07.01.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Battistelli’s Destructive Actions Will Drive EPO Applicants Away to National Patent Offices, Putting at Risk the Whole EU-Wide (and Beyond) Project

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So much for ‘unitary’ and ‘best’ patent office (based on EPO-connected punditry)

EPO features

Summary: Battistelli’s regressive policies and extremely bad behaviour increasingly motivate people to avoid the EPO, which serves to reinforce the observation that Battistelli has become an existential risk to the EPO with his huge spendings on self-glorification, militarisation, and dubious secret contracts

THE LEGACY of Battistelli — irrespective of when he leaves the Office — will be one for the books. Battistelli won’t be remembered as anything but a tyrant who was so widely loathed by his own employees that his approval rate stood at a flat 0%, triggering warnings of a crisis inside the Organisation. Some top managers have left (or decided to leave) since.

Earlier tonight The Register composed a piece about the latest attack on the appeal boards, which the Office proudly lies about (the Office is accustomed to lying to staff, journalists and so on). Here is a portion of the article:

A determined effort to oust European Patent Office (EPO) president Benoit Battistelli amounted to nothing this week, as representatives from European countries instead spent two days rehashing a reform proposal.

The meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council in Munich had threatened to become a showdown over Battistelli’s increasingly autocratic behavior – a situation the EPO’s staff encouraged by attempting to serve legal papers on the president and sending messages to council members asking them to fire him.

The council decided to effectively ignore ongoing disputes between staff and management however, punting the relevant agenda items to their next meeting in October.

Instead, the meeting focused on reform of the organization’s Boards of Appeal (BOA), which had themselves proved controversial due to Battistelli’s efforts to afford himself additional powers over what is supposed to be an independent body and process.

The council threw out the powergrab, approving a reform system that saw a new Boards of Appeal Committee set up as a subsidiary of the Administrative Council, and a newly created President of the BOA that will absorb some of the powers currently held by the EPO President.

At the moment, the sole comment there says “So very European,” which shows to what degree Battistelli has disgraced Europe, not just the EPO. He creates resentment towards EU institutions and distrust of/against French people, which as we noted earlier this year is a good reason for French politicians to stop him.

“Battistelli won’t be remembered as anything but a tyrant who was so widely loathed by his own employees that his approval rate stood at a flat 0%, triggering warnings of a crisis inside the Organisation.”George Brock-Nannestad, an occasional commentator who writes about the EPO, left a strongly-worded comment today. He said “it is no longer responsible to recommend obtaining a patent via the EPO,” directly as a result of Battistelli’s actions that can kill the Office in the long run. Don’t take the EPO for granted; when millions of Euros are spent essentially buying the media and tens of millions of Euros get thrown at private companies without even a tender we probably need forensic accountants to pay a visit, if Eponia permits it (even a bailiff is hardly allowed near the postbox and Croatian authorities struggle to successfully summon Željko Topić, who refuses to attend hearings about his alleged corruption). Here is Brock-Nannestad’s full comment:

The development, or rather winding down of the quality at the EPO is very saddening and yet another blow to the stability that permitted a certain amount of complacency of the professionals.

Apparently, nobody among those who are responsible for carrying out the letter and intentions of the EPC have any historical perspective. Like politicians they are only concerned with getting re-elected and of financing their seat [almost like in the US, where fundraising seems to be the main activity of those elected to Congress, at least by some reports].

However, changes that may be carried out in one year to what was a complete application processing system will have repercussions for 15+ years, and those users that need to consider where to put their “insurance” money cannot risk obtaining superficially shiny patents that hide structural weaknesses, and on the other hand they cannot tolerate similar quality patents from their present or future competitors.

For consultants to smaller enterprises at least, the lesson is clear: it is no longer responsible to recommend obtaining a patent via the EPO, and the sooner alternative solutions are found on an individual basis, the better, because then the reforms at the EPO will not be felt.

The remaning problem will be an overabundance of unworthy patents from the competition, compounded by the ease with which the wise fathers expect the Unified Patent to be obtainable, that is, what defences can smaller enterprises muster against patents that go from irritants to (almost) trollls? We are not foreseeing a move to remove the European Opposition as a legitimate means of defence (but who am I to predict anything?), and that is what is needed.

9 months (and much more, if you have an early awareness) is definitely sufficient to structure supplementary searches and to study the paltry arguments for patentability that we see more and more. There is indeed a matter of cost, but smaller enterprises have ganged together in the past in order to protect their mutual interests, and paying a patent opposition membership fee corresponding in some agreed way with their turnover. And remember, due to the asymmetry of the EPC, the losing proprietor cannot go to the courts to try to reverse the decision and thereby gain further extortion time. Even if the EPO were to reject all oppositions, the opponents still have the courts available.

I think we need to think this way, and the AC members will not really be opposed: their patent offices will once more have responsibilities, and if they cannot lift them now, due to complacency and heavy reliance on EPO examination service contracts, they will b….y well have to re-charge their batteries. The EPO project will be a parenthesis in history, a brain trust of huge dimensions will disintegrate, and there will be human sacrifices. Let us celebrate the 30 years during which we were proud, but we must move on.

My candidate for a single country in Europe in which it would be worthwhile to apply in all cases, is Germany. Dependent on your purse and competitive situation you would choose other countries as well. We are back to before 1978! Luckily there are still some practitioners out there with experience that goes that far back.

An ex/former UK-IPO examiner argues that AC delegates “not wishing to show ignorance will tend to follow the herd” and thus they’re accepting Battistelli’s proposals, never mind money and free dental care. To quote:

I fear that we have seen BB using the BBB principle to good effect (BBB = “Bullshit Baffles Brains”, and old UK Armed Forces saying). I know nothing about the AC delegates, but it seems to be a law of nature (as expounded many decades ago in the classic textbook “Parkinson’s Law”), that the sort of person who ends up in a committee like the AC, has seldom had “hands on” experience in the day-to-day operation of the organisation that they represent (often having come in from another field at high level), and, not wishing to show ignorance, will tend to follow the herd, especially if arguments are presented forcefully enough.

The EPO, argues this one person, is “expensive and unpredictable. It may be OK for the big boys, but it’s no longer a sensible option for SMEs.” The same is true for UPC, which Battistelli strives and works hard to make a reality:

National patents are suddenly much more attractive. Especially as many of the main patenting states have relaxed their requirements for local representation. The national route is now highly cost effective, and much less risky than putting all your eggs into the EPO basket. The EPO’s new appeals regime makes the whole EPO route much too expensive and unpredictable. It may be OK for the big boys, but it’s no longer a sensible option for SMEs.

Here is an explanation of why AC delegates are not speaking about Battistelli’s abuses and his many sackable offenses; instead he attacks those whom he abused even further (collective punishment a possibility for their defense of a colleague) and delegates just mindlessly play along:

Upon further reflection, it is possible that some interesting (deliberate) tactics may have been employed by BB at the latest AC meeting.

The reason for reflecting is this: why was the discussion of the reform of the BoAs so pressing (i.e. no. 1 item on the AC’s agenda), so complex (i.e. involving multiple proposals that, for no good reason, were tied together by the Office) and so controversial (i.e. so blatantly against common sense as to guarantee vigorous debate at the AC meeting)?

It could perhaps be that BB believes that the best form of defence is attack. If he can control the agenda and tie the AC in knots with a debate on the first item, then he neatly side-steps an issue that could have truly seen him in the firing line. He also gains months (instead of only days) to prepare his defence to any criticisms stemming from the recent EBoA (Article 23 EPC) debacle.

It may well be a lot more complicated than that. However, if it really was that simple, then the delegates to the AC need to wake up to the fact that BB may well be playing them for fools.

It should definitely be noted, just in case intention is misunderstood, that I’m a big proponent of the EU and also a defender of the EPO as an EU-wide project (and beyond the EU). However, what goes on right now inside the EPO means that Europe will lose on competitiveness and damage its reputation. The sooner Battistelli is tossed out along with his cronies, the better. We’re now approaching the point where doing so might be too late (boards of appeal are already being scuttled, making the situation irreversible and decisions virtually irrevocable).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] EU Assurances

    The EPO‘s staff cannot be blamed for losing patience as elected public representatives completely fail to do their job (with few exceptions)



  3. Clare Daly (GUE/NGL) Does What Every Public Official in Europe Should Have Done About EPO Shenanigans

    There’s another (new) push to hold the EPO accountable, seeing that the overseers clearly do not do their job and instead cover up the abuses



  4. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day



  5. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day



  6. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  8. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  9. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  10. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  11. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  12. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  13. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  14. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  15. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  16. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  17. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  18. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  19. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  21. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  22. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  23. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  24. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  25. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  26. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  27. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  29. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  30. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.


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