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09.24.15

EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The will of the 1% is gradually becoming European law

Brittania Hotel

Summary: The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

“EPO and OHIM study was saying that 90% of SMEs don’t use patents or trademark,” Benjamin Henrion wrote the other day, “but EPO did not want to put his name on the study” (lies by omission). The EPO is a nasty organisation whose goal is not to provide a service to the public or even to businesses in Europe. Its goal at the moment is to suck up to large corporations from all around the world in an effort to gain more power, or domination, in exchange for favours. The EPO is devouring Europe’s creativity and competitiveness. It’s an institution of occupation. 7 years ago Richard Stallman said that “the European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation which should not exist.” Now more than ever it should be rather self-evident. This issue is broader than just the EPO itself.

“What the hell,” wrote a TTIP opposer to the European Parliament a few days ago, “they want to create a new court exclusively for big business and you clap? Is democracy a joke to you?”

This was a rant about the likes of the UPC, which the EPO is supporting. “Seriously,” continued this rant, “now they want to create a special court paid by taxpayers exclusively for business to challenge democratic decisions?”

We are disturbed but not surprised to see patent lawyers and patent boosters celebrating and lobbying for the UPC. As Henrion put it, “Finland is ratifying Unitary Patent, I hope Effi can help to challenge it at their Constitutional court” (bullying and blackmail from central European authorities would likely ensue, as seen before in Mediterranean countries which opposed the Unitary Patent in its previous incarnation). Over at IP Magazine, a patents boosters’ site, it is said that “Finland & Lithuania [are] likely to ratify #UPC in coming months. Greece & Ireland in no hurry [...] momentum is building on #UPC. Generally accepted it is when not if the regime will happen” (source).

Boosters of patents, who profit from them without creating anything, are still fast-tracking it all. Lawyers from London say that London is putting the carriage before the horse, vainly assuming that UPC is already a reality and then preparing for it (self-fulfilling prophecies which raise the overall cost of revocation). To quote IP Kat: “After wringing the London rain from her whiskers and tail in the lobby of Aldgate Tower last Wednesday, the AmeriKat bounced up to the 8th floor where she was greeted by a bevy of UPC glitterati who were gathered, at the invitation of Baroness Neville-Rolfe (UK Intellectual Property Minister), to see the site of the UK’s Central Division and local division hosted in London (see previous posts here and here). The space felt cavernous but as soon as the walls are up as per the plan (see below) there won’t be too much room to swing a cat (not that you would ever do that, of course).”

We took note of this disturbing move before and Henrion too is upset that the “UK [is] presenting the building of the future patent court, already ignoring the option that the UK could do a Brexit” (there was not even a democratic process or a public discussion about it).

Dr. Glyn Moody, who is based on London, responded by saying that the “question is whether an ancillary agreement could allow UK to continue with UPC outside EU…”

Henrion then replied, “you mean the obligation to ratify because of the “sincere cooperation”? This was thrown out by the ECJ out of the AG opinion” (to which Moody added that he “was mis-remembering how much the EU’s structure were embedded in UPC; does indeed look a problem for brexit…”).

Linking to this page from the European Commission’s site, Henrion demonstrates that the Commission is now acting more like an agent of corporate power, not European citizens. “Enforcement of IPRs: follow the money,” as he put it.

It is going to be interesting to watch how European bureaucrats like Commissioners and EPO managers handle the ‘burden’ or the ‘nuisance’ of democracy. At the moment it sure looks like their agenda is everything but a public service. We saw that in ACTA some years ago and now we see it in so-called ‘trade’ agreements and ludicrous, gross overwrites of European law, as per the UPC for instance (making software patents legal and widely nforceable).

European law is being changed in secret, against any spirit of public participation, and obviously without a democratic process. Part of this we have seen in the way the EPO treats its employees (violating workers’ basic rights and ignoring court rulings that compel or enforce changes). The problem has broadened well beyond this and probably predates Battistelli’s days.

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