Florian Mueller warns of a patent focus in the European Inventor of the Year Award, and of a software-patent potential in the European Patent Litigation Agreement (links)

April 10, 2006

07 Apr 2006

European Inventor of the Year award - and what's wrong with it

On May 3 and 4, 2006, the European Commission and the European Patent Office will jointly present the European Inventor of the Year Conference & Gala.

There is no question that the world in general needs innovation, and so does Europe. I am all for honoring true inventors. However, this particular award series and event looks, at least in part, like an attempt to reinforce some common misconceptions and fallacies concerning innovation policy.

The involvement of the European Patent Office and the selection of nominees based on the patents they received makes a connection between patents and inventiveness that is only half-true at best. While the official and original idea of the patent system is to protect and reward inventors, the reality of more than 180,000 patent applications filed at the EPO per year (and that number is still growing) suggests that the fewest patents actually stand for true inventions. Companies increasingly invent patents instead of patenting inventions.


The EPLA is the new attempt to make software patents enforceable in Europe

A few days ago I had a series of meetings in the European Parliament, and I heard that Microsoft and SAP are already lobbying politicians to support the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

There are still three days left to answer the European Commission's patent policy questionnaire, but it's a foregone conclusion that the pro-software patent camp wants the EPLA more than anything else.

Let's forget about the community patent for the time being. Yes, officially it's the priority of the EU, but it isn't going to happen anytime soon. There is too much resistance against it. The FFII and I will keep an eye on developments concerning the community patent, and you'll hear from us if anything important happens on that front, but my recommendation is that most of us take it off the radar screen.

European Patent Litigation Agreement: the name says it all. It's all about litigation. If it were to be ratified in any form near the current draft, there would be a flood of software patent lawsuits in Europe.


Comment by IP::JUR blog

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer in Islamic Studies QATAR UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Social Studies QATAR UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • Man walking, University of Oxford campus, photo negative

Donald Brown shares the experiences that prompted him to talk about ‘institutional racism’ at Oxford

  • Egg timer and clock showing deadlines

Meghan Duffy thinks you can get on in academia without being chained to your desk

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign