Bonum Certa Men Certa

Software Patents Royalty (Tax) Campaign by IBM, a Serial Patent Bully, and the EPO's Participation in All This

The EPO continues to advocate software patents, even at the USPTO (post-Alice)

A typefiend



Summary: The agenda of US-based patent maximalists, including patent trolls and notorious bullies from the United States, is still being served by the 'European' Patent Office, which has already outsourced some of its work (e.g. translations, PR, surveillance) to the US

THE EPO has not changed under António Campinos. Only the face changed, not even the nationality. We generally try not to mix posts about the US with posts about Europe, but this one will be the exception because the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on).

"...the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on)."For those who don't know, the patent maximalists in the US have been hyping up some case known as Berkheimer, which we have written over a dozen articles about. In a nutshell, it's some old (almost half a year) Federal Circuit case that spoke about fact-finding or weight of evidence considered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) when dealing with inter partes reviews (IPRs). As we explained right from the very start (publication of this decision), nothing but spin came out of it, courtesy of law firms with a selfish agenda. Yesterday even a European firm, Marks & Clerk (promoting software patents as usual) 'pulled a Berkheimer' even though the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) pretty much said no to software patents. Remember that Marks & Clerk also supported policies of corrupt Battistelli and lobbied pretty hard for the UPC (it still does this). An article by Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson (Trainee Patent Attorney at Marks & Clerk) was published yesterday in Mondaq to say:

In summary, an examiner at the USPTO is now obliged to factually prove that any "additional features" of a claim are well-understood, routine, and conventional in order to support an "abstract idea" rejection. Hence, if a claim is novel and inventive, it should now be easier to show that it is also patent eligible (i.e. that it relates to patentable subject-matter).

It is widely acknowledged that the patenting of software-related inventions became more difficult in the US following the decision in 2014 of the US Supreme Court in decision known as "Alice" (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International).


It is still very difficult and several months down the line we know that Berkheimer has not changed anything concrete. It's barely even mentioned as a precedent; Berkheimer is just some "appeal to authority," routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software. Sadly, we're seeing the 'new' EPO (of the new President) still doing what Battistelli used to do, basically aligning itself with the above liars. The EPO now works with software patents lobbyists like the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) on an event in the US -- an event in which to promote software patents.

"...Berkheimer is just some "appeal to authority," routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software."Hours ago the EPO wrote: "You can now register for the EPO’s Automotive and Mobility Seminar in Chicago, Illinois, on 26-27 September."

Yes, the EPO goes to Chicago to speak about "automotive innovations on CII and AI," two buzzwords that basically mean software patents. Here it is in the EPO's own words: (warning: epo.org link)

In plenary sessions you will learn about the latest developments at the EPO in areas including quality, timeliness and search. Patentability issues will be a key focus, particularly those arising from the increasing reliance of mobility and automotive innovations on CII and AI, as well as common difficulties for US applicants. Expert advice and hands-on claim drafting exercises will enable you to save time and money and increase first-time drafting success.

This high-level event is organised in close co-operation with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).


Got that? IPO and EPO work together now. For those who don't know or don't remember, IBM uses IPO to lobby against Alice (i.e. against the highest US court) while engaging in patent blackmail against many companies. Now there's this new example of IBM's blackmail campaign:

IBM is seeking $167m in compensation from Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace, over the alleged use of patented technology without authorisation.

The case is being heard at a federal court in Delaware where the jury is being asked to consider whether they agree with IBM’s contention that Groupon had employed IBM’s e-commerce technology without paying a license fee.

IBM contends that firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are all said to make use of the same software, paying between $20 and $50m each for the right to do so but Groupon has challenged this analysis, arguing that the computer manufacturer is overreaching the scope of its patents.


This was covered in many other news sites today, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The real face of IBM isn't what many are led to believe.

"The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it's happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office."The reason PTAB receives many IPRs against IBM patents is that IBM does much of the blackmail behind closed doors, as does Microsoft. They rely mostly on software patents, which are bunk. PTAB almost always invalidates these. All software patents should be voided after Alice, but they can only do this one patent at a time, based on a detailed (re)assessment.

The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it's happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office.

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