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03.12.19

EPO’s Latest ‘Results’ Show That António Campinos Has Already Given Up on Patent Quality and is Just Another Battistelli

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And the EPO’s PR People Write the Press Articles

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Reference: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Summary: The patent-granting machine that the EPO has become reports granting growth of unrealistic scale (unless no proper examination is actually carried out)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is driving into a wall at full speed. António Campinos took over from Battistelli, but he’s still pressing the pedal for full throttle, adding yet more advocacy of European software patents in defiance of courts, Parliament, EPC and so on. Europe will pay for it. Businesses and people will get sued; frivolous lawsuits (or pre-settlement).

“Europe will pay for it. Businesses and people will get sued; frivolous lawsuits (or pre-settlement).”The EPO doesn’t care about patent quality anymore. Not one iota!

Here is yesterday’s post from Dr. Thorsten Bausch, a patent attorney. He remarks on the EPO’s shallow effort to divert away from discussion about patent quality in examination in Europe (focusing on speed instead). To quote:

The signals from the contracting member states and earlier user feedback were also mixed, thus raising the question what the EPO will now do with all of this. Spoiler: the EPO document provides no hint whatsoever in any direction; it merely lists the main arguments provided by both opponents and proponents and thus allows everybody to develop an informed own opinion.

For background, in autumn 2017, the EPO presented a proposal bearing the slightly unfortunate, if not downright misleading, title „User-driven Early Certainty“ (UDEC) offering applicants the possibility to postpone the start of substantive examination by a maximum period of 3 years. Let us forget about the title and focus on the substance and the rationale behind it. It was to provide applicants more time, where needed, to decide about the economic relevance and scope of protection for an invention before incurring significant prosecution and validation costs.

I must say that I always found this rationale quite sensible and liked the idea. This may possibly have to do both with my national and my technical background. In Germany such a possibility has existed for ages (more than 50 years, see §28b PatG 1968) and has never since caused a lot of problems or discussions, at least as far as I can remember. One can also hardly argue that the option of deferred examination has greatly harmed innovation or stifled competition in Germany, which was a fear expressed by some opponents against the EPO’s proposal for flexible timing of examination (abbreviated FTE in the following). And in my technical field, i.e. chemistry and pharmaceuticals, I am constantly reminded on how many inventions never make it to market for regulatory or economic reasons and how many applications are dropped in the course of the examination proceedings despite a positive evaluation of patentability by the EPO. If an opportunity existed to defer the examination of these applications at applicant’s request, I do not see why this would cause any harm to the public or applicant’s competitors. And the EPO would have more capacity to examine the urgent applications faster.

Another German has just published a report about Munich I Regional Court, where Qualcomm comes to discover that many of its European Patents are bunk. “It’s also very, very likely that the EPO will revoke those patents,” he wrote, “in which case Qualcomm will have to appeal the Opposition Division’s decision to a Technical Board of Appeal. All of his is taking time, but those cases are pretty clearly going nowhere.”

“The EPO doesn’t care about patent quality anymore. Not one iota!”Well, they know that these patents might never be challenged as it’s too expensive (especially when patents are leveraged in bulk). Herein lies the danger of the EPO’s overpatenting strategy — one that foreign companies are all too eager to exploit while they can.

This brings us to this morning’s “news” (or ‘news’ with scare quotes). Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Tomorrow is the day we will announce the Office’s achievements in 2018. Stay tuned to learn about the key players in innovation.”

“These “achievements” are the granting of false, low-quality, bogus, bunk and fake European Patents,” I told them, “that will cost the innocent accused parties billions in legal fees. Well done, EPO!”

The EPO has already signaled that it accepts all sorts of crazy patent applications (e.g. algorithms as “AI”), so guess what happened? The rubber-stamping operation reports ‘growth’ (in likely invalid monopolies). This was published this morning in the EPO’s site (warning: epo.org link) and then this tweet: “The EPO Annual Report 2018 is out! Demand for patent protection reaches a new high: 4.6% growth in applications filed and 21% more European patents granted.”

“The EPO has already signaled that it accepts all sorts of crazy patent applications (e.g. algorithms as “AI”), so guess what happened? The rubber-stamping operation reports ‘growth’ (in likely invalid monopolies).”“European Patent quality has collapsed and these numbers confirm it,” I told them. Curiously enough before they even published these results to the public there were already press articles about it in the US (Bloomberg) and Ireland (Irish Times). Those articles were published before the EPO even announced the results, which means that PR people had coordinated these articles in advance. As usual…

The takeaway is that the EPO is granting loads of invalid European Patents. But it’s expensive to invalidate these. So large multinationals exploit this corruption of the EPO’s goals. “U.S. companies submitted a record number of patent applications to the European Patent Office in 2018, retaining the country’s status as the most prolific filer,” said the outline from the US. A very high proportion of these won’t be really examined because the EPO has transformed into “rubber-stamping” status. Insiders say so too. The Irish article was eerily similar (same ‘script’) and it was pure spin; no doubt there are more like it right now (more such spin, more articles) and days to come will accompany that slant, just like every year; we shall see who just repeats PR talking points and who actually investigates the claims and puts them in context/perspective.

“Lowering patent quality and granting loads of monopolies is not a success story but a growing danger to Europe.”What are patents-centric ‘news’ sites doing? EPO PR.

Friday’s PR blitz/charm offensive (see our rebuttal in this post) led to puff pieces and PR like this from IPPro Magazine’s Ben Wodecki, who now serves as PR amplifier of EPO management. His colleague is the one who typically gives a voice to SUEPO.

And here we have Managing IP, another longtime megaphone of EPO management (including Battistelli himself), amplifying patent maximalism agenda:

In-house counsel at Barclays and Amadeus, plus a director at the EPO discussed the conundrum of global patent eligibility at a Managing IP conference in London

Yes, go on and suck up to EPO management, just like IAM and others. Wait and watch the amount of spin we shall see this week about EPO “success”. Lowering patent quality and granting loads of monopolies is not a success story but a growing danger to Europe.

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