Patent lawyer, software patentability guru, patent department head of IBM in Germany and Europe, working in Stuttgart, active promoter of software patents, responsible for pushing many landmark cases through the EPO and the German courts. Ghostwriter of various patent papers of German and European trade associations. Positions and style well known from public discussions. Hardline advocate of software patentability and very much in love with certain dogmatic fallacies which he successfully used to win over the (already very inclined) EPO and BGH in a series of decisive battles. Do not expect Teufel to understand the viewpoint of opensource programmers or to come up with solutions to non-juridical problems. Expect him to stick to EPO fallacies as steadfastly as anyone. These fallacies constitute his success experience before the lawcourts.
- Bitkom: Voice of IT corporate patent lawyers in Germany
- The German Information and Telecomunication Industry Association Bitkom, one of the influential members of the European EICTA.org, began in 2001 to get involved in questions of patent policy. The activity was conducted in a closed circle of patent lawyers, dominated by IBM's european patent deparment head Fritz Teufel. This circle published a first statement in support of the CEC/BSA directive proposal in spring 2002 after adoption by the meeting between 7 patent lawyers of large corporations, held by the IP workgroup under the presidence of Teufel. This workgroup later published a survey which tries to demonstrate that the software industry wants patents. This survey was used for supporting talks with politicians for many month before the survey was finally published, after we had reported about it. The survey does not show what its authors claim it shows.
- IBM and Software Patents
- IBM's patent department is actively lobbying Europe to legalise software patents. They have invested millions in fighting example cases to leading European lawcourts such as the EPO's Technical Boards of Appeal and the German Federal Court in order to soften and eventually remove European restrictions on patenting software. They have also threatened European politicians that IBM might close down local facilities if software patents are not legalised in Europe. IBM has also prevented the US government from conducting studies on the value of software patents for the national economy. In the wake of the Opensource hype, IBM's rhetoric has become relatively moderate, but nonetheless it is supported by real pressure. IBM has acquired approximately 1000 European software patents whose legal status is currently unclear. Given the great number of software patents in IBM's hands, IBM is one of the few software companies who may have a genuine interest in software patentability. Once software patents become assertable in Europe, an IBM tax of several billion EUR per year may be levied on European software companies.
- EPO T 1173/97: IBM Computer Program Product
- EPA Entscheidung T 1173/97: IBM-Computerprogrammprodukt
- BPatG 2000: Patentansprüche auf %(q:Computerprogrammprodukt) etc unzulässig
- Beschluss des 17. Senates des Bundespatentgerichtes in der Beschwerdesache betr die Patentanmeldung P 4323241.8-53 (IBM: Suche fehlerhafter Zeichenketten in einem Text) vom August 2000. Führt sehr genau aus, warum ein Computerprogramm nicht beansprucht werden kann, und dass ein "Computerprogramm als solches" nichts anderes als ein Computerprogramm in beliebiger Entwurfsstufe ist. Das BPatG führt auch aus, dass ein digitales Speichermedium nicht technisch ist, und dass der Terminus "Computerprogrammprodukt" dem Fachmann nicht geläufig ist und wohl nichts anderes als "Computerprogramm" bedeuten solle. Ferner erläutert das BPatG, dass aus TRIPs Art 27 keine Verpflichtung zur Patentierung von Computerprogrammen hervorgeht, da diese nicht-technische Gegenstände sind. Es werden explizit einige patentinflationistische Irrlehren des EPA und des BGH widerlegt.
- BGH 2001: Non-technical teachings may not become patentable by computerisation
- Beschluss des 10. Senates des Bundesgerichtshofes (BGH/10) in der Rechtsbeschwerdesache betr die Patentanmeldung P 4323241.8-53 (IBM: Suche fehlerhafter Zeichenketten in einem Text) vom Oktober 2000. Der 17. Senat des Bundespatentgerichtes (BPatG/17) hatte im August 2000 erkldrt, dass ein Computerprogramm nicht beansprucht werden kann, und dass ein "Computerprogramm als solches" nichts anderes als ein Computerprogramm in beliebiger Entwurfsstufe ist, und dabei diverse Lehrsdtze des BGH und EPA analysiert und zur|ckgewiesen. BGH/10 hebt den BPatG/17-Beschluss auf und deutet an, dass Programme mvglicherweise beansprucht werden kvnnten, wenn der Gegenstand des Hauptanspruchs sich als eine Erfindung gemd_ g1 PatG erweist, deutet aber an, dass dies im vorliegenden Falle nicht gegeben sein d|rfte und verweist den Fall zum BPatG zur erneuten Pr|fung zur|ck.
- European Patent Office: High Above Legality
- The European Patent Office finances itself by fees from the patents which it grants. It is free to use a certain percentage of these fees. Since the 1980s the EPO has illegally lowered the standards of technicity, novelty, non-obviousness and industrial applicability and abolished examination quality safeguards so as to increase the number of granted patents by more than 10% and the license tax on the industry by 26% per year. As an international organisation, the EPO is not subject to criminal law or taxation. The local police's power ends at the gates of the EPO. High EPO officials have inflicted corporal injury on their employees and then escaped legal consequences by their right to immunity. The work climate within the EPO is very bad, leading to several suicides per year. The quality of examination reached a relative high in the 80s but has after that been deteriorating, partly because the EPO had to hire too many people too quickly for too low wages. Examiners who reject patents load more work on themselves without getting more pay. Examiners are treated by the EPO management as a kind of obstacle to the corporate goal of earning even more patent revenues. The high-level employees of the EPO owe their jobs to political pressures from within national patent administrations and do not understand the daily work of the office. The EPO has its own jurisdictional arm, consisting of people whose career is controlled by the EPO's managment, which again is strongly influenced by industry patent lawyers (on the Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO)) and by the Office's internal climate. The national organs that are supposed to supervise the EPO are all part of the same closed circle, thus guaranteeing the EPO managment enjoys feudal powers beyond constitutional legality, and that whatever they decide is propagated to the national administrations and lawcourts.
- Gesetzeswidrige Wirtschaftspolitik des BGH-Patentsenates
- Patent Senate of the German Federal Court
- UK Patent Orifice: Software Patentability Rally Brussels 2002-06-19
- The UK Patent Office, wearing the hat of the British Government, has entrusted one of its subcontractors to organise a high profile rally in support of the proposed CEC/BSA software patentability directive. Speeches will be held by hard core patent movement activists from the European Commission, the UK Government, the European Patent Office, the IBM patent department and some well-known patent law firms. At the end of an intensive 6 hour long software patentablity propaganda firework a podium discussion will be held in which an "open source representative" will be allowed to sit at the table. The organisers' initial choice was Alan Cox. Alan has occasionally expressed deep concern about the software patent problem but, as a core developper of the Linux kernel and other key projects, he never really had the time to study the legal intricacies. This fact alongside with his long hair and beard seemed to make him particularly qualified for the role of the social romantic dissident, generously tolerated by a group of patent lawyers posing as the businessmen of the real software industry. Alan immediately understood the game and declined the invitation, handing the case over to the Eurolinux Alliance. We have meanwhile been put on the conference program, but our abstract was doctored, our criticism suppressed, our message distorted, so that now we nevertheless fit into the design of this rally.
english version 2004/08/16 by Hartmut PILCH