Under Battistelli, the European Patent Office (EPO) simply neglects examination and turns examiners into machine operators
Summary: Benoît Battistelli is breaking to pieces the world’s leading patent system, which took decades to build and refine, in order to increase what he foolishly labels ‘production’ (a race to the bottom)
THE EPO, based on insider knowledge, is not just repeating the mistakes of the USPTO but becoming even worse than the USPTO. Patent quality, say workers, is declining to the point where things will become irreversibly grim. “Apparently,” one person wrote yesterday, “the EPO is quickly turning into a registration system,” which means that Battistelli has killed the EPO as an examination office. Do people high up in Europe even care? Do they realise how much damage this would cause? The PR drones are keeping Battistelli in house and calling, now on a daily basis (sometimes several times per day), for European Inventor Award 2017 nominations. It is a wasteful lobbying event which promises to do nothing but empty the EPO’s coffers for publicity points (scored by Battistelli himself, at the expense of the EPO). They are also propping up a dead forum and advertising an event organised in “close co-operation with” a think tank/lobbying group (warning: mouse-clicks can be spied on by EPO) that is in favour of software patents and is connected to the world’s largest trolls (like Intellectual Ventures). It’s the same IPO (not to be confused with UK-IPO) which was against patents in ACTA and is against Alice. “This high-level event is organised in close co-operation with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO),” the EPO says. What does that tell us about the EPO’s neighbourhood now? Patent trolls, proponents of software patents, and US businesses that favour software patents? The EPO does not care about patent quality and scope anymore. All it cares about is so-called ‘production’, even if that means fudging the figures and throwing away quality control (including the appeal boards, which are being thrown overboard).
Sooner of later all this ‘cheapening’ of patents will result in garbage quality and people may start asking questions like, “was your EP a pre-Battistelli or post-Battistelli one?” (in other words, is it of high quality of just rubberstamped for quick and temporary gains?). As one person put it yesterday:
The private suepo web site can only be accessed from within the office, so I had no access during my holiday. Back to work, I checked the post from Berlin and can indeed confirm what “BoardMember” has cited.
Apparently, the EPO is quickly turning into a registration system…
Well, Battistelli has killed the old EPO and created a new kind of monster. Would people be willing to pay the high fees anymore? If so, for how much longer? Here are some more details from SUEPO Berlin, which resemble the vision of people replaced by primitive machines for vastly inferior prior art search and for corporate profits through outsourcing:
Back to work, I checked what people think about the future of the united patent. Apparently, management is still confident that they can push the UK to join before the end of the year.
How do they think they can achieve that, I do not know. But we have had so many surprises in the past year, that I would not take a bet either way.
Something else: there is a rumor that the EPO will change their examination ways. It is true. It is on the Berlin suepo website and there is a powerpoint around, which will be presented to the examiners. Basically, the examiners are supposed to run an automatic search, not object clarity, send one single communication to the applicant if there are doubts about novelty or inventive step, simply accept the response and grant. All this within a year. The other members are instructed not to check any more and they will get warnings if the granted file lingers too long. Management wants the complete backlog gone in 4 years.
There will also be an assessment center for recruiting new examiners (not sure about that, decision is not out yet). Apparently, some directors are refusing to recruit many candidates for lack of competence and recruitment cannot meet their targets. Therefore the responsibility of recruiting will be taken from the directors and put into the hands of the new assessment center.
It is a completely different Patent Office that is being created under our eyes. What I don’t understand is where the money will go: at present, the EPO is producing a plus of several hundred millions Euros a year (and that with the costs of a new building in the Hague). If we are suddenly producing many more patents a year, the surplus will shoot to the roof. That, and we are paying the new examiners a lot less and nudging the more expensive older ones to early retirement and retirement benefits will be cut massively. In 4 years, when we have no stock left, how much will the surplus be? A billion a year or more? Maybe that is how Battistelli plans to convince the UK to stay?
It sure looks as though patent examiners now share the same concerns we have (for a number of years now). Patent lawyers get their way by lowering the bar and as noted yesterday, a post by a Bristows employee (i.e. part of Team UPC which lobbies the British government along with Battistelli) said that “The Intellectual Property Office [the other IPO] responds to Brexit, highlighting that EU-derived protection is still in place while the UK remains a Member of the EU, and that the UK is looking into various post-Brexit options.”
This is about attempts to ratify the UPC in spite of Brexit and in spite of UPC being squarely against the interests of British citizens, not just British engineers.
There is a lot of nefarious stuff going on these days and the EU is piggybacked to advance the interests of few shadowy groups, essentially by legislative laundering. SUEPO, as of yesterday, expresses concern about revolving doors and systemic corruption in the EU. “The USF issued a Communiqué on 20 July 2016 in which they reproduce an open letter (EN, FR) sent to Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission about the Barroso case,” SUEPO wrote. Here is the original in full:
An open letter to: Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
Re: The Barroso case
Mr Juncker, is the « last chance » you gave to this Commission being used up?
The recruitment of Mr Barroso by the sadly notorious Goldman Sachs investment bank sent a shock wave through European public opinion.
As several Press media have pointed out, this shameful move is further widening the gap between two worlds, of the elites on the one hand and the citizens on the other and is likely to strengthen and consolidate the persistent –and most recently highlighted by Brexit– blame thrown on the EU institutions: that of acting in collusion with global finance to the detriment of the European citizens’ interests.
According to Article 245 of the TFEU, the Members of the Commission give a solemn undertaking that, “both during and after their term of office, they will respect (…) the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits”. The case of Mr Barroso is so blatant that no internal document, such as a ‘Code of Conduct’, besides introduced by Mr Barroso himself, can be relied upon to defeat a clear and unconditional Treaty provision.
Union Syndicale Fédérale1 requests President Juncker that his Commission –“the last-chance Commission”, to put it in his own words– proceed without delay to the preliminary acts in view to applying to the Court of Justice.
It will then be for the European Court to judge whether Mr Barroso, by accepting a position of responsibility with Goldman Sachs, has broken or not his “duty of discretion” required by the Treaty and to determine possible consequences (including loss of the right to a pension).
Bernd LOESCHER, president USF
Over the years we wrote quite a few articles about Goldman Sachs. If entities like these get access to EU corridors through the likes of Barroso, why wouldn’t US businesses be able to gain access to institutions like the EPO, where discriminatory practices are already rampant under Battistelli (after Microsoft pressured the EPO)?
The EPO is under attack. It’s under attack from Battistelli and his masters, who are evidently not European taxpayers or European SMEs. █