Summary: The first among several translations of Dutch media reports about Benoît Battistelli’s demise
HAVING asked for translations of Dutch media reports about the EPO scandals, we finally got the first such translation and it’s worth highlighting the facts below (reasonably new):
Board of patent office wants to investigate the functioning of chief
Labour dispute. The management board of the European Patent Office wants an investigation of the manner it’s being governed.
The ongoing crisis at the European Patent Office (EPO) appears to turn against its criticized president, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli. The highest body of the office, the management board representing the 38 member states, wants an external investigation in to the punitive measures that Battistelli (65) imposed on union members.
It is an unexpected twist in the battle between the office, that’s granting European patents and has one of its bases in the Dutch municipality of Rijswijk, and the unions. The ‘authoritarian’ style of governance and the work pressure induced tensions and even several suicides among employees, according to the unions. Battistelli however claims the unions are trying to sabotage his reforms. A number of leading union members have been suspended and will possibly be fired, one of them is the chairwoman of the Dutch branch, Elizabeth Hardon.
The chairman of the management board, the Dane Jesper Kongstad now writes in a letter that the disciplinary measures have led to “very serious concerns” about the “proper functioning” of the office. The regulators unfortunately weren’t able to have a “meaningful dialogue” about this with Battistelli. Despite of protest by the president, the board wants to have the punitive measures investigated as well as suspended. Next month the member states will vote on the proposal. The letter is noteworthy because only last year Battistelli was reappointed until 2018 by the management board.
Yesterday Battistelli has invited the unions for a talk on “any topic” concerning working conditions. Last month the Supreme Court also commended the office and the unions for mediation.
Towards the end one can see the propaganda which we have just written about. Will Elizabeth Hardon and others be back to work soon? █
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
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“SUEPO Has No Standing in This Office. SUEPO Has No Role to Play in This Office.” -Vice-President Željko Topić, 19th of March 2015 (less than a year ago) in a meeting with the Munich Staff Committee
Summary: Misinformation spread by the EPO and its paid media (such as IAM ‘magazine’) tracked and rebutted in order to avoid further dissemination of lies
Several people notified us regarding this article, which is the EPO’s effort to recover after a “meltdown” was correctly claimed in a previous article. The article is basically a composition of lies — not by the author but by the respondents at the EPO (apparently the PR team). Among the lies: “Asked about the persistent rumors that Battistelli will resign or is negotiating a settlement to leave, the EPO assured us that the president intends to stay on until his term ends in 2018. The negotiation of the new MoUs has led to a “very positive atmosphere” in recent days, the organization said.”
“Noteworthy from the article is the part which pretends that the EPO wants to finally engage with and recognise unions.”The Register, to its credit, wanted to keep things balanced, but letting the EPO sling mud (or lies) at the wall and hope something sticks isn’t the best approach. In the comments thread of his previous article (about EPO “meltdown”) at least one person accused the author of being biased and not balanced, as if letting the EPO utter some lies means “balance”. So The Register published a face-saving response from the EPO’s PR department. Isn’t that just great? Full of rubbish, misinforming people, creating more confusion…
“That The Register article is total bollocks,” wrote to us one EPO worker. Many others said the same thing, though not in these words. It’s total BS, bollocks, poppycock, or whatever… there are also non-English words which describe what the EPO management is doing here.
Battistelli won’t go without a fight, or without a lot of spin, propaganda disguised as "social study", and alleged blackmail (e.g. to sign letters of support). Noteworthy from the article is the part which pretends that the EPO wants to finally engage with and recognise unions. The PR department/team must be so desperate that it now reuses old lines, such as those which we covered in:
When reading about Battistelli “extending an olive branch” to unions need to think of poison, maybe disguised as grossly overpriced wine. Battistelli wishes to get closer to such people so that he can stab them at the back or entrap them. See the accusations they sort of made up against Elisabeth Hardon.
“Battistelli wishes to get closer to such people so that he can stab them at the back or entrap them.”For those who believe that the EPO spreads its nonsense only through the latest article from The Register, look a little further. Here we have EPO-funded bloggers (to promote UPC) promoting the UPC in the UK and we have just found other new puff pieces in the British media (also about the UPC). Part of the media campaign of EPO and FTI Consulting perhaps? Either way, it’s disgusting because it distorts or corrupts the media so as to promote antidemocratic treaties/deals. Also today there was this pair of puff pieces about the EPO in Lexology [1, 2], one of which was echoing the EPO’s official hogwash of a malicious, discriminatory programme.
Expect more EPO propaganda. Please report it to us. █
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Also: a call for translation by Dutch speakers
Summary: Details that trickle into Dutch media and the growing necessity for English translations, as these serve to reinforce rumours and turn some into facts
FOR reasons we explained or hypothesised here before [1, 2], the German media, which is a lot broader (more than ten times the population of the Netherlands) and more closely connected to the EPO, hardly covers (at least properly) the EPO scandals, unlike the Dutch media. It was the case last year and it’s still the case this year.
“Near the end it quotes Liesbeth Zegveld [SUEPO lawyer] that BB’s [the president's] departure essentially boils down to a question of money.”
–AnonymousToday there were several articles in Dutch about the EPO. NRC has at least two articles about the latest developments/situation. A translation is coming for the first one soon (“Bestuur van octrooibureau wil functioneren topman onderzoeken”), but not the second, so we need volunteers for that (“Octrooibureau wil onderzoek naar bestuursstijl president”).
The above picture shows that other newspapers too are covering these matters and we need a translation of the text below (we have made a copy in case of self-censorship as seen before in British media and EPO-funded French media).
“If BB should decline to step down, then it is probable that he would lose much of his power anyway, as the AC would set up an “independent commission” to scrutinise his management.”
–Anonymous“For your press book,” wrote to us a reader who can understand Dutch, the above “scan of today’s edition of Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant” is doing the rounds. The title translates to: “The Member States Turn Against Patent Office Top Man”.
“The VK is one of the country’s better quality daily, and has a reputation of being left-leaning.
“The article is a concise summary of the present situation.
“It mentions the surprising change of attitude by AC president Jesper Kongstad, who used to be a loyal Battisbuddy.
“Near the end it quotes Liesbeth Zegveld [SUEPO lawyer] that BB’s [the president's] departure essentially boils down to a question of money.
“All of that is fine, but we should never forget that we could [be] looking at rumours snowballing into rumours which eventually become “facts”.”
–Anonymous“If BB should decline to step down, then it is probable that he would lose much of his power anyway, as the AC would set up an “independent commission” to scrutinise his management.
“The president is reported to be doing much horse-trading backstage in order to shoot down the AC proposal. [Remember, there are 38 member states, and with the FIFA system of one country, one vote, anything is possible]
“All of that is fine, but we should never forget that we could [be] looking at rumours snowballing into rumours which eventually become “facts”.”
To summarise, we have a translation of this article on its way, but we still require translations of this and that article. There are often new, fact-checked claims in articles in all sorts of languages, based on various communications with the EPO's PR team, which occasionally makes flukes or faux pas (meaning, in their case, actually stating the truth for a change). More on that in our next post… █
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Flipping narratives to support an abusive regime
The classic “killing babies” Korean War propaganda. Designer: Xu Ling (徐灵) ca. 1950
Summary: Many staff representatives at the EPO point out to the Praesidium of the Administrative Council that what Battistelli calls Social Study is actually self-serving propaganda which is not credible
At the end of last year the Praesidium got involved as EPO abuses were becoming un-ignorable, even to the Council. It wasn’t long thereafter that staff representatives wrote to the Praesidium (we published the original, i.e. German, version of it).
“For a strong, legitimate, widely-respected EPO the tyrants need to go away and leave the highly-educated patent examiners in good, well-meaning, caring hands.”The Battistelli-led and nearly North Korea-inspired management seems to believe it can convince the public that EPO staff is happy, or that only a "vocal minority" is upset (Ms Lefèvre is involved in this propaganda). Now, remember the so-called ‘Social Study’? They even call it a “study”, as though it’s academic. It’s safe to dismiss it as propaganda. This is what the Central Staff Committee at the EPO is trying to make clear to the Praesidium right now. The EPO union leaders’ open letter to the AC Praesidium is now available in English. We planned to have published it earlier on, but it fits more nicely with some recent articles of ours — articles some of which serve to confirm the evident and perhaps inevitable demise of the abusers. Thanks to the anonymous translators Techrights has access to (very talented polyglots) and some people who work as staff representatives, we occasionally get our hands on a lot of stuff. When staff representatives circulate material it often reaches us too, one way or another.
Now, to be clear, many of our sources don’t work for the EPO at all. The anger at Battistelli is everywhere both inside and outside Europe. This document wasn’t even sent to us from Europe. Based on the PDF with the English translation/version we have just produced the following HTML version, which may be handy for future reference. We strive to have a complete and detailed record of this long overdue “meltdown” — as British media called it this week — of Team Battistelli, not the EPO itself. For a strong, legitimate, widely-respected EPO the tyrants need to go away and leave the highly-educated patent examiners in good, well-meaning, caring hands. The CSC’s (Central Staff Committee) open letter is included below with our emphasis in yellow for those who prefer to just quickly ‘scan’ the letter.
To the Board
of the Administrative Council
of the European Patent Organisation
17 February 2016
Social Study 2016 – Position of the Central Staff Committee (CSC)
Dear Board members,
The preparation and the progress of the Social Study 2016 was an agenda item on both the 69th and 70th meeting. Once again, the Social Study is back on the agenda for the next meeting. We regret that the CSC meeting scheduled for 16 to 18 February 2016 in Munich has not been not approved, since it was our intention to use the occasion to get in touch with you personally to explain our position. Therefore, we take the liberty to notify you in writing that due to current events, the CSC had to change its attitude towards the envisaged study.
At the meeting of the General Consultative Committee on 9 December 2015, the attending members of the CSC showed cautious optimism in their remarks on the document about the Social Study 2016, which was added to the agenda at short notice. In particular, the leadership by the Administrative Council and their apparent willingness to receive comments and suggestions from the CSC seemed to us to show promise as an apparent move away from the President’s very one-sided views on the social situation in the EPO. In the last meeting of the Administrative Council, we reiterated in our remarks that special attention should be paid to ensuring the independence of the external contractor, to guaranteeing the absolute anonymity of the participating staff members and to providing a genuinely unbiased assessment of staff’s view on the impact of the current working atmosphere on the quality of their work results.
However, events have proven otherwise. On 7 January 2016, we were informed that the President had decided to invite the CSC to nominate an observer to the Award Committee for the tender. On 15 January 2016, we complied with this invitation respecting the tight timeframe set. On 21 January 2016, we submitted further comments and suggestions for the Social Study 2016 in writing. Nevertheless, the President claimed on 4 February 2016 in his event “Meet the President” to the staff that despite an invitation, the CSC had never submitted comments on the planned social study.
Our observer was unfortunately never invited to any meeting or otherwise involved in the preparation of the study. His first active involvement was on the afternoon of 11 February 2016, when he received documents for the tender which was scheduled for publication the next day (12 February 2016). The material included several documents consisting of more than 100 pages. It was not even clear to what extent they could be forwarded for broader discussion in the CSC.
We consider this kind of consultation as deficient and not bona fide. Rather, we fear that it will be used in an attempt to present the participation of an observer for the CSC in the Award Committee as demonstrating the alleged independence of the Social Study 2016. Therefore, we make thoroughly clear at this point that the CSC has now withdrawn, at least for the time being, its initial support for the implementation of the study. Moreover, we are surprised that apparently no one from the Administrative Council – not even from its Board 28 – participates any longer in the preparation, tendering and implementation of the Social Study 2016, all the more so because Article 32 EPC foresees suitable means for the Administrative Council to do so.
As the lead has apparently been abandoned without any proposals or suggestions of the CSC being taken into account, our main reasons for continuing our support of the study are now rendered obsolete. With this perspective, we therefore cannot recommend the employees of the European Patent Office to participate in any interviews and surveys as part of the Social Study 2016.
What remains is for us to simply wish the President good luck in convincing everyone about the independence and credibility of his Social Study 2016.
The Central Staff Committee
We confirm that the above letter was correctly decided by the Central Staff Committee.
[Signatures of the CSC members]
cc.: Mr B. Battistelli, President of the EPO
Mr Y. Grandjean, Director Council Secretariat
Any new remarks from the respondent, the Praesidium? If so, please let us know. █
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Elodie Thatcher is the EPO’s new Iron Lady (recall the UK miners’ strike)
Mikhail Gorbachev meets Margaret Thatcher. Photo credit: Yuryi Abramochkin / Юрий Абрамочкин, RIA Novosti
Summary: Classic union-crushing methods continue at the Team Battistelli-led EPO, cleverly disguised as a ballot, which misleadingly evokes thoughts of democracy
TECHRIGHTS has been receiving information about every organisation’s worst nightmare (to the management at least). There is a strike coming to the Battistelli-led Banana Republic. People are as mad as Hell as they’re not going to take this anymore. Why would they? Just look how Battistelli (mis)treats his own senior staff, their spouses, politicians, delegates, lawyers, and even bloggers. Battistelli is a massive embarrassment to the Organisation and even the Chairman of the Administrative Council finally recognises this (as does the media).
People who plan to go on strike are sympathetic towards their real leaders, the staff representatives who look after workers’ interests; they are not against the EPO itself (neither are we), they’re just against what became of the EPO with the current management that disregards the law and stomps on the EPC. We previously wrote about this imminent strike which Bergot and her buddies at the Team Battistelli-led EPO tried hard to prevent from happening.
Here is what Bergot wrote in the intranet today:
Notification of a strike ballot
Electronic voting on 8 March 2016
By means of this notification (DE, FR), I wish to inform you of the data and procedure for the ballot which is to be held following receipt of a call for a strike.
PD Human Resources
The following images (we don’t have the text yet, but if anyone can provide it, that would be helpful) reveal what’s happening at the moment.
Notice who was designated by Battistelli. Yes, it’s Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre, who has just been officially promoted (as per today’s announcement]. Amazing coincidences perhaps. From military career to union, strike and protest crackdown?
“People are as mad as Hell as they’re not going to take this anymore.”The above smells like a trap that helps identify (or create a list of) who’s loyal to Battistelli (or still too afraid of Battistelli) and who’s not.
Here is another one, which provides background to this action. Pay attention to the numbers above (754 signatures) when reading the following text:
One source asked us: “Have you heard about the strike ballot? BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH.”
The very existence of this ballot is means of intimidation and discouragement. Maybe some civil disobedience is needed here, such as a boycott of the ballot. If nobody bothers with it, no collective action such as collective punishment can be taken into account/consideration (like firing all EPO employees). Refusing to participate in a ballot is a lot less severe an action than actually going on strike. Wait for Pinky and the Brain (Bergot and Battistelli) to take advantage of refusal to participate as ‘proof’ that the staff does not wish to go on strike (the “vocal minority” narrative bolstered yet again). Watch how they blackmail managers to pretend to support Battistelli's regime. The Banana Republic of Pinky and the Brain makes even a Crimean referendum appear reasonably legitimate. Gorbachev et al would probably label “useful idiots” (Leninist term) those who tolerate this ‘ballot”. █
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”
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Summary: Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre, with military background (trendy skill at the EPO right now), officially becomes an EPO Director
THE trend at the Team Battistelli-led EPO never ceases to amaze. An appointment from military to top EPO rank was only mentioned here earlier today (there are also lower level examples and peripheral examples, but we deal only with public officials as their exposure to the press is subjected to other levels of ethics).
The Incredible Rise of Nadja
According to our sources, Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre has been has promoted. This ex military person has just been promoted to EPO Director. That is a very high rand. For a little background on this amazing race to the top of Team Battistelli see:
- EPO’s Team Battistelli is Promoting Only the Oppressors
- EPO: It’s Like a Family Business – Part IV
- The EPO’s Investigative Unit Exposed: Part VII
“More people with a military background make rocket careers at the EPO,” told us one person. “Nadja Lefèvre (born Merdaci) was promoted to DIRECTOR at the EPO with effective date 01.01.2016. This appeared today on the EPO intranet site.”
“It’s rather interesting to see the predominantly French Team Battistelli bolstering/empowering itself.”We already knew this a while ago, but staff gets notified a little later, maybe to in order reduce backlash.
“She appeared on Techrights before,” our source noted, “as part of the Inner Circle 2.0.”
It’s rather interesting to see the predominantly French Team Battistelli bolstering/empowering itself. It’s a clique. Sometimes it’s literally a family. It’s not just Bergot anymore (we know some embarrassing stories about her that we cannot publish, at least not yet).
Surge of EPO Whistleblowers
It sure seems like a lot more EPO staff and also outsiders, including stakeholders, are fed up with Team Battistelli. They want immediate change. We received some encouraging words and wishes for quick recovery (my wife and I are still ill). “Keep up the good work,” one person told us, maybe one among a dozen today (thanks!). If it weren’t for our sources, however, none of this would be possible, so please keep us informed. The intranet page about Merdaci-Lefèvre’s would be nice to have here for the record if anyone could kindly leak it to us…
“The intranet page about Merdaci-Lefèvre’s would be nice to have here for the record if anyone could kindly leak it to us…”It is going to be a very long night as we have been receiving a lot of new material today. “Dear Mr. Roy Schestowitz,” wrote one person to me, “I have definitely found this article very interesting (thought in French): http://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/de-quoi-le-conflit-social-a-l-175546
“It might explain indeed the current crisis at the EPO. I am not sure it is known in the IP world. I guess you might feel interested in having it appearing on Techrights.”
Someone already works on translating it for us. It’s work in progress as it’s a long article and one that is exceptionally difficult to translate. In the mean time, if anyone has the time, please keep an eye on the next few articles. We need some translations from Dutch, so native Dutch speakers are needed (for accuracy, automated translations are not sufficiently reliable). █
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[Translation of this article about the EPO]
The member states of the European Patent Office (EPO) [sic – should be European Patent Organisation] are increasing the pressure on the President of the Office, Benoît Battistelli. This is evident from a letter from the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, to the 38 member states’ representatives on the patent authority’s supervisory body. According to the letter, the member states are concerned about the enduring conflict between the Management and the unions, and about the sluggish process of reform for greater independence for the office’s internal judiciary. The meeting of the Executive Committee last week turned into an open skirmish between the member states and Battistelli, several sources report.
For around a year and a half, the Office has been rocked by an ongoing dispute between Battistelli and the two unions, over the President’s management style, his reform process for greater efficiency and for recognition of the unions. At the same time, a public debate has been ignited over the lack of independence of the Office’s internal judiciary, the Boards of Appeal. On top of this, Battistelli initiated controversial disciplinary proceedings against a judge and against three leading union members.
In reaction, the administrative Council issued a warning that the social conflict should be resolved and the reform of the Boards of Appeal should be set in motion. However, both of these processes have been delayed by several months.
According to Kongstad’s letter, the members of Board 28 expressed concern last week that Battistelli is not heeding the opinion of the Administrative Council sufficiently on these two points.
Kongstad writes that is had not been possible to hold a meaningful dialogue with the President. As a result, the Board 28 members addressed a formal written request to the President. However, Battistelli apparently rejected the request as legally inadmissible. From a formal point of view, the EPO President is not obliged to follow instructions of the supervisory body in his management of the office. The Administrative Council appoints the President and must approve the Office’s budget. Until recently, it could be counted on as the effective power base for the controversial Frenchman.
Battistelli’s Support Crumbles
However, this support is disintegrating remarkably, according to Konstad’s letter, and to information which JUVE has obtained from the inner circle of the Executive. Board 28 intends to submit its formal demand to the entire Administrative Council so that it can be presented to the President on behalf of the whole Council. This is planned for the next meeting of the Administrative Council. Kongstad also mentioned in his letter that it had not been possible to set the agenda for the March meeting before Battistelli left the Board 28 meeting.
In the meantime, Kongstad’s letter, and a document with the formal request to Battistelli, are circulating on social media. Sources close to the Administrative Council have meanwhile confirmed the authenticity of both documents to JUVE. Battistelli is not responding to questions about the formal demand or its content.
JUVE has heard from several sources that there is grave concern in sectors of the Administrative Council over the current situation in the Office. These concerns are focussed principally on the social unrest, the slow pace of reform of the Boards of Appeal and the fairness of the four disciplinary cases.
Observers suspect that the escalation has been triggered by Board 28′s demand that Battistelli accept an external review of the disciplinary measures and procedures taken against the three union leaders. The member states also want to appoint an external expert to work with the President on the preparation of a new proposal for the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal.
These events are the first time that any dispute between Battistelli and a section of the member states has emerged into the open. However, it has not yet developed into a public rift. It appears that the Administrative Council is still seeking an amicable solution with Battistelli. However, it is now expecting more than ever that the EPO President fall into line
It was already apparent at the last meeting of the Administrative Council in December that Battistelli was losing support on the question of structural reform, when the member states rejected the reforms he proposed. Apparently it was mainly Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland who openly opposed the Battistelli proposals. As a result, the Administrative Council assumed responsibility for the reform process and agreed on five guiding principles, on the basis of which the President should prepare a new proposal for the June meeting of the Administrative Council.
The EPO issued the following comment regarding current developments: “The President and the Administrative Council work closely together in preparing the Council meetings. This applies also to the difficult social topics, on which the governments of the individual member states have rather varied opinions, and which therefore require a thorough debate.” The Office also announced that a proposal for structural reform would be made in June, and that a social study would be completed by September. In addition, the President would like to hold a conference in the second half of the year with all social partners.
(Christina Schulze, Mathieu Klos)
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Summary: A look at recent developments in the US patent system and how they relate to software patents in particular
TAKING a break from EPO articles and looking again at the USPTO, here is a roundup of recent developments.
Proxies in Patent Lawsuits
Nearly a decade ago we looked into why and how SCO had received money from Microsoft to sue Linux (or large corporations that rely on GNU/Linux). We also kept a close eye on patent trolls which often operate as proxies against a competitor. See for instance Intellectual Ventures and Acacia. They’re suspects.
“We also kept a close eye on patent trolls which often operate as proxies against a competitor.”This new article by Joe Mullin shows that litigation by proxy is a problem more widespread than just Microsoft and GNU/Linux, for patent trolls cannot be sued, making them convenient proxies (Intellectual Ventures, which is Microsoft-connected, is estimated to have about 2,000 satellite firms for litigation and Acacia too has many ‘branches’). Here is Mullin’s new article:
Company wrests $100k payment from patent troll but has no idea who paid
Lumen View Technology sued several small businesses in 2013 over a patent that described little more than online “matchmaking” before its demands for quick $50,000 payoffs ran into a Santa Barbara startup called Graphiq (formerly FindTheBest).
Graphiq CEO Kevin O’Connor, who had also co-founded online ad giant Doubleclick, pledged to spend his own money to defeat Lumen View—and defeat them he did. O’Connor’s battle with the patent-holding company has finally come to an end, with the still-unknown owners of Lumen View agreeing to pay him $100,000.
We remind people that the patent troll problem is more complex than people care to realise. A lot of this tends to be part of a broader anticompetitive picture. See what Microsoft did with Nokia and MOSAID.
“A lot of this tends to be part of a broader anticompetitive picture.”Tim Wilson (not my TechBytes co-host) used to write prolifically about the patent troll problem. That was years ago after he was personally hurt by them. Here he is again contributing a new article to IP Watch. The title of his article (and premise) is “Companies Can Inoculate Themselves Against Patent Trolls Through Their Supply Chain,” but it’s better to just eliminate trolls, which requires eliminating software patents because of the close correlation between the two.
Legislative Remedies for Software Patents
This new article from yesterday covered the SCOTUS stance on software patents as follows:
SUPREME COURT ON SOFTWARE PATENTS: During oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Stephen Breyer said it is “unfortunate” that Congress hasn’t created special rules to deal with software patents, which are pervasive in the technology industry.
“Today’s patent world is not a steam engine world,” he said. “We have decided to patent tens of thousands of software products and similar things where hardly anyone knows what the patent’s really about.”
Related to SCOTUS as well, see “Supreme Court Oral Argument Reviewing Enhanced Damages” — a subject that many sites tackled yesterday. To quote Patent Docs: “Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related cases: Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. (Supreme Court docket number 14-1513) and Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc. (Supreme Court docket number 14-1520). The issue on appeal in the Halo case was limited to Question 1 presented in the petition…”
“Speaking of SCOTUS, remember that Apple’s war on Android may soon reach SCOTUS level.”The mass media covered this too, not just patent maximalists and (patent) law professors. Here is a useful overview from Patently-O):
Today the Supreme Court heard combined oral arguments in the willful infringement cases of:
Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., et al. (14-1513); and
Stryker Corporation, et al. v. Zimmer, Inc., et al. (14-1520)
Speaking of SCOTUS, remember that Apple’s war on Android may soon reach SCOTUS level. There is some misinformation about it out there. “Patenting company” is what patent maximalists now foolishly call Samsung; it also makes actual products, and it is not a patent aggressor, unlike Apple. These false narratives help distract from the reality of Apple’s aggression, which is making 'smart' phones hugely expensive to everyone. To quote this new tweet from the Web Foundation, “1/3rd of the cost of a midrange smartphone is down to patent royalties. Time for reform” (real patent reform).
Patent Reform (Tackling Trolls, Not Patent Scope)
“Patent law firms are just trying to find ways around Alice, in order to patent software despite the new rules.”A patent lawyer has just highlighted this article from a GOP-leaning site. It is against patent reform and the patent lawyer said “I agree” (only to be expected, as they profit from litigation).
Cheryl Wetzstein, “formerly national news reporter at The Washington Times,” is speaking to some academics for this article (at least they’re not just patent lawyers) and notes that “The recent death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia could impact the fate of many bills, including the patent proposals.”
Another GOP-leaning site, Fox News, approached this from the “troll” angle and wrote: “A decision to let the ruling stand will further incentivize patent trolls to go after small businesses, a devastating blow to small and minority businesses that are instrumental to U.S. economic growth. Letting the ruling stand will solidify legal precedent that will hinder entrepreneurship and create significant barriers for Hispanic and other minority owned businesses.”
Patent Lawyers Prepare to Work Around the Rules
“Usually, following common sense, more litigation means less production because of allocation of financial and human resources.”An article by Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP continues to show a phenomenon which we repeatedly highlight here. Patent law firms are just trying to find ways around Alice, in order to patent software despite the new rules. James Cosgrove, Legal Analyst at Juristat, has just published a piece titled “Defeating Alice with Data”. To quote Cosgrove: “While all patent attorneys would like for Alice to be applied with consistency and predictability across all examiners and art units, the application of law is rarely predictable due to the personal experiences and preferences of individual examiners. However, there are tools that patent attorneys can use to at least get a head start on prosecution of software and business methods applications and market their expertise to clients who are looking for it. No strategy is going to guarantee a positive outcome in every prosecution, but patent attorneys can certainly increase their chances of success through careful study of the relevant data available to them.”
Usually, following common sense, more litigation means less production because of allocation of financial and human resources. According to this new analysis, so far in 2016 “the top patent defendants is comprised entirely of tech or e-commerce companies, most with a consumer focus: Expedia, Apple, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US, Huawei USA, Samsung, HP, T-Mobile USA, ZTE and Huawei.”
“With all these patent disputes no wonder a pair of shoes that costs just a few dollars to manufacture can cost as much as hundreds of dollars at the shops.”Clothing companies too are battling over patents, based on this article about CAFC, Nike, and Adidas. To quote the MIP article: “The Federal Circuit provided guidance on motions to amend in inter partes review proceedings in its recent Nike v Adidas decision. PTAB observers are hopeful it is a sign the court will be harder on the Board’s resistance to substitute claims…”
With all these patent disputes no wonder a pair of shoes that costs just a few dollars to manufacture can cost as much as hundreds of dollars at the shops. A society and an industry more cooperative would go a long way in serving the customers (or “consumers” as some call them). █
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