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

03.20.16

The ‘Results’ That Battistelli and His EPO Bunch Brag About Not Believed by Patent Lawyers and Patent Examiners

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lance Armstrong
Improved performance the Lance Armstrong way? EPO?

Summary: The European Patent Office claims growth, quality and so on, but people who are working close to the system or inside the system are not believing it

THE European Patent Office (EPO) forms an alternate version of reality. It lies to the world, it misleads journalists, it talks nonsense (like so-called ‘results’ [1, 2]) to the Council (which is already growingly suspicious of these 'results'), and it even lies to its own staff.

Meldrew, a patent lawyer who comments a lot in IP Kat, wrote a rebuttal to these ‘results’ a year ago. To quote portions of his rebuttal:

[...] application numbers reflect not only the innovation within Europe

[...]

As a final point it is worth noting that the term “patent filings” used in previous press releases is now thoroughly discredited as a useful measurement of anything. Combining European applications made and PCT applications made has little relevance to demand for European patents, as is indicated by the ever declining proportion of PCT applications that enter the European regional phase [a further indication that Europe has to come to grips with its place in the world].

[...]

In an effort to improve transparency the EPO will henceforth cease using the misleading “patent filings” metric and instead will quote numbers that mean something.

Speaking to some attorneys (other than Meldrew and Joeri Beetz who is cited above), it seems clear that a lot of them know that the EPO isn’t frank about its so-called ‘results’, to say the least. “I don’t believe them either,” told us one of them. “Nor do any of the EPO examiners. It’s Battistelli bullshit. The figures are basically more or less static.”

To quote further:

What’s worse than turd-polishing the productivity figures is the EPO’s indifference to (or possibly lack of understanding of) the quality of the EPO’s output. EPO search and examination reports still look good superficially, but the analysis in them is just getting shallower and shallower. As a patent attorney, you can’t simply believe what the examiner writes any more – you have to check everything in detail, and it’s surprising how often they are wrong these days. That’s when the examiner bothers to give any analysis at all, of course – it’s more and more common for them simply to state that something is just standard knowledge for the skilled person, without giving any evidence or reasoning. This is all good for patent attorneys, because it makes more work for us, but the effect for the client is that they either have to pay much higher total costs or accept narrower patent protection. Both of these options represent a large increase in business costs for the client – all for a marginal gain in EPO “productivity”.

Another bugbear of mine is the indifference to the practical needs of applicants. Nearly all major patent organisations have now made efforts to embrace the possibilities of modern technology and commerce. They accept online payments, they accept communications by email, they issue automated email alerts if a deadline is imminent. If you call them, they put you through to a human being who can answer your question immediately and intelligently. The EPO has done nothing to address these issues. You still can’t pay fees online, the EPO will not provide priority documents electronically, they don’t do anything official by email, if you call them, someone will call you back in a day or two. Espacenet has been neglected, with virtually zero improvement for a decade, to the point where Google Advanced Patents is now a superior searching and reference tool. Battistelli has been so focused on internal matters and “productivity”, with his bizarre nineteenth century vision of industrial relations, that the EPO is slipping further and further behind the competition. The EPO even closes down entirely between Christmas and New Year, unlike most other patent offices in the civilised world. That’s not for the applicants’ benefit – that’s pure administrative cost saving, and to hell with public service. It’s worth noting that the French patent office, INPI, also only started making significant advances in customer-friendly online services once Battistelli had stepped down as director general. The sooner he stops messing about with the EPO’s internal organs and starts focusing on the needs of applicants, the better.

We heard similar stories from an inventor in the UK. Satisfaction with the EPO’s services seems to be low, but the EPO cites its friends at IAM to claim otherwise. We have some articles about that on their way (shelved for now).

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. Guest Article: The Free Software Movement Should Come Out From the Box

    "From now onwards we have to think from a user’s rights perspective and mobilise users of Free software. They should know what rights they ought to get."



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 13, 2019



  3. Links 13/12/2019: QEMU 4.2.0, GNU Guile 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  4. Links 13/12/2019: Zorin OS 15.1, Vim 8.2

    Links for the day



  5. Linux Foundation Has Outsourced All the Licence Compliance Stuff to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator

    OpenChain Specification/OpenChain Project and Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) are yet more examples -- the latest of many -- of the Linux Foundation being outsourced to Microsoft, not only for code but also documentation and hosting



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 12, 2019



  7. Copyleft: Keeping Code Free

    Now that news about "Linux" is dominated by promotion of proprietary software we ought to remember what perpetrators of such a strategy seek to eliminate



  8. Plans That Worked, Plans That Failed

    "I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!"



  9. Links 12/12/2019: KDE Applications 19.12, Qt Creator 4.11, New VirtualBox

    Links for the day



  10. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  11. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  12. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  14. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  15. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  16. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  17. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  20. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  21. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  22. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  23. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  24. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  25. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  27. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  28. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  29. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019


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