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04.25.17

EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aktuelle Informationen zu den Sitzungen

Summary: Conflict between management and staff — a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli — continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)

T

WO hours ago (at the earliest), based on this page, there was a Freie Wähler motion for EPO workers who are being abused in Germany. It can go on almost until midnight, or the window for this motion will be some time from 2 hours ago until 10 PM GMT. The “basic rights for EPO employees,” SUEPO explains, “will be discussed today, 25.04.2017, between 14.00-23.00…”

“Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost…”“Unfortunately,” SUEPO continues, “we cannot inform you on the exact time. We can only inform you that it is motion 23 of 29 motions to be discussed.”

We can only wait and hope that someone in Germany (or someone who understands German) will publish the outcome, transcript, etc. We’ll happily accept and of course publish anything to that effect if it’s sent to us.

Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost (his political affiliation disqualifies him by the way, just like his age, making him strictly unsuitable for his position). Here is a comment posted in relation to the outcome of the election (first round):

Bad evening for Battistelli : crooked Fillon lost it!

Indeed Battistelli placed until very recently, his hope in Fillon’s election (they both belong the same political party Les Republicains). He was heard in Munich telling with his usual arrogance that should Fillon win, he would get a three years’ extension

well Benoit, time for a change? En Marche back in St Germain !

http://techrights.org/2017/04/23/board-of-epo-and-servregs/

Battistelli should never have been given the job of President (of EPO). He is a political figure. It’s not allowed. But Battistelli, being Battistelli, breaks all the rules and lies all the time. The man is a chronic liar. It has gotten so bad that every time he speaks out (it has been a while) it’s guaranteed to be a lie and this is why we call him the Liar in Chief.

Recall the latest article from The Register; it was neatly split into four parts: Battistelli’s claims (lies), refutation from stakeholders, refutation from insiders, then an attack on insiders who say the truth. The third part contained some new information (not covered here before) and it noted “a stunning 99 per cent conformity” at the EPO, which means that Battistelli turned the EPO into another FISA/FISC, i.e. rubberstamping operation. To quote from page 2:

At the same time that the EPO management has relentlessly pushed to speed up processes, it has had maintained a second keen focus on quality, knowing full well that the entire Battistelli experiment could fall apart if the quality of patent examination is seen to suffer.

Ominously, however, as soon as the reforms started taking effect EPO management introduced a new approach to quality measurement that removed many of its independent aspects and put them under the control of the president and his team. In addition, an effort to speed up the process, combined with an aggressive clampdown on staff by management, has undermined the process for critical evaluation of patents.

Previously, the three-person team working on a given patent case would work together and then the chair in each case would do a quick quality check at the end of that process to confirm all was fine.

Under the new system, the chair is expected to weigh in earlier and lodge any concerns in the EPO’s Conformity Assurance for Search and Examination (CASE) system before talking to the first evaluator. The subsequent conversation on those points is then also lodged in the system.

The end result of this change is any errors that were previously caught at the earliest stages become a part of the record: so either the first examiner is seen to have made a mistake or the chair is seen to have falsely flagged a problem.

The end result of that, according to internal figures that The Register has seen is that there is less critically analysis being applied to applications rather than more as examiners worry about EPO management blaming them for, ironically, bringing down quality metrics.

Prior to the change, there was a 85-88 per cent conformity rate i.e. agreement between examiners; after the change, a stunning 99 per cent conformity. Battistelli’s team, convinced that their pressure tactics are simply causing people to work harder and better, view the results as validating their approach when in reality it undermines it.

But just as the EPO is increasingly unable to keep a lid on the impact of its “early certainty” program, so the knock-on impact on EPO report quality is starting to overwhelm the management’s efforts to contain it.

At the last meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council, when the management team outlined their unlikely double-whammy of more patent application approvals while quality also rose, staff union representatives gently suggested that the figures were not showing the full picture.

Astounding, isn’t it?

No matter if one is an examiner, an attorney, lawyer or whatnot, this isn’t good. It’s not good at all. It’s almost as though the EPO covertly adopted 'registration' only, just like in France. It means that stakeholders are overpaying, examiners are made almost redundant (their skills aren’t being put to proper use), they are compelled to operate like machines and get sacked if they refuse to. Who takes the blame for all this? Not the management.

Battistelli is now doing the same thing to judges and notice the following remarkable comment:

As I have heard Americans refer to Patent Agents and Patent Atttorneys as “Patent Lawyers”, for the benefit of our transatlantic cousins, perhaps Mr. Justice Birss’ comment that that “… you don’t have to have a science degree to be a great patent lawyer” requires qualification. As far as the UK is concerned, the statement may well be true for someone who wishes to qualify as a Barrister or Solicitor with a view to specialising in Intellectual Property: however, in order to sit the qualifying exams for a UK Patent Attorney or a European Patent Attorney, a degree in Science or Engineering is normally essential. As an exception the EPO does allow candidates who have a technical qualification that is not of the required academic standard may be allowed to sit if they can offer sufficient post-qualification experience in industry.

Well, not anymore. First of all, the EPO almost stopped hiring judges (see the sad state of the appeal boards), as if the only judges to be hired are seen as UPC placeholders. Some insiders have openly hypothesised that Battistelli hopes to just demolish the EPO, negligently deal with the remaining pending patents, and get the UPC off the ground, even if it’s not possible due to Brexit and other show-stopping barriers.

In blunt terms, the EPO has truly become a clusterf*ck under Battistelli. Everyone knows it and everybody suffers from it.

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A Single Comment

  1. katkatkat said,

    April 27, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Gravatar

    People, do not make yourself too many illusions! Battistelli has already announced that he intends to further prolong his mandate. He has the support of the small contracting states whose votes he buys with plenty of cooperation money (there is no control on this and plenty of money is available).
    He will proceed this way: 1) make sure that the post is not timely announced; 2) make the sacrifice and accept to remain at the request of the majority of the small states. A very simple strategy.
    The big contracting states will have to accept: France for the pride: UK does not exist; the Germans do not care; the Dutch will have their building; Italy is totally irrelevant etc.
    A disaster for the EPO !

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