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

01.09.18

For European Patents to Maintain Value the EPO Must Fix Patent Quality and Attract ‘Expensive’ (High-Calibre) Staff

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 1:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quality of European Patents is Declining (and With it Patent Justice) While the World is Noticing

Quality Metrics
Reference: Quality Metrics

Summary: After the Battistelli-induced exodus of experienced examiners we continually observe concerns that patents granted by the EPO (EPs) have lost their value and the perception of patent justice is deeply damaged

AS a European and as a software professional, I profoundly worry about the fate of the EPO. We need a strong EPO and strong staff. We don’t need an ‘assembly line’ of patents. But the ‘cheapening’ of the EPO, leading to the exodus of highly-specialised professionals, poses a real threat. Recruitment standards have fallen and working conditions deteriorated beyond belief. The EPO rapidly becomes like a Chinese colony inside Bavaria.

“The Boards of Appeal have historically been responsible for upholding/preserving patent quality and assessing conformity with respect to the EPC.”At the moment, the EPO ought to hire for the Boards of Appeal (BoA), but in practice it is driving out existing staff and engaging in legal bullying, demotions, etc. It ought fix the lack of independence, but instead it does the opposite (for example by sending them all to ‘exile’ in Haar against their will). Adding interns can be a burden to these people, but this is exactly what the EPO bragged about yesterday when it wrote: “Tomorrow [that's today] is the last day you can apply for the Judicial internships at the Boards of Appeal…”

The Boards of Appeal have historically been responsible for upholding/preserving patent quality and assessing conformity with respect to the EPC. That cannot happen anymore. They openly complain about their lack of independence from the Office and the ‘king’ of the Office.

Yesterday this press release was issued to say:

This seminar addresses the parallel, but substantially different, rules for drafting and prosecuting patents required by the Examiners and Appeal Boards of the EPO and USPTO [PTAB].

PTAB is sort of the US equivalent of BoA; that too is under attack (by the patent ‘industry’) — a subject we shall revisit later today.

In the meantime, CIPO and EPO plan to speed up examination even further (what’s needed is accuracy, not speed/haste). Yesterday CIPO wrote about it in English and in French. To quote the English: “#Canada and @EPOorg #Patent Prosecution Highway extension effective January 6, 2018….

So in addition to Early Certainty, PACE and so on they now have a special intercontinental process to help legal aggressors (there’s also one for Australia and Asia). Even lower quality of patents (than before) is assured because burden of speed — not quality — is being put on examiners. If justice is being rushed, then perhaps justice itself isn’t really a priority.

“For the third consecutive time, and even more emphatically than in past years, blogposts about the EPO and its impassive president Benoit Battistelli, the ‘dictator’ or ‘Napoleon of the tenth floor’, as one of our commenters has often written, dominates the top ten of best read articles of the Kluwer Patent Blog.”
      –Kluwer Patent Blogger
What do stakeholders (so-called ‘users’, lawyers etc.) think about all this? Well, they too aren’t particularly happy. A pro-UPC blog, Kluwer Patent Blog, was having uptime issues yesterday (very long downtimes for the site lately). But when it became accessible again we saw this new post which alludes to Battistelli as “the ‘dictator’ or ‘Napoleon of the tenth floor’,” noting that there’s a lot of interest in EPO scandals and in the gradual collapse of the UPC (which won’t materialise as long as justice at the EPO is perceived to be deeply flawed.

Yesterday we also saw this promotion of Drafting a Common Specification for US and EPO Practice — an event in which Sullivan Fountain of Keltie LLP (UPC liars) “will discuss drafting a common specification for filing and prosecution in both the USPTO and the EPO.”

The very fact that the USPTO is treated or dealt with in tandem (to the EPO) is worrying; the USPTO has long been granting an extraordinary amount of low-quality patents. This matter has been all over the news lately and there is even a new paper about it.

In yesterday’s news we also saw this new assessment of new fees at the UK-IPO. For the EPO to be competitive on terms such as price it will need to ensure patent quality is very high, but it might be too late for that. To quote price comparisons:

Official fees for UK patent applications are expected to rise in 2018. Nevertheless, by international standards, the UK will remain inexpensive. For example, UK fees will remain lower than at the EPO, where a granted patent application enforceable in the UK is obtainable through the direct European (EP) or International (PCT(EP)) route.

As detailed below, the UKIPO plans to introduce new fees for excess claims and description pages, and to increase the existing application, search, examination and renewal fees. The changes are expected to take effect from April 6, 2018.

[...]

However, excess claims fees will be payable to the UKIPO only for claim 26 onwards. This is generous compared to the respective 15 and 20 ‘free’ claims currently allowed at the EPO and USPTO. Furthermore, the new UKIPO fee of £20 per claim will be significantly cheaper than the respective €235 per claim and $80 per claim currently charged at the EPO and USPTO.

[...]

The new UKIPO fee of £10 per page will be for description pages beyond 35, for example resulting in an excess fee of £650 for an application having 100 description pages. However, and in contrast to the EPO, we currently understand that the excess fees will not be levied on claims, abstract and drawings pages.

The number of applications for EPs has fallen; it fell very sharply in (or from) the US. After Battistelli implemented his so-called ‘reforms’ we are not sure that the EPO is even competitive.

Yesterday we saw Arecor bragging (in a press release) about a “Notice of Intention to Grant” at the EPO, but does Arecor even know that the Office suffers a patent quality crisis and many granted EPs would turn out to be invalid/null (if tested in court)? Arecor wrote this:

Arecor Ltd is pleased to announce the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued “Notice of Intention to Grant” for Arecor’s patent application protecting the Company’s proprietary technology used in the development of stable, low-viscosity formulations of highly concentrated protein therapeutics, including monoclonal antibodies such as trastuzumab or ustekinumab or fusion proteins such as abatacept.

The prestige associated with EPs is rapidly being lost; EPO insiders can feel it and legal professionals worry deeply about it. If ‘demand’ for EPs is falling, it’s going to hurt them personally. A patent office without proficient and effective quality control (Oppositions and BoA, which is grossly understaffed and overburdened right now) will devolve to become another SIPO, ushering in plenty of patent trolls (also like SIPO). We wrote about that yesterday.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Links 16/7/2018: Linux 4.18 RC5, Latte Dock v0.8, Windows Back Doors Resurface

    Links for the day



  2. Alliance for US Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) Misleads the US Government, Pretending to Speak for Startups While Spreading Lies for the Patent Microcosm

    In the United States, which nowadays strives to raise the patent bar, the House Small Business Committee heard from technology firms but it also heard from some questionable front groups which claim to support "startups" and "jobs" (but in reality support just patents on the face of it)



  3. 'Blockchain', 'Cloud' and Whatever Else Gets Exploited to Work Around 35 U.S.C. § 101 (or the EPC) and Patent Algorithms/Software

    Looking for a quick buck or some low-quality patents (which courts would almost certainly reject), opportunists carry on with their gold rush, aided by buzzwords and hype over pretty meaningless things



  4. PTAB Defended by the EFF, the R Street Institute and CCIA as the Number of Petitions (IPRs) Continues to Grow

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) come to the rescue when patently-bogus patents are used, covering totally abstract concepts (like software patents do); IPRs continue to increase in number and opponents of PTAB, who conveniently cherry-pick Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions, can't quite stop that



  5. IAM/Joff Wild May Have Become a de Facto Media Partner of the Patent Troll iPEL

    Invitation to trolls in China, courtesy of the patent trolls' lobby called "IAM"; this shows no signs of stopping and has become rather blatant



  6. Cautionary Tale: ILO Administrative Tribunal Cases (Appeals) 'Intercepted' Under António Campinos

    The ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILO-AT) is advertised by the EPO's management as access to justice, but it's still being undermined quite severely to the detriment of aggrieved staff



  7. Asking the USPTO to Comply With 35 U.S.C. § 101 is Like Asking Pentagon Officials to Pursue Real, Persistent Peace

    Some profit from selling weapons, whereas others profit from patent grants and litigation; what's really needed right now is patent sanity and adherence to the public interest as well as the law itself, e.g. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions



  8. BT and Sonos Are Still Patent Bullies, Seeing Patents as a Backup Plan

    The companies seeking to complement their business (or make up for their demise) using patents are still suing rivals while calling that litigation "research and development" (the same old euphemism)



  9. Jim Skippen, a Longtime Patent Troll, Admits That the Trolling Sector is Collapsing

    Canada's biggest patent troll (WiLAN) bar BlackBerry doesn't seem to be doing too well as its CEO leaves the domain altogether



  10. From East Asia to the Eastern District of Texas: XYZ Printing, Maxell, and X2Y Attenuators

    The patent aggression, which relies on improper litigation venues, harms innocent parties a great deal; only their lawyers benefit from all this mess



  11. Links 14/7/2018: Mesa 18.1.4, Elisa 0.2.1, More on Python's Guido van Rossum

    Links for the day



  12. Number of Oppositions to Grants/Awards of European Patents at the EPO Has Skyrocketed, Based on Internal Data

    The number of challenged patents continues to soar and staff of the EPO (examiners already over-encumbered by far too much work, due to unrealistic targets) would struggle to cope or simply be compelled to not properly deal with oppositions



  13. 'Transaction' Complete: Former EPO Executive From Belgium Takes the Seat of António Campinos at EU-IPO

    Rumours that Belgium made a back room deal with Battistelli may be further substantiated with the just-confirmed appointment of Archambeau



  14. EPO Abuses Against People With Disabilities Followed by Legal Bullying?

    The new President of the EPO is not (at least not yet) obeying court rulings from ILO; The above move seems like an attempt to derail ongoing cases at the ILO’s Administrative Tribunal (ILO-AT), i.e. yet more strong-arming



  15. Weeks Later António Campinos Still in Noncompliance With the Courts (ILO's Tribunal)

    'report card' for the ever-so-intransparent (or nontransparent) new President of the EPO, who does not even bother obeying court rulings



  16. Links 13/7/2018: Kube 0.7.0, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Reviewed

    Links for the day



  17. Constitutionality and CJEU as Barriers, the UPC Agreement (UPCA) is Already Moot in the United Kingdom

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn't going anywhere and the UK merely "explores" what to do about it; for Team UPC, however, this means that the UK "confirms intention to remain in Unitary Patent system after Brexit" (clearly a case of deliberate misinformation)



  18. It's Not About EPO 'Backlog' But About Faking 'Production' by Lowering Standards

    Remarks on the EPO dropping all pretenses of genuine care for patent quality; it's all about speed now, never mind if wrongly-granted patents can cause billions in damages across Europe (a lot of that money flows towards patent law firms)



  19. Links 12/7/2018: GTK+ 4.0 Plans, OpenBSD Gains Wi-Fi “Auto-Join”

    Links for the day



  20. The Anti-35 U.S.C. § 101 Lobby Pushes Old News Into the Headlines in an Effort to Resurrect/Protect Software Patents

    The software patenting proponents (law firms for the most part) are still doing anything they can -- stretching even months into the past -- in an effort to modify the law in defiance of Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rulings



  21. Thomas Massie and Marcy Kaptur Are Promoting the Interests of Patent Trolls and Patent Lawyers While Calling That “Innovation”

    Remarks on the ongoing effort to promote patent trolls’ interests under the guise of “helping small businesses” — a very misleading propaganda pattern that we have been finding in Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying at the EPO



  22. Links 12/7/2018: Mesa 18.1.4 RC, Curl 7.61.0

    Links for the day



  23. Texas: When Trade Secret 'Damages' Are Almost 1,000 Times Higher Than Patent 'Damages'

    It's possible to deal with conflicts and disputes using means other than patents; a new trade secret misappropriation case and a new study from Ofer Eldar (Duke Law) and Neel Sukhatme (Georgetown Law) bring examples from Texas



  24. Cellspin Soft Will Likely Need to Pay the Accused Party's Lawyers Too After Frivolous Litigation With Patents Eliminated Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Pursuing bogus (questionable) patents and going even further by asserting them in court can be worse than a waste of time and money; it can actually cause the target of assertion to be compensated (legal fees) at the plaintiff’s expense — a critical fact largely ignored by the patent ‘industry’



  25. The Lack of Genuine, Honest Discussion About Patent Quality Means That Under António Campinos Software Patents Will Continue to be Granted, Campinos Strives to Make Them 'Unitary'

    The agenda of the litigation 'industry' is still being served by the existing EPO administration; this is a problem because not only do they grant patents on just about anything but they also attempt to broaden litigation jurisdiction



  26. Links 11/7/2018: Xen 4.11, Ubuntu Infographics, Lockbox and Notes

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2018: Wine 3.12, FreeNAS 11.2 Beta, GNU Helps Journalism

    Links for the day



  28. Patent Trolls Rally/Advertise Thomas Massie's Bill to Abolish PTAB and Promote Software Patents in the US

    Vocal patent maximalists (or think tanks of the litigation 'industry') want us to think that the US is too restrictive when it comes to patents (the opposite is true) and tries to change the law so as to plague/saturate the system with patent lawsuits they stand to gain from at the expense of practicing companies



  29. The Demise of East Texan Courts and the Ascent of PTAB, Alice and a SCOTUS-Compliant CAFC May Mean That US Software Patents Are Officially 'Dead'

    Companies come to grips with the need to divest and distance themselves from abstract patents; such patents are simply not tolerated by courts anymore (even if patent offices continue granting many such patents for the sake of profit)



  30. Signs of Upcoming Changes at EPO: Raimund Lutz, Željko Topić and Other 'Team Battistelli' Folks Are Being Replaced

    Vice-Presidents of DG1, DG4 and DG5 are being replaced just over a week after the Campinos tenure began (decisions actually made last week); Might this suggest the imminent implosion of so-called 'Team Battistelli'?


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts