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04.22.18

Today’s European Patent Office Works for Patent Extremists and for Team UPC Rather Than for Europe or for Innovation

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This kind of ‘vendor capture’ might help EPO foes rationalise abolition of the EPO altogether (unless the Organisation can undo/reverse this hostile ‘regime change’)

AIPPI

Summary: The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and other patent maximalists who have nothing to do with Europe, helped by a malicious and rather clueless politician called Benoît Battistelli, are turning the EPO into a patent-printing machine rather than an examination office as envisioned by the EPC (founders) and member states

TECHRIGHTS was never against the EPO. Never. It was against software patents in Europe, which the EPO itself should be against, as well. A decade ago when the USPTO was easily and gleefully granting software patents we were critical of the practice rather than the Office itself. Nothing has changed since, except the Office (USPTO) now makes it a lot harder to get software patents. US courts even more so!

Patent examiners certainly know these things; this is what they deal with on an everyday basis. There’s always a push towards patent maximalism, courtesy of the patent ‘industry’. Patent rationalists, however, would rather focus on actual work (development and research), not lawsuits and reading of patents they may or may not infringe.

“There’s always a push towards patent maximalism, courtesy of the patent ‘industry’. Patent rationalists, however, would rather focus on actual work (development and research), not lawsuits and reading of patents they may or may not infringe.”In recent years, especially the past 3-4 years, some technology companies found their voice and fought back against patent maximalism. It helped the cause of software developers. On the other hand or the other side there were sites like IAM, Watchtroll, and Patent Docs, which constantly amplify the ‘patent’ industry and attempt to crush technology companies. They also routinely bash technology companies. That’s how bad they have become. They don’t even pretend to care for science and technology, let alone “innovation” (however they define it). Only hours ago Patent Docs did its usual Sunday advertising of patent maximalism events and/or so-called ‘webinars’ from The Knowledge Group and others, then the Practising Law Institute (PLI). These are patent maximalists; they make money out of it. Sadly, these are the sorts of groups that now control Battistelli’s mind and steer the EPO into oblivion. National delegates from national patent offices go along with it because they themselves are typically lawyers; they make more money and derive power from patent maximalism.

Several months ago we wrote about AIPPI pushing software patents agenda, a long time after they had demanded action by Jesper Kongstad, seeing that Benoît Battistelli sent the EPO down the drain (or up in flames).

With some apparent leadership changes it now seems like AIPPI learned to love the tyrant. Benoît Battistelli meets these patent maximalists, with whom he can probably better arrange the destruction of patent quality and the Office’s viability (they profit from that). With the obligatory Battistelli photos, on Friday they published this puff piece which says: (warning: epo.org link)

High-level representatives and experts from the EPO, led by President Benoît Battistelli, met with the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) Bureau headed by its President Hao Ma at the EPO headquarters in Munich yesterday.

Notice what they say about Cambodia, which we mentioned last week because Cambodian people/firms have zero EPs:

AIPPI also expressed great interest in the recent entry into force of the validation agreement with Cambodia, the very first Asian country to join the European patent system. Fast-moving developments in the area of international co-operation, including reinforced co-operation, were acknowledged as particularly advantageous to the user community.

So “AIPPI also expressed great interest in the recent entry into force of the validation agreement with” a country that has no EPs? Seriously?!

Like we said many times, especially last year, the EPO had become somewhat of a laughing stock. Battistelli is just riding the coattails of half a century of EPO experience and reputation; he actually causes brain drain that diminishes experience and the reputation of the EPO is so terrible that some law firms dare/find courage to publicly complain. They know he might retaliate.

In relation to Patent Prosecution Highway, which prioritises litigation like UPC does (when patent litigation comes before actual patent justice and/or proper patent examination), Uhthoff Gómez Vega & Uhthoff SC wrote an article a couple of days ago. It’s in the patent microcosm’s platform and it mentions the EPO as follows:

Even though, the European Industrial Property Laws are more identical to Mexican Industrial Property Laws there are some exceptions when using the positive results issued by EPO, e.g., lastly the EPO has been granting subject-matter containing computer programs definitively banned in Mexico and consequently the favorable results may have a restriction. Fortunately, there are some strategies to overcome such restrictions focused to adapt the claims according to what it is permissible in Mexico.

The EPO accepts EPC 2000 claims which format is “Compound X for use in a method of treating a disorder Y”. At this point, it is important to mention that IMPI should accept such claims when using the positive results of EPO, but lastly there are some Divisions within IMPI which consider such claims as exceptions of patentability. For example, in our practice and experience said EPC 2000 claims are generally acceptable by the Biotechnology Division, while the Pharmaceuticals Division has a divided opinion concerning such claims.

Fortunately, there are strategies which reduce the risk of a rejection of the positive results of EPO which are applicable in Mexico depending on the case.

Remember that in Mexico (IMPI) software patents are officially banned, but IMPI grants them anyway. This is something that they and Battistelli have in common; such are the standards he has succumbed to. For perspective, last year Mexico was associated with 59 patents. In 2016 it was 32, so Mexico is not so important to the EPO (in relative terms; the US, by comparison, had 24,960 EPs granted last year).

“AIPPI also expressed great interest in the recent entry into force of the validation agreement with Cambodia, the very first Asian country to join the European patent system.”
      –EPO
Speaking of the US, the EPO continues to promote its patent maximalism events there. In this particular event which the EPO promotes almost every day they also give tips for patenting software at the EPO. We provided an explanation in last week's long post (when these daily promotions began).

Sadly, the EPO keeps spreading myths (this one on Friday). It frames patents as something that they are not. Companies openly say that they do not read patents because reading any patent would make any future infringement willful and thus damages several times worse. Does the EPO not get that? Will the EPO keep pretending (almost every day) that it’s all about “SMEs”? In the same way that Team UPC keeps lying about the UPC, insisting that it’s really for SMEs? Vis-à-vis UPC, Dehns (part of Team UPC) will soon speak at a ‘webcast’/’webinar’ of The Knowledge Group (mentioned above). Some staff of theirs has been calling people who oppose or are sceptical about the UPC "trolls" and "idiots" and here they are bragging about their role in the EPO:

Dehns provides and implement strategic advice on a wide range of IP issues, and file more than 5,500 UK, European and international patent and trade mark applications each year; the latest figures from the EPO show that, in 2016, Dehns filed the highest number of European Patent applications among all European Patent Attorney firms.

This helps explain their lobbying for the UPC; they don’t care and can’t care any less about patent quality. They just want to ‘shove’ as many patents as possible into the EPO, irrespective of the damage these patents may cause to firms other than their clients (even totally innocent firms, targeted by wrongly-granted patents).

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