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Yannis Skulikaris Promotes Software Patents at EPOPIC, Defending the Questionable Practice Under António Campinos

Summary: The reckless advocacy for abstract patents on mere algorithms from a new and less familiar face; the EPO is definitely eager to grant software patents and it explains to stakeholders how to do it

THERE's no excuse for what António Campinos does at the European Patent Office (EPO). It's not good at all, but media turns a blind eye to it, as we shall explain in our next post. Nothing has changed for the better and quite a few things actually got worse.



"Nothing has changed for the better and quite a few things actually got worse."EPOPIC started yesterday. It was opened/commenced by Campinos. He did not say anything important, at least based on the corresponding EPO tweets (e.g. [1, 2, 3]). He's the quiet president, an EPO President who tries not to rattle any golden cages. So we shall focus on more vocal people -- those who shamelessly promote software patents in Europe.

Corrupt EPO officials have long been promoting software patents like never before; it's not entirely new a thing, but before Battistelli it was somewhat contained. Under Battistelli it became very much evident and under Campinos this promotion of software patents is done about three times a day; they've become a rogue institution begging to be reprimanded. But who can ever reprimand them? They're positioned above the law, unlike the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which habitually gets sued.

"Corrupt EPO officials have long been promoting software patents like never before; it's not entirely new a thing, but before Battistelli it was somewhat contained.""WTF," Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, quoting the EPO: "2018 may well be the turning point for the EPO and patent information, with the disruptive emergence of AI, Blockchain, machine learning, IoT, IoS, IoE and I4.0" (this abstract can be found in https://www.epo.org/learning-events/events/conferences/pi-conference/programme/Abstracts.html#clarke)

Henrion continued: "The EPO technical bullshit excuse to grant software patents once again, time for a new directive, now field again extended to "IOT", "Cloud", "AI": hhttp://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/AEED0CD590113AB3C12583390053E87B/$File/MON_1211_slot0900-1030_Yannis_Skulikaris_en.pdf …" [PDF]

Buzzwords for software patents at the EPO aren't a new thing; back in the old days they said "CII" and "ICT"; Battistelli added a few more like "4IR" and patents on algorithms can nowadays be easily granted if one says "AI", "blockchain" or something "on a car". There are several more examples we wrote about.

The above presentation comes from Mr. Yannis Skulikaris. IP World Summit describes him as "Director Operations | Sector Information & Communications Technology EPO."

"Buzzwords for software patents at the EPO aren't a new thing; back in the old days they said "CII" and "ICT"; Battistelli added a few more like "4IR" and patents on algorithms can nowadays be easily granted if one says "AI", "blockchain" or something "on a car"."Well, oddly enough he's listed as a speaker in a page called "Mr Francesco Zacca" (did he quit? Did he cancel his talk? The bottom of the page still says "Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Francesco.")

Francesco Zaccà was mentioned in our leaked publications and was the subject of past articles of ours.

Let's just assume that Zaccà was either replaced by Skulikaris or Skulikaris simply decided to speak instead of Zaccà. If EPO insiders could share with us the employment status of Zaccà, that would be awesome. Given all the awful things he has done, it would not surprise us if he recently got promoted (aggressive and dishonest behaviour is what EPO management rewards nowadays, based on the past few years' pattern).

Zaccà's talk (delivered by Skulikaris instead) seems similar to what he presented at EPOPIC yesterday; there too he had promoted software patents about a month ago.

"Let's just assume that Zaccà was either replaced by Skulikaris or Skulikaris simply decided to speak instead of Zaccà."Watch the slides. "Software-related patents" is what he calls software patents because the EPO no longer pretends to obey the EPC and terms like "CII" aren't seen as necessary. What we deal with here is a rogue institution that laughs at the law and spits in judges' faces.

As per the EPO's own words: "Yannis Skulikaris, EPO expert, will explain the problem-solution approach to be applied in mixed-type claims that contain both technical & non-technical features. #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/vDpL54Mfd7" (the picture shows slides).

As Henrion explains, "that's EPO fraudulent interpretation of the EPC. French courts have been rejecting their interpretation, but the EPO keeps going."

"What we deal with here is a rogue institution that laughs at the law and spits in judges' faces."See "The Paris High Court Reaffirms the Ban on Software Patents" (2015).

The EPO has operated outside the rule of law for years," I responded to Henrion. "In many ways."

Going back to the EPO's own words: "Yannis Skulikaris talks about the examiner practice when it comes to mixed-type claims. The approach includes two stages: (1) does the claim contain non-patentable subject-matter acc. to Art 52 EPC? (2) Is the subject-matter inventive? #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/uVYrGxmAin [...] Yannis Skulikaris reveals some essential aspects that will support you in the interaction with the Office. #EPOPIC These are crucial questions that an examiner will ask you:pic.twitter.com/ctm3DgSapo [...] Yannis Skulikaris shares some guidelines on how to approach the biggest challenges for applications to the EPO: the inventive step & the technical character. #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/BKQzBREjki"

"So the EPO is advising to people (even in this event) to pursue software patents in the 'right' ways..."There are some photos there too. So the EPO is advising to people (even in this event) to pursue software patents in the 'right' ways...

The EPO has totally quit pretending on software patents. "It's operating outside the law," I said in response Catarina Maia, who describes herself as "European IPR Helpdesk Ambassador". We spotted Catarina Maia on Twitter after she was retweeted by the EPO as saying: "Software can be protected by patents in Europe, as long as it solves a technical problem. Technical problem: recognizing handwritten text. Non-technical: software for learning a foreign language. #softwarepatents https://twitter.com/epoorg/status/1061895682464890880 …"

I debated this with her and then she just suddenly blocked me. She blocked right after losing an argument (she was unable to answer a very simply and polite question). "European IPR Helpdesk Ambassador" must mean not Ambassador because Ambassadors don't just stonewall constituents. If they do, they must be exceptionally incompetent.

"The EPO has totally quit pretending on software patents."What Maia cannot recognise is the simple fact that all software is algorithms and algorithms are software. She promotes the concept of "algorithm per se" (whatever that even means).

Software that's not "algorithm per se" is like a meal that's not "food per se"; it's just an old lawyers' trick. People who never coded anything and don't understand how computers work...

These software patents boosters can't win debates; they just block people; how very typical of them. Some block me without ever speaking to me (ever!), revealing the fact that they're just afraid is being talked to, mentioned etc. Very thin-skinned people, incapable of coping with opposing views. They surround themselves with people who make them intolerant of other perspectives, scientists' for instance.

"These software patents boosters can't win debates; they just block people; how very typical of them."Not good. These are decision-making personalities!

"I guess you saw the EPO software patents slides of today," one reader told us. People are certainly noticing. We sure noticed and waited until we could gather enough information for a response/rebuttal.

Managing IP was there as well. All it could say was: "Lots of exhibitors and participants @EPOorg #EPOPIC in Brussels. Insightful table discussion sessions!"

The EPO retweeted this.

Readers can imagine who was (and wasn't) at these table discussions.

"Readers can imagine who was (and wasn't) at these table discussions.""EPO expert Yannis Skulikaris," according to the EPO, said: “In both columns, software plays the decisive role. In one case it contributes to solving a technical problem, in the other one it doesn’t.“ #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/tOj6vXWmMd

That's just meaningless mumbo-jumbo. Ask programmers what that actually means. We don't suppose Skulikaris is a programmer.

Henrion quoted from the slides and added: "EPO: Software patents are everywhere, especially at the EPO http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/AEED0CD590113AB3C12583390053E87B/$File/MON_1211_slot0900-1030_Yannis_Skulikaris_en.pdf …" [PDF]

"As of years ago," I told him, "the EPO quit pretending that it is even TRYING to obey the law. They are the shame of Europe now [and] even the staff hates the management..."

"It wasn't so long ago (earlier this month) that Team UPC cited a stacked parliamentary session about the UPC."Henrion noted that "EPO swpat [software patents] conference running at the moment in Brussels, as usual they forgot to invite "critics". Next EUPACO conference, we won't invite the "proponents" of the UPC https://www.epo.org/learning-events/events/conferences/pi-conference.html … #upc #epomustgo #epo software patents"

"Vendor capture where the 'vendor' is the litigation 'industry' that makes nothing (except lawsuits, damage)" was my response to him.

"Team UPC hopes that the UPC (a 'unified' court) will replace all these 'naughty' national courts that keep rejecting software patents."It wasn't so long ago (earlier this month) that Team UPC cited a stacked parliamentary session about the UPC. We already wrote about it thrice this month. Team UPC hopes that the UPC (a 'unified' court) will replace all these 'naughty' national courts that keep rejecting software patents.

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