12.15.15

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When Europe’s Leading International Patent Litigators Get Fed Up With Benoît Battistelli and Want Him Sent to ‘Exile’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli’s disregard for the law takes its toll


Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow by Adolph Northen (1828–1876)

Summary: Battistelli has drawn the ire not only of politicians, journalists, bloggers, EPO employees and lawyers of these employees but also lawyers who profit from Battistelli’s EPO

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO is a disaster zone. Patent lawyers now realise that large applicants (as in large corporations) get to jump queues and they can also recognise that the EPO attacks its critics (those who show the nepotism for instance). What kind of a regime is this and how come it managed to survive another year? For potential answer stay tuned for part II of “Battistelli’s Furious Love Affair With French Power” (tomorrow).

“Based on what we are hearing from patent lawyers in Europe (some of them send us E-mails), they are definitely not happy. Some are so furious and fed up with Battistelli that they send us material about the EPO’s management.”The latest article from IP Kat speaks of the boards although it doesn’t delve deep into any scandals. The writer (not Merpel) says that “Decision T 942/12 is a very important and welcome decision on liability and renewal practice management for European patent attorneys. It addresses the onerous responsibilities that previous Boards have held are applicable to EP attorneys in cases where an applicant uses a third party service to pay renewal fees, and defines an exception to those onerous responsibilities. [...] An interesting point from the case file is that an informal survey was carried out and submitted to the EPO, where the EP attorneys polled 20 firms across several European countries asking what their practice was with regard to overdue renewal reminders from the EPO: while all 20 firms confirmed they would send the official overdue reminder on to their client, only 7 out of the 20 firms indicated that they would follow up, overwhelmingly because they could neither charge for such activity or expect to be paid for it when they were not responsible for renewals.”

Based on what we are hearing from patent lawyers in Europe (some of them send us E-mails), they are definitely not happy. Some are so furious and fed up with Battistelli that they send us material about the EPO’s management. The EPO conveniently blames everything on the whipping boy SUEPO, but of course it wouldn’t want to admit that the anger directed at EPO managers is very widespread. It would totally discredit the laughable narrative that the EPO is under attack by just one person with many pseudonyms or a small number of disgruntled workers.

“The EPO conveniently blamed everything on the whipping boy SUEPO, but of course it wouldn’t want to admit that the anger directed at EPO managers is very widespread.”The EPO is attacking not only staff representatives but also some of its own. Just see the utterly disrespectful treatment of a board’s judge. Team Battistelli is now trying to make oversight and independence even harder by separating (or at least trying to separate) the boards from Munich. It’s more about punishing and effectively firing staff (collectively changing job location), for merely ‘daring’ to stand up to abuse of power at the top floors of the EPO’s building in Munich.

Thankfully, some leading patent lawyers in Europe now get the courage to stand up to Battistelli and defend the EPO’s Boards of Appeal. This one blogger wrote yesterday:

Having apparently experienced too much resistance from the German government against moving the EPO Boards of Appeal to Berlin, President Battistelli, who is French (but unfortunately neither Love nor in love with the Boards of Appeal), now tries to exile them to Vienna. Indeed he has recently put such a request before the Administrative Council.

It is time to push back such ideas swiftly and forcefully. What the EPO and Europe need are truly independent, well-staffed Boards of Appeal who do their important job impartially and efficiently. In contrast thereto, the last thing the EPO needs is a President who seems to be almost obsessed by the idea that the Boards of Appeal must be pushed to leave Munich to some other place where he no longer has to see them when entering or leaving His Office, and who even seems to go as far as to refuse staffing the Boards of Appeal appropriately.

[...]

May I make a modest counterproposal? The EPO is currently building a fancy new office tower in Rijswijk. Why not move the President to a nice and brand new luxury suite on the top floor of this building and allow the Boards of Appeal some more rooms and, above all, significantly more staff members in the Isar building? Thereby independence of the Boards of Appeal could be secured (if it is at all supported by some physical distance between them and the President, as he seems to believe) and, most importantly, they can at least begin to reduce their backlog of cases. And if that is not enough and the President still needs rooms in Munich after his move to Rijswijk to exercise whatever official function, the EPO could probably also afford renting a nice small palais in Munich for a few years. For example, I could very well imagine that a few representative rooms are still to be had in Nymphenburg Castle. I would go for them, Mr. President, if there is no more sensible way to restore piece within the EPO (which I strongly advocate in the first place). But please don’t bother the Boards of Appeal! We need them doing their job in Munich. And we need motivated rather than intimidated or irritated examiners as well!

As noted in one of the comments in IP Kat, “you will find one of Europe’s leading international patent litigators giving (under his real name) his views on the way the EPO President is running the EPO (into the ground).

“It sure looks like, just ahead of Christmas (again!), the sloeber (Battistelli) comes under increased pressure to resign, as his buddies in the Administrative Council are too terrified (or in cahoots) to fire him.”“I find such heart-felt, well-informed and expert utterances, in one’s own real name) much more powerful than all the anonymous whingeing here on this blog. It takes a brave man to stick his head up above the parapet, even when his best career years are yet to come. Look. Read. He puts the interests of his clients (large and small, domestic and foreign, patent owners and accused infringers) above his own interests. Our clients need an EPO that works. If you think so too, say so.”

It sure looks like, just ahead of Christmas (again!), the sloeber (Battistelli) comes under increased pressure to resign, as his buddies in the Administrative Council are too terrified (or in cahoots) to fire him. It’s claimed that the sloeber was already close to resignation earlier this year.

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