EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.26.15

Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The imperialist ambitions of a patent office result in growing neglect of local actors

French coup d'état
Management takeover by Team Battistelli similar to French coup d’état of 1851

Summary: Some timely perspective on what’s needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by ‘virtue’ of making tyrants its official figureheads

THE main concern I have always had regarding the EPO was potential granting of software patents in Europe. I even wrote a letter to the Enlarged Board of Appeal about it (that was half a decade ago). As a software engineer surrounded by other software engineers I know that people who write software (computer programs) don’t want to bother with patents. They needn’t worry about who got a monopoly on which algorithm (copyright law is more than sufficient here). This worry is further accentuated when dealing with Free/Open Source software, where a lot of compartmentalised code gets imported/grafted (not licensed per se), and it is infeasible to start checking what line of code may infringe which patent. It would be lunacy to review hundreds of thousands of US patents before undertaking the simple task of writing a program. It would also put one at greater risk (higher damages due to willful infringement).

“It would be lunacy to review hundreds of thousands of US patents before undertaking the simple task of writing a program.”EPO management would have to lie (with a straight face even!) if it persisted in portraying its opposition as aiming to ‘destabilise’ the Office. There is a big difference between destabilisation and reform. There are many abuses taking place inside the EPO, putting aside our concern about software patents. The need to obey the law or the efforts to compel the EPO’s managers to obey European laws aren’t ‘destabilisation’ efforts. Imagine a political parable; dictatorships like to say that their opposition is ‘destabilising’ a nation, or trying to cause chaos. Any dictatorship that deems itself ‘benevolent’ (which dictatorship has ever believed otherwise about itself?) will always insist on crushing opposition. That’s why elections are imperative (with time limits for one single individual to run) and there is a clear separation between media and governance for instance — a separation which EPO evidently no longer respects.

“Contrary to misleading portrayals from Team Battistelli, EPO staff is not violent. The aggressor here is actually the management.”The EPO took many decades to acquire its reputation (quickly eroded by Team Battistelli, in just a few years), so efforts to fix the EPO are actually defensive and they are intended to rescue the EPO’s integrity. Sometimes from a temporary/localised destruction (e.g. of tyranny at the top) comes liberation. Sometimes it’s known as revolution, although the word revolution has negative connotations (with blood and violence).

Contrary to misleading portrayals from Team Battistelli, EPO staff is not violent. The aggressor here is actually the management.

“The EPO can learn from the failings of lesser successful patent systems — systems which the EPO’s current managers increasingly emulate.”EPO staff continues to receive a salary and it would in no way help this staff if it saw the EPO going away (pensions too may be at stake). What definitely would harm this staff — in the long term — is an EPO that suffers reputation erosion, due in part to poor patents (too broad or easily invalided in courts, e.g. using prior art which examiners overlooked). They would devalue EPO patents, which would no longer be able to justify their high and ever-rising cost. To shield the integrity of the EPO the management needs to:

  1. Stop harassing staff, as it makes recruitment of talented examiners a lot harder and leads to a loss of many skilled and experienced patent examiners
  2. Re-examine the scope of patents because in some domains (e.g. software) patents do more societal and professional harm than good
  3. Re-examine the pace of patenting because quality should come before quantity and too many patents merely saturate the market, diluting/reducing each patent’s worth
  4. Restore patent neutrality, meaning that large corporations should no longer receive preferential treatment

There are many more points to be made, but this is just a very partial list. Reform is needed and the current management — not the staff — is resistant to a reform. It’s funny just how the management reversed this whole situation, painting the examiners as Luddites. Who’s really the Luddite here? It’s Orwellian spin.

“It’s funny just how the management reversed this whole situation, painting the examiners as Luddites.”The EPO can learn from the failings of less successful patent systems — systems which the EPO’s current managers increasingly emulate. Publicly posing or liaising with Chinese patent officials, for instance, is no triumph but arguably an embarrassment for a number of reasons (beyond the scope of this post). TechDirt, which wrote about Techrights yesterday, has many articles on this subject. In fact, it wrote several such articles yesterday.

TechDirt now shows evidence of the strategy of accumulating a massive number of junk patents [1] (when about 92% of applications get patents granted at the end, what is the role of examination really?) to then attack rivals in the domestic market [2] in China (just like the USPTO and ITC enable). With UPC, widespread injunctions (a la ITC) would become possible and patent scope would likely expand, not just in the domain sense but also the geographical sense (making more parties liable and thus subjected to legal threats, if not outright actions).

Today’s EPO management is bad for science, bad for lawyers (especially in the long term), bad for examiners, and even bad for European businesses, which it discriminates against. Who is the EPO good for? Evidence serve to suggest that it serves multinational conglomerates. It’s like an imperial institution, complete with mass surveillance, witch-hunting, and mental torture (so-called ‘interrogation’ of perceived dissent which poses a threat to the empire).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Stupid Patent Of The Month: Infamous Prison Telco Patents Asking Third-Parties For Money

    There are two serious problems with this patent. First, the claims are directed to a mind-numbingly mundane business practice and should have been rejected as obvious. Obvious uses or combinations of existing technology are not patentable. Second, the claims are ineligible for patent protection under the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank—this is a recent Supreme Court decision that holds that an abstract idea (like contacting potential third-party payers) doesn’t become eligible for a patent simply because it is implemented using generic technology. That the system failed to register either of these defects shows deep dysfunction.

  2. Chinese Company Learns From The West: Builds Up Big Patent Portfolio, Uses It To Sue Apple In China

    For many years now, Western governments have been complaining about China’s supposed lack of respect for intellectual monopolies, and constantly pushing the country’s politicians to tighten the legal framework protecting them. To anyone not blinded by an unquestioning belief in the virtues of copyright and patent maximalism, it was pretty clear where this strategy would end. Indeed, over five years ago, Mike warned where this was leading: towards China repeatedly punishing foreign companies to protect domestic Chinese firms — in other words, leveraging patents as a tool for protectionism.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

    The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners



  2. Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

    The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year



  3. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

    A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting



  4. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

    Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)



  5. Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'

    Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)



  6. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  7. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  8. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  9. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  10. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  11. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day



  12. UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

    Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC



  13. The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

    An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide



  14. The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene



  15. Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

    The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed



  16. Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

    A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)



  17. Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

    Links for the day



  18. French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened



  19. The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

    With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)



  20. EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

    A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst



  21. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  22. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  23. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  24. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  26. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  27. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  28. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  29. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  30. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts