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

03.26.17

Everyone, Including Patent Law Firms, Will Suffer From the Demise of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And those bearing the most brunt are probably European businesses, which will fall victim to litigation over dubious patents

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad
The quality of patents matters, as too much of a “good thing” — as the saying goes — can be disastrous.

Summary: Concerns about quality of patents granted by the EPO (EPs) are publicly raised by industry/EPO insiders, albeit in an anonymous fashion

“It is clear that this blog has been exposed to [EPO] pressure and had ceeded to it in the past,” said one comment to IP Kat readers, after the blog had announced it would stop covering EPO scandals. “The present [EPO] management has reduced the EPO to a money printing machine which suits most applicants and more so representatives just fine.”

So there is finally growing consensus on the EPO‘s management being reduced to just a bunch of greedy people turning the Office into “a money printing machine” (and personal cash cow)? Even if that means that this will kill the Office not too long from now? The emerging consensus regarding the EPO is that its management is a “swamp” that needs draining. Here is the curious comment:

Really it is not too much of a pity that the feline is no longer reporting one what is none of its concerns. It is clear that this blog has been exposed to pressure and had ceeded to it in the past. Non-profit or not, this is a blog run by patent attorneys. The conflict at the EPO is a social question of labour law and human Rights. Here you find patent and TM and copyright attorneys, not experts in interational labour law or human rights. At most educated amateurs, in any case interested ones, It shows how desperate the staff of the EPO has got to be to look and in appearance find support by their natural adversaries. As it is not dignified for the EBOA to publish their decisions on Wikipedia it is not dignified for public officials to publish their concerns on a blog like this. The appropriate fora are others, e.g. that of the SUEPO and maybe even techrights. The applicant’s are not the customers of the examiners they don’t pay their salaries, fees are not prices, their interest is dialectically and diametrally oppossed and should remain so. Applicant’s by default are not interested in quality. The present management has reduced the EPO to a money printing machine which suits most applicants and more so representatives just fine. The vast majority of their income comes from prosecution before offices not before courts Risk of litigation nullity etc are theortical issues. A negiglible fraction of granted patents either get legally enforced or challenged. The reasons for holding a patent are different. Tax optimisation, balance sheet cosmetics and some even less noble aims. Examiners on the contrary work for the public. They protect the intellectual property of the public, not that of the applicant. A fair fraction of them is not even European and hence not a stakeholder in a European organisation.

“No real checking of quality is done” at the EPO. So says the following comment:

I fulhheartedly agree.

As chair I see a decline, as OPPO member I see a decline, and it all boils down to second and chair not having the time to actually check the work. The search checks (which get ISO 9001 recorded) are positive, because the time allowance is such, that you cannot do much more than understanding the subject-matter of the application, and see what was done, and click through the forms. No real checking of quality is done. 2h is really on the short side, at least in my field…
But then, quality is very subjective here..

A previous president, Mr Kober, took a stack of search file, had them duplicated so that another search examiner could do exactly the same file. He expected in most cases the same documents to be cited. This turned out to be illusionary. But, the same application with different searches had different documents, but the differences in which dependent claim may be positive was negligible. Different reasoning, same result.
I fear, this would not be the case anymore, if the same exercise was repeated. Also because the new search tools would find the very similar first done search, and the second search examiner would build on that or even stop the search there….

One person rightly took issue with the supposition that “attorneys and EPO staff are ‘natural adversaries’ and ‘their interest is dialectically and diametrally oppossed [sic] and should remain so’.” There’s a distinction to be made between attorneys and law firms, and moreover between the patent microcosm (or maximalists) and people who are in it for the science. To quote the explanation:

I must remember this next time I chair an opposition. Now, how do I manage to annoy both parties so that they both feel persecuted?? Once more, a comment says far more about the writer. As an examiner, my only aim is to examine applications based on the EPC. I may get it wrong – in either direction – but there really is no interest here in opposing you just for the fun of it. Under the current regime, I stand to gain a lot more from being as generous to you as possible (within the EPC). As for oppositions or appeals, the idea that the judges are adversaries of every attorney is worthy of far wittier analysis than I can muster.

Best wishes for your future dealings. Trust me, we really have never been out to get you (yes, I know, I would say that…)

Looking at the USPTO right now, patent quality has improved. It’s moving in exactly the opposite direction (opposite from the EPO’s). Very soon it might turn out that, based on the Supreme Court, patent maximalism will regress even further. Here is what the EFF wrote regarding Impression Products v Lexmark International the other day:

Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could allow companies to keep a dead hand of control over their products, even after you buy them. The case, Impression Products v. Lexmark International, is on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, who last year affirmed its own precedent allowing patent holders to restrict how consumers can use the products they buy. That decision, and the precedent it relied on, departs from long established legal rules that safeguard consumers and enable innovation.

When you buy something physical—a toaster, a book, or a printer, for example—you expect to be free to use it as you see fit: to adapt it to suit your needs, fix it when it breaks, re-use it, lend it, sell it, or give it away when you’re done with it. Your freedom to do those things is a necessary aspect of your ownership of those objects. If you can’t do them, because the seller or manufacturer has imposed restrictions or limitations on your use of the product, then you don’t really own them. Traditionally, the law safeguards these freedoms by discouraging sellers from imposing certain conditions or restrictions on the sale of goods and property, and limiting the circumstances in which those restrictions may be imposed by contract.

We wrote about that last year. A Justice who was involved in Alice and is now involved in this case (Stephen Breyer) seems likely to reduce the scope and magnitude of patents, which is why maximalists have been attacking him lately.

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. Links 30/9/2020: Nitrux 1.3.3, Tracker 3.0

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Is IBM's Proprietary Software Surveillance in the 2020 Election a Form of Corporate 'Meddling'?

    Called after an infamous recipient of a Nazi medal (Mr. Watson), an “app” with secret code and remote logging/recording will be used to determine whether the Orange One gets re-elected



  3. Learning to Say “No!” to Tyrants

    IBM continues with its old and oppressive/repressive agenda, even if this time around it's thinly disguised as "tolerance" and "ethics"



  4. Links 29/9/2020: Fedora 33 Beta, Krita 4.4.0 Beta 2, Stellarium 0.20.3 and Mesa 20.2 Released; 20 Million Downloads From the LVFS

    Links for the day



  5. Another Day of ZDNet Being ZDNet, Calling Windows “Linux” (to Confuse People and Help Microsoft Sell Vista 10)

    Microsoft propaganda site ZDNet is keeping up with the tradition of presenting Windows as "Linux" and promoting Windows even in the "Linux" section of the site



  6. [Meme] It's Crazy Not to Eliminate Lame Words That Might Offend Somebody

    If the word “stupid” offends you, then maybe programming isn’t for you, in the same sense that submitting patches with Git over E-mail shouldn't be hard if/when you can develop decent code with sanity checks



  7. IBM Fought for 'Master Race' and Now It's Banning the Word 'Master'

    A lot of the current push to ban the word "master" came from Red Hat (soon IBM, helped by Intel and Microsoft for the most part); we take a hard look at IBM's history to better understand the incredible double standards and what the real motivations might be



  8. IBM's Founder, Mr. Watson (Yes, That Watson), Had “Very Keen Sense of Public Relations”

    "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss)



  9. Under IBM's Leadership Red Hat Becomes a SPAM Marketing Operation, Sending Mass Mails Without Authorisation and Making It Impossible to Unsubscribe

    Red Hat seems incapable of respecting people's inboxes; it subscribes people to things which they never ever subscribed to and makes it impossible to unsubscribe; what has Red Hat become or succumbed to?



  10. EFF: Sitting on a Massive Pile of Money and Members Are Less Than a Third of the Revenue

    As part of our series which explores non-profits turning against their goals (sometimes in pursuit of money, even if that means sellout) we take a good look at the EFF in this age of unprecedented consolidation of wealth and power



  11. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, September 28, 2020



  12. [Meme] Running Public (or Private) Interest Groups for Profit

    The Linux Foundation is picking up some more ‘surveillance capitalism’ money, in the name of… ‘helping’ Linux?



  13. The Concept of Martyrdom in Free Software and the Threat of Demonisation in the Media

    Leaders or figureheads of public interest advocacy are being dismissed as crazy and rude whilst corporations that maim and kill millions of people are spun as "professional" and even "altruistic"; don't fall for it



  14. More Money Does Not Necessarily Mean More Stable Organisations

    The corporate takeover of Free software (privatising the Commons) is a real problem that nobody in the media seems to be talking about, partly because this media is itself corporate and hence part of (participant in) the 'coup'



  15. EPO Management Looks for New and 'Innovative' Ways to Exploit Scientists and Distract From EPO Corruption

    EPO management is desperate for puff pieces, having just produced some greenwashing nonsense (about a dozen press items about this non-event) and now a bunch of self-promotional videos



  16. Before the New York Times Did a Number on Donald Trump It Changed Bill Gates' Tune

    When you speak strictly through a spokesperson it often means you're lying and/or hiding something; the Gates enigma remains unsolved more than a year later



  17. Links 28/9/2020: Linux 5.9 RC7, Review of Linuxfx 10.6, OpenSSH 8.4

    Links for the day



  18. Speaking Through Spokespeople is a Sign of Weakness, Such as Non-Denying and False Denials (or: Bill Gates Never Denied His Connections to MIT Through Jeffrey Epstein)

    Big liars lie shamelessly; the biggest liars lie through proxies and today we examine the evasive tactics of Bill Gates and his associates (who were closely connected to Jeffrey Epstein but refuse to even talk about that, except indirectly)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 27, 2020



  20. Accounting for Debconf 19 Travel... in 2020

    A deeper look or analysis of Debian expenditures, which grew more than twicefold for travel last year



  21. Don't Let Microsoft Make 'Open Source' Synonymous With Proprietary Monopoly GitHub

    Now that the OSI works for Microsoft instead of Open Source (no, GitHub isn’t Open Source; it’s inherently against Open Source) we need to understand the modus operandi and learn from old mistakes



  22. Links 27/9/2020: Puppy Linux 9.5, Nitrux 1.3.3

    Links for the day



  23. Public Relations and Tolerance Stunts Are Very, Very Cheap

    It's 2020 and people are asked to focus on superficial aspects of corporations rather than anything of substance (like the effects on society at large, notably exploitation and long-term harm)



  24. Open to Everything

    It always starts with good intentions...



  25. The OSI's President Apparently Does Not Know That His Own Employer (Salesforce) Works for ICE

    The hypocrisy (or double standard) of the OSI’s President is astounding; taking salaries paid in part by ICE budget (Salesforce works for ICE and similarly evil agencies) while protesting in a proprietary software platform of Microsoft (GitHub) about ICE (all this whilst actively participating in it regardless)



  26. [Meme] Communist Tactics

    To Microsoft, Linux is communism until Microsoft controls it (and then runs over it to crush it, the typical modus operandi)



  27. OSI President: Most or Half of the OSI's Money (Even Individual Donors' Money) Goes to a Microsoft-Led Initiative

    The OSI has turned from advocate of "Open Source" (a disingenuous attempt to set aside Free/libre software) to advocate of Microsoft and GitHub in just 3 years (since taking Microsoft's money/bribes)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 26, 2020



  29. The 24/7 'Tech' Worker (Babysitter of User-hostile Computing) and 'Expensive' Programmer

    The rights of workers are being reduced to nothing (many in their older years made redundant), even in an occupation that is indirectly responsible for automating and thus deprecating jobs in many other occupations



  30. Why Techrights is Totally Unexcited About the New Owner of Linux Journal

    Linux Journal might soon become an anti-Linux site (veiled hostility) if Slashdot's editorial preferences are anything to go by (Slashdot has just seized control of Linux Journal)


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