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05.30.18

The European Patent Office: From Patent Maximalism to Corruption and Gerrymandering

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has managed to become not just detached from the need for patent quality; nowadays it is totally detached from the law itself, having repeatedly broken laws and faced no consequences for breaking these laws

THE EPO is a deeply corrupt and profoundly abusive institution. Just ask the people who actually work there. Assuming they can speak privately (i.e. no fear of retaliation), they will say so.

“Software is software even if it runs on a ‘medical’ device (basically a computer mounted onto something).”Longtime readers are well aware that our original (and sole) concern about the EPO was patenting of software. Earlier this year we wrote about "SaMD" as a new sneaky term for software patents — a subject Judge Corcoran had indirectly dealt with before Battistelli attacked and defamed him. ‘Dressing up’ software patents as “medical device” isn’t a novel trick; we saw that in the US and what’s new really is the buzzword, “SaMD”. Patent maximalists from Finnegan are again promoting this buzzword (acronym for compacted euphemisms). As Patent Docs has just put it, “Cory C. Bell, Elizabeth D. Ferrill, and Susan Y. Tull of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner will guide counsel for companies in the medical device industry on protecting software as a medical device (SaMD), and discuss the new FDA rules regulating SaMD and how to leverage IP law to protect SaMD.”

This is not OK. Software is software even if it runs on a ‘medical’ device (basically a computer mounted onto something).

The EPO’s silent departure from patent scope does not seem to bother patent law firms. Why should they complain? More patents mean more business (applications and lawsuits). Under “Who’s Who Legal,” some time yesterday Jakob Pade Frederiksen (Inspicos) published “‘Early Certainty’ In Inter-Partes Oppositions Before The European Patent Office,” in which he overlooked ramifications for patent quality at the EPO or maybe he really just doesn’t care (they bill for bad patents/lawsuits too).

Even the UPC was mentioned in there and here’s part of this self-promotional puff piece of his:

Within the framework of the EPO’s so-called Early Certainty initiative, a number of procedural and organisational measures have been launched that will drive parties in opposition proceedings into skipping former habits and developing new ones. Additionally, in consequence of a proposed revision to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA), which may possibly be adopted in 2018, patentees and opponents alike are well advised to reconsider strategies for first-instance proceedings, as these will be – to a larger extent than before – defining the legal and factual framework of second-instance appeal proceedings.

While these initiatives of the EPO management and the Boards of Appeal will without doubt lead to decisions being reached swiftly, a risk exists that final decisions might be rendered on an insufficient basis, as EPO opposition proceedings are becoming even more frontloaded than hitherto.

The Early Certainty initiative is a terrible thing; it encourages making decisions in a rush, based on little or no information that was thoroughly investigated. It leads to mistakes, such as the granting of patents and then awards to literal frauds (such as Theranos).

Speaking of Theranos, mind the latest Inventor Award puff piece published a couple of days ago in the afternoon. As usual, it is all about Battistelli. We would not be surprised if it was composed (ghostwritten) by his PR agency, as usual. He’s using the event to effectively loot patent applicants and he paints himself as some kind of scientist:

“By combining their respective skills as a physicist and systems engineer, Banine and Loopstra have significantly contributed to develop a technology for industrial use that will help manufacture the next generations of microchips,” said Benoît Battistelli, president of EPO.

Battistelli has no science degree, yet he’s being painted (by his face-saving PR apparatus) as some kind of genius. His ingenuinty seems to revolve around tyranny, corruption, and gerrymandering/vote-buying.

As mentioned last week in Twitter, Battistelli seems to be doing a potential vote-buying tour in cyprus right now (Cyprus has a vote which is equal to that of Germany in terms of weight). Here’s the EPO’s latest puff piece (warning: epo.org link) which is — you’ve guessed it — all about Battistelli:

Ahead of the conference EPO President Benoît Battistelli met with the Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis with a view to strengthen the use of the patent system in Cyprus. Topics included recent developments in intellectual property, such as the role of patent protection in supporting innovation, but also in technology trade and in attracting foreign direct investment.

Battistelli is leaving next month, but the legacy he leaves in the EPO is so toxic that it not only embarrasses France but Europe as a whole. Did he pay enough politicians and establish enough political connections to assure he doesn’t end up like Nicolas Sarkozy when his immunity expires? Time will tell.

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