Summary: Conflict between management and staff — a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli — continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)
WO hours ago (at the earliest), based on this page, there was a Freie Wähler motion for EPO workers who are being abused in Germany. It can go on almost until midnight, or the window for this motion will be some time from 2 hours ago until 10 PM GMT. The “basic rights for EPO employees,” SUEPO explains, “will be discussed today, 25.04.2017, between 14.00-23.00…”
“Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost…”“Unfortunately,” SUEPO continues, “we cannot inform you on the exact time. We can only inform you that it is motion 23 of 29 motions to be discussed.”
We can only wait and hope that someone in Germany (or someone who understands German) will publish the outcome, transcript, etc. We’ll happily accept and of course publish anything to that effect if it’s sent to us.
Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost (his political affiliation disqualifies him by the way, just like his age, making him strictly unsuitable for his position). Here is a comment posted in relation to the outcome of the election (first round):
Bad evening for Battistelli : crooked Fillon lost it!
Indeed Battistelli placed until very recently, his hope in Fillon’s election (they both belong the same political party Les Republicains). He was heard in Munich telling with his usual arrogance that should Fillon win, he would get a three years’ extension
well Benoit, time for a change? En Marche back in St Germain !
Battistelli should never have been given the job of President (of EPO). He is a political figure. It’s not allowed. But Battistelli, being Battistelli, breaks all the rules and lies all the time. The man is a chronic liar. It has gotten so bad that every time he speaks out (it has been a while) it’s guaranteed to be a lie and this is why we call him the Liar in Chief.
Recall the latest article from The Register; it was neatly split into four parts: Battistelli’s claims (lies), refutation from stakeholders, refutation from insiders, then an attack on insiders who say the truth. The third part contained some new information (not covered here before) and it noted “a stunning 99 per cent conformity” at the EPO, which means that Battistelli turned the EPO into another FISA/FISC, i.e. rubberstamping operation. To quote from page 2:
At the same time that the EPO management has relentlessly pushed to speed up processes, it has had maintained a second keen focus on quality, knowing full well that the entire Battistelli experiment could fall apart if the quality of patent examination is seen to suffer.
Ominously, however, as soon as the reforms started taking effect EPO management introduced a new approach to quality measurement that removed many of its independent aspects and put them under the control of the president and his team. In addition, an effort to speed up the process, combined with an aggressive clampdown on staff by management, has undermined the process for critical evaluation of patents.
Previously, the three-person team working on a given patent case would work together and then the chair in each case would do a quick quality check at the end of that process to confirm all was fine.
Under the new system, the chair is expected to weigh in earlier and lodge any concerns in the EPO’s Conformity Assurance for Search and Examination (CASE) system before talking to the first evaluator. The subsequent conversation on those points is then also lodged in the system.
The end result of this change is any errors that were previously caught at the earliest stages become a part of the record: so either the first examiner is seen to have made a mistake or the chair is seen to have falsely flagged a problem.
The end result of that, according to internal figures that The Register has seen is that there is less critically analysis being applied to applications rather than more as examiners worry about EPO management blaming them for, ironically, bringing down quality metrics.
Prior to the change, there was a 85-88 per cent conformity rate i.e. agreement between examiners; after the change, a stunning 99 per cent conformity. Battistelli’s team, convinced that their pressure tactics are simply causing people to work harder and better, view the results as validating their approach when in reality it undermines it.
But just as the EPO is increasingly unable to keep a lid on the impact of its “early certainty” program, so the knock-on impact on EPO report quality is starting to overwhelm the management’s efforts to contain it.
At the last meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council, when the management team outlined their unlikely double-whammy of more patent application approvals while quality also rose, staff union representatives gently suggested that the figures were not showing the full picture.
Astounding, isn’t it?
No matter if one is an examiner, an attorney, lawyer or whatnot, this isn’t good. It’s not good at all. It’s almost as though the EPO covertly adopted 'registration' only, just like in France. It means that stakeholders are overpaying, examiners are made almost redundant (their skills aren’t being put to proper use), they are compelled to operate like machines and get sacked if they refuse to. Who takes the blame for all this? Not the management.
Battistelli is now doing the same thing to judges and notice the following remarkable comment:
As I have heard Americans refer to Patent Agents and Patent Atttorneys as “Patent Lawyers”, for the benefit of our transatlantic cousins, perhaps Mr. Justice Birss’ comment that that “… you don’t have to have a science degree to be a great patent lawyer” requires qualification. As far as the UK is concerned, the statement may well be true for someone who wishes to qualify as a Barrister or Solicitor with a view to specialising in Intellectual Property: however, in order to sit the qualifying exams for a UK Patent Attorney or a European Patent Attorney, a degree in Science or Engineering is normally essential. As an exception the EPO does allow candidates who have a technical qualification that is not of the required academic standard may be allowed to sit if they can offer sufficient post-qualification experience in industry.
Well, not anymore. First of all, the EPO almost stopped hiring judges (see the sad state of the appeal boards), as if the only judges to be hired are seen as UPC placeholders. Some insiders have openly hypothesised that Battistelli hopes to just demolish the EPO, negligently deal with the remaining pending patents, and get the UPC off the ground, even if it’s not possible due to Brexit and other show-stopping barriers.
In blunt terms, the EPO has truly become a clusterf*ck under Battistelli. Everyone knows it and everybody suffers from it. █
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Reference: Factory alleged to have ignored warnings
Summary: How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards
IN THE last part about the fire hazard at the EPO we shed light on the continuation of this problem at the next building in the Netherlands. Why does this matter? Because the unwillingness of Dutch authorities to compel the EPO to obey the law causes the EPO to operate with impunity and potentially put a lot of lives in great danger, even consciously.
“Lately, it was the Dutch representatives taking a lot of heat or even coming under fire (pardon the pun).”Staff representatives are understandably afraid to bring this up. Each time they say the truth there is severe action of retribution from Battistelli and his goons. Lately, it was the Dutch representatives taking a lot of heat or even coming under fire (pardon the pun).
“Unfortunately,” one person explained to us, “the majority of the local staff committee as well as the local SUEPO committee have been very reluctant to take any further measures to protect our safety in case of a fire at our site. Until now they did not bother to inform [...] though some members were aware of this issue since November 2010.”
“The immunity of the EPO must be ended, and not only after a major catastrophe (one that would belatedly put the EPO in the headlines, due to a tragedy other than Battistelli).”See the effect of union-busting actions and extreme attacks on staff representatives? Even life-threatening risks (mere facts) become suppressed. We too need to be careful in what we say because we are well aware of risk to our sources. Not too long ago we belatedly kick-started a series revolving around the inadequacy of these facilities by sharing, in redacted form, anything but the most sensitive details. We feel safe to assert that this helps highlight human rights aspects (disregard for staff’s safety) and is in the public interest.
We would like to urge readers, especially Dutch-speaking readers, to forward these bits of information to the suitable authorities in Holland and urge for immediate action. The immunity of the EPO must be ended, and not only after a major catastrophe (one that would belatedly put the EPO in the headlines, due to a tragedy other than Battistelli). █
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Summary: A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays
THE lives ruined by the EPO‘s management extend well beyond EPO staff and stakeholders; spouses, children, friends and peers are impacted as well. The whole European economy is negatively affected. This is why we believe that everyone in Europe (if not well beyond Europe) should pay closer attention to scandals which the media seems unwilling to cover (like it covered FIFA scandals, for instance, if not Volkswagen too, especially amid Dieselgate).
“The EPO has become a sociopathic institution which takes orders from one single person as though he is a monarch in a palace.”In part VII and part VIII of this series we wrote about whistleblowing at the EPO and absolutely zero tolerance of criticism. The EPO has become a sociopathic institution which takes orders from one single person as though he is a monarch in a palace. Nothing like this ever happened at the USPTO or any other patent office (as far as we are aware). European autocracy up on display? Certainly a reputational issue for the EU, even if the EPO isn’t an EU entity (unlike the distant ‘fantasy’ — or contrariwise nightmare — which is UPC).
“In any healthy (or functional) institution, none of this would be required and there would be an ombudsman to turn to. But not the EPO under Battistelli…”The EPO’s whistleblowers are scared; they are not always confident and occasionally they feel the need to forge details not about the story but about themselves. “We were thinking also of changing some terms and details of the story,” one person once told us regarding “nationalities, countries, disease details, sex and ages etc. — [just] enough to make sure that if they [are] still going [to point] the finger on me, it would be an open admission that they did what we relate.”
In any healthy (or functional) institution, none of this would be required and there would be an ombudsman to turn to. But not the EPO under Battistelli… █
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Microsoft is the sole leading sponsor this year (same as last year)
Summary: In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions
THE EPO is not interested in patent quality. Everyone knows it by now, both inside and outside the Office.
According to patent maximalists’ tweets from Fordham, “[i]n the EPO it is easier to get a method for diagnosis patent than in the US.”
“Bristows staff — the one who ‘took over’ IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently.”Well, CPIP treats patent quality as a nuisance (they ask for Alice to be undermined and software patents to be back to old glory). They do not treat quality as a desirable feature; they profit not from quality. The same goes for some firms that say the EPO more easily grants software patents than the USPTO these days. Bristows staff — the one who 'took over' IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently. She professed admiration for Microsoft’s chief patent bully and quoted (or paraphrased) a judge as saying that “everyone is equipped to deal with science.”
“Sorry to disappoint the Honorable judge,” said one of the comments, “but that is an absurd comment, demonstrating ignorance and delusion.” An earlier comment said: “No judges from the EPO Boards of appeal present?”
“At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control.”Of course not! That would be disruptive to the echo chamber.
The attack on the appeal boards has been (in our humble assessment) intended to help mask the sharp decline in patent quality and/or suppress criticism related to that. At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control. █
“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”
–Microsoft, internal document
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Union-busting in defiance of the rules of the EPO, e.g. Article 98(1) ServRegs
Summary: The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli — activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation
THE EPO has been quiet lately, even days after Easter was finished. Someone has sent us the above letter, which is dated a few days ago and is worth reproducing below. The very concept of negotiating with Benoît Battistelli should be considered laughable at this stage. It’s entrapping oneself; the prospects of negotiating with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would likely be more positive and yield much more. At least the EU occasionally dares condemn him for his actions.
“The very concept of negotiating with Benoît Battistelli should be considered laughable at this stage.”In spite being 3 pages long (with Battistelli having a copy), this letter to Members of the Board of the Administrative Council (who are aware of "a crisis," in their own words) is quite short or at least concise. It focuses not on the technical perils but on the social and juridical perils, which concern the staff representatives who are unable to properly function any longer (under rational fear from an irrational tyrant who is accountable to nobody). Here is the letter in full (original above as animated GIF).
19 April 2017
Members of the Board
of the Administrative Council
European Patent Organisation
Restart of dialogue – SUEPO’s position
Dear Sir, Madam,
One of the aims of Resolution CA 26/16 is to reach “a consensus on an MoU which would establish a framework for negotiation between social partners”. However, as the Council also noted: “…the disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against staff or trade union representatives have, among other reasons, made it more difficult to reach such a consensus…”
So far, further discussions on union recognition between the EPO and SUEPO have remained impossible for well-known reasons. Furthermore, far from improving with time as might have been hoped, the social situation has in fact further deteriorated, particularly following the dismissal of a third staff representative and SUEPO official in November 2016.
At the same time, there is now an increased level of awareness both in the public and at the highest political level1 that something must be done to move forward.
1 letter by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands dated 23 February 2017 (emphasis added):
In dit kader heb ik de heer Minnoye meegegeven dat de interne onrust te lang voortduurt en dat de situatie nu snel
verbetering behoeft. Om met spoed een begin te maken aan herstel van vertrouwen tussen het management en het
personeel, is voorgesteld de sociale dialoog constructief te hervatten en daarbij op zeer korte termijn een aantal
vertrouwenwekkende maatregelen, onder andere gebaseerd op de Social Study, door te voeren:
• Heroverweging van disciplinaire maatregelen die ten aanzien van enkele vakbondsleden zijn ingezet
In this context, I informed Mr Minnoye that the internal unrest has been going on for too long and that the situation now needs to improve quickly. In order to make a rapid start to restoring trust between the management and staff, the proposal is to resume constructive social dialogue and to introduce a number of trust-building measures in the very short term, based among other things on the Social Study:
• Reconsideration of the disciplinary measures implemented with respect to certain trade-union members.
For our part, SUEPO remains committed to fulfilling the Council’s demands as set out in its resolution. As a gesture of good will we wish to inform you that we would be prepared to participate in a first and renewed meeting providing it would be organised with the involvement of an independent mediator.
We would be grateful if the Board 28 would consider endorsing this proposal at its next meeting in April 2017. Following this we would be prepared to enter into discussions concerning the selection of a mediator and other meeting arrangements.
We look forward to your response and attach, also for your consideration, a draft agenda for such a first meeting.
SUEPO Central Chairman
On behalf of SUEPO Central and all local SUEPO sections
Annex: Draft agenda
Copy:Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council
President of the EPO
1. Reintegration of dismissed staff and SUEPO representatives, and cancellation of other sanctions against further staff and SUEPO representatives.2
2. Aims of a negotiation scheme
3. Benchmarking some existing agreements, viz. EU-Agreement with its Unions, the SUEPO proposal, and the existing EPO-FFPE MoU.
4. MoU establishing a framework for negotiation between social partners i.e. the EPO and trade unions
5. Time framework for a global solution for normalising relations between EPO and SUEPO
2 The implementation of the Resolution is here all the more urgent since, in the meantime, it has transpired that the disciplinary measures against SUEPO officials in 2015 and 2016 (in particular Els Hardon, Ion Brumme, Malika Weaver, Laurent Prunier) have been imposed after consultation of a disciplinary committee that was improperly composed: the Chairperson was appointed without the consultation of the GCC required by Article 98(1) ServRegs. A progress on this issue would allow discussing the other points on the agenda.
That second footnote is important. The EPO’s President not only routinely and nonchalantly violates the rules of the EPC (akin to gross constitutional violations), but also violates his very own Code of Conduct. It’s probably far too optimistic to believe that Battistelli is capable of grasping the mere concept of negotiation partners. He exploits power for power’s sake; he’s a hardliner with LE PENthouse de patent maximalism. █
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IP Kat, which historically gave a voice to EPO workers and whistleblowers, has never been the same since the EPO's sanctions
Context (in the news this weekend and on Friday):
Summary: The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press
THE EPO‘s thuggery managed not only to silence IP Kat‘s criticisms but also, apparently, to turn it into a UPC propaganda mill, headed not by one but several firms that stand to benefit financially from excess in litigation. The EPO accomplished something similar with IAM and dividends continue to be paid. What gives?
“We are quite justified with our assertion that the blog is Bristows-run these days.”Sometimes we joke that IP Kat has become AmeriKat i.e. Bristows with its UPC agenda. Just look at the blog’s activity in the past week. The 8th post in a row yesterday was from Bristows and later came a ninth. We are quite justified with our assertion that the blog is Bristows-run these days. The Bristows worker says her “new IP idol [is] Brad Smith (Microsoft),” the man who engages in patent blackmail against Linux (we have written about his nefarious activities for over a decade). Need we remind readers that Microsoft bankrolled the event?
The only short break from the Bristows marketing was this EPO puff piece. Vardy offered a little break from the Bristows marathon and accomplished nothing but embellishment of the EPO’s image.
“Vardy offered a little break from the Bristows marathon and accomplished nothing but embellishment of the EPO’s image.”Is this the same IP Kat that wrote about the EPO last year? It has come to our attention that there is a little more going on behind the scenes. Vardy says nothing about the existential threat to the EPO and violations of the law, pretending there’s smooth sailing. So does FRKelly, which in this new piece (“Changes in European Patent Office practice following findings of lack of unity”) completely overlooks the crucial point that EPO search quality is nowadays terrible, as reaffirmed by internal leaks.
“Is this the same IP Kat that wrote about the EPO last year?”FRKelly says that “from 1 April 2017, the EPO now provides applicants with a provisional opinion on the patentability of the invention (or unitary group of inventions) first appearing in the claims together with the Partial Search Report – see notice in the Official Journal of the EPO here.”
But what good are such reports if they are prepared in a rush? Stakeholders have already publicly complained about this. One of them said that even the Spanish patent office (not particularly renowned for leadership in this area) does a better job than the EPO and at a much lower cost.
Where are those anonymous writers at IP Kat who used to write about those things? The founder has retired and the pseudonym shared by multiple people (“Merpel”) is no longer even mentioned in the blog (it used to be habitually thrown into the mix). Where are the Joe Hills and the Rosa Parks? Why do we feel like it’s mostly us, The Register and sometimes Juve that really still care about the EPO? Caring about the integrity of the Office is the opposite of caring about Battistelli’s reputation.
“Stakeholders have already publicly complained about this. One of them said that even the Spanish patent office (not particularly renowned for leadership in this area) does a better job than the EPO and at a much lower cost.”Just look what Bristows has turned IP Kat into! It’s shocking! It’s a disgrace. Even EPO workers tell us that. They are definitely not happy. The most signal that can be derived from IP Kat these days is in the comments. Responding to the EPO’s Margot and Bristows (which carried Margot’s message about the UPC), this one person wrote: “It is amazing to see what is coming out now in order to save the UPC.”
Truth does not matter at IP Kat when the chronic liars of Bristows run the show. Here is the comment in full:
It is amazing to see what is coming out now in order to save the UPC.
UPC is an agreement reserved to EU member states. This is a fact which seems conveniently forgotten.
As long as UK is member of the EU it might ratify. Once out of the EU it cannot any longer be part of the UPC, at least in the present form.
This means that:
1) the participation of UK in the UPC post Brexit will be part of the bargaining under Art 50. Any more enchanting perspective?
2) provisions have to be found how to transfer pre-Brexit judgements of the UPC into the UK legal system. This might be the easiest part, although it does not appear as simple as it may look at a glance.
3) provisions about enforcement post-Brexit of UPC judgements in the UK have to be devised. This is a point which has been conveniently dodged up to now by all proponents of the post-Brexit participation of UK.
I see here three reasons of great uncertainty. Can, in all honesty and in view of this uncertainty, any representative suggest to his client not to opt-out until any of those points are cleared?
That US industry and PAEs are interested in the UPC is pretty obvious, but should not be taken as a push to satisfy this need.
Here the Commission oversees a great danger and belittles the point of view expressed for instance by IP2P(?) about the danger of trolling. I am not convinced that the harmonisation effect heralded by the Commission will eventually be a benefit for European industry in general and SMEs in particular. In the case of patents subsidiarity might be better.
And now CH and NO should come into the UPC! Ever heard of Opinion 1/09? One should not forget that it was the death knell of EPLA!
As a commenter wrote: is this “knowledge, blind optimism or desperation”? A nice summary!
Responding in another thread — the one in which Bristows tackled those who warn about the UPC and trolls — one person wrote:
Kindly note that the UPC fee for a COUNTERclaim for revocation is between EUR 11k and EUR 20k, depending on the value of the case. Especially if the defendant in the infringement case is an SME, it is unlikely that the maximum revocation fee of EUR 20k will have to be paid, because this only occurs if the value of the case exceeds EUR 2 million.
So a business would need at least 11,000 Euros (at least!) to drive trolls away. And how many trolls would there be under a UPC-like regime? Some patent law firms earn this much in a month, sometimes per person, but for SMEs in Europe that’s a lot of money. It can cost a lot of jobs. And who benefits? Firms like Bristows and trolls. Firms that give bad advice to clients, possibly even an intentionally bad advice…
And back to the propaganda from Battistelli’s right-hand UPC woman (Margot), here is a quoteworthy new comment:
Any idea what I tell my client about UPC cases that are ongoing on Brexit day? For example, if on Brexit day there is an ongoing UPC case where infringement is exclusively in the UK, what happens?
Quite frankly, the statement that “uncertainty is unlikely because legal provision will inevitably be made to deal with the treatment of, for example, pending UPC cases on Brexit day” is ridiculous. That uncertainty already exists and will continue to exist unless and until the specifics of the assumed provision are finally decided on.
Here is another comment:
Uncertainty is not unlikely it is likely! The statement should be read correctly.
That an ongoing case in UK on Brexit day will continue is not at stake here. The uncertainty lies in the how it will happen in the UK. This might be solved if only UK is at stake.
There is however also an uncertainty, but much larger then, on what will happen if it affects not only UK but other contracting states on Brexit day, whether or not it is taken by a UPC court having its seat in UK.
This leads inevitably to the post Brexit enforcement problem.
Not everything revolves around an island bordering the North Sea. After all ridiculous for ridiculous, who is the more ridiculous??
“The UPC may have already been derailed for good, but Team UPC just won’t want to admit it…”It’s quite sad when all that’s left of value in IP Kat are anonymous comments. The blog is otherwise an utter disgrace of no value to anyone, except those in the echo chamber who love being deceived (patent maximalism is music to their ears).
The UPC may have already been derailed for good, but Team UPC just won’t want to admit it (it profits from lying to clients about it) and Luke McDonagh, a scholar from London, said that the General Election this year “will certainly delay Unified Patent Court, may even derail it…”
“Bristows staff (in various different platforms) just lies to everyone, as we have repeatedly demonstrated here over the years.”He was linking to Team UPC’s analysis, which quotes the article by Max Walters, who in turn serves as Bristows’ megaphone. Team UPC said: “In an article in the Law Gazette, Robert Burrows, partner at Bristows, says a start date of early 2018 for the Unitary Patent system could be a more realistic possibility.”
No, it can be altogether called off and it’s the most likely thing given the inherent incompatibility of UPC and Brexit. To quote the more independent view:
In the same article, Luke McDonagh of the Law School at City University London is more pessimistic: ‘It is clear there will be a delay now. Everything is likely to cease pending the election. The decision to ratify may even be up in the air.’
Be careful of anything IP Kat will say in the coming days about UPC (in light of the General Election). Bristows staff (in various different platforms) just lies to everyone, as we have repeatedly demonstrated here over the years. “Nobody said the creation of a new patent system covering all EU member states was going to be easy,” Team UPC added (after the failure). Actually, Team UPC did insinuate this, repeatedly even. Now that they’re losing all their marbles they start engaging in a bit of revisionism, too. It’s an attempt to recover some credibility and save face. █
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Photo credit: Last year’s talk on “Patent Hold-Up”
Summary: Battistelli’s French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)
WE recently published quite a few articles about software patents that piggyback buzzwords like “cloud” and “AI” (or phrases like “in a car”, “on a device”, “from a phone”, “over the Internet” and so on). Another such buzzword is “IoT”, which simply means some embedded device with a IPv4/6 module built onto it. It’s nothing innovative or even new. The buzzword itself is relatively new, not the underlying technology.
“It’s rather embarrassing to watch. The EPO has been reduced to quite a circus!”The EPO seems to have hired some truly incompetent managers recently. Many of them are French and quite a few are friends of Battistelli. The degree of nepotism at the EPO is nothing to sneeze at and last year we saw Yann Ménière joining the team, replacing those who had warned about low patent quality. He was last mentioned earlier this year in relation to his rather bizarre talk wherein has been reduced to Battistelli’s shadow, just like Margot the UPC propagandist of Battistelli. It’s rather embarrassing to watch. The EPO has been reduced to quite a circus! See this new puff piece which conflates patents with invention (titled “Young Italians becoming great inventors again”); it’s nothing more than EPO parroting, distracting from the fact that EP applications are actually down, not up (the EPO tried hard to hide it if not lie about it).
“A lot of software components are typically at the core of these things and it was recently reported by IP Watch that the EPO figureheads openly promote and defend patents on those (i.e. software patents, in defiance of directives, the EPC, and common sense).”But anyway, about Ménière, IP Watch‘s Dugie Standeford, writing behind a paywall, said this: “The European Patent Office has a “tradition of looking forwards” to anticipate patenting trends, and it sees the Internet of Things (IoT) as the next challenge, Chief Economist Yann Ménière said at 20 April OxFirst webinar on the office’s contribution to the coming world of billions of connected objects.”
A lot of software components are typically at the core of these things and it was recently reported by IP Watch that the EPO figureheads openly promote and defend patents on those (i.e. software patents, in defiance of clear directives, the EPC, and common sense). In other words, it certainly sounds like Battistelli got himself a patent maximalist in the role of “Chief Economist”, spouting out things about technology which he neither practiced nor understands. That has truly become the hallmark of Battistelli appointments. They send the Office crashing and burning and it is painful to watch, especially for insiders whose job is on the line and may soon become redundant because not enough applications are coming in. It’s simple, just do the maths. The stock is running out. Battistelli ordering the issuing en masse of EPs does a lot of harm not just to existing stakeholders but also past applicants, whose patents will inevitably lose value/worth. What kind of economist would be incapable of grasping it? If the EPO was a for-profit business, it would be heading towards bankruptcy right now and even pensions would not be assured (there are rumours, based on another French hire, that these too are going to be cut soon). █
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