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10.18.18

IAM and IP Kat Are Still Megaphones of Battistelli and His Agenda

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

(The ‘new’ IP Kat (after Merpel 'died'), the one which deletes comments about Battistelli and António Campinos)

Battistelli revisionism

Summary: IAM reaffirms its commitment to corrupt Battistelli and IP Kat maintains its stance, which is basically not caring at all about EPO corruption (to the point of actively deleting blog comments that mention such corruption, i.e. ‘sanitising’ facts)

THE EPO said “goodbye and good riddance” to Battistelli almost 4 months ago. He has since then maintained a low profile except when French media approached him as he may be criminally liable but immune nonetheless.

Joff Wild of IAM, where the corrupt Battistelli writes on occasions (promoting software patents in Europe), is still whitewashing this man. This is the man IAM does revisionism for even in October. See the screenshot above.

Curiously enough, not only was the above behind paywall (which makes it harder for Battistelli’s critics to assess). It only appeared in searches more than a fortnight late. Why?

On the same day (Tuesday) Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows LLP), who dominated IP Kat last year, returned for a change to carry on cheering for patent trolls in the UK. “One of the key issues on appeal from Mr Justice Birss’ decision,” she said, is basically whether companies can use their proxy patent trolls to shake down the competition.

“In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way).”So a firm involved in the case uses IP Kat for its own purposes; “The IPKat team [i.e. Bristows staff quoting other Bristows staff] will be back next week to report on the key findings of the Court of Appeal, with analysis to follow,” she said.

What has IP Kat become? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t write as much as it used to (and several writers very recently left), watch what it published on the same day about “blockchain” (the usual patent hype) and then in “Standards and Patents annual conference returns to London”. IP Kat actively promotes an event in London that lobbies for software patents under the guise of “AI”, “FRAND” and other nonsense (even software patents inside standards).

Later in the same day IP Kat started celebrating patents on food; the comments are better than the post. Last but not least, on the same day IP Kat mentioned the EPO (at long last). But remember this is the Kat which deleted the thread (about 40 comments) about António Campinos, whose friends he already brings to the EPO (just like Battistelli did). What did the blog write about the EPO? Nothing. It just plugged in the EPO’s press release: “The Administrative Council of the EPO has appointed the next vice-presidents of the EPO: Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria). Find out more about the new vice-presidents here.”

In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way). This cat got neutered…

The EPO Under António Campinos Relaxes the Rules on Software Patenting and the Litigation ‘Industry’ Loves That

Posted in Europe, Marketing, Patents at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Easier to tax coders, whose projects will be undermined or never come to fruition in the first place (due to fear of lawsuits)

EPO white flag

Summary: EPO management, which is nontechnical, found new terms by which to refer to software patents — terms that even the marketing departments can endorse (having propped them up); they just call it all AI, augmented intelligence and so on

THE EPO seems eager to handicap Europe’s software industry. What does it care anyway? All it wants to do is grant as many patents as possible and get a pat on the back from litigators. António Campinos has taken this lunacy to new levels as the EPO under his leadership constantly promotes software patents in Europe. It does so not only every day but several times per day. Campinos recently saw the need to write a blog post about it.

“…now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.”Not everyone is upset about this abomination. Some people make a living not from creation but from destruction; put another way, they sue things out of existence. Like patent trolls do…

Patent law firms, unlike patent trolls, win irrespective of the courts’ outcomes. It doesn’t matter if European Patents are nowadays presumed invalid; all that matters is that lawyers are needed…

We recently wrote about the leveraging of "AI" as a byword or surrogate for software patents. Philip Naylor (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP) took note of that too; writing in IAM, the EPO’s propaganda rag, Naylor said this:

The EPO has updated its official guidelines to include a specific section on how the office is likely to assess patent applications directed towards artificial intelligence (AI). A preview of the update can be found on the EPO website and will come into force on 1 November 2018.

The update to the guidelines provides further clarity on how the EPO’s existing legal framework will be applied to AI inventions. Generally, the update confirms that the same rules that are applied to all computer-implemented inventions will apply to inventions involving AI. The rules stipulate that mathematical methods per se are “devoid of technical character” and thus are not patentable when considered in isolation. However, inventions that use mathematical methods remain patentable if they provide a technical solution to a technical problem. The EPO’s guidelines now state that AI and machine-learning algorithms are considered to be mathematical methods. Therefore, an invention that uses AI or machine learning must solve a technical problem in order to be patentable, in the same way as any other computer-implemented invention.

So they’re adding tricks for software patenting, knowing that these are not allowed. They tell applicants to say “AI” and at the same time instruct examiners to almost ‘rubber-stamp’ all this “AI” stuff. Never mind if the concept is rather nebulous, much like the concept of “cloud”. The litigation industry rejoices and helps this agenda, based on another new article that says:

Jennings is in the camp that believes that AI “augments humans”. He said he was “very happy to see that the European Patent Office (EPO) stresses AI as augmented intelligence”.

The EPO published its preliminary update of its guidelines for examination in early October, which included changes for provisions relating to the patentability of AI and machine learning.

So software can be patented “per se” and “as such”; just make sure the application says “AI” in it.

Eamon Robinson (Haseltine Lake LLP) has also just published this article about the EPO cutting corners for shallower or faster examination:

A European patent or a patent application may not be amended to contain subject matter extending beyond the application as filed. This section of the Guidelines provides guidance on when replacing or removing features from a claim results in unallowable added subject matter.

The Guidelines describe a three step test to determine if such amendments result in added subject matter. The updated Guidelines clarify that an amendment will fail the test, and thus add matter, if at least one criterion of the test is failed.

[...]

The changes to the Guidelines emphasise the importance of this “gold standard” over the above three step test. The “gold standard” should therefore, be considered when making amendments to the claims of a patent or application, in particular when removing or replacing features. Furthermore, the change to the first step of the test may make it easier for objections to be raised to amendments. The previous Guidelines stated that it was enough for a skilled person to recognise that a feature is explained as essential, whereas, the updated Guidelines require that the feature must be objectively explained as essential.

In summary then, the EPO’s advice to examiners in relation to removal of features would seem to be getting stricter.

Decisions are already being made a lot faster, at the very least in order to meet quotas/targets. Maybe some time soon Campinos will just use so-called ‘AI’ (algorithms) to assess patent applications with the term “AI” in them.

It should be noted that this whole “AI” hype doesn’t deal with novelty; the term “AI” was reintroduced a lot in the media last year. A lot of it boils down to marketing. In the broadest sense of the term the concept of AI dates back to the dawn of computing. But now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.

10.15.18

Corporate Media’s Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We can’t let these people get their way with patent maximalism and UPC

The three Frenchmen

Summary: A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host’s plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills

OUR USPTO coverage reached an unexpected halt last night at around 6PM. Our host is shutting down soon. He’s an old friend of mine who hosted the site as a favour for nearly a decade. Speaking to alternative hosts, it seems likely that our hosting costs would at least quadruple. It’s a painful experience. I barely slept; it’s hard to fall asleep. Certain readers, some of whom connected in one way or another to the EPO, expressed concern about the downtime (almost half a day). The problem is far broader than a downtime, caused by a routing issue among other things.

“This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.”Techright is turning 12 in a few weeks. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to this site. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just want to reaffirm and reassure to readers that the site has always been financially independent. That’s never going to change.

I can envision some readers asking questions like, what about “the cloud”? As if sending one’s blog to some private company can assure independence… there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are many ways in which a centralised blogging platform censors those who participate, with a broadening brush by which they sweep away particular voices.

“The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.”
      –Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier
Florian Müller‘s latest two articles, The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung) and Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions,” are as usual hosted by Google. Just before the weekend he wrote about a notorious European Patent of Qualcomm. He’s very supportive of our work covering the EPO (we’ve published nearly 3,000 articles about the EPO alone).

“Your server does not respond.”
      –Anonymous
Like we’ve said here several times since September, publishers are struggling, even the patent maximalists’. IAM, for example, went sort of ‘dark’, i.e. everything behind paywall, except pure commercials and intentional propaganda. As an example of the latter, see what turned up in Google News yesterday. IAM wrote this:

‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

This repeated the two famous lies. Also published yesterday was this short blog post from Kluwer Patent Blog (they barely publish in long form anymore). It’s akin to the “shoot with patents first, ask questions later” attitude of UPC. Adrian Crespo wrote that (in Spain at least) “a defendant wishing to object to an injunction for invalidity reasons must put forth “very clear and evident indicia” of invalidity. For that reason, the Court of Appeal focused on a relatively straightforward objection on grounds of added matter.”

This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.

Meanwhile, over at Mondaq, a French law firm that habitually promotes itself over there speaks of the EPO and INPI. Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier (August & Debouzy) compare one terrible patent office to another:

Incidentally, this would also allow the INPI to “smooth” the number of examination requests it will receive in the medium term, which would facilitate the implementation of the strengthened substantive examination and the opposition procedure, while maintaining sufficiently short deadlines (which is a decisive parameter for the attractiveness of the French system).

The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.

It is widely known that INPI doesn’t really assess quality of patent applications; they’re presumed valid. Imagine what the UPC would look like if the French-led UPC ever went ahead, possibly with Battistelli as its chief. France has been reserved a leadership position, the EPO promotes this, its current President is French and in two decades it’s like France clings onto power at the EPO for 16 years.

We are open to ideas as to how sponsor the hosting costs for the server; I don’t wish to be paid for my writings about the EPO (by anyone), but the costs of underlying infrastructure may need coverage. I spend over 80 hours per week on the sites (not including my daytime job). Things aren’t sustainable and we need to keep watching the affairs of the EPO and patent scope in general. There’s too much at stake.

10.13.18

EPO Insider/Märpel Says President Campinos Already Acts Like Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)

EPOgate
Source

Summary: Unitary Patent (UPC) is a step towards making the EPO an EU institution like the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO); but it’s not making any progress and constitutional judges must realise that Campinos, chosen by Battistelli to succeed him, is just an empty mask

AS WE have just noted, software patents in Europe are being granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), but European courts will reject many of them. This is why lawyers hope to replace the courts themselves. The UPC is how they hope to accomplish this and rumours say that Benoît Battistelli wishes to become the UPC’s chief. Never mind his notorious reputation as judge, jury and executioner.

“This is why lawyers hope to replace the courts themselves. The UPC is how they hope to accomplish this and rumours say that Benoît Battistelli wishes to become the UPC’s chief. Never mind his notorious reputation as judge, jury and executioner.”There’s an article titled “An abundance of great jobs for Intellectual Property graduates” and it is dated “October 12, 2018″ (i.e. yesterday).

“The first accounts of intellectual property (IP) protection date back to ancient Greece. As such, the concept of inventiveness and investment in research,” the summary of this new article says. It mentions António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli in an effort to attract people to this suicide office which does not even hire anyway (there’s a hiring freeze). To quote:

“IP rights-intensive industries generate more than a quarter of employment and more than a third of economic activity in the European Union,” wrote António Campinos (then President of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)) and Benoît Battistelli (then President of the European Patent Office (EPO)) in a 2013 report titled, Intellectual property rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in the European Union.

The employment of what? Lawyers? Europe needs science and technology, not more lawsuits. But lawyers view Europe’s needs differently…

Twice before the weekend Colm Murphy and Joe Ridout (Cooley LLP) published this ridiculous self-promotional piece [1, 2]. “Following Brexit,” it says, “European Patent Attorneys will be able to represent you in the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)…”

Putting aside uncertainty surrounding Brexit itself, that statement makes no sense because UPC is dead. Repeating lies again? Team UPC has clearly not grown tired (yet) of its famous two lies. From the relevant paragraph:

The UK Government plans to explore whether it is possible to participate in the proposed Unitary Patent System following Brexit. Following Brexit, European Patent Attorneys will be able to represent you in the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) [sic] irrespective of whether the UK signs up to the UPC or not.

They wrote “Unitary Patent Court (UPC),” but it’s Unified actually; so they’re clueless on what they write about, maybe just reusing what they saw written elsewhere. Can we trust a bunch of law firms that don’t even know the name of the court they lobby for? Ones who intentionally lie about various things in one single paragraph? Of course not. They used to also tell us that UPC was “for SMEs” — those standing to lose the most from UPC.

Imagine a liar like Battistelli in charge of such a system of ‘show trials’ (in a language the defendant does not even understand).

Let’s face it; nothing has really changed except the face. Campinos is just another Battistelli and not even the manners are better. As Märpel noted just before the weekend:

Märpel learned that President Campinos cancelled all travels yesterday, even travels already booked with applicants waiting at the other end. People were called back yesterday morning on their way to the airport.

The reasons behind that decision are not entirely clear. What is entirely clear, however, is that cancelling appointments at such short notice screams of lack of professionalism. When travels are arranged, the other end normally has invested time and efforts in arranging a meeting. Expenses need to be charged, authorizations need to be organized. Not coming at the latest moment is simply not done.

But President Campinos apparently does not care about manners. Reportedly, he had a fit about the budget and required everything to be re-authorized by him personally.

It appears that the Office managed to elect ANOTHER President capable of throwing a tantrum for the smalest [sic] of reasons.

Welcome the new boss; same as the old boss…

Quality of Patents Granted by the EPO is Still Low and Nobody Will Benefit Except Lawyers, Jubilant Over Growing Lenience on Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Get your money ready, there’s tax to be paid through law firms

100 bucks

Summary: Deterioration of patent quality at the EPO — a serious problem which examiners themselves are complaining about — is becoming rather evident as new guidelines are very lenient on software patenting

THE EPO under António Campinos — like the USPTO under Director Iancu — seems to have no concept or understanding of patent quality. Maybe they just fail to appreciate the importance of patent quality, instead assuming that the goal is to grant as many patents as possible, i.e. generate as many monopolies as possible, then — in turn — generating as many patent lawsuits as possible.

The issues associated with software patents in Europe have been covered here for a dozen years. We covered various court cases that dealt with such patents in Europe, including in the UK (Symbian was a famous case). Sara Moran at Kluwer Patent Blog has just highlighted what happens when some European patents or patents granted in Europe (not necessarily European Patents) turn out to be bogus, fake patents. “The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal filed by Cubist against the Patents Court decision that one of its patents relating to antibiotic daptomycin was invalid for obviousness,” she wrote. So nobody benefited from this case other than lawyers. It was a total waste of time.

European Patents (EPs) of Qualcomm were mentioned in this blog post just before the weekend: [via]

Munich I Regional Court throws out Qualcomm patent infringement lawsuit against Apple: no infringement

[...]

The Munich I Regional Court (“Landgericht München I” in German) just announced the first final judgment on a Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement complaint anywhere in the world. Apple (and, by extension, Intel) fended off one of various Qualcomm patent infringement lawsuits.The court agreed with Apple’s claim construction.

A few months after the Federal Trade Commission of the United States and, in a separate case, Apple sued Qualcomm over antitrust and contract-related matters in January 2017, the San Diego-based company that dominates the market for cellular baseband chips started a patent infringement lawsuit campaign against the iPhone maker in the U.S., Germany, and China. Qualcomm wanted to kick off the German “rulings season” with a Mannheim injunction–and got a Munich rejection.

A three-judge panel–composed of Judge Dr. Schoen (“Schön” in German), who filled in for Presiding Judge Dr. Zigann at last week’s trial, and Judges Klein and Schmitz–held that Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do not infringe Qualcomm’s European patent EP1199750 on a “post[-]passivation interconnection scheme on top of [an] IC chip.”

In a follow-up related to this (Qualcomm, albeit in the US with Nokia‘s support) the same blog said: [via]

While Qualcomm’s patent infringement lawsuits against Apple (and, by extension Intel) are merely a sideshow to the antitrust matters pending on three continents, let’s start with a brief follow-up to yesterday’s Munich judgment. The court has meanwhile, thankfully, provided a redacted copy of the decision. I’ve read it, and the most interesting part is that Qualcomm had submitted two expert reports in support of its claim construction, while Apple had provided only one, but the deficiencies of Qualcomm’s reports were massive while Apple’s expert provided instructive, helpful information. I’ll publish a translation of the relevant passages soon.

Meanwhile, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted the Federal Trade Commission of the United States permission to file a reply to Nokia’s recent amicus curiae brief in support of Qualcomm with respect to the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment regarding Qualcomm’s obligation to extend FRAND licenses to its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers. In its reply brief in support of its motion (that post also contained a link to Nokia’s brief), the FTC had already reserved the right to request leave to file such a reply since Nokia’s brief was filed just on the eve of the FTC’s reply to Qualcomm’s opposition.

FRAND and standard-essential patents (SEPs) are highly detrimental in the domain of software as they’re inherently not compatible with Free/libre Open Source software (FOSS/FLOSS). The EPO doesn’t care however. Under the leadership of Campinos the EPO promotes software patents more often than ever before. It’s rather disturbing to watch their Twitter account. From yesterday alone we have two different tweets (if not more) that implicitly advocate software patents in Europe. First we have Battistelli’s French “economist” (i.e. pseudo-’scientist’) promoting software patents using familiar buzzwords. “For the patent system,” it says, “the Fourth Industrial Revolution has opened up a new era. For more from our Chief Economist’s recent speech on the topic, click here: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

This, in turn, links to the “AI” nonsense (buzzwords that can refer to just about any algorithm). Once again, on the same day, the EPO promoted such patents under the guise of “AI”. To quote the tweet: “What are the main challenges in drafting patent applications for AI-related inventions? Our panel of experts discussed: http://bit.ly/AIconf”

Suffice to say, this is against the rules of the EPO (or the EPC), but they bypass the rules and break the laws without any implications. European politicians don’t seem to care.

Meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Jonathan Turnbull, Krishna Kakkaiyadi and Julie Chiu published this piece titled “EPO publishes 2018 revision of Guidelines for Examination directed to computer-implemented inventions” (what the EPO calls software patents). To quote:

The EPO has recently published the 2018 revision to its Guidelines for Examination, which are generally updated annually to take into account developments in patent law and practice. For a complete list of sections that have been amended this year, please see the EPO’s website here. These new Guidelines will come into effect on 1 November 2018.

Notably, some of the key updates this year concern Part G, Chapter II, 3.3-3.7: these provisions outline the exceptions to patentability under Article 52 of the European Patent Convention (“EPC“), including mathematical methods, business methods and programs for computers. Claims directed to such subject matter would normally not be patentable, but the updated Guidelines elaborate on the types of claims which still might be eligible for patenting, and provide concrete examples of such eligible claims.

[...]

Nevertheless, these developments have to be seen alongside the other efforts being taken by the EPO in ensuring that European patent law remains suitable and robust to tackle computer-implemented inventions. In May 2018, the EPO held (for the first time) a conference on patenting Artificial Intelligence and soon after, in June 2018, the heads of the five largest patent offices (USPTO, EPO, JPO, the Korean patent Office and the State Intellectual Property office in China) re-emphasised the impact of AI on the patent system as one of their “main strategic priorities“. In December 2018, the EPO will host a conference on the patenting of blockchain-based inventions.

These recent developments are indicative of the EPO’s proactive response towards the changing technological landscape, and a willingness to engage with and potentially grant patents for computer-implemented inventions such as AI- or blockchain-enabled technologies if they meet the applicable criteria.

So the EPO lost all legitimacy on patent scope. Quite flagrantly it ignores the European Patent Convention and disregards a European directive. The EPO is just above the law. They openly tell candidates for examination (of which there are none; there’s a permanent hiring freeze) or current examiners (while they last or manage to survive) to grant such patents and they just say to applicants that it they include terms like “AI” or “blockchain” or some other nonsense, then they’ll be granted a patent on algorithms.

This isn’t even a legacy of Battistelli alone; had Campinos shown interest in genuine patent quality (never mind actually obeying the rules and the law), he would stop this, not accelerate it as he does.

In the interests of ‘production’ (low quality of patents as priority) the EPO further limits access to facts, to oppositions, to appeals etc.

Joanna Rowley (Haseltine Lake LLP) has just published this article:

New EPO Guidelines On The Issuance Of A Summons To Oral Proceedings As The First Action In Examination

A summons to oral proceedings before the Examining Division is usually only issued after at least one examination report – if not several – has been issued. However, last year the EPO revised the Guidelines for Examination to state that the Division may issue a summons to oral proceedings as the first action in examination after issuance of the extended European search report, albeit only in exceptional cases.

So they cut some more corners, except “in exceptional cases.”

Great resurgence of patent quality or just further deterioration (which also makes more staff redundant)? Remember that examiners’ contracts are now time-limited, so not even layoffs per se are needed; Campinos can just patiently wait for their work contract to expire (unless they leave earlier or get fired under strange circumstances, as some do).

Not only software patents are the problem; the EPO also continues to double down on patents on nature. Want beer? Sorry, that’s patented. The beer and the seeds it’s made from. Under Campinos this disturbing policy was recently reaffirmed and there’s this new article about a ‘compromise’:

A second patent granted to Carlsberg and Heineken related to conventionally-bred barley has been reduced in scope by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The patent, which covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer, and is now restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours.

This is the second patent of this type that has been reduced in scope by the EPO following pressure from lobbying groups.

So they still allow patents on life and nature; as if people invent nature by manipulating it a little.

100 Days Into the Term of Campinos There is Already an EPO Suicide

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Water cistern

Summary: A seventh known suicide at the EPO since the so-called ‘reforms’ began; the EPO continues to pretend that everything is changing for the better, but in reality it’s yet more nepotism and despotism

IT was with sadness, albeit not shock, that yesterday we learned that the seventh EPO suicide (in recent years) had happened days ago. It’s one among many, albeit the first under the new President. Remember what Bergot said about such suicides. She is still the EPO‘s head of HR, even under António Campinos.

The first report came from Märpel, who yesterday wrote:

Märpel learned that a staff member committed suicide in The Hague earlier this week. That person worked in formalities.

[...]

Management simply wants to get rid of formalities, expecting computers to replace them, while we have several incompatible procedures (EPC, PCT…) and any mistake bears legal consequences. It is a disaster in the making.

High salaries do not mean happiness and don’t guarantee safety. Money does not buy happiness. Many at the EPO aren’t desperate for money either (they’re well educated), they just want respect and dignity. The EPO cannot offer that anymore.

“The managers don’t like to discuss such matters, definitely not with the German media, whom they threatened for bringing it up.”Suffice to say, the EPO won’t say a word about the above (except perhaps internally). The managers don’t like to discuss such matters, definitely not with the German media, whom they threatened for bringing it up.

The EPO has meanwhile issued yet another press release (warning: epo.org link), binding together the three announcements of appointments and tweeting about it. To quote:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria) as the next vice-presidents of the European Patent Office (EPO). The appointments were made at a meeting of the Administrative Council chaired by its Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl. The three new vice-presidents will take up their positions on 1 January 2019 for a period of five years.

This means that Christoph Ernst, who ‘bosses’ Campinos even in the next meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, will a fortnight later become his deputy. Christoph Ernst was never much of a ‘boss’ to Battistelli and under Campinos it couldn’t be any more obvious that the Office now runs the Administrative Council (it should have been the other way around).

Press coverage has thus far been as shallow as expected (the above conflict among others isn’t brought up all).

UKIPO is proud to have sent someone to the EPO — proud enough to have issued this puff piece. Intellectual Property Watch copy-pasted the press release. It was posted by William New, who did a selfie with Campinos last month. He has published this introduction:

The new vice-presidents are: Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria). They will take office on 1 January for five years. The selection was made at a meeting of the EPO Administrative Council.

EPO President Antonio Campinos was in Geneva during the recent World Intellectual Property Organization annual General Assemblies, and was seen with representatives of the UK delegation, as he was said to support the candidacy of Rowan.

Simon takes over for the embattled Željko Topić of Croatia, who faced accusations from his home country throughout his EPO tenure.

Another site focused on Ernst:

The European Patent Office (EPO) Administrative Council has appointed Christoph Ernst as vice president of the office’s Directorate General legal and international affairs.

Ernst, who is currently head of Directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection succeeds Raimund Lutz and will begin his role on 1 January 2019.

Why not mention the absurdity of one’s boss becoming one’s assistant? Was he just a phantom boss all along? JUVE’s Amy Sandys and Konstanze Richte also wrote about Ernst, but it’s all in German. World Intellectual Property Review said:

UK-based Stephen Rowan, Christoph Ernst from Germany and Austria-based Nellie Simon were all appointed as vice presidents at an Administrative Council (AC) meeting.

Rowan, Ernst and Simon will take up their new positions on January 1, 2019 for a five-year tenure.

The news comes after António Campinos took up the reins as president of the EPO in July.

No investigation whatsoever. It’s like an edit job (of the press releases). And nobody other than Märpel has yet mentioned the suicide, which is actually relevant and worth reporting on (while preserving privacy) because of the history associated with EPO suicides.

10.11.18

Friend Brings a Friend, Boss Becomes Subordinate: the EPO Under António Campinos is Starting to Look a Lot Like Team Battistelli 2.0

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original: English [PDF]

Jesper Kongstad and Battistelli working together

Summary: The new President of the EPO contributes to the perception that the Office is a rogue institution. Governance is all in reverse at the Office because it still seems like the Office President bosses the Council rather than be bossed by it (as intended, as per the EPC)

THE DAWN of the destructive Battistelli era at the EPO is well documented. Kongstad and Battistelli were arranging the roles among themselves. They undermined the structural basis of the EPO, thwarting any sense of reasonable governance in the institution which grants millions of monopolies in Europe. This later contributed to Battistelli’s ability to pretty much select his successor, his compatriot António Campinos.

The EPO nowadays looks like some African dictatorship or a Mafia family, where bodyguards are picked whose behaviour resembles that of terror groups.

“Some are renowned if not notorious for publicly denying that the EPO suffers a patent quality crisis (even though EPO examiners do say so).”With the EPC gone down the shredders, the same old patterns carry on. The EPO’s Administrative Council is nowadays a joke. It’s so incredibly toothless. Ernst, the ‘boss’ of the President (head or Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council), is becoming his deputy. Overnight!

Let’s start with yesterday’s EPO tweet which said: “A decision by the EPO’s Administrative Council in 1988 remains the cornerstone of European patent information today. >From that day on, the EPO has worked hard to increase & to harmonise patent information dissemination in Europe. [] 1988 was the year the European patent information policy came to life.”

Now they try to do the same to enforcement/litigation (UPC), but they have thus far failed miserably. Patents as a form of information would be benign; with patent maximalists in charge, however, patent litigation can kill innovation and depress progress.

People whose appreciation of patent quality is rather poor have been put in charge by Battistelli and now Campinos puts people with background in trademarks… in charge of patents. Some are renowned if not notorious for publicly denying that the EPO suffers a patent quality crisis (even though EPO examiners do say so). So what hope is there for imminent improvements at the Office?

“Nellie Simon has been appointed as EPO Vice President Corporate Services by the Administrative Council of the EPO, replacing the controversial predecessor Željko Topić,” one person wrote in Twitter some hours ago. “Criminal or crooked perhaps,” I responded, “not “controversial”. Wrong C word.”

It’s an understatement to call him “controversial” given all he has done even outside the EPO, especially in his home country. We wrote about Nellie Simon earlier this month because we heard that the job had been secured by her if not reserved for her (and the job description tailored for her background/skills, as some people allege). Era dawns for nepotism of Campinos? He is bringing a former colleague, just like Battistelli (EUIPO and INPI, respectively). The EPO tweeted about it after publishing this page (warning: epo.org link) titled “Nellie Simon appointed as next EPO Vice-President for Corporate Services.” (same text as the tweet)

To quote:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Nellie Simon Vice-President of the European Patent Office’s Directorate-General Corporate Services. Ms Simon, an Austrian national, will succeed Željko Topić of Croatia. The appointment takes effect on 1 January 2019 and is for five years.

Ms Simon is currently Head of Cabinet and Acting Director of the Academy at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EPO’s Directorate-General Corporate Services is responsible for delivering support services including Human Resources, Information Management, Finance, General Administration, and Central Procurement.

Campinos brings with him former colleagues rather than people best suited for the job, just like Battistelli did.

Next in line? Christoph Ernst, a king of nepotism. The EPO tweeted about it. So Campinos turns his boss into his assistant. Just when you thought that the EPO is a joke it tries hard to prove it. From the corresponding page: (warning: epo.org link)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, in a meeting chaired by the Council’s Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl, has appointed Christoph Ernst Vice-President of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs. Mr Ernst will succeed fellow German Raimund Lutz. The appointment is for five years starting on 1 January 2019.

Christoph Ernst is currently head of directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and has served as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since 1 October 2017.

The EPO’s Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs is in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information and the European Patent Academy.

As Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation he ‘bossed’ Campinos; now he’ll take instructions or orders from Campinos. Makes a lot of sense, right? Maybe if he was tougher on Campinos (or even Battistelli) he would not be ‘awarded’ this full-time job.

Welcome to African dictatorship-type ethical standards at the very heart of Europe. EPO-connected publishers wrote about the next appointment: “The European Patent Office appointed a UK Intellectual Property Office director as the vice president for its patent granting process today.”

Here is the original: (warning: epo.org link) [via Twitter]

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, the Organisation’s legislative body, has appointed Stephen Rowan Vice-President of the European Patent Office Directorate-General Patent Granting Process. The appointment will take effect on 1 January 2019 and is for five years. He will succeed Alberto Casado Cerviño of Spain, who will retire at the end of 2018.

Mr Rowan is currently Director of Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

Some time this morning SUEPO linked to this article from Ben Wodecki in Munich. To quote:

Rowan, who succeeds the retiring Alberto Casado Cerviño, is currently the director of patents, trademarks, designs and tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). He will take up his new role on 1 January 2019.

Rowan’s tenure as vice-president for patent granting process will last five years, and he will responsible for the entire patent granting process from end to end.

Examination, publication and opposition, along with all other patent-related formalities will be undertaken by Rowan.

Observers aren’t missing any of this. Some are very critical of these appointments, some of which were predictable (at the very least based on rumours). After a relatively soft piece about Campinos came 5 comments, one of which accused the EPO of “pretending towards staff they would care about quality when, at the same time, they instruct their managers to keep production pressure to reach non-sensical targets.”

By “More of the same?” comes this long comment:

Very good article: indeed during the past 3 months nothing concrete has happened under Campinos

All those responsible for the mess are still comfortably seating at their positions (eg Mrs Bergot in HR, her husband at the Presidential Cabinet).

As shown by IPPropatents recently (see http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/article.php?article_id=6101) principal directors in DG1 practice a double language: pretending towards staff they would care about quality when, at the same time, they instruct their managers to keep production pressure to reach non-sensical targets.

Campinos meets staff directly? Don’t be fooled: this means nothing else but him circumventing the statutory (elected) staff representation (please keep in mind that Campinos has not met yet with the SUEPO Central (which represents only about half of EPO staff).

The abusively sanctioned staff reps whose case are still on-going (eg Els Hardon, Laurent Prunier and others) have not yet been redressed. Several who won their cases at ATILO are still shamelessly mistreated by DG4 despite their case clearly won.

Worse: Campinos even fired an examiner despite the Staff Representatives having asked to postpone the decision since it is very likely that the legal provisions are illegal (more dismissal are in sight since DG4 wants to continue its mad carpet bombing towards the workfloor).

For someone (Campinos) who is said to have a positive track record when it comes to social matters, sorry but his first 3 months are really disappointing!

As a comparison see Air France: a new CEO arrives and within 2 weeks he has met ALL unions and the HR boss (largely responsible for the social mess) leaves the company…

WAKE UP Antonio Campinos

“Cautiously positive” then wrote about “crazy production targets”:

Yes, we are all patiently waiting for his next moves.
For the time being, as you wrote, not much has happened.
Good news is that from 2019 we will enjoy again two days of national holidays (such as the 15th of August) that BB had boldly decided to take away from us (yes, he did that as well). Rumor says that fresh fruits and water (?!) will also be made available for free to EPO employees.

Well, I am afraid that much more than that is expected by Mr Campinos to get the EPO back in track, starting from IMMEDIATE lowering of today’s crazy production targets. Also, several “promotions” are urgently needed for us to get rid of those people who – all of them – are still around “poisoning the working atmosphere” every single day.
Things will become much clearer already after the administrative council next week, featuring the production targets for 2019 and the nomination of three new vicepresidents. Many say that both the targets and the winners were decided (by BB) long time ago. Let’s see whether Mr Campinos is willing to surprise us.
Good luck Mr President. We are watching you, cautiously positively.

“David Dickinson” complained about censorship by the EPO:

With regards to once again allowing comments to be posted on the President’s blog, something President Brimelow had introduced and then President Battistelli had suppressed, for the moment the “facility” remains on the website, but it has not been restored. Always the optimist, I understand that this “normal” channel will be opened again soon.

However, for the moment, submitting a comment just leads you nowhere. I tried in early July and didn’t even get an acknowledgement, let alone a posting or a rejection (all postings are subject to screening). A follow-up enquiry to Internal Communications went similarly unanswered, as did an e-mail to the President’s Office. Finally, it was even brought up in a personal face-to-face meeting with the President, where it was acknowledged that things would (have to) change (hence my optimism above), but until now I have neither seen nor received one iota of follow-up.

I accept this is probably not the highest priority on the Presidential agenda, but I would have appreciated some acknowledgment of receipt of my comment, if only out of common courtesy. I certainly do not blame the President, but I do wonder whether it ever received serious consideration for publication or was simply “filtered out” by some over-zealous bureaucrat.

By the way, the content of my posting was not at all critical, rather complimentary. Acknowledging the apparent opening up of the blog, it wished the (then brand-new) President well and hoped that it was his intention to try and realise his goals through collaboration and openness with staff rather than intimidation and Diktat …

Tamara wrote: “Mr Campinos is following a well-worn path in having “face -to-face” meetings with individual staff. We have been here before, times out of mind. There was the “Broad Consultation” and other similar initiatives by newly-arrived Presidents and Vice-Presidents. I can’t remember the names of all of them, but they had in common an attempt to seem to be addressing staff’s concerns, whilst studiously avoiding the staff’s elected representatives. You will not get an honest picture from a group of staff that either self-selects with a view to ingratiating themselves with the new powers that be, or is selected against for known unpalatable views. On one occasion there was even written proof that the management planned to falsely claim that performance -related pay had been demanded by staff in one such “consultation”.”

Battistelli used the same tricks, which SUEPO complained about. Team Battistelli cherry-picked which staff it can speak to in order to construct propaganda about the working atmosphere. Campinos and his sheep clothing are getting rather thin and people start to see that Campinos is to Battistelli what Fanta is to Coca Cola (Fanta is owned by Coca Cola, but the branding can confuse some people).

UPC Cowardice: Team UPC Uses Cloaks of Anonymity to Discredit Authors of Scholarly UPC Paper They Don’t Like

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Picking on people whose names are known (Matthias Lamping and Hans Ullrich), but hiding themselves behind pseudonyms because they know they lie so understandably prefer to remain unknown

Hazard

Summary: Team UPC has sunk to the bottom of the barrel; now it uses anonymous letters in an effort to discredit work of Max Planck Institute staff, in the same way (more or less) that ad hominem attacks were attempted against the filer of the constitutional complaint in Germany

IT is no secret that UPC’s leading proponents have been acting like a bunch of bullies intolerant of democracy, constitutions, reality, facts, technology and science. They’re very much compatible with Battistelli.

The very core of Team UPC is a truly villainous greedy bunch, a cabal of lawyers scheming or conspiring to spur litigation all over Europe while broadening patent scope or introducing more lenient patent courts (to accept software patents in Europe among other things), governed partly by corrupt EPO officials like Battistelli (still rumoured to be aiming at the role of UPC chief) and his successor of choice, António Campinos.

So apparently these people are getting rather desperate and they have given up trying to seem respectable. They’re becoming more like Internet trolls or an anonymous mob. There’s a new “analysis” out there by an incognito. The author likes to remain anonymous because liars do not wish to be held accountable for lying. The pro-UPC (litigation firm in Munich) “UPCtracker” wrote:

A reply to Max Planck impact study of Brexit on Unitary Patent & UPC – EPLAW. Interesting, though possibly not a model of unbiased and self-critical academic analysis (cf 2nd response) by an author who‘d rather stay anonymous. Food for thought nonetheless.

EPLAW is generally a front group of many Team UPC firms. We wrote about it quite a lot. It’s hardly an impartial observer in all this. Notice how Alan Johnson (Bristows) then shows up in the comments for support of the anonymous coward: “Congratualtions Atticus Finch: an excellent rebuttal to a paper which sees only problems (many either political in nature, or purely theoretical) but none of the practical solutions.”

Typical Bristows; they belittle the paper from the Max Planck Institute (they don’t even like to mention it), calling it "controversial" even though no controversy exists. This is what EPLAW wrote in its summary:

An anonymous writer, writing under the pseudonym Atticus Finch, has delivered a detailed reply to the study of Messrs. Matthias Lamping and Hans Ullrich, research fellows of the Max Planck Institute, “The Impact of Brexit on Unitary Protection and Its Court” written on 30 August 2018 and posted on 10 September 2018 which concludes that, after the Brexit, an extension of unitary protection to the UK and the UK’s continued participation in the UPC’s judicial system would create serious legal problems.

Chalk it up as the latest new low for ‘unitary’ patent (broader litigation scope) propaganda efforts. It’s now being supported/amplified by EPO-connected publishers that are in bed with litigation firms. A new article has just been titled “Max Planck paper is “new angle of attack” on UPC” because facts are an “attack”, apparently; in reality, Europe’s laws are under attack by the litigation ‘industry’ looking for more lawsuits (legal attacks) while disguising this as “for SMEs” (those standing to lose and be hurt most).

Patrick Wingrove now boosts an attack on authors who say UPC is kaput (because it is), even though this attack is anonymous and likely from Team UPC’s cowards, who are afraid to put their faces/names behind their lies (it would harm their credibility when the UPC is in the ashtray of history).

“A reply by an anonymous writer with extensive knowledge of UPC and EU law to the Max Planck Institute’s impact study of Brexit on the UPC has contended that parts of the study are based on the wrong assumptions and are attacking the project. The author tells Managing IP about the reply’s main arguments,” Wingrove wrote. So they have gone underground and now liaise with media organisations that set up pro-UPC events in an effort to discredit two authors who were not at all anonymous.

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