Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

--Richard Stallman



Summary: A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls

TECHRIGHTS has spent almost a decade criticising the EPO for practices that in no way benefit Europeans. Submissions to officials, ombudsman etc. have been prepared as well, usually to no avail because people in power are nearly unstoppable. Sooner or later they get what they want, unless there is some kind of a huge scandal or a revolution.

Dr. Glyn Moody, who focuses on multinationals' trade agreements these days, spotted this alert about Monsanto expecting to receive 30 European patents on food plants, whereupon he wrote that the EPO had already gone the wrong way again (expansion for the sake of expansion, despite being a public institution, funded by taxpayers). Clearly that's the case, as just about anyone can see, but here we see not only software patents but also genetics being patented for the sake of monopoly (from abroad) on food, hence taxation of foods consisting of certain basic ingredients. "Last month," Moody noted, "we wrote about the strange case of unpatentable plants becoming patentable in Europe thanks to a decision from the European Patent Office's Enlarged Board of Appeal."

"That cleared the way for companies to obtain such patents, and according to this post on the "no patents on seeds" site -- I think you can probably work out where its biases lie -- that's about to happen," Glyn Moody wrote.

"This can be some products from entering Europe as a whole (continental embargo)."Things are about to get significantly worse when the EPO gains even more power, let alone gets the power to enforce patents through a Europe-wide court which limits the impact of nations' sovereign law and appeals systems, never mind the interests of individual citizens in each nation (the nations are economically different, so their interests with regards to patents vary a great deal).

Based on some recent bunch of posts from IP Kat, with opposition to the UPC growing weak (e.g. Italy's opposition falling) there are changes underway in the appeals system and the EPO goes ahead pushing for the UPC [1, 2, 3]. It is already presumed inevitable, the only unknowns now are some pertinent details, such as: "will it be more expensive than current litigation before national courts or does it represent value for money?"

"Passage of power to fewer hands (those handling the patent system) is going to facilitate a transfer of power to fewer globalists who are using such systems for protectionism."The issue with the Unitary Patent is often misunderstood. This isn't a stance against union or harmony. This isn't a stance against the European Union. Currently, different member states have their own laws for specific reasons, some being historical or pertaining to the local industry and its interests, based on import/export. The UK, for example, has got UK-IPO. The Unitary Patent Court would take a lot of this away. It would enable litigation to be done Europe-wide, assisting the likes of Samsung and LG from Korea, Apple and Microsoft from the US, Siemens from Germany and Philips from Holland. This can be some products from entering Europe as a whole (continental embargo). Cui bono? Small companies are not going to be able to afford or bear the rising costs of patents and the totality of patents -- areas of work where implementation is verboten or subjected to taxation -- will only grow. This means that just like globalisation, which cheapens the vast majority for the benefit of the rich minority worldwide, a centralised system would invite abusers, who shall extort more companies in more nations, using just one patent and one single ruling. The myths about innovations and globalisation intersect (or collide); when people wrongly assume the patent system to be about resources rather than monopoly (or restriction on action, resources, etc.) it is too easy to be fooled by rhetoric. Passage of power to fewer hands (those handling the patent system) is going to facilitate a transfer of power to fewer globalists who are using such systems for protectionism. Monsanto is just one of many.

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