06.11.17

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European Patent Office May Become Just a Mirage of Examination Office, Much Like INPI (France)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Immolating the European Patent Office (EPO)

Hot road mirage
Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory

Summary: The depressing vision of Benoît Battistelli, whose EPO is collapsing (EPs losing value, applications throughput declining, staff leaving)

THE long-prevailing rumours inside the EPO (insiders) suggest that Battistelli is abolishing examiners to make the EPO more like INPI, the office which he came from. Decisions on patents, he believes, should be left for courts (e.g. UPC) to decide on, not some examiners and certainly no independent oppositions and appeal boards. It’s not hard to see why this is a recipe for disaster, especially harming small companies that are incapable of putting together funds for lengthy court battles (a vortex of appeals included).

“It’s not hard to see why this is a recipe for disaster, especially harming small companies that are incapable of putting together funds for lengthy court battles (a vortex of appeals included).”The other day we saw Bastian Best, a proponent of software patents (no, he is not a software developer), stating: “Good to see that the French courts align with the EPO when it comes to software patents…”

Benjamin Henrion, who actually does develop software (as do I), noted this “[a]lignment of French courts on EPO case law regarding computer-implemented inventions” and linked to this post which states:

Like in the Sesame decision, I must say that I am quite impressed by the capacity of French legal judges to level up to EPO case law’s subtleties in the area of software patentability, which is not known as the most limpid literature even to technical practitioners such as European patent attorneys.

So it certainly seems as though software patents have been pushed into Europe from the back door under Battistelli’s watch (to some degree Brimelow’s also). It’s catastrophic to software companies, which understand the growing threat of patent trolls.

At the same time, the EPO is trying to expand the reach of such patents. See this new puff piece about Battistelli’s plan to produce shoddy services around automated (and flawed) translations. It says: “The service now receives approximately 15,000 translation requests on average every day, mostly from India, Japan, Russia and the United States. This is in addition to requests coming from the EPO member states, according to EPO President Benoît Battistelli.”

“This should not only scare examiners but also software developers and all sorts of companies that merely use software, i.e. virtually every company in Europe.”Benoît Battistelli is actually clueless (or greedy) enough to think that machine translation gives something workable. He also wrote about it in his ‘blog’ some days ago. (warning: epo.org link, which can unmask IP addresses once clicked)

We predict that Battistelli will pursue a France-centric UPC, with minimal examination (just filing/registration), perhaps with him sitting at the top, in spite of his age approaching 70 and his decision-making abilities being utterly deficient. The man is crooked. This should not only scare examiners but also software developers and all sorts of companies that merely use software, i.e. virtually every company in Europe.

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