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04.19.18

The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Office still controls and sometimes punishes judges

A shocked Battistelli

Summary: The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they’re unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured

THE management of the EPO has, in our humble assessment, destroyed the EPO. It’s broken beyond repair. It may never recover. Even leadership has been compromised as it’s now succession-based, with Battistelli choosing his successor. Not to mention all the toxic people he brought in after he had seized power. It’s grotesque, yet that’s where we are today. To be most frank, I do not think EPO will ever recover, not even with reporting that exposes the corruption. It’ll like abuse is just far too deeply embedded in the Organisation now, not just the Office. Oversight has been obliterated. Assumptions of goodwill (e.g. given huge budget with endless power and minimal oversight) might seem OK in theory. When you put a thug in charge, as happened about a decade ago, it will inevitably go bonkers. Even the media, which is supposed to cover such abuses, is being bribed by the Organisation. It’s not a very obvious bribe, but it still is a ‘soft’ bribe (we covered that subject a decade ago) and it has more or less the same effects. Academia too has been compromised. EPO budget, instead of improving the integrity of the EPO, has helped the EPO poison everything. Judges are being bullied, bloggers like myself habitually receive legal threats, votes are allegedly being ‘bought’, and my site (Techrights) has been blocked/banned by the EPO for over 3 years not because of falsehoods but because it helped expose EPO abuses.

What gives?

“Judges are being bullied, bloggers like myself habitually receive legal threats, votes are allegedly being ‘bought’, and my site (Techrights) has been blocked/banned by the EPO for over 3 years not because of falsehoods but because it helped expose EPO abuses.”Where are so-called ‘news’ sites about patents? Do they not care? Not even European sites? The systems they rely on (for coverage) are rotting away. Look at IAM! Benoît Battistelli is joined by the hip to it. This patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, has given a keynote talk to him (Palace Hotel in San Francisco) — one in which he will promote software patents. Joff Wild wrote about this yesterday. Another keynote will be delivered by Andrei Iancu (Director of USPTO) as he will be there too. The EPO is nowadays promoting software patents even in the US, as we noted two days ago. The EPO did this again yesterday. Such software patents advocacy from the EPO (in Seattle) should make one question the EPO’s motivations. Is anyone at all keeping an eye on the EPO’s behaviour? It definitely doesn’t seem so.

Yesterday, Graham McGlashan from Marks & Clerk wrote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) will potentially allow a patent if the claimed subject matter is novel and inventive and provides a technical contribution in a technical field – even if the invention is computer-implemented.”

This should not be happening. But who can hold them accountable? The Boards of Appeal have been marginalised and judges are afraid.

“The Boards of Appeal have been marginalised and judges are afraid.”“Maybe instead of raiding booths over patent allegations,” I told IAM, “they should raid events like IAM IPBC to arrest corrupt officials.”

The Boards of Appeal have already complained about the management. Just recall what they wrote about Battistelli. Recall what we wrote yesterday about the imminent scandal in France. A lot of EPO insiders have been speaking about this for quite some time.

The Boards of Appeal were mentioned again yesterday by the EPO. There was a white-washing tweet about it, just one of many that they post every day this month. “The Boards of Appeal are no longer independent,” I told them. “Corrupt management at the EPO rendered them incapable of operating.”

The EPO tweeted this shortly after it had published this new page [promoted via Twitter] in which it said: (warning: epo.org link)

The first Annual report of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office since the introduction of a comprehensive set of reforms has been published.

In June 2016, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has adopted a set of reforms to strengthen efficiency and the perception of independence of the Boards of Appeal.

This has since then been covered by only two sites, IPPro Patents and World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR).

From IPPro Patents:

More manpower is needed at the European Patent Office to ensure the “proper functioning of the appeal system under the European Patent Convention”, according to a report from the office.

The report, which looks at the EPO’s Boards of Appeal and provides detailed statistics on its proceedings, said that more manpower was “essential to the patent litigation system in Europe”.

In terms of conduct, the Boards of Appeal increased their performance in 2017, while maintaining high quality, according to the report.

[...]

The source added: “For the moment, this is nothing else but another official statement delivered under the mandate of EPO president Benoît Battistelli, whose actions at the address of Directorate General 3 can be globally assessed as a very negative one.”

“We hope that new president-elect, António Campinos, will grasp the real nature of the situation inherited from Battistelli and that he will take the right decisions for the benefit of the EPO and all its stakeholders.”

“Words are fine, but at the EPO, staff prefer to judge based on facts.”

Understaffing and bullying (collectively punishing them) meant lower quality of patents and no oversight. No patent justice left?

Here is what WIPR wrote:

Significantly more manpower will be necessary in the coming years to ensure the proper functioning of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) appeal system, a report has said.

In an annual report, released today, the EPO’s Boards of Appeal said that although the boards managed to improve their performance and maintain quality last year, additional resources in the workforce and facilities will be necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the appeal system in the future.

The report added that, in light of the steady increase in the number of appeals filed, improving working methods and efficiency by a target of 32% will not be enough to deal with the stock of almost 9,000 cases “in a timely manner and at the same time secure the high quality that users rightfully expect from a judicial authority whose decisions are final”.

SUEPO has not yet taken note of these articles, perhaps realising that these aren’t particularly good (in our humble opinion) because they soft-peddle on the scandals.

“There are many reasons to believe Campinos will just be a ‘faceplate’ change, not constituting any substantial change in policy.”Do not expect António Campinos to change things for the better. It’s all talk and pretense (the Battistelli way).

There are many reasons to believe Campinos will just be a ‘faceplate’ change, not constituting any substantial change in policy. We’ll say a lot more about it in July. Staff should not be misled by this stunt or build up hopes of a turnaround; it just won’t happen and according to the new JUVE survey, only 1 in 7 respondents (to a survey) thought Campinos was a positive thing.

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