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Amazon Gift Ordering Patent Revoked In EU

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the merriest-gift-of-all dept.

The Internet 62

Elektroschock writes "The Amazon gift ordering patent was revoked by the European Patent Office. In a press release they write: 'The so-called 'Gift Order Patent' has been revoked by the EPO in an opposition proceeding today after a hearing involving three opposing parties and the patent proprietor, Amazon Inc. The patent relates to a method for purchasing goods over the Internet to be sent as gifts.' Santa did not have to lodge opposition against the patent. The opponents were Fleurop, the FFII and the German computer science society. What strikes me is that so many parties were infringing upon the patent, and yet you need very few organizations to file an opposition. Why are not more patents opposed?"

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Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21626555)

Amazon in the US must be more on the ball with their gifts to the patent office.

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (3, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626925)

Software and business method patents aren't allowed in Europe, and this "invention" seems to be a method of carrying on business implemented in software - someone buys something, and the vendor contacts the recipient to get a shipping address.

In the US, however, such patents are permitted, so challenging it would be a bit more difficult.

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (1)

darkdragon_net (1200389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627369)

Well you know i think that european union is making right, because this is such a stupid patent, i mean who gives amazon the permission to patent this method as if they were the owners of that idea. that of course they aren't

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627915)

I don't see how this is novel at all. It's the same as calling up the flourist and asking them to deliver flowers to somebody. Except that this is on the internet. Taking a normal everyday task, and attaching "On The Internet" to it should not make it patent worthy. The number of stupid patents that have been created since the internet came about is amazing. I mean, how could sending a gift to somebody be patentable in the first place.

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627997)

Well it is the same as giving the florist the phone number of the recipient and asking them to phone her to find out where they should be delivered to. That clearly is not patentable, so European law says that doing it using a computer isn't patentable either.

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627439)

The problem is that the EPO still grants software and business method patents even though they aren't allowed and aren't currently enforceable, presumably for the cash. This means that if the (primarily US-based) business interests ever do manage to sneak Software Patents past the EU Parliament, all the previously granted patents would come into effect.

Re:Somebody obviously didn't get their cut. (3, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21630073)

ever do manage to sneak Software Patents past the EU Parliament

Or widen the approach to enforce US-law: US says it has right to kidnap British citizens [timesonline.co.uk]

CC.

your patents revoked == you can't file patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21627059)

companies lose nothing when their patents are revoked.

there should be severe patent-related consequences for those whose patents have been revoked (3 during last year, 5 during last 2 years, 10 during last 10 years, or whatever) - e.g. banning the company from filing patents for some period of time, or voiding the rest of their patents.

that might make the filers think before they try to impede everyone's effort to innovate.

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (2, Interesting)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627133)

And by "impede everyone's effort to innovate" you mean "impede everyone's effort to copy other people's successes without putting in the work to come up with them in the first place" right? Because patents pretty much force people to innovate.

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (0, Flamebait)

nilbud (1155087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627807)

That's fucking bullshit, wake up you clown.

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (3, Insightful)

MaxShaw (1151993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627937)

Patents are [i]supposed[/i] to make people innovate. Spot the difference.

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628601)

Isn't that a good thing in some ways? I mean, if someone comes up with $GOODTHING isn't it good if more people can do it? And isn't that the ultimate goal of patents - to reward people coming up with good stuff, so that people can have more interesting useful ideas to copy later?

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21629943)

"Because patents pretty much force people to innovate."

Approximately the same way banning the use of anything new force people to innovate. How about we outright ban the use of technology? By that theory, that should really get the innovation going.

Re:your patents revoked == you can't file patents (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21638841)

Don't be fatuous, it isn't clever.

Why? (5, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626579)

I think it's fairly obvious why so few patents are challenged. It requires an investment of time and money which isn't worth it if you can fly under the radar. And even when you do choose to make that investment there's never any guarantee that the decision will go your way.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626611)

Why are these even considered as possible patents anyways is the real question. How is this helping innovation either? For example, you can patent a T.V., however now you can patent "a device where viewers view audio and video at the same time from broadcasts over the air" and then the exact same patent with over the air replaced with Satellite/Cable. The first can help innovation because you can make an alternative device to a T.V. with the same function, like a T.V. only using an LCD screen rather then a CRT.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21626721)

Why are these even considered as possible patents anyways is the real question. How is this helping innovation either?
Because they can. Who cares about innovation its all about making money. Didn't you go to inference 101?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21630365)

Why are these even considered as possible patents anyways is the real question.

For the corporations: Because they can. Getting a patent means that barriers are raised against possible competitors and the patent holder can sell their products at a higher price because of the reduced competition. Alternatively, they can offer patent licenses to competitors and thus get a piece of their revenue streams.

For the patent office: For the money. Patent applications cost money, and at least where I live (Sweden), patents have a yearly maintenance cost (which actually rises for each year). Granting patents give the patent office more money, and who doesn't want more money?

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626713)

Also note that many times getting the legal representation you need is a very costly affair, and lots of plaintiffs in these cases have deep pockets. Even for a collection of "little guys" going after a deep-pocketed foe, it's going to take lots of these: $$$$$$$. The plaintiffs will drag their feet and find ways to make your lawyer and the court work harder, thus running up the court costs and attorney fees. Remember, in court everyone plays to win, and the best of everyone knows what loopholes to exploit to win.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626919)

I'd like to add that the sheer number of junk patents out there in the wild also plays a role. It's often only worthwhile when you're on the receiving end of patent litigation or a troll is trying to extort money.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21631433)

I once attended a lecture on innovation management by a guy working for Nokia and he said that patents are a necessary evil for defensive purposes but all their lawyers are told that "if you start a patent lawsuit you're fired even if you're right".

Re:Why? (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627311)

Indeed it's a sad day when slashdot submissions attempt to think.

What strikes me is that so many parties were infringing upon the patent, and yet you need very few organisations to file an opposition. Why are not more patents opposed?"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why? - how (1)

Marble_X (700647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21630813)

So the biggest problem fighting unreasonable patents is that it is expensive and risky?
That can be easily solved.

Lets take a closer look at personal meaning of the word expensive
A private jet would be very expensive to ME, but not to a businessman flying from New York to Tokyo 3 times a month.

Since we have seen that it is expensive to most businesses to fight unreasonable patents due to the cost and risks involved in such an undertaking.
We now only have to find or invent an entity to whom this might not be expensive.
So I propose to form an entity with the sole purpose of fighting unreasonable patents.
This entity needs to maintain it self so it needs funds and what better way to get them then to ask those funds of the people who are bothered by such patents but don't have the time or money to do it by themselves.

I myself don't have the time to start a foundation against unreasonable patents, but since I am in the web development business, I would gladly donate a hundred bucks to a foundation who promices to fight the EOLAS patent, and so would many others.

This foundation would then function as a party that checks and rechecks existing and new patents.
And by doing so functions as a safety net against fuckups of the patent office.
The ultimate result would be that the patent offices would improve on their research and implications of patent requests they receive. Simply because they probably don't like being overruled each time.
At best we would have two organizations competing with each other over the most perfectly suitable patents, thus improving overall usability and validity.

So this way you can fly under the radar for as long as you want while anonymously donating to a foundation to fight that patent.
If it works out for you fine, if it doesn't, then continue flying under the radar.

So if anyone has any time to spend on this?

Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626625)

What strikes me is that so many parties were infringing upon the patent, and yet you need very few organisations to file an opposition. Why are not more patents opposed?

Well, Everyone is sure that Someone will do it. Anyone could have done it, but Noone did it in the end. Someone was angry because it's Everyone's job. Everyone thought that Anyone could have done it, but Noone realized that Noone will end up doing it. In the end, Everyone was angry at Someone because Noone did what Anyone could've done.

Re:Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21626649)

thanks, grandpa.

Re:Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (1)

wdnsdy (977228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21631275)

Well I found that funny, in a pretty cheeky kind of way.

Re:Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21628039)

Noone is not a word. You're probably looking for "no one".

Re:Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21628725)

That spoils the scanning of the aphorism. Poetry, man. Your soul may have some, but slight bending of linguistic rules is permissible in human communication. One of those things that distinguishes man from machine (... for no...)

Re:Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and Noone (1)

The_Math_Guy (928529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628917)

Very clever...I needed that laugh today.

There is a simpler explanation (2, Interesting)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21630619)

Nobody reads the patent database. Not only is it full of crap, but if you do happen to come across something that you are actually using, then in case of a lawsuit you'd be risking doubling your damages for "willful infringement". These days nobody wants to state the obvious truth that the vast majority of infringed patented ideas are not stolen but reinvented.

The patent procedures has to be improved (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626641)

This is a problem today since the patent procedures are created a long time ago and the last years the rise of the internet has created a new dimension of patent scrutiny possibility by the public. If there was an easy procedure for a filed patent to be opposed or scrutinized by the public online fewer non-original patents would be filed.

Maybe the patent offices all over the world should take notice and improve their procedures? Some patents are actually not that bad, but some are too broad or for things already invented. Since the patent office workers not always have the knowledge necessary to figure out what a patent really is about they often grant patents instead of doing a more thorough analysis by using experts. And then there are patents written in a language that can't be penetrated by anyone else than advanced lawyers.

Re:The patent procedures has to be improved (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21626905)

This is a problem today since the patent procedures are created a long time ago and the last years the rise of the internet has created a new dimension of patent scrutiny possibility by the public. If there was an easy procedure for a filed patent to be opposed or scrutinized by the public online fewer non-original patents would be filed.

This is a sexy idea but certainly not practical. In reality nothing would ever get patented when competitors would argue against eachother until hell freezes over. Neither do i think that "mob rule" is something desirable when it comes to scrutinizing patent applications. Of course, everything depends on the exact implementation.

As far as I know the US and european patent system has some differences. In general the european systems seems more sound, particularely when it comes to "original inventor" and the mess with patenting software, business methods etc.

The messy US patent system is already turning against the US inventors and US economy as a whole. The original idea to protect an invention for the commercial benefit of the inventor is lost in these ridiculous amazon-patents whose only purpose is to prevent competition and build a legal base for suing everybody that passes by.

Re:The patent procedures has to be improved (3, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628871)

The original idea to protect an invention for the commercial benefit of the inventor is lost in these ridiculous amazon-patents whose only purpose is to prevent competition and build a legal base for suing everybody that passes by.


Is that what you really believe patents are for? The "commercial benefit of the inventor" isn't the reason to have patents. Where is the public domain in all this avarice? Useful patents are being drowned out by the frivolous. The courts are being bogged down by the rush to get triple damages on these frivolous patents. Both the patent and copyright systems are broken beyond all hope and need to be scrapped and revamped. The public domain needs an advocate that it doesn't have now. But that isn't going to happen because greed trumps good. Everyone in this system is looking for a perpetual payday, public good be damned.

Re:The patent procedures has to be improved (3, Insightful)

GwaihirBW (1155487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627031)

Public comment would be useful, but does that pose potential disclosure issues? Major corps that profit from easy patents (especially for their small-competitor-quashing capability: "Hi, we want to buy you out. Otherwise, we fling this patent at you. If you fight the patent, we can afford to keep it in court long enough to run you out of money.") will fight any such improvement, and I suspect that whether or not there's any merit to it, they'll say that disclosing the patent prior to approval will disadvantage them versus foreign companies who can then copy and file at home, especially if the reiew says that modifications and resubmission are needed. I am not sure how disclosure currently works, this may not be an issue at all.

A possible fix for that, if it is an issue, would be to have a 'final round' of public comment for determining obviousness/prior art, after the patent office has approved something and it would be disclosed anyway, just prior to final approval. The patent office might not be such a big fan of doing all their work just to have it trashed a lot of the time by the public, though, and the patent office would also have to do an extra round of work to vet, analyze, and verify public comments . . . again, I fear that's too easy to argue against.

And any system will eventually get compromised somehow -- competitors flooding each other's patent comments, etc etc etc . . . *sigh* I still agree that something like this would be the best method though.

[/pessimism]

Re:The patent procedures has to be improved (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21629979)

"And any system will eventually get compromised somehow -- competitors flooding each other's patent comments, etc etc etc . ."

Not any system. The trick is to cap the system so the playing parties are forced to cooperate to maximize the equitability of the system.

The basic problem today is that the parties involved in the system are not the parties paying for the system. The players all benefit from maximizing the ease with which you get patents.

What you could do instead would be to acknowledge that the economy is already paying for the system, formalize that payment (any patent fees paid anywhere for anything), create a total budget for payouts within the patent system and then let the players self-sanitize. Make it easier to get patents? Then everyone will get less. As the system would no longer provide a monoply, but just a payout, the litigation issue would disappear, and the damage to compound innovation would go as well.

You could fiddle with the numbers to no end (get paid by level of investment? number of products using the invention?), but as long as there's an actual budget then everyone involved will be much more interested in creating a fair system.

Re:The patent procedures has to be improved (1)

yabba-dabba-do (948536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628519)

I've patented such a procedure, but the patent office and I can't come to a licensing agreement.

because... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21626699)

It's expensive.
You may not win.
And it's not just you that benefits. If I oppose a patent and get it removed, then not only can I use that patent but so can everybody else.

Re:because... (2, Informative)

klocka (1200367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626783)

Then again, the upside is that you won't get sued by the corporation that had the gall to patent some absurd process in the first place and consequently be put out of business. The major problem, especially with the US patent office, is that patent examiners are paid on a quasi-commission scale. The more patents they approve, the better. They review patent applications with the question of whether there's any reason they absolutely cannot approve the application, not whether the application warrants approval. Until that's changed, anything that isn't blatantly stupid or already patented will be approved. In general, European patent offices are a bit more cautious (the reason the ridiculous "one click" patent was never approved there) - I'm somewhat surprised this one made it through to begin with.

Re:because... (1)

AndrewM1 (648443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627239)

Depends on how you challenge it. If you challenge it on prior art, and you had the prior art, you can flip it and make it yours. On the other hand, if you argue it's unpatentable, then I see your point about everybody being able to take advantage of your (expensive) legal efforts.

that's great but... (0, Offtopic)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626791)

will they revoke the world domination patent?
http://pttbt.ca/2007/11/22/amazon-sneaks-world-domination-past-patent-office.html [pttbt.ca]

Re:that's great but... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626823)

will they revoke the world domination patent?
http://pttbt.ca/2007/11/22/amazon-sneaks-world-domination-past-patent-office.html [pttbt.ca]
Damn. There go my world domination plans ...

Re:that's great but... (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628603)

Because super villains always respect authority?

Re:that's great but... (1)

zanaxagoras (1116047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626921)

will they revoke the world domination patent?
http://pttbt.ca/2007/11/22/amazon-sneaks-world-domination-past-patent-office.html [pttbt.ca]
After following that link, at first I thought I was reading something straight off The Onion, that is until I realized there was no humor to be found anywhere. Whew! That's a relief!

Oh, wait...

Why? (3, Interesting)

RecoveredMarketroid (569802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626815)

Why are not more patents opposed?
Um... Because if I'm infringing on someone's patent, I may be a little reluctant to attract the attention of their legal department with my hostile patent-challenge action?

Add a computer, and the EPO will give you swpats (1)

zoobab (201383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626855)

FFII vs Amazon: add a computer, and the EPO will give you software patents

http://www.digitalmajority.org/forum/t-23571/ffii-vs-amazon:add-a-computer-and-the-epo-will-give-you-software-patents [digitalmajority.org]

FFII Vs Amazon: EPO practice is no legal foundation

http://www.digitalmajority.org/forum/t-26032/ffii-vs-amazon:epo-practice-is-no-legal-foundation [digitalmajority.org]

Earlier on /. - The Grinch Who Patented Christmas (2, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626959)

July 2005: The Grinch Who Patented Christmas [slashdot.org] .

moron patentdead things (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21627001)

all that we are/have is a gift from yOUR creators, not intended to be hoarded, or squandered, only shared.

the lights are coming up all over now.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"lodge opposition"... (3, Funny)

Good Sumerian (459878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627029)

...Is that when the Elks make trouble for you?

Most Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21627357)

are made by ants standing on the shoulders of giants.

The EU (0, Offtopic)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627407)

The EU comission are good for preventing the USA from "trying" to rule the EU.

Simple answer... (4, Informative)

IPCanuck (1055714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627661)

The answers to the question are fairly straightforward:
1. The US doesn't have an 'opposition' system, where you can make your claims before a court to oppose the patent. All you can do is (first pay some money) give your evidence to the USPTO, and then go away and hope the applicant can't explain their way around it. Therefore, only European patents can be opposed.
2. A European patent can only be opposed in this fashion within 9 months of it being granted.
3. Other reasons as given above: if I win, it benefits everybody, but if I lose, it costs me greatly. My competition now has a proven good patent, and they know I don't like it. I'll be the first to be sued.

Despite all this, about 1 in 20 EP granted patents are opposed. The US has an opposition system planned as part of the Patent Reform Act of 2007, but it's currently held up before the Senate.

Re:Simple answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21635479)

Opposition to patents like this often doesn't work well because it costs the patent holder more money to defend it. So the smaller companies can lose their patents and the bigger ones like Amazon survive it. It might not seem so, but public opposition to patents to good for big companies and bad for small ones.
    Amazon recently lost with their one click patent because a NZ guy paid about $2000 to challenge it. Taking the same patent to court costs far more so the US system is better.
    Actually with the recent KSR decision by the supreme court possibly 80% of patents in some areas, particularly software and business patents are now probably invalid. That's because the new rules are that if something is likely obvious to the average guy it is not patentable. Before something was patentable if someone had not done it before or suggested something like it as an area for research.
    Most of the proposed changes to US patent laws are from large companies like Microsoft trying to not pay royalties to small inventors. This is a good blog for these issues:
http://www.patenthawk.com/ [patenthawk.com]

Another thing: EU uses common sense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21627973)

Why this thing isn't challenged.. It has been answered by others already. But there is another aspect which some don't seem to like touching but since I don't really care on stepping on long toes I'll add my 2 cents anyway. A very important aspect is that the EU isn't as anal with regards to patents as the US is. This has been proven time and time again in the past. The best recent example I can come up with is SCO. Where the US actually spend years to come up with some kind of court ruling (its still being questioned/charged/whatever) it got almost instantly laughed out of court in the EU (in fact; SCO was warned that if they'd pull a stunt like that they'd be facing charges of contempt of the court).

No offense to Americans but all the offense I can come up with to the stupid, totally out of control, dimwitted patent bureau's over there. While the intend, to protect people's ideas and rights, is a decent one they seem totally unable to recognize that the whole thing has derailed and doesn't even manage to protect that basic idea. Right now all its being used for is to gain more money by simply patenting whatever stupid things people can think of.

In the States certain stupid things seem to get treated seriously even in court (think SCO), in the EU its being laughed out of court when challenged and proven to be as stupid as it seems. 'nough said. No need to challenge; let the idiots do that themselves in court (why waste money challenging if the idiots will get the bill presented (as SCO has) when they're being proven wrong in court?).

Re:Another thing: EU uses common sense (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21628729)

when you proud Europeans take care of that wee little problem of the brown Islamic tide and the fact that they are out-breeding you and will take over, and will not assimilate into your society, be sure to tell me more about how the whole patent thing works out. want an example? just look at all the areas of France that even the _cops_ are afraid to go to, and look at who isn't afraid to go there. if that lil unchecked situation gets better all on its own, it'll be the first such problem to do so.

Re:Another thing: EU uses common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21629599)

when you proud Europeans take care of that wee little problem of the brown Islamic tide and the fact that they are out-breeding you and will take over, and will not assimilate into your society, be sure to tell me more about how the whole patent thing works out. want an example? just look at all the areas of France that even the _cops_ are afraid to go to, and look at who isn't afraid to go there. if that lil unchecked situation gets better all on its own, it'll be the first such problem to do so.

i said that to make the point that "well Europe has much better patent law than the USA" is not the whole story, because right now Europe has more pressing problems that make the comparison even less useful than it otherwise would be. oh, and explain how the USA's practices are relevant to a discussion of what is going on in the EU? "Amazon patent was revoked in EU? That's great, but most of Antarctica doesn't have a patent law!" give me a break. "oh my god he said brown Islamic tide, I better have a knee-jerk reaction and find an excuse to mod him down" is more like it

how about some of you mods grow some balls and actually tell me why you think I'm wrong about this being a threat to European culture, or must a threat be blaringly obvious (having had time to establish itself) before its logical result is apparent to you? isn't that better than trying to pretend that it was "Offtopic" for an excuse to mod me down because you're too much of a coward?

Re:Another thing: EU uses common sense (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21630035)

Google "Battle of Vienna". We stopped the islamic tide a long long time ago, and they have not posed any real threat since.

Re:Another thing: EU uses common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21633405)

a direct in-your-face assault, like the battle you cite, maybe no. but a long-term takeover of your culture by out-breeding you and refusing to assimilate into your culture, which is the kind of thing you would not recognize until it's too late to do anything about it, perhaps so. unlike most Westerners, these people are extremely patient and truly believe in what they are doing and are prepared to work towards a goal that probably won't happen during their own lifetimes. in light of this, the battle you mention is irrelevant; they lost the frontal assault so they have switched tactics. to think that this is truly over is to bury your head in the sand.

uh, cost of lawyering maybe? (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628233)

you're not a successful lawyer unless you have 43 billable hours per workday, after all.

Why bother (1, Interesting)

bgspence (155914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21628243)

A patent gives the holder the right to defend the patent.

If the patent holder doesn't bother you, why mess with them?

The longer they let it go, the better your chances of defending against a bad patent.

You do run a risk ignoring a strong one.

More should be! It is not a court hearing... (1)

Anonymous EPA (1127109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21634983)

Some facts about oppositions in the European Patent Office: 1. They must be lodged within 9 months of grant.
2. Anyone can file an opposition, including a "straw man", who is doing it for someone else. So opposing is not admitting infringement see http://www.strawman.info/ [strawman.info]
3. You do not need to appoint a professional representative; you can do it all yourself.
4. The opposition is decided on the facts as understood by the opposition division of the EPO. Unlike a court case, what is said in the hearing or in the opponents arguments is not decisive. If you file an opposition, present clear prior art, and completely botch the arguments and formalities, you may still win! If there is something that the Opposition Division does not understand, they will ask for clarification.
5. There is no award of costs (save in the event of flagrant abuse of procedure, which is almost unheard-of). So the patent proprietor can turn up with loads of lawyers, and you, the opponent, do not have to pay.
6. There is no come-back against an unsuccessful opponent.
7. An unsuccessfully opposed European patent has no greater legal strength than an unopposed one.
8. If you are only partially successful (you get the patent limited but not revoked) you still cost the patent proprietor money.
9. If you are entirely unsuccessful (but have at lease made a case) you still cost the patent proprietor money.
10. Look at http://www.epo.org/ [epo.org] and you will get good guidance.
Anyone who sees a bad European application being published should watch it, and if is granted and still bad, then oppose the damned thing! The European patent system was designed for this to happen. If the industry ignores bad patents, then the system will not work.
After the nine-month opposition period, the granted patent can still be challenged, but it is much harder and very much more expensive.

HTH
Anonymous European Patent Attorney
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