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06.02.18

The European Patent Office Dominates Media Coverage in the Form of Paid-For Puff Pieces, Suppresses Coverage About Corruption

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s all about money (or using Office money to distract from clear misuse of this money)

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at EPO

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to bribe the media in order to manipulate this media while threatening if not outright blocking (censorship) true information about the Office; it doesn’t look like anyone — let alone AT-ILO — even cares about EPO corruption

“European Patent Office Discusses Patenting Artificial Intelligence,” reads this new headline from IP Watch‘s Monika Ermert.

The headline should have said “European Patent Office Discusses Patenting Software Using the Buzzword ‘Artificial Intelligence’,” as we explained some days ago. The Office is corrupt, rogue, and it even controls the media using threats and bribes. We have covered many examples of it over the years. Over the past week, the EPO promoted the “Inventor Award” about half a dozen times a day, even in the weekends. Another puff piece for “Inventor Award” (we guess EPO may have ghostwritten it via PR agencies, as before) could be found here a few days ago. Still no press coverage of this very obvious abuse of EPO budget by Battistelli, eh? How much more obvious does it need to be?

“Still no press coverage of this very obvious abuse of EPO budget by Battistelli, eh? How much more obvious does it need to be?”IP Watch wrote that the “United States and Chinese patent practitioners this week called for considerations to change patent legislation and allow patenting algorithms in the future. They spoke at a 30 May conference of the European Patent Office in Munich on “Patenting Artificial Intelligence.””

Ermert says “patenting algorithms”, but the headline says something else. Just before the weekend the EPO did it again, promoting software patents while barely even hiding it. When the "4IR" buzzword is brought up by EPO they mean software patents. Will the media call them out on it? The EPO is in violation of the EPC again.

Having paid to spread a puff piece of theirs, Ladas & Parry LLP now “celebrates” the “European Patent Convention (EPO)” [sic] (EPC), which is being violated by the EPO in an obvious fashion. This was published yesterday in lawyers’ media:

We salute the originators and implementers of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the European Patent Convention (EPO) on their fortieth anniversary and look forward to continued use of both long into the future.

[...]

Similarly, the use of the European Patent Convention by providing for a single examination in the European Patent Office that can apply to patents in all member countries is now the norm for securing patent protection in Europe (regardless of whether the countries of interest are in the European Union or not). To some extent, this is accidental as the original plan was to have a central patent office and harmonized European patent law for the member countries of what was then the European Common Market. At that time, this consisted of Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. And the United Kingdom was negotiating to join (and was expected to become a member) before the patent plan was adopted. However, France then vetoed the United Kingdom’s application for membership of the Common Market and the idea developed that perhaps it would be better to have a common patent examination authority for any European country that wished to join and not just members of the Common Market. And so the European Patent Convention was born. Today, the Convention has 37 full members and agreements with a further six countries (not all in Europe) in which patent applications approved by the European Patent Office may be validated or to which they may be extended. Adoption of the European Patent Convention not only provided a means for reducing the costs of securing patent protection in Europe but also resulted in substantial, although still not perfect, harmonization of substantive patent law between the member countries as it was impracticable to have one law apply to patents granted by the European Patent Office and a national patent office.

As usual, not a word or even a remote mention of the EPO scandals. The same goes for IP Kat, which is still doing EPO marketing rather than watch-dogging. Here is what it wrote yesterday: “The second webinar in J A Kemp’ssix-part Pharmaceutical IP webinar series, ‘Patenting Antibodies at the EPO’, is now available on-demand. The webinar overviews antibody cases of the European Patent Office, as well as discussions with EPO examiners, highlighting recent trends in examination and strategies for addressing objections.”

“AT-ILO is not independent. AT-ILO does not respect the most basic principles of justice: it does not hear the parties, it does not reconsider the facts presented by the investigation unit which is partial to the EPO by its very nature…”
      –Märpel
RIP Kat — created in response to IP Kat‘s unwillingness to cover EPO scandals any longer — has this new and rather long post about EPO abuse. “Why,” it inquired, “as a Frenchman, did he [Germond] chose to leave Paris to do the same job at about the same salary in Munich? The EPO and the ESA are both international organisations and have similar pay scales. Rumours say that some promises were made, but Märpel would advise Mr. Germond not to trust rumours. President Battistelli rarely holds his promises and, in any case, time is running short.”

It also said that “AT-ILO is not independent. AT-ILO does not respect the most basic principles of justice: it does not hear the parties, it does not reconsider the facts presented by the investigation unit which is partial to the EPO by its very nature…”

It sadly feels like nobody but us and Märpel is willing to mention EPO scandals any longer. IP Kat went to extreme lengths and nuked an entire comments thread (about 40 comments) about the controversial fashion in which António Campinos got elected selected by Battistelli, a fellow Frenchman. All those same abuses persist to this date. To quote Märpel:

The simple answer is that staff cannot. That is a feature. The internal “justice” system finds staff guilty in all the cases. When it still found staff innocent (before 2016), President Battistelli could simply disregard their opinion. After that time, President Battistelli changed the members to ones more “loyal” to his person and exercised retribution on the others to make sure the ones of his choosing stayed “loyal”. AT-ILO not only agrees with this practice but went out of their way to move publications of key decisions like the one concerning Mr. Corcoran to a date better suiting President Battistelli plans.

[...]

AT-ILO is not independent. AT-ILO does not respect the most basic principles of justice: it does not hear the parties, it does not reconsider the facts presented by the investigation unit which is partial to the EPO by its very nature, it hides facts as it sees fit. AT-ILO is a tribunal only by name and a shame to anyone with a legal background.

[...]

At the end of 2013 something else also happened, this time at the EPO. President Battistelli hired a new person to be head of department employment law in Munich. Department employment law is the department of jurists doing the work of preparing the submissions of the EPO in AT-ILO cases. That department is only a few people in the 7th floor of the Isar building, most of whom are on fixed term contracts. The head of that department is Laurent Germond.

How President Battistelli managed to recruit Mr Germond is a mystery. Before the EPO, Mr. Germond had the same work at the European Space Agency in Paris. Why, as a Frenchman, did he chose to leave Paris to do the same job at about the same salary in Munich? The EPO and the ESA are both international organisations and have similar pay scales. Rumours say that some promises were made, but Märpel would advise Mr. Germond not to trust rumours. President Battistelli rarely holds his promises and, in any case, time is running short.

But, in 2013, President Battistelli wanted Mr. Germond so badly that the recruitment procedure took months, in complete disregard of applicable regulations.

Why was President Battistelli so eager to hire Mr. Germond? Märpel believed that the reason is that Mr Germond and Mr. Petrović are personal friends. The world of international organisations is tiny, the world of international administrative justice even more so. Mr Germond and Mr. Petrović have worked in that circle for a long time and have come to appreciate each other. And maybe a bit more than that, but Märpel cannot tell without revealing her sources.

When he entered his functions, President Battistelli knew the EPO very well from his work in the administrative council. He knew, from the experiences of previous presidents, that the main card of the staff was AT-ILO. The tribunal overturned several key decisions in favour of staff. President Battistelli wanted none of that. President Battistelli knew that it was absolutely vital to his plans that AT-ILO would be in is favour. He needed a way. The new registrar offered him one.

Last year we showed that ahead of the “Inventor Award” ceremony the EPO offered 'gifts' to so-called 'journalists' in exchange for shallow coverage (same thing as the prior year). Can we call that “bribery”? How much bribery can the EPO get away with it before authorities actually bother intervening? And if they refuse to ever intervene, does that mean that the EPO remains above the law and AT-ILO is merely its protector (giving only the illusion of external oversight)?

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