05.05.16

You Need to Become Proprietary Software Customer (Microsoft Recommended) to Interact with the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 7:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Become a Microsoft client first, then the EPO will be willing to serve you…

Microsoft at EPO

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to show technical and bureaucratic anomalies that have essentially turned it into agent of monopolisation, benefiting firms from across the Atlantic

THE EPO‘s Microsoft favouritism [1, 2, 3] was explored here before and it’s only getting worse the deeper we look. Remember the French CIO who flushes money down the toilet (not literally)? We still wish to see what kind of contract he and/or his colleagues signed with Microsoft (leaks might be imperative). We might never find out, however, for reasons that are explained below:

Financial (de-)regulation

In October Mr Battistelli submitted to the Council a document, CA/38/15, entitled “Periodical review of the Financial Regulations”. As most documents produced by the Battistelli administration it claims to increase efficiency, this time in procurement. And as with most documents produced by the Battistelli administration, its title is misleading: the document proposes the introduction of a new procurement procedure “with negotiation”, as opposed to the normal tender procedure where the requirements are set out and published in advance, i.e. the same and clear (transparent) for all potential competitors. The CA document (point 15) claims to have been “inspired” by the procedure with the same name recently introduced in the EU (Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014). The EU regulation should itself already raise eyebrows because it reduces transparency. But the EPO is taking things several steps further. In the EU the new procedure is meant as an exceptional procedure to be used only in specific defined situations. In the EPO it is meant as a full alternative to the normal open tender mechanism. We refer again to point 15 of CA/38/15 “the new procedure is applicable to all procurements below the threshold without any specific justification.“ The threshold will be one million (!) euro. The EU directive foresees that combinations of smaller lots, the value of which, if added up, reach the threshold, fall under the normal rules. CA/38/15 does not bother with such niceties. The EU directive sets out compliance audit and enforcement measures. None of these are mentioned in CA/38/15. Mere telephone conversations between an examiner and applicant require minutes to be recorded and made public. For the new up-to-one-million-euro negotiations foresee no recording, let alone publication of the negotiations. Last but not least the “efficiency” (apparently 4-6 weeks) foreseen with the new procedure is truly frightening: this hardly leaves the time forthe submission and evaluation of several serious offers. The overall impression is the Mr Battistelli has given himself the power to award direct placements of (over) one million euro at his discretion.

Battistelli’s EPO is worse than a joke. It’s structured and further optimised to mask/hide misconduct. There is no transparency and it’s easy to see why. As the old saying goes, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right? Well, presumably, Battistelli has a lot to fear.

Meanwhile, judging by this tweet from earlier this week, the EPO’s new Web site is causing issues for Firefox users (proprietary Web browsers of firms from the US work however). How many Free/Open Source software (FOSS) Web browsers remain usable at the EPO then? How many people who work with or for the EPO can even still use any operating system other than Windows, which comes with US back doors and is now officially malware?

Nina Milanov wrote: “I have some problems with your new web site? Don’t you support Firefox any more? IE and Chrome seem to work.”

Well, both IE and Chrome are proprietary and we suppose Milanov uses these on Windows, which is also proprietary. On numerous occasions this year I reported Web site issues (over at Twitter) to the EPO. The whole Web site is a mess and it was built using all sorts of proprietary software, so this should not be surprising (proprietary browser plugins are at times needed).

The EPO supports Microsoft like no other body in Europe, in our humble assessment. It is also hyper-sensitive about bloggers who mention this (enough to threaten them), so we urge EPO staff to leak to us any details they have about the technical relationship, never mind the well-documented nepotism.

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