Patents at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Does it have data storage somewhere? Patentable! Just claim that it’s “distributed”.

What is the Difference Between a Blockchain and a Database?

Blockchain

Summary: Yesterday’s embarrassing event of the EPO was a festival of the litigation giants and trolls, who shrewdly disguise patents on algorithms using all sorts of fashionable words that often don’t mean anything (or deviate greatly from their original meanings)

YESTERDAY, a day after the embarrassing behaviour had already become evident, Croatian media was having a go again at the corrupt Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO). It’s an article about corruption and pedophilia in the Republic of Croatia. We will write about it soon. These cases of corruption are very problematic not only for the reputation of the Office but also that of European Patents. There are many such patents (about a million unexpired ones).

Yesterday there was also an event about blockchains and it was an EPO event. We’ve already written a lot about this subject, e.g. in:

  1. Blockchain and Bitcoin Patents Help Demonstrate How Software Patents Get Used by Giants to Crush Emerging Technologies (‘Threats’)
  2. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits
  3. Financial Giants Will Attempt to Dominate or Control Bitcoin, Blockchain and Other Disruptive Free Software Using Software Patents
  4. Blockchain Becomes the Target Not Only of Financial Institutions With Software Patents But Also Trolls
  5. Walmart, Bank of America, Allied Security Trust (AST) and the Rush for ‘Blockchain’ Patents

We’re going not to focus so much about what blockchains are; they’re abstract, no doubt, they’re a conceptual thing. Instead we want to focus on what the EPO says an does about blockchains. It’s quite incredible and even disturbing that the EPO is now retweeting the world's most notorious patent trolls and letting them promote software patents in Europe. It’s almost as though patent trolls nowadays control the agenda of the Office. Maybe it can be understood in light of the EPO’s hiring of actual thugs, especially for top positions like hirings themselves. The EPO is perfectly happy to give a platform — keynote even — to people who send me death wishes. The EPO actually retweeted both personal and company’s account of Erich Spangenberg. It doesn’t get any worse.

“The EPO is perfectly happy to give a platform — keynote even — to people who send me death wishes.”This troll has even been mentioned by Team UPC folks. One of them wrote: “My partner Christoph von Praun will tomorrow attend the conference “Patenting blockchain” at the @EPOorg in The Hague. Speakers include @mariekeflament and Claire Weils of @circlepay and @SpangenBlog of @ipwe.”

Team UPC must be very happy to see (in)famous patent trolls on stage. After all, they’re some of the biggest clients of Team UPC. “Today,” wrote another person, “associate Howard Read is attending the #PatentingBlockchain conference at the @EPOorg. The conference explores #IP protection, and in particular the patenting of blockchain technology and its applications in different technical fields.”

“Team UPC must be very happy to see (in)famous patent trolls on stage. After all, they’re some of the biggest clients of Team UPC.”Never mind if it all boils down to software. Here is the EPO’s official account quoting thugs, extortionists, scam artists and trolls [1, 2]. Will Madoff be at the next EPO event?

It is not exactly surprising (or even new) that the EPO promotes software patents under the guise of “blockchains”; it has also just done that with “SDV” and with “AI” when it wrote: “The #patent system can benefit from AI which will make the work of examiners easier. Adding the layer of human intelligence will enable progress.”

So even this blockchains event invokes “AI”. Basically, the EPO now uses a slant on “AI”; it just means algorithms, such as search, mis-framing it all so as to pretend experienced examiners can just be replaced by some machines. Should we also have academic papers automatically generated?

“Basically, the EPO now uses a slant on “AI”; it just means algorithms, such as search, mis-framing it all so as to pretend experienced examiners can just be replaced by some machines.”Watch who opens up this event of the EPO. When clueless, nontechnical politicians ride the waves of buzz and marketing it looks like this [1, 2, 3]. At no point do they demonstrate any comprehension of the underlying concepts. Watch who’s on the panel. The one person there who’s semi-technical comes from OIN, a pusher of software patents (and the "Microsoft loves Linux" lie). He’s there alongside people like Fröhlich (EPO). OIN is being revealed for what it truly is: a shield of the status quo (IBM et al with their lust for “blockchain” patents).

Here’s what the EPO said about him [1, 2, 3, 4]: “The next panel with Mirko Boehm at #OpenInventionNetwork, Benjamin Bai at Ant Financial Services Group/Alipay, Klaus Haft at @hoyngrokh, Richard Bennett at SSM Patent Attorneys & moderated by Michael Fröhlich at EPO will discuss the IP landscape of #blockchain #blockchainpatents pic.twitter.com/EnfjV0cfzN [...] Mirko Boehm: “The fundamental building blocks of #blockchain are open source and will continue to be so in the future. This is how the industry is currently developing. “ #patentingblockchain #blockchainpatents [...] Mirko Boehm at #OpenInventionNetwork: “Over the past 5 years that I have attended EPO events, there has been noticeable progress on the sources of data for prior art and the possibility of identifying it.” #blockchain #blockchainpatents” [...] Where do you see #blockchain in the next 5 yrs? M. Boehm: “It’s a promising technology with drastic impact in the financial & logistics fields” B. Bai: „More patent applications will come. In terms of solving technical bottle necks: The best is yet to come“ #blockchainpatents”

“OIN is being revealed for what it truly is: a shield of the status quo (IBM et al with their lust for “blockchain” patents).”They’re mixing two things, maybe intentionally (the same slant as “AI”); one thing is patents on blockchains and another is use of blockchains to manage patents. So which is it? In this event the separability is virtually non-existent. Here’s the last of this bunch of tweets: “Where do you see #blockchain in the next 5 yrs? Richard Bennett: “I look forward to seeing how the legal framework will developed by the EPO” Klaus Haft : „More activities over next years. In terms of litigation in #blockchainpatents, we’ll see it only after the 5 years.””

That doesn’t even make any sense. What does “litigation in #blockchainpatents” even mean? It means nothing. It’s gobbledygook. Ledgers for court filings?

As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) correctly pointed out: “EPO forgot to invite the critics, OIN was probably invited to justify the “you see, we even asked the point of view of open source”. Disgusting.”

“They’re mixing two things, maybe intentionally (the same slant as “AI”); one thing is patents on blockchains and another is use of blockchains to manage patents.”IAM did the same thing a few months ago. OIN represents large corporations, not the Free/Open Source community. The same is true for the Linux Foundation, but that’s another subject altogether.

Now, watch what the EPO said about Benjamin Bai [1, 2]: “Benjamin Bai: “You cannot patent the fundamental #blockchain technology, however you can patent value added services based on blockchain” #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain [...] #Blockchain is still a young technology both from a regulatory perspective and patent litigation perspective. It needs the space to grow. But we don’t want to see litigation killing innovation, says Benjamin Bai #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

That thing about “patent value added” is completely nonsensical; these are still software patents, but the Office is corrupt enough to grant them (examiners are threatened to). Never mind if courts would reject them (if it reached that far). Painting algorithms with “blockchain” brushes isn’t a new concept, but this time they do a whole conference/forum to promote this practice.

“That thing about “patent value added” is completely nonsensical; these are still software patents, but the Office is corrupt enough to grant them (examiners are threatened to).”Notice how, as per this EPO tweet, they even admit those patents are “CII”: “Richard Bennett at SSM Patent Attorneys: “In the field of CII, patent attorneys try to get broad claims while limiting only those features for defining the envisaged invention. “ #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

They then retweet this buzzwords salad — typical keyword/buzzword stuffing from proponents of abstract patents: “blockchain, AI, smart contracts, IoT, interoperability…”

Georg Weber and Yann Ménière, who are loyal pushers of software patents (whom Battistelli put in high places in order to grant such patents illegally), are at it again.

“Georg Weber and Yann Ménière, who are loyal pushers of software patents (whom Battistelli put in high places in order to grant such patents illegally), are at it again.”The EPO retweeted this thing: “”The world will be tokenised”. Great insights from @mariekeflament & Claire Wells of @circleinvest and Georg Weber & Yann Ménière of @EPOorg at #patentingblockchain conference in The Hague this morning. pic.twitter.com/XlwCpy3Og9 – At European Patent Office”

So based on lies and deliberate misinterpretation of the EPC they grant patents on something they call “blockchain”; will courts honour such patents? No, even those in the audience are sceptical. Gabriele Mohsler of Ericsson is quoted by the EPO as saying: “At the moment the most pertinent challenge is drafting a good application which will hold in front of the court.”

They’re openly recognising that the courts know these are bunk software patents. So Mohsler then speaks of “the technical effect.” The EPO quotes her as follows: “Gabriele Mohsler shares two tips based on her experience at @Ericsson: drafting claims in an indirect way and better understanding of the technical effect. #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

The term “technical effect” has always been laughable nonsense. We’ve been joking for it for years. The EPO retweeted someone who said “Blockchain patent filings 2008-2018 dominated by China and the US. Numbers growing rapidly!”

“The term “technical effect” has always been laughable nonsense. We’ve been joking for it for years.”That’s just because the term is rather new, just like “cloud”. Distributed databases go a very long way back. There’s prior art. As the EPO admits: “The first patent filing including the actual word #blockchain happened in 2012, says Claire Wells at @Circlepay #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

But it goes a long way back; the words/terminology were just different. Wells then said it is “hard to protect it on an open source basis” (whatever that even means). The EPO wrote: “Claire Wells @Circlepay: “The ethos behind #blockchain took a libertarian stand, but in order to enable to derive value, it is very hard to protect it on an open source basis” #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

Again, this is pretty meaningless and vague. Yes, many blockchain implementations are Free/Open Source software. Now they just try hard to strap software patents (“CII”) onto these. Here they are using the term “CII” again. In the EPO’s words: “The EPO practice of examining #blockchain inventions is predictable, harmonised and offers legal certainty. It is documented in the CII guidelines and is entirely based on case law from the BoA #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

“…many blockchain implementations are Free/Open Source software. Now they just try hard to strap software patents (“CII”) onto these.”They clearly know what they’re doing here.

“If a court in France finds blockchain unpatentable under the EPC,” Henrion (FFII) wrote (referring to an actual court ruling from France), “will the EPO adapt [sic] its practice?”

“Of course not,” I responded. “The EPO repeatedly ignored courts, attacked courts, attacked judges (driving them almost to suicide), and broke the law like it’s a hobby/sport.”

Another person (FFII in Sweden) wrote: “So are records on a blockchain ever since IBM and EPO bent the rules for patent inflation. Its not inventions. Its an abstract exercise in monopolizing language and math that causes risks and harm to society and innovation.”

“He is promoting hype around “blockchain”, but at the same time he labels it “CII”.”In case there’s any doubt, even the EPO’s Vice-President from Spain is admitting explicitly that it’s about granting patents on software (“CII”). In the EPO’s own words: “Alberto Casado, EPO VP Operations : “There are many conferences about blockchain, but this one was the very first ever about #patentingblockchain. I would like to thank everybody for making this good exercise possible” #blockchainpatents pic.twitter.com/cLu7dI2Ybw [] Blockchain inventions are part of CII. The EPO is well prepared for assessing patentability in CII, says Alberto Casado #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain [] Alberto Casado, EPO VP Operations: Thank you for being with us today. Applicants, scientists, researchers, attorneys – We have learnt a lot from you. #blockchainpatents #patentingblockchain”

He is promoting hype around “blockchain”, but at the same time he labels it “CII”. Remember the EPO’s Lievens? He’s now quoted as saying: ”We at the EPO need to be ready for this #blockchain “invasion” in other fields…”

“…it certainly seems like nothing but an echo chamber of patent maximalists, led by literal patent trolls who even admit that they favour software patents and that blockchain patents are just software patents.”What other fields? The blockchains are just software.

Surveying who the EPO has retweeted (e.g. this thing), it certainly seems like nothing but an echo chamber of patent maximalists, led by literal patent trolls who even admit that they favour software patents and that blockchain patents are just software patents. They also admit their uncertainty about courts’ approval.

Finally came the closing words in the late afternoon. It doesn’t seem as though António Campinos attended. At no point was he mentioned.

In summary, trolls from the United States (who used fake patents to shake down thousands of businesses) are now the ‘face’ of the EPO. How fitting.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2018/12/05/patenting-blockchain/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Recording Videos With Webcamoid on GNU/Linux

    A lot of people use OBS Studio or similarly high-profile Free software that's mostly designed for live streaming; but this video is a bit different as it takes a look at Webcamoid, which not many people even know about, explaining the current setup that's used to record pretty much every video we make



  2. Getting News and Updates Over Gemini (in General and for Techrights)

    Gemini (gemini://) is very well suited for 'consumption' of news; the hardest part is getting past the simple fact that not every article needs to have pictures in it and syndication (for updates) isn't done through social control media



  3. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, July 26, 2021



  4. [Meme] Microsoft is Lecturing Us on Security!

    Dev Kundaliya and 'Hacker' News play along and go along with this laughable lie that Microsoft is some kind of security expert with moral authority/credibility on this subject



  5. [Meme] EPO 2025 (When Most of the Decent Patent Examiners Have Been Chased Away)

    Based on this week's reports (see batches of Daily Links), many recently-granted European Patents are being thrown out by courts, which means it's hardly surprising that demand for European Patents is in fact decreasing (while quality/validity/legal certainty nose-dives)



  6. Funding Sources Like Corporate Sponsors/Patrons/Masters Put at Risk the Freedom of Free Software

    Sources of funding or “sponsors” such as large corporations typically come with some barely-visible or temporarily-invisible strings attached (an expectation of commercial reciprocity, rendering the recipients subservient like ‘slaves’) and we need to understand how to preserve software freedom in the face of such trends



  7. Links 26/7/2021: Nanotale on GNU/Linux and IBM Promoting Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  8. Free Software Projects Should Quit Selling Keynote Speeches to the Highest Bidders (Corporations) and Choose Based on Merit/Relevance

    OSI, SFC, FSF and Linux Foundation are in effect selling time and space (even to Microsoft, except the FSF was never foolish enough to do this). As of today, LibreOffice does the same thing (which might remain benign; just be sure to reject rivals as "sponsors" because it dooms projects and events).



  9. Microsoft Windows Has Lost Another 2 Million Web Sites This Past Month Alone (IIS Floundering)

    The rapid decline of Microsoft, Windows and IIS in servers is undeniable; it's just a damn shame that corporate and so-called 'tech' media never writes about this subject



  10. Links 26/7/2021: Grml 2021.07 and DXVK 1.9.1

    Links for the day



  11. Increasing Focus on Advocacy for the Free Software Community (Putting Control Over Computing in the Hands of People, Not Large Corporations)

    After 31,000 blog posts it's time to add a new theme to our coverage, which prioritises science, computer developers, and technology users; an urgent matter and pressing issue is the passage of control (e.g. over code and policy) to non-practising entities



  12. Video: How to Follow All Our Channels (Interactively) From the Command Line

    We’ve been enhancing the access possibilities/options for #techrights and other IRC channels, partly because we want to encourage more people to wean themselves off the DRM-ready Web, the monoculture, the bloat, the surveillance, and centralisation in general (the Web favours centralisation, which is exacerbated by the bloat and other topological dynamics)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 25, 2021



  14. Links 26/7/2021: Third RC of Linux 5.14 and Beta 3 of Haiku Project

    Links for the day



  15. No, Microsoft Does Not Get to Lecture Us on GNU/Linux Security (or Security in General)

    The corporate media wants us to think (or feel) like Microsoft is some kind of security guru; the reality, however, is the exact opposite because at Microsoft sometimes if not always/by default insecurity is the actual objective (back doors)



  16. Links 25/7/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.3 and Lots About Patents

    Links for the day



  17. Links 25/7/2021: LibreELEC (Matrix) 10.0 RC1 and Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) End of Life

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 24, 2021



  19. Following Techrights IRC Channels From the Command Line (or the Web and Gemini)

    The (almost) real-time logs for #techrights have been available in http://techrights.org/irc and in gemini://gemini.techrights.org/chat/index.gmi for over a month; today we extend that to cover all channels (aggregated into one)



  20. Links 24/7/2021: Skrooge 2.26.1 and K-9 Mail Release

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/7/2021: FreeBSD Report (April-June) and KDE Reporting Its Progress

    Links for the day



  22. Support the Founders of GNU and Linux, Besieged by People and Corporations That Hate Development Communities and Seek Oppressive Monopoly Over Everything

    The founders of GNU and Linux (Stallman and Torvalds, respectively) want to give us free (as in freedom) software by which to control our destiny; the forces looking to demonise and marginalise both of them don’t have the same objectives (to whom they’re antithetical)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, July 23, 2021



  24. [Meme] Linus Should Reassert Control of Linux

    Linus Torvalds needs to quit being at the mercy of monopolies (or monopolists who sent him to see therapists as if he was mentally ill); at the moment the development of Linux isn’t steered by people and thus not for people (but large corporations that work with states and armies)



  25. Remember That the 'Linux' Foundation is Working Against You (Unless You're a Monopoly)

    The corporate siege by a certain so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (a siege against people and against their authentic communities) carries on; of course they try to disguise it as the exact opposite of what it really is and it is therefore essential that we all understand how and why they do this (these tactics are borrowed from dirty politics and contagious cults)



  26. Links 24/7/2021: Rackspace Layoffs and Ubuntu Touch's Latest

    Links for the day



  27. Improving the Signal-to-Noise Ratio in IRC

    The IRC channels in the new network include #TechPol — another addition that helps keep the main channel focused on our principal priorities



  28. The Next One Thousand Blog Posts and the 15th Anniversary of Techrights

    A quick video about our future focus as a Web site that seeks to illuminate suppressed subjects — a timely issue to bring up as we very soon complete and surpass our 31,000th blog post (some time next week) and some topics are becoming obsolete by their very nature



  29. Links 23/7/2021: SquashFS Tools 4.5 and PineTime Released

    Links for the day



  30. Where There's Smoke...

    Recent events in and around the EPO (with deficient media coverage or none at all) make one wonder why the EPO's management writes several shallow "news" postings per day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts