03.10.17

After EPO Sanctions Against IP Kat (Censorship of More Than 10,000 Articles) Even Merpel Throws in the Towel

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

War on journalism and even on blogs

EFF bloggers

Summary: For gagging purposes, the EPO has been threatening both journalists and bloggers, hoping to induce self-censorship; this appears to have worked against IP Kat

THE EPO scandals used to be regularly mentioned and talked about at IP Kat (not just when promoting the UPC, as it last did earlier this week).

Several people we speak to have long wondered about the silence on EPO scandals. The last blog post about it was a two-part series several months back and prior to that in the summer of 2016. What happened around that time? Last year in June the EPO engaged in collective punishment against anyone affiliated with the site. All blog posts (ever!) got censored. Just like that!

“Last year in June the EPO engaged in collective punishment against anyone affiliated with the site. All blog posts (ever!) got censored. Just like that!”Techrights has been censored for a number of years by EPO and the reason they gave for this bears a legally-charged term, “defamation” (as if they intend to sue us any time). But we’re far from giving up; all of these developments make us ever more eager to cover it more ferociously, as there is clearly a need for it (need for information in the age of pervasive terror and darkness in the transparency/secrecy sense).

This morning Merpel wrote a final post about the EPO. In it, Merpel agrees that quality of patents obviously nosedived*, putting in jeopardy many companies all across Europe (these patents can be weaponised against those who cannot afford a legal fight, i.e. justice). Even those that fight back against EPs are not guaranteed safety. As a case of point, consider this new promotional ‘article’ about (or from) a company that goes around demanding payments from many companies. It has just had a patent upheld by the EPO, at an era when appeals are too expensive, too rushed, and enjoying no independence from the wrath of Battistelli (by the appeal boards' own admission, which they openly state even in the EPO's site, not just AMBA's). “Innovations4Flooring (I4F) reports that it has won a European Patent Office (EPO) opposition case against the Unilin group,” says the ‘article’. Innovations4Flooring sounds like a classic name for a patent troll or a company that is centered around patents, not products, but let’s leave that aside for now…

“Things started to be quiet on this topic after IP Kat had been sanctioned by the EPO.”“Most of the damage,” Merpel writes, “has now been done with many of the harmful changes already implemented. Several of SUEPO’s committee have stepped down, and now Merpel feels the time is right for her to do the same. She has many other calls on her time, and now she wishes to spend some more time with her kittens. She will from time to time write about other matters, but she will no longer be covering the situation at the EPO. ”

This is sad. Things started to be quiet on this topic after IP Kat had been sanctioned by the EPO. Prior to that, the EPO sent quite a few threatening letters (based on the fact their letter to me had the wrong name, as shown here before), probably to reporters too, not just to hobby bloggers like us. It wasn’t the first time either; it was done even in the early days of Battistelli. One mustn’t forget how the EPO responded to BR, or Bavarian TV, after local television said the truth about at least some of the suicides (blaming the EPO). All that legal aggression strives to make it inconvenient, costly, and maybe even scary to write negatively about the EPO. We’ve heard about publishers/editors who got cold feet over it.

Is this why Merpel has been quiet? We’re not sure, but certainly there may be an element of “chilling effect” after the EPO engaged in collective censorship against not only Merpel but also her colleagues.

“In spite of approximately 40% of the comments in the blog being about EPO scandals (and that is in spite of IP Kat never writing articles about it anyway), nobody among the writers seems willing to touch the subject anymore.”The first comment on Merpel’s post says it all really: “So a European IP blog is no longer going to be covering one of, if not the, biggest ongoing issues in IP in Europe? Or is somebody else other than Merpel going to start covering the crisis at the EPO for the IPKat?”

Well, the other person who occasionally wrote about it has already retired (end of 2015). It’s hard to think of anyone else in that blog who is familiar enough with these matters to properly cover them. EPO workers are not likely to trust such people enough to send them information, either.

In spite of approximately 40% of the comments in the blog being about EPO scandals (and that is in spite of IP Kat never writing articles about it anyway), nobody among the writers seems willing to touch the subject anymore. It’s what gave the blog the biggest readership ever. Now it’s all just buried. Cui bono? Benoît Battistelli. Is The Register next on the EPO’s “SLAPP list”?
____
* Covered here in four articles so far:

  1. EPO Record Low on Quality of European Patents (EPs) in 2016
  2. The European Patent Office is Wasting Its Already Limited Budget on Misleading Press Releases/Paid-for Coverage That Overlook Sharp Decline in Patent Quality
  3. Latest EPO ‘Results’ Should be Grounds for Immediate Dismissal of Battistelli Rather Than Celebrations
  4. ‘Evil Tongues’ Inside and Outside the EPO Explain Why Battistelli’s 2016 ‘Results’ Are Bad While the Media Mindlessly Repeats EPO Management’s Talking Points
Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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. Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women's (and Minorities') Voices for Public Relations

    Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo



  2. In a State of Flux Due to Maintenance and Improvements

    For the first time since summer of 2019 we're investing time and effort improving the site in a number of ways



  3. Links 28/10/2020: Torvalds on Succession, PyTorch 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] Stealing the Competition

    After the fall (and fail) of CodePlex Microsoft decided to grab the Linux Foundation and most Git-based projects (through GitHub) — a strategy even Microsoft can learn to love



  5. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 27, 2020



  6. Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  7. Taking Our Efforts to the Next Level in an Increasingly Proprietary and Hostile Web

    Web users are being repressed by mechanisms of mass manipulation, control and restrictions; the Web may not be going away any time soon, but architectural and topological issues need to be overcome (the sooner, the better)



  8. Read Techrights Without a Web Browser

    Any text editor can now be used to read Techrights, owing to a daily bulletin we've set up and will maintain every day



  9. [Meme] Torvalds Assimilated

    People belatedly realise that Microsoft’s plan for Git (and for Linux) isn't for the betterment of those projects but for Microsoft monopoly



  10. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  11. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  12. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  13. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  14. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  15. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  16. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  17. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  18. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  19. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  20. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  21. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  22. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  23. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  24. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  25. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  26. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements



  27. Links 25/10/2020: GNU Taler's IETF Milestone, RISC OS 5.28 and New Ubuntu Community Council

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 24, 2020



  29. Links 24/10/2020: GDB 10.1, Kodachi 7.4, Wine 5.20

    Links for the day



  30. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock


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

Recent Posts