EU-parliament to abandon patent law?

The EU-parliament have been guarding its legislative powers, trying to keep the new "Unitary Patents Courts" within the EU legal framework unlike how its pushed as a separate cross state agreement by the EU-Council. A leaked report from the EU-parliament meeting this Monday, shows a rush to sign the Council "compromise" version anyway. This is not just a threat to innovation or bad for business, its also a problem for the EU project and democracy as it creates a self serving legal authority outside legislative control. The legality of this approach has been sharply questioned by Max Planck Institut and the EU court of justice among others. 

EU-patents has been on the agenda for more than 35 years. But patents are not just about innovation, they are also exclusions, borders, national protection and have been difficult for nations to agree on. The problems also relate to the current, non EU, European Patents Office, that has extended its reach issuing far broader patents than originally intended in its convention, super-seeding national courts confusing harmonization of whats patent-able with more patents and income. In this scenario, creating a new Court to enforce the same type of EU-wide patents is a big mistake for innovation and growth. 

Update on the leaked proposal: 


Great support against the untiary patent court proposal

Just more than a year ago FFII.se replied to the Swedish justice department on a query about the proposal for a EU patent court (in Swedish), but we where quite lonely on the issue we had with that the court was not in the EU and beyond governing. Sure we had help from our network, but we where just the crowd fighting those self serving software patents against a collective of lawyers thinking of patents as their income. Now it seems we have company - and good company too!

Here is a nice round up by two high profile politicians of Europe:
https://www.unitary-patent.eu/content/european-union-under-threat-patents-column-d-cohn-bendit-and-m-rocard (Mr Rocard and Mr Cohn Bendit)

Add this fresh report on the proposal from Max Planck Institut and with a sharp tone:

And now even more with quite a large group of professors and lawyers:

Many thanks to Gibus for his unrelenting research and reporting at http://www.unitary-patent.eu/
Gibus serves the platform that keeps us updated and ready to discuss issues that are quite complicated and yet crucial for innovation in Europe.


Study suggest EU-patent rethink; EU pushes on.

Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law just reported what we already know about the Unitary-patent proposal as modified by the EU-Council. Its bad. The report dives into twelve problems and ends with a recommendation to rethink the whole package.

At the same time, Mr Michel Barnier, EU-Commissioner for internal markets, announced, as reported by europolitics, that the criticized proposal will be brought to conclusion "in the coming weeks". (18/10 2012)
Please save innovation from a self serving patent regime in Europe.
I would urge Mr. Barnier to rethink that strategy... perhaps regarding the problems reported:
I. The unitary patent package adds to complexity
2. Fragmentation in the rules applicable to the unitary patent
3. Fragmentation of jurisprudence.
4. Insufficient exceptions and limitations
5. Absence of countervailing rights
6. Risk of dysfunctional patent practices
7. Discriminatory effects.
8. Inherent ineffectiveness of the Unified Patent Court
9. Uncertain implications of the unitary effect.
10. Incorrect legal basis for the unitary patent.
11. Exclusion of compulsory licenses through EU law primacy
12. Persisting incompatibility of the Unified Patent Court with EU law


Apples and Samsung

Its obvious that Samsung stood on the shoulders of Apples looks, but Apples software patents are a plain steal from the public and innovation. To use them and to win using them is like a slap in the face for innovation.

The bounce back effect: http://www.google.com/patents/US7469381This is quite common in applications with fluid UX

Scroll with finger and pinch zoom: http://www.google.com/patents/US7844915
I could scroll like this on my fujitsu touch screen in the late nineties
Pinch zoom is like the first natural use of multi-touch.

Double Tap to zoom: http://www.google.com/patents/US7864163
Double tap has been used to "open" something, so its just obvious for going into an image as well.

If these patents remain alive - then we have a problem Huston...


See some history on multi-touch:

Some what-and what-not from the verge:


What should be patent-able is what could have been kept a secret

Mark Shuttleworth makes a simple statement on techcrunch that I like about what kind of patents should be approved: “You should only be able to patent those things you could keep secret,”... “People have become confused, and think that a patent is incentive to create at all.” Patents where created to award sharing knowledge about inventions above keeping secrets. The fact that the author of the article is confused about this fact being a mere opinion of Shuttleworth is telling of the current situation.


Cost of software patents shown

Nice to see media addressing the cost of software patents. At CNET, Jim Kersteller writes "What is that patent lawsuit going to cost you". Basically you'd have to pay lawsuits costs that are very high and pushes you to settle for anything under a million dollars. It certainly puts the small firm at huge risk. And to top that one off, Techdirt describes a study on why It's Mathematically Impossible To Avoid Infringing On Software Patents. Even for the larger players patents are as Brad Feld at Business Insider says "Games Where The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play". In fact this study, at techdirt, says that you earn more if you share for free. Oh wait, thats open standards and Internet.

On the other hand, if you can afford all the best lawyers you can go a long way in fighting off software patents (PJ/Groklaw) as Google has shown in the Oracle vs Google case. Its certainly in place to thank Google again for actually dealing with the patents rather than cementing the stupidity with counter claims. 

To help innovation slightly, the US Supreme Court has continued to enforce barriers against abstract and long reaching patents. PJ at Groklaw does an excellent job on reporting about the Mayo vs Prometheus ruling. In Europe the patent establishment is still trying to avoid any such reform by creating specialized courts outside the reach of the Union and the European Court of Justice. But the EU - "Unified Patent"- project seems fragile and has growing opposition. Last from the current EU-presidency, Poland.