06.07.15

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The High Cost of Low Patent Bar at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s patent office eroded the standards by which patents are assessed (in order to increase EPO income and artificially elevate measurable yardsticks like patent numbers) while society is paying the price; The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) complains about lack of separation of powers

THE EPO‘s abusive behaviour is causing great trouble to all, except perhaps patent lawyers (although they too increasingly complain because of loss of legitimacy). With lousy patents on software being granted (against the most fundamental rules), companies in the UK continue to come under attack, even eleven times in a row, as in this new case [1, 2, 3, 4] where Rovi sues Virgin. “All of the eleven patents asserted by Rovi have now either been found invalid,” says Telecom Paper, “and/or revoked by either the English Court or by the European Patent Office (EPO) which was responsible for granting them.” According to Simon Rockman from The Register: “The specific claim was for Electronic Programme Guide software using information downloaded from the internet.” So this was a software patents, again (this is the eleventh time!).

“EPO management has been exercising too much power and we are perpetually seeing the impact of it.”Why were these granted in the first place? The EPO compromises quality in order to increase revenue and the public is paying the cost/toll.

EPO management has been exercising too much power and we are perpetually seeing the impact of it. Even patent practitioners are concerned. As SUEPO put it (citing IP Kat‘s comment regarding this letter to Battistelli, “The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is the representative organisation of more than 1 million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies from 32 full member countries, and 13 further associate and observer countries.”

The original, from EPLAW (increasingly a critic of the EPO), is a complaint about the lack of independence of the Boards of Appeal (which relates to patent scope. The author diplomatically says “EPLAW is pleased to see that the Administrative Committee (AC) and the EPO are actively engaged in furthering the independence of the BoA.”

Why did the Boards of Appeal lose independence in the first place? Battistelli has been intimidating them and removing some of their powers, not just BoA staff whom he perceived as not loyal enough (to him and his cronies).

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