…as if anyone with an idea/invention can afford them.
Reference: Let Them Eat Cake
Summary: A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings
THE USPTO is cracking down on software patents. Like TTIP lobbyists, patent lawyers will never publicly admit this. It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).
Proponents of software patents seemingly resort to unrelated cases now, such as this patent. It’s about Mayo, not Alice, as it is not a software patent. The patent attorney writes “US Pat 8,586,610, administration of iloperidone; Survived 101/ Mayo Attack,” once again reusing these loaded words (like “attack” and “survive”, even when the “survivor” is the patent aggressor/plaintiff and the “attacker” is actually the defender/victim). Nice reversal of narrative, right? Like George Bush “defending” himself in Iraq and Ukraine “attacking” Russia…
“It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).”Elsewhere in today’s news, we learn that “Prescient has received 13 patents on its software,” but software patents are pretty worthless right now. They just get invalided in the courts and the boards (and these are the ones whose holders actually believe have a chance, hence asserting them; the rest — or the untested patents — are likely easier to invalidate once scrutinised/challenged).
A pro-software patents site, Watchtroll, yesterday published this piece by Anthony de Andrade and Venkatesh Viswanath. It’s quite a shot in the foot actually as it serves to legitimise the site’s idealogical opponents. It shows that ‘global’ patents (applied for separately in several jurisdictions) is not for startups but for the richest people (or huge corporations). To get a patent virtually everywhere in the world (where it techncially matters) “an applicant would require $296,233 to file National Phase applications in said jurisdictions and maintain the applications” (renewal fees).
“So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?”For one. Single. Patent!
So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?
This reminds us of Apple’s patents in the EPO — patents which Battistelli is totally clueless about. Remember that Apple is possibly the world’s richest company (by many criteria that are commonly assessed by major publications) and watch what it’s applying for now: “Apple filed for patent on unauthorized user biometric data collection system (AppleInsider) — If an “unauthorized user” (read: thief) uses an iPhone equipped with this technology, the device could capture a photo and fingerprint of the user for use by law enforcement. Not exactly rocket science to understand how this might be used by law enforcement remotely to assure a particular contact (read: target) is in possession of an iPhone, either. Keep an eye on this stuff.”
The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime. To quote AppleInsider: “An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a method of storing an unauthorized user’s biometric information, which can help strengthen security management or assist in device recovery and criminal prosecution in the case of a theft.”
“The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime.”“Even as Apple contemplates surveillance software to catch thieves’ fingerprints,” IDG wrote, “it is also reportedly planning to redesign the physical elements of its devices that would make that approach possible.”
As usual, being an Apple story, it was all over the news (we saw more than dozens — perhaps hundreds — of articles, e.g. [1, 2]) and it was all praises and cheerleading, hardly criticism, just like that time Apple patented remote disablement of a phone’s camera (a ‘gentler’ form of kill switch that already exists).
“Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple.”It takes sheer disregard for privacy and human rights to do what Apple expresses a desire to do here. It’s not at all innovation, just a lot of hype. If Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple. Apple is suing companies (using patents) for billions. What about the mythical ‘little guy’? The patent system just isn’t for the ‘little guy’. Maybe it was a long time ago, but not anymore. See these comments in Reddit, one of which says about patent examiners: “They probably spend a lot more time digging themselves out from under the mountain of Apple / Samsung forms.”
This is, in essence, what the patent systems have turned into. To quote a comment that we mentioned yesterday (regarding the EPO), “Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.” █
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Prepare for some EPO propaganda about staff being happy, even when the Organisation admits there is a crisis and the President has a 0% approval rate
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat
THIS week, while on retreat in Wales, I intend to dive into hundreds of EPO documents. There is a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ in there (plenty of documents), but now isn’t the best time to write about them because not many people — both staff and journalists — will pay attention (many are still on holiday). Don’t let the silence be mistaken for pacification. We expect that Battistelli will misinterpret this silence and predict it won’t take long for the "Social Study" propaganda to come out (they have renamed it and expect to release it in several weeks, surely with journalists to be contacted to play along and spread/embed the EPO's lies).
“It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about?”There’s a similar/analogous situation at WIPO. IP Watch is playing along with WIPO’s PR/face-saving statements [1,2] (see below) today, whereas the EPO keeps rather quiet. In some promotional press releases, low quality control for EPO patents gets ignored and companies brag about intent to grant at the EPO. It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about? How long before the “Battistelli effect” is understood by all applicants?
For the first time in quite a while SUEPO published something today (not just a link). The workers are coming back (those who have not left or retired). “The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, specialise in the Rule of Law, International Human Rights law and International Administrative Law,” SUEPO explained this morning, sporting two PDFs that we made public a few months ago (these got leaked to us). “At the request of SUEPO, Bretton Woods Law produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff,” SUEPO continued. “In an Annex to the above document a number of the reforms are considered in the light of basic legal and democratic standards in Europe.”
“Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage.”One document is 22 pages long and the latter is 25 pages long. That’s a lot to read. But these are both well written and structured.
The EPO has not had any announcements for a while (other than the earthquake — Italy’s, not Battistelli's — getting exploited). Universities are still 'spammed' by the EPO (new examples in [1, 2], even repeatedly today) and sometimes this pushing truly works, as it comes not only from the EPO to all Twitter ‘followers’. It’s promotion of Battistelli's next lobbying event (if he survives this long at the EPO).
Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage. Nothing at all has improved (for many months). In fact, things got worse. Those who wish to send us information can do so securely using anonymity-preserving methods of choice. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”
The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.
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“The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies
MANAGEMENT of the EPO is a disaster and the cause of crisis. It has been doing far too much damage to be simply tolerated and taken for granted. More than 2 years since we began coverage of some of the cliquish scandals Battistelli is still in power (having merely broadened his ‘circle’) and his agenda, except the UPC, is still moving forward. Software patents in Europe will be promoted next month in New York [1, 2] because who cares about the EPC, right? These people don’t seem to care about patent quality, not even when the US is itself withdrawing or moving away from software patents (post-Alice). It often seems like the USPTO quickly redeems itself, whereas the EPO goes (or races) in the opposite direction under Battistelli. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of David Kappos, who is publicly accused this weekend of discarding patent quality?
The EPO has been rather silent for several weeks, probably more so than last year (in spite of summer holidays). It can be seen messaging everyone with dull repetition but slight variation (as if from a set of templates) [1, 2, 3] regarding Battistelli’s next lobbying event. The EPO is now 'spamming' the University of Manchester too (it ‘spams’ quite a few universities to jack up the votes/nominations, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]). Apart from that, there’s nothing which counts as news, just a lot of repetition. The UPC is on the rocks, so there’s nothing to be celebrated. According to this report titled “U.K. Patent Bar Says Country Should Join EU Patent Court” (via), Team UPC has grown rather desperate as short of political mischief the UPC cannot happen in the UK (or anywhere in Europe unless profoundly overhauled). Still, these people are pushing Lucy to ratify the UPC for their own personal gain. This takeover by non-practicing elements led Henrion to stating (to one from Team UPC, his employer) that “upc is not a reform, it is n hostile takeover.” It’s a Battistelli-backed takeover. It would be valuable for large corporations from abroad, not to mention patent trolls from the US.
“Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent.”As we already noted here years ago, the UPC would likely make the boards of appeal redundant and despite the fallout (post-Brexit) Battistelli is still punishing the boards. It speaks volumes about his horrible sense of leadership. Responding to an article from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, one person in the comments section now notes that Battistelli “has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations,” as per leaks we published here a year ago. Here is the full comment:
It is encouraging to see a critique of the current situation at the EPO, but it focusses on the situation of the Boards of Appeal, without going into enough detail about the staff conflict, which has major repercussions for the mission of the EPO. The editorial seems to accept that there was a need for “reform” without saying what reform and why. Once on accepts the use of this term, much wielded by the President, it is a very short step to considering it a “good thing”, and that the only difficulty lies in its implementation. This is very far from the truth. The President’s aims since his appointment seem to be to replace the high- standard examination at the EPO, which has contributed so much to the its reputation, and to the rewarding of innovation by small and medium industries, with a registration system, such as prevails in France, which favours mega corporations with deep pockets for litigation. To this end he has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations, made impossible productivity demands on examiners, and appears to be intent on destroying the Boards of Appeal. The editorial is correct in identifying the weakness of the governance of the EPO by those who benefit financially from it. The President has had no hesitation in exploiting that fact, linking grants to agreement with his agenda, promising that the EPO will pay for “emergency” dental treatment for delegates at AC meetings, etc. In fact he realized from the outset that the only real opposition he was likely to encounter was from the staff, and specifically, the staff union, SUEPO. The resistance of the staff is not linked to salaries and benefits, but rather to the idea that with privilege comes responsibility, and with pride in fulfilling that responsibility by providing a high standard of examination to the benefit of industry. Hence the President has specifically targetted the union, and the staff with a series of repressive measures that would be impossible in any member state, secure in the knowledge that, as the editorial correctly states, staff have little or no recourse to timely justice. He has dismissed or demoted Union officials on trumped-up charges, forbidden strikes, rigged the internal system of appeals, and done away with almost all of the feeble safeguards available to staff. Indeed the ATILO itself has expressed extreme disquiet at the overwhelming workload generated, to the extent that it is threatening to expel the EPO.
The editorial is right to say that something must be done. A reputation is built over many years, but can be destroyed quickly and is slow to be recovered. Already experienced staff are leaving in droves, and recruitment criteria are being greatly lowered. The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.
As long as Battistelli demolishes patent quality at the EPO there is an uncertain future for the Office. NPOs (national patent offices) might turn out to be the better route in all cases, thus jeopardising everything that the EPC stood for. In the EPO’s own words (a couple of days ago): “To get protection in just a few countries, applying for national patents may be best” (under Battistelli it may be best under all circumstances).
Another comment said: “In the Administrative Council every member-state has the same level of voting power. One possible solution might be that there will be a different weight added to the vote of a member-state.” As readers may recall, the EPO’s President is rumoured to be ‘buying’ votes of small countries. He is also lying to Administrative Council delegates in order for them to support his unpopular proposals, including the crushing of the appeal boards.
In light of the recent coverage from Bernhard Lohr (not Katja Riedel or other colleagues), as well as an article about Haar for which a translation is still needed, one person published the following comment:
From the text of the reform concerning the relocation of the boards:
“in Germany, it was decided to separate the former boards of appeal administratively and physically from the German Patent and Trademark Office, as the new Federal Patent Court, in order to reinforce their independence.”
Actually, the trade mark department of the DPMA is in the same building as the Bundespatentgericht.
It is surprising that at least the German representative in the AC did not point out this lie of Battistelli. May be he will get a post as vice president or as the president of the boards in the near future.
Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent. We pointed out some lies of his just a few days ago. Those who have the courage to question him and his lies are punished severely, so the record is rarely corrected from within. From September onwards we plan to accelerate coverage of the EPO. There is still a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ or skeletons in Battistelli’s closet. █
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Quality of patents causes markets to prosper or contrariwise perish
Giving aggressors like Microsoft sacks of patents to breed Mafia-like behaviour, not healthy competition
Summary: Revisiting the EPO’s vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)
“A skilled patent attorney working with a qualified searcher could cobble together a colorable obviousness argument against the vast majority of issued patent claims,” says a new article from Patently-O. Not to mention “abstract” criteria, prior art and so on. “Part of the difficulty for patentees,” continues the article, “stem from the the billions of prior art references available via increasingly effective search tools. Even when an invention results from a ‘flash of genius,’ patent law typically back-fills extensive knowledge for the obviousness analysis – even when that knowledge was not actually available at the time of the invention. The larger difficulty though is likely the large number of hard-to-pin-down facts such as the motivations, common sense, and level of creativity of a person having ordinary skill in the art.”
“In the case of large companies like Microsoft, mountains of patents (granted in bulk by the EPO]) can be used to compel companies to pay up without even a trial.”If the EPO replaces examiners with algorithms, things will exacerbate further and patents get granted incorrectly, leading to an ocean of frivolous lawsuits. In the case of large companies like Microsoft, mountains of patents (granted in bulk by the EPO) can be used to compel companies to pay up without even a trial. Recall the Microsoft v TomTom case. Picking on small companies is Microsoft’s thing; it doesn’t sue Google.
The above reminds us of the danger of poor patent quality as well as streamlining grants, which is what Battistelli’s EPO has in effect done for Microsoft (and evidence we showed for that led to legal threats from the EPO). They — like the USPTO — in effect facilitate patent racketeering by Microsoft.
“They — like the USPTO — in effect facilitate patent racketeering by Microsoft.”Watch this new article titled “Primetime: Microsoft’s Android Cross Patent Dealings”. That’s misleading because it's not cross-licensing, it's a patent settlement (in bundling form) and it’s essentially a patent shakedown without even a trial and without an opportunity to properly assess the quality (and thus in/validity) of patents. The article says that “to press on this advantage, Microsoft does need to sign into more cross licensing or similar patent deals with manufacturers. Given Microsoft’s patent portfolio and how useful this will be to those manufacturers wishing to break into the North American market, such as Xiaomi, we may be seeing more of these arrangements in the coming months. The alternative might be Microsoft suing any manufacturer that tries to sell devices into a patent-friendly market.”
But again, these are not cross-licensing deals, these are patent shakedowns. One might even call this extortion or racketeering, even though Microsoft is too well-connected to face court charges brought forth by the government.
It is worth noting that many of Microsoft’s patents — those which it uses to shake down Android players (OEMs) — are not even valid anymore (if properly scrutinised), but there are so many of them that it would cost a fortune to demonstrate it to the court. It’s a numbers game, quantity rather than quality. It’s cheaper to just settle and let Microsoft continue to wield software patents like a weapon, even post-Alice. PTAB cannot take a request to review hundreds of patents from just one single company because it’s already overburdened by a growing number of reviews (IPRs).
Speaking of patent aggressors, there is this new software patent from Facebook (the usual, see our Facebook wiki page). These are oftentimes surveillance patents, but this time is’s about languages, at a time of increased competition with Google. Facebook's growing stockpile of patents is a real problem (Facebook has a history of going aggressive with them) and The Next Web says that “the US patent office issued 6,789 patents. Each patent adds a little something new to the human knowledge base. As we cannot list all six thousand, the PatentYogi team has selected the five most interesting patents.” How many of these are software patents that oughtn’t have been granted? How many of these will be toothless some time in the near future?
Patently-O says “The number of pending Ex Parte appeals continue to drop. Great work PTO.” There are other statistics of interest, based on PDFs from the USPTO (like this one). Patently-O claims they suggest that: “Design patent applications expected to reach 40,000 for FY2016 – up from under 30,000 in FY2010. The PTO is working to improve design patent prosecution speed – current wait of more than a year for a first office action.”
Well, the Office may have granted 40,000 patents on designs, but once reassessed the Office may need to throw them all away, on a per-request basis (post-Apple v Samsung at SCOTUS). Granting again for the sake of granting? Until the next Alice happens?
Patent quality control is the principal pillar of true and potent patent offices, otherwise they would be just archives of untested claims (a registration/filing system). █
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In the pockets of the patent microcosm
Summary: Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality
“PUBLIC SERVANTS” has become misnomer for EPO officials. Consider the EPO‘s Francesco Zaccà, whom we first mentioned in this leak about "Closer Contact with Major Applicants" (with special ties to Qualcomm and Ericsson in his case). Benjamin Henrion drew attention to this recent talk, showing even the patent troll Sisvel at this recent event, which included Zaccà.
From the page in question: “The panel chaired by Francisco Mingorance, IP Europe, stressed the importance of innovation protection as a growth factor. Pasquale Marasco, head of ICT Innovation Pole at Torino Wireless Foundation, highlighted the SME’s stakes and concerns, as Matteo Sabattini, Sisvel CTO, reinforced the message detailing Sisvel’s example. Francesco Zaccà, Director in ICT of EPO, echoed the keynote address and said that «the main goal of the patent system is to protect innovation, to enable the innovation circle from protecting the invention, securing remuneration and re-investing in research. Yet, every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection». His opening statement «we are here to support innovation» fired up the crowd.”
“Francesco Zaccà, speaking for the EPO, is quoted or paraphrased as saying that every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection.”Francesco Zaccà, speaking for the EPO, is quoted or paraphrased as saying that every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection. What an odd thing to say. This sure sounds like the FRAND loophole for software patents in Europe. Not good…
Francisco Mingorance, now in IP Europe, is a former software patents lobbyist from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a Microsoft front group which spent years lobbying for software patents in Europe (FRAND was one loophole they attempted to interject). Mingorance now chairs a panel with Zaccà in it. His employer, IP Europe, is a front for the patent microcosm and Henrion describes them, based on their words, as “Accelerating the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement): more trolling powers http://www.iptalks.eu/”
“They’re supposed to be focused on patent examination, not lobbying and lawmaking.”Some people still act as though the UPC will become a reality. It probably never will. It’s zombie legislation like ACTA, but the patent microcosm still wants us to believe there will be UPC after Brexit. It’s that old self-fulfilling prophecy method and they really ought to just give it all up. Found via this tweet was a Team UPC blog post the UPC “post-Brexit” (it would probably have to be rewritten and renamed to have any chance at all).
Thomas F. Cotter, a law professor from the US, more recently referred to a “paper in the June 2016 issue of GRUR Int (pp. 513-30) titled Schadensersatz und Einheitspatentsystem: Rechtliche Grundlagen und Systematik des Schadensersatzanspruchs im künftigen Einheitspatentsystem (“Damages and Unitary Patent System: Legal Principles and Schematic of Damages Claims in the Future Unitary Patent System”).”
According to him, this “article notes, among other things, that article 68(4) of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court appears to permit a court to award the infringer’s profits without evidence that the infringer knew or should have known of the patent (in contrast to German law). Towards the end of the article, the author also questions whether the Agreement contemplates anything comparable to the German practice of permitting a court to award damages in its free discretion (nach freier Überzeugung) under article 287 of the German Civil Procedure Code (see my recent article on Patent Damages Heuristics at p.20 & n.76 for brief discussion). My one critique of the article is that it doesn’t take account of the change made in the 17th and 18th drafts of the UPC Rules of Procedure, which in a departure from the 16th draft have eliminated the provision (article 118(2)) that would have allowed the court to award damages in lieu of injunctive relief (see discussion on this blog here). Overall, though, a good read.”
“People who believe that the UPC will become a reality some very time soon are truly out of touch, much like Battistelli and his circle of ‘loyals’.”The patent microcosm (which dominates Team UPC) wants the UPC for more lawsuits, more/higher damages, and a generally litigious atmosphere that brings them more business. It’s truly a shame that EPO staff, including Zaccà’s colleagues, are openly promoting it at events (as Philpott did last year). What credibility will they have left? They’re supposed to be focused on patent examination, not lobbying and lawmaking.
Found via this tweet was yet more promotion of the UPC, courtesy of Team UPC again. “Unitary Patent reforms are welcome, even though patent litigation in Europe has worked quite well” says the headline and Francisco Moreno, a critic of the UPC, uses the hashtags #UPCbelievers and #PrayForTheUPC (sarcasm) in relation to what Tufty Sylvestris wrote about the above: “Another Remainer disappointed about the effect of #Brexit on the UPC, but still hopeful (or in denial).”
People who believe that the UPC will become a reality some very time soon are truly out of touch, much like Battistelli and his circle of ‘loyals’. Maybe they too should quit embarrassing themselves and work on fixing the EPO. Pushing towards software patents in Europe (directly or indirectly) is just about the dumbest thing they can do. █
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Summary: Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as “saving lives” and “promoting research” (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)
THE patent system exists for a reason, but nowadays that reason is no longer the original reason. “Page not found” says this link EPO‘s account regarding oppositions to particular patents, which is kind of poetic when one thinks about it. Battistelli’s EPO doesn’t want oppositions. Rubber-stamping is better for so-called ‘production’. That’s not what the patent system exists for.
Following its pattern of 'spamming' (not broadcasting to everyone on a per-subscription basis as in this new example), the EPO is pinging the University of Bonn with some template message like “Got any proposals for our Inventor Award 2017? Submit them here” (Battistelli’s lobbying event).
Why is the EPO bothering universities now? It has already sent dozens of such ‘spammy’ messages, but now it’s doing after universities.
“That’s not what the patent system exists for.”Mr. Nazer, writing about universities that pursue patents, correctly notes that many of these patents end up in the hands of patent trolls. Here is a portion of what he wrote for the EFF the other day:
EFF recently launched Reclaim Invention, a project to encourage universities to manage their patent portfolios in a way that maximizes the public benefit. Specifically, we’ve urged universities to sign a Public Interest Patent Pledge not to sell or exclusively license patents to patent assertion entities, also known as patent trolls. EFF is proud to partner with Creative Commons, Engine, Fight for the Future, Knowledge Ecology International, and Public Knowledge on this initiative.
As part of our project, we’ve also released draft state legislation that we hope state legislators can adapt to promote pro-innovation technology transfer at state universities. Our legislative language has two components. First, it requires university technology transfer offices to adopt a policy committing them to manage patent assets in the public interest.
If the public cares about innovation and good use of public money, then the public should prevent universities from filing for patents. Universities don’t need these, but friends of mine who work at the universities say that they are being pressured by administration staff to just amass patents, not just published academic papers. It’s not often that universities sue using patents because usually they do so indirectly or offload their patents to trolls.
“Patent lawyers want us to believe that effective and affordable medicine exists because of patents, but in reality it exists in spite of patents.”“75% of the 20 patent lawsuits filed yesterday were filed by patent trolls,” United for Patent Reform wrote the other day. “It’s time for Congress to take action to #fixpatents!”
The above seems to be a lot lower than the average. For technology patent lawsuits, it’s now estimated (based on a complete/exhaustive list) that just under 90% of the time these are filed by trolls. They dominate the system.
Research and development in the public sector need not rely on patents, no matter what nonsense the EPO spreads with stock photography and prose. Patent lawyers want us to believe that effective and affordable medicine exists because of patents, but in reality it exists in spite of patents. Cancer patients, as explained to the EPO, actually suffer from patents, but patent boosters are busy framing the USPTO as a friend of cancer research. To quote this new example from Professor Crouch: “The USPTO is playing an important role in the National Cancer Moonshot, a Presidential initiative we blogged about earlier this summer, to speed up cancer advances, make more therapies available to more patients, and improve the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. Today, we are launching the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge to enlist the public’s help to leverage our intellectual property data, often an early indicator of meaningful research and development (R&D), and combine it with other economic and funding data (ie. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Food and Drug Administration reporting, National Science Foundation grants vs. philanthropic investments, venture capital funding, etc.). This comes on the heels of our Patents 4 Patients program, which was launched in July and aims to cut in half the time it takes to review patent applications in cancer therapy.”
Actually, a lot of cancer research money comes from the public (government grants, not just donations); afterwards there’s privateering with patents (monopoly on treatments and thus overpricing), so who gains and who dies?
EpiPen is under heavy fire this week for price hikes owing to Congressional nepotism, but Professor Crouch links to this horrible new article which glamourises patents (even those that kill poor people) as well as a famous patent troll. It’s sad to see that patent myths continue to thrive not just because of the patent industry but also the EPO and USPTO. They want us to believe that the more patents we have, the better. It’s usually better for patent offices, trolls, and few opportunists with crooked nepotism (see EpiPen’s example). █
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It’s like another FIFA but in slow(er) motion
Summary: The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office
THE European Patent Office (EPO) is trying to distract us all (staff and media) with the Italian earthquake (warning:
epo.org links can be tracked by the EPO), but otherwise it has been largely silent for weeks. It just selfishly tries to maintain that sense of fear and emergency, especially when there are mass shootings (not just in Europe).
Recently, the local media (Süddeutsche Zeitung) published “Paris, London, Haar” which is an article about the EPO for which we need translation/s. Techrights is mentioned in this paragraph which says: “Innerhalb der Behörde wird jedenfalls schon heiß diskutiert, was solch ein Umzug an den Stadtrand mit sich bringen würde. In dem Internet-Blog Techrights lassen sich Mitarbeiter darüber aus, ob in Haar überhaupt die Hotels vorhanden sein würden, um die ausländischen Gäste passend unterzubringen. Über Sicherheitsfragen wird geredet und nicht zuletzt darüber, wie man ins Büro im Münchner Osten kommen kann, das mancher aus Versehen in der Gemeinde Vaterstetten ansiedelt. Mancher aus der betroffenen Abteilung sieht sich gar ins “Exil” nach Haar abgeschoben. Hintergrund ist ein seit Längerem schwelender Machtkampf mit dem Präsidenten des Patentamts, Benoît Battistelli.”
“The EPO’s reputation is so damaged right now (squarely the fault of Team Battistelli) that not much more damage can be done.”It has been said for quite some time that Benoît Battistelli might try to ‘gift’ Paris with some UPC court/s (or Administration). If true, it wouldn’t be the first time he did something nefarious like that. The EPO’s reputation is so damaged right now (squarely the fault of Team Battistelli) that not much more damage can be done. There’s already a crisis and talented people are leaving.
SUEPO mentioned the above in its public pages and so did a comment in IP Kat, which took note of another article shared by SUEPO. Coming from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (and composed by Darren Smyth from IP Kat), the article says this:
Recently, the EPO has been beset by problems. A programme of reform has been pushed through which has led to widespread industrial unrest amongst the workforce, and distrust between the examiners and senior management. The problems have been exacerbated by the fact that the only legal recourse for aggrieved EPO employees is the International Labour Organisation, which has an immense backlog (partly caused by the number of EPO grievances) leading to a delay of many years before cases are decided. While there was little dispute that some reform was needed, the pace and character of the reforms, as well as their style of introduction, created a toxic atmosphere, the scale and causes of which were denied by the management, and relatively unrecognized outside of the EPO itself. The relatively generous salaries of EPO examiners led to a lack of sympathy in some quarters. The wider world only noticed the increasingly troubled situation at the EPO when a member of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO was suspended by the President without the prior sanction of the AC, an action that appeared to compromise the judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal. This occurred shortly after a seminal decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), which upheld an objection of suspicion of partiality against its Chairman, on the sole basis of his dual administrative role within the management of the Office. The response of the President, transferring some administrative powers from the EBA Chairman to himself, seemed to make the problem worse rather than better.
The judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal is crucial to the finality of their decisions. If the Boards are not accepted as a judicial instance, a national court could decline to give effect to their judgments on the basis of lack of compliance with European legal norms such as those embodied in Article 6 ECHR (right to fair trial). Before recent events, although national courts had always accepted the judicial character of the Boards, Board members took the view, supported by some commentators, that more autonomy was desirable. However, a proposal to increase the autonomy of the Boards had been shelved by the current administration.
It was clear that action needed to be taken, but new proposals from the President to modify the administrative structure of the Boards seemed to conflate independence with efficiency, and also addressed other matters, such as the management of possible conflicts of interest of Board members, which had never in reality seemed to be a problem. There was more concern with the appearance of independence, such as the physical location of the Boards, than independence itself.
“In the last issue of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice an editorial has been published under the title Something is rotten in the state of the EPO,” one comment noted. “Eerie, this silence,” one person wrote, “probably there is a lot going on behind the screen?”
One person responded with: “Or the French are on holiday?”
Well, we have a lot of material we intend to publish this autumn. In the mean time, if someone can produce a translation of the Süddeutsche Zeitung article for us, this would be greatly appreciated (and of course published for the record). █
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“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”
“Truth is treason in the empire of lies” (attribution note)
Summary: Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli
THE previous post about Battistelli's lies would not be complete without showing that his loyal goons (those who have historically been like his lapdogs) also distort the facts and blatantly lie.
Here is a document regarding the above-the-law Vice-President:
Here is a document regarding the EPO Vice-President who faces many criminal charges (and arrogantly believes he is above the law, so he refuses to even attend court hearings he's summoned to attend):
The moral and ethical erosion at the EPO‘s top-level management isn’t too hard to see. It is sad if not depressing to see what was once a reputable institution. Witness what it has sunk to because of misguided and highly abusive men (yes, men) in suits. When even flagrant disregard for the truth has become so banal/mundane how are patent applicants expected to come to the EPO for (patent) justice?
Misleading publications that are published only in the Intranet or passed internally (personally) between managers are hard to get a hold of and we receive legal threats for publishing them. Without these, showing the rot inside the EPO is a lot harder (there are virtually no whistleblower protections in the land of Eponia, which serves to hide serious abuse). █
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