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09.22.17

The EPO’s Latest Lies About the UPC and SMEs Unraveled, Long-Term Plan Described as Daunting

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli sets up Europe for patent trolls and abuse

Troll bookSummary: The vision of Battistelli and the latest lies (about SMEs) are being criticised anonymously — for fear of retaliation — as Europe braces for impact with patent trolls from all around the world

THE EPO has sunk to new lows this week, at least as far as lying is concerned. As we said last night, one must now assume that everything the EPO’s management says is a lie. It’s almost always the case (and we’re barely exaggerating).

Look at the EPO’s Twitter account. When they don’t post ‘template’ promotions (e.g. of some upcoming event or section of the site) they just carry on with the usual nonsense. Earlier today the EPO wrote: “The very first guide for obtaining, maintaining and managing Unitary Patents is out: http://bit.ly/2xuHsjV pic.twitter.com/Wl4xuQjUWC

“Remember that EPO examiners are smart people. They are very well educated and they obviously know all the above. They know when they’re being lied to by the management and are conscious when the management lies in their name/on their behalf.”So I responded: “Why put out a guide for a system that does not exist and probably will never exist?”

Later on they wrote: “See if and where a patent has been granted, if it is valid, if there is still time to challenge it, etc. All here: http://bit.ly/2uVaOpR”

They also wrote: “Want to know more about the opposition procedure at the EPO? This course will help…”

I told them that “Battistelli [had] narrowed [the] oppositions window, attacked the appeal board/s, forced examiners to issue many bogus patents” (as leaks serve to reaffirm).

“It’s getting very frustrating to work as a patent examiner, no matter the level of compensation (salary).”Remember that EPO examiners are smart people. They are very well educated and they obviously know all the above. They know when they’re being lied to by the management and are conscious when the management lies in their name/on their behalf. They are not happy about it, they try to join the union (in spite of retaliation risks), and they occasionally reach out to the press (what’s left of it that’s not paid by Battistelli to keep silent or issue PR pieces). It’s getting very frustrating to work as a patent examiner, no matter the level of compensation (salary). It’s not as rewarding as it used to be. “Producing stronger patents (or being able to produce them) is also a matter of professional pride for the examiners,” somebody explained a month ago.

Earlier today in IP Kat we saw two good comments from what might be existing or former examiners. The first comment says almost exactly what we have been warning about for years, alluding to a long message from “Proof of the Pudding” (which had been suppressed, apparently algorithmically, until it was broken into parts).

“It is a frightening thought,” said this comment,” but the more one looks at the situation, one can discover what the hidden agenda of the actual president of the EPO could have been, now was: transform the EPO in an examination-light office, reduce the boards of appeal to nothing, and push the UPC at any rate.”

Yes, this is exactly what we have said over the years. Here is the comment in full (buried down in a comments section that’s weeks old):

Proof of the Pudding’s picture is scary, but it cannot be dismissed.

It is a frightening thought, but the more one looks at the situation, one can discover what the hidden agenda of the actual president of the EPO could have been, now was: transform the EPO in an examination-light office, reduce the boards of appeal to nothing, and push the UPC at any rate.

One does not have been scholar of the ENA (the posh stable where the president comes from) to guess who will benefit from this.

As far as the UPC is concerned, the SMEs have always been used as fig leaf to push the project through for the benefit of any other players than the SMEs. That even the Commission once thought to introduce a litigation insurance says a lot. The stance about SMEs is repeated with the regularity of a Tibetan prayer mill turning in the wind.

As SMEs benefit from a fee reduction when filing European applications, it would be interesting to see if the EPO is prepared to publish statistics about the number of filings by SMEs in member states of the EPC in general, and from SMEs in the EU in particular, and then from the countries having ratified the UPC. I take bets that the number is barely worth mentioning, otherwise those figures would have been already published.

The official filing figures at the EPO are clear in themselves, even abundantly clear: filings coming from EU states are barely above a third of all filings. The first beneficiaries are easy to find: all non EPC member states.

Another figure which would be interesting: how many EP are validated in all EU member states? How many are validated in all EPC member states?

That at the last conference on the UPC in Munich, the organisers managed to find a SME which reaves about the UPC is a good marketing coup. It is certainly not representative of the real situation of SMEs.

The UPC is a perfect example of lobbying at its best, when one sees who will be the beneficiaries of the whole system: litigation lawyers (some of them having written themselves the Rules of Procedure of the UPC) and large companies acting internationally and with deep pockets.

It might be more expensive to litigate in each and every EU or EPC country, but at least it was a barrier for stopping some bullies. And if it was worth it, the litigants had enough money to fight were the market share was worth it. How many cases of this kind?

With the UPC, no reason to refrain, in one go all are caught. In the long run the number of diverging decisions between EPC member states have gone down and will continue to go down, so why do we absolutely need an instance like the UPC?

But is looks so social to apparently care for the smaller and poorer among us….

Propaganda/echo chamber ‘events’ (or ‘forums’) are taken note of, too. The EPO organises quite a few of these nowadays (Margot Fröhlinger is doing another one in a few days in Canada), sometimes helped by IAM (which did this in the US, sponsored by the EPO’s PR agency) and Managing IP (it last did this earlier this month in major cities in Europe).

It’s just gross. As the above notes: “That at the last conference on the UPC in Munich, the organisers managed to find a SME which reaves about the UPC is a good marketing coup. It is certainly not representative of the real situation of SMEs.”

“It’s like politicians who attempt to pass laws by speaking about “terrorism”, “the children”, or “piracy” (they allude to copyright).”See how they’re distorting the record?

No matter if SMEs oppose the UPC (the European Digital SME Alliance too has made it very clear) and the EPO covertly offered fast lanes to large corporations, the EPO persists with this lie that the UPC is “for SMEs” (or something along those lines). It’s like politicians who attempt to pass laws by speaking about “terrorism”, “the children”, or “piracy” (they allude to copyright).

The EPO has lied about it again (as above) and later pushed a so-called ‘study’ with lots of EPO promotion of it (five times yesterday alone).

As the following new comment (received earlier today) puts it, the paper labels trolls “SMEs” and conveniently cherry-picks:

The choice of SME in the EPO paper is quite telling as well. Most of them are known in the industry as patent trolls. Just check a few of their patents application and see what their contribution to the art really is.

That, of course, is a direct consequence of the EPO choosing the SME with the larger number of patents for their case studies. Normal SME only patent what they really intent to manufacture and sell, which amounts to a relatively small number of patents. When a small company applies for dozens of patents each year, it usually means that their main business is litigation.

Going back to IP Kat, the next comment skewers the EPO ‘study’ and takes note of the incredibly low sample size:

A study about the benefits for SMEs of the patent system, and hence also the benefits they can gain by using the UPC, has been published today by the EPO:

http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/FF76F6F0783153B7C12581A2004DA0D2/$File/epo_sme_case_studies_2017_en.pdf

It looks at 12(sic) cases of successful SMEs spread all over Europe.

If a drug manufacturer would file a demand for approval supported by just showing 12 positive cases, among a total of unknown cases, and without any negative cases, no approval would be obtained, as the result is not statistically proven and the benefits of the drug have not been demonstrated. One should not be mesmerised by this apparent string of success.

To be fair, the Spanish SME which was raving about the UPC at the last UPC conference in Munich is among the 12.

The figures relating to all the filings by SMEs compared to the overall figures of filings should be urgently published by the EPO! Negative cases should also be examined as there certainly are some.

The number of cases in which SMEs have been harassed by large companies, is much more difficult to apprehend, but this figure would also be useful.

Only then, the stance about the usefulness of the patent system for SMEs will have been correctly established.

What has been done here is just blending out the full breadth of the problems faced by SMEs attempting to use the patent system, or in other words, blow smoke in the eyes and pull the leg of the inattentive reader. One wonders why?

In a conference held in 2015 at the German Patent Office, Bavarian SMEs made clear what they thought of the UPC: a nightmare, whereby the fee reduction and the help with translations costs are not worth the bother. This result can certainly be extrapolated to the whole of Germany, if not to the whole of the EU, and everybody can draw its own conclusion.

So this is the EPO in 2017.

So anti-scientific that it should be offensive to science itself.

Moreover, the EPO is offensive to human rights and labour rights. As someone explained to us today:

In 2018, the EPO will also cut another 2 public holidays for its Munich staff: corpus christi and whit monday. Both are bank holidays in Bavaria and the Munich branch of the EPO has always been closed on these days. So shops, banks, everything is closed in Munich, but not the EPO.

Nothing shall stand in the way of “production”; the trolls are relying on hastily-granted patents for them to abuse for many decades to come (even after Battistelli is no longer alive to see these consequences).

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