05.18.20

The Radicals Are the Patent Boosters, Not the Sceptics and Rationalists

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do not fall for their projection tactics, reinforced through their propaganda sites that equate critics with “pirates” or “theft” (sometimes even leveraging the Red Scare)

Make Patents Great Again

Summary: Contrary to insulting old myths, the zealotry comes from the patent maximalists rather than antagonists of theirs (opposing monopolies on life, nature and mathematics, as per the underlying laws and rulings from the highest courts)

IN AN ARTICLE already mentioned last week in Daily Links (“Trump takes early edge over Biden on IP” [sic]) the psyche of patent zealots is made rather apparent. Political turmoil is OK as long as they get their way. That article was shelved behind a paywall, but now there’s more on that in the think tank known as “MIP” — a site that only ever speaks to (and for) patent zealots. “Fifty four in-house counsel took our survey on how the US patent pendulum has moved and how the courts and the USPTO have changed,” it says. As usual, they speak only to people who make a living from litigation (and preparation for it). “The 54 in-house lawyers who took our survey weighed in on Andrei Iancu’s appointment to director of the USPTO, the PTAB and where the patent pendulum is swinging,” it added.

“So maybe these so-called ‘IP’ counsels should put on a “MAGA” hat, join a “liberation” ‘protest’ to “reopen America” and “make patents great again” (some of these nuts already made red hats that say that).”The 35 U.S.C. § 101-hostile USPTO Donald Trump crony Iancu has been what we once called “American Battistelli” (and António Campinos is of course much of the same). These people never met a patent troll they did not like or a patent they didn’t approve of. They’re patent maximalists. Just like the people surveyed by MIP, which has just said: “In part one, more lawyers thought President Donald Trump’s views on IP were better for their business than those of the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden, but the majority of respondents said either that they ‘didn’t know’ whose IP views among the two men would be better for their businesses or that neither’s were. And while most counsel said the US is not too patent friendly, they were divided on how the pendulum is swinging.”

When the term “patent friendly” is thrown around they basically refer to leniency or deviation from the law. Granting lots of fake patents would be “patent friendly” whereas adherence to underlying laws/science would be a “patent-unfriendly” approach.

So maybe these so-called ‘IP’ counsels should put on a “MAGA” hat, join a “liberation” ‘protests’ to “reopen America” and “make patents great again” (some of these nuts already made red hats that say that or don cowboy hats).

In the meantime, to us at least, sites like MIP and the people they front for (like those counsels and patent trolls) will be seen as a major problem. Sadly, as we’ve been explaining for months if not years (even this past Sunday), the other site founded by a scholar (founder of MIP and IP Kat) is still boosting Battistelli’s CEIPI (as recently as yesterday) and all we’re left with for actual signal are the comments. Here’s a new one hypothetically quoting NGOs regarding the latest EBA (EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal) outcome “because there should be no patents on life”. It focuses on Rule 28(2):

Also, did anyone think about how Rule 28(2) is supposed to work in practice?

The method of making a product (a plant) is now decisive for the patentability of that product, while at the same time this method of making the product has no direct impact on the features of the product.

A plant is patentable if the causal mutation was induced. The same plant is not patentable if the causal mutation was “merely” identified in an existing plant. In the latter case, the causal mutation could still originally have been the result of induced mutagenesis, since untargeted mutagenesis techniques have been common in plant breeding for decades and have induced countless background mutations.

Just to give a practical example: say I have identified a new and inventive trait in an existing plant. This plant is not patentable under Rule 28(2). I identify the causal mutation and file a patent application claiming the same plant and provide an enabling disclosure to obtain said plant by induced mutagenesis. Now, exactly the same plant claim is patentable under the EPC. There is no obligation to disclose how a given trait was originally obtained (provided that the plant is not regulated as a GMO). There is only an obligation to provide an enabling disclosure. The disclosure requirement is met by describing the mutagenesis method. The knowledge that a native trait exists which has the same effect as the man-made trait can be kept secret without further ado.

The blessing of Rule 28(2) by the Enlarged Board is a bad joke, which will only lead to creative patent drafting and subsequent outcries by NGOs that the agrochemical industry is still patenting plants that should not be patentable (“because there should be no patents on life”).

A requirement to disclaim plants exclusively obtained by an essentially biological method does not remove the fundamental flaws in Rule 28(2). A claim directed to a plant “with the proviso that the plant is not exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process” only disclaims plant that do not comprise any induced mutations. Who can realistically argue that a given domesticated plant does not comprise any induced mutations? (I refer to the decades-long use of untargeted mutagenesis techniques in plant breeding.)

And what about patent infringement? An assumed infringer can (and will) state to his or her defense that he/she did not use induced mutagenesis. He/she simply crossed plants (most likely obtained from the patent holder) and obtained a new plant variety exclusively by using an essentially biological method. It is simply not possible to determine whether a given mutation was originally induced or occurred spontaneously. Would this scenario be confirmed in infringement proceedings, all plant patents have become worthless even if the patented trait has been obtained by technical mutagenesis techniques like gene editing. I sometimes believe that this scenario is exactly the objective of certain supporters of Rule 28(2) since they truly believe that patents in general and particularly plant patents are bad for society.

Plant breeding has developed from an unreproducible process of chance to a technical process that is reproducible, and which can be described in such way that it can be reworked by a person skilled in the art. The proper IP [sic] right [sic] to protect technical processes and the products obtained by technical processes are patents. I do not see any valid reason why (bio)technology in plant breeding should be regarded differently than, let’s say, in medicine. Despite the fact that the development of plant breeding into a biotechnology process is regarded undesirable by many, this can neither be negated nor reversed. Certainly not by the implementation of Rule 28(2).

We already wrote about it 4 times in recent days [1, 2, 3, 4]. The very fact that blogs like Patent Docs constantly lobby for patents on life (maybe a quarter of the total posts there) says a lot. There are even dedicated sites for such lobbying, one of which being/acting as a ‘sister’ site of WIPR. They use nonsensical terms like “life science”…

All those litigation think tanks disguised as news sites (check their ownership!) sort of sicken us. They sicken society. And once we all get sick they hope to profit by selling us patented drugs at 1,000 times (or more) the price of manufacturing. Making prices “great again…”

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