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07.30.16

EPO Crushed the Boards of Appeal (i.e. Quality Control) and Insiders Explain Why

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This “represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe”

MoU signed by Bergot

Summary: Team Battistelli has made a complete mockery of the EPO and also serves to devalue EPO patents, which in the long term can doom the whole system

STAFF of the EPO is rightly afraid of retribution, having seen what happened to vocal colleagues. A lot of the staff still comments in IP Kat, which has become a de facto forum following the end of SUEPO’s forums (we might say more about that one day in the future).

Looking at IP Kat these past few days, we find one commenter who “can also [fore]see a lot of users looking for ways to recoup wasted costs from the EPO.” We are aware of several such users and will write about them in the future. To quote the comment in full:

I now realise that I had made a potentially unjustified assumption that the building in Haar would be used for oral proceedings. However, it now appears that my assumption was correct. In fact, if your prediction regarding “overbooking” is also correct, it may even be a lot worse than I feared.

Is it really envisaged that participants in OPs will be “sent home” on the day scheduled for the proceedings? If so, I can envisage a lot of users (quite understandably) getting pretty incandescent with rage if and when that starts to happen. I can also see a lot of users looking for ways to recoup wasted costs from the EPO.

Not that I disbelieve you, but do you have any figures upon the number of rooms available (both in the current and new buildings) for oral proceedings? If there is any kind of planned decrease, then that would hardly be consistent with the stated aim of “improving efficiency”!

As one person put it a couple of days ago, “for Battistelli “independent” means “you rubber-stamp whatever the investigation unit has written”.” The following comment also speaks about ILO, where many cases are dismissed without even opening the case for judgment. “2 years ago,” says the comment, “Battistelli visited ILO in Geneva to improve relationships.” One might call this lobbying. Here is the comment in full:

With the decision of the elarged board of appeal that is the subject of this article, Battistelli has made his policy clear. He will not change the text of the law, he will simply change the signification of the individual words. It took everybody a long time to understand, because we are not used to words having new meanings completely opposite to what they used to have. It’s newspeak.

Just read the decision of the enlarged board: for Battistelli “independent” means “you rubber-stamp whatever the investigation unit has written”. Can you interpret “no independent fact finding” in another way?

With that in mind, reread all what the Office has published in the past 3 years. With that in mind, consider what “independent board of appeal” means. To help you, I’ll give you an example of an independent tribunal: 2 years ago, Battistelli visited ILO in Geneva to improve relationships. Since that day, the ILO tribunal decided for the Office in 100% of the cases but one or two of little consequences. The majority of the cases are summarily dismissed without a decision on the merits. Check it if you don’t believe me: the judgements are public. THAT is what “independent tribunal” means in newspeak. That is what is coming for DG3 (and probably DG1 as well).

Now tell me how I could still work for DG3 and look at myself in a mirror.

The comment in its entirety is worth reading carefully, as is the comment about soaring costs at the appeal stage (so as to discourage appeals):

It should also be borne in mind that, as the appeal fees approach the stratosphere, and as quality is gradually streamlined out of existence in examination and opposition, the numbers of appeals will quickly fall away. Quod erat expurgandum.

PTAB analogies are brought up (correctly) as follows:

Rather than send parties away from the Haar building, it is more likely that the BoAs will be forced to introduce a concept for oral proceedings along the lines of the PTAB/CAFC with strictly controlled time allowances for pleadings (possibly not quite their ridiculous 15 min. limit though).

About the foreseen process:

I have no numbers myself, but I know from DG3 members who are discussing the matter with facility management that, at present, not enough rooms have been planned. Overbooking was seriously proposed as a solution, given that many ex parte oral proceedings take place in the absence of the appellant, so there should usually be enough rooms available. It is however still thinkable that we manage to get more rooms, or that some oral proceedings take place in the Isar building (which would make the move to Haar look even more ridiculous).

And in response to this one person wrote:

Thanks for the clarification.

So if I understand correctly, the building settled upon by the EPO management is not only in a location that will be very inconvenient for the users (compared to current facilities) but is also too small to accommodate the expected workload.

Is that correct? If so, then I reiterate my comments from 25 July. I would also add that, as well as making no sense from any objective viewpoint, BB’s decision now looks to be totally incompetent. This is because any accountant can see that squeezing the Boards into a building that is too small for them whilst paying to keep a larger (and considerably more expensive) building under-utilised is just utter nonsense. It will be interesting to see how the AC’s Budget and Finance Committee squares that particular circle!

New BoA facilities would be “too small to accommodate the expected workload.” Well, that’s just how to kill them softly. “Increasing the profitability of the EPO (whilst forgetting why the EPO exists)” is the way this person put it. In full: “It is correct (unless the plans are changed). Financially, it does make sense, if parts of IT and administration are moved from the Pschorrhöfe to the Isar building, and the planned overcapacity in examiner staff that will be recruited is then located in the newly created space in the Pschorrhöfe. At some point, of course, the EPO will need somehow(!) to get rid of the excess examiners and will sell the space that again becomes available. This will then bring a nice profit since it is office space in the city centre. Increasing the profitability of the EPO (whilst forgetting why the EPO exists) seems in any case to be one BB’s main goals.”

One person asked: “Weren’t the last IT people driven out of Isar at the time of the great asbestos abatement?

“Anyway, I think the room freed up could be used to house more BB cronies in the PR department.”

Another person referred to the ILO decisions we alluded to the other day and said: “I was not aware of the results of the last session of ILO yesterday. Apparently, the tribunal can be more independent than I thought. Good news, but I wonder how Battistelli will react. As to building rent: the Office evacuated the rented buildings in the west of Munich last years, and concentrated examiners in smaller rooms. Rent was not considered to be an option at the time.”

Published on July 28th was the following analysis by Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP. It’s about Battistelli rushing the whole process (uncertainty and certainty as euphemisms) and it said: “The European Patent Office (EPO) recently announced a new, streamlined procedure for oppositions under its ‘Early Certainty for Oppositions’ initiative. In particular, from 1 July 2016, straightforward opposition cases should now be decided at first instance within 15 months from the end of the nine-month opposition-filing window. This not only represents a shortening of the opposition procedure by around a year compared with current average timescales, but also benefits third parties by helping to provide legal certainty in a more timely manner. It, however, places additional pressure on patent proprietors who may need to prepare their defenses more quickly.”

This, suffice to say, is total hogwash. What Battistelli wants is a rushed process which favours large corporations and has no effective mechanism for quality control (examiners overruled). Here is someone quoting SUEPO about it:

I did not need to wait a long time to know what newspeak means for DG1. There is a new article from SUEPO. I will just cite the beginning:

Getting there faster, a case of unclarity?

An Efficiency Presentation has been given in a number of administrative directorates in Berlin during the recent weeks. It was based on a power point presentation titled “Getting there faster” and was further complemented by individual remarks by administrative as well as examining staff.

It has come to the Berlin staff committee’s attention that some parts of this presentation appear to have been misunderstood by many technically qualified examiners in Berlin who felt that those parts of the presentations in their respective directorate lead to undue interferences, be it from interested circles outside or inside the Office, with the responsibilities directly vested by the Contracting States in Examining Divisions (Articles 15 and 18 EPC) to which these examiners are administratively assigned. The title as well as some remark was understood as a prompt to ignore some of the Examining Divisions’ responsibilities in order to more quickly grant patents on European patent applications. Apparently, the following messages were perceived:
(a) the requirements under Article 84 EPC, especially clarity, were often less essential for the quality of the granted patent
(b) the description and figures should be employed, together with the claims, to determine the subject-matter for which protection is sought with the procedure up to grant
(c) clarity of the claims was no ground for opposition, and lack of clarity as such should thus not be the basis to refuse a European patent application
(d) the procedure up to grant should be a co-operative and an interactive process involving essentially the entrusted examiner and the applicants’ representatives as partners, preferably via telephone conversations instead of oral proceedings
(e) a benefit of the doubt on the part of the entrusted examiner should lead to a proposal to grant
(f) the other members of the divisions should follow the entrusted examiners’ proposals to grant
(g) the proposal to grant should promptly be signed by the other members when their own merely administrative checks have been done, i.e. without their own assessments of the requirements e.g. for patentability.

(citation end)

Expect management to deny everything. Newspeak only works as long as it is not translated.

…and the new DG1 policy is the final nail in DG3 coffin. If DG1 never refuses any patent there won’t be any appeals.

What Battistelli has done “represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe,” said this commenter:

If what you report is accurate, then this represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe.

The provisions of the EPC are not there merely for decoration, they serve a very important purpose (namely, ensuring an appropriate balance between the interests of patentees and the interests of the general public in Europe). The requirements for patentability, including support / clarity, cannot be ignored. Indeed, the fact that Article 84 is not a ground of opposition makes it more (not less) important that examination on that ground is taken seriously.

Further, encouraging a “rubber-stamping” approach means nothing less than the elimination of an important quality control checkpoint.

And don’t get me started on the policy of “if in doubt, grant”. Why should the general public have to go to the trouble of revoking a patent to subject matter that has never been proven (to the reasonable satisfaction of an examiner) to be patentable in the first place?

Is there any verifiable evidence that the presentation in question took place? If not, then I guess that (in view of EPOnia not being part of Europe) making freedom of information requests regarding internal policies would not elicit that evidence either. Which highlights yet another possibility for corruption that the founding fathers of the EPC did not foresee, namely the possibility for “internal policy” to be crafted that is completely at odds with the black letter law of the Convention. What a mess!

A response to this (today) said:

I don’t know any more than what I have written. This is the text directly from the suepo Berlin site, I just cut the rest, where suepo explains all this is against the EPC, but readers of ipkat already know that. And I don’t expect that anything will ever be published officially. This is typical for our new management: tell the staff about the new policy in a meeting. If people ask for written instructions or object that the policy is inconsistent with written regulations, management will consider that they belong to the people “against”. Which is a recipe for early retirement ( McGinley) or even dismissal, as exemplified recently by 4 staff representatives, one board member, one press spokesman and probably more we don’t know. Expect directors and examiners to quickly apply that new policy. People don’t resist for long after a meeting with their superior in recent times.

The same kind of methods were applied by other ENA graduates at France Telecom. It’s in the French press, some managers were found guilty. But of course Battistelli has immunity. Nevertheless, he is not going to put anything in writing.

I don’t see how the new policy can be avoided. Consider the EPO to be a registration system within a year.

Commenting on patent quality, one person noted: “Well, there would still be appeals for opposition cases, where there one side must do less well than the other.

“At least as long as this “business” isn’t carved away from the EPO to make the UPC a “success”…”

The UPC won’t happen (at least any time soon, especially not in the UK), so it’s irrelevant to Battistelli’s argument. Battistelli is killing not only the boards of appeal. The entire European patent system is in imminent and inevitable state of collapse because of him; those who dare say it out loud (without anonymity) are punished and then defamed (to discredit or distract from their message).

Academic Discussion About Patents’ Harm and Good, Pushers of Software Patents Still Upset at Alice Decision

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those who haven’t chips in the game against those whose entire game is contingent upon them

Manchester UniversitySummary: In light of the Alice case, large monopolies and their messengers moan about patent quality control, whereas here in Manchester people have an open debate about the potential harms of over-patenting

THE world is becoming a safer place for software developers because business method/software patents are dying in their country of origin. According to one of the most pro-software patents sites out there (IAM), patent “application numbers [for Visa] are down post-Alice” and “[t]his may well reflect the much tougher environment that patent owners now face in the US thanks to the popularity of post-issuance reviews and the general uncertainty around patent eligible subject matter since the Supreme Court’s Alice decision was handed down.”

Later in the weekend we intend to report on other trends which suggest the same thing, in spite of endless FUD from patent lawyers who profit from software patents. “Patentism is a religion and should be treated as such,” Benjamin Henrion wrote the other day. “Only believers.” Henrion — like myself — is a software developer fed up with patent maximalism which expanded patent scope to just about anything in software, irrespective of any evidence that suggests it would speed up development. He responded to this new article about an event right here in Manchester and told them: “It is a religion and should be treated as such.”

The article or event was titled “The Great IP Debate: Do patents do more harm than good?” To quote:

Patents have been with us since the 17th century. In exchange for disclosing one’s invention, the state grants a limited, legal monopoly over exploitation. In theory, the system encourages more innovation, for the good of society. But recently, voices of dissent have been rising. Legal costs are high. Specialists game the system to their advantage. Life-saving innovations get priced beyond the means of the poor.

On July 26 in Manchester, UK, at Euroscience Open Forum, Europe’s biggest biennial science conference, Science|Business Editor-in-Chief Richard L. Hudson organised a formal pro- and anti-patent debate among four experts, moderated by Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester. Herewith, his paraphrase of the arguments, so you can judge for yourself.

I know some of the people in there and I very much doubt they can make compelling arguments about the problems with patent maximalist. The University (which is where I did my studies and also worked) is quite keen not only on patent maximalism but copyright maximalism as well.

Sadly, there’s a strong lobby for software patents out there and it comes through all sorts of media, including the above (IAM). Speaking of IAM, watch this pro-software patents site promoting not innovation but patent trades, composed by one who was “recognized as one of the world’s most foremost IP strategists by Intellectual Property Magazine (IAM),” i.e. sponsored nonsense.

The latest shameless self-promotion by patent lawyers comes even from India (“Patenting For Success” is the title and it is not objective at all; recall the situation in India) and MSF, in the mean time, expresses “patent opposition in March in India to prevent Pfizer from patenting a pneumonia drug” (to deny poor people access to essential generic drugs).

Techrights is NOT against patents but against patent maximalism or — put another way — in favour of patent quality. The patent industry (or microcosm) doesn’t care about quality; to them it’s just an obstruction to business (theirs) and, accordingly, we need to counter their selfish desires.

07.28.16

EPO Loses More Than 80% of Cases at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO management would rather see staff keeping their eyes shut in the face of it

Battistelli eyes shut

Summary: The International Labour Organisation (or Organization) helps show just to what degree the European Patent Office (EPO) violates the rights of workers

THE EPO is facing a hard time at ILO right now, having abolished or demolished labour rights. “Better late than never,” goes to saying, even if justice comes many years late and many receive no justice for purely clerical reasons (more than anything else).

Someone who follows the ILOAT judgments has taken a closer look at what goes on there. Having gone through the EPO cases for the last session, that person gave us some statistics about it. Most EPO workers haven’t heard of ILO for months, but a lot is going on there. While people are in holiday…

“Most EPO workers haven’t heard of ILO for months, but a lot is going on there.”“As usual,” we got told, “most of the cases were dismissed on formal grounds. 21 cases, 10 were irretrievable (internal remedies not exhausted, etc). Of the eleven remaining, the EPO basically lost 9.”

That’s more than 80% of all cases lose by EPO!

“Check the cases out,” we were told, “you can Google it, the cases are all public, but I think it is pretty interesting. There is such a long delay to get to the ILOAT that it is only now that the “Battistelli cases” are starting to cone through. And the ILOAT doesn’t seem very impressed.”

“That’s more than 80% of all cases lose by EPO!”Over at IP Kat somebody wrote about a particular case: “The judgment 3694 of the ILO administrative tribunal is very interesting. It confirms that the EPO does not follow the rules of law.”

Here is a response to that:

Interesting indeed, because it confirms that by excluding the two members appointed by the Staff Committee, the Appeal Committee was improperly composed.

Also interesting, the decision of the Tribunal took less than 4 years.

In the meantime, how many decisions have been taken by the Appeal Committee in this faulty composition?

Techrights intends to publish and comment on outcomes of these rulings. This might take a while, but there is no lack of time. As it takes nearly half a decade for outcomes to be reached, a few extra weeks or months aren’t that huge a lag/latency.

In related news, we recently learned about labour abuses at WIPO as well. “While I don’t have time for WIPO stories,” one reader told us, “I know you’ve commented on that crooked organization’s dealings before…”

For those wishing to express solidarity or help WIPO workers (where Mr. Battistelli tried to become head but lost to Mr. Gurry), here are some details about a new WIPO petition titled “Stop union-busting and stop retaliation against whistleblowers at WIPO”. We reproduce the text below for future reference:

In September 2014 the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Francis Gurry, fired WIPO Staff Council President, Moncef Kateb, as he was about to reveal damaging information about fraud, wrongdoing, mismanagement and theft of staff DNA. Now Gurry is trying to close down the Staff Council and replace it with a new compliant, management-friendly model.

Gurry decided to set up his own WIPO Staff Council and is currently preparing illegal elections in order to dislodge the current duly elected Staff Council which is too critical for his liking. This will leave WIPO staff deprived of the last independent voice that is prepared to expose bad practices and abuse of power in this United Nations Specialized Agency.

It is a desperate move by Gurry at a time when attempts are being made to cover up and suppress an investigation report, apparently containing adverse findings on allegations made against him. It follows a public hearing at the US Congress at which he was compared to Sepp Blatter, the former President of FIFA, and a letter from the heads of several bipartisan sub-committees demanding his dismissal.

We need your support.

Please tell Gurry to stop retaliation against whistleblowers and the legally elected Staff Council. Please tell the WIPO Member States to call for Gurry’s resignation. The credibility of the Organization, its Member States and the entire UN system is at stake.

“Staff all over the world are kindly invited to demonstrate their support for the duly elected WIPO Staff Council by electronically signing the petition using the following link,” said a concerned person, possibly a WIPO insider. We already explained some of the similarities between what happens at WIPO and at the EPO. We recently learned from a reliable source that there may also be fraud at the EPO, albeit those who have the evidence are afraid to come out with it (due to fear).

To Understand What Battistelli Has Turned the EPO Into Look at Turkey and China

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just in terms of human rights, potentially patent quality as well

Erdoğan and EPO
Original photo: Erdoğan, 2012

Summary: Battistelli and his notorious Vice-President from SIPO (Croatia) turn the European Patent Office, once the pride of Europe, into a human rights cesspool with SIPO (China) connections

Battistelli is dangerous. He destroys the Office (EPO) having already repelled and driven away a lot of the top talent. There’s no way to attract these workers back and the EPO, based on the hard facts (not Bergot's lies), is unable to attract skilled workers. Maybe that’s what Battistelli wants. A bunch of young workers would be more obedient (also cheaper as per the salaries scale) and they would fail to identify or understand prior art, thus approve a lot more applications erroneously. Battistelli sure doesn’t stand any judges (maybe “penis envy” as per the psychological theory, metaphorically alluding to intelligence), not even the ones who rule against him in high courts at The Hague. Remember who has just suspended literally thousands of judges (among people in other ranks). It was Erdoğan.

“Remember who has just suspended literally thousands of judges (among people in other ranks).”In many ways, Battistelli is not just a French republican (he is a politician) but somewhat of a Maoist Chinese ruler or Sultan like Erdoğan. AMBA, which represents the broads of appeal that Battistelli has been busy attacking lately, issues a statement in the front page of its Web site. The statement (noted in this comment) says: “Much depends on the how the BoAC and the President of the BoA choose to act. This could lead either to an increase in independence, or the opposite. For 40 years, the President of the Office and the Vice President of DG3 have enjoyed broad discretionary powers. The BoAC and the President of the BoA have similar powers, and their decisions could lead to problems similar to those underlying R19/12. The reform, rather than transferring the problem, should rather have set new guarantees in the written text of the law (albeit secondary law).”

Well, since the President of the BoA is elected in part by Battistelli himself, we can safely assume that he or she will either be a Battistelli crony or somewhat afraid enough of Battistelli (no independence) to simply appease Battistelli at every turn. How is that improved independence?

EPLAW, which represents patent law firms, commented on this ‘extrajudicial killing’ of the appeals processes at the EPO (that’s pretty much what the systematic attacks on the boards boil down to), citing AMBA and saying: “Eventually, the perception of independence has turned out to be the guidance for the structural reform, not independence in substance. The EBA’s decision R 19/12 continues to show its consequences.”

“Whatever remains of the EPO after DG3 is priced out of reach and understaffed even further in tiny overcrowded out-of-Munich offices, it will never be the same.”Battistelli is killing one of the cornerstones of the EPO as per the EPC, namely the appeals process. “Killing it softly” as the song goes… and “the trickle approach of undermining DG3 until it becomes untenable,” this one new comment noted. The full comment says: “My sympathies from DG1. Decisions made openly and for a logical reason, however personally painful, can be borne and normally solutions would be sought. In this case , it’s plotting and playing with people’s lives for no clearly stated reason. As you say, it’s the trickle approach of undermining DG3 until it becomes untenable – no replacement of members leads to an inevitable running down of DG3′s effectiveness. A normal consideration, if this were to be inevitable,would be to manage this and to involve staff in preparing both the office and their careers for the future. The current situation could not be further from this. You don’t deserve this. Nobody does. Again, my sympathies.”

Whatever remains of the EPO after DG3 is priced out of reach and understaffed even further in tiny overcrowded out-of-Munich offices, it will never be the same. Talented judges are likely to seek employment elsewhere and this is probably what Battistelli wants. He wants to dim down the lights and make life rather hard so as to induce a ‘natural death’. This is something he has already done to SUEPO (only with limited success because blowback comes from the entire staff).

The EPO now shares more than just disregard for human rights with China. It also adopts the low(er) patent quality which China is notorious for. AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office has just said that “SIPO and the European Patent Office (EPO) decided to renew the MOU on beefing up patent classification cooperation for another 6 years.”

“Turkey is a member of the EPO, don’t forget that, and Battistelli already meets similar types of rulers (if not much worse)…”Oh, look, another MoU. The original page (in English) is dated two weeks ago. Is this something which Battistelli can really brag about? Becoming more like China?

The country is ranked very low (boding poorly) on human rights in many areas and Western think tank (or propaganda mill) “Freedom House rates China as a 6 (the second lowest possible rank) in political freedoms.”

Team Battistelli sent me several legal threats for my reporting, even after I had gotten a high-profile solicitor on my side. Erdoğan would be proud of Battistelli; have they met yet? Turkey is a member of the EPO, don’t forget that, and Battistelli already meets similar types of rulers (if not much worse)…

07.27.16

Patent Lawyers Move Closer to Battistelli’s Rubber-stamping Office While the Appeal Boards Pushed Away as Collective Punishment Which Masks Decline in Patent Quality

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Pesky’ quality control cannot coexist with Battistelli and middlemen who are paid to trick examiners

Urgent

Summary: Urgently sending appeal boards away and urgently granting applicants patents without proper examination will be Battistelli’s sorrow legacy at the European Patent Office

TODAY’S EPO is not the EPO which existed decades ago or even a decade ago (before Battistelli). It is so ruthless an employer that critical thinking is simply disallowed or better kept to oneself (because thoughtcrime is impossible to prove/enforce/incriminate).

One judge who allegedly spoke out (anonymously) was not only ousted but also defamed thereafter (in an effort to rationalise the illegal ousting). Now there is collective punishment for those who defended him or simply insisted on a fair trial, justice, and proper (legally-acquired) evidence, not defamatory-yet-unchallengeable claims. “It is not about taking decisions that make sense,” one person wrote the other day about Battistelli’s methods. “It is about punishing…”

One can soon see the similarities to Turkey.

“I know that the president and his cronies will be furiously spinning the “reforms” as being fully justified.”
      –Anonymous
Earlier today the EPO wrote about a page titled “Boards of appeal and key decisions 2016″. How much more of the boards of appeal would Battistelli allow to exist/vanish? He already punishes them like never before. The boards of appeal are the one thing Battistelli is killing faster than anything else (even SUEPO); it helps him lower patent quality without this decline being measurably noticed in the short term (while his term as President continues). Low occupational capacity means that year-to-year figures would not be comparable, never mind the imminent rise in costs (self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to demand for appeals).

One person wrote to us earlier this week (in relation to the ‘exile’ of the appeal boards) that: “To add insult to injury, the office space available to the Board members and chairmen will be reduced by 36% when moving to Haar (even although office space in Haar is substantially cheaper than in Munich). To put it into perspective: a Board chairman will get less space than an examiner, even although he or she has the same grade as a principal director!”

Another deliberate attack by Battistelli against appeal judges? Incentive to leave/resign/retire? Against those who threaten to show that quality control under his administration has been severely compromised? Battistelli’s “focus upon punishing the Boards of Appeal has led him to a situation that makes no sense,” one person wrote the other day. Here is the full comment:

I know that it is about punishing. That much is blindingly obvious from the plain facts.

The point that I was making is that BB’s [Battistelli] focus upon punishing the Boards of Appeal has led him to a situation that makes no sense from any other perspective.

For example, the Boards have:
been “reformed” in a manner that (according to the perception of many users and AMBA) actually reduces their independence;
been moved, against the express wishes of the users (who argued that physical location had little to do with (the perception of) independence of the Boards); and
had the fees for their services substantially increased, which was directly against the interests of the users and has no objective justification whatsoever (as, for example: there is certainly no shortfall in the EPO’s funding under the current fee structure; and being “subsidised” by renewal fees certainly has no bearing upon independence if the there is no “outside” interference in the setting of the budget of the Boards).

Thus, by any objective measure, BB has failed to achieve his stated objective and has acted against the express wishes of the users. I know that the president and his cronies will be furiously spinning the “reforms” as being fully justified. However, I now wonder whether sanity can be restored by the emergence of a sufficient groundswell of opinion that, contrary to the EPO management’s line, is based upon a credible interpretation of the facts.

“The move may not influence where Oral Proceedings before the BoA will take place,” one person wrote in response. “Does anyone know if just the offices of the BoA members will been moved, or whether also future invitations to Oral Proceedings will be for the “new” building?”

One response to that said: The intention is for oral proceedings also to take place in the Haar building. It is however apparent that only a limited number of o.p. rooms are foreseen, and that it will be necessary to use the same trick which airlines already use, i.e. “overbooking”. If on a particular day all oral proceedings for which summons were issued actually take place and not enough rooms are available, the participants for one or more of those proceedings would be sent home.”

“Battistelli policy is not simple retribution,” said another person. “The aim is to get rid of the board of appeal” (because of the UPC, in our humble assessment). Here is the full comment:

Battistelli policy is not simple retribution. The aim is to get rid of the board of appeal and it is a war of attrition. Let me list the facts:
-the boards have been understaffed for the past 3 years. Members who retired have simply not been replaced, we miss about 30% people.
-as the recent events discussed here show, boards members can be removed from their post at will. They just still get 50% pay till their 5 years contract runs out.
-the new fees make appeal extremely expensive and therefore unattractive.

From talks in the corridors of the Isar building, I would say that most board members recognise the writing on the wall. It is just that they have nowhere to go, they will be prevented to work for 2 years. A large amount of members will simply retire this or next year. What else is there to do? The planned removal to Haar will probably take place with a much smaller DG3.

Furthermore, as the event listed here shows, the Council agrees.

Whatever is happening in Munich right now, it’s not good. Battistelli and his ilk are opportunistically unifying officials around mass shootings today (classic political trick) and this new article shows patent law firms trying to reside in the EPO’s back yard — so to speak — for quicker access if not fast lanes (there are other strategic moves being reported today). “The move aims to strengthen the firm’s European presence and provide a “convenient” meeting place for its clients who appear before the European Patent Office (EPO), which is based in Munich,” says the article. They can even have lunch in some lobby together with examiners, or choose office space in the same building as the judges. And at the same time the boards of appeals are being repelled and pushing out of Munich? Sure, that makes a lot of sense!

Early Certainty That Benoît Battistelli is Dangerously Clueless and a Major Risk to the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No scientists wanted or needed in Team Battistelli

MoU signed by Bergot

Summary: The chaos which Team Battistelli is assured to deliver if it doesn’t treat scientists like scientists, instead viewing them as a production line with rubber-stamping duties

THE EPO never ceases to amaze. What the USPTO stopped being (or is trying hard to put an end to) the EPO is now trying to become. Quality of patents is treated as a ‘nuisance’ because backlog, which means pendency, isn’t tolerated by people in suits who never earned a scientific degree and cannot grasp the complexity of peer review, literature surveys, etc.

Judging by today’s tweet which links to this tripe from Benoît Battistelli (warning: the EPO may be able to track click-through sources), patent quality is being increasingly disregarded/discarded. In relation to ECfS, which we mentioned here before (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), Battistelli says the “EPO has addressed this issue effectively through the implementation of “Early Certainty from Search” (ECfS),” having also stated (correctly) that the “EPO has built its reputation upon quality.” For those who don’t know how ECfS works, see our prior posts. Battistelli destroys that great reputation of the EPO not just by mocking justice, labour rights, human rights, the European courts etc. but also by ending the very essence of the patent office. “Since July 2014,” he says (that’s when we started reporting on many EPO scandals), we are supposed to think his office “aims to provide a high quality search report with a preliminary opinion on patentability within six months of filing.”

“These incompetent managers have no grip on reality, they have no scientific background (watch who was put in charge of hiring scientists in Human Resources and how she lies to staff), and they are basically self-serving amateurs who are treating professors and judges like kids in need of discipline so as to compensate for their own insecurities.”Working based on self-imposed or top-down deadlines alone (we leaked some E-mails about it last year) is not wise. It encourages sloppy work. Having peer-reviewed papers for international journals since my twenties, I know how unreasonable this demand can be when thousands of patent applications come through the door and one needs to cooperate with other examiners (or reviewers). For good (high-impact) international journals it can take up to half a decade for a single paper to get accepted. Battistelli clearly does not understand any of this. Unlike previous EPO Presidents, he’s no scientist, he’s just a politician with ENA ‘education’. He habitually fabricates ‘studies’ (which he pays for!), just like anti-scientific lobbies and think tanks.

Unless Battistelli gets fired (or resigns), he will leave nothing of the EPO (devalue existing patents and erroneously grant future ones). This promises to damage the whole of Europe as a result. But does he care? He would be retired (if not dead) by then. He wants a hero’s welcome in his lobbying festival (one is being organised at the EPO's expense for next year and is mentioned every day by the EPO in Twitter). He won’t be around to see something hitting the fan, will he? It’s like Republican politicians who leave a mess behind themselves (like a nation in tatters, e.g. Iraq), in order for another party and another Presidential term to have to cope with.

Longtime (senior) staff of the EPO is not dangerous. It’s Battistelli and his ilk who are dangerous because they threaten to put the entire Office (and Organisation) out of business. Senior examiners who already retired and/or left care because they have their pensions and old comrades at stake. They don’t like what they see in Team Battistelli. These incompetent managers have no grip on reality, they have no scientific background (watch who was put in charge of hiring scientists in Human Resources and how she lies to staff), and they are basically self-serving amateurs who are treating professors and judges like kids in need of discipline so as to compensate for their own insecurities.

07.26.16

Munich Attack Mentioned by EPO But Not Ansbach

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A militant EPO

Summary: The EPO does the usual right-wing thing (exploiting disaster/emergency for domestic crackdowns), but some bemoan the omission of the explosion at Ansbach (also in Germany)

IT was so obvious that the EPO would mention the attack on Monday. We predicted this over the weekend, having seen Battistelli (personally) milking just about every major incident outside of Germany (especially in France and in one case Belgium, then the US).

“Let us now wait and see whether Mr. Battistelli will express heartfelt sympathy to” Munich, one person wrote, alluding specifically “to the people of the host nation of the EPO headquarters.”

“How very Republican of him.”The “news” item (yes, they filed this under news) came a bit later than usual and it came from the EPO this time, for a change (it did not mention Battistelli, perhaps for the first time ever). It said (warning: epo.org links can be tracked by HTTP_REFERER) not so much and later on this was mentioned in Twitter.

One person says that “Battistelli has belatedly expressed his solidarity with the citizens of Munich.”

“But what about the people of Ansbach? Are they second-class citizens? Does he not care about them?”

Another person writes: “It is well known, several people, perhaps more, have been summoned to the president and told, “You are either for me, or you are against me.” It cannot be accepted, that a civil service career should serve a personality cult, and that threats to career and eventually pensions used as the weapons to enforce that cult. The crash when it comes will be big, unfortunately for those of us who are still trying to apply the EPC, which is in fact our only master.”

Battistelli, as we noted before, is trying to unify the staff around a common cause which is war on terror (“You’re either with us, or against us”). How very Republican of him. Watch what happens in Turkey this month.

Kluwer Thinks People Are Clueless About the Unitary Patent System and Pretends It’s Business as Usual

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wolters Kluwer

Summary: Flogging the dead UPC horse at times of great uncertainty (enough to bring the UPC to a standstill)

THE EPO lies not only to journalists but also to staff, as we showed here numerous times before. “The European patent microcosm tries to convince itself that its Unitary Patent castle is not collapsing,” wrote someone who was bullied by the EPO some years ago because he had criticised the UPC (Battistelli's EPO is very legally aggressive towards UPC critics). He links to the latest nonsense from the EPO — nonsense which we rebutted earlier this month.

“What we have here is lobbying and meddling by patent lawyers and other who stand to profit from more litigation in more places.”The Kluwer Patent Blog, one of the biggest pushers of the UPC for a number of years now, still pretends that IP Federation somehow speaks for British businesses, but people should know better. To quote the latest regarding IP Federation: “The IP Federation in the UK is even more adamant. In a position paper published this week, it states that certainty regarding the future should be a prerequisite for further steps by the UK government and parliament: ‘We support the Unitary Patent), and the Unified Patent Court with the UK participating on the current terms, including the location of the branch of the Central Division in London. Without a guarantee of continued UK participation post-Brexit, the UK should not ratify the UPC at present. We consider that ratifying the UPC to bring it into effect and subsequently being forced to leave the system would bring an unacceptable amount of uncertainty to industry across the UK and EU.’”

What we have here is lobbying and meddling by patent lawyers and other who stand to profit from more litigation in more places. Team UPC (people from the inside) is still at it in spite of Brexit, but what will they say when it all fizzles and goes away? Over the past few weeks we saw very little coverage about the UPC (virtually none). It seems like it’s dying or at least put on the ice.

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