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11.05.16

UPC a Threat to the Boards of Appeal at the EPO (Soon Haar) and to Patent Quality in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Systemic takeover by patent maximalists who measure “production” in terms of patents (“products”) granted and broadened in terms of applicability spells doom for the Boards of Appeal and the EPO as a whole

THE QUALITY of patents at the EPO (and oversight thereof in particular) has slipped away. This is a subject we’ll tackle in our next post.

Apparently, IP Kat continues to ‘lose’ comments because, as this new comment puts it: (“resettlement” is a euphemism for exile by the way)

Apparently my post from last week went lost…

Anyway, the real question is how long is this supposed to last? It is becoming quite clear that quite a few problems are still open:
-the one cited in this article: is this all what is going to happen? The President can dismiss a board of appeal member (or put it in a legal limbo, which is effectively the same thing) at will and violate judicial independence and… that’s it?
-the one with the dismissed union representatives: they are just out and that’s it? They are not going to be reintegrated?
-the ridiculous resettlement of the boards. Really?
-and there is really no real control of the finances of a PUBLIC body which produces hundreds of millions euros every year? Did I hear that correctly?

Am I the only one to wonder?

We have already explained why the above is done. A lot of it may have to do with paving the way to massive overhaul, not reform — one that may also have examination itself abolished in favour of a system more like INPI or EUIPO. Such a system would hardly necessitate any appeals at all. Examiners too then become a luxury.

The other day we mentioned MIP’s report on WIPO ambitions of automating patent translations — something which relates both to the UPC and to patent filings. They cannot really manage the translation from Mandarin to European languages (not reliable), but that’s just a method for issuing more patents that are applicable in more places. Sounds familiar a goal? So-called ‘production’ and patent maximalism? Read this new report from IP Watch and see the latest developments regarding the UPCA (they can’t quite call it UPC if London is out and Italy/Milan is in). To quote this Italian site:

The bill that authorizes the Italian government to proceed with ratification of the Unitary Patent Court Agreement was definitively approved by the Italian Senate on 18 October 2016.

The bill, to become Law No.2524/2016 after publication in the Italian Official Journal, also amends the Italian Industrial Property Code to introduce rules on contributory or indirect patent infringement.

No specific provisions are currently in place in Italy concerning contributory or indirect patent infringement. The bill will introduce into the Italian Industrial Property Code a provision that very closely resembles Article 26 of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.

If UPCA (or whatever they’ll call it in the future) becomes a reality, expect even less appeals, more patent trolls, higher damages, and more litigation. Cui bono?

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