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03.22.17

The EPO is Lying to Its Own Staff About ILO and Endless (Over 2 Years) EPO Mistrials

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maintaining convenient illusions using sheer lies and distortion of facts

Claude RouillerSummary: The creative writing skills of some spinners who work for Battistelli would have staff believe that all is fine and dandy at the EPO and ILO is dealing effectively with staff complaints about the EPO (even if several years too late)

ON “ILOAT decisions,” as per what the EPO‘s ‘Employment Law’ wrote a week ago (Target group: DG4, DG5, President-DG0, DG1, DG2, BoA), there aren’t many facts or much information. Lazy(ier) EPO staff might actually believe these ‘Employment Law’ people, in spite of the Office’s history defying labour law and then falling back on “immunity” (after losing high-profile cases). We don’t honestly think that ordinary staff is gullible enough to swallow this spin from ‘Employment Law’. It’s just an echo chamber (“DG4, DG5, President-DG0, DG1, DG2…”), telling one another what they want to hear and might actually believe. The statements can later be (re)used for lobbying purposes.

“Lazy(ier) EPO staff might actually believe these ‘Employment Law’ people, in spite of the Office’s history defying labour law and then falling back on “immunity” (after losing high-profile cases).”We wrote many articles on the subject and thought a rebuttal would be in order. “That’s how the ILOAT decisions were presented to the EPO staff,” a source told us, giving us the complete text for independent assessment.

Shall we start? In quotes, in the remainder of this article, are the EPO’s own words.

“ILO is not at all effective at dealing with EPO complaints. The ILO has repeatedly complained that it’s unable to cope with the load. It always blames the EPO.”“Report on the 123rd session of the ILOAT At its 123rd session, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (the Tribunal) delivered 97 judgments involving 21 Organisations. In total the Tribunal dismissed the complaints in 60 judgments and granted them, partly or in full, in 37 judgments.”

Notice the artistic pretense here (intended to disguise gross imbalance): 21 organisations. Among nearly 100, of which EPO is just one. About half of all the complainants are coming from the EPO. Mind this crucial omission. Does that not merit a mention? The above offers no breakdown of which organisations actually had judgments delivered. It is widely recognised as a fact that the ILO typically returns the complaints to complainants or to the Office (in other words, doing nothing at all, sometimes citing inadmissibility). ILO is not at all effective at dealing with EPO complaints. The ILO has repeatedly complained that it’s unable to cope with the load. It always blames the EPO.

“The EPO just implemented a workaround to more or less dodge compliance.”“The judgments have been exceptionally delivered in two steps with 4 judgments on 30 November 2016,” the EPO said. We’ll get to that, as we have repeatedly covered these judgments last year.

“The EPO took specific measures to address the orders contained in the two judgments delivered in November 2016.”

The EPO just implemented a workaround to more or less dodge compliance. We wrote about that. It’s a total disgrace.

The EPO says: “These judgments concerned the composition of the Appeals Committee (No. 3785) and the competent authority to hear a request for review (No. 3796).”

This has not been addressed.

“Nice selective quoting right there.”Now watch Team Battistelli leaping to exploit “immunity!” by stating: “The judgment delivered by the Dutch Supreme Court on 20 January 2017 whereby the Court upheld the legal protection available to staff of the EPO through the internal…”

What on Earth does it have to do with that? The judges there clearly did not understand, as per the ILO’s own statements, that ILO was incapable of dealing with the EPO’s ‘scatterback’ of complaints.

“As for the EPO,” says the EPO, “33 judgments were delivered in total, with 2 judgments on 30 November 2016 and 31 on 8 February 2017. In his introductory statement of the public delivery on 8 February 2017, the President of the Tribunal noted with satisfaction that: safeguarding the role of the Tribunal in the legal protection of staff of international organisations.”

“Notice terms like “high success rate”. It’s utterly offensive to the victims of Team Battistelli.”Nice selective quoting right there.

“Out of the 33 judgments involving EPO, the following figures are worth highlighting. 25 judgments confirmed in full the position of the Office. This is a high success rate in absolute (i.e. when compared to the EPO’s own figures) as well as relative terms (i.e. when the EPO is compared to other international organisations).”

Notice terms like “high success rate”. It’s utterly offensive to the victims of Team Battistelli.

“3 judgments in which the substance of the challenged decisions was not at stake but where, due to the length of the procedures, moral damages have been awarded to the complainants (Nos. 3782 and 3795 for the duration of the internal appeals procedure and No. 3792 for a medical issue).”

How much was that damage (compensation)? They don’t want to say. It’s so meager that it’s typically offensive; it doesn’t even cover the lawyers’ bills.

“…Team Battistelli will brush these under the carpet.”“2 cases were lost on the substance (No. 3781 regarding school fees – Article 120a ServRegs – and No. 3788 regarding the computation of reckonable experience).”

Yes, just 2.

“3 judgments referring cases back to the EPO for resuming the internal procedures, without any comment on the substance of the challenged decisions. The decisions concerned relate to the right to strike and the New Career system (Nos. 3786 and 3796).”

In other words, Team Battistelli will brush these under the carpet.

“On the substance the following needs to be highlighted. In judgments Nos. 3786 and 3796 the Tribunal confirmed its case law (No. 3700, consideration 7) concerning the competent authority to hear a request for review or an appeal. Hence the Tribunal interpreted the applicable provisions (Articles 107(2), 109(2), 109(4) and (110(1) ServRegs) as follows.

“For employees appointed by the President, all requests for review must be lodged with, and decided by, the President; For employees appointed by the Council: requests for review against individual decisions concerning them and taken by the Council must be lodged with, and decided by, the Council, whereas requests for review against individual decisions concerning them and taken by the President must be lodged with, and decided by, the President.

“Furthermore, the Tribunal conveyed the following messages to the stakeholders. Defendant organisations need to handle staff requests and internal appeals diligently (judgments Nos. 3782, 3795 and 3792). Thus the Tribunal confirms its case law that dealings between an organisation and its staff should comply with the duty of care and due diligence.

“The overall message from the EPO: don’t complain about the EPO.”“Complainants should pay attention to the following messages. Care needs to be taken to identify the right decision to be challenged and to exhaust all internal means of redress before filing a complaint (judgments Nos. 3779, 3780, 3791, 3811).

“If a given situation has already been settled through previous judgments further cases raising the same topic will therefore be rejected on the same grounds (judgments Nos. 3786, 3789, 3806, 3810).”

More creative nitpicking:

“Several cases were found to be clearly devoid of merits as they raised “entirely unsubstantiated allegations [of harassment] and amount[ed] to mere assertions” (judgment No. 3806, consideration 6) and a further complaint was considered as being “no more than a collateral attack on judgment 3426″ (judgment No. 3807, consideration 4) or “speculative assertions” (judgment No. 3808, consideration 5).

“Contact Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) at claude.rouiller@hispeed.ch to tell what the EPO thinks of his Tribunal.”“To conclude, the Tribunal stressed again the respective responsibilities of the stakeholders for the functioning of the legal protection of staff through a system of internal and external means of redress. It is of paramount importance for all stakeholders to preserve it by using it in line with the above.”

The overall message from the EPO: don’t complain about the EPO. The ILO is too weak and understaffed to handle these complaints and we’ll waste EPO budget on lawyers who will exhaust them to the point of inaction.

Of course, anyone who read the above message might have been led to the belief that all is “greener pastures” at EPO and Battistelli is just a victim of meritless complaint. Contact Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) at claude.rouiller@hispeed.ch to tell what the EPO thinks of his Tribunal. It’s disgraceful. He ought to know about this.

EPO’s Georg Weber Continues Horrifying Trend of EPO Promoting Software Patents in Defiance of Directive, EPC, and Common Sense

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IP Watch too has noticed the EPO’s shameless lobbying for software patents at CeBIT

CII at EPO
This EPO presentation from just months ago spoke of software patents (“CII”). Photo credit: EPO Patent Information Conference 2016 (Grant Philpott)

Summary: The EPO’s promotion of software patents, even out in the open, is an insult to the notion that the EPO is adhering to or is bound by the rules upon which it maintains its conditional monopoly

WE HAVE just read with great interest this report from IP Watch, which published some critical articles about the EPO lately, in spite of the risks associated with the EPO’s bullying of journalists and bloggers. Last year we took note of the EPO’s promotion of software patents in Europe, specifically (although not limited to) CEBIT in Hannover [1, 2].

An “EPO Official Aggressively Promotes Software Patents At CeBIT Fair,” IP Watch wrote in a report this afternoon, helping/seerving to remind us that the EPO is a rogue institution which ignores all the rules in the name of increasing grants and destroying patent quality (not to mention validity rates). To quote IP Watch:

At the world‘s biggest computer fair, the CEBIT in Hannover, Germany today, an official of the European Patent Office promoted patents for computer-implemented inventions (CII), also called software patents by critics. CII continues to grow considerably, according to EPO.

While mathematical methods, programs for computers, and presentations of information are excluded by the Europe Patent Convention, that in no way stops CII, said EPO’s Georg Weber. There is a fix in the European Patent Convention which allows the software patenting nevertheless, he said.

Article 52.3 states that patentability for computer programs (and some other subjects) are excluded “only to the extent to which a European patent application or European patent relates to such subject matter or activities as such,” Weber said.

The EPO therefore would grant CII patents after a two-hurdle test. To pass hurdle one, an application just has to have a “technical character.” When someone has an algorithm, but no one knows what the algorithm is doing, it cannot be patented, Weber explained to the CEBIT audience.

“If it is used for encryption, though, it is already technical and the first hurdle is passed,” he said.

With statements like these, we doubt Georg Weber will impress anyone but Team Battistelli. Software patents are extremely unpopular inside and outside the profession of programmers. What’s behind all this and whose idea was it to promote software patents in European expos? Can they not see how damaging this is to the reputation of the EPO? Judging by some of the latest comments posted regarding news articles, people have come to accept that the EPO flagrantly and intentionally disregards the EPC. That makes the EPO somewhat of an invalid office — one that defies the very treaty that gave it an existence (and monopoly in Europe).

“That makes the EPO somewhat of an invalid office — one that defies the very treaty that gave it an existence (and monopoly in Europe).”Some people out there, e.g. IAM, didn’t get the memo that the EPO just flagrantly violates the EPC. Earlier today IAM published this thing from Turkey (let’s not start an argument about its membership in the EU, as opposed to the EPO), titled “Direct applicability of European Patent Convention while invalidation actions pending”

“Article 138/3 of the European Patent Convention,” says the author (patent microcosm), “is inconsistent with Turkish national patent law, so the IP courts and the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office previously refused to apply Article 138/3 in national invalidity proceedings. However, recently the Istanbul IP Court applied Article 138/3 and accepted claim limitation in national proceedings.”

“Maybe IAM should put at risk all these perks from the EPO and belatedly produce a report about the EPO.”As we all know (thanks to know-it-all tyrants with giant egos), the Rule of Law in Turkey currently suffers a similar crisis to that inside the EPO, which neither obeys the EPC nor ILO (among many other things). To think that the EPO under Battistelli still has anything to do with the EPC is like believing that the Central Intelligence Agency spreads “freedom and democracy” or “Microsoft loves Linux”.

IAM, a loud promoter of software patents (and even trolls that use these), is still close to the EPO. It helps bolster the illusion of patent quality under Battistelli while Battistelli's PR firm pays IAM. Maybe IAM should put at risk all these perks from the EPO and belatedly produce a report about the EPO. Right now these people willfully opt to be silent about it, and occasionally promote the UPC. Unlike IP Watch

Protectionism v Sharing: How the US Supreme Court Decides Patent Cases

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Finding balance between restrictions and collectively-beneficial liberalism

“The copyright laws attempt to strike a balance between protecting original works and stifling further creativity.” Bridgeport Music, Inc. v Dimension Films, opinion of the court (2004)

Summary: As the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) starts delivering some decisions we take stock of what’s to come regarding patents

AS EXPECTED, the Justices at SCOTUS bring forth some new output for law firms to comb through before analyses/interpretations get published by the hundreds/thousands. First there was today’s decision on uniform copyrights (just covered in our latest daily links, under the copyright section, with three reports we’ve found within hours).

“To summarise, in the area of copyright the Justices sidle with the maximalisms, whereas in the area of patents it’s not quite as depressing.”Professor Crouch took note of the Lexmark case, which is still ongoing (orally). To quote a portion: “Truthfully, most of the oral arguments involve Justice Breyer explaining to other members of the court that Lexmark’s approach violate’s Lord Coke’s 300 year old maxims – “that’s been the kind of basic legal principle for an awfully long time.” Lexmark’s primary answer: “the common law changed a lot after Lord Coke.” In the two most recent IP Decisions by the Court – Star Athletica and SCA Hygiene – the majority ruled in favor of the IP rights-holder over Justice Breyer dissents in both cases.”

We’ve already covered this case before. MIP, in the mean time, takes note of the laches defence, writing this afternoon that “The Supreme Court rejected wholesale the Federal Circuit’s stance that laches be an available defence in patent law, in its SCA Hygiene v First Quality ruling” (we wrote about this last night).

“We certainly hope that in the coming days, weeks and months the Justices will recognise that for patent law to be respected and be seen as legitimate it needs to adhere to public interests and be limited to what is reasonable.”To summarise, in the area of copyright the Justices sidle with the copyright maximalisms, whereas in the area of patents it’s not quite as depressing. The likes of IAM and Watchtroll will no doubt write about that soon; IAM has just published this rant from a law firm, asserting that “Patent Trial and Appeal Board, state anti-troll laws and anti-patent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions have eroded patent protection.”

No, these have improved patent quality — something we should all celebrate unless we make money by peddling patent feuds. We certainly hope that in the coming days, weeks and months the Justices will recognise that for patent law to be respected and be seen as legitimate it needs to adhere to public interests and be limited to what is reasonable. This means, among other things, that the ruling on TC Heartland (last update a couple of days ago) should be made against patent trolls infesting the Eastern District of Texas.

Links 22/3/2017: GNOME 3.24, Wine-Staging 2.4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • JS package catalog npm frees its team software for open source devs

    npm Inc, the company behind the Node.js package manager and command-line utility known by the same three letters, on Wednesday plans to make its developer collaboration tool known as Orgs free for open source projects.

    Those using npm to manage private packages still have to pay. “This lets us decouple the paid features from the team management features,” said npm cofounder Isaac Schlueter in a phone interview with The Register.

    Orgs, or Organizations, depending upon where one looks on the inconsistent npm website, costs $7 per month per user. There’s also a sensible requirement for at least two users. Otherwise it’s not much of an organization.

  • A new (slow) open source JPEG algorithm makes images 35% smaller and looks better than older compression systems

    Guetzli is Google’s new free/open JPEG compression algorithm, which produces images that are more than a third smaller in terms of byte-size, and the resulting images are consistently rated as more attractive than traditionally compressed JPEGs. It’s something of a web holy grail: much smaller, better-looking files without having to convince people to install a plugin or browser makers to support a new file-format.

  • Open source: The new normal in enterprise software

    Open source software — that is, software that gives users permission to modify, copy and distribute its source code and is either freely distributed or licensed — used to be viewed as the red-headed stepchild of enterprise software.

    “It took time for enterprise to come on board,” said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, a German open-source company specializing in open-source email software. “If you go back 10 years, [proprietary software from] Microsoft, IBM dominated the architecture of enterprise software, but that is changing.”

  • Blender Making Progress On Its Realtime PBR Engine

    F
    Eevee is the codename for the Blender project to implement a realtime engine with physically-based rendering (PBR) within Blender 2.8.

    This realtime, PBR-based engine is aiming to deliver high-end graphics with a responsive realtime view-port. The developers working on “Eevee” have made progress with lighting, materials, and other features.

  • Chef automation survey: what shape is the continuous enterprise?
  • Cloud Foundry connects open-source standards for quicker code development

    Tech businesses are discovering a powerful truth: building custom code is no fun. It takes time, it’s a distraction from working on core products and it’s likely someone out there already did it better. The real solution is for a company to integrate mature and tested products into their own systems, but that can be a job in itself.

    Open-source software, built around specific abstract standards, can help simplify the work involved. Cloud Foundry is an organization dedicated to creating and maintaining an open-source abstraction platform to speed up software development.

  • IBM’s cloud dreams soar on the wings of AI, open source
  • IBM launches cloud-based blockchain service for Linux Hyperledger Fabric

    IBM also announced availability of blockchain governance tools and new open-source developer tools aimed at shortening the time it takes to build with Hyperledger Fabric.

  • 10 Vendors Jumping on the Kubernetes Bandwagon
  • From supply chain to equity, seven real-world uses of the blockchain today

    A blockchain is a digital ledger that is available for all parties to see, providing transparency across the chain – and businesses in financial trading, insurance, and supply chain management are all taking notice.

  • Events

    • Two open source secure email services

      As much we all complain about email, for most of us, email is still our primary conduit for online communication. That said, numerous hacks and revelations about government surveillance have made it clear that email is also one of the most vulnerable of those conduits.

      What you send via email is your business and yours alone. Besides you and the recipient, no one else should be reading that message. Not hackers, not government agencies, and definitely not nosy siblings or friends.

    • 33C3 – Event Report

      I recently had the opportunity to attend the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress (33C3). The event, as its name suggests, was chaotic. Let me give you two hints: twelve thousand (12000) participants, plus twenty-four (24) hours unrestricted access to the venue.

    • LibrePlanet free software conference returns to MIT this weekend, March 25-26

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2017 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels.

      In accordance with the theme “The Roots of Freedom,” the conference’s sessions will examine the roots of the free software movement, including the Four Freedoms, the GNU General Public License and copyleft, and the community’s focus on security and privacy protections. Other sessions will explore new ideas and current work that has arisen from those roots, reaching in to activism, the arts, business, and education.

      Keynote speakers include Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and author Cory Doctorow, Changeset Consulting founder Sumana Harihareswara, and Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman.

    • ZTE’s Approach to Digital Transformation with Software-Defined Networking

      The dawn of new services such as 5G, IoT, AR/VR, e-commerce, connected cars,and more, is driving us to digitalization — a massive transition that also requires the network to change.

    • Easier Persistent Memory Programming with Extensions to libstdc++ and libc++

      Persistent memory, unlike volatile memory, retains its contents even if the server has a power failure. However, as Tomasz Kapela, Software Engineer at Intel, points out during his LinuxCon Europe 2016 talk, persistent memory is hard to achieve. Since persistent memory programming is non-trivial, they have been focused on making it easier for the end user and for applications to use persistent memory correctly.

    • Persistent Memory Extensions to libstdc++/libc++ by Tomasz Kapela, Intel
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium Rolls Out Enhanced GTK3 Theme Support

        Chromium is sporting greater GTK3 support in its latest daily development snapshots. Developers have begun building the browser with proper GTK3 theme integration enabled by default. I know: hardly ground breaking, but as Chromium (and its more popular sibling, Google Chrome) are widely used by Ubuntu users, it’s a change worth a note.

      • Chrome 58 Beta: IndexedDB 2.0, an improvement to iframe navigation, and immersive full screen for PWAs

        The IndexedDB 2.0 standard is now fully supported in Chrome, making it simpler to work with large data sets in the browser. IDB 2.0 features new schema management, bulk action methods, and more standardized handling of failures.

      • Chrome 58 Beta Supports IndexedDB 2.0, New Developer Features

        Google developers are busy today not only with the Android O Developer Preview but the Chrome team has delivered the first public beta for the upcoming Chrome 58.0.

        The Chrome 58 beta adds full support for IndexedDB 2.0, improvements to iframe navigation by adding a new sandbox keyword to control iframe top navigation behavior, immersive full-screen support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), and various other developer changes.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla has proposed ‘Obsidian’, a low-level GPU API for the web

        So it looks like after Vulkan for desktop and mobile, the web may be getting a low-level API for interactions with the GPU. They are calling it Obsidian right now (temporary name) and they state it’s not a specification just yet, as they are looking to gather feedback.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3.1 is out

      Last week, LibreOffice released version 5.3.1. This seems to be an incremental release over 5.3 and doesn’t seem to change the new user interface in any noticeable way.

      This is both good and bad news for me. As you know, I have been experimenting with LibreOffice 5.3 since LibreOffice updated the user interface. Version 5.3 introduced the “MUFFIN” interface. MUFFIN stands for My User Friendly Flexible INterface. Because someone clearly wanted that acronym to spell “MUFFIN.” The new interface is still experimental, so you’ll need to activate it through Settings→Advanced. When you restart LibreOffice, you can use the View menu to change modes.

  • Programming/Development

    • anytime 0.2.2

      A bugfix release of the anytime package arrived at CRAN earlier today. This is tenth release since the inaugural version late last summer, and the second (bugfix / feature) release this year.

    • GitLab 9.0 released with Subgroups and Deploy Boards

      Today we are releasing GitLab 9.0, 18 months after releasing 8.0. We’ve made significant advances to GitLab during this period, shipping a version every single month on the 22nd. Let’s quickly recap how far we’ve come since 8.0, and see those features dovetailing into today’s 9.0 release. Or jump ahead to 9.0 features.

    • Suggests != Depends

      A number of packages on CRAN use Suggests: casually.

    • 2038: only 21 years away

      Sometimes it seems that things have gone relatively quiet on the year-2038 front. But time keeps moving forward, and the point in early 2038 when 32-bit time_t values can no longer represent times correctly is now less than 21 years away. That may seem like a long time, but the relatively long life cycle of many embedded systems means that some systems deployed today will still be in service when that deadline hits. One of the developers leading the effort to address this problem is Arnd Bergmann; at Linaro Connect 2017 he gave an update on where that work stands.

      That work, he said, is proceeding on three separate fronts, the first of which is the kernel itself. He has been working for the last five years to try to prepare the kernel for 2038. Much of that work involves converting 32-bit timestamps to 64-bit values, even on 32-bit systems. Some 32-bit timestamps also show up in the user-space API, which complicates the issue considerably. There is a plan for the enhancement of the user-space API with 2038-clean versions of the problematic system calls, but it has not yet gotten upstream. One recent exception is the statx() system call, which was merged for 4.11; statx() will serve as the year-2038-capable version of the stat() family of calls. There are quite a few other system calls still needing 2038-clean replacements, though.

Leftovers

  • Amid boycott, Google changes ad policy to give advertisers more control

    Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler explained in a blog post how the company will revamp its advertising policies to give companies more control over where their ads appear on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Schindler also signals a new epoch for Google and YouTube, one in which the company will focus more effort on preventing hate speech on its online video platform.

  • 2 new tools for creating more accessible projects

    Accessibility has been an afterthought in development for far too long. The result has been costly retrofitting, the risk of inaccessible solutions, and unhappy users.

    We are where we are because developers often ignore accessibility in hopes that it will resolve on its own.

    But solutions should be accessible by all—including the blind, deaf, those with cognitive disabilities and more. This is especially important considering the 1 billion people (including the aging population) with disabilities, the proliferation of new technology, and new industry standards. Further, it’s more than just the right thing to do. It is required by any organization working with the U.S. government, and increasingly, those in the private sector too.

  • Science

    • 5 big ways AI is rapidly invading our lives

      Open source projects are helping drive artificial intelligence advancements, and we can expect to hear much more about how AI impacts our lives as the technologies mature. Have you considered how AI is changing the world around you already? Let’s take a look at our increasingly artificially enhanced universe and consider the bold predictions about our AI-influenced future.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 99 in Stretch cycle
    • Government Agencies to be Rated on Cybersecurity Using NIST Framework

      The Trump administration has announced that it will impose new metrics on federal agencies related to cybersecurity. Agencies and departments will be required to comply with the framework developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and report back to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the White House.

      Homeland security advisor Thomas Bossert stated that the President’s budget will include an increase in federal funding to combat cyber threats, and that the administration’s priorities vis-à-vis cybersecurity are to modernize and centralize the existing system. To this end, the Administration intends to partner with business, including Silicon Valley, and state and local governments, on cybersecurity.

    • Firefox gets complaint for labeling unencrypted login page insecure

      The operator of a website that accepts subscriber logins only over unencrypted HTTP pages has taken to Mozilla’s Bugzilla bug-reporting service to complain that the Firefox browser is warning that the page isn’t suitable for the transmission of passwords.

      “Your notice of insecure password and/or log-in automatically appearing on the log-in for my website, Oil and Gas International, is not wanted and was put there without our permission,” a person with the user name dgeorge wrote here (the link was made private shortly after this post went live). “Please remove it immediately. We have our own security system, and it has never been breached in more than 15 years. Your notice is causing concern by our subscribers and is detrimental to our business.”

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Customer security awareness: alerting you to vulnerabilities that are of real risk
    • Cisco’s WikiLeaks Security Vulnerability Exposure: 10 Things Partners Need To Know

      Cisco’s security team has discovered that hundreds of its networking devices contain a vulnerability that could allow attackers to remotely executive malicious code and take control of the affected device.

      “We are committed to responsible disclosure, protecting our customers, and building the strongest security architecture and products that are designed through our Trustworthy Systems initiatives,” said a Cisco spokesperson in an email to CRN regarding the vulnerability.

      Some channel partners of the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant are already advising customers on how to bypass the critical security flaw. Here are 10 important items that Cisco channel partners should know about the security vulnerability.

    • Linux had a killer flaw for 11 years and no one noticed

      One of the key advantages of Open sauce software is that it is supposed to be easier to spot and fix software flaws, however Linux has had a local privilege escalation flaw for 11 years and no-one has noticed.

      The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2017-6074, is over 11 years old and was likely introduced in 2005 when the Linux kernel gained support for the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP). It was discovered last week and was patched by the kernel developers on Friday.

    • 6 Hot Internet of Things (IoT) Security Technologies
    • Microsoft Losing Its Edge

      However, despite these improvements in code cleanness and security technologies, it hasn’t quite proven itself when faced with experienced hackers at contests such as Pwn2Own. At last year’s edition of Pwn2Own, Edge proved to be a little better than Internet Explorer and Safari, but it still ended up getting hacked twice, while Chrome was only partially hacked once.

      Things seem to have gotten worse, rather than better, for Edge. At this year’s Pwn2Own, Microsoft’s browser was hacked no less than five times.

    • Microsoft loses the Edge at hacking contest

      And for every hack perpetrated against Edge, there was a corresponding attack against the Windows 10 kernel, indicating that it has a way to go in terms of security, according to Tom’s Hardware.

    • Wikileaks: Apple, Microsoft and Google must fix CIA exploits within 90 days

      The 90-day deadline is the same that Google’s own Project Zero security group provides to companies when it uncovers flaws in their software. If a company has failed to patch its software accordingly, Project Zero publishes details of the flaw whether the vendor likes it or not.

    • NTPsec Project announces 0.9.7
  • Defence/Aggression

    • [Older] Lucknow encounter: Are moderate {sic} Indian Muslims losing Lucknow to the Islamic State now?

      Given that the congratulatory letter was issued by a senior teacher in India’s leading madrasa—Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow— it clearly reflected a sharp turnaround in the attitude and approach of the Lucknow-based clergy towards the emergence of a global Islamic caliphate. However, in his letter, Nadwi was only a spokesperson of the petro-dollar-funded Wahabi seminaries in India.

    • India could strike Pakistan with nuclear weapons if threatened, says expert

      In February, both countries extended a bilateral pact, dealing with reducing the risk of nuclear weapon-related accidents including a war, for a period of five years. India hand Pakistan have fought three full-fledged wars besides the 1999 Kargil hostilities.

    • Former NZ defence minister admits civilians were killed in bungled special forces raid

      The former New Zealand defence minister has admitted for the first time that civilians were killed during a bungled raid by New Zealand SAS troops in Afghanistan in 2010.

      For years, New Zealand politicians and military commanders denied this, claiming that the people killed were insurgents responsible for an earlier attack on the troops.

      Today’s comments by the former minister, Wayne Mapp, come less than 24 hours after the launch of an explosive new book Hit and Run by investigative reporters Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager.

      The book claims the controversial operation killed six civilians and wounded 15.

    • Why would Google take sides in Syria’s Civil War?

      This morning, an apparently innocuous AP article eventually led me to the question, “Why would Google take sides in Syria’s civil war?”

      The article announced that Google was getting involved in protecting “news organizations and election-related sites” from cyberattacks and hacking though Jigsaw, a research arm of Google and Alphabet Inc.

    • What They Won’t Tell You About the American Military
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • In a letter to the editor, CIA Public Affairs Director corrected the record with a lie of omission

      In 1981, the CIA took exception with newspapers reporting that Frank Sturgis was a former CIA employee. Herbet Hetu, the Agency’s then-Director of Public Affairs, had such a problem with the reporting that he wrote to the editors of several newspapers to try to issue a correction. The first letter, dated January 6, 1981, was sent to the editor of The Washington Star objecting to an article that had been published that day.

    • Whoops: The DOJ May Have Confirmed Some of the Wikileaks CIA Dump

      The US government says it wants to keep some of the now-public documents out of court because they contain classified material, suggesting that they could be authentic.

      Last week, the US government may have confirmed the authenticity of a number of CIA documents concerning the agency’s hacking operations, but not in the way you might expect.

      Judging by a recent court filing, at least some of the CIA files Wikileaks published earlier this month are genuine, because the government pushed back against having them admitted in court due to the documents’ classified content.

      “The government is not able to declare non-government records as classified, unless they are taking ownership of the records themselves,” Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, told Motherboard in an email.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • [Old] `I Don`t Recall` Marks Excerpts Of Reagan Testimony
    • Ivanka Trump has West Wing office and will get access to classified information [iophk: "somehow the word nepotism is missing from the entire article"]
    • Ivanka Trump getting West Wing office in White House ‘like a coup’, says former Labor secretary Robert Reich

      Shaun King, a senior justice writer and activist, simply called the news “disturbing”

    • Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data

      An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.

      The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists.

      But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.

      The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dimiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.

    • 5 congressional staffers in criminal probe over unauthorized computer access

      Five people employed by members of the House of Representatives remain under criminal investigation for unauthorized access to Congressional computers. Former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz employed at least one of those under investigation.

      The criminal investigation into the five, which includes three brothers and a wife of one of the men, started late last year, as reported by Politico in February. The group is being investigated by US Capitol Police over allegations that they removed equipment from over 20 members’ offices, as well as having run a procurement scheme to buy equipment and then overcharge the House.

      House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week Capitol Police are receiving additional help for the investigation. “I won’t speak to the nature of their investigation, but they’re getting the kind of technical assistance they need to do that, this is under an active criminal investigation, their capabilities are pretty strong but they’re also able to go and get the kind of help they need from other sources,” Ryan said.

    • Trump ex-aide Paul Manafort ‘offered to help Putin’

      US President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to assist President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reports.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Arkansas Legislators Want To Make Corporate Whistleblowing Illegal

      Another “ag gag” law is in the works in Arkansas. These bills are brought under the pretense of safety — both for the person supposedly breaking them, as well as for the employees of the entity “trespassed” upon. The unspoken aim of these laws is to prevent whistleblowing, and they often spring into existence after someone has exposed horrible practices at local businesses — in most cases, the mistreatment of animals. The other consequence of most of these laws — unintended or not — is to deter employees from speaking up about questionable business practices, as there often is no exception carved out for employees of the companies protected by these laws.

      Kaleigh Rogers of Vice reports another ag gag bill has passed the Arkansas state House and is on its way to a Senate vote. And once again, the bill’s wording would deter whistleblowing and make journalistic efforts a civil violation.

    • Twitter suspends 376k more accounts linked to ‘terrorism’

      Twitter said Tuesday it suspended 376,890 accounts in the second half of 2016 for “promotion of terrorism,” an increase of 60 percent over the prior six-month period.

      The latest suspensions bring the total number of blocked accounts to 636,248 from August 2015, when Twitter stepped up efforts to curb “violent extremism,” the company announced as part of its latest transparency report.

    • UK’s Piracy Blocklist Now Exceeds 3,800 URLs

      By now, most UK Internet users have gotten used to pirate sites being blocked by their ISPs. Internet providers have been ordered to block a wide variety of torrent, direct download and streaming portals that offer copyright-infringing content. The full list uf URLs, which includes several reverse proxies, has now swelled to more than 3,800 according to one of the ISPs involved.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Adobe buddies up with Microsoft for new ways to mine your data

      Adobe and Microsoft have announced new product integrations along with the XDM (Experience Data Model) language for interchanging behavioural and marketing data between platforms.

      Microsoft has a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) offering, Dynamics 365, but is weak in marketing automation, while Adobe lacks a CRM product to compete with Salesforce, so it makes sense for the two companies to integrate.

      A new piece announced at the Adobe Summit under way in Las Vegas is that Adobe Campaign – which manages cross-channel campaigns across web, mobile, email and print – is integrated with Dynamics 365.

    • The CIA’s New Guidelines Governing Publicly Available Information

      On January 18, 2017, the CIA declassified and released new internal Central Intelligence Agency Activities: Procedures Approved by the Attorney General Pursuant to Executive Order 12333, approved by the Attorney General under Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333. These new guidelines will be known as Agency Regulation (AR) 2-1 when they take effect on March 18, 2017. They will replace AR 2-2, including Annexes A and B, which were originally issued in 1987, most recently revised in 2012, and released to the public in 2015. The new CIA guidelines were part of a larger effort by the Obama administration, commenced before 2013 and completed two days before President Trump’s inauguration, to update Intelligence Community (IC) guidelines.

    • With appeals ruling, the United States has effectively outlawed file encryption

      An appeals court has denied the appeal of a person who is jailed indefinitely for refusing to decrypt files. The man has not been charged with anything, but was ordered to hand over the unencrypted contents on police assertion of what the contents were. When this can result in lifetime imprisonment under “contempt of court”, the United States has effectively outlawed file-level encryption – without even going through Congress.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Should You Have Any 4th Amendment Rights In An Airport?

      For many years, we’ve written about the craziness of the so-called “border search exception” to the 4th Amendment, in which the US government has insisted that the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply at the border, and thus it’s allowed to search people at the border. The initial reasoning was — more or less — that at the border, you’re not yet in the country, and thus the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply yet. But that’s expanded over time — especially in the digital age. Perhaps, back when people just had clothes/books/whatever in their luggage, you could understand the rationale for allowing a search, but today, when people carry laptops and handheld electronic devices that basically store their whole lives, the situation is a lot scarier. Unfortunately, (with just a few small exceptions) the courts have simply taken the historical ability to search luggage at the border and expanded it to cover electronic devices. Then, things got even more ridiculous, when Homeland Security decided that anywhere that’s within 100 miles of the border could be “close enough” to count as a “border search,” making the “border search exception” apply. That’s… messed up.

    • Sex slave’s rescue in Riyadh reveals widening web of traffickers in India

      Of an estimated six million Indian migrants in the six Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman, domestic workers are among the most exploited, campaigners say.

      “Housemaids are treated like cattle here. This woman didn’t even know where she was when I asked her location. She kept crying to be saved. India should ban sending housemaids to the Gulf,” Sriniwas said.

    • The International Women’s Peace Group hosts a seminar for BAN FGM
    • Saudi ‘prisoner of conscience’ ordered to pay $270,000 fine

      His sentence was extended to ten years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in 2015.

    • Aceh’s latest tourist attraction? Dozens of Malaysian tourists come to watch public caning in Banda Aceh

      On Monday, dozens of tourists from Malaysia came by bus to visit the Lamteh Mosque in Banda Aceh to witness a dozen people getting publicly caned for crimes ranging from gambling to ikhtilat (the intermingling of men and women who are not married).

      Among the tourists was a Malaysian State Senator from Klanten, Dato Dr Johari bin Mat, who said that he respected Aceh implementation of Islamic law and use of public canin to ensure security and public order.

    • ‘Multilingual Society’: German Educators Call for Compulsory Arabic in Schools
    • UK follows US on cabin device ban [iophk: “in 7th gen Intel“]

      The devices were listed as: laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone and travel printers/scanners.

    • WATCH: Lucknow girl thrashes molesters with police baton

      When police stood as mute spectators in Lucknow, a girl decided to take law in her hands and ensured that she teaches her molesters a lesson.

      A group of girls were allegedly eve-teased by a bike-borne gang in Gautam Palli area on Sunday night. However, the police standing there didn’t come to their rescue, that is when the girls from the group snatched the baton from the cops and thrashed the men on bike.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • From bad to worse: the del Castillo Report on the European Electronic Communication Code

      To understand what it’s about, let’s step back a little.

      Since 2002, the regulation of telecommunication has been based on a group of European directives called “the telecom package”. The second revision of this package (the first was in 2009) began in September 2016 with the publication by the European Commission of a draft bill for a European Code of Electronic Communication. This massive bill of more than a hundred articles aims to recast and reform the current telecom package. It is now being negotiated at the Council of the European Union, and a report just had been published at the European Parliament. This report published by the MEP Pilar del Castillo (ES – EPP) will be discussed in the coming months.

    • IPv6 and CGNAT

      Today I ended reading an interesting article by the 4th spanish ISP regarding IPv6 and CGNAT. The article is in spanish, but I will translate the most important statements here.

      Having a spanish Internet operator to talk about this subjet is itself good news. We have been lacking any news regarding IPv6 in our country for years. I mean, no news from private operators. Public networks like the one where I develop my daily job has been offering native IPv6 since almost a decade…

  • DRM

    • Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

      Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform “unauthorized” repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

    • W3C moves to finalize DRM standardization, reclassifies suing security researchers as a feature, not a bug

      The World Wide Web Consortium has announced that its members have until April 19 to weigh in on whether the organization should publish Encrypted Media Extensions, its DRM standard for web video, despite the fact that this would give corporations the new right to sue people who engaged in legal activity, from security researchers who revealed defects in browsers to accessibility workers who adapted video for disabled people to scrappy new companies who come up with legal ways to get more use out of your property.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Italian Supreme Court rules that mere reproduction of Vespa image may amount to counterfeiting

      Italian online IP resource Marchi & Brevetti has just reported a very interesting and recent decision of the Criminal Section of the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) regarding the crime of counterfeiting within Article 474 of the Italian Criminal Code.

    • Trademarks

      • The Changing Perspective Of Well-Known Trademarks In India

        The innovative advertisements of famous trademarks we come across remind us of the image they have created in our minds and the quality of the respective products or services they reflect. Millions are spent by the owners of such marks to build their reputation and maintain their popularity in this competitive globalised world.

    • Copyrights

      • University Puts 20,000 Lectures Behind A Registration Wall In Response To DOJ Pressure On Website Accessibility Compliance

        Back in 2012, a federal court ruled US websites were “places of public accommodation.” The ruling (overturned on appeal) came in a lawsuit brought against Netflix by the National Association of the Deaf. It seems like an obvious conclusion — more people get their information, news, and entertainment from the web than other sources. But the ruling had plenty of adverse consequences, especially for smaller, less profitable purveyors of online content.

      • Supreme Court Cheers on Copyright Separability

        In a new Copyright decision, the Supreme Court has modified the doctrine of separability that allows for copyright of works of authorship associated with useful articles.

      • US Supreme Court holds cheerleading uniforms eligible for copyright protection

        The US Copyright Act, §101 states that “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features” of the “design of a useful article” can be protected by copyright as artistic works if those features “can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”

      • US Supreme Court finds cheerleading uniform designs copyright eligible

        The Supreme Court has held that the designs in a cheerleading uniform satisfy the test for copyright protection in its Star Athletica v Varsity Brands ruling. Observers say the decision provides a standard test to be applied to the separability analysis

      • Unpaywall: The Browser Add-on That Finds (Legal) Free Copies Of Academic Papers You See As You Browse The Web

        Techdirt has just written about ResearchGate, which claims to offer access to 100 million academic papers. However, as we wrote, there’s an issue about whether a significant proportion of those articles are in fact unauthorized copies, for example uploaded by the authors but in contravention of the agreement they signed with publishers. The same legal issues plague the well-known Sci-Hub site, which may deter some from using it. But as further evidence of how the demand for access to millions of academic papers still locked away is driving technical innovation, there’s a new option, called Unpaywall, which is available as a pre-release add-on for Chrome (Firefox is promised later), and is free. It aims to provide access to every paper that’s freely available to read in an authorized version.

      • Leaked Text: Is EU Tempted By Too Many Safeguards Limiting The Scope Of Blind Treaty?

        As the ratification by the European Union of an international treaty creating an exception to copyright for visually impaired people nears, a leaked text shows that the directive implementing the treaty in the EU might come with safeguards limiting the scope of the treaty, allegedly pushed by the publishing industry.

        The leaked document (from the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU to the Permanent Representatives Committee), seen by Intellectual Property Watch, is the latest draft proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and the Council. The directive would be on “certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.”

The Battistelli Regime, With Its Endless Scandals, Threatens to Crash the Unitary Patent (UPC), Stakeholders Concerned

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When even Kluwer Patent Blog speaks out against you perhaps it’s time to resign, Mr. Battistelli

Kluwer on Battistelli

Summary: The disdain and the growing impatience have become a huge liability not just to Battistelli but to the European Patent Office (EPO) as a whole

THE EPO was, for many consecutive decades, vastly superior to any other patent office, including the American one that’s the de facto patent office across the world (because of the economic might of the US). The EPO was never the biggest patent office, but it was at least the best. That can no longer be said, as the Administrative Council was reckless enough to put a politician in charge — a person whose disdain for science and paranoia go over a decade back. In turn, after a multi-year coup, the Administrative Council became subservient to this politician. Stakeholders hate him and recognise that he must go, but nobody seems capable of firing him anymore. He created and fortified a kingdom, which not even a bailiff is allowed to enter. He and his cronies pocket EPO budget and secretly/covertly build themselves luxury palaces with bars and baths at the top floor of a patent office! Guess who foots the bill. Is this a patent office or a sultanate? EPO staff certainly isn't tolerating it.

We haven’t had much positive stuff to say about Kluwer Patent Blog (a UPC propaganda blog, filled to the rim with fake news), but Kluwer folks were at least courageous enough to publicly speak against Battistelli in the rather distant past. Today it happens again and people have already noticed:

Kluwer Patent Blog has a long article detailing the situation at the European Patent Office:

President Battistelli under pressure to improve ‘unacceptable’ social situation at EPO

About the 40% increase in granted patents they asks:

“But is this really what the economy needs, as the EPO claims?”

Another new comment said:

Shameful hardly begins to describe the situation. A serious threat to the very foundations of patent law in Europe would be a more accurate description.

The EPO is there to uphold the law, as set out in the EPC. Now we know that, when it so desires, the EPO ignores provisions of the EPC that its management finds “inconvenient”. We also know that the AC allows the EPO management to get away with this.

This all begs the question: which provisions of the EPC can we rely upon the EPO to properly enforce?

If rumours are to be believed, which rumours would certainly explain developments that I have personally witnessed, then Article 84 EPC will be the next “casualty”. Also, the EPO’s extraordinary decision to suspend examination of certain plant (product) patent applications suggests that even more fundamental provisions (including Article 113 EPC) could be under threat.

Not the most sustainable situation, really… and one that should be of grave concern to us all.

This means that even Team UPC is getting visibly fed up with Battistelli. Behind the relatively polite and diplomatic language there is a great deal of distrust and the blog post at hand contains little or nothing that we haven’t already covered. It’s just taking stock of many recent events across Europe (all of which covered here before), e.g.:

The Dutch Government has warned the social situation at the EPO will have to improve soon. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has complained it is not acceptable that over half of the workload of its Tribunal is generated by complaints filed against the European Patent Office. Parliaments in Germany and France have called for action to ‘uphold the fundamental rights’ at the EPO. Pressure on president Benoit Battistelli to resign or finally change things seems higher than ever. Will it happen?

‘The Council had an exchange of views on the social situation at the Office and on the issue of the appointment procedure for the next President.’ Just one single phrase in the press release was dedicated to the ongoing social unrest at the EPO, after the 151th meeting of the EPO Administrative Council, 15 and 16 March 2017 in Munich.

It hardly reflects the mounting pressure that EPO president Benoit Battistelli has had to face over a wide range of issues that have led to a disastrous social climate at the EPO: the controversial introduction of a new career system and rules on sick leave, Battistelli’s failure to review staff investigation guidelines and disciplinary procedures, as had been requested by the supervisory Administrative Council (AC) in a Resolution of March 2016; conflicts with the Boards of Appeal over their judicial independence; failure to recognize the SUEPO trade union and the dismissal or demotion of several union leaders, among others.

[...]

But is this really what the economy needs, as the EPO claims? The German legal website JUVE recently published the results of a survey (English version here) among 186 technology companies worldwide, which revealed serious concerns about the functioning of the European Patent Office. 87 percent of the respondents said Battistelli is not doing a good job. Less than one third is happy with the reform of the Boards of Appeal. 54 percent wants Battistelli to step down and only 8 percent says he must stay. Also, there is growing concern about the effect of the EPO unrest on patent quality, according to the survey.

Still, Battistelli’s term as president ends in July 2018 and though he is under high pressure to improve the social situation at the EPO, it is not likely he will leave sooner than that. The appointment procedure for the next president, mentioned in the EPO press release was initiated and shortly discussed last week and the intention is to agree on a text for a vacancy notice in the next meeting in June, with the selection procedure for a successor possibly starting in October.

To put it quite bluntly, it seems like they’re worried about their clients (see this leaked letter from Dutch patent attorneys) and maybe even the UPC, which will likely collapse thanks to Battistelli as its shameless flag bearer. Speaking of which, Team UPC, which dominates (or is) “The UPC Preparatory Committee” (it’s not quite what it sounds like, it's wolves guarding the sheep), allegedly had one of its typical closed doors meetings some days ago. To quote: “The UPC Preparatory Committee met for the last time last week in the Hague. It was an opportunity for the Preparatory Committee to agree minor amendments to the Rules of Procedure, which it will soon publish.”

Is there any chance that Team UPC too will soon lobby to oust Battistelli? It’s not impossible. In fact, it would be a very rational thing to do as Team UPC has more than just the UPC at stake and under Battistelli the whole patent industry of Europe may soon collapse (see comment above).

The Photos the EPO Absolutely Doesn’t Want the Public to See: Battistelli is Building a Palace Using Stakeholders’ Money

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is where EPO budget goes… (budgetary scandals again)

Battistelli penthouse

Battistelli penthouse

Battistelli penthouse

Battistelli penthouse

Battistelli penthouse

Battistelli penthouse
Even a shower! What kind of guests does Battistelli bring over?

Summary: The Office is scrambling to hide evidence of its out-of-control spendings, which will leave the EPO out of money when the backlog is eliminated by many erroneous grants (or rejections)

THE EPO moves from bad to worse. 0% of stakeholders support Battistelli (the same goes for staff), so it can’t get any worse than this, but what happens to the reputation of the Office as a whole?

“What’s worth noting or showing here is not the photos in their own right but the clandestine nature of the Office, even in this case.”Watch the photos above; this is where the money goes while Battistelli and his cronies continue to pocket more of the EPO's budget and there are rumours that Battistelli wanted his own limousine too (even his own private elevator, but we were unable to verify this). He already spends millions on bodyguards which are neither needed nor acceptable (until he tells some bicycle tale).

One one comment said: “He’s doing a great job of pushing the boundaries and proving where the flaws in the system are by exploiting them for his own profit” (posted on this new article from Kieren McCarthy).

What’s worth noting or showing here is not the photos in their own right but the clandestine nature of the Office, even in this case. Well, the photos say it all really (there seem to be a lot more based on their numbers), as well as the attempts by the Office to take down these photos (which is why we reproduce them here, a sort of Streisand Effect). Here is how McCarthy put it:

Very few people have seen the 10th floor of the European Patent Office’s ISAR building in Munich since it’s been renovated – and for good reason.

Although hundreds of staff once worked on that floor, EPO president Benoit Battistelli decided that – at the same time the patent office budgeted €205m to construct an entirely new building in the Hague – he would turn the top floor of the ISAR building into his own private office.

The cost of that renovation is impossible to ascertain due to it being lumped in with the massive construction costs of the new building. But thanks to new pictures of the penthouse on the architect’s website, recently noticed by eagle-eyed EPO staff, it is likely to have stretched into millions of euros.

“A grand palace for King Battistelli,” one staffer remarked on the pictures, using a common nickname for the man whose behavior is increasingly more like a 17th-century monarch than the administrator of an international organization.

If the EPO attempts to resort to McCarthyism against McCarthy (e.g. the architect and/or the EPO using copyright for takedown requests), we’ll keep our copies here. We encourage readers to spread these photos around to deter against censorship attempts.

Similarities to the shrine of Trump (many point out similarities in behaviour)? Whatever it is, Trump is still a President and so is Battistelli. Sometimes it pays off to skirt the rules and Battistelli is a perfect example of that.

03.21.17

In the US Patent System, Evolved Tricks for Bypassing Invalidations of Software Patents and Getting Them Granted by the USPTO

Posted in America, Patents at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of news about patents in the US and how the patent microcosm attempts to patent software in spite of Alice (high-impact SCOTUS decision from 2014)

THE EPO has been so full of scandals and lies lately that we have, at times, lost sight of news from the US, including improvements at the USPTO. Tonight, for a change, here is something positive.

“As one can expect, patent law firms promote software patents under the guise of “AI”…”This bit of news suggests that Sony wants a patent on wireless charging — not a new concept in its own right, but we certainly remember that Sony ‘innovated’ devices that almost literally explode, owing to their splendid battery. This happened several times over the years and 3 years ago there were still recalls of products (it also happened a decade ago, and not for the first time).

Putting aside patents on hardware, there are silly new patents on software being assigned. “Interfacing to cloud storage” they call it — the cloudwashing of patents as we called it this month and last month (a fairly recent trend of pseudo-’innovation’ using buzzwords). Someone in Twitter sent a “BS software patent alert” about it. Will courts ever uphold such a patent? probably not after Alice (§101).

“Patent examiners should watch out for these silly workaround attempts; just because some software is described as “on a device”, “over the Internet”, “on a phone”, “in the cloud”, or “for AI” doesn’t mean it’s any less abstract.”Speaking of cloudwashing of patents, we have mentioned “AI” as another buzzword commonly used these days to patent old stuff. As one can expect, patent law firms promote software patents under the guise of “AI” and Barker Brettell LLP, which we mentioned here before in relation to the EPO [1, 2], has no qualms about it (here is another new article along those lines). Patent examiners should watch out for these silly workaround attempts; just because some software is described as “on a device”, “over the Internet”, “on a phone”, “in the cloud”, or “for AI” doesn’t mean it’s any less abstract. The same goes for “machine learning”, “IoT”, “DevOps”, “smart”, “wearable” and other trendy terms that mean too little (if anything at all). These are still software patents, just like that Baxter patent application which Judge Corcoran ruled against in T1508/12-3.5.05.

Over at Watchtroll, the strident proponent of software patents (where actual software engineers never write about it), someone from a law firm (Harrity & Harrity) decided to market some tricks for patenting business methods in spite of Alice. Here’s an except:

These examples seem to indicate that the power of §101 to restrict patentability has been whittled down since Alice and that the USPTO would like to reduce the number of §101 rejections for technological claims in light of court decisions post-Alice. Below, we describe each example provided by the USPTO and explain the USPTO guidance for each example to assist practitioners with reducing and overcoming §101 rejections.

As often happens, they try to sort of reverse-engineer the USPTO’s guidelines in order to defy the rules and sneak bogus patents past the examiners. Once granted, any defendant would have to spend a fortune in court to prove invalidity (with burden of proof and fees enough to make a settlement more attractive an option). As long as the victims are kept isolated and unaware of one another (NDAs can accomplish this), they won’t pool together the financial resources required to fight back against the serial aggressor (taking away the ‘weapon’).

“Once granted, any defendant would have to spend a fortune in court to prove invalidity (with burden of proof and fees enough to make a settlement more attractive an option).”§101 has been worrying the patent microcosm and media of this microcosm keeps trying to scrape some good news from the bottom of the barrel. The other day, for example, MIP’s Michael Loney went along with a rather misleading headline, based on some figures from the patent microcosm itself (Fenwick & West). We’ve already mentioned this analysis; Loney could say that CAFC MAINTAINS high §101 invalidity rates, but instead he went along with “US district court 101 invalidity rates down slightly in 2017″ and left much of the rest behind a paywall. “The Federal Circuit,” he noted before the paywall kicked in, “maintains its high invalidity rate on Section 101 decisions so far this year but the district court rate has fallen, according to new figures from Fenwick & West’s Robert Sachs. One interesting recent trend is the PTAB has reversed all 16 ex parte appeals of Section 101 rejections since October…”

PTAB maintains and even increases its workload, though Loney recently compared non-corresponding months to make it look otherwise. They’re using all sorts of tricks in an effort to give their readers, the patent microcosm, some good news and ‘tricks’ for fooling examiners, judges, etc.

“They’re using all sorts of tricks in an effort to give their readers, the patent microcosm, some good news and ‘tricks’ for fooling examiners, judges, etc.”Speaking of CAFC, Patently-O wrote about this new verdict, noting that a “California jury held that TVIIM’s U.S. Patent No. 6,889,168 was both invalid as anticipated and not infringed. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed. [...] The result here is that a potentially inconsistent verdict is not improper so long as any possible resolution of the inconsistency reaches the same outcome (here, that the patentee loses). In this case, any proposed construction of the claim terms resulted in either the patent being invalid or being not infringed.”

This is a good example of tricks used in vivo — so to speak — once the patents are already in a process; the same sorts of tricks have been attempted at PTAB, in desperate efforts to save patents by editing their contents (as if patents are something dynamic that should have versions and revisions even after a grant). It’s like evergreening of patents ‘on the go’. The whole thing is laughable and it contradicts the very premise/basis of patenting!

“…it seems clear that there is growing backlash against patent maximalism, which has become more like a religion than a science, and is practiced by firms that engage neither in science nor in any form of production.”Incidentally, recently in Techrights we have covered several examples of frauds and charlatans extorting with patents; Some patently unethical frauds out there blackmail small companies by the thousands (of companies) using patents they haven’t got or patents which they know are bogus. Classic protection racket! Many examples were recently given of it and this new article (behind paywall) says that “Patent Owners Face Increased Fraud Liability Risk”. To quote the open access summary/outline: “New legislative and court-driven developments in patent law have increased the risk of securities fraud liability for public company patent owners. Such patent owners and their securities counsel are therefore best advised to understand these developments, their intersection with securities law, and how they may affect some public disclosures.”

As access to the article is restricted, as is normal for that site, it’s hard to say if any of this alludes to frauds and charlatans who claim to have patent leverages that they haven’t (in order to extract fees from a lot of companies), but either way, it seems clear that there is growing backlash against patent maximalism, which has become more like a religion than a science, and is practiced by firms that engage neither in science nor in any form of production.

“Then They Came For Me—And There Was No One Left To Speak For Me.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s campaign of censorship (removal of essential information) must stop

Joseph Goebbels
“My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.” (he spoke of the Nazi party, not Team Battistelli)

Summary: The decreasing number of people who cover EPO scandals (partly due to fear, or Battistelli's notorious "reign of terror") and a cause for hope, as well as a call for help

THE EPO successfully neutered and muted the cat (or Kat) after it had attempted to do the same thing to me (at the time, people said the Kat would be next in line and last year the Kat too was sanctioned by the Office). Here are just two of the legal threats that the EPO sent to me [1, 2]; they ought to be in the public domain. Invoking something like state secrets to suppress journalism is a very old trick.

“The new quality standards have been specifically designed to allow management to hide any drops in quality.”
      –Kieren McCarthy
Judging by El Reg comments — and we don’t need to quote them as there’s not much new information there (no EPO insiders among them, or very few based on the tone and the content of messages*) — the 'pampered' party line (borderline trolling) is spreading. The only ‘defense’ of the EPO right now is a bunch of accusations against ‘spoiled’ examiners.

The original author of the article, Kieren McCarthy, weighed in to clarify (amid distractions/diversions) as follows:

I don’t understand why you would imagine that the number of patents approved in any way diminishes the fact that the EPO management is mistreating its employees.

That’s what the stories and the strikes and the public rebukes and the critical reports have all been about: the president is trying to force through changes that he believes will make the EPO more efficient and when he’s met with anything but compliance, he reacts very aggressively.

Battistelli created an investigation team that carried out surveillance of union workers that is illegal under the laws in the countries where they are based. He has run disciplinary hearings that have been criticized by all arms of the EPO and by politicians, and other staff unions and even the ILO. His own administrative council ordered him to stop – and he ignored it.

Each time the EPO’s checks and balances have been invoked, Battistelli has responded by changing the rules to award himself greater power. And when he is faced with increasingly angry people around him, he responds by diminishing them and by using the EPO’s resources against them. Or, in the case of his personal bodyguards, using the EPO’s funds to benefit himself.

The EPO management team is well aware that increasingly the number of patents processed is likely to result in lower quality but rather than work hard on making that work, or facing up to the issue and recognizing a likely drop but arguing it will rebound (and providing targets and metrics for recover), it has done what every bad management team in history has done: fixed the results.

The new quality standards have been specifically designed to allow management to hide any drops in quality.

Now if, after all that, you feel you can simply point at the number of patents granted and say: wow, they’re doing a terrific job, then you are either willfully ignorant or painfully short-sighted. Unfortunately you would not be alone: a large number of the administrative council members also appeared to be persuaded that so long as the numbers look good, you can ignore the day-to-day workings of the organization.

Someone later highlighted a point that we had made last year regarding the way EPO counts applications. To quote: “Number of applications is a dodgy statistic which includes some formal applications in China which never proceed due to no fee being paid. You need the lower figure of applications which ever come to the EPO. Granting more doesn’t mean better performance. The Americans used to grant almost all and that was criticised (rightly) for being too easy. There is a balance between rejecting some and granting some based on whether they meet the criteria. The danger is to too easily drop standards to grant more.”

“We are gratified to know that Britain’s largest news site for techies is now regularly covering the EPO conflict and is being cited even by politicians in Parliamentary sessions (e.g. recently in Dutch Parliament).”We don’t want to waste too much space and time quoting provocations against EPO staff (examiners that is). Instead, in the coming days/weeks, IP Kat comments will be quoted, along with anonymous sources of ours who know the system from the inside. ‘Radical’ transparency is well overdue as the more people know, the worst things become for EPO management.

We are gratified to know that Britain’s largest news site for techies is now regularly covering the EPO conflict and is being cited even by politicians in Parliamentary sessions (e.g. recently in Dutch Parliament).

“…writing about the EPO’s management sometimes feel like covering Mexican drug gangs, Russian elites, or the Sicilian Mafia.”The important thing right now is to help defend, support and encourage the few who are left to cover EPO scandals. Team Battistelli is suffering (it's afraid of information/reporting, as opposed to its paid puff pieces that are easily refuted) and it is attempting to silence — sometimes by scare tactics — those who persist and actually understand the system well enough to highlight the abuses and explain these to a wider audience (as the El Reg did, even in that long followup comment).

In Russia, as per today’s news, a lawyer has been thrown out of a building (sounds like a familiar story because it happens to journalists too, but media reports frame it somewhat differently now [1, 2]) and writing about the EPO’s management sometimes feel like covering Mexican drug gangs, Russian elites, or the Sicilian Mafia. We don’t think Merpel is a coward; in fact, people should be thankful to her for covering EPO scandals for as long as she had.
_________
* “Granting patents is easy – it’s rejecting patents that’s hard,” one noteworthy comment has noted.

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