"1. On 26 November 2001, the President of the European Patent Office and the Federal Minister of Economy and Internal Trade of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signed an agreement on co-operation in the field of patents (Co-operation and Extension Agreement).
2. This agreement enters into force on 1 November 2004. From this date it will be possible to extend the protection conferred by European patent applications and patents to Serbia and Montenegro (formerly known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Extended European patent applications and patents will enjoy essentially the same protection in Serbia and Montenegro as the patents granted by the EPO for the currently 29 member states of the European Patent Organisation.
3. Articles 120-129 of the Serbian and Montenegrin Patent Act as in force since 10 July 2004 govern the extension of European patents in Serbia and Montenegro.
4. Extension occurs at the applicant's request.
4.1 Extension to Serbia and Montenegro is deemed requested for any European and international patent application filed on or after 1 November 2004. Extension to Serbia and Montenegro is not available for applications filed prior to that date, or for any European patents resulting from such applications. The extension fee is EUR 102. It must be paid to the EPO within the time limits prescribed in the EPC for paying designation fees (Article 79(2) EPC, Rule 107(1)(d) EPC). After expiry of the relevant basic time limit, the extension fee can still be validly paid within the period of grace for the payment of designation fees, provided that within that period a surcharge of 50% is also paid.
4.2 If the extension fee is not paid in due time, the request for extension is deemed withdrawn. Further information concerning the extension of European patent applications and patents to Serbia and Montenegro will be published in later issues of the Official Journal."
EICTA: Europe could become a "Haven for Plagiarism" if EU fails to agree to allow Patent Protection for Computer-Implemented Inventions.
EICTA, a group of some of the world's leading IT and telecommunications companies have warned that Europe could become a "haven for plagiarism" if the European Parliament fails to agree to allow patent protection for inventions implemented by computer. Read more in an article on ITworld.com.
The Eurolinux Alliance and their supporters like Mr. Florian Mueller must not be allowed to get away with the fruits of their propagandistic attempts to re-define the concepts of Intellectual Property law contrary to the written law as interpreted by the competent courts or Boards of Appeal, respectively. They do not have any legitimate power to re-define the interpretation of the law. They must not be allowed to "occupy" any of the long-standing concepts of patent law. It is just of utmost importance that the power to interpret the law is not allowed to creep from the judicature bodies entrusted with this task by constitution to some biased NGOs. In particular, Eurolinux in general and FFII e.V. in particular are not merely innocent contributors to a public debate. They are highly aware of any tactical advance they can gain from their fight on concepts. In particular, by injecting their bogus theory about alleged "illegal software patents granted by the EPO contra legem" deeply into the civil society they are in a much better position to disseminate further alarming calls to fight against the EU Commission's proposal because of this Directive would "legalise already illegally granted software patents". Meanwhile it seems in fact to be common consensus in the press as well as among many citizens interested in the patentability of computer-implemented inventions that the Directive as drafted by the EU Commission would "introduce" software patents. Another example for Eurolinux' successful war on concepts is the spreading of their carefully plotted myth according to which it would constitute an illicit mode of "double protection" if an invention behind the code of a computer program is allowed to be patented.
Within the sphere of the Internet, the definitions of patent-related terms given by disinformation activities of Eurolinux anti-patent activists are absolutely predominant in quantity. Despite the fact that those insiders of the patent system who are acting as its defenders represent a vital centre of competence with regard to intellectual property law in general and patent law in particular, they appear to be somewhat overwhelmed and outmanoeuvred in view of the excellent performance of various communities of patent critics, in particular NGOs, with regard to the utilisation of modern communication means for propagandistic purposes, in particular the Internet. The various associations and professional bodies of patent professionals are used to publish carefully drafted statements concerning all aspects of patent law but they are probably not at eye level with many anti-patent NGOs which effectively disseminate their political spin amongst the general public and journalists via the Internet.
When surfing the web, an overall impression might come up according to which web sites of patent professionals and their respective Institutes and associations tend to be somewhat meagre with regard to timely and substantial information contents. Traditionally, those insiders of the patent system are very experienced in delivering their issues utilising personal connections with decision makers but it might well be legitimate to scrutinise whether or not this is adequate vis-a-vis a political adversary constituted as something like an on-line community. It looks as if it would be impossible at the time being to determine whether or not such traditional means of lobbying are actually stronger in effect than the activities of vast armies of activist volunteers harnessed by anti-patent NGOs and well co-ordinated by Internet-based technologies (e-mail distribution lists, general purpose web sites, blogs, wikis, etc.). Nevertheless it is surely high time that patent professionals make sure much more than before that their views are highly visible also in the Internet.
German Parliament mooting Common Position on Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions.
In the plenary session of October 21 the lower house of the German Parliament ("Bundestag") did not take a vote on any of the draft resolutions (FDP, CDU/CSU) tabled by the various parlamentary groups. Instead, a multi-partisan approach for a joint resolution on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions was envisaged. A number of parliamentarians expressed their concerns about potential negative effects of patenting computer-implemented inventions. The deliberations between representants of all parliamentary groups involved will take place behind closed doors, and results are expected to be visible perhaps as early as next week. It would not be very surprising if such a joint multi-partisan draft resolution would attempt to narrow the scope of patentability by providing a definition of the concept of "technical contribution".
On the one hand, if the German Parliament would pass such a resolution, this might be a strong signal to the European Parliament how a political compromise between the EU Council's position and the outcome of the first reading of the European Parliament might look like. On the other hand it is well known that in most European countries there is a strong aversion against any closed definition of "technicality" because of many experts think that this concept should be left open in order to cope with future developments in the course of the technical progress. See also Heise-Newsticker [in German only, sorry].
Germany: SPD and Greens now fighting against own Government.
The parliamentary groups of the Social Democrats (SPD) as well as of the Greens ("Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen") in the lower house of the German Parliament ("Bundestag") have now also decided to jump on the bandwagon (here and here) promoting a radical cutback of the patentability of computer-implemented inventions by introducing a narrow definition of the concept of "technical contribution", reports Heise Newsticker. It is said that this draft resolution will be tabled to the plenary next week. If the resolution should win a majority vote the parlamentary groups of both parties would effectively have exposed their own Government under Chancellor Schroeder in a very pejorative manner.
The joint parliamentary group of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and of the German Christian Socialist Union (CSU) have now come forward with their own draft resolution [in German only, sorry] which will also be discussed and voted upon today. This draft resulution stresses the desire of the CDU/CSU to further restrict the patenting of computer-implemented inventions by introducing a narrow definition of the concept of "technical contribution" into the EU Draft Directive.
"[...] The supposition that software idea patents are inevitable is a form of defeatism that is already visibly mistaken. The movement against software idea patents in Europe, led by FFII (fii.org) and supported by organizations as diverse as Deutsche Bank Research and the Confederation of Associations of Small and Medium-size Enterprises, has already persuaded the European Parliament once. The outcome will be so close that it is absurd to think you can predict the winner.
Yet even now, thousands of people who oppose software idea patents still shy away from imagining we can prevent them. At my speeches, I constantly encounter people who look for methods to reform the system's details or to game the system, partial solutions that could at best palliate the problem, because they simply can't believe in the possibility of a real solution.
These people don't realize how little practical difference even a major reform would make. We recently learned that Linux, the kernel of the GNU/Linux system, is covered by 283 US software idea patents. (If Linux is .25% of the system, as I read recently, the whole GNU/Linux system would be covered by something like 100,000 US software patents.) This is an overkill situation.
Imagine a patent reform so effective that it would cut the number of issued patents in half. If such a reform were enacted today in the US, all 286 patents that already cover ideas used in Linux would remain. If such a reform had been enacted 15 years ago, Linux would now be covered by around 143 US software idea patents today. Practically speaking, this would not change the situation much. If there are 286 malaria-infected mosquitos buzzing around your house, killing half of them won't make you safe from malaria. "Get rid of half the patents" sounds like a big change, but the chance that your large program is safe would remain small.
The idea of enacting substantial reforms of software idea patents is a remote possibility. It would require a long sustained strong campaign. For completely rejection of software idea patents, we have already mounted the campaign, already build up strength--aided by the fact that this would really solve the problem, not just reduce it slightly. If you want to support the campaign that has a chance to win, support our campaign now! [...]"
Mr. Stallman is a somewhat tragic character. He, the creator of the GNU GPL, has given the world a very successfull new copyright-based view of the modes of creating and distributing software. Maybe that twenty years ago, when Mr. Stallman wrote down the GNU GPL, potential effects of patents on computer-implemented inventions might have been a very remote possibility. Anyway, the GNU GPL as written down by Mr. Stallman is centred solely around copyright, and it does not take into account the role of the patent system in modern developed market economies. This is the big point of failure of Mr. Stallman with regard to his Free Software utopia.
Only rather late Mr. Stallman seems to have recognised that patents on computer-implemented inventions might interfere with his copyright-based utopia of Free Software. He decided to devote a lot of his energy to the political fight against patentability of computer-implemented inventions. But Mr. Stallman's anti-patent utopia not only implies that there should be no patents on computer-implemented inventions. If he really wants to be sure that no patent claim ever can cover a system consisting of a piece of software running on a computer even those inventions must be declared non-patentable which are not clearly computer-implemented but merely potentially computer-implementable. This means reducing the patent system to chemistry, pharmacy, and some areas of oil-contaiminated mechanical engineering. Hence, capitulating before some intrinsically difficult particulars of any serious attempt to bring the patent system and Free Software together, Mr. Stallman therefore decided to put all his eggs in one basket: Obtaining a political majority for crippling and wrecking the patent system down to some point where no patent claim can ever be directed against anyone tinkering with software on a computer. That is the patent law aspect of Mr. Stallman's utopia of Free Software.
Doing so is not only a high bid but also quite cynical: Although he surely is aware thereof, Mr. Stallman refuses to pay attention to the potential difficulties of many branches of modern industries like the automotive industry or the telecommunications industries which would show up if his anti-patent policy would be cast into law. It looks as if in his view such detrimental effects on entire industries are only some form of acceptable collateral damages. The above-quoted message of Mr. Stallman is a monument of a destructive political plot aiming to form a blockade against any meaningful reforms to improve the patent system. Tactically mis-quoting voices criticising the patent system he intends to impress the general public whose members mostly are untrained in patent law.
Even trade mark registrations covering the title of a piece of software can potentially interfere with Free Software. However, it looks as if this aspect also has escaped Mr. Stallman's timely attention. Perhaps he should also advocate to ban any trade mark registrations for software and other computer-related goods and services. At this point, the foolishness of such kinds of doctrines would become clear to everybody, and Mr. Stallman surely is better off to stop short of pushing for reforms cippling also the system of trade mark law.
The world of globalised capitalistic markets will never be centered around any particular utopia of Mr. Stallman irrespective of how many supporters he is able to mobilise. It is proven that Free Software in the sense of a copyright-based GNU GPL can successfully thrive within the limits of the laws of our globalised market economy but it surely would be rather naive to assume that the laws governing the globalised market economy could be confined to any utopia of a Free Software in an absolute sense beyond pure copyright. And, the constitution of the globalised market economy, the WTO agreements in general and TRIPS in particular, is based not only on copyright but also on the patent system.
On 3 September 2004, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (LT) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and to the Act revising the EPC of 29 November 2000.
The EPC will accordingly enter into force for Lithuania on 1 December 2004.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 30 member states as from 1 December 2004:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and the provisions which Lithuania has enacted for the implementation of the EPC will be published in later issues of the Official Journal.
2. Important information
European patent applications filed on or after 1 December 2004 will include the designation of the new contracting state. It will not be possible to designate Lithuania retroactively in applications filed before that date.
To allow the new contracting state to be designated, however, the EPO will accord European patent applications filed in November 2004 the filing date of 1 December 2004 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Nationals of Lithuania and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Lithuania will also be entitled, as from 1 December 2004, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.
Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 December 2004 will automatically designate the new EPC contracting state for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (new Rule 4.9(a)(iii) PCT).
No European patents for Lithuania can be granted on the basis of international applications with a filing date prior to 1 December 2004. However, a national patent can be granted, assuming that Lithuania has been designated in the international application. The designation of Lithuania at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 December 2004 enters the European phase is legally invalid.
4. Effect of accession to the EPC on the extension agreement between the EPO and Lithuania
The extension agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the European Patent Organisation will terminate with the entry into force of the EPC in Lithuania on 1 December 2004. It will thereafter no longer be possible to extend European Patent applications and patents to Lithuania. The extension system will, however, continue to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to 1 December 2004, as well as to all European patents granted in respect of such applications."
"[...] While the entertainment industry has had some recent setbacks in its fight against piracy in the courts and in Congress, it has a new ally in John Ashcroft, who recently pledged to make cracking down on copyright violators a top priority.
On Tuesday, the attorney general released a report from the Department of Justice's Intellectual Property Task Force that outlines plans to beef up enforcement of copyright violations.
'With the recommendations put forward by the task force, the department is prepared to build the strongest, most aggressive legal assault against intellectual property crime in our nation's history,' Ashcroft said in a statement.
Those recommendations include increasing the number of FBI agents to sniff out copyright violators, better training programs for prosecutors and law enforcement officers who investigate such offenses, and increasing cooperation between businesses and individuals affected by such theft.
The report (.pdf) - which covers copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and patents - also says that those who benefit most from this theft "are criminals, and alarmingly, criminal organizations with possible ties to terrorism. [...]"
Hmm ... you can ride any horse to death. Reason and "common sense" should be allowed to prevail. IP is a sensible concept which should not be harmed by overstretching. Possible political shortfalls caused by such rigour are easily imaginable.
Expert Opinion on Munich Linux Migration Published.
As reported e.g. by ComputerWeekly.Com, Munich's city officials have decided to move ahead with their migration project from Microsoft Windows to open source Linux:
"Munich, Germany's third largest city, will proceed with its plan to equip all 14,000 computers in its public administration with Linux and other open source office applications, despite concerns of possible software patent infringements raised in the debate over new European Union (EU) patent legislation.
'We commissioned a group of legal experts to study the implications of using Linux ahead of proposed EU legislation, and they came to the conclusion that there is only a very small risk of software patent infringement,' said Stefan Hauf, a spokesman for the City of Munich. 'The experts told us that almost every user of software faces some risk.' [...]
Today, the expert opinion authored by Roman Sedlmaier and Jan Gigerich under the label of the Munich Law Firm Frohwitter has been published in PDF format [In German only, sorry].
The opinion makes clear that contrary to all false statement made by FFII e.V. the Draft Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions as politically agreed upon by the EU Council would not substantially change the legal landscape. Such patents have been granted by centuries, and no word of FFII e.V. is true that "software patents" would be "introduced". In accordance with all expectations, FFII e.V. in general and Mr. Pilch in particular are not happy with that expert opinion.
Liberalising Address for Service (AFS) Requirements for Patents, Trade Marks and Registered Designs.
In October 2003 the UK Patent Office (UKPO) published a consultation document inviting views on a proposal to liberalise address for service (AFS) requirements for patents, trade marks and registered designs, and consequential changes to postal service regulations. Now, the UKPO proposes:
to make no unilateral changes to the AFS rules, but support the liberalisation of AFS across the EU;
to seek the abolition of the postal deeming rules for patents and registered designs;
to extend the provisions relating to postal delay, to cover undue delays to any means of communication and to delays anywhere within the EU; and
to amend the postal interruption provisions so that only those communications affected by the interruption would qualify for extended time limits.
I ask myself whether such initiative would also include an EU-wide attempt to abolish the German mandatory requirement of professional representation before the German Patent and Trade Mark Office for applicants not seated on German territory.
Germany: Patenting of Biotechnological Inventions utilising Biological Material of Human Origin.
The German National Committee on Ethics ("Ethikrat") has published an expert opinion on the patenting of biotechnological inventions utilising biological material of human origin ("Zur Patentierung biotechnologischer Erfindungen unter Verwendung biologischen Materials menschlichen Ursprungs", in German only, sorry). A majority of experts on the panel of the Ethikrat has voted in favour of the steps currently undertaken by the German Government to cast EU Directive 98/44/EG into national German law. A minority of experts wanted to restrict patenting further.
EUPARL: Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard to report on Patent Matters.
Simon Taylor reports that a clash between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers over the European Union Draft Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions looks almost certain after the assembly chose former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, an outspoken opponent of the legislation, to draw up its response to the Council on behalf of the Parliament's internal market committee. However, more important than the internal market committee will be the position of the legal affairs committee. It should, however, be noted that up to now the Council has not even formally finalised its position.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)General Assembly agreed on Monday, October 4, 2004, to further examine a proposal by a group of developing countries to integrate in a more systematic manner the development dimension in all of WIPO’s work. Member states are expected to formally adopt this decision in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on Tuesday, October 5, 2004. More ...