EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.22.19

The Whitewashing of the EPO Under António Campinos

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Same shit, different colour

António Campinos FTI

Summary: The charm offensive of the ‘new and improved’ EPO President seems to mostly boil down to a PR campaign, as we expected all along

IT has been bad enough to witness (so far this year) US patent maximalists suggesting tips for bypassing 35 U.S.C. § 101 and getting software patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) even if courts repeatedly and explicitly reject these (no respect for judges and the law). This year we prefer to focus on the European Patent Office (EPO), which is undergoing a reputation recovery (or laundering) campaign that’s pretty shallow to see. There’s nothing but ‘happy stories’ from IP Kat, where they even deleted almost 40 comments (an entire thread about António Campinos) that were critical but reasonably polite; almost not a single comment about EPO scandals has appeared since (we are watching all the comments and have been watching every single one since then, via RSS feeds).

The EPO’s patent quality is not improving; there is more advocacy of software patents in Europe than ever before (we saw a few more examples in today’s EPO tweets; they just use buzzwords as surrogates). This is a Campinos policy. He also helps and promotes patent trolls. It’s grim. Konstanze Richter and Mathieu Klos are now ‘sweeping up’ for EPO management, trying to give the impression things improve when they don’t really change at all (except reduced transparency). They’re just posted this in their new site in English and added this tweet: “New brooms sweep clean, or so they say. It’s been a tempestuous few years at the European Patent Office. With a controversial president and numerous structural reforms, many in the European patent community had begun to lose fait…” (truncated/cut, leading to a Microsoft link tracker/ID by cookie, which we omit in the interests of privacy)

The article is excessively/abundantly quoting EPO management, especially new managers so as to give the impression everything is fine now (see the headline of the article too, “Clearing the cobwebs”… as if “whitewashing” is now a sort of white-sweeping or clean-sweeping). Maybe sweeping under some rug (secrets and crimes, e.g. Battistelli corruption).

The article has some seemingly balanced bits, for example regarding patent quality:

A current survey by the EPO among its users is seen by patent firms as a positive sign that the institution takes their concerns seriously. But not everyone shares this optimism. A Dutch patent attorney said, “We get the impression that Campinos is sticking to his predecessor’s efficiency strategy. In this case, there will be no real positive changes for the users of the system.”

The EPO employees, who in recent years have repeatedly taken to the streets to protest Battistelli’s efficiency strategy and increasing work pressure, also hope for change. The Administrative Council set out clear expectations for the new president. “We want to achieve social harmony,” the former chairman told JUVE Patent in an interview in November 2017.

“Before the appointment of António Campinos, it was made clear that all 38 member states are looking for action on this from President Battistelli’s successor.”

Since taking office in mid-2018, Campinos has been actively seeking dialogue with the workforce. He is generally regarded as accessible and open to criticism. A patent attorney in the Netherlands is of the impression that, “he is doing his best to end the social unrest in the EPO and improve the atmosphere.” Initial progress is visible. When describing talks with EPO employees, Thomas Kitzhofer from Munich law firm Prinz & Partner says, “The internal mood has noticeably improved.”

[...]

However, not everyone is of this opinion. “Campinos has had six months to make many changes, but he hasn’t yet,” says an EPO expert. Two employees and members of the SUEPO trade union, Ion Brumme and Malika Weaver, the first suspended and the other demoted under Battistelli, have meanwhile been reinstated and restored to their posts following judgments of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT).

Union members Elizabeth Hardon and Laurent Prunier, on the other hand, have been neither reinstated nor compensated. “Campinos is said to have offered them an amicable settlement,” an insider told JUVE Patent.

The fact no insiders and even some external patent attorneys contacted by JUVE Patent did not want to be named indicates the depth of mistrust towards EPO management in some parts of the workforce. They do not trust the new peace, perhaps due to some of Battistelli’s former confidants still being part of the management committee.

[...]

Implemented in 2017, the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal remains controversial for much of the patent community. This was one of the EPO’s most important projects in the ‘Battistelli era’, where the Administrative Council initiated an extensive but incomplete separation of the court from the EPO.

Now, the Boards of Appeal has had its own president for one and a half years. The separation is also a physical one, having moved from the centre of Munich to Haar, on the eastern edge of the city.

Some patent attorneys and lawyers continue to complain that the Boards of Appeal still lack independence. Its current president, Carl Josefsson, manages both legal and administrative matters. He is, however, still dependent on the EPO president in terms of budgetary concerns and his own reappointment.

“While the reforms were presented as increasing the independence of the Boards, it remains highly doubtful as to whether this was actually achieved,” said a British patent attorney. Another problem is the “ever worsening backlog of cases because of a near-total freeze in recruitment to a large number of Boards of Appeal under Battistelli.”

This development is all the more troubling as the feared problems with quality in patent applications as a result of the efficiency strategy are likely to lead to a significant increase in the number of appeals, and thus to an increased workload for the Boards in the coming years.

This work cannot be done anymore; not properly because the backlog is massive (perhaps over 10,000 cases by now). They’re just flooding the system with junk patents. As Adam Lacy and Thorsten Bausch put it almost 2 months ago: “Despite the considerable backlog of 9200 cases, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel!”

9,200 cases?! How much is that per person? And it grows fast.

Earlier today I was told by Florian Müller that it’s “[a]lways funny when those #Qualcomm employees are asked about the number of #patents they hold. Typically dozens or even hundreds per person. Shows how low the standard for patentability is (not a $QCOM-specific issue, but a systemic problem).”

This is what’s happening in the EPO right now. Also earlier today cambridgenetwork.co.uk published a pure puff piece titled “Cambridge intellectual property practice Marks & Clerk named EU’s top patent filer,” basically noting that Marks & Clerk pollutes the system with loads of rubbish patents, including software patents as we wrote earlier today. “Leading global intellectual property practice Marks & Clerk – which has an office in Cambridge – has been named the UK’s top patent filer,” says the ‘article’ (more like a commericial) and shortly after that Graham Burnett-Hall (Marks & Clerk) wrote about the UPC as follows:

Alongside this, the Government is also committed to participating in the unitary patent system and the Unified Patent Court that, if and when it comes into being, will underpin the unitary patent system.

Putting aside the fact that JUVE too is promoting/rewarding Team UPC, what we have here is this old perpetuation of falsehoods. Just like in JUVE (more so their new English site).

How does EPO staff feel? Well, JUVE quotes some rather old words from staff, but almost all the quotes come from Team Campinos (people whom he has just given high-paying jobs) and the patent microcosm.

An article noted by SUEPO on Tuesday (earlier today) gives the staff’s side of the story, based on communications from the CSC (gagged and threatened by Bergot), alleging that EPO staff is still being treated as “second-class European civil servants”:

“There is no reason why EPO staff should be treated as second-class European civil servants and that the weakest of our colleagues could be at the mercy of a hierarchy having a record of performance in badly treating staff, up to dismissing staff representatives who normally would enjoy special protection”, the CSC’s letter said.

“Legally speaking, we consider that Article 52 cannot be applied as it stands without any procedures defined for identifying, dealing with and remedying underperformance/incompetence. Pending the above, no single procedure on incompetence should be started.”

In the letter, the CSC questioned whether the new president, who took up the role in July last year, and the new vice presidents, who took office on 1 January 2019, will help the office take a different view on human resources policy, labour law and social dialogue.

An EPO source said that the concerns around article 52 extend to possible appeals at the International Labour Organisation’s Administrative Tribunal, where the allegedly incomplete proposals will most likely be found illegal.

The source explained that this was the reason the CSC had originally warned Campinos to take note of the procedure.

The source noted that Campinos was now six months into the job at the EPO and the “ill-designed policies implemented under his predecessor are still in”.

“This is really worrying since from background, Mr Campinos is a jurist and he was hired by the administrative council to improve the situation inherited from Battistelli.”

Yes, nothing has changed for the better and some readers insist that things have changed for the worse, albeit rather secretly. Maybe JUVE should look into that. We can’t help wondering if some external PR agency was assigned to twist/manipulate the media as it did happen before (we published leaks to that effect). That happened more than once, for a fact, and it even targeted German media specifically (publishers like JUVE).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Links 20/2/2019: digiKam 6.0.0, Cockpit 188, Mesa 19.0 RC5

    Links for the day



  2. How Long Can the EPO Bend the Rules Before the Avalanche of Invalid Software Patents?

    A 35 U.S.C. § 101/SCOTUS moment in Europe will likely squash loads of abstract European Patents granted by the EPO; shouldn’t the EPO foresee this and immediately cease granting such obviously bogus patents, whose main beneficiary is a bunch of patent trolls?



  3. Battistelli Trashed 223 Millions (of Stakeholders' Euros) on a System That Destroyed the European Patent Office and Made Few Private Corporations a Lot Richer

    A quarter of a billion euros later the EPO finally admits in private that this was a massive failure



  4. Links 19/2/2019: Mesa 18.3.4, Cutelyst 2.7.0, Plasma Pass 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  5. What Happened in the United States Now Happens in Europe: Lots of Patents Turn Out to Be Bunk, Fake, Bogus, Invalid and Thus Worthless

    Worthless patents — not opposition to such patents — are the greatest threat to the legitimacy of the patent system, yet bureaucrats fail to heed the warning in the name of short-term profits



  6. Stephen Rowan's and Nellie Simon's Letter to EPO Staff: eDossier Has “Not Reached the Required Quality Levels.”

    We've just commented on it; here is the raw letter in full, explaining that eDossier and related frameworks will be abandoned entirely and indefinitely within less than a fortnight



  7. Search Matters Not at the European Patent Office

    The EPO has found out that "System Battistelli" has been catastrophic for the quality of patents; it stops short of openly admitting it as such and in fact it keeps the message strictly confidential (explained to insiders, who will inevitably notice a system being abandoned)



  8. António Campinos Still Needs to Undo Battistelli's Union-Busting Activities at the EPO

    Solidarity and support for Laurent Prunier are needed because the new French president lacks empathy even for fellow Frenchmen whose sole 'crime' is that they represented EPO staff



  9. Links 18/2/2019: Linux 5.0 RC7, RISC-V Spreading Fast

    Links for the day



  10. António Campinos Still Needs to Hold Team Battistelli Accountable for Illegally Bringing Weapons to the EPO

    It is imperative that, in order to repair the reputation of the European Patent Office (EPO), António Campinos should pursue accountability for the managers who brought Benalla and firearms to the Office (very serious breach of German law, jail sentence included)



  11. Links 17/2/2019: Compiz 0.9.14.0, Geary 0.13.0, GNU FreeDink 109.6, Debian 9.8, Texinfo 6.6

    Links for the day



  12. Amazon's Patent Policy Should be Enough of a Reason to Boycott Amazon and AWS

    There are many things to criticise Amazon and its founder for; but rarely does the mainstream media bring up the company's appalling patent policy



  13. Don't Use Cloudflare Because You Impose This on People Who Least Want It

    Reasons to stop making the World Wide Web so heavily dependent on some dubious companies like Cloudflare, which already has a worrisome track record



  14. How Many/Most EPO Examiners View 'President' António Campinos

    Based on what readers/insiders have told us, there’s a prevalent perception that António Campinos is afraid of (thus controlled/directed by) Bergot, who is still doing Battistelli’s biddings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  15. Techrights' Priorities Over the Years

    An old priority of ours, eliminating software patents in the United States, is no longer quite so relevant because such patents are perishing in US courts, with or without outside intervention such as activism



  16. Courts in Disagreement: Warning on Wrongly-Granted European Patents and the Looming Collapse of All Software Patents in Europe

    By devaluing patents and reducing their perceived worth (as is happening in China and Europe) patent offices risk decreasing participation in the very system they fundamentally depend on



  17. Computing Will Not Necessarily Make the World a Better Place

    The vision of "happy world" (because each person has a so-called 'smart' 'phone') is a yuppie delusion that overlooks business models and corporate interests



  18. EPO Grants Fake European Patents -- Including Software Patents -- and European Courts Keep Rejecting These

    The demise of the legitimacy or perceived validity of European Patents is measurable and the system isn't the same anymore; the EPO makes no effort to change this for the better, either



  19. Nobody But Patent Trolls and Litigators Will Benefit From the Corruption of the European Patent Office

    IAM, EPO leadership, Iancu and the rest of these raiders are enabling corruption and facilitating or supporting a racket; that money they collect comes at the expense of future victims of their "clients" or "customers" (that's what they call applicants, to whom they grant dubious monopolies as a matter of urgency)



  20. WSL is a Misleading Acronym/Name Because There's No Linux in It, It's Just Windows

    When Microsoft says "Linux" (as in "Microsoft loves Linux") what it actually means is Windows and/or Azure



  21. Links 16/2/2019: Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, PyCharm 2019.1 EAP 4

    Links for the day



  22. Outline/Index of the Alexandre Benalla/Battistelli Scandal

    Our writings about the scandals implicating Benalla and the European Patent Office (EPO)



  23. Reading Techrights on a Mobile Device Running Android

    A new Android app for reading this site is being tested



  24. Links 14/2/2019: “I Love Free Software Day” and Mesa 19.0 RC4 Released

    Links for the day



  25. “EPO Lawlessness Again”

    Blackberry uses bogus European Patents (on software) for lawsuits; "all of them pure software patents. Patents on programs for computers as such," as Müller puts it



  26. Unitary Patent (UPC) is All About Imposing Patent Maximalists' Ideology of Greed and Self Interest on Courts in the Name of 'Unification' or 'Consistency' or 'Community'

    Pushers of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are upset that they don’t always get their way when independent judges get to decide; as it turns out, many European Patents are just fake patents, more so under António Campinos



  27. Battistelli's Bodyguard, Part V: Mediapart Explains the 'Raid' Attempt, Reporters Without Borders Involved

    Mediapart, an investigative site that unearths a lot of incriminating things about Battistelli's former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, was the target of a raid attempt some weeks ago



  28. Links 13/2/2019: Tails 3.12.1, MongoDB Being Dumped

    Links for the day



  29. Battistelli's Bodyguard, Part IV: Suspected Offenses of Forgery and Possible Falsification

    In a very underworld fashion, Benalla continues to break the law and create yet more scandals



  30. Battistelli's Bodyguard, Part III: Mars, France Close Protection (Benalla's Family), and Russian Oligarchy

    An article which examines the business background of Benalla, the outrageous salaries, the severance indemnity pay, and contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts