The European Patent Office, Aloof/Apathetic to Inventors and Human Rights, Simply Cannot be Trusted With the Unitary Patent (UPC)
More legal power, but whose?
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO), once a source of great pride for increasingly-unified Europeans, not only wants to enjoy impunity but also wants to attain new powers, despite demonstrating that its interests are anything but European and are often detrimental to Europeans, not just to European inventors
THE image of the EPO was tarnished a long time ago because of staff protests, press articles, and so on. These protests and press articles were the outcome of something, not the cause of that something. It’s not a made-up scandalisation (as EPO management so often tries to frame it with help from its buddies in the German media, notably Süddeutsche Zeitung); it’s very much deserved, and EPO management deserves all the blame. Never before was the EPO a Pariah in the eyes of Europe. The EPO was once internationally regarded as one of the best; now it’s renowned (or notorious) as the biggest human rights violator, more so than SIPO (both the State Intellectual Property Office in Croatia and in China).
Things took a turn for the worse when Battistelli, who tries hard to improve his image this month, took over and brought his mates. Did he not expect any backlash? EPO management basically became a clique. It’s tribalism. People generally know that the EPO is as scandalous an entity as FIFA, even if there are not (yet) disciplinary measures taken against management. Yesterday the President of the FFII told the EPO it’s “time for the European Parliament to step in to stop patent maximalism. They will be powerless with the non-EU Unitary Patent Court.”
“Things took a turn for the worse when Battistelli, who tries hard to improve his image this month, took over and brought his mates.”The term “patent maximalism” — a term that we believe we sort of coined here — is gaining widespread use. The above person now writes regarding language barriers (obstructions to UPC) as well — a subject we covered here a lot recently, mostly in relation to Spain and to Sweden. Glyn Moody, who wrote a detailed article about the EPO at the beginning of this month (criticising both the EPO and the UPC), responded by asking, “do you have a link for that? I think this is going to become a hugely important issue for UPC…”
“In my twitter history,” the President of the FFII. “I already mentioned about the fact that the Court will be running in English only. Let me dig.”
We already covered this subject quite frequently and heavily here, as far back as more than half a decade ago (when UPC wasn’t yet known as or referred to as “UPC”).
We kindly remind readers that EPO-funded pro-UPC events are to take place (including one in the US later this month). The EPO wants to take it international. We also wish readers would pay attention and consider who promotes the UPC. A so-called ‘news’ site that helped the EPO with pro-UPC propaganda (recently with a softball questions Battistelli ‘interview’) now promotes so-called ‘free’ ‘trade’ deals, again with other such ‘interviews’. Media presence isn’t hard to accomplish; there are always those who are gullible or corruptible, some with an operational Web site and a budget.
“Is the EPO serving inventors or is it looking after patent lawyers?”Remember that EPO managers allocated a massive budget for media positioning. They even hired a US (yes, US!) PR firm to handle the task, which makes one wonder who’s so crazy about the UPC anyway. Maybe the patent trolls lick their lips….
“Save this info,” the EPO wrote yesterday about presence/positioning of EPO at CeBIT, liking to a page whose contents is little more than software patents lobbying. Maybe the proponents of software patents lick their lips too….
Also (re)posted yesterday by the EPO was this photograph showing patent lawyers sharing a room with EPO staff. Is the EPO serving inventors or is it looking after patent lawyers? We suspect the latter, not to mention large corporations that are the main source of these lawyers’ income (and EPO revenue). The EPO only needs to maintain the illusion/perception that this isn’t the case, but any such cross-pollination (large corporations, patent lawyers, and EPO bureaucrats) serves to reinforce the idea that they’re all colluding for money and power. It’s protectionism. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. To quote an interesting new comment from yesterday:
By the way it the decision at stake is T 339/13:
It is interesting to note that the Board of Appeal finds it inventive to mimic the purring of a cat. I would have thought that it is notorious that cats purr, especially when being stroked.
It is difficult to see what can be inventive in moving a cursor on a virtual cat and in response thereto receiving a gentle purr.
In other news about the EPO, watch how generic medicine comes under attack by EPO patents. To quote yesterday’s news: “In the fourth quarter of 2015, a generic competitor unilaterally withdrew its appeal in the case regarding the validity of the Alimta vitamin regimen patent before the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO). In view of the withdrawal of the appeal, the decision of the Opposition Division of the EPO finding the patents valid is final, and there cannot be further validity challenges to the vitamin regimen patents for Alimta centrally before the EPO.”
“Consider what the European Cancer Patient Coalition wrote two years ago to Battistelli.”What would be the effect of this decision on the general European population? Consider what the European Cancer Patient Coalition wrote two years ago to Battistelli.
IP Watch also published this article yesterday, covering what the EPO’s spinners did to seed PR (positive coverage) about seeds and plants. To quote IP Watch: “The issue of the interplay between patents and plant variety rights heated up last year when the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal upheld patents for plants or seeds obtained through conventional breeding methods, throwing plant breeders’ position into question.
“Before any more powers are passed to the EPO (e.g. the UPC) there needs to be assurance that the EPO isn’t just a Trojan horse serving foreign corporations under a .org domain and the misleading “European” label.”“The rulings prompted the European Parliament to ask the European Commission to investigate the matter, and the Netherlands, which holds the EU Presidency from 1 January – 30 June 2016, to promise to address the imbalance between the two systems (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 19 January 2016). The EPO and CPVO said they wanted to increase their exchange of information on the subject.”
Judging by how things have progressed as of late, it won’t be long before the EPO is as much a lobbyist of Monsanto as the USPTO already is. Before any more powers are passed to the EPO (e.g. the UPC) there needs to be assurance that the EPO isn’t just a Trojan horse serving foreign corporations under a .org domain and the misleading “European” label. One needs to also ensure that the EPO actually obeys the law. At present, it obviously does not. █
“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one`s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”