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09.11.16

The Collapse of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli Has Already Begun

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only way is down

Union Jack

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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