EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.05.17

Technical Failure of the European Patent Office (EPO) a Growing Cause for Concern

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Applications that belong in the wastebasket are approved to become European Patents

The wastebasket

Summary: The problem associated with Battistelli’s strategy of increasing so-called ‘production’ by granting in haste everything on the shelf is quickly being grasped by patent professionals (outside EPO), not just patent examiners (inside EPO)

THE scandals at the EPO have not been abated, but we took a couple of days off and thus weren’t able to cover these.

The European Patent Convention (EPC), as it was put together with a vision almost half a century ago, has been thoroughly compromised. Respect for the EPC came to an end under Battistelli, who treats the EPC like Donald Trump treats the Constitution. Don’t fall for this latest spin from Battistelli’s PR department. Battistelli, a crooked boss with the temper of Donald Trump and the facial expression of Arsène Wenger, has managed to alienate just about any member of staff. He has also alienated patent attorneys and applicants. He’s now living on borrowed time and the longer he stays, the greater damage he causes.

Recently, the EPO’s legal professionals were publicly admitting the mistake of granting patents on things that European authorities explicitly and repeatedly oppose. The EPO belatedly realised that granting patents on life makes everyone angry, including many examiners. George Lucas from Marks & Clerk wrote about it today and another article on this subject was cross-posted in at least three sites of patent lawyers [1, 2, 3]. To quote the key part: “While the U.S. is still sorting out “natural products” jurisprudence under 35 USC § 101, the European Patent Office (EPO) is wrestling with the patentability of plants and animals, and has announced an immediate stay on all patent examination and opposition proceedings in which the outcome “depends entirely on the patentability of a plant or animal obtained by an essentially biological process.” The stay was prompted by a recent Notice from the European Commission (EC) concerning Directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. In the Notice, the EC concluded that plants or animals derived from essentially biological processes are not patentable under the Directive. Until the EPO provides further guidance on this issue, applicants should exercise additional care in drafting the description and claims for inventions related to plants and animals.”

Yes, now they pay the price for an awful decision made years ago by the EPO.

In the US there are similarly controversial decisions about patents on nature/medicine (Merck). IP Kat has this new article today about “patents covering… claim the use of this dosage regime.” Citing the FDA, IP Watch wrote:

Biotherapeutic medicines are made out of living organisms and cannot be replicated. No generic medicines, which are exact copies of the reference product, can be made. The generic equivalent of a biotherapeutic would be biosimilars, which are highly similar products. The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a guide to help producers to prove how close their biosimilars are to the biotherapeutics.

Typically the Boards of Appeal (probably the Enlarged one) would weigh in and make sense of it, but Battistelli’s EPO is marginalising these people. Quality control is a nuisance to one who reduces patent quality in order to reach misguided goals. See “EPO Enlarged Board Of Appeal Finds The Cure For Poisonous Divisionals”, published this week in a couple of sites for lawyers.

Citing this paper from 2015, “Comment on Enhancing Patent Quality”, someone from the EPO sphere urged us to consider the importance of patent quality. Brian J. Love from the Santa Clara University School of Law wrote in his abstract: “This Comment responds to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Request for Comments on Enhancing Patent Quality, published February 5, 2015. It proceeds in two parts. First, I share two general observations about the PTO’s current slate of New Quality Proposals: specifically, it fails to include any reforms that apply post-issue or any reforms that exercise the PTO’s fee-setting authority. Second, building on these observations and two recent empirical studies of mine, I outline two proposals that I urge the PTO to consider: specifically, an increase in maintenance fees and a decrease in fees for post-issue administrative challenges.”

We don’t expect the EPO to learn from the mistakes made by the USPTO in the past (things are improving now). In fact, things keep getting worse as Battistelli drives away a lot of staff and still expects double-digit growth (percent-wise) in the coming (current) year, as measured by the number of patents (or “products”) dealt with.

Kluwer Patent Blog, typically a mouthpiece for the UPC if not the EPO as well, is obviously aware of the EPO crisis because this year’s leading posts, as judged by number of readers, is topped by EPO (specifically the scandals) and UPC. A reader of ours “found this highly interesting post” which resembles what happened in IAM, as mentioned at the time (before Christmas) and to a lesser degree IP Watch.

It sure looks like concern about the direction the EPO has taken, also on purely technical grounds (not labour law but patent quality), is growing. Readers who didn’t read Techrights during the holiday may wish to revisit the leaked letter to Quality Support (DQS) at the European Patent Office. Now compare this to this latest puff piece from today. It says: “Complaints to the European Patent Office (EPO) are dealt with by a central EPO department known as Directorate Quality Support (DQS), which is also solely responsible for drafting and sending the official EPO response to the complainant. The default position is that both the original complaint and the reply thereto issued by DQS on behalf of the EPO are not made public, but rather are kept in the non-public part of the file to which the complaint pertains. This default position was apparently established by a decision of the President of the EPO in 2007. On the face of it, this would not appear to be a particularly contentious position, and is possibly justified given that complaints could be prejudicial to the legitimate personal or economic interests of third parties. Presumably the EPO would rather not place itself in a position of being a public outlet for any such potentially prejudicial remarks.”

As we showed here during the holiday, Directorate Quality Support (DQS) has itself become a shameful failure and utter mess. Applicants who receive such terrible service even resort to complaining to politicians, only to discover that the EPO is immune to prosecution.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Keeps Introducing Changes to Patent Law and Patent Policy Under the Trump Administration Still Looks OK

    Judging by what we are seeing so far this year, the US patent system won't be going back into the sordid mess it once was, thanks in part to the Justices of the US Supreme Court and the America Invents Act, signed into law over half a decade ago



  2. Leaked: Team Battistelli, Exploiting a Controversial Decision From the Netherlands, is Trying to Squash SUEPO

    The latest leak suggests that Battistelli not only celebrates immunity from the law but also uses that to take further steps against the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO)



  3. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna: UPC's “Entry Into Force is Not at all Secured,” Contrary to What Team UPC Says

    The ludicrous notion that the UPC is inevitable and just a matter of time is challenged by longtime UPC observers, including Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna, who wrote an entire book on the subject



  4. Media Blasts EPO Over Immunity Amid Suicides, Battistelli's Behaviour Compared to Dominique Strauss-Kahn's

    Backlash in the Netherlands is growing again, primarily as a result of media reports about the EPO's abuses against basic rights and the government's reluctance to put an end to these abuses



  5. Hilarious: Battistelli Goes to Former French Colony With No Patents to 'Buy' the EPO a Perception of Legitimacy

    Having toured various banana republics in pursuit of easy-to-sign deals, Battistelli now goes to Cambodia again, in order to make it seem as though the EPO is conquering Asia



  6. Patent Trolls Like Finjan Holdings and Thomas Edison; the Latest Loss for Software Patents in the US and Their Move to China

    A look at the very latest patent news, which suggests further improvements in the US, pushback from the patent microcosm, and an outsourcing of a terrible system to Chinese territories, where the overpatenting plague grows rapidly



  7. Still Waiting for Official Confirmation That Michelle Lee Will Head the Patent Office Under Donald Trump's Administration

    As of today, there is still no official word on whether or not Lee continues her tenure, which saw the demise of patents on software and along with that the demise of patent trolls and frivolous litigation



  8. Links 23/1/2017: Wine Releases, Microsoft Layoffs

    Links for the day



  9. 'Reform' at the EPO Means Destroying the Staff Union, Crushing Patent Examiners, and Imposing on Europe a System It Does Not Want (UPC)

    The chaotic transition at the EPO -- a transition from something which has been workable to something intolerable -- and the role of the Unitary Patent (UPC), which lurks in the shadows and threatens to harm the whole of Europe



  10. Shakeup Against Patent Parasites in the US and More Rumours/Speculations About USPTO Director Michelle Lee After Trump's Inauguration

    The US patent system is becoming ever more hostile towards patent trolls, owing in part to reforms introduced under Michelle Lee's tenure, but people are still not certain that she will maintain her job and continue to fix the system



  11. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses

    Rather than crack down on human rights abuses, the Dutch government now sends out the signal that it's an island for those wish to violate human rights whilst enjoying immunity (EPO)



  12. Links 20/1/2017: Docker 1.13, Linux 4.4.44 LTS

    Links for the day



  13. “Federal Circuit Had Affirmed on Every Issue in 77.4% of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Appeals it Had Seen” in 2016

    The Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continue to squash a lot of patents on software, in contrast to that fake news from patent maximalists



  14. Kudelski Group Not Only Acts Like a Patent Troll But Also Run by Intellectual Ventures Person; Mobile Market in Dire State of Patent Armageddon

    The patent thicket which pervades everything that is used by billions of people, mobile technology in particular, can be traced back to a lot of non-practicing parasites (or patent trolls)



  15. Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

    Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices



  16. In an Age of Necessary Patent Reform and Permanent Uncertainty for Software Patents the Patent Microcosm Looks for Workarounds and Spin

    Commentary on the status quo in the Michelle Lee era and some examples of bias from the patent microcosm, as well as news regarding the NFL getting sued by the Kudelski Group



  17. Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

    The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect



  18. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It's OK, Holland's High Council Says

    Battistelli's autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world



  19. Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of "analysis" or "news")



  20. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  21. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  22. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  23. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  24. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  25. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  26. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  27. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  28. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  29. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  30. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts