Publicado en Europe, Patents at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Pequeños y Medianos Negocios europeos hacen cola a la derecha, mientras que ls bien vestidas corporaciones extranjeras a la izquierda.
Sumario: Personal experiencias muestran como la Oficina ‘Europea’ de Patentes desanima (jode) las aplicaciones de patentes provenientes de inventores que son actualmente europeos. Esto es el colmo estos desgraciados se han vuelt sirvientes de sus amos al otro lado del charco.
Ahora que la Neutralidad de Patentes esta oficialmente MUERTA en la OEP (Oficina Europea de Patentes), no hay dudas pero muchas razones acerca del los objetivos y motivaciones de la OEP. Mas allá deseamos presenter una de las muchas historias provenientes de muchos aplicantes por patentes. Muchos abogados incluyendo aquellos que representan Pequeños y Medianas Empresas (PYMEs) e inventores se han quejado a nosotros acerca de que el proceso de otorgar patentes es increiblemente LENTO y DISCRIMINATORIO en la OEP. No están felices por el contrario JODIDOS. Muchas de estas historis seran el ojetivo de analisis la proxima semana. Mucha gente en Europa debe reconocer este PROBLEMA para poder enfrentarlo. Humildemente esperamos que al resaltar varios puntos publicamente (incluso a examinadores de la OEP, muchos de los cuales leen Techrights) – ayudara que se implementen cambios. Los cuales son NECESARIOS desde hace tiempo y la opinion publica es tardia (por cerca de una decada).
“Toma muchísimo tiempo para que una simple patente sea otorgada (una vez recibida y aceptada como patentable en la oficina de patentes nacionales).”“Yo pienso que mi expericiencia representa todo lo que esta mal con el juez y jurado OEP.” Nos dijo una persona que habia aplicado por una patente.” “Creo que es muy COMPLICADO y DIFICIL lo que las personas tienen que seguri.”
Hemos analizado muchos de los textors relacionados con este caso e identificado muchos puntos de interes en nuestro cubierto analisis de la OEP FRAUDE. Entre ellos:
- Falta de comunicación con los pequeños aplicantes. Lectores todavía ven el documento interno que publicamos meses atras, documento titulado “Contacto Cercano con Grandes Aplicantes” (mejor suena: “Contacto cercano con Corporaciones Multinacionales)
- Toma muchísimo tiempo para que una simple patente sea otorgada (una vez recibida y aceptada como patentable en la oficina de patentes nacionales). Esto directamente se relaciona con el parrafo anterior 1. No nos sorprende ver que largas corporaciones con miles de aplicaciones reciban una cola “corta y rápida” mientras que el resto se queda atascado en continuas colas largas. Algunas personas reported en Twitter que algunas aplicaciones tomaron una DECADA para ser procesadas (incluso un contacto inicial).
- El costo de procesar y el incentivo para appllicar son disminuidos por deficiencias estructurales que la gerencia de la OEP debe ser considerada responsable.
Tenemos muchos ejemplos de esto y hemos hablado con numerosos interesados (aplicantes y sus abogados) para discernir la legitimidad de sus acusaciones contra la OEP. Para citar algo relevante: “Ya he recivido la patente por esta invencion. En teoría asegurar una patente en Europa deberia ser mas concreto y el proceso muchisimo mas directo.
“El costo de procesar y el incentivo para appllicar son disminuidos por deficiencias estructurales que la gerencia de la OEP debe ser considerada responsable.”Parece no haber ganas de aceptar aplicaciones (casi) en grupo, como es en el caso de los “Aplicantes Mayores” (lease grandes CORPORACIONES MULTINACIONALES) -ven nuestro documento interno.”El examinador primario (con el beneficio de la retrospectiva errónea) rechazaron my aplicacion por cerca de cuatro años”, una fuente nos dijo. Imaginese la molestia al aplicante. “En este ejemplo en particular, en el primer dia de audiencia con un panel de examinadores, se nos aseguro que mi invencion era una novedad, inventiva y podria ser patentada.” En otras palabras la determinacion original estuvo mal o erronea. Pero eso no era el final. “Se acordo en la primera audiencia,” nos enteramos, “que yo pude revisar alguna omisión y incluir otros reclamos. Tambien se acordo que esto se podia hacer a traves de correo electrónico. Desde la primera audiencia he estado de regreso a las manos del primer examinador y el mismo TRATO DE DEMORAS Y RECHAZOS ha proseguido. Una vez que haz hecho tur reclamos a los examinadores todo lo que ellos hacen es irse e CREAR NUEVAS RAZONES PARA NO ACEPTAR TU APLICACION. Provees marcas, cumples con requisitos con la esperanza de llegar a un acuerdo pero el examinador no comenta en ellos, asi que tu no sabes que si son aceptables o no. Me he quejado por el retraso y la manera que hemos sido tratados por el examinador. La respuesta de la OEP ha sido de UN COMPLETO RECHAZO DE RECLAMOS. La OEP insistion en una segunda audiencia sabiendo que era imposible para mi atender. Que es lo que se lograria de la audiencia si yo no estaba presente? No han habido conversaciones telefonicas con la Division de Examenes para considerar o tratar la materia y reclamos de mi aplicacion. Al presente la OEP esta reclamando que mi invension no es inventiva por diseños previos. Llamo a esto el “elefante en el cuarto” reclamo ya que claramente es algo que nunca va a pasar. [...] Dado que el “elefante en el cuarto” puede causar gran verguenza puede explicar el porque la OEP ha decretado una intencion de otorgar en texto que no fue acordado, como que les da el pretexto de obliterar my aplicacion y deshacerse del problema.[...] El reclamo se ha hecho reiteradamente en la OEP. NUNCA HA SIDO CONSIDERADO POR LA DIVISION DE EXAMINACION.”
Este en sí mismo es recontra malo, pero que pasa cuando problemas de comunicación también ocurren?
“Otro ejemplo digno de notar es la demora entre la aplicación por la patente y su otorgamiento”Una persona nos dijo que el la OEP no le gusta hablar con los aplicantes, pero prefiere hablar con los abogados, en cambio, que luego introduce costos prohibitivos. Nos enteramos de la “recomendación de OEP que los aplicantes utilizan representantes profesionales cualificados. A pesar de los honorarios de los aplicantes pagan a la OEP por sus servicios, es evidente que la OEP pronto dejaría de tratar directamente con los inventores. La realidad económica de los inventores no corporativos parece totalmente ajeno en la OEP. Que conste que hice utilizar un abogado de patentes [...] hasta que los fondos se agotaron. Este abogado muy competente claramente no tuvo un mayor éxito en el tratamiento de la OEP que yo Informalmente el abogado ha proporciono asesoramiento pro bono”.
“Otro ejemplo digno de notar es la demora entre la aplicación por la patente y su otorgamiento” “Un estimado sobre el tiempo que toma,” una persona nos dijo, “dado los mero 20 años de protección la presente OEP demora representa una perdida del 30%. Despues de una apelación este crece a un 50%. En realidad llega un momento de deja de tener sentido proseguir ya que esta demora puede llegar an una perdida completa del 100%.”
Si va a tomar toda una década para que una patente sea otorgada, Donde está el incentivo para aplicar? Incluso sy reclamos de infricción son retroactivos al tiempo de que al aplicación fue sometida, quién va a predeciir que el dueño de la patente o el infractor no terminen en bancarrota entonces?
“No es difícil de ver compañías como Microsoft con una LEGION de abogados en cada pais se beneficia de la situacion mientras que Pequeños y Medianos inventores europes solo les queda la ILUSION de que la OEP esta “mirando” por sus intereses.”Otros cuestiones includen correo electrónico. “Cuando E-mail puede ser usado, he escuchado de que es muy confuso.” Una persona dentro de la organización “reclama la OEP trata E-mails como NO RECIBIDOS, pero luego dice que E-mails no pueden ser ignorados. [...] el lugar de los E-mails parece ser manejado por seguridad y limites de tiempo. En cuanto a seguridad hubiera pensado es materia que el aplicante decida, en materia de tiempo hubiera pensado que solo la sensibilidad en este punto esta relacionado con la fecha en que fue sometida originalmente. My experiencia es que la recepcion de E-mails o no ES UN MODO DE CONTROL SOBRE LOS APLICANTES. Claramente son mamadas reenviar un documento por correo regular ya que la OEP reconoce que ya lo tienen como E-mail. La prohibición de usar correo electronico claramente agrega costo y demoras.”
No es difícil de ver compañías como Microsoft con una LEGION de abogados en cada pais se beneficia de la situacion mientras que Pequeños y Medianos inventores europes solo les queda la ILUSION de que la OEP esta “mirando” por sus intereses. En criollo, les meten la yuca (cassaba) y no lo sienten.
La Oficina Europea de patentes esta quebrada y en desesperada necesidad de cambio porque sus destinatarios originales (Europeos, no globalistas y multinacionales) gradualmente estan viendo la realidad que estan en contra. █
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No patent neutrality at the ‘European’ Patent Office (EPO), which is actually international(ist) and formally detached from the European Union
Summary: “My perception,” says an inventor who dealt with the EPO for years (and spent as much as a house’s worth doing so), “is that they [EPO] only like dealing with corporations and their lawyers”
THIS year’s coverage of the EPO will naturally (as promised) show how the EPO discriminates against Europeans. This would only get worse if the UPC ever became a reality — an ambition that Team Battistelli hopes will exacerbate things further (better for multinationals at the expense of everybody else). The point we hope to express and to get across to everyone is that patent applicants too, especially ‘small’ ones and definitely European ones, are not treated fairly. In turn, this also threatens the careers of European patent lawyers, so they too should be up in arms.
One patent applicant, a person who saw firsthand how the EPO mistreats European SMEs, has sent us the following observations which readers may find interesting. As this person put it last night, “I am not a patent attorney, just an inventor simply battling an impregnable system.”
Here is the list of what this person called “Generic Problems”:
1. Repeated Process
Why do we have a two-stage process? One first has to get a country patent and then one has to repeat the process at the European level. Some countries’ patent offices may not meet an acceptable grade, but surely patent offices could be accredited and then the granting by one country office is accepted over the entire EU. People should be free to apply at whichever country’s patent office that they wanted. An accreditation process for patent offices would be much cheaper than every inventor having to undertake the process twice. In any event, patent challenges would soon show which patent offices were effective. Engendering competition between patent offices maybe no bad thing.
Looking at recent experiences, response times from the EPO have varied from 77 to 193 days! Response times obviously will vary by complexity, but surely we should be able to expect a response within 2 or 4 weeks. There seems to be no mechanism that one can call on to get a response when matters drag. There needs to be some legal penalty. I equate my patent value loss at between 30% to 100%. This is a loss of economic value from the patent and does not include the many costs incurred in trying to secure a patent. For many, delay will mean the death of their patent hopes. I can’t help but wonder how many patents have been wrongly rejected. Personally I have received many improper rejections. There should be a monitoring process to ward against this type of problem and feedback from all rejected applications. So a record to processing time on each application, average times on applications, basis and number of rejections etc.
There needs to be structure and patents law is complicated. However, the process needs to be intelligible to the average inventor and explanations should be in plain language. Codes should be used to elucidate and not bamboozle. With two master (both with distinctions) I think it should be reasonably easy for me to understand both process and documents; this hasn’t been my experience. Whilst the process needs to be rigorous it also needs to be somewhat supportive or good inventions will get lost. There should be some obligation and some incentive to help. Currently the system is designed by lawyers, operated by lawyers and financed by poor inventors paying their legal fees. What incentive is there on the patent office to simplify matters? I initially had lawyers acting for me, until funds (circa £60k) ran out. Dealing with matters personally I found the EPO unhelpful and on complaint they suggested I employ a lawyer. My lawyers also found the EPO’s examiner difficult. My perception is that they only like dealing with corporations and their lawyers. Certainly my experience as regards oral hearings (just cancel your flight when time constraints applied) showed no understanding of cost pressures on a single individual. Likewise calling a second oral hearing seemed wholly unnecessary and clearly the EPO seemed to expect me to cancel my honeymoon to attend.
4. Accountability and Recourse
There does not seem to be any system of accountability arising from delay or error. In fact the examiner is more like a demigod who cannot be challenged or held to account. By way of example they can infer something from a document which could be helpful or could be damaging. Such inferences that a document implies something or what might be general understood by someone steeped in the art of the invention needs to be capable of independent challenge without having to resort, in the first instance at least, to the courts (a second independent opinion). My experience is that a troublesome examiner can simply sit on his hands whilst the value of your invention evaporates or your costs spiral.
Perhaps the current fee structure should be replaced by a percentage on profits arising from patent protection. There needs to be either a legal requirement or some encouragement to move expeditiously and grant where possible whilst simultaneously having penalties for failure. In my case I would like recourse due to delay, issues being dealt with repeatedly, false statement as regard prior art or one’s own invention.
Hard as it may be to believe, but the EPO officially doesn’t communicate by email. You can do electronic communication by fax, otherwise it is post. I fail to see the logic especially when most lawyers communicate by email these days. In reality some in the organisation will communicate by email, but this seems to depend on their mood. Whilst things need to be documented, understanding and agreement would be facilitated enormously by using the phone or teleconferencing. This would save time and money and lead to a happier working relationship between inventor and EPO. Oral hearings should be recorded and sidebars (excluding the applicant from the room should be discouraged). The recording I made of my oral hearing has been invaluable as the minutes are completely inadequate. In the current hiatus they also prove the examiners’ deception and other false statements. Frankly not taping proceedings I think leaves anyone as a possible hostage to fortune, the EPO included. The oral hearing process should also allow for a period of reflection after the event in common with many other legal/contractual situations.
My examiner is [redacted] and whilst his language is reasonable, it is not at the level I believe is needed. So by way of example I had communications saying things should be in written, which after several months was corrected to they need to be by fax or mail (not email). Legal matters are complicated enough without having to add further complexity. Speaking legal is bad enough, patent legal even worse but then patent legal with sentences structured by a [redacted] in his OK but not fluent English is not helpful. For my oral hearing, held in English, not one of the three man panel had English as their first language. Surely the examiner’s mother tongue should be the language of the application or applicant and at a hearing at least one panel member the same tongue as the applicant.
7. Complaints Process
Complaining is difficult. It is not only extremely time consuming but it makes for a very difficult dynamic. Firstly it impacts on the relationship you have with your examiner. It is easily within the capabilities of an aggrieved examiner to delay of through up obstacles and/or objections. Secondly a complaint about an examiner may reflect badly on his manager. Thirdly any complaint also impacts internal relationships between colleagues and hierarchy. At the very least there should be a separate department that looks at complaints and ideally an independent process. The response to my second complaint has been so blanket and summary to the extent it contradicts the findings of the first complaint. If the EPO were customer-focused, they would have a customer complaints department which tried to ascertain and ameliorate any problems. They would be in touch with customers seeking to keep them happy. Confusingly complaints are split between process and examination division. Not only are the responses and interactions impersonal (i.e. you are not consulted and no sense that they either understand or appreciate your grief) you get the classic response so associated with large bureaucracies.
The complaints process should be open, publicly recorded and open to evaluation. This way underlying problems can be exposed and then addressed. At the same time there needs to be an acceptance that failure can and does happen everywhere.
Then there are “Global Issues”, which are as follows:
- As a knowledge economy innovation and by corollary patent protection is extremely important. This, however, clearly is being contrasted with first mover advantage. For many the patenting process is so slow, uncertain and expensive that it is not bothered with. Personally I wish I had never started on the process. To be effective the process as detailed needs to be timely. The time taken to secure a patent perhaps should be added to the period of patent protection, i.e. you get X years from grant.
- Recently the law changed for ‘artistic’ patents to I believe 50 years and rights even extend beyond death. I fail to see why artistic inventions should receive a longer period or put another way why technical inventions should have any lesser protection. It would benefit the UK if patent life was similarly increased in line with artistic rights. In respect of pharmaceuticals this and point 1 would enable drug costs to fall as development costs could be amortised over a longer period.
It is worth noting that SUEPO has expressed concerns about some of the above. Also, the UPC would serve to exacerbate things, e.g. by weakening the independent boards that typically deal with appeals (this relates to point (7) above). █
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European SMEs need to queue up to the right, unlike the well-dressed foreign corporation on the left
Summary: A set of personal experiences which serve to show just how the ‘European’ Patent Office discourages patent applications from actual inventors who are actually European
OW that patent neutrality at the EPO is officially dead, there is no room for doubt and plenty of reasons for frustration over the real goals and motivations of the EPO. We moreover wish to present one among many stories that we got from various patent applicants. A lot of European lawyers, including some who represent SMEs and inventors, have complained to us about an agonisingly slow and often discriminatory patent granting process at the EPO. They’re not happy. Several of these stories will be the subject of focus in the coming week. More people all across Europe must recognise this problem in order for it to ever be tackled. We humbly hope that raising several key points — should they be laid out publicly (including to EPO examiners, many of whom read Techrights) — will help necessary changes take place. It’s well overdue and public awareness is belated (by nearly a decade).
“It takes a very long to be granted a simple patent (already enshrined and accepted as patentable in the national patent office).”“I think my experience would represent all that is wrong with judge and jury EPO,” told us one person who had applied for a patent. ” It is clearly a complicated and difficult area to get people to follow.”
We have gone through a lot of texts related to this case and have identified several points of relevance to our past coverage of the whole EPO fiasco. Among them:
- Lack of communication with small(er) applicants. Readers can still see the internal document which we published some months ago, a document titled “Closer Contact with Major Applicants”.
- It takes a very long to be granted a simple patent (already enshrined and accepted as patentable in the national patent office). This indirectly relates to (1) and it’s not surprising that when large corporations with thousands of applications receive a ‘fast lane’ other people are left stuck in ever-broadening/lengthening queues. Some people reported to us in Twitter that applications took over a decade to be processed (even initial contact)!
- The cost of the process and the incentive to file (apply) is diminished by structural deficiencies that the management of the EPO can be held accountable for.
We have several examples of this and have spoken to numerous parties (both applicants and their lawyers) to ascertain the legitimacy of their accusations against the EPO. To quote some of the relevant bits: “I have already been granted a patent on this invention. Theoretically securing a European patent should have been straight forward.”
“The cost of the process and the incentive to file (apply) is diminished by structural deficiencies that the management of the EPO can be held accountable for.”There seems to be no eagerness to accept applications (almost) in bulk, as in the case of “Major Applicants” (see aforementioned document). “The primary examiner repeatedly (and with the benefit of hindsight wrongly) rejected my application for circa 4 years,” one source told us. Imagine the nuisance to the applicant. In this one particular example, on the “first one-day oral hearing with a panel of examiners it was agreed that my invention was both novel and inventive and could be patented” (in other words, the original, repeated determination was wrong). But this wasn’t the end of that. “It was agreed at the end of the first oral hearing,” we have learned, “that I could review for any omissions and look to add dependent claims. It was agreed that this could readily be done by E-mail. Since the first oral hearing I have been back in the hands of the primary examiner and the same pattern of delay and rejection has ensued. Once you have addressed the examiners concerns all he does is go away and invent new reasons for not granting. You provide markups with the hope of getting to an agreement but he does not comment on each point so you don’t know which bits are acceptable or not. I have complained about the delay and the manner in which the examiner has handled my case. The response of the EPO has been a blanket rejection of all complaints. The EPO insisted on holding a second oral hearing despite knowing that it was impossible for me to attend. What was to be achieved from the meeting if I was not going to be there? There have been no telephone conversations with the examining division to try and address issues of the application. Currently the EPO is simultaneously claiming that my invention is and is not inventive over prior art [...] I call this the elephant in the room since this is clearly something that can never happen. [...] Given that the ‘Elephant in the Room’ issue may cause great embarrassment this may explain why the EPO has issued an intention to grant on text that was not agreed, as it gives them the pretext for extinguishing my application and ridding themselves of the issue. [...] The matter has been raised repeatedly with the EPO. It has never been addressed by the examining division.”
This in itself is bad enough, but what happens when communication issues also arise?
“Another noteworthy example alludes to the delay between applications and grants.”One person told us the the EPO doesn’t like to talk with applicants but prefers speaking to lawyers, instead, which then introduces prohibitive costs. We learned about the “EPO’s recommendation that applicants use qualified professional representatives. Despite the fees applicants pay to the EPO for their services it is apparent that the EPO would sooner not deal directly with inventors. The economic reality of non-corporate inventors seems wholly lost on the EPO. For the record I did use a patent attorney [...] until funds ran out. This highly competent attorney clearly had no greater success in dealing with the EPO than I. Informally the lawyer has provided pro bono advice since.”
Another noteworthy example alludes to the delay between applications and grants. “On a simple time apportionment basis,” old us one person, “given the mere 20 year protection the current EPO delays represents a loss of 30%. After an appeal process this will be 50%. In reality there reaches a stage when it ceases to be sensible to proceed so this delay could amount to 100% loss.”
If it can take a whole decade to be granted a patent, where’s the incentive to file? Even if claimed damages can go back to the time of initial application, who’s to say that the patenter or the infringer/s won’t have gone bankrupt by then?
“It is not hard to see how companies such as Microsoft, with a whole legion of lawyers in each country, benefits from such a setup, whereas small European inventors are left only with the illusion that the EPO is looking after their interests.”Other issues include E-mail communication. “When an E-mail can be used,” we’ve been told, it can “seems very confusing.” One person inside the Organisation “claims that the EPO treats E-mails as not received [but later] he claims that E-mails cannot be ignored. [...] the position on E-mails now seems in part governed by security and time limits. On the position of security I would have thought this a matter for the applicant to decide; as regards time limits I would have thought the only sensitivity on this point relates to the filing of the original application. My experience is that the acceptance of E-mails or not is a means of exerting control over the applicant. It is clearly nonsense to resend a document by post that the EPO acknowledges they already have as an E-mail. The prohibition of using E-mails clearly adds cost and delay.”
It is not hard to see how companies such as Microsoft, with a whole legion of lawyers in each country, benefits from such a setup, whereas small European inventors are left only with the illusion that the EPO is looking after their interests.
The EPO is broken and change is desperately needed because the intended stakeholders (Europeans, not globalists and multinationals) gradually see what they’re really up against. █
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When push comes to shove and applicants are fed up…
Summary: Techrights has become aware of political action that is likely to impact the regime of Benoît Battistelli, with particular focus on how small applicants are being (mis)treated
THE management of Europe’s greatest source of shame as of late is accused of abusing not only EPO staff but also applicants (except large corporations, despite the hogwash), who are essentially the lifeline of the EPO.
“Correction is urgently needed for the EPO’s very survival.”It has come to our attention that action is being silently taken, as European SMEs find themselves squeezed and squashed by today’s EPO. We are actually receiving a lot ‘dirty laundry’ these days, not from EPO examiners but from EPO applicants, or supposed ‘clients’. Many Europeans are rightly upset. Even some European lawyers are very much upset at Benoît Battistelli’s regime. They too send us material. The view of the EPO inside Europe is rapidly becoming akin to that of FIFA and Battistelli (the Blatter equivalent in this case) very much deserves all this, as many of the recent scandals he can be personally held accountable for. We know where the commands come from (the top) and instructions to suppress dissent by all means possible have led to a cyclical Streisand Effect.
Today we present the first part of a multi-part series which shows how the ‘little guy’ (or a small plater/European SME) gets mistreated by the EPO.
“I have tried to involve my MEP,” told us a source. “He has written once to the EPO. He got a response, the usual that there is nothing wrong.”
Recall how Battistelli typically reacts to politicians who are critical of him.
With or without politicians, we are eager to put some important stories out there, demonstrating not just to the public but also to EPO examiners what kind of discriminatory system is run from Munich. This has got to stop. Correction is urgently needed for the EPO’s very survival. █
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