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05.15.16

UPC is Class War (the Rich Fighting Everyone Else), Hence the Increasing Militarisation of the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s management is trying to ‘pacify’ the Office by force

Slave trade

Summary: In the face of resistance to controversial and often antidemocratic, illegal, possibly criminal or felonious acts, Team Battistelli resorts to ‘decapitation tactics’ (attacking or torturing figureheads) and armament around itself — all this while falsely accusing others of bearing arms or resorting to aggression

THE EPO scandals are happening for a reason. As Dr. Glyn Moody put it earlier this year: “When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Think along the lines of globalisation in line/lieu with TPP, TTIP or whatever corporate-leaning agenda is interjected in transit (amid unison, where laws get ‘harmonised’, i.e. modified in accordance to some peripheral interests).

Techrights is genuinely concerned about UPC and has been concerned about it for more than half a decade (we wrote about this well before it was known as “UPC”). We are gratified to see that writers, attorneys, examiners and even politicians are beginning to catch up. They realise what it’s all about and they occasionally rant about it. In response, the UPC’s proponents get all paranoid and even aggressive. As one tongue-in-cheek comment put it the other day: “Why are you astonished Merpel? Have you not been reading the comments on your own blog over these last few years? These people are so far up their own backsides,,,,they lost touch with reality so long ago,,,, However I can understand their insecurity, It’s pretty easy to imagine a scenario whereby somebody kidnaps an EPO VP or PD and sends a ransom note along the lines of “we have kidnapped a senior member of your EPO management – pay us 10 Euros in cash or we will send them back”” (that’s a joke of course).

Some people who perhaps lack a sense of humour responded as though it’s a Battistelli-funded comment. “Apparently,” one person wrote, “FTI Consulting keep sending out their trolls…”

Well, FTI is quite likely injecting EPO talking points into discussions, but this isn’t it. As one person put it:

Is it really necessary to call somebody a paid troll for pointing out the obvious?

Of course jihadists are unlikely to be aware of Mr. Battistelli’s existence, never mind hatch any scheme against it. However, Mr. Battistelli himself, who has a notoriously inflated opinion of his own importance, probably doesn’t see things like that, and may even be convinced that offing him would be ISIL’s biggest success since the fall of Mosul.

Another comment said (BB is short for Battistelli):

Thanks for the observation. I hadn’t noticed the second “trolling” comment and have to say I’m not sure who the first one was directed at, let alone with regard to what! I stuck to one factual statement, relevant to the issue of why security is thought by BB (for whatever reason) to be needed, and an expression of my own opinion that my colleagues are not a threat. Not clear how that can be trolling.
Perhaps it might be worth considering that an opinion which you don’t share is not trolling without further qualification – ironically, the criers appear to imply that their colleagues are such that BB may need protection. Now that would be trolling if I put that idea out there without any justification.
To return to my comment – BB thinks he could be a target of terrorists (I have no way of knowing, I hope he is over-egging it out of caution) and I don’t think my colleagues, however upset or even distressed, would resort to violence.
And if that is still provocative…

Battistelli is trying to maintain the illusion that EPO representatives are violent and dangerous. Keeping bodyguards around perpetuates this illusion and the aforementioned sarcastic comment (about kidnapping “a senior member of your EPO management”) is actually rather funny. Battistelli sees conspiracies where there are none (“To the man who is afraid everything rustles,” said this comment) and the only broad conspiracy nowadays is one that’s perpetrated by Battistelli and his super-rich buddies, who are eager to make the UPC a reality at all costs (even breaking European or international laws in the process). Recall the above remark from Dr. Moody about the role of the UPC in a lot of the present mess.

“Logic does not seem to enter into these recent “security” precautions,” one person pointed out, “an example being the need for representatives to demonstrate to security staff that the contents of their brief cases contain nothing more threatening than a ring-binder. I wonder what they would do if in a hearing concerning, say, a patent for an arrow tip, the rep. was to bring examples to the hearing.”

We wrote about it earlier this year. It is amazing, isn’t it? Here is another comment on the subject:

I read that: “the bodyguards are precisely for within the EPO”.

Also I read that the EPO’s highest paid employee, its President, wants DG3 bundled out of the building in which he has his office.

I conclude that Mr Battistelli in his Isar Building fastness finds inconvenient or embarrassing even the mere presence of any EPO employee, one who is not a member of the coterie he has gathered around himself. Incidentally, is it true, that he has his own private lift, to shuttle him in isolation between the garage and the penthouse suite?

The function of the bodyguards within the EPO is presumably then to keep all other humans a safe distance away from their man, to ensure that the President when in the office never has to even suffer eye contact with any other employee of the EPO.

“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid,” one person said. “You explore every roadmap and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”

Here is another comment on this subject:

according to my info the bodyguards are precisely for within the EPO (contrary to the troll assertion above).

In the outside world no one knows Battistelli, Bergot al. And as to the real risks: the EPO is only the targetted by Greenpeace coming once in a while with a banner on the facade or the like.

Do not forget that Battistelli sees “enemies from within” (the insulting title of an interview he gave to the epo friendly Les Echos (FR in the past).

I also heard that first the epo wanted the sheriffs with weapons before to finally accept them without. A top management who needs to be protected from its workforce says a lot about the level of tensions reached.

At the EPO, as a result of this militarisation, a lot of money now gets wasted. “This money was entirely paid by the applicants and nobody knows where it will disappear,” said this one comment. To quote it in full:

Non-unity objections in search have become more popular in the EPO lately, because the internal rules have changed. Examiner have less time to deal with a search (they have larger numbers of searches and examination assigned than the previous years), and non-unity is seen by their directors as a quick way to send the file back to the applicants to be put into order. Or, if the applicants pay extra fees, the directorate figures are increased by the number of extra search fees.

It is one of the many measures of the Battistelli team designed to both lower the level of service and increase the fees.

I wonder why the industry does not complain about the evolution of the European Patent system. Battistelli is saving millions of euros, but the fees do not decrease. The official figures from the budget is that we have 340 millions left last year after we spend 200 millions on the new building and about as much on modernizing our computer system (all the money went to French firms like “Infotel conseil”, btw…). This money was entirely paid by the applicants and nobody knows where it will disappear.

The European Patent Office is simply not what it used to be. Examiners are not paid enough for it to be competitive on the Munich work market (Munich is not France where everybody seems to be desperate for a job), so the EPO cannot fill half the posts they want. Work pressure, especially under directors who want to profile themselves, is so high that people are cutting huge corners. The boards of appeal do not work for lack of staff. Staff representatives are dismissed and prohibited entry on the premises and more dismissals are under way. It has never been that bad since the EPO was founded.

“The European Patent Office is simply not what it used to be,” the above says, stating the obvious. Another person concurs:

I agree with that last posting, from “Concerned Examiner”. The Rules have been there since 1978, to discipline recalcitrant applicants. For example, the one that decrees that the consent of the Exam Division is needed, before you can get a second round of amendment admitted. Given the sequential performance at the EPO of search and then substantive examination, of course it was never going to be your right to switch during substantive examination to unsearched subject matter.

The trouble starts though, when management belatedly starts to dragoon examiners into enforcing the Rules rigorously and inflexibly, with no appreciation of user needs.

Of course, there needs to be a balance between i) allowing Applicants to file at the EPO materials drafted in US-style, and ii) expecting Applicants to re-draft, before the end of the Paris Convention year, into EPO style. I recall that G Decision which recognised the need for Applicants, post-filing, to be able to re-draft methods of medical treatment claims into EPC-compliant claims. To deny them that freedom, thought the EBA, would be unfair to such Applicants from outside Europe. Conversely though, you shouldn’t be letting such Applicants get away with amendments refused to those Applicants based in Europe.

Time was, when Examiners searched not only what was claimed but also what Applicant would likely fall back on, when all the originally filed claims turn out to be old or obvious. Personally, I haven’t yet noticed any general refusal amongst Examiners to examine amended claims that draw from the description but do still claim, albeit more narrowly, the inventive concept that the Applicant was presenting from the outset. Yes, there are rogue Examiners, but there always were. If you want to claim a different concept, file a divisional. That was always what you had to do.

Readers, I think you might find that there is only one jurisdiction which finds the EPC so difficult to understand. Everywhere else in the world, it is nothing special. When working for clients in that one jurisdiction, boy, it sure does help, to have amassed considerable experience so you can understand how they tick. For then you really can help them, by mediating effectively between what they can get under the EPC, and what they mistakenly suppose they are entitled to.

EPO Examiners, I am still your friend. I think you (or nearly all of you) continue to do a thorough, conscientious and competent job, giving Applicants all the help it is within your power to provide, while exercising the Rules in the same way for all Applicants, big or small.

“Basically,” noted this comment, “the EPO is turning fast into a registration system.” To quote with context:

unfortunately, I am afraid that you have no felt what is still in the pipe-line. Or maybe, you are active in a technical domain in which the director does not give in to pressure from higher up. But I can assure you that you will not be our friend when the changes have trickled down.

Battistelli wants to improve “efficiency”. Translation: 20% more grants per year. Last year, the examiners had to send out the easy cases out. This year, most have only the rubbish files left. But they still have to find something to grant or they’ll get bad markings. And the reform which has just been announced is that bad markings can get you dismissed for professional incompetence, the dismissal procedure has been streamlined.

Some examiners are resisting the push to grant the rubbish files, especially the older ones. Last year, the EPO silently got rid of the most reluctant examiners by pushing them into pension. This year will be different.

Basically, the EPO is turning fast into a registration system. That should not be a surprise, coming from a French president, should it? Except that it will be a registration system at the price of an examination system.

This is what we have been saying for quite some time. Quality is declining due to policy, so the EPO becomes not much better than the USPTO, which is also getting worse (in the quality sense) over time.

One commenter ponders and wonders if Battistelli “and the other politicians [are] nurtured by the lobbying activities of Big Corp?”

This is exactly what’s happening. See the memo “Closer Contact with Major Applicants”. The commenter agrees with the above, too:

It fits with what I gather from all sides.

Power users of the EPO want a pile of patents that is higher than the pile their competitors have amassed. Never mind the quality; instead, feel the weight! BB is only too ready to oblige them. BigCorp negotiates with BigCorp to stay out of the courts of law. Neither side knows what patent strength they really possess. The only thing the negotiators have to go on is how high is their own pile of patents and how high is the pile on the other side of the table.

Whether that is good for promoting technological progress is another thing entirely. Not sure that France can hold itself out to be the world’s best jurisdiction for technological innovation. But technological progress is the only thing that can create well-paid jobs, raise living standards and lift prosperity for the masses.

Now, do BB and the other politicians care about those living standards? Or is it just their own living standards, nurtured by the lobbying activities of Big Corp? If you want to see political hypocrisy and willful blindness in action, just look at the Conference on “Corruption” running at the moment in London. English politicians never come to the idea that the City of London is the sump of corruption in Europe, even after they read the most recent issue of The Economist, because they only see what they want to see.

Deep inside the EPO it’s still pretty ugly and nothing has improved, based on our sources and anonymous voices from within. Battistelli et al try to silence everyone by attacking figureheads and increasingly, over time, staff is controlled through fear rather than loyalty. To quote one last comment from another thread:

Do not worry. No DG3 members will dare to disobey.
From December 2015 onwards they can be suspended on half pay for a minimum of two years with the possibility of infinite extension.

http://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/194/en/CA-D_18-15_en.pdf

All that is needed is for the President to make such a proposal to the AC.
Bye bye independence.

It should say December 2014 actually.

As the EPO crisis deepens we wonder if a month from now the Administrative Council will do the right thing and dismiss Battistelli from his duties, preferably along with his UPC ‘reforms’ that brought chaos (a coup atmosphere) to what was once a reputable Office.

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