Heralding an era of endless, frivolous patent litigation in Europe?
Destroying the Office and making the staff pay for it!
Summary: An attack on truth itself — the disintegration of the European Patent Office (EPO) — carries on, after staff found the courage to tell delegates what had happened due to Battistelli’s policies and incredible oppression that prevails and expands
10 days ago we mentioned an attack on staff for saying the truth about decline in patent quality at the EPO — a serious issue that would damage if not destroy Europe’s industry, more so (and more quickly) if the UPC ever became a reality, enabling a lot more financially-prohibitive litigation — often using bogus patents — against vulnerable companies all around Europe (unable to afford a defense, i.e. challenge to the patents). Companies already know they would hobble under a UPC-like regime and they complain about this.
The rant from Minnoye and Casado Cerviño was documented here before. The cause for their rant was originally delivered in German and the Central Staff Committee thankfully translated that into English. “Attack on quality delivered by EPO staff” is what they call it (playing along with the misleading narrative of “attack”), explaining that “Vice-Presidents of DG 1 and DG 2 stated on 17 March 2017 in the Intranet: “Staff Representation criticizes EPO quality during Administrative Council”.
Here is the transcript of the intervention:
Sehr geehrte Delegierte,
der Weg zum einheitlichen Patentschutz ist sicher von größter Bedeutung für das Amt und das Personal. Daher ergreift der Personalausschuss in Absprache mit dem Ratspräsidenten auch regelmäßig das Wort, um Sie über die neuesten Entwicklungen im Personal diesbezüglich zu informieren. Es ist ja die statuarische Aufgabe des Personalausschusses, die Interessen des Personals zu vertreten und für den erforderlichen Kontakt zu der zuständigen Stelle, hier dem Verwaltungsrat, zu sorgen.
Mehr und mehr Kolleginnen und Kollegen sprechen den Personalausschuss mit ihren Sorgen an, dass der Weg zum einheitlichen Patentschutz in Gefahr ist. Drei häufig genannte Probleme möchte ich herausgreifen und Sie um Ihre geschätzte Aufmerksamkeit bitten.
1. In der täglichen Arbeit des Patentprüfers ist nicht mehr genügend Zeit, um den Stand der Technik zu einer Patentanmeldung hinreichend zu ermitteln. Daher werden mehr und mehr Patente erteilt, die nie hätten erteilt werden dürfen. Wenn die renommierte juristische Fachzeitschrift JUVE Rechtsmarkt davon berichtet, dass 54 % der Industrievertreter nicht mehr mit der Qualität unserer Patenterteilungsverfahren zufrieden sind, dann sollten wir uns Sorgen machen. Die implementierten Qualitätsmechanismen sind ungeeignet, um die Qualität der Recherchen und erteilten Patente zu gewährleisten. Dies berichten unsere Kolleginnen und Kollegen.
2. Die in Recherche, Sachprüfung und Formalprüfung eingesetzte Software weist zahlreiche Mängel auf, sie ist unergonomisch und teilweise unbrauchbar. Dies berichten unsere Kolleginnen und Kollegen.
3. Die Prüfungsabteilungen fühlen sich immer mehr der Einflussnahme durch die Verwaltung ausgesetzt. Aus objektiver Sicht ist immer öfter die Besorgnis der Befangenheit der Patentprüfer begründet. Dies berichten unsere Kolleginnen und Kollegen.
Dies sind keine guten Nachrichten, es ist aber die Pflicht des Personalausschusses, den Verwaltungsrat darüber zu informieren, welche Sorgen das Personal äußert. Ich kann Ihnen lediglich versichern, dass der Personalausschuss immer bereit sein wird, durch konstruktive Vorschläge dabei zu helfen, die Probleme zu beseitigen.
Meine Damen und Herren, ich danke Ihnen für Ihre geschätzte Aufmerksamkeit!
The path towards Unitary Patent protection is for sure of the utmost importance both for the Office and for its staff. Therefore, the Staff Committee regularly takes the floor – in agreement with the Chairman of the Council – in order to inform you about the latest staff developments in this regard. According to our Codex, the Staff Committee shall represent the interests of staff and maintain appropriate contact with the competent administrative authorities, which here is the Administrative Council.
More and more colleagues have addressed the Staff Committee about the perceived risks that concern them as we head towards the Unitary Patent. There are three specific issues repeatedly mentioned that I would like to bring to your attention:
1. Patent examiners no longer have enough time in their daily work for an adequate search and analysis of the “state-of-the-art” for a patent application. This implies that more and more patents are being granted than should ever have been. When the renowned, independent judicial journal JUVE Rechtsmarkt reports that 54% of industry representatives are no longer satisfied with the quality of our patent grant procedures, then we should all be very concerned. The internally implemented quality controls are insufficient for guaranteeing to maintain the current quality of search reports and granted patents. This is what our colleagues tell us.
2. The software tools used in search, examination and formalities show numerous deficiencies: many are not ergonomic and some of them are simply unusable. This is what our colleagues tell us.
3. The Examining Divisions feel more and more to be under the influence of the administration. From an external, objective viewpoint, it seems more and more justified to question the impartiality of the patent examiners. This is what our colleagues tell us.
Although this is not good news, it remains the duty of the Staff Committee to inform the Administrative Council about any such concerns expressed to them by the staff. Nevertheless, I can ensure you that the Staff Committee shall always be ready to help with constructive proposals for resolving any of these identified problems.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for your kind attention!
Regarding claims that “path towards Unitary Patent protection is for sure of the utmost importance both for the Office and for its staff,” we don’t quite agree. In fact, UPC would make many people redundant. The EPO has not been honest about it. It’s basically honest about nothing these days, including the prospects (of lack thereof) of the UPC. Regarding ergonomics, it will be the subject of future articles of ours.
We are gratified to see that EPO staff is finally speaking out about a subject that has irked us for years, seeing in particular how software was being patented in defiance of directives, the EPC, common sense, and economic sense. Software developers absolutely do not want patents in their vicinity. It only inhibits progress. █
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Summary: Under pressure and habitual intervention from a demoralising, overreaching, and out-of-control President (from an entirely different division), examiners and judges ‘normalise’ the practice of granting patents on genetics — a very slippery slope in terms of patent scope
EARLIER today we wrote about patents on life being granted by the EPO, even though the USPTO — owing largely to an excellent PTAB — rejects these after Mayo and Alice. This served to show that the EPO had probably become more lenient than the US patent system and strict on nothing except 100% obedience to Battistelli with his ‘production’ obsession. A recent decision from BoA publicly complained about loss of independence, so it’s not unthinkable that the Battistelli-led thugs exercise control over judges too, particularly ones who deny patents.
“So they’re competing over who will ‘own’ genetics. Get it? Life.”There is a lot of news today about the CRISPR decision/s that we mentioned in the morning. ERS Genomics, for example, issued a press release and copies of it all over the place. To them, it’s great news, but at whose expense? US media explains today that “[w]ith such a radical new technology, there is extreme financial opportunity. Rights of ownership over the CRISPR technique have lingered since its initial discovery. Recently, the CRISPR patent disputes were partially settled between the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, and the University of California (UC) Berkeley. On Feb. 15, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favour of the Broad Institute. As a result, the Broad Institute won the patent pertaining to editing eukaryotic genomes, a patent that UC Berkeley considers to be interfering with its claim.”
So they’re competing over who will ‘own’ genetics. Get it? Life.
“More importantly, why did examiners (and maybe BoA some day) allow this? Could it be pressure from the top-level management — pressure that they have already complained about?”This afternoon we have found many new articles and briefs about it, e.g. “CRISPR Therapeutics Announces European Patent for CRISPR/Cas Gene Editing” (also here), “EPO to grant UC, Berkeley CRISPR patent”, “Take that Editas: CRISPR Therapeutics and colleagues win a European round in the IP tug-of-war over gene editing tech”, and “CRISPR Therapeutics announces European patent for CRISPR/Cas gene editing”. So will the EPO now receive a lot of applications for similar patents on life? ‘Production’! Is the EPO prepared to become the world’s laughing stock? It was bad enough when pigs, plants and seeds got patented — something which even the EPO eventually realised it cannot carry on allowing (only after many protests, including from the highest offices in Europe).
Based on today’s trading [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], some people expect to profit from this grab or monopolisation of genetics, but again, at whose expense? The externalities are vast!
“This will be another toxic legacy of Battistelli, which extends well beyond the Office and tarnishes the track record of the entire Organisation. It’s therefore imperative that the tyranny is smashed as soon as possible.”More importantly, why did examiners (and maybe BoA some day) allow this? Could it be pressure from the top-level management — pressure that they have already complained about?
In the mean time, based on another filing and press release, “Key BioTime Patents [are] Upheld by European Patent Office” and this one says that a “large pharmaceutical company and an anonymous filer challenged the EPO’s previous grant of two European patents (EP2554661 and EP2147094), which cover the proprietary directed differentiation methods to produce pluripotent stem cell-derived cell replacement therapies being developed to treat retinal degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (“AMD”).”
We are not trying to suggest that the BoA are corruptible but rather to suggest that their loss of independence — something which Battistelli was very eager to ensure (with persistent punishments) — will impact their decisions and set precedential laws (decisions) that are dangerous. This will be another toxic legacy of Battistelli, which extends well beyond the Office and tarnishes the track record of the entire Organisation. It’s therefore imperative that the tyranny is smashed as soon as possible.
Europe is up for sale. Now it’s the turn of living organisms to be ‘sold’ to US corporations that assert they ‘own’ genetics and can therefore tax reproduction, medical treatments, breeding, etc. Where does this madness end? █
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If they were in a competition (the ‘tyranny challenge’), Battistelli would win
From the latest Patent Information News bulletin of the EPO
Summary: An explanation of what the imminent departure of Minnoye (this summer) will mean for Benoît Battistelli and his confidants, who now resemble some of the world’s most ruthless dictatorships
THE autocracy at the EPO is only getting worse over time. Nothing is improving, it’s only getting worse. Benoît Battistelli has already turned his ‘supervisor’ into his own henchman — a fact now widely-recognised within the Office and to a lesser degree among the delegates (Organisation), who ought to overthrow their so-called ‘chairman’. Jesper Kongstad has been such an obedient coward that the only thing he can go against is a bunch of defenseless chinchillas. He repeatedly failed, for a number of years in fact, to do anything about Battistelli. Seeing how weak and toothless Kongstad has been, Battistelli merely expands his autocracy, gives more money to his cronies, and takes more direct control of their jobs.
“Does your job involve innovation?”
The EPO discussed/asked this earlier today. Well, the people in charge of the EPO have nothing whatsoever to do with innovation, except in the Mafia sense (innovating methods for tyranny and ‘protection’, as we noted earlier in the morning). It’s truly despicable and it’s not hard to see why smart people who work for the EPO are appalled. “You need to know about the most active tech fields in terms of patent applications,” the EPO continued, linking to unscientific claims from its misleading video.
“Battistelli,” says this new comment (from this morning), “will [soon] manage the branch responsible for examination and search (about 4500 people) directly.”
Got that? So much for improving independence. Here is the full comment:
It is sometimes interesting to reread old comments, for example this one:
“during the Admin. Council, Battistelli called VP1 in his luxury suite overlooking Munich’s city on floor 10 of the Isar building, to tell him that he was very happy with the production figures and that VP1 did an excellent job before to eventually tender him a letter of resignation ready to sign on the spot.”
Now, we know that the idea was never to replace the vice-president DG1, but that Battistelli will manage the branch responsible for examination and search (about 4500 people) directly. The new structure with 3 “COO” each working in tandem with a “Principal director” at exactly the same level will insure that these managers will be absolutely powerless.
So now we know that Minnoye was pushed away so that Battistelli can manage the largest part of the Office directly. What for? What does Battistelli plan to do that Minnoye would have opposed?
Another person expanded by saying:
There will also be a race between the clusters for production numbers (to allocate “bonus” and other “goodies”).
Plus a lack of 2nd level AC appointed (and thus disciplined) managers will indeed mean that no-one who wants to keep her/his job can oppose any demand by the president, no matter if questionable or fully reasonable.
Welcome to Eponia. It’s like Turkey, only smaller. As with Turkey, a bunch of European politicians look the other way while human rights are trampled upon. █
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Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will soon rule on TC Heartland and Lexmark, potentially restricting abusive patent behaviour even further (making room for freedom to innovate and for competition)
THE TROLLS-funded IAM is busy softening the image of patent trolls (nice opportunity for the trolls to link to positive coverage about themselves), but trolls cannot just buy the entire media. Sure, some of them became multi-millionaires using one single bogus (invalided) patent, but how much longer can these parasites carry on? SCOTUS might soon take away from them their biggest ‘weapon’, which is biased courts.
The EFF wrote: “The @TODAYshow spotlights how patent trolls cherry-pick venue—an issue before the Supreme Court today.” It’s video (see above) which is summarised as follows:
Marshall, Texas, has become America’s unlikely capital for patent lawsuits. Companies spend weeks at a time there fighting over hundreds of millions of dollars – and giving a boost to the local economy. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk has the story for Sunday TODAY.
Currently, the EPO‘s management does everything it can to attract patent trolls to Europe (UPC, poor patent scope etc.) and the trolls are already expanding in China, where patent litigation has soared. The US seems to be the only country right now where this epidemic is properly understood and thus combated fiercely. Here is another new article about it: (from yesterday)
A senior counsel for J.C. Penney & Co. has all but given up waiting on the federal cavalry to arrive and protect her client from patent trolls. Instead, she and others have joined a community of patent-protectionist businesses in an effort to ward off what they say is a growing problem.
In a blog article titled Retailers Need to Join Forces to Solve Patent Troll Problem posted on the Chain Store Age website on March 13, attorney Diane K. Lettelleir discussed how trolls were targeting her client.
Watchtroll, another spokesman for patent trolls (just like IAM), is meanwhile bemoaning the deprivation of trolls by means of taking away their software patents. To quote:
…the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International 2014 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has introduced patent eligibility challenges under 35 U.S.C. 101 of the United States Code that applicants may need to overcome to patent their digital health inventions, and those related to software, in particular. 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).
And rightly so. Very soon, the Justices of SCOTUS might take it a step further by tackling the Lexmark case in the same way Breyer tackled Alice v CLS Bank (Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer and others). Professor Tomás Gómez-Arostegui, writing on the subject yesterday at Patently-O speaks of “cases [which] considered many of the same arguments that Lexmark and Kirtsaeng raise, such as the territoriality of patent rights; free trade among countries; the potential benefit to consumers of competition from imported gray-market goods; the potential harm to consumers who purchase goods in one country without any notice of their inability to bring those goods into another country; and the potential negative effect that gray-market imports could have on a domestic licensee.”
Lexmark is basically trying to restrict competition using patents, denying people control over devices they supposedly bought to own. We wrote about this many times before and we certainly hope that SCOTUS will rule in favour of average people rather than few millionaires and billionaires. █
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It refuses to even call them trolls
Summary: IAM Media, which produces a magazine every now and then while posting online every day, maintains its pro-trolls agenda, which is becoming so clear to see that it is definitely worth documenting yet again
WE belong to a camp of patent realists or patent pragmatists (those insisting on patent reason or sane balance), as opposed to patent maximalists, who are typically those who just profit from patents without doing anything (other than lawsuits, paperwork and so on). It’s saddening to see that IAM has dragged the EPO down to its level as IAM is funded by some of the most vicious players out there. It’s like their spokesman. The following (below) are three example of ‘news’ from yesterday alone. 100% of what IAM published yesterday was pro-trolls drivel. This is also entered into Google News as “news”, despite the agenda-driving nature of it (not journalism).
“This is also entered into Google News as “news”, despite the agenda-driving nature of it (not journalism).”IAM’s Editor in Chief, Joff Wild, conveniently calls patent realism “anti-patent” and conflates logic with antagonism. Paid by patent trolls (and even the EPO’s PR firm), i.e. paid NOT to understand reality as it is, IAM says that “[t]he US Supreme Court is due to hear oral arguments today (Monday) in the much-anticipated TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC case. At issue is the extent to which a patent owner should be able to select the forum in which to file suit against an alleged infringer. Currently, plaintiffs have relatively wide discretion, meaning that over 40% of all cases end up in the Eastern District of Texas.”
It’s not hard to guess whose side IAM is taking. Just follow the money. IAM is a business and customers are not just readers.
“It’s not hard to guess whose side IAM is taking. Just follow the money.”In another new article, Wild refers to a patent troll (by proxy, e.g. Openwave and newer pseudonyms through which it preys on India, China, and even Europe) as “generous” and “smart” because it mentioned how much it charges companies (‘protection’ money). To quote: “We have received an overview of the Ericsson strategy from Eric Stasik of Swedish consulting firm Avvika AB. He sees the recent announcement as being part of a smart approach to 5G by Ericsson that may be a lot less generous and pioneering than people such as yours truly initially thought. It’s this kind of in-depth scrutiny that transparency delivers, of course.”
This doesn’t even account for the trolls Ericsson AB is sending to sue companies all around the world, e.g. Unwired Planet Inc.
“This doesn’t even account for the trolls Ericsson AB is sending to sue companies all around the world, e.g. Unwired Planet Inc.”Wild’s colleague meanwhile writes about India, where software patents are banned. IAM ran a long series of silly posts earlier this year (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), wherein it attempted to shamelessly shame India for having such a rational policy. Yesterday IAM wrote about “India’s largest patent filer”, noting that “episode demonstrates the folly of patenting… “expensive mistake” paid for by taxpayers…”
Why? Because this hoarder of patents has just imploded, which is good news. To quote: “Predictably, the press has made the connection between CSIR-Tech’s shutdown and Ghani’s comments and concluded that this episode demonstrates the folly of patenting. But while CSIR’s patent and licensing efforts to this point may well have been an “expensive mistake” paid for by taxpayers, the mistake is not seeking to commercialise publicly-funded research, as two authors in The Hindu argue. Plenty of institutions like the aforementioned Imperial Innovations do that very successfully. What these institutions don’t do is hand money to any researcher who wants to file a patent, and then turn around and expect their tech transfer office to turn a profit with whatever assets come through the pipeline. More than anything, this story is a reminder that patents are not a great investment if they’re not conceived from the very beginning as a means to create business value.”
“That’s relieving news to the many Indian companies which are highly focused on productivity (coding for instance), not bureaucracy.”Put another way, India is not fertile ground for patent trolls. One needs to actually create something, not just amass patents. That’s relieving news to the many Indian companies which are highly focused on productivity (coding for instance), not bureaucracy. Well done, India! If IAM hates you, then you must be doing something right! █
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Old article about the 'Battistelli Mafia' (Italian name) in Corsica
Summary: How the world’s leading patent office became a world-leading source of abuse, corruption, nepotism, injustice, incompetence, censorship, alleged bribery, pure deception, distortion of media, defamation, and suicides (among many other things)
THE EPO crisis continues to deepen. It’s now testing the water and teasing the boundaries where Europol or Interpol ought to step up and march in (into Eponia).
Writing to us about a “taboo” subject quite recently, an EPO insider reminded us of fraud allegations that only a lack of whistleblower protections prevented from coming out (putting side frauds that Battistelli's silly ceremonies helped prop up). As our source put it: “In a coming [opportunity] I’ll tell you a nice story about corruption, also a taboo subject in the office. Everyone knows about it but no one wants to talk about it.”
This is the kind of thing that can contribute to the EPO getting aggressive. The devastating impact on some managers must make them frightful. But we’ll leave all that for another day, pending further verification and collection of sufficiently strong evidence. It’s flirting with territories of the criminal.
“It’s now testing the water and teasing the boundaries where Europol or Interpol ought to step up and march in (into Eponia).”Looking around for some new comments/input such as this, “The Max Planck Institute is organising an event in May,” said one person, linking to this event (to take place in May). Prof. Dr. Siegfried Broß, the Nemesis of the Battistelli-led EPO regime, will be there. Broß repeatedly compared what the EPO is doing to illegal torture in Guantánamo Bay. How far can the Office go before judges (or retired judges) such as Broß compel the authorities — including Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas — to actually enforce the law?
Another new comment about the EPO disaster said the following yesterday, noting that the “AC lets the President and Mr Kongstad get away with such blatant manipulation of the agenda…”
Looking at the fate of CA/32/17 (proposed revisions of the EPO rules governing internal investigations, disciplinary procedures and appeals), it is clear that one of the ways in which “rebel” AC members are being outmanoeuvred is through control of the agenda for AC and Board 28 meetings. It seems that Monsieur le President can count upon the unwavering support of Mr Kongstad in ensuring that the “rebels” do not get their way.
Whist it is clear to see how such underhand tactics can work, their success does beg a rather pressing question: how is it that the AC lets the President and Mr Kongstad get away with such blatant manipulation of the agenda?
I have my suspicions as to how this all works. A quick glance at the small number of delegations behind the submission of CA/32/17 (France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland) reveals that this seems to have been very much a minority effort. The other delegations are presumably less keen to rock the boat.
With so many delegations acting as BB’s “facilitators” (including by inaction or abstention on crucial matters), what is the betting that those pesky, unresolved issues (such as the continued, groundless suspension of a Board of Appeal member and the failure of the President to comply with the AC’s demands from March 2016) will effectively be “buried” for at least the remainder of BB’s term in office?
It beggars belief how shockingly impotent the AC has been rendered, especially in a period when the EPO has suffered the indignity of being held by a national court to be acting in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The only crumb of comfort that I take in all of this is that at least BB’s “facilitators” will be on the hook when the dirty secrets behind the AC’s impotence eventually (and inevitably) come to light.
Kongstad’s role in protecting Battistelli may become a heavy liability to him some time down the line. One has to wonder why he’s so desperate to defend rather than oust Battistelli. Quite a few comments in The Register raise similar questions.
As for EPO workers, they certainly are aware of the 'looting' of the Office. Not too long ago someone ‘leaked’ to us this document
[PDF] which says more about that. To quote a relevant section:
Functional allowance for top managers: the EPO as a self-service?
The functional allowances are currently – in a fully non-transparent way – reserved for colleagues working close to Principal Directors or Vice-Presidents or rendering special services to top management. GCC/DOC 7/2017 does not resolve this lack of transparency. Instead it increases the maximum amount of the allowance, and no longer excludes top managers from the list of beneficiaries. v
As a consequence, all managers, including Vice-Presidents, Principal Directors and Directors, could receive every year a functional allowance – without anyone being informed but themselves – of up to two months salary!
Would that be tolerated in an organisation — either public or private — where accountability exists? Further down it’s noted that: “In view of the complete lack of transparency in the attribution of such rewards, could not this current proposal simply be a perfect recipe for fraud?” (emphasis in the original)
“Would that be tolerated an in organisation — either public or private — where accountability exists?”It also says: “We also hear the concern that the new career is allowing straightforward appropriation of Office money to the benefit of few people in a fully non-transparent way. For example, from Communiqué 1/2017, it would appear that preparation (and/or participation) to some so-called strategic office-wide projects (like the social conference) may have influenced the final attribution of rewards in February 2016.”
Quite obviously, as the latter/last put puts it: “Staff is now (im)patiently waiting for the current top management to leave the Office. [...] Instead, the new “social democracy” version 2.0 shows that Mr Battistelli and Ms Bergot are more interested in suppressing the Staff Representation than in discussing anything with them.”
“Well, Battistelli could certainly pursue a patent on “method for destroying the world’s leading patent office in less than 5 years!””The “social democracy” buzzword was covered here before [1, 2] and it’s an insult both to society and to democracy when exploited by the EPO. The final words are these: “Is the Administrative Council willing to act before the consequences become irremediable? Or will the AC instead prefer to believe the President when he presents them with his alternative “facts” that somehow demonstrate that the EPO is the best place anywhere for employment and that quality improves hand in hand with productivity. This latter claim is unique in the world for a knowledge-based organisation like ours, so perhaps the EPO management have a secret patent pending on it? Time will tell.”
Well, Battistelli could certainly pursue a patent on “method for destroying the world’s leading patent office in less than 5 years!” He has already demonstrated that the method works. And he made plenty of money in the process, so there is material gain, not just an “inventive step”. █
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It was never meant to be as the UPC is inherently an enemy of Europeans
Summary: No Unified Patent Court in the UK and probably nothing like it in the rest of Europe any time soon (if ever)
WE don’t typically brag, but when it comes to the UPC, it’s a big “we told you so!”
“The UPC as we know it is dead. It’s a dead project whose only salvation might come through restructuring, renaming, etc.”We went against the current of EPO lies and Team UPC lies and we expect nothing to happen by tomorrow (when it comes to ratification in the UK). It throws the whole thing into a massive, inevitable limbo again. The UPC as we know it is dead. It’s a dead project whose only salvation might come through restructuring, renaming, etc.
For those who don’t know why the UPC is bad, see this press release that we co-authored earlier this month. The UPC is — among other things — about making outrageous patent scope, i.e. software patents, “universal” or “unified” in Europe. It’s a massive risk to Europe.
The Liar in Chief has just been to Brussels in one last (and desperate) effort to salvage the UPC, but he too begrudgingly contradicted himself by refuting previous statements that he made.
“Will IAM apologise for misleading readers?”IAM, the eternally-loyal propaganda mill of the Liar in Chief wrote about it yesterday: “Support for UPC among MEPs, says EPO president. But still no UK ratification & this week Article 50 is invoked.”
So who was right and who was wrong? Will IAM apologise for misleading readers? How about all that fake news that IAM has been spreading about Spain earlier this month? Yesterday we found this new article from Hogan Lovells (via social media and EPO insiders who told us about it). It’s titled “False alarm: Spain will not join the Unitary patent system after all,” but it was not a false alarm. It was just fake (or highly distorted) news from Team UPC firms. Their contagious lies (they said to each other what they wanted to believe) were accepted by many, included media, but as we said all along, Spain was definitely not close to ratification, for the following reasons:
(a) Spanish companies would not be able to file European patents with unitary effect (“Unitary patents”) in their own official language, Spanish.
(b) Since the Unitary patents would not need to be translated into Spanish in order to produce effects in Spain (unlike the case of “traditional” European patents), the Spanish companies would not benefit from the disclosures therein.
(c) The linguistic regime would also produce legal uncertainty for Spanish companies, which would have to respect the rights conferred by more than 95,000 new patents per year (not translated into Spanish). Spanish companies would, then, bear the costs of the relevant translations.
(d) Moreover, Spanish companies would be forced to plead in English, French or German in invalidity and non-infringement declaratory proceedings which would be heard by the Unitary Patent Court (“UPC”) central division. Spanish companies sued for infringement before the local divisions would also have to litigate in a language other than Spanish chosen by the patentee.
There is a campaign of lies not just inside the management of the EPO (which cannot stop lying even to its own staff, as recently as last week); the campaign of lies extends to Battistelli’s allies of convenience (Team UPC), who strive to see the UPC becoming a reality, even in the face of countless barriers. Their track record on accuracy is so utterly poor that anyone who pays such firms for ‘services’ or ‘advice’ is not just throwing money down the drain but probably does more harm than good. There won’t be UPC this year. There might never be a UPC at all (even outside Britain) as the EPO rots, Battistelli is widely seen as not credible, and serious questions are raised about the merit/potency of those patents which Battistelli wants to make ‘unitary’ (they’re not even worth the paper Jouve supposedly prints them on). █
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The Liar in Chief keeps lying about quality while it sinks to bottom low
Summary: Anything goes at the EPO, except dissent; any patent application seems to be grantable, provided one uses simple tricks and persists against overworked examiners who are pressured to increase so-called ‘production’
I USED TO be proud to say that we have the best patent office, which denies software patents among many other things. But today’s EPO is in shambles and it now grants patents on the same things which the USPTO no longer grants patents on. In simple terms, there has been a reversal of roles and right now the EPO looks like 'SIPO Europe'. It’s not only sad but also scary to humble companies whose entire operation is now at risk of falling prey to patent trolls.
Yesterday, a high-profile magazine published “Europe says University of California deserves broad patent for CRISPR” and for those who don’t know what CRISPR is about, start here. It’s one of those areas where the EPO’s patent scope has demonstrably gone bonkers. Even patents on life are now permitted (not just plants). To quote:
The European Patent Office (EPO) announced on 23 March its “intention to grant a patent” to the University of California (UC) for its broad-based claims about the genome-editing tool popularly known as CRISPR. UC, on behalf of several parties, has been in a pitched battle with the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, over CRISPR patents, and the new decision marks a sharp departure from the position of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
It’s unclear whether EPO’s actions will have any immediate impact. Companies already pay fees to these warring parties or their affiliates to license CRISPR patents. Some agreements cover international use of CRISPR to make products, and if the UC CRISPR patent stands up to challenges in Europe, companies that banked on the Broad may have to enter more licensing agreements. Companies technically do not need a license until they have a product on the market—that could take a decade for CRISPR-made medicines—but as Cook-Deegan notes, “Licensing is usually smoother and easier while there is still a veil of uncertainty so everyone has a stake in cutting the deal and gets a bit of what they want, even though they don’t know if the license is actually needed in the end.”
Remember that even the USPTO rejects it. Not the EPO…
And the same goes for software patents after Alice. In the US software patents have become rather toothless (more on that later today), but in the EPO they are actively advocated, as we last noted days ago. They even do this publicly. They have no shame about it, in spite of the ban on software patents in Europe. It’s like the EPO flagrantly ignores the law and spits on the EPC. Grant Philpott, for instance, promotes this whole “CII” nonsense, bypassing restrictions by semantics. Then there’s this long rant from yesterday, courtesy of Rui Seabra. Have a look:
Maybe it’s time for European software developers to write a little less code and write more about what goes on inside the EPO, clearly a pariah organisation. Not even the law can stop it from granting patents that are in defiance of the EPC. █
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