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12.14.16

Administrative Council of the EPO Must Recognise Critical Brain Drain, Loss of Talent, Loss of Patent Quality

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If it’s not too late already to save the EPO from collapse…

Hugo Chavez is Scaring Away Talent
Reference: Hugo Chavez is Scaring Away Talent

Summary: Tyranny and an authoritarian management style at the EPO is taking its toll and the entire workforce is now at risk

THE severe actions from EPO management have made the working place exceptionally unpleasant, even to senior staff. We have never heard of (or from) a satisfied EPO worker and judging by the staff survey that was not sponsored (and controlled) by Battistelli, it’s the fault of Battistelli and his ilk. Things were nowhere as grim shortly after he had taken over. Judging by the number of departures (including early retirements), we can expect a severe loss of skills/experience inside the Office. This can be fatal.

IAM, which never cared about patent quality (it’s an impediment to trolls that sponsor IAM and IAM itself pushes for software patents even in India while covering up the obvious issues at the EPO), describes a similar manpower issue in India right now. The USPTO, which is generally improving right now (after decisions like Alice and Mayo), brags about improved patent quality. Lee, whom Trump reportedly plans to replace, has just spoken about the subject. To quote IP Watch:

Opening a conference on patent quality today, United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Michele Lee highlighted efforts of the administration in improving the quality of patents and addressing backlog of patent applications. Patent backlog is down by one-third since the start of the Obama administration, she said.

We intend to write more about the USPTO separately (later today), but let’s just say that with PTAB, CAFC, Alice and so on there are growing hopes among reformers (less so among the patent microcosm/patent maximalists who lobby Trump already).

At the EPO, patent quality is declining and earlier this week the EPO tried to hide this (probably in preparation for today’s meeting). Battistelli is demolishing the appeal boards (more of less the equivalent of PTAB in the US) and this article by Christian Balcer (Marks & Clerk) has just been reposted again to highlight shortened windows for appeal (one of many ways Battistelli has been using to crush/weaken the boards).

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “We have vacancies for engineers and scientists.”

What they mean to say was that they have experienced brain drain, as the Office is in a crisis due to Benoît Battistelli and his thugs. Those who can, with some exceptions, are leaving. “Join the Praktika Intern programme,” the EPO wrote yesterday, “if you have experience in drafting & prosecuting European patent applications…”

They just want low-cost labour to compete with the senior staff, forcing them into depression, under-capacity, or simply a rushed process of examination that resembles assembly line rather than proper research (e.g. prior art) which their qualifications, such as Masters and Doctorates, enable them to carry out.

The EPO wants to become another SIPO. A million patent applications per year is something they’ll never attain given the high cost associated with EPs and the growing realisation that today’s EPO is a sham.

The following new comment relates to a comment we saw and mentioned the other day in relation to FFPE-EPO:

Administrative council meets in 2 days. An attempt to head off any opposition within the AC as BB shows how fair he is? I’m pretty certain there would also be a divide and rule about this as have all the members of the staff reps been awarded something? The ones I know will not be bought.

Battistelli is accustomed to wasting the EPO’s money just buying the media and potentially buying votes too (a sackable offense). Some people allege that he is trying to pull it off again.

“Will the AC , partners in crime, become tomorrow a group of refined thinkers,” one person wrote yesterday. Here is the full comment:

Will the AC , partners in crime, become tomorrow a group of refined thinkers and doers who deal freely and easily with the Eponians academic reflexes , unhindered by the often overwhelming foreknowledge of those in BB’s close circles?… A group armed with a critical , constantly alert outlook , with antennae and feelers reaching out in all directions, with ears permanently pricked and implausibly intelligent hearts. To look at the EPO differently , dispense with the obvious, communicate more deliberately with the Eponians and place their trust in them. Do they dare to take this leap in the unknown? A Wahlverwandschaft. There is no such thing as coincidence!

As we stated a couple of times earlier today, if the Administrative Council does not take firm action against Battistelli, then it will most definitely be viewed as complicit. There is no excuse left at this stage. The management, to quote EPO staff, is a disaster because “[t]rust in the European patent system has been seriously eroded” and “Mr Battistelli is causing immeasurable damage to the Office; he is now untenable.”

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