Patent Lawyers Move Closer to Battistelli’s Rubber-stamping Office While the Appeal Boards Pushed Away as Collective Punishment Which Masks Decline in Patent Quality
‘Pesky’ quality control cannot coexist with Battistelli and middlemen who are paid to trick examiners
Summary: Urgently sending appeal boards away and urgently granting applicants patents without proper examination will be Battistelli’s sorrow legacy at the European Patent Office
TODAY’S EPO is not the EPO which existed decades ago or even a decade ago (before Battistelli). It is so ruthless an employer that critical thinking is simply disallowed or better kept to oneself (because thoughtcrime is impossible to prove/enforce/incriminate).
One judge who allegedly spoke out (anonymously) was not only ousted but also defamed thereafter (in an effort to rationalise the illegal ousting). Now there is collective punishment for those who defended him or simply insisted on a fair trial, justice, and proper (legally-acquired) evidence, not defamatory-yet-unchallengeable claims. “It is not about taking decisions that make sense,” one person wrote the other day about Battistelli’s methods. “It is about punishing…”
One can soon see the similarities to Turkey.
“I know that the president and his cronies will be furiously spinning the “reforms” as being fully justified.”
–AnonymousEarlier today the EPO wrote about a page titled “Boards of appeal and key decisions 2016″. How much more of the boards of appeal would Battistelli allow to exist/vanish? He already punishes them like never before. The boards of appeal are the one thing Battistelli is killing faster than anything else (even SUEPO); it helps him lower patent quality without this decline being measurably noticed in the short term (while his term as President continues). Low occupational capacity means that year-to-year figures would not be comparable, never mind the imminent rise in costs (self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to demand for appeals).
One person wrote to us earlier this week (in relation to the ‘exile’ of the appeal boards) that: “To add insult to injury, the office space available to the Board members and chairmen will be reduced by 36% when moving to Haar (even although office space in Haar is substantially cheaper than in Munich). To put it into perspective: a Board chairman will get less space than an examiner, even although he or she has the same grade as a principal director!”
Another deliberate attack by Battistelli against appeal judges? Incentive to leave/resign/retire? Against those who threaten to show that quality control under his administration has been severely compromised? Battistelli’s “focus upon punishing the Boards of Appeal has led him to a situation that makes no sense,” one person wrote the other day. Here is the full comment:
I know that it is about punishing. That much is blindingly obvious from the plain facts.
The point that I was making is that BB’s [Battistelli] focus upon punishing the Boards of Appeal has led him to a situation that makes no sense from any other perspective.
For example, the Boards have:
been “reformed” in a manner that (according to the perception of many users and AMBA) actually reduces their independence;
been moved, against the express wishes of the users (who argued that physical location had little to do with (the perception of) independence of the Boards); and
had the fees for their services substantially increased, which was directly against the interests of the users and has no objective justification whatsoever (as, for example: there is certainly no shortfall in the EPO’s funding under the current fee structure; and being “subsidised” by renewal fees certainly has no bearing upon independence if the there is no “outside” interference in the setting of the budget of the Boards).
Thus, by any objective measure, BB has failed to achieve his stated objective and has acted against the express wishes of the users. I know that the president and his cronies will be furiously spinning the “reforms” as being fully justified. However, I now wonder whether sanity can be restored by the emergence of a sufficient groundswell of opinion that, contrary to the EPO management’s line, is based upon a credible interpretation of the facts.
“The move may not influence where Oral Proceedings before the BoA will take place,” one person wrote in response. “Does anyone know if just the offices of the BoA members will been moved, or whether also future invitations to Oral Proceedings will be for the “new” building?”
One response to that said: The intention is for oral proceedings also to take place in the Haar building. It is however apparent that only a limited number of o.p. rooms are foreseen, and that it will be necessary to use the same trick which airlines already use, i.e. “overbooking”. If on a particular day all oral proceedings for which summons were issued actually take place and not enough rooms are available, the participants for one or more of those proceedings would be sent home.”
“Battistelli policy is not simple retribution,” said another person. “The aim is to get rid of the board of appeal” (because of the UPC, in our humble assessment). Here is the full comment:
Battistelli policy is not simple retribution. The aim is to get rid of the board of appeal and it is a war of attrition. Let me list the facts:
-the boards have been understaffed for the past 3 years. Members who retired have simply not been replaced, we miss about 30% people.
-as the recent events discussed here show, boards members can be removed from their post at will. They just still get 50% pay till their 5 years contract runs out.
-the new fees make appeal extremely expensive and therefore unattractive.
From talks in the corridors of the Isar building, I would say that most board members recognise the writing on the wall. It is just that they have nowhere to go, they will be prevented to work for 2 years. A large amount of members will simply retire this or next year. What else is there to do? The planned removal to Haar will probably take place with a much smaller DG3.
Furthermore, as the event listed here shows, the Council agrees.
Whatever is happening in Munich right now, it’s not good. Battistelli and his ilk are opportunistically unifying officials around mass shootings today (classic political trick) and this new article shows patent law firms trying to reside in the EPO’s back yard — so to speak — for quicker access if not fast lanes (there are other strategic moves being reported today). “The move aims to strengthen the firm’s European presence and provide a “convenient” meeting place for its clients who appear before the European Patent Office (EPO), which is based in Munich,” says the article. They can even have lunch in some lobby together with examiners, or choose office space in the same building as the judges. And at the same time the boards of appeals are being repelled and pushing out of Munich? Sure, that makes a lot of sense! █