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10.12.17

Patent Quality at the EPO (European Patents) is Slipping While Battistelli’s Office Boasts “Expansion of Early Certainty” (Even Worse)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Down graph

Summary: The EPO is staring down the abyss as high-level EPO management, quite frankly as usual, looks for new ways to further exacerbate patent quality (for superficial gains in the number of granted patents) rather than improve it

THE EPO will likely have been broken — even beyond repair — when Campinos takes over. In fact, estimates suggest large-scale layoffs are to start next year. This is coming from insiders.

“In fact, a fairly recent survey showed that 0% among surveyed stakeholders wanted Battistelli to stay.”“European Patent Office staff rep blames prez for ‘slipping quality’” is the latest headline of an article from Kieren McCarthy, who is in San Francisco and writes for British media. EPO stakeholders are already aware of the slipping quality and some speak out about it. So to attribute this claim only to “European Patent Office staff rep” may, in some sense, miss the broader picture. Battistelli can lie about patent quality all he wants — as he habitually does — but people don’t trust Battistelli. In fact, a fairly recent survey showed that 0% among surveyed stakeholders wanted Battistelli to stay. The EPO soon lied about this survey from Juve, spinning it to look like it showed support the the EPO’s current leadership. Lying has become a way of life for the EPO. It’s not even funny.

To quote McCarthy:

And then, raising the takes further, the rep raised a taboo topic that has most upset staff in recent years: the deaths of their colleagues from work-related stress.

“Psycho-social risks are rising,” the rep noted. “Only ten days ago, the Dutch police had to come into the [EPO's Netherlands offices] to prevent a seventh suicide. The staff representative wishes the social dialogue. We would like to see a new President who is committed to social dialogue.”

The intervention comes at an extraordinary time for the organization: its former chairman, who was a fervent supporter of Battistelli, unexpectedly quit in July and was replaced at the meeting with critic Christoph Ernst.

More significantly, a new president for the organization – António Campinos – was chosen. Campinos will take over from Battistelli on July 1, 2018 after Battistelli’s term comes to an end.

Clearly, the staff felt now was the time to try to force a cultural change on the organization, and the plea from the staff rep was backed up by yet another demonstration by EPO staff outside the headquarters in .

A flyer advertising the demo listed no less than 14 reasons why people should join the protest, including the dismissal of three staff representatives by Battistelli, the blatant distortion of the organization’s appeals systems (which have been repeatedly criticized by national parliaments and the International Labor Organization), “ever-increasing production targets”, and unfair “continuous reforms.”

[...]

Meanwhile, the EPO is being investigated by the European Court of Human Rights for how it has treated staff. The EPO claims it is not beholden to the laws of the countries in which it is based – Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands – because of its status as an international organization.

And the long-planned Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is on hold in part because reforms imposed by Battistelli that have undermined the EPO’s independence.

Things get a little interesting in the comments. Battistelli has not much experience in this domain and people do notice this. As we pointed out before, only in his mid-fifties was he introduced to this domain, which probably makes him less experienced than even yours truly. I have been writing about this topic for longer than Battistelli was in this domain.

“Sadly, the comments thread has been derailed by anonymous provocateurs or what looks like it could be EPO PR agents/trolls.”Battistelli, apparently, just knows how to break things in his authoritarian fashion — an ENA specialty as some would rightly allege.

Sadly, the comments thread has been derailed by anonymous provocateurs or what looks like it could be EPO PR agents/trolls. They try to paint ‘spoiled’ staff as the problem, totally deflecting from the original subject, which is deterioration in patent quality.

Battistelli has wasted millions of Euros (stakeholders’ money) glorifying himself and laundering his image. What we have among the first few comments is a reference to his exceptionally air-brushed Wikipedia page:

According to his Wikipedia article, he was a civil servant of some significance for about 22 years and then spent the years from 2004 onwards in high ranking positions in intellectual property organisations, in the french national organisation and then the EPO. So, on paper he seems to be an ideal person for the job.

I wonder why he seems to have ‘gone freaky’ at the EPO.

People who base their judgment of Battistelli based on some short Wikipedia page are part of the problem. The man is already spending a fortune (not his own money) on PR firms that also work for fracking companies.

The next comments say stuff about the staff. Total deflection.

“People who base their judgment of Battistelli based on some short Wikipedia page are part of the problem.”The EPO would say anything to distract from the scandal and barely even attempt to refute reports (for fear it might draw attention to these reports). For example, the SMEs nonsense was repeated again yesterday. The EPO tries hard to distract from the fact that it actively discriminates against SMEs, just like it actively tries to pretend that patent quality is high.

Yesterday it also wrote: “Patent appeal oral proceedings will be held from now on at this address” (in Haar; Battistelli 'punished' judges for daring to do their job, but the EPO won’t publicly admit this).

Battistelli sending judges to exile for daring to show patent quality at the EPO has decreased? Yes, sounds like a real hallmark of ‘leadership’. Maybe in a Sultanate.

Latest example of the judges doing their job is this case of Nike and Adidas, which somehow now deal with patents rather than branding. To quote this new report (“EPO board confirms Nike patent revocation in Adidas dispute”): “Adidas had opposed the patent, EP 1 746 909, which protects a garment with “zones of different air permeability which are to be determined using a certain measurement device”, according to Adidas’s representative Bardehle Pagenberg.”

“Battistelli sending judges to exile for daring to show patent quality at the EPO has decreased? Yes, sounds like a real hallmark of ‘leadership’. Maybe in a Sultanate.”And EP 1 746 909 is, indeed, invalid. But there’s not much more coverage of it. It’s like the media barely cares. Just like it barely cares about WIPO's abuses and even deaths.

Speaking of patent quality, yesterday the EPO tweeted about “this year’s 2nd Online Services User Day in Prague,” linking to its Web site. (epo.org link)

“A new approach to filing at the EPO with DOCX format,” one of the headings says. “How to file in DOCX format,” it says further down. For those who don’t know, DOCX is the file suffix of OOXML, which involved plenty of Microsoft corruption; we wrote many hundreds of articles about that a decade ago.

“As insiders repeatedly explain, telling whether an application will be successful before even studying prior art (and the likes of it) is truly bizarre.”Further down it speaks of “Industry 4.0 and its impact on the patent system”; it has long been a codeword for things like software patents and general expansion of patent scope using buzzwords (like “Industry 4.0″, which is itself a meaningless marketing term).

Scroll down a bit more and find further evidence of lowering patent quality. “The expansion of Early Certainty” is a session’s title. As insiders repeatedly explain, telling whether an application will be successful before even studying prior art (and the likes of it) is truly bizarre. It’s like tentatively giving a job applicant a job, before even a job interview.

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