[ffii] EPO paper on CEC/BSA proposal

PILCH Hartmut phm at a2e.de
Sun Jul 21 19:23:33 CEST 2002



you can find an EPO paper on the CEC proposal, presented to its
Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO) which notes:

	 A strong "fundamentalist" lobby (open source community,
	 Eurolinux) opposing patent protection of software-related
	 inventions would like to see this opposition reflected in the
	 directive, while the patent community, in principle, welcomes
	 the initiative but not without criticism as to the contents
	 of the proposal, particularly the envisaged ban on computer
	 program claims.

	 Discussion on the proposal in the EC Council (Working Party
	 on Intellectual Property) and European Parliament (Committee
	 on Legal Affairs) has commenced only recently.  The EPO will
	 be involved in the deliberations of the Council Working Party
	 as an expert of the EU Commission.

In its short analysis, the EPO finds that the EC proposal is based
very closely on the new EPO guidelines and the EPO's practise.
However, it finds two questions worthy of further clarification:

 - meaning of restriction on claim form for enforcement of claims
 - how to distinguish technical contributions from non-technical ones

The EPO's concepts seem better than those of CEC/BSA.  In particular
they do not award any patent claim the status of an "invention" but,
in accordance with Art 52 EPC, acknowledge that there must be a test
of whether an invention is present.

Also, they suggest at the end to

      Make clear that mere computer implementation of a per se
      non-technical method such as business method does not involve a
      "technical contribution".

This, thought through to the end, would mean that a mere computer
implementation of a coding method such as that in the JPEG patent does
not involve a technical contribution and is therefore not an

Unfortunately EPO reasoning, like that of the CEC patent lawyers,
usually consists of verbal rubble which will have no consequences when
it doesn't suit the EPO and the people on SACEPO.

I wonder why the EPO can't give the Eurolinux Alliance a seat in
SACEPO rather than spread misleading assertions about us.  We are, in
the EPO's words, a "strong lobby", and we are certainly a part of the
public whom the EPO is supposed to serve.  There is also little reason
why the "Council Working Party" should be composed only of experts
from the patent community and why the European Commission should
nominate the EPO as its "expert" delegate.

Hartmut Pilch, FFII & Eurolinux Alliance              tel. +49-89-12789608   
Protecting Innovation against Patent Inflation	     http://swpat.ffii.org/
120,000 signatures against software patents      http://www.noepatents.org/

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