10.23.20

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The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO: one day it hopes to become a 5-star office again

EPO stars

Summary: Today’s EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it’s nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States

THE ambitious-but-unqualified management of the corrupt EPO (led by Benoît Battistelli and then his mate, António Campinos) not only exploits COVID to do illegal things (of which we’ve lost count). Judging by its latest couple of “press releases” [1-2] (or so-called ‘news’ as the EPO’s site puts it), it’s liaising more and more with China while establishing whitewashing groups to not only pretend quality is high (it’s not; the opposite is true) but that the illegal practices are in compliance with the law. So many comparisons can be made/drawn between today’s EPO and CPC. Greenwashing included (it’s still being floated in ‘the news’… which is reducible to EPO press releases). See [3-5] for the template-based ‘news’ coverage about the EPO and China’s office. Do journalists still exist (to actually investigate and fact-check things, including background reading)?

Just keep mentioning “quality” (as if people don’t really know what that word means; see the new quote at the bottom/on the right).

EPO quality quoteThe world’s biggest patent aggressors push ahead [6-7] in Germany with lousy software patents that should never have been granted.

Patents on genetics are still on the agenda [8], as well as other dubious patents [9], whose scope goes as far as Turkey [10] (we’re being reminded by IAM).

“It’s hard to find any media scrutiny of the EPO any longer; almost all coverage is just based (in the template sense) on EPO press releases, promoted actively by the EPO’s press team (friends of Campinos).”A couple of decades ago Europe stood out as a leader in this space (the USPTO had noticeable issues, ranging from process to scope). Now it’s little but a stooge of CPC, looking for opportunities by lowering the patent bar. This is saddening as it harms Europe’s competitiveness.

We’re still surveying the news and closely watching EPO affairs. To the best of our ability anyway (insiders don’t say as much as they did years ago).

EPO insiders, please consider trickling out to us more information. The more we know, the more EPO staff will know. It’s hard to find any media scrutiny of the EPO any longer; almost all coverage is just based (in the template sense) on EPO press releases, promoted actively by the EPO’s press team (friends of Campinos). COVID killed whatever was left of media in this space.

Remember the days IP Kat was a hard-hitting site with decent comments about the EPO? Nowadays that blog is full of ads for the EPO and comments that bring up EPO corruption get zapped (never to appear). Because IP Kat isn’t run by the same people (since years ago)… we used to exchange amicable E-mails with the ‘Kats’, but today’s ‘Kats’ treat us like an enemy (and Campinos like an ally).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Rules (warning: epo.org link)

    User representatives were informed that more than 1 200 oral proceedings have been held by VICO so far this year, and that many users have by now had the opportunity to test and discover the advantages of oral proceedings by VICO – such as reduced costs, air travel and risk of infection, as well as the level playing field VICOs create for practitioners irrespective of their location. Suggestions relating to virtual “break-out rooms” and a shared base for document exchange during oral proceedings were discussed, as well as issues relating to recordings. SACEPO members were also invited to provide feedback on a proposal to amend EPC rules to address certain specific aspects of the taking of evidence by VICO.

  2. Joint communiqué EPO-CNIPA pilot starts on 01 December, 2020 (warning: epo.org link)

    Chinese patent applicants will be able to designate EPO as ISA, giving them an additional option for their international search

    A two‑year pilot between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) will enable nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China to select the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA) for applications filed in English under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

    [...]

    PCT applicants who are nationals or residents of the People’s Republic of China and whose international search was performed by the EPO as ISA will also be able to file a request for international preliminary examination with the EPO. They should pay the corresponding fee directly to the EPO, pursuant to PCT Chapter II.

    The EPO establishes international search reports (ISRs) and written opinions (WO/ISAs) which provide an applicant with a clear evaluation of their invention’s patentability and so with a solid basis for taking timely and informed decisions as to whether or not to enter the various national/regional phases under the PCT, in particular the European phase. In addition, with an ISR and a WO/ISA from the EPO, Chinese applicants wishing to accelerate the prosecution of their application can enter the European phase earlier, request early processing and have their file examined without a supplementary European search.

  3. Chinese Applicants Will Soon be Able to Select the European Patent Office as Search Authority in PCT Applications

    ISA for there PCT applications. The pilot, which starts on December, 1, 2020, will be limited to a total of 2,500 applications in the first 12 months and 3,000 applications in the second 12 months.

    [...]

    It is not clear what the uptake of this program will be among Chinese applicants. In addition to the language requirement, the EPO international search fee is currently 1,775 Euros (~$2,100 USD) versus only 2,100 RMB (~$315) for the CNIPA international search fee. Further, these fees must be paid directly to the EPO in Euros, which can be hard for Chinese applicants due to restrictions on currency transfers overseas. Also, as Chinese applicants often rely on Chinese government support for PCT applications, which is capped, Chinese applicants may not be able to afford to select the EPO as ISA. For example, Shanghai provides an extra 10,000 RMB (~$1,500 USD) subsidy for each granted PCT national phase entry patent application (versus filing via Paris Convention).

  4. China, Europe to start pilot program on international patent search

    The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) will launch a two-year pilot program that enables Chinese patent applicants to designate the EPO as an additional option for international searches, sources with the CNIPA said.

    The program, which will start on December 1, will be open to applicants filing with either the CNIPA or the World Intellectual Property Organization’s International Bureau as the receiving office. Chinese nationals and residents can select the EPO as their international searching authority for their applications filed in English under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

    [...]

    During a transitional phase, applicants filing their international applications with the CNIPA as the receiving office and choosing the EPO for the international search will be required to pay the international search fee directly to the EPO in euros, read the communique.

  5. China, Europe To Start Pilot Program On International Patent Search

    The pilot program is one of the outcomes of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two intellectual property (IP) offices and will help Chinese applicants to acquire IP protection in Europe, said Shen Changyu, head of the CNIPA.

  6. Conversant wins Germany-wide standard-essential patent injunction against Daimler in Munich: third court loss for Daimler in as many months

    PCT applicants who are nationals or residents of the People’s Republic of China and whose international search was performed by the EPO as ISA will also be able to file a request for international preliminary examination with the EPO. They should pay the corresponding fee directly to the EPO, pursuant to PCT Chapter II.

    The EPO establishes international search reports (ISRs) and written opinions (WO/ISAs) which provide an applicant with a clear evaluation of their invention’s patentability and so with a solid basis for taking timely and informed decisions as to whether or not to enter the various national/regional phases under the PCT, in particular the European phase. In addition, with an ISR and a WO/ISA from the EPO, Chinese applicants wishing to accelerate the prosecution of their application can enter the European phase earlier, request early processing and have their file examined without a supplementary European search.

  7. This week in IP: Brexit threatens designs, Ferrari wins parts battle, Nokia enforces injunction

    Nokia announced on Tuesday, October 20, that it would pay a collateral of €3.25 million ($3.84 million) to enforce its injunction against Chinese company Lenovo in Germany for infringing its video-compression technology patents.

    The Finnish telecoms company won the injunction from the Munich Regional Court on September 30 after it ruled that the defendant, a Chinese computer firm, was an unwilling licensee because its engagement in licence negotiations was insufficient.

    The injunction will stop the sales of Lenovo PCs, laptops and tablets that use Nokia’s standardised H264 decoding or encoding functionalities in Germany, but will not affect already-purchased products.

    “Legal action is never our preferred option, but Lenovo have been unwilling to enter into discussions, despite a clear judgment confirming their unauthorised use of Nokia’s patented technology,” said a Nokia spokesperson.

    “Lenovo can easily resolve this matter by accepting their responsibilities and agreeing a licence on fair terms. Our door is open for Lenovo to resolve the matter through good-faith negotiation.”

    Nokia has active cases against Lenovo in the US, Brazil and India. The company has been on a winning streak this year, having won the lawsuit it filed against Daimler in Mannheim, and the case brought against it and Avanci in the Northern District of Texas.

  8. Onxeo Receives Notice of Intent to Grant a New Patent Enhancing the Protection in Europe of AsiDNA™ Combined with PARP Inhibitors

    Onxeo S.A. (Euronext Paris, NASDAQ Copenhagen: ONXEO), hereafter “Onxeo” or “the Company”, a clinical-stage biotechnology company specializing in the development of innovative drugs targeting tumor DNA Damage response (DDR), in particular against rare or resistant cancers, today announced that it has received from the European Patent Office (EPO) a notice of intent to grant a patent which strengthens the protection in Europe of AsiDNA™, its first-in-class inhibitor of tumor DNA repair in combination with PARP inhibitors (PARPi). This patent protects in particular the method of use of AsiDNA™ in combination with PARP inhibitors in the treatment of certain cancers for which the DNA repair pathway via homologous recombination (HR) is not impaired or deficient, these HR-proficient cancers being mostly insensitive to treatment with PARP inhibitors.

  9. Amgen Cholesterol IP Suit Restarts As EPO Decision Looms
  10. Turkey

    Turkish courts and judges are not bound by decisions of foreign courts. Nevertheless, since Turkey is a party to the EPC, the decisions of the EPO may influence the Turkish courts to some extent, especially if the disputed patent is a European patent validation. Having said that, it is at the discretion of the IP court to suspend the infringement action in cases where there is a post-grant opposition proceeding before the EPO.

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