Summary: Deepening concerns about human rights abuses “in the middle of the capital of Bavaria.”
EARLIER on in the day we mentioned a report in German (for a change) about the EPO. It was made before the parliamentary session, not afterwards. As promised, here is the English translation, prepared by a reader of ours:
THE FREIE WÄHLER (FREE VOTERS) CRITICISE ENCROACHEMENTS ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AT THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE IN MUNICH. The Freie Wähler are, once more, severely criticising senior management of the European Patent Office in Munich. According to Gabi Schmidt, Member of the Bavarian Parliament, and on the European Committee of the Bavarian Parliament, many members of staff have been complaining for years about harassment and intimidation. “There is still no sufficient control over the despotism of the EPO President, Benoît Battistelli. Since the EPO is an extra-state institution, German employment law is not valid there. However, we can no longer accept that the basic rights of staff are being trampled underfoot – and that it is happening in the middle of the capital of Bavaria.” On Thursday, in a plenary session of the Bavarian Parliament, Schmidt will invite the Bavarian government to act, within the scope of its powers, against the harassment of staff. “We can no longer merely observe as 3700 employees are at the mercy of the despotism of the man at the top.” Schmidt criticises how the President had set up an investigation unit without legal basis, how employees are restricted when sick, and how office management had attacked the basic function of the staff union. “EPO management should actually be controlled by the Administrative Council. Germany has, after all, a vote and the EU Commission anyway enjoys observer status,” criticises Schmidt. However, until now there have been no measurable improvements. “The Administrative Council declared last December that its instructions to the management about the social situation had not been followed at all – but still nothing has happened.” Today the Bavarian MP from Uehlfeld will request in the plenary session that the Bavarian government supports the staff at both national and European levels.
If anyone has any input about what happened during the session, please get in touch. The more people know, the more likely redemption becomes. Battistelli has distaste for information and a sweet tooth for lies. Facts are habitually being suppressed by intimidation and retaliation (recall an example from just weeks ago). █
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Watch what role IAM is playing here…
Summary: Linux-powered operating systems are under attack from software patents in China and in Europe while sites like IAM do everything they can to promote patent trolls, the UPC, and other aggressive means of extracting money from one’s competition
CONTRARY to what Margot Fröhlinger claims on behalf of Battistelli, the UPC would not be desirable to Asian companies. Some of them already suffer from patent trolls in Europe as well as in Asia — a problem to be further exacerbated by UPC-like regimes.
“The operating systems are Tizen and Android.”Published a few days ago by the EPO's eternal mouthpiece was this article which conflates software patenting with “pro-innovation line”; It says that “SIPO guidelines [...] on business method and software claims [...] looks to boost its burgeoning internet and e-commerce sector,” but in reality it just means more trolling and litigation. China’s patent maximalism, as is evidenced from the news a day or two ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], punishes Korean giants. These software patents from China are now being used against Samsung. ChannelNews said that “Huawei Wins $15.4m Patent Case Against Samsung” over “fourth-generation (4G) cellular communications technology, operating systems and user interface software…”
The operating systems are Tizen and Android. As CNET notes in its own coverage of this, it comes almost in conjunction with a “separate case [in which] Huawei has been warned by the UK High Court to pay a global license fee for patents from US software company Unwired Planet to avoid intellectual property infringement in the UK or risk being barred from selling its phones…”
“We urge readers to keep abreast of what IAM is cheering for here: trolls and UPC. Both are funding sources of IAM.”This case, as we noted here before the weekend, demonstrates that patent trolls are penetrating London and succeeding there. A ‘unitary’ effect would be even more devastating.
The spinners from IAM, however, see it differently (they are paid to see it differently). “Huawei case also shows that in addition to Germany NPEs can get injunctions in the UK in FRAND/SEP cases. That’s Europe’s big 2 venues sorted [...] And this is without the UPC,” they noted. “If that does get up and running, there will be a number of British and German judges on the bench.”
We urge readers to keep abreast of what IAM is cheering for here: trolls and UPC. Both are funding sources of IAM.
“Bristows are some of the worst liars out there, so anyone pursuing a “piece” or “paper” from them is looking for nothing but propaganda.”Recently, IAM has been cheering for the trolls of Ericsson almost every day. They’re attacking. Their target (defendant) is Linux/Android. Two days ago, IAM promoted Ericsson’s patent troll (Unwired Planet) even twice in a single day, serving to reinforce IAM’s role as the trolls’ propaganda rag. They refer to the troll as “NPE Unwired Planet” and also say that “IAM commissioned a piece from UK law firm Bristows…” (so the EPO pays a PR firm, which in turn pays IAM, which then pays Bristows, which also happens to lobby for the trolls’ dream, the UPC).
Bristows are some of the worst liars out there, so anyone pursuing a “piece” or “paper” from them is looking for nothing but propaganda.
“We previously noted that Ericsson and Microsoft now use a similar strategy — the strategy of passing patents for trolls to attack rivals.”Well, such is the nature of IAM and its neighbourhood. They’re a propaganda mill disguised as 'news'. In their latest issue, as usual, they are whitewashing Microsoft’s patent racketeering and stating: “Based on different continents and very different in size, Microsoft and Fractus are united by a sophisticated understanding of IP value which is delivering tangible results. Others would be well advised to heed their example…” (advocacy of patent trolling, courtesy of the trolls-loving friends at IAM).
We previously noted that Ericsson and Microsoft now use a similar strategy — the strategy of passing patents for trolls to attack rivals. This isn’t innovation; it’s just aberration. █
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Battistelli’s EPO and litigation firms resort to lies, distortions and outright bullying of critics
Summary: Response to the latest lies and half-truths that are being disseminated by a bunch of litigation businesses aided by Battistelli and his henchmen (or henchwomen, like Margot Fröhlinger)
TECHRIGHTS is anything but new to the UPC plans, which were known as all sorts of other things over the years (“harmonisation”, “EU Patent” etc.) and people can find articles on the subject going nearly a decade back. We are on pretty solid ground when it comes to the subject and we can easily spot lies, then report them in public. Not many other sites are both capable and willing to do this. We are neither obsessed, nor do we respond in vain. It has become very apparent that Techrights has become the #1 enemy of Team UPC (a conspiracy of few law firms looking to make a lot of money from the UPC and thus lobbying for it at huge private expense). This post is an assorted rebuttal to some of the latest lies, as well as observations made by various people who prefer to remain anonymous.
The other day someone asked: “Did the UKIPO really say that the UK government was fully on track with regard to the UPC? Can’t find it.”
“We are on pretty solid ground when it comes to the subject and we can easily spot lies, then report them in public.”We wrote about that the other day, after we had spotted something rather dodgy at Managing IP.
We suppose that it’s possible someone said something on the phone, but it’s definitely not an official statement. Yet they paint is as official policy, just like they framed a 5% vote at 1:30 AM as something very official (more on that later, for this nonsense is still being repeated by Team UPC). Lies by omission have become a common strategy among Team UPC, which means we must always dig deeper and fact-check everything they say. Remember these highly misleading claims about Spain back in March. How can they get away with that?
“Allusions” and “Omissions” is what someone we spoke to called it. This person too recognises that Team UPC is being rather disingenuous. “Great way of communicating with the world,” this person sarcastically dubbed it, but they are desperate, no doubt, albeit it’s no excuse for this strategy, which clearly involves misleading potential clients.
“Is this the new normal?”
Well, apparently so.
“Did the UKIPO really say that the UK government was fully on track with regard to the UPC? Can’t find it.”
–AnonymousWe have stressed this repeatedly in this site and elsewhere: nothing that Team UPC says should be taken seriously (without a barrel of salt).
As one person put it the other day: “Quite frankly, the opinion of this author whose firm is heavily invested in the UPC is as biased and thus irrelevant as that of the other UPC proponents. They are all in vain trying to cherrypick from the apparent mess something to suit their needs and further their agenda. Whether it’s Tilmann, Mooney, Hoyng or now Mr Smyth.”
“Yes,” somebody later told us, “they all have a vested interest in this succeeding…”
But at what cost?
What we now have is an unprecedented mess, wherein lawyers can be assumed liars (at least about the UPC) and customers are habitually being misled. Many of them don’t even realise this. In the mean time, business are being lied about, not just to. The UPC is definitely not desirable to us who create things (e.g. software), yet patent lawyers tell the world, politicians included, that businesses want the UPC. They don’t. They don’t need patents in other countries if at all. Some have signed a petition to clarify this and a group representing SMEs condemned claims that UPC is desirable to SMEs. AstroTurfing like the EPO now?
“They are all in vain trying to cherrypick from the apparent mess something to suit their needs and further their agenda. Whether it’s Tilmann, Mooney, Hoyng or now Mr Smyth.”
–AnonymousYesterday someone anonymous wrote: “Even in-house lawyers (not patent attorneys, but the other kind, who can call themselves ‘patent attorneys’ for no sensible reason I can think of) are planning to risk their employers’ assets by taking the unitary patent route. In regards to the ‘assertion’ “How numerous are likely to be CJEU referrals by the UPC anyway?”, was the same question asked by Smythe et al when the SPC regulation was drafted?”
Only a fools would put any eggs in the UPC basket, as it's a sinking ship.
Last night we found this new article titled ‘Europe’s unitary patent system will boost Korean firms’ (a blatant lie right there in the headline).
We can’t help but speculate; Did Battistelli’s hired PR firm pay for these lies to be printed, or did Team UPC pay for these lies to be spread in Korea? Who knows… all we know is, “Margot Froehlinger, the principal director for unitary patent, European and international legal affairs at the European Patent Office ECCK” managed to seed these lies in yet another continent’s press (maybe there is similar coverage in Hangul). She has become Battistelli’s most prominent mouthpiece on UPC matters, as we noted here before [1, 2, 3]. Irrespective of Margot Fröhlinger, we have spotted yet more self-serving nonsense printed as though it was factual.
Marks & Clerk Distortions
“Even in-house lawyers (not patent attorneys, but the other kind, who can call themselves ‘patent attorneys’ for no sensible reason I can think of) are planning to risk their employers’ assets by taking the unitary patent route.”
–AnonymousWatch this new puff piece/marketing disguised as an article in the Scottish Legal. The headline says nothing about it being an advertisement for Marks & Clerk, which promotes software patents in Europe and is regularly helping Battistelli’s agenda. Further down in this ‘article’, which parrots EPO talking points, it’s made apparent that it’s not from a journalist but from “Tim Hargreaves, chartered (UK) and European patent attorney, and partner, at Marks & Clerk’s Edinburgh office…”
His colleague is meanwhile lobbying for the UPC. The first sentence of this new ‘article’ of hers (marketing by Karen Fraser from Marks & Clerk) is an utter lie. It repeats the above-mentioned lie/fabrication:
Following the UK Government’s announcement that it will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) are expected to go live in December 2017, subject also to ratification of the UPC Agreement by Germany. Applicants will then have a choice between obtaining the “traditional” bundle of national patents that has always been available under the European Patent Convention (EPC), and a unitary patent on the basis of European patent applications granted by the European Patent Office. This applies to all newly filed European patent applications and to currently pending European patent applications, as long as they are granted after unitary patents become available and as long as they currently designate all participating states.
That’s a gross representation of what is actually happening. Francisco Moreno said: “Useful information if the go-live date is December 2017 or later. Waste of time if this unitary patent system never becomes available…”
“Waste of time if this unitary patent system never becomes available…”
–Francisco MorenoBased on where it stands in the UK (which the above article is about), it’s not going anywhere, hence it is, as Francisco Moreno puts it, “waste of time” (and money, which firms like Marks & Clerk would pocket after they gave misleading/poor advice).
British Special Interests
Remember that firms like Marks & Clerk or Bristows are trying to write the very law that would govern them (if they succeeded at this mass manipulation campaign that is still ongoing). The UPC “is just a theory and pipe dream at this stage,” I told this former ‘Kat’ (David Pearce), “but lawyers lie. That’s what they’re paid for.”
“UK courts are thorough and generally get it right. A good proportion of asserted patent are invalid in some way.”
–David Pearce“Obviously,” he said in relation to another thing, noting that those lobbying for the UPC are “mainly big litigation firms who have something to gain.”
Like IAM and its funding sources, which include the EPO’s PR firm that paid IAM for pro-UPC events?
On another occasion, David Pearce responded to IAM and Erick Robinson, after they had said that “unlike Germany or China, the UK invalidates patents like they are going out of style. Sort of like the US.”
“Not a very fair assessment,” he said. “UK courts are thorough and generally get it right. A good proportion of asserted patent are invalid in some way.”
“Like IAM and its funding sources, which include the EPO’s PR firm that paid IAM for pro-UPC events?”Later today we are going to write about UK courts ruling in favour of a patent troll — a subject already covered here the other day. It would have been far worse if UPC was in effect.
German Special Interests
Postponed again (as always) is the UPC ratification process in Germany. It’s in a limbo. The UK is not ratifying, hence (as expected) the Germans have no point ratifying either. The crucial point is, the UK cannot ratify, or cannot stay in the UPC after leaving the EU. But UPC hopefuls try to spin that with “Postponed is not abandoned – German proverb.”
“The UK is not ratifying, hence (as expected) the Germans have no point ratifying either.”Christopher Weber and Alexander Esslinger are still fantasising, saying that “[t]he process of formal ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement by the UK is unlikely to be completed until mid-July,” citing Team UPC. So once again they are pushing back the dates. Not too long ago they pushed back as far as 2018. They must have realised by now that even believing their own lies would be rather unreasonable.
Bristows, in the meantime, repeats the old lies about Germany (the magnitude of the distortion is a must see). Bristows’ Richard Pinckney wrote the other day [via] that “the laws authorising Germany to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement and to amend the national patent law have been approved by the Bundestag (parliament) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council), the draft law (bill 18/11238) to enable Germany to ratify the UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (PPI) is at an earlier stage.”
“They must have realised by now that even believing their own lies would be rather unreasonable.”Did he mention that only about 5% voted? No? Not convenient a fact? How much longer will they carry on with these fantasies? Nick Kounoupias, a “UK solicitor and IP expert” by his own description, published this article titled “Was it a dream?”
“UK patents will remain unaffected,” he explained, “and US based businesses and individuals owning UK patents will still be able to enforce UK patents within the borders of the UK. However, overseas businesses operating within the UK could still obtain unitary patents and deal with the new UPC but only for use outside the UK.”
“As we see it, the UPC is a dead — or at best dying — project, but those who counted so much on it succeeding refuse to see it and try to blind others too.”That’s a loaded statement which assumes that the UPC will somehow become a reality, with or without the UK participating. “Patent law has not yet been harmonized across the EU,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “so there should be little change to the present position…”
As we see it, the UPC is a dead — or at best dying — project, but those who counted so much on it succeeding refuse to see it and try to blind others too. They still believe they can somehow salvage this thing by gross distortion while the EPO goes down in flames. █
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Taking the Office on a cruise to nowhere
Summary: Eclectic news and views about the European Patent Office, which neither workers nor stakeholders (like clients) are happy about
AS noticed by this comment and several of our readers (who had told us about it), there is already this new report on the Bavarian Parliament discussing the EPO situation, as was planned. We don’t want to attempt to conclude anything based on automated or faulty translations and someone has already volunteered to translate it for us. Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, with controversial plans to send appeal boards to ‘exile’ (in Haar) already materialised, the final part — this one about BoA — comes out of Thorsten Bausch as part of his 4-installment series. Some people at IP Kat have already taken note, as did SUEPO. Bausch says that “TBA 3.3.02 now seems to be completely dysfunctional, with only one technical member left.” So if the person is ill, there is not even anyone to acknowledge communications. Here are some of the relevant passages from Bausch:
TBA 3.3.02 now seems to be completely dysfunctional, with only one technical member left.
To be fair to the EPO management, the number of legal BoA members slightly increased in 2016, but this does little, if anything, to solve the problem since usually the technical members act as juges rapporteurs in opposition appeal cases and draft the decisions.
One should expect a competent Office President to take decisive action against the BoAs’ serious understaffing, yet in lieu of that the President seems to be obsessed by the idea that the problem can be tackled by “measures to increase efficiency” (whatever this may mean), including the appointment of a new President of the Boards of Appeal and (again) amended Rules of Procedure…
See what Battistelli has done?
One reader recently told us: “I’ve heard the words “lame duck” being used about Battistelli (should he not decide to prolong his reign). Considering what’s going on at the EPO right now and which plans are in store that’s a naive assumption. If there was no method to the EPO madness engulfing the office now it appears there’s some method, and this is to run it down at full power.
- Treating the staff like assembly line workers. In August there will be introduced ID access cards able to register the time of entry in and exit from the office in order to control the effective time spent at work. It’s only that each examiner has a yearly production to achieve so checking whether he’s done this in less or more of the 8 hour 45 min time seems to be useless. Could a patent attorney imagine his working day being [like this]?
- The issue of mega-directorates. Battistelli and his HR brains have thought that one could cut down on the directors by merging directorates and having 60 people under one director. Thus a saving of more than 1/3 or the directors could be achieved (leaving roughly 70 out of over 100). The work of a director will then be delegated to team leaders who will do a director’s job for merely some hundreds of EUR a month, non-pensionable.
- 3-year contracts for newcomers starting next year. Undoubtedly there will be candidates for any job in the world but will the EPO still recruit the best candidates when they know that their job doesn’t involve any certainty? Anybody leaving the office after a cycle of three years, be it three or a multiple of three, will certainly consider the lack of a wide range of jobs, like in any other position on the market. It’s going to [be tough as] patent attorney and starting from the bottom, or nothing.
- Early certainty for the examination. Was commented before by a patent attorney so we have the voice of a user who’s far from pleased with the idea. What it means for the examiners is that more and more fields are suffering from lack of applications so the examiners are doing only examination and rarely any searches, just waiting for files that so far don’t arrive. If things continue like this, in spite of the huge success [trumpeted by Battistelli], many examiners will remain without enough work. What is the conclusion? Mass firings and replacement by novices under 3-year contracts seem to be the logical step. That this should also entail a lower quality does not seem to bother Battistelli and his henchmen. They already got through their bonus…
SUEPO has already mentioned these bonuses. █
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