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09.27.16

The Battistelli Effect: “We Will be Gradually Forced to File Our Patent Applications Outside the EPO in the Interests of Our Clients”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All that political UPC lobbying from Battistelli and his cronies (like Margot Fröhlinger) merely served to discredit the EPO

EPO ship

Sailing nowhere, fast.

Summary: While the EPO dusts off old files and grants in haste without quality control (won’t be sustainable for more than a couple more years) the applicants are moving away as trust in the EPO erodes rapidly and profoundly

THE EPO has done virtually nothing to repair its bad reputation. Paying over a millions Euros to fracking propagandists is hardly a sound plan and as long as union-busting activities carry on, staff of the EPO will perceive the management — not SUEPO — as their biggest enemy. What’s more, stakeholders outside the EPO are paying attention and some take action, knowing that patent quality at the EPO is far from what it used to be. Insiders tell us so as well.

“Team Battistelli lied to the public (and to staff) about the UPC’s inevitability and here in the UK we saw Team UPC (perhaps fraudulently) advertising UPC jobs that did not exist and would never exist.”The EPO’s top-level management put all its eggs in the UPC basket. Team Battistelli lied to the public (and to staff) about the UPC’s inevitability and here in the UK we saw Team UPC (perhaps fraudulently) advertising UPC jobs that did not exist and would never exist. We complained about this at the time. How do they get away with this? They hate democracy so much (or disregard it so blatantly) that they quit caring about — or they’re not paying attention to — the enormous damage caused to their reputation and integrity. What are European companies supposed to think of the UPC and the EPO right now?

“This purely academic exercise is all well and good,” one person wrote in a thread stuffed with UPC hopefuls (Team UPC and the patent microcosm, especially in the UK), “but a complete waste of time and money. There will be no political will to make this work because Brexit means Brexit. Don’t you get it yet? Forget it and move on….”

Indeed, but they have spent so much effort and time on UPC preparations, so they refuse to move on. Another commenter then added that “we will be gradually forced to file our patent applications outside the EPO in the interests of our clients,” so we assume this commenter has moved on already. To quote in full:

The discussion about Brexit and UPC continues to be maddening as not based on the possible (to avoid repeating myself I refer to my previous comments http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2016/09/does-david-davis-want-to-ratify-upc.html?showComment=1474556188098#c99464718469530613 Thursday, 22 September 2016 at 15:56:00 BST )
If financial leviathans in the City are struggling to persuade the UK government to protect their financial passports post Brexit to preserve a status quo in London from which the UK benefits to the tune of tens of billions each year, what on earth makes any realistic observer believe the minnow of the patent community could persuade the UK government to move against the Brexit tide by ratifying the UPC pre-Brexit?
That would be true if the UPC was the best idea ever (which it isn’t), if there was a ground swell of support for it from UK industry and potential users (there isn’t), if it would encourage innovation in the UK or Europe (it won’t) or if the EPO was the most respected patent office in the world (it isn’t).
Indeed, regretfully, I must be even more blunt, the EPO’s continuing flogging of this UPC dead horse is yet more evidence (amongst many examples well known to all) that current EPO management continue to act against the long term interests of the patent community and industry in Europe. The present EPO President has zero credibility as his administration undermines the EPO on multiple levels with increasing irrationality. Reduction in patent quality, horrendous abuse of staff, attacking the independence of BoAs are but three examples and it is to the utter shame of the Administrative Council that he has survived so long.
Rather than focussing short term attention on the fate of the UPC, the most important and urgent action which would help improve the patent system in Europe is for the AC to remove Benoît Battistelli (and his team) from office without delay and bring back humane, credible and competent leadership to the EPO. Only then can a rational discussion of the challenges begin with all stakeholders, and users such as myself can have their confidence and faith in the EPO restored in a post Brexit world with or without the UPC. If not, reluctantly we will be gradually forced to file our patent applications outside the EPO in the interests of our clients and the EPO will begin a slow decline to irrelevance.

“That the EPO still pushes for UK ratification is hard to understand,” wrote one person in response to the aforementioned comments about the EPO’s resort to lobbying (we wrote about that yesterday). To quote:

I could not agree more with the blogger of 12.43 BST.

Ratifying now would be utterly counter-productive and only increase problems.
Sorry Meldrew, but ratifying now has nothing to do with pragmatism, but sheer panic to be left out of a system which could have been so lucrative. Actually, I was expecting better from Meldrew.

That the EPO still pushes for UK ratification is hard to understand. I would say there are more urgent problems to be solved at the EPO than fighting for UK ratification. Seeing the way the AC does not do its job of controlling the EPO and its president, one wonders about a hidden agenda.

How can it be that training for search and training for examination used to be three years for each job, now it is three years for both. Have the newcomers suddenly become more intelligent? Please allow me to doubt. Quality is thus lowering for a long time, but the lowering can only accelerate.

The problem lies with the EPO and its management. I leave here purposely aside any discussion about the ill treatment of staff representatives, but concentrate only on the horrendous production figures which are now required. Here it is not only BB who is to blame, but much more VP1, who has always thought that examination, and hence the grant of solid patents, is of secondary importance.

What matters are production figures. Who gives a damn about the patent quality, production figures have to be according the plan. Basta as would a former German chancellor say. The erosion of quality is nothing new, but when one sees what is coming out one can only shudder.

What good could be a UPC when faced with patent of little or no value.

A court be it called UPC or not, cannot do a good job on shaky patents! Why is it then so necessary to quickly ratify?

In our next post we’ll remark on patent quality again.

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