08.03.19

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Patent Trolls’ Paradise: The EPO is a Rubber-Stamping Machine, So Why Not Automatically Generate Patent Applications?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The more patents, the merrier, right? A Busy Beaver of a patent office…

Tianjin/EPO's so-called 'production'
Tianjin. So-called ‘production’ that ends up in flames due to poor regulation and misgovernment (stockpiling).

Summary: Running a patent office where quality does not really matter is “great” business; one can set up a script to generate billions of patents a day and grant them on the same day as well; but the EPO’s sick obsession with so-called ‘production’ seems to have attracted automated application and the EPO isn’t sure how to cope with the associated publicity

THERE’S a real problem in our hands when Europe’s largest patent office, the EPO, sidles with outlaws. Battistelli was a classic outlaw and António Campinos keeps defending him (see Haar). Moreover, he promotes illegal patents and meets patent trolls, whose business model is akin to extortion. Just before the weekend the EPO posted this tweet about Licensing Executives Society International (LESI). The managers of the EPO are working closely together with a front group of patent trolls. It’s a collaboration. They have joint events.

“The managers of the EPO are working closely together with a front group of patent trolls. It’s a collaboration.”Around the same time/day the EPO was promoting software patents agenda under the guise of "blockchain" (events with patent trolls on the panel) by retweeing this nonsense about the EPO: “Combining forces with Dr. Nigel Clarke, Head of Patent Information Research for @EPOorg , the @Derwent team hosted a webinar focused on blockchain fundamentals—information every IP professional should know. Download the key webinar takeaways…”

Well, it’s widely known that webinars are just ads. We’ve also just seen this new tidbit about an “Advisor on Blockchain Patent Prosecution”. A blockchain patent is a fake patent because those are software patents that are not valid anymore. He can help patent trolls though. They rely on not even going to court, instead settling behind closed doors. These are the actors standing to benefit the most from the EPO’s insane policy and gross deviations from the law.

“They rely on not even going to court, instead settling behind closed doors.”Days ago we saw WIPO and EUIPO mentioned in relation to "hey hi" and patents. Patent maximalists engaged both:

Managing IP speaks to the directors of WIPO and the EUIPO to gauge their views on AI, asking how the technology can help the offices be more efficient and whether job losses are inevitable

This whole “hey hi” nonsense soon thereafter spread further from an EPO-bribed publication, the Financial Times. “Patent agencies challenged to accept AI inventor,” the headline said, followed by another piece that implicated the UKIPO. This particular “hey hi” nonsense (in this case gaming the application process rather than patents on algorithms) cited Francis Gurry:

According to a statement from the University of Surrey, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) “have already indicated these applications appear new, inventive and industrially applicable, which are the primary requirements for an invention to receive a patent”.

UKIPO held an event that specifically focused on the issue of AI and inventions created by AI in June. There, speakers clashed over whether AIs should be granted applications for works they have generated.

UK Supreme Court justice Lord David Kitchin said AI holds “profound” potentials and shouldn’t be feared, whereas Francis Gurry, the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said he sees “no value whatsoever in attributing inventorship rights to a machine”.

Just before the weekend the BBC quoted the EPO’s spokespeople/PR people (5 whole paragraphs about this, but the BBC spikes negative stories about EPO abuses). Leo Kelion (technology desk editor) wrote:

A spokeswoman for the European Patent Office indicated that it would be a complex matter.

“It is a global consensus that an inventor can only be a person who makes a contribution to the invention’s conception in the form of devising an idea or a plan in the mind,” she explained.

“The current state of technological development suggests that, for the foreseeable future, AI is… a tool used by a human inventor.

“Any change… [would] have implications reaching far beyond patent law, ie to authors’ rights under copyright laws, civil liability and data protection.

“The EPO is, of course, aware of discussions in interested circles and the wider public about whether AI could qualify as inventor.”

It does not name the spokeswoman, but it might be Mittermaier. Tech Wire Asia, citing BBC, then wrote:

BBC News also spoke to a spokesperson for the European Patent Office (EPO) about the matter who confirmed that while the body is aware of the issue, the filing will be complicated given current regulations.

“The current state of technological development suggests that, for the foreseeable future, AI is… a tool used by a human inventor.”

The patent system may soon deal with computer-generated stuff, assessed by computer stuff that’s supposed to replace actual examiners but has been proven to be worse than useless. What’s the point of such a system?

World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) covered this as well:

A team of researchers has now asked the European Patent Office (EPO), US Patent and Trademark Office, and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to grant protection to patent applications listing Dabus as the sole inventor of the new technologies.

Ryan Abbott, professor of law and health sciences at the University of Surrey, led the team behind the patent applications.

Speaking to WIPR, Abbott said the move was “unprecedented” and that patent offices had “no rules for handling something like this”.

[...]

In a statement sent to WIPR, the EPO said that it could not comment on pending patent applications.

Commenting more generally on the issue of AI inventorship, however, the EPO said it was the “global consensus that an inventor can only be a person who makes a contribution to the invention’s conception in the form of devising an idea or a plan in the mind”.

The purpose of the patent system, the EPO said, was to incentivise innovation and afford rights to protect an inventor’s work.

“These rights are tailored for natural persons, i.e. humans,” the EPO said.

Has this person (applicant behind the machine) ‘trolled’ the EPO to show the EPO how ridiculous patent quality is becoming? Futurism cited the BBC:

A spokeswoman from the European Patent Office told BBC that it’s hesitant to grant patents to AI because doing so would likely set create unforeseen legal precedents — the office doesn’t take upending existing patent law lightly.

The requirement for a human inventor behind every patent is meant to keep patents in the hands of inventors instead of corporations, per the BBC. But this sort of worker protection wasn’t crafted with the future of AI in mind — the human requirement in the U.K., for example, comes from a patent law written in 1977.

The EPO has been happy to promote “hey hi” as means by which to allow illegal patents on software, but when it’s not about legal loopholes and when the whole credibility of the system is at the stake the EPO is suddenly speechless and puts up resistance?

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