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

02.23.18

EPO Roundup: Low Profile, Employment Changes, Patent Trolls, Refusal to Obey Courts, and Animal Breeding Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Breeding patents back on the agenda

Breeding

Summary: A few recent developments and observations regarding the European Patent Office (EPO), which is in a volatile state and is making no public statement about the future of staff (‘canteen talk’ now revolves around alleged deep cuts to staffing)

THE EPO has made no announcements for quite a while. Low profile seem to have generally been kept so far this year. We’ve hypothesised about the reasons for this, but these are merely hypotheses. We can recall days (or months) when the EPO made plenty of controversial statements, but nowadays both the site and the accounts (of the EPO) say nothing of great importance. Yesterday the EPO spoke about “intellectual property & patents,” which is an odd way to frame things. “It’s misleading to say” that, I told them, “because the former is a propaganda term, the latter a law which is typically put under this umbrella that’s a propaganda term. It’s not a property.”

Unlike the USPTO, the EPO does not deal with anything but patents (the “T” in USPTO stands for trademarks). It’s important to separate all these things and not refer to them collectively using terms like “IP”, which perpetuates old falsehoods. Speaking of which, there’s that old canard about “innovation” in yesterday’s news from the US. Real “invention” isn’t to be measured in terms of patents, but the article “Washington state stakes its claim as a bastion for invention” would have us believe otherwise. To quote:

Washington was home to 2,220 inventors in 2017 (29.98 per capita), behind New York’s 2,290, Texas’ 3,007 and California’s 10,009, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data.

This has a lot to do with where large corporations are based, not with inherent spark for inventorship. We’ll revisit this topic later in the weekend. We intend to write a lot about the US.

It has meanwhile been reported in news sites that, just as we noted the day before, a Battistelli proposal had been watered down. To quote:

A proposal to scrap permanent employment contracts at the European Patent Office (EPO) has been halted and a controversial article within it withdrawn, a source close to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has confirmed.

The original proposals were aimed at the “modernisation of the employment framework of the EPO” and would ensure its “long-term sustainability” and allow for a more “flexible management of the EPO’s workforce”.

[...]

According to the CSC, it would apply to all staff, including current permanent employees of the EPO, and gives the office the power to terminate the service of staff without any safeguards.

The source said that the CSC’s letter was a driving force in the withdrawal of article 53(f).

Additionally, there’s this new article about the ascent of patent trolls in Europe — based on a study that the patent trolls' lobby immediately attacked (within hours of publication). To quote:

Furthermore, according to the study, patents being asserted or owned by NPEs in Europe are more often successfully invalidated than those patents being asserted or owned by non NPEs. The study also shows that Germany is oftentimes the battleground for such litigation. Here, a defendant in a patent infringement case cannot bring a counterclaim for invalidity but has to attack the validity of the asserted patent in a different forum. This usually means either starting an opposition procedure, most often before the European Patent Office, or filing a nullity action with the German Federal Patent Court. In the latter case, the infringement case will usually have already been decided on – and the decision potentially been enforced – before the validity case is ruled on.

Last but not least, another law firm (Moeller IP Advisors) wrote about Battesteli’s latest INPI (Argentina) visit — a subject we wrote about earlier this month. To quote:

On February 5, 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Argentina (INPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the introduction of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) by INPI. The MoU was signed during a meeting held between EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Argentina’s Commerce Secretary Miguel Braun in Buenos Aires to discuss recent developments in patents and innovation and the cooperation between the two regions in this field. According to the MoU, INPI will start classifying its publications with the CPC by January 2019.

The CPC, which was launched by the EPO and the USPTO in January 2013, is now considered the new global standard for refined patent classification. It is already in use, or will soon be used, by 26 patent offices around the world. Argentina has joined other Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil and Chile, in the adoption of the CPC.

These nations barely have any European patents (compared to Germany for instance), so it seems like another cheap publicity stunt for Battistelli, who is leaving the Office in 4 months.

Battistelli’s legacy has been a very ruinous one not just for the EPO but for international bodies in general. Look no further than the latest comments at The Register. Here are some key ones (posted in the past day or so):

Given that Battistelli ignores all court judgements against him, seemingly with impunity, what will it matter how the court rules? He’s taking advantage of the requirement for unanimous agreement by the EO’s controlling bodies to ignore them, until he can change the rules to make himself an untouchable dictator for life.

This one he cannot ignore. If it goes against him it de-ratifies the convention which is the basis of him being in office.
Additionally, if memory serves me right, one of the other cases is his (so far) successful claim that he is above German law including labour law. This once again goes against German constitution which states that the ultimate law of the land is the German law and no other law can claim supremacy.
Even if the first case somehow (I do not see how) fails, the second will pretty much get him fired outright under German labour code. There and then.

I think at a certain stage, courts say “we disagree, and you’ve now got a prison sentance for contempt of court”.
And if he doesn’t turn up for that, then a warrant for his arrest is issued, and he ends up with famously humourless german police arresting him and unceremouniously tossing him in the clink.

The European Patent Organisation is recognised in German law as an international organisation with immunity (like diplomatic immunity).
So German labour law doesn’t apply to their workers. Diplomatic immunities do not conflict with the German constitution.

Surely diplomatic immunity only works if the hosting country accept it. At any time Germany could expel him, deport him to his home country and end the diplomatic immunity formally.
As an EU citizen he is probably free to re-enter the country, but with his immunity formally ended if he walked into the office and started acting as king again, there shouldn’t be anything stopping the humourless police doing their thing.

If the EPO is not subject to national laws, does that mean that employees are similarly not constrained by the law in their work?
This surely means that it’s legal for an EPO employee to provide lethal feedback to the management team?
Maybe someone should ask Battistelli if he’s sure he wants his organisation to have immunity from national laws.

Not implementing the ILO decision?
I was just wondering if anyone knows whats the come back against Battesteli and the EPO for not implementing the IPO’s [sic. ILO] decision?
As far as I was aware when it came to labour disputes, the ILO is the be all and end all. So its not like the EPO are waiting to appeal the decision. So what is the punishment from the ILO? There has to be some stick involved otherwise firms/organisations finding themselves on the losing side of a case would just ignore the result.

Yes, ILO’s reputation too is in peril now.

As one person succinctly put it:

Battistelli

The person who achieved something I would have thought impossible – giving megalomaniacs a bad name.

The repercussions of his power obsession seem to be endless.

There’s also a comment on quality of patents:

*retain* confidence Europe’s patent system? Get real …

…that would imply there was such a feeling in the past …
The European patent system is broken. There are absolutely no guards left against patenting the most obvious bullshit. Patents on as-per-the-rules unpatentable things (like DNA or code) are granted without hesitation.
Number of patents granted has replaced quality of examination as the number 1 requirement for examiners at the EPA.
That way the EPA is effectively laying out a mine-field in the way of future innovation.
Patent examiners critical of that development are pushed out of their jobs.
Regaining control over the EPA is the necessary first step.
Re-examining the patents granted in the last years and invalidating 90% of these would be a good second step.

It certainly seems like patents on nature are back at the EPO (even after the seeds/plant monopolies being voided along with CRISPR oppositions). From yesterday’s news: “KeyGene Crop, Animal Breeding Patent Upheld in Europe”

It’s mostly behind a paywall, but the publicly-available part says “KeyGene announced today the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld one of its patents related to the improvement of phenotypic traits of plants or animals.”

This kind of patent has already caused protests in Germany. Farmers aren’t happy; it’s akin to those Monsanto (now Bayer in Germany) patents that accomplish nothing but cementing the market for few giant corporations.

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. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



  2. Links 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day



  3. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop



  5. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019



  7. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019



  10. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day



  11. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs



  12. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  13. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019



  15. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day



  16. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes



  17. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)



  18. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019



  19. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”



  20. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day



  21. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach



  22. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019



  24. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)



  25. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft



  26. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government



  27. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions



  28. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?



  29. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)



  30. Tone Policing and the Linux Foundation

    A timely example of situations where the Linux Foundation can seemingly 'cancel' people (using the Code of Conduct) for political opinions


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