EU Wants To Copy US's Biggest Mistake With Patents: Specialized Patent Court

from the not-a-good-idea dept

The EU continues its efforts to harmonize local patent laws -- a controversial topic that has run into problems in the past (often over issues involving software patents). While making the process work across all countries, rather than having to file separate patent applications with different rules in each country, makes some sense, it seems that part of the plan is also to create an entirely separate EU-wide court just for patents. If this sounds familiar, that's because the US did this (though under somewhat different circumstances) back in the early 1980s, and many attribute that special court, CAFC, for many of the problems with today's patent system. That's because once the court is designated as focusing solely on patents, it becomes dominated by former patent attorneys -- for whom patents become an end in themselves, rather than a means for increasing actual innovation. CAFC was responsible for expanding what was patentable to things like software and business methods, as well as generally siding with patent holders above challengers. All of this gave a lot more power to patent holders, leading to many more patents being filed, resulting in the overload of today's patent examiners. If the purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation, the final arbiters determining how the patent system should work shouldn't be those who benefit from patents, but those who benefit from actual innovation. Unfortunately, when people assume that patents are a proxy for innovation (something that's been shown as false) the focus is only on generating more patents, not more innovation.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2007 @ 11:15pm

    more dribble... more tripe...

    the patent god has spoken!!

    as has been stated many times.. patents in and of themselves, do not restrict your right to innovate.

    you just can't do it on top of me, without my say so..

    there are numerous cross licensing circumstances in technology.

    keep in mind, this isn't saying that all rulings regarding patents are correct, and there have been numerous issues raised with having examiners who really weren't that knowledgable regarding the underlying tech, or the prior art.. but these issues can be resolved by tweaking the patent awarding process.

    peace...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Itsatrap, 6 Apr 2007 @ 1:58am

    It's a scam

    The problem is the national courts didn't share the European Patent Office's *broad* interpretation of patent law. So they hope by creating a single European court they can bypass the national courts objections.

    It's just a scam. There is no reason to have a patent court anymore than a court for complex financial fraud, a family court for inter-european divorces or any other niche court.

    It wasn't just software the EPO are at odd with the national courts over. They wanted maximal patenting right across the book. Same as happened in the USA.
    Interpreting TRIPS "patents shall be available for any inventions in all field of technology, provided they are capable ... of industrial application" as broad as possible to claim that 'a person gets the patent by default unless we can prove patented prior art'.

    i.e. ignore the non patented prior art, remove the obviousness test and they become all powerful. They alone at the stroke of a pen decide which company makes what product in Europe.

    But the national courts were having none of that. On software: EPO said although 'programs for computers' are specifically excluded by law.
    But only software for computer 'as such', so if you don't mention the computer, you can patent the software, because 'as such' it's not for a computer. Even though the only thing it can run on is a computer.

    UK Courts, German Courts and others though the EPO was full of sh*t and were having none of that.

    But the momentum has gone, the big companies behind patents in Europe woke up and saw how the trolls are taking billions from US companies with minor patents. How some companies are being excluded from THE MARKETS THEY CREATED by these pests. So now there's a broad cross industry movement to keep patents to pure real inventions and only the patent lawyers are still pushing this nonsense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thomason, 6 Apr 2007 @ 7:41am

    Maybe EU can do

    I like to think that the EU can do better in creating a court system than our Federal Circuit can do in deciding patent cases. The specialized courts in Italy, and the Competition courts elsewhere work well. No system is perfect, but to be called a system, courts need to be predictable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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