06.01.21

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Some Potentially Good News About the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Now that there’s broad and widespread recognition that the EPO’s Boards of Appeal have no real independence (they’ve been rendered rubber-stampers of the Office) there’s hope that the EPO’s Administrative Council (led by Josef Kratochvíl and Borghildur Erlingsdóttir) will finally intervene and maybe they’ll also roll back the illegal outsourcing of the EPO to the United States

LAST week’s EPOnian chaos, which culminated in the canning (for now) of a case about outsourcing of EPO tribunals to US technology firms with many European software patents, gives us hope. It moreover gives hope to EPO judges, who have long been at the mercy of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their 'Swedish chef'. Will judges be able to find their spine again and say “no!” to patent maximalism? We certainly moved a step closer to that…

“…given the recent track record of Kratochvíl and Erlingsdóttir, they’re likely to just sit on their hands as the reputation of the Office languishes, both among staff and stakeholders.”In any event, last week was definitely historic in that regard and last night we saw the EPO’s management announcing the upcoming (by year’s end) “[d]ecommissioning of online filing (CMS) with effect from 1 January 2022″ (warning: epo.org link). We don’t really understand the why, but we hope that EPO insiders can enlighten us, illuminating the possible causes. In any event, judging by this FAQ (warning: epo.org link), examiners will be dealing with PDF files instead of Microsoft’s proprietary and patented formats. Unlike the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), no financial benefit will be given to Microsoft customers. This seems like a relief, given the EPO's general outsourcing to Microsoft, which is illegal.

AC chair Josef Kratochvíl (CZ) and deputy chair Borghildur Erlingsdóttir (IS) need to get their act together, reestablishing the independence of the Boards of Appeal and preventing the Office from outsourcing the operations to Microsoft. But given the recent track record of Kratochvíl and Erlingsdóttir, they’re likely to just sit on their hands as the reputation of the Office languishes, both among staff and stakeholders.

Putin: The judge said what about me? Say what?

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