Volvo, Ford and Software Patents
Volvo, formerly Sweden's national automotive champion, is now part of the Ford group. Volvo has almost no activities in the area of software patenting, even in a wide sense. Yet Volvo has written letters to the European Parliament claiming that its interests would be seriously threatened if the Parliament did not give its support to the software patenting practise of the European Patent Office. Volvo is also part of the Swedish Entreprise Association, which has campaigned for the same position.
We have searched the whole EPO patent database and found only 6 Volvo patent applications which we suspect of being sofware-related. While none of these was granted so far by the EPO, most of them qualify as patentable subject matter under the European Parliament's postion of September 2003. This fact all the more underlines that Volvo does not have a genuine interest in this field but is just carelessly lending its name for abuse by the patent lawyer network.
EP0275244 Method and Arrangement for Controlling Working Cycle of an Internal Combustion engine -- not affected by EP amendments
EP0433524 Information Panel -- a wishlist patent about how items in a car should be arranged, not affected by the scope of the EP amendments, rejected by EPO for reasons outside the scope of these proposals (probably lack of novelty or inventive step)
EP0565501 Airbag system for side collision protection -- patentable under both Parliament's and Councils' version, rejected by EPO (probably for lack of novelty)
EP0748495 Traffic System -- arrangement of traffic information for convenient perusal by user in a car, not patentable under the EP proposal, patentable under Council proposal, rejected by EPO.
EP1311871 Method and Apparatus for Determination of Position -- claims a range of possible algorithms for calculating one's position based on input data typically supplied by a GPS system, not patentable under EP proposal, patentable under Council proposal, examination pending at EPO.