11.25.20

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Member of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal Explains Why VICOs (or ViCo/Video Conferences/Virtual ‘Hearings’) Are Not Suitable for Justice

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those also outsource the legal process to another continent, which is inherently and fundamentally unconstitutional

U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, DC

Summary: It’s interesting to hear (or see/read) what people inside the EPO have to say about the “new normal” when they enjoy a certain level of anonymity (to avert retribution)

THE coming few weeks we at least intend to devote to other issues, new issues. We’ll allocate and dedicate more time to Free software, but we’re still watching very closely what happens at the EPO and later today we’ll watch what happens in the Bundestag. We’ll probably write about the UPC almost never (except for humour, as it mostly became a circus) and about the EPO we’ll write once a day, at most, if/when something important happens. To be fair, there’s not so much to write about anymore. The EPO is still secretive, it’s still releasing loads of ridiculous puff pieces to distract from its corruption, and approximately 90% of articles we find about the EPO are pure fluff, usually self-promotional marketing pitch from patent lawyers.

“…approximately 90% of articles we find about the EPO are pure fluff, usually self-promotional marketing pitch from patent lawyers.”This morning we noticed a new comment from someone claiming to be a member of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO. Assuming this person is honest (in describing oneself as a board member; based on the content, we have no reason to believe it’s a forgery), here’s a view from the inside:

Being a board member myself, the idea that worries me most is that before long the boards as such will no longer meet in a single location. Nowadays we often have lively discussions when deliberating, which makes the final decision much more reliable (no stone being left unturned), but this will not be easy when we see each other behind a screen, with all the inevitable technical trouble that comes along (and we have had some of that already in our VICOs, believe me). Now if the deliberation process suffers, the very heart of the appeal proceedings suffers. I fear that the quality of our decisions will decrease if the boards do not meet in person, face to face. Oh I know that the powers that be do not really care about quality, and that they see that VICOs can be so much cheaper. But in the end, our raison d’être is providing good, well-founded and fair decisions, and that will be made more difficult to achieve.

There are some more comments of interest in there.

Courtroom tea“When reading the EPO is using Zoom I was surprised,” the next comment said. “Of course, the EPO is immune, so they can use whatever they want… But, since Zoom is critized for not following the General Data Protection Regulation, for lack of encryption etc., I was wondering: assume you would like to prevent a VICO, would it be possible to send your opponent a cease-and-desist-letter (Abmahnung) not to use Zoom professionally? Are patent attorneys, at least in Germany, bound by their professional duties not to use such a defective tool? Well, I guess Mr C [António Campinos] couldn’t care less…”

This was in response to the latest decent article from Dr. Bausch.

Speaking of lack of justice at the EPO, it’s hardly better at the ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) when EPO staff brings grievances there. “Justice denied” is a publication going back to March of this year (“Report on the 129th Session of the ILOAT”) and it explains how in “Judgments 4255 and 4256 the ILO Administrative Tribunal dismissed a total of 653 complaints coming from EPO staff. The majority of the complaints concern reforms and other controversial decisions dating back to 2012 – 2014. In earlier judgments the Tribunal found that the Administrative Council or the Office (i.e. the President) had made formal errors in the procedures and sent the cases back for re-examination. This line has now been confirmed. Arguments of the complainants why further delays would amount to a denial of justice were ignored.”

Here’s the full PDF published about this matter back then.

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