However, for me personally it was a rather big step to integrate more or less regular blogging into my daily rountine, so that I hope that some readers could/can gain some value from my posts.
If I can trust my statistics tools, I have had about 9.500 visitors so far, mainly form the United States (20,9%), Germany (19,0%), United Kingdom (7,6%) Japan (7,3%) and Holland (6,4%).
In my 100th posting it is certainly high time to send my Big Thanks to all of you for following my postings in the past eleven months!
My very first blog posting was launched on 18 January 2010 more as a preliminary test than as a start of a regular blogging carrier. Since then I - surprisingly - managed to post 8 to 10 pieces per month, which I consider the absolute maximum imaginable posting rate besides my main "jobs" as patent attorney in my Munich based patent law firm k/s/n/h and as a husband and father of two.
As it is explained on the blog's main page, the name "Visae Patentes" is derived from a medieval Latin root whose meaning slowly transformed from an official term for a "privilege issued in writing" (e.g. a patent) to a rather colloquial expression of getting up to nonsense, doing silly things, or messing about something. Of course, I am not saying that patents are nonsense - the name is rather meant to provoke some cognition to achieve "distinctiveness" -, but there certainly exists a fine line between useful patent regimes that really foster technical progress and other regimes that are less useful in this regard.
Many smart people (and also some less smart but more dogmatic fellows) assume that this fine line is constantly crossed by so called "software patents", since, so they say, software almost always relates to conceptual and mathematical issues (i.e. "abstract ideas" in the Bilski sense) and programming is not about inventions anyway, which is why software-implemented inventions should not be patentable at all. While I agree that pure conceptual or mathematical teachings may lie beyond that fine line, it is also clear that there exist software-implemented inventions that apparently must lie at the patentable side of that line since they represent technical improvement in the very sense of that word, e.g. a software-controlled washing machine, car brake system or the like.
For many years now, jurisdiction around the world have tried to find appropriate legal definitions and models for that fine line, so called patent-eligibility requirements. While the EPO and Germany follow a "technicalilty" approach, the US has its machine-or-transformation test and no-abstract-idea/Bilski approach, Great Britain follows its Aerotel/Macrossan test, Canada requires a "practical embodiment", Australia a "physical effect" and Japan has a laws-of-nature requirement. In the end, all of theses approaches apper to relate to the same core issue of patent eligible subject-matter, namely to its tangible technical implementation.
As a patent attorney and computer scientist it was quite natural that in the beginning I planned to mainly report on IP software protection, but over the months I found many more interesting IP related topics that I considered worth mentioning, e.g. the exciting and important political debate on the so called EU and European Patent Court (EEUPC, EPLA) and the EU patent. Now, at the end of an eventful year, the EU patent failed (again) due to language issues and a so called enhanced co-operation of some willing EU member states appears to be the last resort. Or, rather, the latest approach of Germany and some others to quickly initiate an enhanced co-operation may also be a red herring to force stroppy Italians and/or Spaniards into the EU patent, whereas such "cooperation" may then be compensated for in some horse trading - during these days of southern European debt crisis. For now, we learned from @EUCouncilPress that the enhanced co-operation has made its way on the agenda of the EU Competitiveness Council on 10 December 2010 (cf. #EUPatent). We thus will receive some more hot news on this issue until the end of the year.
Besides such political issues, the two opinions G 3/08 (12 May 2010) of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO and Bilski v. Kappos (28 June 2010) of the US Supreme Court were most relevant for many of us. While the Bilski opinion did answer some questions but posed even more new ones, the G 3/08 opinion marked somewhat of an end point in the debate on the EPO's practice on CII. In fact, the "adapted problem/solution approach" as developed in T 208/84 (Vicom) and T 641/00 (Comvik), a variant of the regular problem/solution approach that additionally assesses a claim's technical character and its inventiveness based on technical features, has been confirmed as established examination scheme for CIIs and there is not the slightest sign that the legislator (i.e. the European Commission) will put that question back on the agenda after the epic failure of the proposal for an EU Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented invention in July 2005. So, according to my understanding, at least before the EPO we have gained some consistency and legal certainty as to what computer-related inventions may be patentable in Europe.
To conclude my little "jubilee" post, please find below an overview on my first 99 postings as grouped in some general subjects addressed:
EU Patent Court and EP Patent
- Nov: The Next Attempt Towards a Cheaper EU Patent - This Time without Spain and Italy
- Nov: Belgian Presidency Finds Things Clear Now: There will Never be Unanimity on an EU Patent
- Nov: New Proposal for EU Patent Language Regime by Belgian Presidency to be Discussed Tomorrow
- Oct: Belgian Compromise not Sufficient to Remove Deadlock on EU Patent Language Regime
- Oct: EU Committee Gives Political Orientation With Regard to Belgian Presidency's Proposal for EU Patent Language Regime
- Sep: Latest Positions from Patent Judges' Symposium, EPO, EU Authorities, and AIPPI on Language Regime and Legal Compatibility of EEUPC
- Aug: The Advocates General's Statement on the Planned Unified European Patent Court System
- Aug: Hearing of EU Court of Justice on EU Patent System did not Address Representation before Patents Court
- Aug: Representation Before The Future European and EU Patent Court
- Jul: Known German Positions on the Unified EU Patent Court System
- Jul: EU Patent would be Good for Patent Offices (except German PTO) and Applicants but Bad for Attorneys
- Jul: EU Commission's Proposal for EU Patent Language Regime is Doomed to Fail
- Jun: EU Patent and EU Patent Court are Not in the Best Shape
- Nov: Computer Program Claim not Excluded from Patentability under the EPC
- Nov: Technical Board of Appeal rejects Computer-implemented Invention in the field of Bioinformatics (T 784/06)
- Oct: Computer-Implemented B2B Information System not Inventive Due to Comvik and Despite TRIPS
- May: EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal found Referral on Computer-Implemented Inventions inadmissible (G 3/08)
- Feb: EPO Considers Relaxing Software Patent Rules
- Jan: Interesting CII Cases in Europe, the US and Germany
- Nov: US Board of Appeals (BPAI) Rejects Cryptographic M...
- Sep: Internet Advertising is an Abstract Idea says US D...
- Aug: Two Opinions of the US Board of Appeals (BPAI) on...
- Aug: US CAFC says that a Computerized Method is not Inf..
- Jul: New Interim Guidance of the USPTO for Determining Patent-Eligibility in View of Bilski
- Jul: Further Bilski Guidance from the USPTO
- Jul: "Software per se" as New post-Bilski Ground of Rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 101
- Jul: The USPTO's Approach to Bilski
- Jul: The Blogosphere Vibrates: Bilski's Business Method Rejected but Software Remains Patent Eligible
- May: Further Bilski Rumors
- May: Will USPTO use Section 112 more often in rejections of software patents claims?
- Jan: Patentability of an apparatus conducting a mathematical algorithm
- Nov: A Teaching Embedded in a Technical Apparatus Exhibits "Technicality" (Federal Court of Justice Xa ZR 4/07)
- Oct: Patentability Issues in the Annual Report 2009 of German Federal Patents Court
- May: Decision Xa ZB 20/08 of Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on Software-Implemented Invention Controversially Discussed
- Apr: Microsoft's controversal FAT patent upheld by German Federal Court of Justice
- Jan: Germany following the EPO approach to patentability of CII?
- Nov: Amazon's Canadian "One-Click" Patent Appealed by A...
- Oct: Status of Amazon's Controversial "One-Click" Paten...
- Sep: Protecting and Commercialisating an Invention not Patent-Eligible in Australia (Invention Pathways Pty Ltd)
- Aug: New Zealand Allows Patents on "Embedded Software" but Fails to Provide a Definition
- Apr: Software patents banned in New Zealand: advocacy and opponents
- Apr: Is software really comparable to books/films?
- Apr: Software patenting in developed software-producing countries
- Feb: Guidelines for Examining CII in Japan
- Jan: Comparison of British and European CII approaches
- Jan: Software Protection in India as compared to Europe and the US
- Oct: EPO Patent Law Committee Proposes Amending Recent Amendments to Implementing Regulations
- Oct: European Patent Network Supports Filing of Search Results under Amended Rule 141 EPC
- Aug: EPO Tightens Information Disclosure Requirements
- Jul: A Communication Pursuant to Rule 161 EPC is no "First Communication" According to Rule 36 (1) EPC
- Mar: Forthcoming Changes in the EPC: Filing Divisionals
- Mar: Forthcoming Changes in the EPC: Examination
- Mar: Forthcoming Changes in the EPC: The Search Stage
- Oct: EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal Says EP Application is Pending Until Expiry of Appeal Period (G 1/09)
- May: T 1423/07 - Double Patenting is Possible According to EPC
- Feb: The Language of the Proceedings before the EPO cannot be changed (G4/08)
- Oct: EU Commission presents "Innovation Union" Initiative as Belgian Presidency seeks Break-Through in EEUPC Language Issue
- Sep: The Origin of the European Patent Applications Filed in 2009
- Aug: Professional Representation of non-EU Applicants before OHIM
- Aug: Former President of German Patent Bar Critically Comments on European Patent System
- Apr: How to collect annuities
- Jun: US Court of Appeals explains how False Patent Marking can be Prevented
- May: USPTO Announced Program Changes for More Streamlined and Focussed Examination
- May: Increased Allowance Rate at the USPTO
- Apr: USPTO's Ombudsman Pilot Program
- Jan: USPTO on patentability of computer readable media
- Jan: Statistics on Software Patentes in the US
- Jan: USPTO embarrassing
- Oct: Today at Midnight the Last Patent of Former German Democratic Republic (GDR) Expires
- Jun: The Influence of the Internet Community on the Election of the German President
- May: Website Operators Liable for Integrated Feeds in Germany
- Mar: Utility Model Protection for Computer-related Inventions in Germany
- Nov: Critical Statement on IP by the Holy See
- Jun: The International IP Strategist's Association
- May: Importance of Intellectual Property for Innovation and Technology Transfer
- May: Munich hosts two major IP Conventions in 2010
- Apr: White Paper on IPR protection by Chinese Courts in 2009
- Apr: WIPO World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2010
- Sep: Richard Stallmann interrupted EPO session at World Computer Congress in Brisbane
- Aug: In the Commercial World, FOSS Companies must Learn to Act as Businesses
- Jul: The FOSS Community's Mixed Feelings about the US Supreme Court's Bilski Opinion
- Apr: May software patenting and open source go together?
- Mar: Patent system really has had its days?
- Jan: Red Hat promotes "open source way" by new collaborative webiste
- Apr: Ms Brimelow's legacy and Mr Battistelli's plans
- Mar: President of the EPO finally elected
- Feb: Election of EPO President again suspended
- Feb: New EPO President elected this week?
- Sep: Icelandic Band Sigur Rós "Unsure" Whether Music in Commercials Came by Inspiration or Thievery
- Sep: US Copyright First Sale Doctrine Not Applicable to Licenses for Digital Medial Products
- Jun: Trademark protection of File Extensions in Europe
- Jun: File Extensions cannot be Trademark Protected in the US
- May: Champion League Final at INTA Annual Meeting
- May: Meet the Bloggers in Boston for INTA
- Mar: INTA Annual Meeting 2010 in Boston