zoobab writes: Companies across UK have expressed their opposition to an attempt to ratify the Unitary Patent treaty which is neither desirable for British software companies nor compatible with Brexit. They call for an urgent debate in the House of Lords and in the Scottish Parliament. Maurice Shakeshaft, CEO of CB Automation Ltd, from Newark: "The Unitary Patent will be the nail in the coffin for the european software industry. This court will be populated by members of the patent industry, which has broadened the scope of patents to software for the last 30 years."
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.