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11.28.16

Patent Attorney Mark Summerfield: EPO Administrative Council “Members Should be Ashamed.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A recent comment about Battistelli’s misbehaviour and the Administrative Council’s utter failure to get a grip on him

It seems to be more widely known by now, even well outside the ‘IP’ community and the EPO’s applicants (industry), that EPO needs to be saved from Battistelli. Attorneys too speak about it collectively and one attorney, Mark Summerfield, decided write the following about the EPO (bottom of blog post at IAM):

The situation at the EPO continues to be of major concern to all stakeholders, not least patent applicants who pay substantial annual maintenance fees while their applications remain pending.

In some ways it has become irrelevant who is “right” or “wrong”, or where the truth lies. When an organisation becomes dysfunctional, ultimate responsibility resides with management. M. Battistelli appears unwilling, or unable, to accept this. His response to your opinion piece sought to deflect blame elsewhere, while this reply from M. Prunier calls M. Battistelli’s honesty and integrity further into question.

At the same time we have seen a similar lack of transparency at WIPO, in various national IP offices, and in the processes of negotiating multinational treaties with significant IP provisions (e.g. the TPP). A backlash against “elites” (i.e. those who would have us lie back and blindly accept that they know what is best for us) has already produced Brexit and delivered the US presidency to Donald Trump.

My impression is that (presumably well-intentioned) people within international organisations, governments, and the public services, have decided that truly democratic processes are just too hard and inefficient, and have appointed themselves as the “expert” arbiters and executors. Those who have become the losers in this process, whether they be union reps at the EPO, or disenfranchised residents of the US rust belt, have had their fill and are crying out for their voices to be heard.

Even if everything M. Battistelli says is true, he has still failed to provide the leadership the EPO requires to evolve and adapt to the challenges facing the global IP system. The paralysis of the Administrative Council in dealing with this crisis is something of which its members should be ashamed.

We agree on that last part. Any sane member of the Council would have long ago voted Battistelli out. But as long as they collectively act like his spineless chinchillas he knows he can get away with virtually anything, even clear violations of their instructions.

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