06.14.18

Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner Find the Courage to Express Concerns About Battistelli’s Ugly Legacy and Low Patent Quality

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A brown envelope

Summary: The astounding levels of abuse at the EPO have caused some of the EPO’s biggest stakeholders to speak out and lash out, condemning the Office for mismanagement amongst other things

THE EUROPEAN Patent Office, EPO, is in a very bad state because many talented examiners are no longer there and the Office struggles to recruit talent. Money can buy some reputation, but it cannot bury a legacy of pure evil from Battistelli. Applicants (for patents and jobs) understand, more or less at least, what’s going on.

There’s only half a month for the crook to still ‘lead’ (i.e. destroy) the Office before his ‘child’ António Campinos takes over. Insiders say that Campinos intends to change pretty much nothing. Team Battistelli will remain in tact, protected by Herrnst (Ernst) and the rest of the Administrative Council.

Thankfully, some stakeholders have — dare we say! — “unionised” against the Office and have put forth a letter. António Campinos too has received the relatively strongly-worded letter, warning about the damage Battistelli caused (without specifically mentioning Battistelli). A copy of the letter was also sent to Battistelli and Herrnst (Ernst), his ‘boss’ who did pretty much nothing over the past year, at times even openly denying the decline in patent quality. Remember that EPO staff (about a thousand of them) already admitted a massive decline in patent quality — a monumental effort to speak about it without risk of retribution.

Leading German patent law firms grew tired of the abusive and corrupt administration; we appreciate that, but why did they wait until a fortnight before Battistelli leaves? Is Campinos the main target audience of this letter? He’s indebted to Battistelli who gave him the job (or cemented the candidacy), so we very much doubt it’ll have an effect on him. “Each year our law firms file more than 9500 patent applications with the EPO,” said the authors of the letter. Will they consider reducing that as deterrence against the EPO’s bad policies? They make some solid points; for example, the fifth point: “If the users of the European system gain the impression that granted EP patents cannot be relied upon anymore due to insufficient search and examination, the users may increasingly be discouraged from filing European patents. This might unhinge the entire patent system.”

They also say “in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding.”

Don’t worry, Battistelli pockets the spare cash.

Here’s Kluwer Patent Blog’s introduction to the letter, which it posted this morning:

Four leading patent law firms in Germany – Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner – have published an open letter expressing ‘great concern’ about the developments at the European Patent Office, particularly ‘the modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications’.

The ‘overreaching desire for high productivity’ has led to a series of problems, according to the letter, which is directed to outgoing EPO president Benoit Battistelli, the chairman of the Administrative Council Christoph Ernst, principal director user support & quality management Niclas Morey and future EPO president Antonio Campinos (who will start in office on 1 July 2018).

Among others, the firms write that when ‘the aim is to terminate proceedings as quickly as possible (…), the quality of the search and examination of applications must suffer’. The rather high fees, moreover, ‘can only be justified by giving the examiners sufficient time for an indepth assessment of each single application’. Patents with an erroneous scope of protection distort and hinder economic competition and might unhinge the patent system, they write.

More broadly, the law firms question the enormous financial reserves of the European Patent Office, amounting to 2.300.000.000 euros, 650 million euros to fund the pension scheme not included: ‘in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding. From our perspective, the high surplus is rather an indication that the fees are too high and that a further, problematic increase of productivity is not appropriate.’

The full text of the letter is published below.

SUEPO has already taken note of this letter and the first comment says: “I can only applaud the companies involved in writing this letter. I could not agree more with the concerns that it expresses. I can only hope that the incoming president realises that the concerns expressed cannot be easily dismissed… not least because the unprecedented nature of the letter indicates that the authors must be very concerned indeed.”

SUEPO then gets mentioned by “Save the EPO from destruction,” whose message says:

MANY THANKS for this brilliant initiative.

By the way the content of the letter could be taken up by SUEPO as-is!

Indeed SUEPO (which represents half of EPO staff) denounced since years (so far to no avail) the dangers of Battistelli’s policies (for both the quality of the patents delivered as well as on health of staff)…

and the Administrative Council remain passive.

It is 5 to 12.

In a few weeks, Mr Campinos will arrive in an exhausted office which cannot continue on this path much longer before collapsing.

Let’s hope that Mr Campinos will understand the poisonous legacy he inherits from his predecessor and in particular, that he has to be very cautious with the teams in place who are directly responsible for this debacle (in particular in HR, and DG1) since something must be done asap to restore both the social atmosphere, the reputation of the EPO AND the quality of the work performed.

Where were these law firms 4 years ago when SUEPO sounded the alarm? Or when the EPO banned (blocked) our site, in effect attempting to muzzle its own whistleblowers? This corrupt EPO management has killed the goose for a few remaining golden eggs; work is (pretty soon) running out, which means that the Office is imploding (with layoffs still expected). We have thus far found only one article about it. IPPro Patents wrote:

Four German law firms have penned an open letter to the European Patent Office (EPO), expressing “great concern” over recent developments at the EPO, specifically the ever-increasing work targets at the office.

The law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner wrote that “the incentive systems and internal directives appear to be increasingly directed towards rewarding or even requesting rapid ‘termination’ of proceedings and a correspondingly higher productivity”.

The letter said that this has resulted in penalisation of detailed and thorough assessment of cases.

It said that while the law firms do appreciate the increased speed, such “overreaching desire” for high productivity has led to a range of problems, including issues of quality, scope of protection and inadequately assessed patents.

Now is the time to carefully check which so-called ‘IP’ site covers the matter (letter) and which ones deliberately ignore it like IP Kat (controlled by Team UPC elements and patent maximalists nowadays).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2018/06/14/grunecker-hoffmann-eitle-maiwald-and-vossius-partner/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  2. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  3. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021



  5. Tolerating the Intolerant and Lacking Tolerance for Opposing Views

    The person who shouted...



  6. Letter of Support for Richard Stallman - Doing Better in Community

    "How do you support someone you’ve known for years who is unfairly attacked and publicly maligned?"



  7. Richard Stallman on Rejecting Workplace Bureaucracy in the 1970s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters



  8. Renata Avila: Trying to Understand the Lynching of Stallman

    Reproduced from the original



  9. Breaking News: EDPS Admits That It is Powerless to Investigate Claims of GDPR Non-compliance at the EPO

    Nobody is truly in charge at the EDPS (and in Europe at large); they say EPO is "company" and all one can do is kindly ask the EPO itself to obey the law and stop outsourcing European data to American military contractors



  10. Links 17/4/2021: Linux 5.13 in Sight, Holland Warming up to Free Software

    Links for the day



  11. Richard Stallman Vilified by Those Who Don't Know Him, Says Sylvia Paull

    Republished "In Support of Richard Stallman"



  12. [Meme] Linux Foundation Can't Use Linux

    Two examples from yesterday, highlighting what a bunch of hypocrites run the marketing operation now disguised as ‘research’; Jason Perlow from Microsoft signed/published this newsletter highlight from the failing “Linux” Foundation — a foundation that calls itself “Linux” while its newsletter is still hosted by Microsoft Windows+proprietary IIS and this latest report is made with proprietary software on a Mac



  13. [Meme] Haters Gonna Hate, Don't Apologise to a Libelling Mob

    As was already pointed out before, you cannot appease a mob by talking back to it, certainly not by issuing an apology (putting oneself in a position of weakness)



  14. What the EPO Has 'Normalised' in Europe...

    Under the cover of 'new normal', Europe's second-largest institution crushes the law and crushes its own staff



  15. Lots of Information in Sight, But Minimal Distraction

    How I keep focused on reading and writing whilst at the same time keeping an eye on important incidents, such as DDOS attacks and urgent messages coming in



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 16, 2021



  17. Hate Letter Against FSF (Concern Trolls): 1415 Committers, Letter in Support of FSF (With Its Founder Back): 5116

    Taking into account people who asked for their names to be removed from the defamatory hate letter (inciting people, based on falsehoods), it's not impossible that the support letter really triples or quadruples it in terms of number of signatures



  18. Richard Stallman: Sharing is Good... We Need to Legalise It

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains his take on copyright and the artificial restriction being used against sharing



  19. Nadine Strossen and Hannah Wolfman-Jones Rebut Accusations Against Stallman and Choose Him as Coauthor

    "Here are her thoughts and the response she received from Nadine, extracted verbatim with their permission from the original article"



  20. Links 17/4/2021: GNOME 40 in Tumbleweed, Devuan 4.0 Alpha, Kate Editor Makes a Leap

    Links for the day



  21. EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO 'to Court' (the ILO's Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

    The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them



  22. The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

    A fake "GNU" (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name "GNU") is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it's an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)



  23. Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

    Links for the day



  24. The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

    Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion



  25. Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

    What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media



  26. Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

    A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 15, 2021



  28. [Meme] Laundering Bribes as 'Cooperation Money'

    Germany has financial interest in ensuring that EPO abuses carry on and nobody holds the EPO accountable



  29. Articles in Support of Richard Stallman

    Reproduced with permission



  30. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 20: Taking Stock

    Benoît Battistelli's legacy at the EPO is a legacy of corruption and cover-up; we take stock of how illegality was defended and persists to this day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts