08.01.19

Gemini version available ♊︎

The Boards’ (of Appeal) Fear of Enforcing the Law (EPC) Will Doom the European Patent Office

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s just a big bubble waiting to burst

Big bubble

Summary: The Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000) is totally meaningless judging by the actions of today’s EPO and the scope of European Patents; this means that a bubble is being inflated pending an inevitable implosion

European Patent Office-granted patents (EPO patents or European Patents, EPs) are rapidly losing their value, just like USPTO-granted patents after 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Team Campinos/Battistelli doesn’t think long-term; like CEOs of companies all they care about is quarterly or annual “targets”; quality isn’t part of it and one might call quality an “obstacle” (it slows things down when all one is willing to measure is “products”, numerically).

“Over at Lexology, Marks & Clerk’s Donald McNab misses the point that the EPO attacked all these Boards that are supposed, in principle, to govern things from a legal perspective, as per the EPC. They’re toothless now.”The EPO was supposed to be self-correcting, but the EPC was violated in many possible ways. There’s no separation of powers. Last month we saw EPO ‘justice’ in a nutshell — a stacked panel of judges refusing to even deal with the question of the EPC being violated (instead deeming the very question ‘inadmissible’). Who are they kidding?

Over at Lexology, Marks & Clerk’s Donald McNab misses the point that the EPO attacked all these Boards that are supposed, in principle, to govern things from a legal perspective, as per the EPC; they’re toothless now. They cannot do their job. But Marks & Clerk, being the patent maximalist it has always been, chose to focus on upcoming rule changes:

In a meeting of its Administrative Council on 26 and 27 June, the European Patent Office (EPO) approved new Rules of Procedure for its Boards of Appeal (RPBA), which will come into force on 1 January 2020 (“RPBA 2020”). This approval comes after a consultation process, which saw 140 comments made on a first draft and a conference held in Munich in December 2018 to discuss a second draft, amendment of which has led directly to the RBPA that will now come into force. Although the full effect of these rules on practice before the EPO, not only in appeals but probably also in first instance proceedings, will only become clear once these rules have come into effect, it is generally understood that the new rules are likely to be more burdensome on parties than the existing rules and we recommend that cases presently on appeal at the EPO, or which may be the subject of appeals, be reviewed as soon as possible in case potentially beneficial action may be taken before the new rules come into effect.

The EPO’s Boards of Appeal have exclusive jurisdiction to decide upon appeals against so-called first instance decisions handed down by other departments of the EPO, for example decisions in oppositions to granted European patents and decisions refusing European patent applications. The RPBA are binding upon the Boards, “provided that they do not lead to a situation which would be incompatible with the spirit and purpose of the [European Patent] Convention” (Article 23 RPBA, unamended).

[...]

There are still further changes that will come into effect on 1 January 2020, which we have not discussed. These include the possibility for Boards to issue decisions in which the reasons are given in abridged form or partially abridged form; and timescales for Boards to issue decisions. Additionally, if a Board’s rapporteur is asked to do so by the Board’s Chair, (s)he will assess whether or not more than one appeal should be handled together or whether any appeals should be taken out of turn, seemingly for reasons of overall procedural economy.

[...]

Lastly, in view of the future importance of decisions from first instance proceedings on appeal proceedings, not to mention that of the minutes of any first instance Oral Proceedings, these (both decisions and minutes) will need to be considered to a greater extent than before, to minimise the possibility that subject-matter presented on appeal may be regarded as an amendment, which could potentially be inadmissible.

So “inadmissible” again? Does anyone still believe that the rule of law prevails at the EPO? Not even EPO staff believes that anymore. Alluding to the Enlarged Board of Appeal decision G05/83, Tim Fitzgerald and Michael Finney (IP Gateway Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys and Bennett & Philp Lawyers, respectively) have just mentioned Swiss-type patent claims, affirming our observation that the EPO became extremely lenient when it comes to patent quality:

Swiss-type claims were originally approved by the Swiss Patent Office as a mechanism to allow for protection of a new therapeutic use of a known compound (i.e., second or further medical use), given prohibition of claims to methods of medical treatment.[1] The claim format was subsequently accepted at the European Patent Office (EPO) and affirmed in the Enlarged Board of Appeal decision G05/83. In particular, the Enlarged Board held that it was “legitimate in principle” to allow Swiss-type claims where the formulation was for a specified new and inventive therapeutic application, even where the process of manufacture did not differ from known processes using the same active ingredient.

Under the provisions of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), claims in the format “Compound X for use in treating condition Y” (‘European use format’) are construed as use-limited for novelty purposes, and Swiss-type claims are no longer allowable in Europe.[2] Nevertheless, previously issued European patents containing Swiss-type claims have the potential to remain in force until at least 2031.[3] In recent years, there has been substantial judicial assessment of infringement requirements for Swiss-type claims of existing European patents, including in the UK.[4]

The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office cannot be viewed as an independent judiciary anymore. It’s not their fault, either. The Office colluding with a supine Administrative Council did this and terrorising the Boards’ judges sure leads to acceptance of whatever the Office wants. Unless one wishes to risk unemployment, demotion, slander and even public mobbing.

“The number of applications is already decreasing, so how can Campinos demonstrate any growth for much longer? Expect layoffs or something similar. It’s the cost of mismanagement.”What has meanwhile emerged (also today) is an upcoming patent case. The UK Supreme Court might soon throw out some more questionable European Patents granted by the EPO (it throws out many such patents these days). There’s one particular patent at stake here. It still exists because of the EPO Boards of Appeal:

Entyvio is an anti-integrin used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Entyvio recently outperformed Abbivie’s Humira in a ulcerative colitis phase 3b clinical trial and sales of Entyvio reached $1.37 billion in the nine months to December 2018. Roche claimed that Entyvio infringed its European patent EP 2 007 809. The patent had been maintained in amended form by the EPO Boards of Appeal following an opposition by GSK and Novartis (T1784/15). Takeda denied infringement and brought a revocation action in the UK courts against the patent.

The patent related to a modified antibody structure that reduced the capacity of the antibody to cause unwanted cell death. Particularly, Claim 1 of the patent related to a glycosylated human monoclonal antibody, characterised by the fucose content of its sugar chain: at least 99% fucosylation (as measured by LCMS peptide mass analysis). Although not mentioned in the patent in words, Roche argued that the high level of fucosylation abolished the ability of the antibody to cause cell death (as shown in the Figures of the patent).

Judging by recent rulings from the same court, there’s a good change the patent and the lawsuit will be thrown out (at the highest court in Britain). There’s also this new update on the German Supreme Court (BGH) deciding in relation to the EPC (“The European Patent Office (EPO) has developed a standing practice with regard to the enablement requirements (Art. 83 EPC) with regard to claims…”), but it’s behind a paywall. Many predict — and quite rightly in fact — that in the coming years the gross discrepancy between the EPC and EPO will become visible in courts outside EPOnia, reducing legal certainty and valuations of EP portfolios. The number of applications is already decreasing, so how can Campinos demonstrate any growth for much longer? Expect layoffs or something similar. It’s the cost of mismanagement.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Gemini Gone Mainstream: German Media Now in Geminispace

    With the likes of TAZ embracing Geminispace/Gemini Protocol we seem to have reached some sort of inflection point; taz.de did in fact add official presence to Geminispace



  2. Links 28/1/2022: LSFMM 2022 and 2021 UI Study Results From Elementary's Distro

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 27, 2022



  4. Links 28/1/2022: GNU Poke 2.0 and OPNsense 22.1 Released

    Links for the day



  5. Links 27/1/2022: Archinstall 2.3.1 and Nix 2.6.0

    Links for the day



  6. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  7. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  8. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  10. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  11. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  12. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  13. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  14. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  15. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  16. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  17. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  18. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  20. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  21. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  22. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  23. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  24. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  25. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  26. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  27. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  29. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."


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