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05.09.18

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Not Happening, But Kluwer Patent Blog Pretends It’s Already in Force

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As if the only question now is who governs it

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
“…the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true” –Sociologist Robert K. Merton on Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Summary: The truly delusional writings, not to mention intentionally dishonest creed, show that Team UPC is a threat to truth itself, not just to the European economy

THE EPO scandals are no longer being covered — let alone mentioned — in so-called ‘IP’ blogs. It’s seen by them as “not beneficial”; they’d rather just sweep EPO examiners under a rug somewhere.

“Looking at some of the comments that made it through the censorship, it seems clear that even Kluwer Patent Blog contributors (Thorsten Bausch at least) found the article misleading.”“Limiting your European Patent nationally” was the title of this blog post from Kluwer Patent Blog yesterday. It was the first blog post in a long time. It was published along with another propaganda piece about the UPC. It was authored anonymously, but it certainly looks like the author was Bristows cloaked as "Kluwer Patent blogger". As usual, comments are being ‘sanitised’ there, so a real discussion cannot be made visible. One must assume that dissent gets deleted to protect the propaganda. Maximalists are happy about it (this is being promoted via patent maximalists). Team UPC keeps pretending that no barriers exist after that awful IAM 'interview' (widely criticised around the Web). Notice the loaded headline which makes the reader assume that Unitary Patent is in force and what remains to be decided is under whose wing. The headline is merely a quote/quote-mining: “EU should bring Unitary Patent system under its control” (quoting a “former chief economist of the EPO”).

Here’s a little portion:

Still, even if the German complaint is rejected and the Unitary Patent system enters into force at the end of 2018 or in 2019, van Pottelsberghe doesn’t expect too much of an impact on innovation – which is in principle what patents are all about.

One UPC booster said:

Which wd be the end of any UK #UPC participation: „[T]his single layered system should be much more an EU endeavour and not in the hands of a ‘dreadfully independent institution composed of 38 stakeholders of member states’, accdg to van Pottelsberghe.“

A phrase such as “end of any UK UPC participation” is misleading for two reasons; first of all, the UK never participated and secondly the UPC never existed and probably will never exist. We recently wrote a lot about why Britain can never participate in anything like this:

Meanwhile, this new press release came out [1, 2]. This came out in the UK, advertising a “2 Day Conference for Senior Patent Administrators (London, United Kingdom – September 27-28, 2018)” and saying the following: “It will help you understand how recent changes at the EPO, WIPO, USPTO and the Unitary Patent Court will impact your role.”

Will?

Putting aside the fact that the UK cannot participate, the UPC isn’t happening. This merely perpetuates a falsehood. Further down, under day two, it says there’s a 12.45 session on “The Unified Patent Court”.

Maybe they believe that if they carry on pretending that the UPC is just about to start, then it will actually happen.

Looking at some of the comments that made it through the censorship, it seems clear that even Kluwer Patent Blog contributors (Thorsten Bausch at least) found the article misleading.

Thorsten Bausch wrote:

Thank you for collecting this interesting opinion. My only comment is that I found the headline slightly confusing. What I understood Prof. van Pottelsberghe to suggest is not so much that the EU should bring the Unitary Patent system under its control – he argues rather, and rightly in my view, that the EU should bring the EPO (European Patent Office) more under its control. That, he argues, would enable the EPO to serve and be part of the EU’s industrial policy, for the sake of European consumers, universities and entrepreneurs.

I agree with him now, but must admit that there were times in the past when I was of a different opinion and thought it is actually a good idea to have a Patent Office that is outside the EU and not committed to serve its industrial policy or other political agendas of the day. I saw it as a great chance to achieve European unification and harmonisation beyond political borders and even including countries having quite different political systems. Which it has been and still is. Clearly, if the EU brings the EPO more under its control, this may serve to exclude non-EU countries, at least in the long run.

However, the current status of the EPO as an international organisation that enjoys immunity, but is not supervised effectively and lacks any effective integration in a judicial system that safeguards elementary human rights and the rule of law is highly problematic and probably not sustainable in the long term future. Were the EPO to become an organ of the EU, this would definitely change for the better.

In any case, it is time to re-think the entire European Patent Organization, in my view.

An earlier comment said this:

I can agree that the advent of the UP system would “make the patent system in Europe quite complex”. I can also agree that “the European Commission should find a way to bring the EPO more under its control”. However, I believe that Mr van Pottelsberghe has seriously underestimated the complexities on both of these points.

For example, the “international” status of the EPO has so far enabled the management of the organisation to effectively ignore even basic principles under human rights laws (such as the right to a fair trial or to COLLECTIVE bargaining). Under these circumstances, and given the principle of supremacy of EU law (INCLUDING the Charter of Fundamental Rights), how could it be possible for the Commission to “control” the EPO in any way?

On the other hand, the advent of the UP system promises to bring into effect a system in which post-grant “game-playing” by patentees can not only change the forum in which a patent is litigated but can also change the law of infringement that is applied (and hence change the outcome of the litigation). Such a system is not just “complex”, it is absurd. It also dispatches the concept of legal certainty to the dustbin of history.

I have never seen any such complexities even acknowledged (let alone taken into account) in connection with a “study” on the possible benefits of the UP system. So you will have to forgive me if I am more than a little cynical about the chances of that system doing anything other than providing an additional advantage to those patentees having the deepest pockets (who will be best placed to take maximum advantage of the insane levels of complexity and uncertainty that are inherent in the system).

A person who used to comment a lot in IP Kat (barely did lately) said:

Ah, the European patent “system”! A bit like the famous old Punch curate’s egg, eh? “Good in parts”.

Which part is good? Why the EPC and the Established Caselaw of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, of course. This is a roadmap for everything to do with eligibility, patentability and validity of patents, and it provides hugely more legal certainty on all of these matters than anywhere else in the world. It is a benchmark for national Supreme Courts all over the world, something Europe should be very proud of and something industry in Europe should be very grateful for.

How did this come about? Some might suggest that it is precisely because the EPC and the EPO’s established caselaw has been conceived, written and implemented free from political influence and control. rather, the EPC and the EPO simply strive to dispense justice and fairness between i) patent-owners and ii) their competitors constrained by the patents the EPO issues. Reasonable certainty for the public, yet a fair scope of protection for inventors. Good patents enforceable, bad patents struck down.

So I’m not convinced that putting the EPO under more political control is in every respect a good thing.

But I’m with Thorsten and others that it would be a good thing for the basic rights of employees at the EPO.

In the end, these two issues are, for me, very important, but I’m doubtful how much they matter, for Professor Bruno van Pottelsberghe.

The above, from MaxDrei, shows that Kluwer Patent Blog fails to convince even its own readers of what it is trying to say about UPC. Maybe the target audience is some gullible politicians.

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