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. 'Reform' at the EPO Means Destroying the Staff Union, Crushing Patent Examiners, and Imposing on Europe a System It Does Not Want (UPC)

    The chaotic transition at the EPO -- a transition from something which has been workable to something intolerable -- and the role of the Unitary Patent (UPC), which lurks in the shadows and threatens to harm the whole of Europe



  2. Shakeup Against Patent Parasites in the US and More Rumours/Speculations About USPTO Director Michelle Lee After Trump's Inauguration

    The US patent system is becoming ever more hostile towards patent trolls, owing in part to reforms introduced under Michelle Lee's tenure, but people are still not certain that she will maintain her job and continue to fix the system



  3. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses

    Rather than crack down on human rights abuses, the Dutch government now sends out the signal that it's an island for those wish to violate human rights whilst enjoying immunity (EPO)



  4. Links 20/1/2017: Docker 1.13, Linux 4.4.44 LTS

    Links for the day



  5. “Federal Circuit Had Affirmed on Every Issue in 77.4% of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Appeals it Had Seen” in 2016

    The Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continue to squash a lot of patents on software, in contrast to that fake news from patent maximalists



  6. Kudelski Group Not Only Acts Like a Patent Troll But Also Run by Intellectual Ventures Person; Mobile Market in Dire State of Patent Armageddon

    The patent thicket which pervades everything that is used by billions of people, mobile technology in particular, can be traced back to a lot of non-practicing parasites (or patent trolls)



  7. Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

    Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices



  8. In an Age of Necessary Patent Reform and Permanent Uncertainty for Software Patents the Patent Microcosm Looks for Workarounds and Spin

    Commentary on the status quo in the Michelle Lee era and some examples of bias from the patent microcosm, as well as news regarding the NFL getting sued by the Kudelski Group



  9. Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

    The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect



  10. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It's OK, Holland's High Council Says

    Battistelli's autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world



  11. Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of "analysis" or "news")



  12. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  13. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  14. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  15. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  16. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  17. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  18. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  19. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  20. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  21. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  22. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  23. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  24. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  25. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  26. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  27. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  28. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  29. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  30. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation


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