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

07.27.17

Value of European Patents (EPs) is Diminishing, EPs Get Invalidated, and EPO Insiders Bemoan the Management’s Lies About Patent Quality

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: EPO insiders (or affiliates nearby) explain just how bad patent quality has become — due to the management’s policies — and why it poses a threat to the attractiveness of the EPO (where the number of patent applications is already declining)

THIS is precisely what we’ve warned about. For nearly a decade of covering the EPO. The bar has been lowered so much that, according to IP Watch (earlier today), “Companies Prefer Trade Secrets To Patents To Protect Innovation, EUIPO Finds” (interpretation/analysis of the cause notwithstanding).

“In some people’s minds, the EPO is a failed institution whose remaining momentum is owed to its past glory.”They’re not wrong. Based on people whom I speak to regularly, the image of the EPO and the prestige — so to speak — of EPs just isn’t there anymore. In some people’s minds, the EPO is a failed institution whose remaining momentum is owed to its past glory. A lot of technical people in the UK read The Register and what they see there about strikes and tyranny not only repels them; it also harms the image of the EU. Such is the legacy of Battistelli…

A sister site of WIPR weighed in by mentioning a decision from Monday, albeit not directly noting that EPO grants of weak/bogus patents finally result in mass invalidations. It inevitably causes a reduction in the certainty of EPs and hence their overall value (real or perceived) — something that no stakeholder should be pleased with.

To quote:

A European Patent Office (EPO) Board of Appeal has published its decision that invalidated a patent owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) which covered a blockbuster anti-cancer drug.

Published on Monday, July 24, the decision invalidated European Patent number 1169038, a composition-of-matter patent covering dasatinib.

Dasatinib is a targeted therapy used to treat leukaemia sold under the brand name Sprycel. In 2016, the drug obtained worldwide revenues of $1.8 billion.

So another EP bites the dust. It should never have been granted and we can expect a lot more of that now that examiners are pressured to 'produce' more.

As mentioned here yesterday (we still hope that someone will leak the full text to us), EPO management now conflates time with quality. People were rather shocked to learn this. As the following comment put it:

That last comment from Anonymous made my jaw drop. Assessing “quality” on the basis of what one can measure? Seriously?

Amongst the things one can measure is the gap in time between paying the search fee and getting the search report.

Amongst the things one cannot measure is the “quality” of the search.

But nevertheless, EPO management announces that quality has increased, purely because the search reports are issuing faster.

What a joke!

Referring to the Croatian/German scandal we are covering (there's a lot more on the way), someone then wrote this:

Apparently, the content of the search or examination is of little interest to the department responsible for quality control, important is that they are out fast!

This sounds like the pioneering approach adopted by some smaller national IPOs a few years ago. Nice to see such techniques being successfully exported to the EPO.

“The acceleration of the administrative part of the proceedings, and thus the overall decision-making process on the merits of the matter, is in the interest of both the requester and the holder of the trademark.

In other words, upon receipt of a request for cancellation of a trademark, if it is in order, as required by Article 47 of the Trademark Act (Official Gazette 173/03, 76/07 and 30/09), the Office is required to forward the request to the holder of the trademark without any examination of the substantive merits, which was also done in this case.”

http://www.portaloko.hr/clanak/navode-oko-koruptivnih-djelatnosti-uz-slucaj-frgacic-u-potpunosti-odbacujemo/0/3812/

Since this whole threat is so old and marginalised (the ‘Kats’ give no newer opportunity to comment on EPO scandals without going off topic), we wish to reproduce today’s remaining comments as well (all 3 of them). Alison Brimelow (Battistelli’s predecessor) was mentioned below:

I see now that I was too quick to express my disgust, how the EPO measures “quality” of assessing patentability.

If I gather it right, the EPO does not claim that search quality has improved. Rather, the assertion is that it has “never been higher”. The difference is crucial. For any assessment that requires more than bean-counting or number crunching, the “never been higher” mantra is a safe one to utter, regardless how much it flies in the face of what we all know. Still, once BB defines “quality” as “timeliness”, he can of course get the answer he craves.

Thus, Donald Trump can safely assert that there has never been a US President of higher “quality” than himself, because never has a President spent fewer working days in The White House. He must be the greatest Decider of all time, right?

Or the NHS can safely assert that the “quality” of orthopaedic (or brain) surgery in English hospitals has “never been higher” because each patient today spends fewer days in a hospital ward than used to be the case.

As Alison Brimelow urged, getting EPO search reports out on time is important. But the core quality of the search is something entirely different. Just suppose that, even as we speak, “core quality” is going down, just as fast as “timeliness” is going up. If the EPO President defines “QQuality” as the aggregate of core quality and timeliness, then “QQuality has never been higher” than it is today, even while core quality is worse today than it has ever been.

Then an explanation of why quick decisions are not necessarily desirable — a point made recently by Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle):

It is quite ironical that at the time when the EPO pushes for quick grant, the UK IPO has published a blog warning about the deleterious effects a quick prosecution might have.

https://ipo.blog.gov.uk/2017/07/13/queuing-the-rule-of-6/

The most relevant part:
Can this [the grant procedure]be sped up?

Yes, but you should think carefully about whether a fast grant is in your best interests. For example, the earlier your patent application is published, the earlier the technology is in the public domain [at least quick publication can be avoided, as eventually all applications are published at 18 months].

Many applicants are happy to proceed to grant at a slower pace. This enables them to develop and plan the commercialisation and marketing of their invention, whilst the patent application process continues. It also gives them time to determine whether their invention is commercially viable before committing to a greater financial outlay.

Comment:
I doubt that anything more can be said, but that the communication between the EPO and some of the national patent offices appears to be sub-optimal, to say the least!

Finally, some figures from someone who knows things from the inside (on the face of it):

What people should know is that examiners do not have the time to do their job. Let me explain:
-examiners have an objective at the beginning of the year, let us say 100 files.
-these 100 files should be examination and search, e.g. 50 searches and 50 examinations or 60/40, etc…
-only end actions count in examination, so the 50 examinations can be 50 grants or 40 grants and 10 refusals, etc…
-if you don’t get your objective, you have a problem.

Basically, a few years ago the objective was reasonable. Say, you got 100 files to do and you could end up with 60 searches, 35 grants and 5 refusals.

Today, we have the combination of several factors at the same time:
-it is not 100, it was increased to 120 or 140 or more (examiners have no say in that, they can object an unreasonable increase but the complain will not lead anywhere). Let us say 120.
-the office is hiring plenty of new examiners, they get a high proportion of the searches (because they are starting, they have no stock).
-consequently, experience examiners get less searches. For example, for the 120 files objective, you would normally need 75 searches, but your director has only 30 in stock for you for the whole year. Suddenly, you need to do 120-30=90 examination files.
-now for the good part: only final actions count, but refusals take at least 6 months more. You need to summon for oral proceedings. You can either do your job correctly (and then you end up with 30 searches, 50 grants and 40 summons and are 40 files short or your objective as the summons do not count) or grant a few more “borderline” files to get to your objective.

I think that the only way out would be if the industry (applicants, representatives) would start to file oppositions massively. We still take the time to do a proper job on opposition files, while we don’t on pure examination files.

Very interesting and important comments have been relegated to a thread from about four months ago, buried deep in pagination (due to the number of comments posted there since). It probably won’t be the end of this thread about how quality of patents at the EPO went downhill. We’ll continue to keep an eye on followups because therein exist opportunities to pull anonymous insights from inside the Office.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  2. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  3. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer



  4. FFPE EPO Has Rendered Itself Obsolete by Liaising With Benoît Battistelli

    FFPE EPO has been left out of staff representation, demonstrating that liaising with the oppressor is a self-deprecating move which must be avoided (the only remaining potent union is SUEPO)



  5. Links 4/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 'Personal Edition', Atari VCS Coming Soon

    Links for the day



  6. [Humour/Meme] The 'New' Edge (Chrome Copycat) is Already Dead, So Microsoft is Trying to Just Kill the Competition

    Edge market share is so minuscule that it doesn’t even make it into this chart (it’s in “other”); no wonder Microsoft now bullies Windows users into using it, for users reject it even after months of endless advertising/AstroTurfing and aggressive exploitation/appropriation



  7. Fourth of July in the United Kingdom and the United States

    In these bizarre times Independence Day is still being celebrated, even as so many people are out of work, running out of hope and being fed xenophobia in social control media with a racist 'celebrity' president (the "user in chief")



  8. [Humour] Bigger is Always Better When You're a Deluded Maximalist

    The EPO totally lost sight of its mission; it's just speeding everything up, very carelessly, not minding quality and accuracy/certainty/legal validity



  9. 'Managing Intellectual Property' Managing to Become Uncritical Parrot of EPO Management

    Managing to amplify the EPO's lies isn't hard; one just needs to copy, paste, edit a little; then they call it 'journalism', irrespective of the proven track record of EPO management lying to staff and to the media



  10. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 03, 2020



  11. Monopoly Abuse, Still: Microsoft Pays Projects to Embrace/Move to C#, GitHub and Visual Studio

    Microsoft's greatest of efforts to lull regulators into inaction and fool us all into thinking that things have changed are undone by actual behaviour, which is abusive, anti-competitive and just... typical Microsoft



  12. Links 4/7/2020: Grml 2020.06 and diffoscope 150 Released

    Links for the day



  13. [Humour/Meme] Don't Let a COVID Crisis Go to Waste When You're Eager to Find Excuses for Many Layoffs and Shutdowns

    Microsoft business units that were defunct (long-failing, well before COVID-19) are being thrown out and Microsoft exploits a virus to rationalise these decisions while spicing up media coverage with "Hey Hi" (AI) and "virtual" experience or Facebook (to give the false impression that nothing really goes away)



  14. Free Software Tackles Political Issues. Political Tactics Are Also Being Weaponised Against Free Software.

    Divide-and-rule tactics seem to have been exploited to weaken collaborative work on Free/libre software; the response to these tactics needs to start with realisation that this is going on (even if it's done in a somewhat clandestine nature)



  15. Offence and Racism

    o those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation



  16. Links 3/7/2020: TrueNAS 12 Beta 1, Librem 13 Product Line

    Links for the day



  17. [Humour] European Patents Only Useful Outside the Legal Framework?

    Patents that aren't valid in the eyes of courts would best serve patent trolls that settle out of courts, en masse



  18. Microsoft's Share in Web Servers Rapidly Falls to Just 4.5% (Falling More Than 5% in a Single Month)

    Microsoft's share as measured at Netcraft (de facto authority in this area) is rapidly declining; expect IIS to go the way of the dodo some time in the coming years



  19. The Lock-downs Are Over and Still Zero Media Coverage About EPO Scandals and Corruption

    The appalling state of journalism in Europe (and to some extent in the world at large) means that the EPO's management can get away with all sorts of horrible crimes and fraud; the silencing of the media is, in its own right, quite scandalous



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 02, 2020



  21. “Microsoft's Deadly Love” by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)

    Full credit goes to PCLOS Magazine for publishing this good piece, which we’re reproducing



  22. Links 2/7/2020: Microsoft Partner Says GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops at 4% Even After Lock-downs, OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 and Mageia 8 Alpha 1 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Why People Should Never Ever Use DuckDuckGo

    DuckDuckGo is another privacy abuser in disguise; the above forum thread enumerates key reasons



  24. After 2 Years and 2 Days António Campinos is a Perfect Leader, Fostering EPO Abuses While Smiling

    EPO corruption persists, but this time the corruption enjoys better marketing/PR and complicit (or at best silent) media



  25. [Humour] As If Monopolies for Life Will Save People's Lives...

    The mentality of monopoly or the mindset of patent maximalism has been quick to exploit the deaths of half a million



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 01, 2020



  27. IBM-Funded FSF Censors Itself on Software Patents

    Donald Robertson’s article bemoaning and openly condemning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) over software patents, which it illegally grants in some cases, was modified a week later; and why? One can only guess… (but remember that the FSF’s foremost sponsor is lobbying against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for software patents)



  28. [Humour/Meme] Remember That As Recently as Last Year Microsoft Was Still Shaking Down and Even Suing Companies Over 'Linux Patent Infringement'

    There's no 'new Microsoft' except a (better at) lying Microsoft; its covert actions tell us a lot about its ongoing hatred of GNU/Linux, which it is assaulting in new and more sophisticated ways



  29. Contrary to Common Misconceptions, Free Software is More 'Corporate' or More 'Enterprise-Grade' Than Proprietary Abandonware (All Proprietary Software Will Die)

    Free software can leverage the superficial and bland boardroom lingo/slang to promote itself; it would definitely harm or dilute/weaken the terms which proprietary software giants like to leverage against us



  30. Social Control Media Will Not Exist One Day

    Digital obsolescence and Internet bitrot — that’s what Social Control Media is really good for; as many Google+ ‘users’ (useds) found out, they’re just being ‘farmed’ for their ‘content’, which is neither valuable nor resilient (definitely of no value to Google)


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