What would that mean for existing EP (European patent) holders who pay renewal fees (the financial lifeline of the Office)? What would that mean for domain gurus who work as examiners?
Summary: The EPO appears to be going in the opposite direction of the USPTO (post-Alice/Mayo) and becoming more like the French patent system, which is notoriously deficient in terms of quality because there is no quality assessment (or prior art search) at all
THE EPO, as we shall show later this month, has turned into somewhat of a nut house under Battistelli’s notorious leadership. It’s not because examiners have mental issues (they are very stressed, understandably so, and it's growingly worse as time goes by) but because the Battistellites think like neoliberals whose goal is to just maximise everything monetary by deregulating everything. They are burning down almost half a century of reputation, essentially squeezing the goose as if there’s no tomorrow.
We have already mentioned the French model here. We did so several times in the past. The French patent model is widely regarded as poor, but the following new paper lays out an explanation of what happens at the EPO under the mostly French leadership from INPI (the French patent office which Battistelli pulled former colleagues from):
The French Model for the EPO
When the EPO was created in 1977, its founding fathers decided on a patent system that would provide for a high degree legal certainty for the inventor (investor), the competitors and the public, through high quality searches and examinations, the whole backed up by an opposition procedure and a second instance in the form of the Boards of Appeal. That decision has largely remained unquestioned by subsequent Presidents until Mr Battistelli took over. Indications are that Mr Battistelli is currently trying to remodel the EPO according to the example of the French patent system – without informing anybody. This should worry not only staff, but also the users of the patent system and the public.
The French patent system then
Until 1968, in France patent applications were not examined but merely registered. All what the French patent office did was stamp a date (and time of day) on whatever documents the
applicants brought to them. Patent granted before that time bear the mention “S.G.D.G.” meaning “Sans Garantie du Gouvernement” (i.e. without a warranty of validity by the government). Granted patents were only looked at when the patent proprietors sought to establish their claims. At that point the patents had left the patent office and national courts were responsible.
There are advantages to a registration system, first and foremost that it is cheaper for the patent office because it saves work. The obvious disadvantage is a lack of legal certainty until the patent is actually examined – by the courts. The French system nevertheless worked reasonably well. Without the presumption of validity, the risk of having a patent revoked was relatively high. French applicants reacted by drafting their applications in the safest way possible, thereby producing mostly clear claims of relatively narrow scope.
The French patent system now
Things changed when law n° 68-1 of January 1986 came into force. Article 6 of law 68-1 introduced the concepts of novelty and inventive step. This is mirrored Article L611-10 presently in force, the first paragraph of which reads:
“Sont brevetables, dans tous les domaines technologiques, les inventions nouvelles impliquant une activité inventive et susceptibles d’application industrielle.”
Also the other articles resemble those of the European Patent Convention, so that at a first reading the French patent system now looks very similar to that of the EPO.
There is, however, a major difference: Article L612-12, point 5, makes it clear that an application will be rejected only when the application obviously is non-patentable.
We cite the Guidelines of the French Intellectual Property Office (INPI)1,2:
“La non-conformité manifeste aux conditions de brevetabilité peut donner lieu au rejet de la demande de brevet dans les cas suivants :
Est rejetée, en tout ou partie, toute demande de brevet…
4° qui a pour objet une invention manifestement non brevetable en application de l’article L. 611-16 à L. 611-19
5° dont l’objet ne peut manifestement être considéré comme une invention au sens de l’article L. 611-10, deuxième paragraphe ;
7° qui n’a pas été modifiée après mise en demeure, alors que l’absence de nouveauté résultait manifestement du rapport de recherche.
Dans tous les autres cas, la non-conformité aux conditions de brevetabilité ne fait pas obstacle à la délivrance du brevet. Elle peut toutefois être sanctionnée par la nullité du brevet prononcée par les Tribunaux.”
Lack of novelty and inventive step is excluded as grounds for rejection, as it is defined by Article L611-10 first paragraph (see previous page) and point 5 above only cites the second paragraph of L611-10 (exclusions of patentability), that is word for word equivalent of Article 52(2) EPC and lists non-patentable matter such as discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods etc.
What happens in practice is that the INPI3:
- sends the incoming applications to the EPO for searching4,
- sends the search report produced by the EPO together with the search opinion5 to the applicant, to which the applicant must respond within 6 months (3+3 months) when X or Y documents are cited, otherwise the demand is administratively rejected for lack of answer,
- the applicants amend the claims or files arguments supporting of the claims,
- in case of remaining obvious defects not concerning novelty or inventive step (Art. 611-10, para.2) a communication is sent. Otherwise a patent is granted.
The French patent system does not foresee a post-grant opposition procedure by patent examiners (i.e. technical experts) or an appeal procedure at a second instance within the patent office. Appeals against rejection by the examiner, opposition by competitors and other forms of patent disputes are all treated by a civil court: the “tribunal de grande instance” in Paris 6 . The members of this court are all lawyers. There are no technical members.
The lack of substantive examination and the outsourcing of searches to the EPO explains why the INPI has relatively few examiners, why it seeks to recruit only relatively non-specialised engineers as examiners (“ingénieur généraliste”), and why examiner salaries are relatively low.
The EPO towards the French model
[x] has on previous occasions pointed out that the reasons given by Mr Batistelli to justify his reforms (e.g. “remaining competitive”) do not make sense and asked him what the real plan is7. We never received an answer. Any analysis of what is happening at the EPO is furthermore hindered by the fact that Mr Battistelli tends to use a form of Orwellian “newspeak8” where what he says can be exactly the opposite of what he means.
By now the outlines are nevertheless becoming clear: Mr Battistelli may be trying to reshape the European patent system after the French model9. This is most easily seen by the changes in the examination practice: Mr Battistelli’s continued insistence on “early certainty”, on efficiency (“getting there fast 10 ”) and the ever-increasing individual targets for examiners necessarily led to a strong reduction in the time available per file. The most recent “early certainty” initiative foresees that the majority of applications will see only a single response of the applicants and then a final action, presumably a grant. Under the guise of “areas of competence” senior experts have actually been moved out of their technical fields to other domains. The planned reduction of the backlog foresees further technical “flexibility” of examiners.
The EPO now also seeks to recruit “generalists” instead of highly qualified experts. In doing so it has lowered the initial salaries for examiners, in particular for those with previous experience, making the job unattractive for highly qualified experts. The expected result of the above changes will be a more superficial examination, focusing mainly on formalities – like in France.
Mr Battistelli has been hostile towards the Boards of Appeal from the very beginning of his presidency. Last year Mr Battistelli stopped recruiting Boards Members, up to the point that some 27 of the about 170 posts were unoccupied. This obviously led to massive delays in appeals. The next step is a removal to under-dimensioned offices at the outskirts of Munich. The likely impact will be another brain drain. It very much looks like Mr Battistelli considers the Boards of Appeal “unnecessary”, while absent in the French system. In his “French model” their role could be taken over by the Unitary Patent Court.
[x] supported and still supports and examination model of the EPO that aims at delivering patents with a high presumption of validity (the “German model”), because:
- it provides legal certainty for the applicant who will know at an early stage whether the invention is likely to survive challenges by the competition and hence whether it is worth investing in its development,
- it brings legal certainly for the competitors who will know at an early stage whether to count with a monopoly or not and hence whether to negotiate a license or work around the invention,
- it reduces the risk of unfair competition not only by patent trolls, but also by big companies “squashing” smaller competitors with large patent portfolios and the threat of costly litigation.
Apparently the “French model” works in France. This may be in part because foreign applicants will mostly avoid the French route because of the language difficulties, and the thorough
examination by the EPO thus far protected France from abusive applications coming in via the EPO route. But with the quality of the search and examination at the EPO going down this may no longer be the case. The “French model” thus risks the introduction of a patent system, in France11 and elsewhere in Europe, wherein predictability is not based through a high presumption of validity but on financial muscle: the patent proprietor who can best afford litigation will win12.[x] does not believe that such a model would really support innovation in Europe.
Should, however, the original EPO model no longer be considered to serve the best interest of the European economy, then a change of direction should be the result of a democratic process following a public debate and not the decision of a President with a cultural bias and possibly an axe to grind.
1 https://www.inpi.fr/sites/default/files/directives_brevet_completes_0.pdf, bold-face added
2 Translation: Evident non-conformity to the conditions of patentability may give rise to a rejection of the patent application in the following cases: Applications
4. of which the substance evidently cannot be considered as an invention according to Article L. 611-16 to L. 611-19,
5. of which the substance evidently cannot be considered as an invention according to Article L. 611-10, second paragraph;
7. that have not been modified although the lack of novelty was evident of the search report.
In all other cases non-conformity with the conditions for patentability is not an obstacle to the grant of a patent. The lack of conformity may, however, lead to the invalidity of the patent being found by the courts.
4 Before the EPO existed French patent applications were searched by the IIB, the predecessor of the EPO.
5 Before the EPO issued searches opinions French applicants were requested to react to documents marked X and Y in the search report.
6 Code de la propriété intellectuelle, article D631-2.
7 “A brave new EPO?”
9 There is still considerable diversity in European national practices. E.g. the grant procedure for national patent applications in Switzerland and Liechtenstein does not require a search and does not involve any substantial examination at all. The patent is granted provided that certain formal requirements are fulfilled. It is possible to obtain a search report during the procedure, but this is optional and has no effect on the decision to grant. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_patent_(Switzerland_and_Liechtenstein)#Grant_procedures
10 see “Getting there faster – Timely and efficient examination”.
11 We note that the lack of substantive examination in the French system has been criticised within France itself See the paper by Prof. Bertrand Warufsel for the University of Lille: http://www2.droit.parisdescartes.fr/warusfel/articles/warusfelexamenfondbrevetfr.pdf
12 Strikingly, the US seems to me moving in the opposite direction: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-490
That last footnote speaks of GOA — the relevance which it (to the EPO) we covered here not too long ago [1, 2]. If the above is an accurate assessment, there should be an uproar/revolt from existing EPO stakeholders, including patent holders. █
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Summary: New evidence suggests that software patents continue their plunge in the United States and those who make money from software patents cannot help shooting the messengers (in the media) and smearing those who simply do their job by applying the criteria agreed upon by the US Supreme Court
TECHRIGHTS has been watching very closely matters pertaining to software patents for about a decade (I’ve watched them much longer than that, predating this site’s existence). After so much activism we finally see tremendous progress; they’re dropping like flies and litigation involving software patents is so uncertain (for the plaintiff who takes a huge risk) that numbers indicate a sharp decline if not dampening. Only a fool would spend money pursuing new software patents; reckless patent holders would dare have them subjected to scrutiny by a court (the higher the court, the higher the risk, thus suing deep-pocketed players is riskiest).
“The number of some types of software patent lawsuits in the US has taken a nosedive since the 2014 decision in Alice v CLS Bank.”
–WIPRthe numbers are on our side. As WIPR put it the other day (note the use of the word nosedive): “The number of some types of software patent lawsuits in the US has taken a nosedive since the 2014 decision in Alice v CLS Bank.
“This is the finding of Patexia, an online patent research platform, which reported that software patent suits have declined heavily, although the fall was not equal across all software patent classification codes.
“Patexia identified 14 different US classes that describe some sort of software-related system or process.
“Patexia identified 14 different US classes that describe some sort of software-related system or process.”
–WIPR“These classes covered more than 14% of the 22,791 unique patents involved in patent suits from 2010 through to the first half of 2016.”
We are pleased to see that even insiders, such as Patexia, recognise the trend and write about it. Patent law firms prefer not to talk about it because it discourages their clients (or prospective/possible clients). Writing for “Canadian Lawyer Magazine”, one person gave 10 reasons you need a Canadian Lawyer (the real headline is “Ten reasons you need a Canadian patent”). This is an example of marketing/advertising in the form of an “article”. To quote from this — cough — article: “You may have heard that it’s not worthwhile to patent your company’s technology in Canada, with its smaller market, its conservative judicial remedies and its skepticism toward software-based patents.”
Well, recall i4i v Microsoft (Canadian company) and how things worked out [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. They pretty much risked going out of business after wasting years in court bickering over software patents. They still have a Web site which is active (last news item was a week ago), but we have not seen them in the media for literally more than half a decade. Recently, another Canadian company chose to turn into a patent troll down in Texas. This failing company, falling back on its patents, is Blackberry. How has it worked out so far? Any better than Nokia, which is still arming patent trolls in pursuit of cash? A lot of these patents are totally worthless, more so after Alice (Nokia — or Symbian at the time — had a famous software patent case in the UK nearly a decade ago).
“A lot of these patents are totally worthless, more so after Alice (Nokia — or Symbian at the time — had a famous software patent case in the UK nearly a decade ago).”Lexology, a site for lawyers, has just reposted (verbatim) an analysis from Fenwick & West LLP. It’s an analysis which we mentioned and also cited here the other day, showing a trend of invalidation of software patents in the US. It’s not looking good for software patents and it’s not getting any better, irrespective of what patent law firms are trying to tell us (by blatantly selective coverage of events or overt cherry-picking).
Dealing with a particular CAFC case, a pro-software patents propaganda site (for a long time) says it’s “keenly awaited” (by the vultures maybe) and that it relates to Alice. Expect it to change nothing at all, even if it somehow ends up in favour of a software patent (like in Enfish). CAFC rules against software patents around 90% of the time, so there’s probably no more of Enfish in the pipeline. Two years and about 3 months after Alice it’s effectively the end of software patents in the United States. Wait and watch how patent law firms (and their media mouthpieces) continue to deny this, hoping to convince the readers (or clients) that all is “business as usual…”
“It’s not looking good for software patents and it’s not getting any better, irrespective of what patent law firms are trying to tell us (by blatantly selective coverage of events or overt cherry-picking)”When pro-software patents propaganda Web sites want to undermine the importance/relevance of Alice they typically resort to insulting those who apply Alice (even judges are insulted!). To quote IAM: “In December last year the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in McRO Inc., DBA Planet Blue v Bandai Namco Games America et al, a case that many, particularly in the software industry, hoped would bring some much needed clarity to the issue of subject matter eligibility.”
Nonsense. It has nothing to do with clarify, that’s just what lobbyists for software patents — people like David Kappos — like to say while they simply object to Alice and the Justices at the Supreme Court. Oh, the vanity!
To quote further from IAM: “As with any 101 case, in the McRO suit there’s not only the matter of the law but also of the Federal Circuit’s complicated relationship with the Supreme Court. A string of decisions from SCOTUS, which have reversed the lower court, has helped create much of the uncertainty around patent eligible subject matter. According to former CAFC Chief Judge, Paul Michel, the stark divisions that have clearly arisen between members of the judiciary, might be the reason for the delay in the McRO decision.”
“When pro-software patents propaganda Web sites want to undermine the importance/relevance of Alice they typically resort to insulting those who apply Alice (even judges are insulted!).”That’s another pattern of FUD we have come across. Proponents of software patents like to scandalise the status quo and pretend there is a fight — if not actually ignite one — between different divisions, courts, boards, etc. It’s typically a fictitious framing that seeks to discredit the system and shake/destablise Alice, making it seem too “controversial” a decision to refer to/cite as precedent.
These software patents proponents, usually patent law firms that never wrote any software, are actively trying to undermine the US Supreme Court. Shame on them for doing that. Watchtroll, with its big mouth, is attacking PTAB again (it won’t stop until they’re gone). They’re like a gang of hyenas. Writing about PTAB, MIP has two more articles on the latest trends. One is titled “Don’t Estop Me Now” and the latter is a subtle attempt to discredit PTAB by associating it with “patent trolls” (again, total fiction!). Making money by trashing patents granted in error by the USPTO (for quick monetary gains) does not make one a “patent troll” and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of “patent troll”. Watch this headline, “Hedge funds and reverse patent trolls” (nothing to do with trolls).
“These software patents proponents, usually patent law firms that never wrote any software, are actively trying to undermine the US Supreme Court.”To quote MIP: “A big story last year was the emergence of hedge funds and other entities using the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. While Kyle Bass is seeing his IPRs through to final decision, other entities are acting as reverse patent trolls, a phenomenon that is predicted to gather pace” (again, nothing to do with trolls and probably a good thing that will compel the USPTO to do its job properly).
Patent lawyers and their mouthpieces reject the term "patent troll" (denying such a problem exists, a lot like those denying global warming), but suddenly, when someone kills bad patents, then they adopt the term and call the actors that. How pathetic and self-serving. Fish & Richardson P.C., which represents patent trolls, pretends patent trolling is all just a myth (published almost a decade ago, but revisited now via Patent Buddy, who is a pro-software patents attorney). To quote the author from Fish & Richardson: “A new breed of companies has emerged, and they are being called patent trolls. A patent troll is a person or entity who acquires ownership of a patent without the intention of actually using it to produce a product. Instead, it licenses the technology to an entity that will incorporate the patent into a product, or it sues an entity it believes has already incorporated the technology in a product without permission. The government, corporate America, and the media are fervently acting against these trolls. New proposed legislation, a blizzard of Supreme Court cases involving trolls, and endless newspaper and magazine articles are all trumpeting the same story line: Patent trolls are bad for society and must be stopped.”
Well, that is very different from those who use IPRs at PTAB to correct the USPTO’s errors (spurious granting of patents). But this kind of distortion of terminology certainly would not bother those with dishonest agenda.
“Put another way, they’re protesting against PTAB because to them — the patent microcosm — less litigation would be a corporate disaster (litigation is their most expensive product, whether as defendants or plaintiffs).”AIA (Leahy-Smith America Invents Act) gave us PTAB, which demolishes software patents by the thousands, so now it’s considered “trolling” to apply quality control to patents and prevent these from going to court? Here is a new Bloomberg piece (titled “Five Years In: The AIA’s Effects on Patent Litigation (Perspective)”) in which it’s stated upfront that “The authors are IP lawyers at a large law firm.” The article is by Daniel Zeilberger, Michael Stramiello, Joseph Palys, and Naveen Modi from Paul Hastings LLP. Their conclusion is as follows: “AIA-created post-grant proceedings are changing the landscape of patent litigation. Complaints and declaratory judgment actions are down. Potential cost savings for accused infringers are huge. And PTAB outcomes historically disfavor patent owners, who have appeared willing to settle a large percentage of disputes. It remains to be seen whether these trends will continue as PTAB practice evolves, guided by an expanding body of caselaw and potential legislative tweaks.”
Put another way, they’re protesting against PTAB because to them — the patent microcosm — less litigation would be a corporate disaster (litigation is their most expensive product, whether as defendants or plaintiffs). They might actually have to find another job — one in which they produce something other than paperwork for monopoly and litigation. One thing we have noticed is, the authors of pro-software patenting pieces are sometimes choosing to write anonymously. Apparently they’re too shamed of their self-serving lies that they want to hide behind pseudonyms or no name/s at all.
Expect more attacks on PTAB (which needs to be defended from them) and expect a lot more attacks on Alice. These attacks typically come from patent bullies, their lobbyists, and their law firms. “A decade of court decisions has shaken the basis of patent law,” says this new article, sending across the message that this is terrible news when fewer cases go to court. To quote:
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for patent holders to seek larger damage awards when their patents are infringed.
For patent watchers, however, the high court’s ruling was only just the latest in a particularly active decade of major patent litigation.
Beginning in 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that holders who license their patents cannot win an injunction to stop third parties from infringing on their patent. That lawsuit, eBay v. MercExchange, L.L.C., changed the way patent lawsuits could be waged, altering incentives along the way.
“eBay substantially changed the world of patent litigation by limiting almost every verdict solely to monetary damages,” Robert W. Morris and Michael R. Jones, attorneys at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott L.L.C., wrote in March.
“The effect is harshest on individuals and smaller businesses that depend on the value of intellectual property for their livelihoods; these are the same inventors that have, for decades, produced many of our greatest technological advances,” MCM argues.
That last part promotes a myth, unless they speak of patent trolls. Those who benefit the most from the status quo are patent bullies like IBM and the only small entities to also benefit (as a side effect) are trolls, not startups that actually produce things.
“We hope that more people will recognise the problem with software patents and react accordingly.”In the area of militarism, arms manufacturers (or war contractors) have taken over the system and became a burden (or a parasite) inside it. The same goes for the area of patent, but the products are patents and lawsuits rather than weapons and wars. We hope that more people will recognise the problem with software patents and react accordingly. █
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Distracting from the accusations
Summary: The USPTO is found to have been burning taxpayers’ money and the patent microcosm, which profits from this entire sort of ‘racket’, is trying to defend or belittle these findings
THE USPTO has been dealt a serious blow which we mentioned here very briefly the other day (billing fraud, similar to what's alleged to be happening at the EPO).
It is no surprise that examiner misconduct and fraud is defended by IAM ‘magazine’, but having followed their sources we are left worried. Here is what IAM wrote to excuse/dismiss it all (the headline is “accusations against USPTO staff may have less meat than reported”):
But according to Matt Levy, patent counsel with the Computer Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the numbers from the OIG’s report should be put in context. Earlier this week, in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Levy claimed that the report exaggerated the scope of the problem. When broken down, he calculates that the waste amounts to an average of six minutes per examiner at the USPTO (he went into further detail in an IP Watchdog post here).
I reached out to Levy for a little more detail on his reasons for writing the letter. Here’s his response: “It seemed pretty clear that the OIG was making the problem look far worse than it was. I’ve written about the GAO’s report on quality, and I’ve been hopeful that it would garner some attention. Unfortunately, the scandal that the IG’s report created seemed likely to suck up all the oxygen. My goal was to bring a little perspective and, hopefully, help focus the conversation back on patent quality.”
Most patent owners would probably agree with Levy. That isn’t to denigrate the latest findings of the OIG but the more fundamental problem for the US patent system is the quality of the grants that it makes. That was certainly one of the main findings of IAM’s most recent benchmarking survey which was elaborated on by a more recent piece of research by Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University
Putting aside that last paragraph which is IAM's self-promotion (of propaganda), watch who they’re using to support their position. Remember which companies are behind CCIA, never mind Watchtroll (IP Watchdog) and other USPTO friends/buddies. It’s like a sort of coverup attempt because a lot of the above piggybacks Matt Levy from CCIA. It is a man whose wife works for the USPTO, i.e. his household receives a salary from the USPTO — something that should probably be mentioned (he personally asked me not to mention this again, but it’s hard given these circumstances and given that Levy gave away this potential conflict of interest himself, in his own blog). Watch what he wrote in response to the original piece (filed under “opinions”). His wife works for the USPTO, yet he does not disclose this in his letter to the editor (regarding the USPTO). How is one supposed to simply ignore this? The echo chamber in defense of fraud isn’t something that’s a minor detail that can be trivially overlooked. Found via this tweet are some vicious attacks on Florian Müller for bringing up the issue. A former IP Kat writer is slamming him for stating the obvious and he responds with: “Doesn’t matter due to fee diversion. Ultimately it is taxpayers’ money anyway.” Patent law firms too are against taxpayers now [1, 2, 3, 4]? Or implicitly in defense of billing fraud? How would that make them look? It is hard to explain to the patent microcosm its unwanted role (as it relates to practicing developers) [1, 2], but Müller did try and at the end he wrote a summary of his position as follows [1, 2, 3, 4]: “Some patent folks are being too emotional about USPTO fee diversion to think things through correctly. Let’s enlighten them now: Question was: if employees steal from USPTO, are taxpayers the ultimate victims? Yes. There are 2 independent ways to prove this. First, every $ less that the USPTO can send to Treasury (fee diversion) is a $ more that taxpayers have to contribute to pay for something. Second, fee diversion goes both ways: if theft contributed to a USPTO deficit, taxpayers would have to close the gap.”
“Slamming the watchdog isn’t easy (shooting the messenger which is independent) and if nefarious tactics are used to belittle the problem itself, what does that tell us about the accused (collectively) or their spouses?”I have exchanged quite a few E-mails about this subject since (Müller expressed some views) and it’s saddening to hear that patent law firms implicitly threaten alienation in retaliation for stating of the obvious. By doing so they probably risk only isolating themselves even further, turning software developers like myself and Müller into a foe.
For those who want to hear opinions from sites not run by software developers, consider reading “Patent office employees steal millions from American taxpayers”. To quote: “A new report from an independent watchdog found that employees of the Patent and Trademark office billed the government (AKA, the taxpayers) for 300,000 hours they never worked, costing the American people $18.2 million.
“Many employees work from home, and the report found numerous instances of time logged without any work being completed.
“The amount of wasted man-hours that could have been spent reducing the patent backlog is astounding, not to mention the millions of taxpayer dollars that were wasted paying employees for work they were not doing,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told the Washington Post.”
Working from home for the USPTO is something which Levy’s wife has been doing. It’s a shame that he did not disclose that in his letter of response to this piece from August 31st (“Patent office workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds”).
Slamming the watchdog isn’t easy (shooting the messenger which is independent) and if nefarious tactics are used to belittle the problem itself, what does that tell us about the accused (collectively) or their spouses? █
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The only way is down
Summary: The British people have already been divorced from the EPO — a trend which is likely to continue amid Brexit negotiations and because the Battistelli-induced crisis deepens by the week
THE European Patent Office has lost its appeal here in Britain and it has nothing to do with Brexit (or a vote for Brexit). For quite a while now we have been hearing (privately) from disgruntled British applicants at the EPO (those who already have UK-IPO patents) — people whose stories will be published in the future when there’s no chance of it compromising ongoing disputes. Basically, we are left with the impression that British inventors don’t feel like they get their money’s worth at the EPO under Battistelli. One of them even considered suing the EPO before he realised it would not be possible (because of the immunity).
“Basically, we are left with the impression that British inventors don’t feel like they get their money’s worth at the EPO under Battistelli.”The EPO no longer hires people from the UK, based on recent figures that we published a couple of weeks ago. Earlier this year we learned that there was a 80% reduction in recruitment from the UK, but things appear to have gotten worse since (depending on which internal source of figures one relies on). As far as the EPO is concerned, Brexit appears to have already started and the only thing “English” about the EPO is the official language (for communication with clients, court/appeal/tribunal hearings etc.); as Battistelli started a vicious war against an Irish judge, there might soon be too little diplomatic affinity between Ireland (the other English-speaking country) and the EPO. I’m no proponent of Brexit but merely an observer of how the EPO’s abuses (top-level management like Battistelli) contributed to the negative image of the EU here, potentially convincing more people to have voted “Leave”.
Based on the following new article from Battistelli’s ‘protégé’ James Nurton (softball questions as ‘interviews’), individuals and businesses from the UK now file for trademarks (maybe also patents) at the UK-IPO rather than EUIPO (equivalent of EPO for trademarks) and there is a statistically-meaningful difference. To quote MIP: “UK trade mark and design filings jumped by 33% and 95% respectively in August 2016 compared to the same month last year, according to figures compiled by the UK IPO at the request of Managing IP” (MIP).
“Insiders at the EPO, as we shall show later this month, recognise the erosion of the EPO’s reputation (still ongoing and exacerbating).”We imagine that figures for the EPO would be similar, but due to long pendency of patents, the ‘Battistelli effect’ and the ‘Brexit effect’ might take some time for us to truly notice. Since MIP is now seemingly in bed with the EPO, we expect reluctance to produce reporting on that.
Insiders at the EPO, as we shall show later this month, recognise the erosion of the EPO’s reputation (still ongoing and exacerbating). We find it truly pathetic when all a company can say about itself to its shareholders is, “look we have got a patent at the EPO!” (latest such example). It’s not as though today’s patent quality at the EPO is what it used to be.
“Now that Battistelli is doing photo ops with Cambodia, which incidentally has zero European Patents (in the past 8 years or so), it’s not hard to sympathise with EPO staff for choosing to leave.”Patent quality at the EPO has gotten so bad under Battistelli (more on that later as well) that staff with dignity and good education often decides to leave. The EPO hardly wants and needs examiners now; it just wants people who can do a superficial search and stamp quickly (or “early certainty” as it euphemistically dubs it). Watch this very nonsense from the EPO regarding software patents, which are not legal in Europe. Just before the weekend it wrote: “Check out this course to see how computer-implemented inventions are examined for patentability under Article 52 EPC” (if they are computer-implemented inventions — a weasel word for software patents — they should be rejected outright).
Meanwhile, the EPO is still 'spamming' universities (latest examples in [1, 2) and if it deems this a recruitment tool/push, then it doesn’t seem to understand what academics who are experts in their field are looking for in an employer. Now that Battistelli is doing photo ops with Cambodia, which incidentally has zero European Patents (in the past 8 years or so), it’s not hard to sympathise with EPO staff for choosing to leave. I, personally, would never wish to work for Battistelli, whose office already threatened me in spite of me not working for him (and I'm not even in the same country!). The only way is down (unlike the song) as long as Battistelli stays. █
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