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03.25.17

Depressing EPO News: Attacks on Staff, Attacks on Life, Brain Drain, Patents on Life, Patent Trolls Come to Germany, and Spain Being Misled

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of the latest developments at the EPO combined with feedback from insiders, who are not tolerating their misguided and increasingly abusive management

THE thousands of EPO workers are concerned. The tens if not hundreds of thousands of EPO stakeholders are concerned too. Software developers like myself are growingly concerned about software patents in Europe, seeing what could soon become the European ‘Eastern District of Texas’ with Battistelli as its boss, having granted a lot of bogus patents. This article is an assorted mix of interrelated topics that we have sat on for a while, combined with the latest news. Readers might find these interesting.

“First We Take Munich then we take the Hague”

Tu quoque mi fili“, one person wrote to us, “I just remembered this song,” tweaking Leonard Cohen’s First We Take Manhattan:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to free the system from the plague
I’m coming now I’m coming now to reward them
First We Take Munich then we take the Hague.

The famous original lyrics said:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

“With a bit of humour and philosophy,” our reader noted, “one would notice that history repeats and many don’t learn from the past mistakes. It is sad.”

“Battistelli is Playing With Death Not Only With the Suicides That He Has Directly or Indirectly Provoked”

Let’s talk about the “BBB effect,” wrote another reader, in reference to “Bikes brakes and Battistelli” (BBB).

thank you again for the excellent coverage of EPO matters. Your contributions are certainly a key toward the solution.

Allow to comment on one of the recent publications
.
About the brakes story (again!):

It is now clear for anyone that this incident was created by Team Battistelli in order to introduce additional security measures. However that was an insult to the staff (again) and an extremely dangerous move. It is an insult because the staff of the EPO are utterly pacifists and if they really wanted to “illegally” get rid of the tyrant they could do it and no one would find who did it. After all you have there more than 4000 scientists and engineers and I am pretty sure they could have Battistelli “disappeared” in a far more efficient way than cutting brakes. It was thus an insult to their competence.
The point that worries me is that by alluding that one may want to harm the boss, the management creates that perception that such things are possible and you know if there is a foolish thing to do, you will find a fool to do it. This is a recipe for a disaster. Mr. Battistelli is playing with death not only with the suicides that he has directly or indirectly provoked but also by orchestrating a, yet imaginary, plot against himself. Hence no wonder that he turns paranoid: his life must be a nightmare. He would be afraid to be in any public place, of traveling, taking a taxi, being in an airport, even being in the EPO basement carpark (which I would shut off as a precautionary measure because is is really a dangerous place), being in the lift or even shaking hands. All that is really dangerous, Monsieur le President, are you so tired of living? What about a stay in your beloved Haar nuthouse?

Brain Drain and Collapse of ‘Demand’ for Patents

“Brain drain,” another reader noted, is real, as “the figures the Euro Patent Office doesn’t want you to see” are as follows:

I have just heard this impressive figure: in 2016 over 60 persons retired at ages younger than 55, compared to 5 persons in 2015. Who says there is no brain drain?

We are sad to see the EPO failing so badly. The USPTO, by contrast, is improving. US applications for EPs have in fact just nosedived; even ‘artistic’ statistics by the EPO could not hide this.

EPO Patent Quality (or Scope) Now Worse Than USPTO

To clarify, as I did even a decade ago, I am not against patents (I never was), nor am I against patent offices. I just think that the US is improving patents-wide, whereas the EPO is a travesty that will damage Europe’s competitiveness. Patent quality sucks so badly under Battistelli that patents on life, which are rejected in the USPTO these days, are being accepted by the EPO. There was a new article about this yesterday at The Scientist. To quote the summary: “The European Patent Office will grant patent rights over the use of CRISPR in all cell types to a University of California team, contrasting with a recent decision in the U.S.” The confirmation goes one day earlier. To quote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) yesterday (March 23) announced its intention to award a broad-strokes patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology to the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. The claims include the use of CRISPR across prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and organisms, hitting upon the point of contention in a recent patent interference decision in the United States. In that case, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied UC Berkeley the rights over the use of the technology in eukaryotes—the money-making application for CRISPR—leaving that intellectual property with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.”

What a disaster. See our index about CSIRO and CRISPR. This will almost certainly bring patent trolls to Europe pretty soon.

Germany Already Attracts Patent Trolls

Speaking of CSIRO, see this new article from IAM (EPO and trolls proponent), which finally admits that patent trolls now infest Germany, attacking legitimate companies using patents. The Battistelli effect? Here is the relevant part:

Recent research from IP analytics firm Darts-ip has identified China and Germany as the two major patent jurisdictions in which NPEs enjoy the most success in infringement proceedings. However, the relatively low volume of cases being filed by NPEs in China suggests that significant monetisation activity is still some way off – though there are already signs that it is picking up.

The Darts-ip study looks at lawsuits filed by NPEs in several major jurisdictions outside of the United States from 2011 to 2016. The researchers pinpointed just over 250 non-US NPE cases over that period, compared to more than 12,000 US cases. While the number may seem “trivial”, as Darts-ip concedes, it is the trend over the five-year timeframe that is telling.

See what the EPO is doing to Europe? Same thing SIPO is doing to China. It’s destroying the domestic industry. Under Battistelli the EPO became just "SIPO Europe", as we dubbed it back in December.

The EPO moves from bad to worse while the USPTO is at least trying to improve. This new piece from Patently-O (also yesterday) speaks of “Regulatory Reform” using a new working group — like the sorts of groups that existed when Battistelli seized power and then proceeded to shutting down. “Under the direction of the White House,” Patently-O wrote, “the USPTO has formed a “Working Group on Regulatory Reform.” To implement the 2-for-1 regulatory agenda previously outlined on Patently-O. According to a release from Dir. Michelle Lee’s office…”

Lee has done a lot to improve the image of the USPTO. It became a lot saner and among the reforms was the suppression of software patent trolls.

Spain and the EPO

In Europe we are now receiving the exact opposite (see the news about Germany, to be further exacerbated and expand scope-wise with the UPC) and Barker Brettell LLP (mentioned before in relation to the EPO [1, 2] and its advocacy of software patents) insinuates that Spain becoming more like the EPO is desirable. To quote the relevant part from “Will the new Spanish patent law bring harmony in Europe?”

The changes will also alter the opposition process; this will move to a post-grant system like the EPO, except that the term for filing an opposition will be six months from grant rather than the EPO’s nine months. Harmony with the EPO is also achieved when it comes to ‘second medical use’ inventions; when patenting already known substances or compositions for use in new therapeutic applications the ‘Swiss type’ form of claim is no longer needed. Also mirroring the changes that EPC2000 brought in, there remains an exclusion from patent protection for surgical, therapeutic and diagnostic treatment methods but the legal fiction that these methods lack industrial application is removed.

The option will be available for post-grant limitation or revocation of the patent by the patentee. As with a central limitation or revocation at the EPO, a request can be made at any time during the life of the patent and will be retroactive in its effect.

“Since when are the Spanish people asking Franco for a comeback?”

That is what an EPO insider thought of it. As we noted yesterday, Spain continues to reject the UPC. Seeing what happens in Germany right now should be a strong defense of this decision. it’s possible that 4 days from now the UPC will be more or less officially dead in the water.

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