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08.05.17

EPO Directors Who Care About Patent Quality Are Being Kicked Out as Quality Continues to Plunge

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Leaked E-mails From the EPO’s Roberto Vacca Reveal That Patent Quality at the European Patent Office Has Become Farcical

Scaramucci'd
Reference: Scaramucci’d

Summary: In an expected move which serves nobody but the rogue management, particular high-level people reportedly lose their job, especially if they are “known to defend the quality of the search and examination process.” (like judges of the besieged appeal boards)

THE EPO makes even the US patent system look relatively good. The EPO, as far as patent scope goes, is clearly out of control; it continues to grant more patents on life before the appeal boards even get a chance to weigh in. Might this too result in en masse invalidations some time down the line? We found 4 articles/press releases about it at the end of the week [1, 2, 3, 4]. At around the same time Alexander Esslinger wrote about this subject (“EPO indicated allowability of a patent to Merck’s MilliporeSigma for use of CRISPR to splice genetic information into eukaryotic cells”) and published this blog post about software patents in Europe, noting that — on the face of it (albeit inadvertently)– the EPO no longer minds patent quality…

“The EPO, as far as patent scope goes, is clearly out of control; it continues to grant more patents on life before the appeal boards even get a chance to weigh in.”“This decision,” he explained, “may also prove to be helpful for inventors seeking to obtain patent protection in Europe for distributed or serverless applications based on distributed-ledger or blockchain technologies if the application of these technologies for the particular task was not technically obvious at the respective priority date.”

But these are software patents. Nothing physical about these.

It certainly looks as though, judging by the latest comments at IP Kat, examiners worry about patent quality too (still). Here is one of the latest comments:

Inquire as to what happened to the examining division which granted the building site wagon with a window to be used as hair dresser saloon.

Why? What happened to them?

Here is one answer:

Some questions do not deserve a reply. Here is one of this kind.

Here’s more:

This information was of primarily use for examiners.

As the case was in mechanics, it will be easy for an examiner in mechanics to gain knowledge of what happened.

Being too curious can lead to being nosy, and that is not nice.

Nothing more to say.

There are reportedly staff cut too (heads included), more so for those who are still conscious/caring for quality of patents:

The last news of the ongoing reorganisation were published yesterday. Directorates have been grouped and as a consequence less directors are necessary. As you may know, traditionally, directors are the ones reporting on the examiners and controlling the quality of their work. Some directors took that part of their job quite seriously, others mainly looked at the quantity of the production and did not mind when some corners were cut.

Guess what? The directors who saw their posts disappear where just the ones known to defend the quality of the search and examination process. As on 1/1/18, they will all be out of a job.

Another “coincidence”, as Minnoye would have said

In the meantime, the boards of appeal can barely function because they’re understaffed and afraid of retaliation (similar to the above). How can they be expected to rule objectively? Well, we've made a copy (earlier today) of the new paper from Siegfried Broß. Thankfully, thought leaders are already aware of these issues.

“It’s no secret, as some very prominent people have pointed out over the years, that UPC would be used to leverage and cement software patents in Europe.”Last night there was a talk about the relation/connection between the UPC and lack of patent quality. Benjamin Henrion (FFII) spoke about it last year. “I will talk at 9PM on Unitary Software Patents coming to Europe, at SHA2017,” he wrote last night. We had mentioned this talk before. It’s no secret, as some very prominent people have pointed out over the years, that UPC would be used to leverage and cement software patents in Europe. We can’t allow this to happen.

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