zoobab writes: The European Patent Office (EPO) has recognised that the Unitary Patent Court will provide harmonisation across Europe on the issue of software patents. In a conference in London held few days ago, EPO’s Grant Philpott said"The UPC (Unitary Patent Court) will provide strong harmonisation in ICT applications that will play a dominant role in patent world". A recent leak by Techrights.org also shows that the EPO has been prioritizing patent applications for a few large non-European companies, such as Microsoft or Huawei. The leaked document and webpage is now made inacessible and filtered from the internet access within the EPO premises.
zoobab writes: The Unitary Patent for Europe is being challenged at the Belgian Constitutional Court. One of the plaintiffs, Benjamin Henrion, is a fifteen-year campaigner against software patents in Europe. He says: "The Unitary Patent is the third major attempt to legalize software patents in Europe. The captive European Patent Court will become the Eastern District of Texas when it comes to software patent disputes in Europe. As happened in America, the concentration of power will force up legal costs, punish small European companies, and benefit large patent holders."
zoobab writes: "France is creating a state sponsored patent fund, FranceBrevets, which primary focus will be to sponsor, acquire and license patents in the ICT (read software patents) sector. The patent fund is at the initiative of the minister of Research, Valérie Pécresse, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and digital economy, Eric Besson. The primary target of the fund is to collect licenses on those patents, which is already seen in France as the biggest patent troll of the country. France is also supporting the European Unitary Patent, which is seen by many at the final attempt to validate software patents in Europe."
zoobab writes: Microsoft is pushing for software patents in New Zealand, as the vote in nearing on the proposed patent legislation containing clause 15(3A). Microsoft is asking to keep the law as is, and opposes the exclusion of software patents.
zoobab writes: The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, warning of risks for the European Parliament to be "circumvented" as a legislator when the EU will accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The European Patent Organisation is everything except a model of democracy: national patent offices are in power, there is no parliament involved in the decision making process, and diplomatic conferences are held behind closed doors. There are plans to create a central patent court in Europe, which would operate in a democratic vacuum, as it would not be counterbalanced by any legislative assembly, let alone the European Parliament. Such central patent court could also validate software patents via caselaw (as it was recently done with the Microsoft FAT patent by the German Supreme Court), and Microsoft, IBM or SAP are lobbying in Brussels not to reopen the software patent directive.
zoobab writes: The draft agreement between Europe and India on Intellectual Property Rights has been leaked, and clearly mentions at its Article 34 the possibility for administrative tribunals, such as the ones currently being setup in France via the Hadopi, to shutdown internet access of suspected downloaders ("This article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Parties' legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement"). The draft also contains provisions on ISPs liabilities. The European Commission is also pushing for ISPs liabilities for copyright infringements in the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was criticised in the public hearing on ACTA on going beyond existing EU laws and the E-commerce directive.
zoobab writes: "In its Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court on the Bilski case, IBM is arguing that "patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code [...] which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development." IBM also argue that the machine-or-tranformation test allow software to be patented, and that "software patent protection provides significant economic, technological, and societal benefits". IBM also "finds alarming decisions in the wake of Bilski concluding that software is excluded from patentable subject matter" making references to the BPAI decisions on Ex Parte Altman. IBM also says thet are "committed to ensuring that such technology [software] is and remains patentable"."
zoobab writes: "Hackers from all over Europe will meet at the end of the month (27-30 June) at the second Hacker Space Festival (HSF), in Paris. The four-day schedule includes conferences and workshops on: Metasploit, HostileWRT, FPGA for beginners, ICT disaster recovery, Software Patents in Europe, Hadopi, Anonymisation or how to produce your own biodiesel... The future of Hacker Spaces will also be debated. The event will be hosted by the first french hackerspace/tmp/lab, located in an industrial zone in the outskirts of Paris."
zoobab writes: "Veteran European anti-software patent campaigners have launched the World Day against Software Patents, writing: "The issue of software patents is a global one, and several governments and patent offices around the world continue to grant software & business method patents on a daily basis; they are pushing for legal codification of the practice, such as currently in New Zealand and India. We declare the 24 September as the World Day Against Software Patents, in commemoration of the European Parliament First Reading in 2003 with amendments stopping the harmful patenting of software, guaranteeing that software programmers and businesses can safely benefit from the fruits of their work under copyright law.""