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06.22.16

IP Europe’s UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Fröhlich lobbying for the UPC as an EPO employee

Michael Fröhlich for EPO
Photo credit: Nordic Patent

Summary: The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric

THE EPO is a small world and there are many revolving doors in that world. Just watch what kind of people Battistelli gave top positions to. See their recent professional background. Apparently it’s OK for Battistelli to dismiss and prevent future employment of people whom he doesn’t like, but the same standards do not apply to him. He won’t reciprocate when it comes to ethics because he has none. Those who mention it are likely to become victims of his witch-hunting parades (intended to terrify the rest of the staff).

We recently did some research regarding Michael Fröhlich, who not too long ago joined the EPO and is already lobbying for the UPC with his EPO hat. On our path we found all sorts of interesting connections. “IP Europe” for example (these are newly-named parasites, vultures and enemies of Europe, as mentioned by Professor James Bessen, a high-profile trolls opposer, earlier this year) has been doing a lot of pro-UPC lobbying. There is also Francisco Mingorance, the author of the EU Commission’s proposed software patent directive. There is even Claudia Tapia, previously at BlackBerry, which increasingly leans towards patent trolling [1, 2, 3, 4]. Claudia’s colleague of then, Michael Fröhlich, works at the EPO right now. It appears to be a lobbying-oriented job (a growing activity at the EPO, which perhaps forgot its real task, which is patent examination). Earlier this year we mentioned in an article about the PR strategy of the EPO how an entity called “IP Europe” was about to be launched in Brussels (a location/site for which EPO hires lobbyists).

“It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.”We mentioned Michael Fröhlich earlier this month in relation to that UPC promotion he had done in Scandinavia and perhaps elsewhere. He lived in Munich even while working at RIM, so he didn’t even have to relocate for becoming another Battistelli minion. The UPC is definitely stoppable, but the 'UPC gang' (a conspiracy of patent lawyers basically) wants us to believe otherwise. So does the EPO, albeit it reluctantly admits there are major barriers as of late (Battistelli and his minions name Brexit as one of them). So what’s all this UPC lobbying for? It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.

Sadly, UPC lobbying comes from many directions right now, including from what Florian Müller said yesterday made the “false claim of supporting ‘innovatives SMEs.’” This is reminiscent of the Association for Competitive Technology (Microsoft front group, pretending to represent SMEs in Europe). As we have shown here before, UPC lobbyists are hijacking the voices of SMEs, which openly complain about this. Here is what Müller wrote about the latest name of the front group, “IP Europe” (calling it a “trolls’ lobbying entity” in his headline):

With respect to standard-essential patent licensing, my preferred European voice of reason(ableness) is the Fair Standards Alliance, an organization Google recently joined and which I’d like to see Apple and Samsung team up with at some point. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lobbying group named IP Europe. While I personally know and respect two of the individuals working for that one, I fundamentally disagree with its policy positions and object to its false claim of supporting “innovatives SMEs.” IP Europe advances the cause of patent trolls and of businesses that failed in the mobile phone business for a lack of innovation and increasingly resort to patent licensing as a revenue source.

Looking at IP Europe’s member list, it’s generally easy to see why each of those organizations expects to gain something from overpatenting and from an overcompensation of patentees, with a couple of exceptions, however.

[...]

To many of you this may seem obvious, but let me explain this for the rest: there is no such thing as a software patent that guarantees stability and security. The reason: no matter what a patent may describe (with or without specificity), it can always be implemented in an unstable and insecure fashion.

Airbus has a software quality problem. Last year Airbus even admitted that a software configuration error caused the crash of a military transporter, and I vaguely remember a crash of a commercial Airbus plane many years ago that some experts attributed to a software issue. In terms of success factors in the airplane business, that is what Airbus should be focusing on. It has nothing to do with patents. Any code that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is protected by copyright (and trade secrets). Any configuration that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is a matter of quality assurance.

If Airbus focused on software quality, it wouldn’t have to fear copycats. If someone copied great code, copyright (not patent) law would protect Airbus.

With ‘SMEs’ like Airbus it’s not hard to imagine who “IP Europe” really stands for (or fronts for).

Expect us to write a lot more about the UPC in the coming months. It has a lot to do with everything that’s wrong in the EPO nowadays.

“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…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

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