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

01.08.16

The European Patent Office (EPO) Doesn’t Like Spanish, So Why Should the Spanish Tolerate the EPO?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Contra EPO

Contra EPO

Summary: Old complaints about the EPO’s discrimination against Spanish speakers, as demonstrated by actually speaking to EPO staff

Spanish is — by some criteria and depending on the definitions one chooses — the world’s most used language (e.g. based on number of countries where it is a first/spoken language). Techrights made Spanish its second language and there are many articles here which were published in Spanish.

“The Spanish language hardly even exists at the EPO. It is definitely not treated as it should and one needn’t look far back to see how the EPO, which is based in Munich, (mis)treats Spanish staff.”The EPO discriminates against many European languages, but only the Italians and the Spanish had the courage to stress this point and fight over such an important matter (perpetuating power through lingual domination, as the British have done for centuries). The EPO’s Twitter account (“European Patent Office” only ever writes in English) promoted automated translations the other day, but these are subpar. Here is the tool they recommend (warning: epo.org link). “Patent Translate,” they said in Twitter a few days ago, “comes with a correction editor, which allows you to propose even better translations” (well, that’s crowdsourcing, turning Spaniards, for instance, into volunteers for corporations’ private gain).

The Spanish language hardly even exists at the EPO. It is definitely not treated as it should and one needn’t look far back to see how the EPO, which is based in Munich, (mis)treats Spanish staff. One of them had a nervous breakdown a couple of months ago, after he had been bullied by the ‘whiter’ staff of the EPO, the I.U. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“They can at least demand that the EPO doesn’t treat Spanish as a non-language.”We recently became aware of other forms of discrimination against Spaniards at the EPO. “I was reading this article,” one person told us about an article we've translated into Spanish a few days ago. “I tried to request Spanish as an opposition language when we were opposing the Amazon Gift patent,” this person told us. “We got a nice phone call and email from the EPO saying we have to pay for a translator, while other people with German or French would not have to pay for simultaneous translations during oral proceedings.”

That’s rather revealing, is it not?

We decided to look further and deeper into it because this is a shared complaint (shared among EU member states); only the Spanish, however, have a strong enough voice (large population) and a good argument for the inclusion of their language because it’s incredibly popular (second only to Chinese, Arabic, and English depending on the definition of popularity). It was brought up when debating the UPC’s viability at one time. The EPO’s management wants the UPC to pass (it even lobbies for it out in the open), but the Spanish people, if properly organised, can definitely do a lot to derail it. They can at least demand that the EPO doesn’t treat Spanish as a non-language. Some groups already complained about this, but nothing really came out of such efforts.

“We sent this request in Spanish,” wrote to us the above person (the name can be found deeper in the links if one is desperate to know it), and the English translation is his. He ended up “trying to download the thousand pages in the EPO register to locate the right PDF” in this mess. The original letter is as follows (from the FFII):

Bruselas, 07 de mayo 2012

Sujeto: EP927945: el lenguaje de la vista oral de 12 de junio 2012

Estimados Miembros de la Oficina Europea de Patentes,

FFII eV ha recibido su carta del 16 de abril 2012 en relación con la elección de las lenguas de los procedimientos orales con respecto a nuestra oposición a la patente de regalo de Amazon EP927945.

Tenemos la intención de usar el español tanto para los procedimentos por vía oral (habla) como para la interpretación simultánea (escucha).

Saludos cordiales,

And in English:

Brussels, the 7 may 2012

Concerns: Amazon gift patent EP927945: language of the oral
proceedings of 12 June 2012

Dear Members of the European Patent Office,

FFII eV has well received your letter of 16th of April 2012 regarding the choice of languages of the oral proceedings regarding our opposition to the Amazon gift patent EP927945.

We intend to use Spanish for the both the language of the oral proceedings (speaking) and the simultaneous interpretation (listening).

Best regards,

“The link to the EPO register is here,” he said. “Unfortunately, their website is so crappy that you cannot download the PDF with wget. Here is our answer to their refusal. Trying to find the original in plain text…”

“What is going on, how did it become so bad, and why aren’t Spaniards more vocal about this?”Their official answer is here.

“Trying to recover the email from [a person] who is Spanish,” he wrote, “when he received the phone call from the EPO yields the following old letter…”

The following is quite self-explanatory:

Dear board,

this email is private, don’t forward it, etc.

A German speaking woman from the EPO has just called the office. She was speaking like a script. Question from me, standard answer from her. Well trained. I summarized.

Mr. [redacted] has sent a fax in Spanish :-), but Spanish is not one of the 3 languages accepted by the EPO. I of course said that this is not good for the Spanish speaking people in the EU, bla bla. The standard answer: the 3 official languages of the EPO are bla bla, additionally the EPO offers at no cost a list of translators bla bla that we can hire. I asked for this in written form, she said she cannot reply to a fax in Spanish, we should send the fax in one of the 3 official languages and then she will reply. She asks for this to happen quickly, as she cannot achieve a fax in Spanish in the EPO system.

In conclusion, Spanish is strangely enough being snubbed by the EPO, whereas French (which fewer nations and people can speak) is an “official” language. The same goes for German, which not many people speak at all (except in Germany’s area). Are member states treated favourably based on their financial might as opposed to the target audience internationally and locally (Portuguese is more popular than both French and German, maybe even combined, going by some criteria)? What is going on, how did it become so bad, and why aren’t Spaniards more vocal about this?

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

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. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  2. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  3. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  4. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  5. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  6. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  7. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  8. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  9. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  10. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  11. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  12. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  13. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  14. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  15. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  16. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  17. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  18. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  19. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  21. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  22. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  23. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  24. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  25. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  26. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  27. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  29. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO



  30. Team UPC Has Run Out of Arguments, So Now It's Just Writing Anti-Brexit Rants With Testicles in the Headlines

    Nothing has worked for firms that crafted and lobbied hard for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); after necrophilia a new low is being reached


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

Recent Posts