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07.28.18

The EPO Abandoned Patent Quality and António Campinos Has No Intention of Changing That

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A frivolous litigation pipeline

A pipeline

Summary: Instead of advancing science and technology (as originally intended) today’s EPO seems eager to serve the litigation pipeline, i.e. patent law firms and litigious firms (including patent trolls) whose sole/primary production is lawsuits

THE demise of patent quality at the EPO accompanies human rights violations. It’s a race to the bottom of many things and ultimately the goal is to just ‘produce’ a lot of low-quality patents, plenty of litigation with these, and plenty of revenue for lawyers, prosecutors etc.

“It would be an absolute nightmare, except for the litigation ‘industry’ (double-dipping, feeding off both plaintiff and defendant/s).”Hogan Lovells’ Steffen Steininger and Katharina Berghofer have just published this article. We last mentioned Hogan Lovells a few days ago.

Hogan Lovells notes that “[n]ot only did [German's] Higher Regional Court find it was not bound by the EPO, it added that contradictory statements by a plaintiff in validity proceedings should only be taken into account under exceptional circumstances…”

Believe it or not, it’s about cigarette paper, which reminds us of that notorious (and recently-granted) European Patent on chewing gum. To quote:

The decision also underscores the significance of the German bifurcated system, in which German civil courts handle infringement and panels of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the German Federal Court handle validity.

The patent at issue relates to a cigarette paper having a reduced tendency for inflammation. According to the patent, this is achieved by applying a thin film (solution) on the cigarette. In opposition proceedings, a panel of the EPO decided the term “solution” did not include “suspensions.” In subsequent infringement proceedings, however, the Higher Regional Court ruled the opposite. It held that suspensions fall within the scope of the patent and found the same to be infringing. In doing so, the court stressed that it was not bound by an interpretation of the EPO; rather, the infringement court should make its own assessment on how to define claim features.

Yes, well, imagine what would happen if UPC, governed primarily by the EPO, took charge. It would be an absolute nightmare, except for the litigation ‘industry’ (double-dipping, feeding off both plaintiff and defendant/s).

“Let’s just face it: today’s EPO has a sole goal, which is to grant as many patents as possible rather than perform proper examination.”French media got in contact with us a day ago. It’s the biggest media in France and we therefore hope it will have an impact. Will anyone finally pay attention to the plea of examiners? Will there be more scrutiny over — amongst other things — human rights violations at the EPO? As much of a scandal (weeks in the media) as a violent bodyguard who used to work for Battistelli? Does something need to go physically out of control before the media pays attention?

Other than the above, things have been eerily quiet. For example, almost every other day the EPO posts this kind of tweet about the European Inventor Award 2019. António Campinos has also just been mentioned by World Intellectual Property Review. They just repeat that latest PR/face-saving post from Campinos:

This was one of the goals he outlined in a blog post after taking up the reins at the EPO earlier this month amid a period of turmoil for the office.

WIPR has previously reported on tensions at the EPO, including strikes, before Campinos took over as president on July 2.

As his first month in the position draws to a close, Campinos demonstrated a willingness to improve the office’s outlook.

How so? Name an example. A concrete one. He has done absolutely nothing over the past 4 weeks. Even insiders say so. The EPO’s Twitter account just repeats his PR again (our response is in here) and says stuff like: “Four patent applications are filed worldwide every minute.”

That’s the kind of thing a patent maximalist would say; as if the goal is to increase filings and grants irrespective of economics, competition, merit and so on.

Let’s just face it: today’s EPO has a sole goal, which is to grant as many patents as possible rather than perform proper examination. Why else would the most senior examiners be driven out?

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