[linux-elitists] Fwd: PATNEWS: Russia's version of TechSearch asserting a patent on ... bottles

kmself@ix.netcom.com kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed Jun 28 10:56:29 PDT 2000


Bottoms up!

----- Forwarded message from Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com> -----

>From karsten  Tue Jun 27 00:20:20 2000
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 02:20:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com>
To: patent-news@world.std.com
Subject: PATNEWS: Russia's version of TechSearch asserting a patent on
    ... bottles
Reply-To: patent-news@europe.std.com

!20000627  Russia's version of TechSearch asserting a patent on ... bottles

    As an example of idiotic patents in the hands of unscruplous people
being not just an American phenomenon, one of my readers alerted me to the
following story about a Russian company acquiring and asserting a patent
on ....... the bottle.  Just like in America, the patent owner defends the
patent by arguing that it has to be valid because the experts at their
Patent Office allowed it; that victims label this extortion; and that the
patent specification wording is deliberately misleading.
    So to the American victims of the TechSearch assertions, why not raise
a shot of vodka in sympathy to your fellow bottle victims in Russia.

Greg Aharonian
Internet Patent News Service
www.bustpatents.com
                              ====================


                    -= Company Claims Patent on the Bottle =-

                                By Lyuba Pronina
                         Staff Writer, The Moscow Times
                             Saturday, June 24, 2000

A company has managed to take out patents on all glass, plastic and metal
containers and is demanding that breweries throughout the country pay it
0.5 percent royalties on every bottle or can they sell.

Intellect, a company specializing in legal advice on industrial property
rights, secured the patents from state patent agency Rospatent and has sent
letters to breweries offering a license so brewers can continue to use
bottles and cans.

Interfax reported Vladimir Shishin, head of the Brewers Association, as
saying Friday that Intellect's demands could cost beer makers 200 million
rubles ($7 million) a year.

If Intellect was to succeed with other bottlers, it would receive huge income
from the sales of the 1.8 billion to 2 billion bottles that, according to
the Glass Research Institute, are produced in Russia each year. The country
has about 250 breweries and 500 non-alcoholic beverage plants, the Brewers
Association says.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says the Egyptians were producing glass bottles
before 1500 B.C. But that didn't stop Rospatent from issuing the patent Oct.
20. It is now in the middle of an internal investigation into whether it
should have done so.

"If there was a mistake, then those responsible for it will bear the
consequences," said Alexander Ashikhin, director of the Federal Institute
of Industrial Property, a division of Rospatent which advises the agency on
whether patent applications should be approved. "Someone might even be
fired."

The institute, whose experts are retracing the steps taken to issue the
patent, is wary of saying the patent was issued in error. It said it has
ruled out the possibility that bribes were paid to get the patent.

Critics say the patent application was written in complicated language and
pertained to a feature inherent in all bottles.

Intellect general director Vladimir Zaichenko said the company was set up
1 1/2 years ago and has received hundreds of patents - on screws, ball
bearings, flasks, cisterns, ampules, railroad lines and other everyday
items.

It applied for the patents on bottles and cans on behalf of a client,
Technopolis, Zaichenko said. He refused to provide information on
Technopolis, saying only that "among other fields it's involved in
invention."

Zaichenko said inventors are not responsible for knowing whether their
inventions already exist. "If a patent is issued, then Rospatent recognizes
the idea as being original," he said. "They are the experts."

Representatives of Moscow's breweries, among them such heavyweights such as
Ochakovo, Ostankino and Badayevsky, met this week to work out a strategy to
fight Intellect's claims.

The outraged breweries are planning to file an appeal to Rospatent's appeal
chamber challenging Intellect's bid to make them pay royalties for items
they have been using for decades. They accuse Rospatent of not performing
due diligence and Intellect of setting out to swindle the industry.

"It smacks of an intellectual racket," said Tatyana Vakhnina of the patent
law firm Center-Innotek, which is advising Ochakovo brewery.  "We think
this patent is not legitimate and we will ask the appeal chamber to annul
it. It [the patent application] was written so cleverly that it will be
difficult to overturn.  But we have 100 percent confidence that we will
release our clients from the obligation to pay," Vakhnina said in a
telephone interview.  Ochakovo director Alexei Kochetov was unavailable
for comment.

Vakhnina said the bottle patent rewarded the creativity in the writing of
the patent application.  The application was formulated in such complicated
language that, at first, even engineers were baffled, she said.

Intellect's argument is based on geometrical features that are inherent to
all containers, Vakhina said. "It's Euclidean geometry. It could be applied
to an amphora," she said. "The invention is defined in such a way that it
embraces 90 percent of containers."

Valery Dzhermakyan, deputy director of the Federal Institute of Industrial
Property, said Intellect is interpreting the patent too broadly. "It relates
to products that already existed and therefore it cannot universally apply
to all containers in current use," he said.  Both Dzhermakyan and Vakhnina
said nothing of the sort had happened before.

Valeria Karpunina, technical director of Moskvoretsky brewery, which also
received Intellect's letter, said only a mathematician would have seen
through the patent application and it was no wonder Rospatent's experts
overlooked it.

"The beer industry is booming, and I think this is why they are using it
as a test case, but what they [Intellect] do can apply to any industry -
bottles, perfume containers, cartridges, rockets. With this, they can
extract tribute from everyone. It's sabotage," she said.

Karpunina said Intellect had threatened to take the brewery to court if it
didn't comply.

Zaichenko denied Intellect had made any threats of court action, saying the
company has so far merely proposed license agreements.  He also dismissed
the breweries' reaction as emotional, saying the "patent is good and within
the law."

He refused to comment on the precise nature of what is novel in the patent
or what proof Intellect has that breweries are violating patent rights. He
also said that too much fuss was being made about the breweries and that
they were at the bottom of the list of Intellect's activities.

Industry insiders said Intellect's claims seemed absurd.  "It's nonsense,"
said Sergei Alexeyev, of the Glass Research Institute marketing department.
"You can patent a bottle only if it's original, has an original lense, for
example, or a label. This might be a case of a group of people who got
together to cheat everybody."

Sergei Mikheyev, director of Badayevsky brewery, said the bottle claims
reminded him of a feud this year over the Zhigulyovskoye beer brand.
The brand was produced throughout the Soviet Union but was never patented.
Breweries were encouraged to promote the brand.

Many breweries inherited the brand after the Soviet Union broke up and
continued to produce it until a brewery in Samara claimed exclusive rights
after obtaining a patent for it. The brewery won a string of court cases,
but after competitors appealed to Rospatent, it withdrew the patent.

Dzhermakyan said Intellect's demands could be considered extortion if
Rospatent's appeal chamber establishes that it is trying to extend its
patent to a product that had been in use before Intellect filed its
patent application.

He said that at the time the application was examined, papers that could
have stopped the patent from being approved might not have been available
to experts.   As for Intellect's claims against producers, they must be
for a concrete product, he said. "If, in the course of chamber hearings,
Intellect loses two to three patent cases, the other tens or hundreds of
patents they have will collapse like a house of cards."

(c) The Moscow Times 1997-2000

----- End forwarded message -----

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>         http://www.netcom.com/~kmself
  Evangelist, Opensales, Inc.                       http://www.opensales.org
   What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?      Debian GNU/Linux rocks!
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