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01.20.17

Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

Posted in America, Patents at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No comment necessary…

Paul Morinville sickened

Summary: The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect

WE now know that Lee is here to stay. There is a mixture of reactions, with left-leaning folks like the EFF celebrating the news (collective sigh), whereas the patent microcosm gets all ugly.

“A lot of technologists truly appreciate the reforms implemented under her wing.”Jeff Roberts has provided some excellent news coverage regarding patents this past year and he is happy about the news, unlike Watchtroll and his swamp (part of the software patents lobbying swamp), who bemoan the news and get all rude about it (Paul Morinville in this case, a regular author at Watchtroll). Here is what Watchtroll wrote two days ago: “A second credible source confirmed for me that Michelle Lee was attempting to stay on as Director. This confirmation came from an independent channel of information separate from the initial lead given to me earlier in the day. I was told that PTO Officials were refusing to confirm or deny any rumors relative to Lee, both on and off the record.”

Seeing all the hate directed at Lee reinforces our view that she has been a good Director and we encourage her to continue doing what she has done over the past couple of years. A lot of technologists truly appreciate the reforms implemented under her wing. Those who suffer the most are those who are taxing technologists, as they are becoming growingly obsolete.

Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It’s OK, Holland’s High Council Says

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grabbing the EPO by the *****

Battistelli Trump

Summary: Battistelli’s autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world

THERE IS some bad news regarding the EPO, as it turns out that the Dutch court is unwilling to do anything about Eponia’s abuses (the photo in the article has been changed for some reason, but we got a copy and modified it slightly). “Excellent article,” called it an anonymous insider. “Bravo to Mr König and the NRC. Translation desperately needed for our non-dutch speakers…”

“It’s grave news,” Petra Kramer (Dutch speaker) said. “The High Council chose Batistelli’s side.”

Well, Battistelli’s ‘side’ is that he’s immune from the law. It’s hardly a side to be proud of (in the words of the insider: “Greed for money and power was determinant?”) and this decision is not particularly surprising after what the Advocate General said some months back. Kramer will supply us with a full translation of the article from NRC (media behemoth in the Netherlands). We’ll add it below when it is ready.

Update: Here is the translation from Kramer:

Patent Office in Rijswijk remains immune

European Patent Office

The European Patent Office in Rijswijk, and its temperamental chief Battistelli, get a lot of criticism. Judges in the Netherlands are not allowed to intervene.

Can an employer in the Netherlands have a private investigator interrogate employees without a lawyer present? Is he allowed to dismiss union leaders or decrease their salary or pension? Is he allowed to refuse to labor inspections after a suicidal employee jumps out of a window of the office?

It all happened at the European Patent Office in Rijswijk. And Dutch judges are unauthorized to decide about the patent office. That’s what the Supreme Court on confirmed on Friday in a long-awaited decision. The Patent Office is an international organization which enjoys legal immunity in the Netherlands, says the Supreme Court.

In other words, the patent office is a kind of legal island in the Netherlands. The Supreme Court verdict is important for all forty international organizations in the Netherlands, such as the International Criminal Court and the European Space Agency. For union SUEPO of the patent office this is a severe setback.

The Bureau approved patent applications and grants patents that are valid in all 38 member countries. With clients such as Philips, Samsung, LG and Siemens, the patent office is important for the European market protection. The agency employs 7,000 specialist, well-paid workers in Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Temperamental CEO

The patent office is also notorious for his temperamental French President Benoît Battistelli (66). The CEO has long been at war with SUEPO union, which claims to represent half of the staff, but is not officially recognized. Last year, three union representatives have been dismissed and three others have been demoted. SUEPO denounces the pressure of work, authoritarian management and legal status of employees.

The battle hardened when the Hague Court of Appeal ruled in early 2015 that the agency should not limit strikes, union emails should not be blocked and the union must be recognized. Then Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten (VVD) ordered bailiffs not to execute the judgment in order to ensure the immunity of international organizations: an unusual situation.

The patent office then went in appeal to the Supreme Court, with the support of the Dutch state, which joined as a party. The Netherlands doesn’t want to drive out other international organizations, because it is bad for the reputation of the business climate and the economy. Battistelli delicately reminded the Cabinet last year that his office adds “1 billion” in sales to the Dutch GDP and invests “250 million” in a new high-rise building.

The Supreme Court has reversed earlier judgments of the preliminary court and the Hague Court. Labor rights are sufficiently protected by the internal disputes procedure. They can also appeal to the International Labour Organisation in Geneva.

But the dispute procedure is shaky and the road to Geneva is long, employees say. All that remains now is one solution SUEPO’s lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld said prior to the Supreme Court:

“A lawsuit against the Dutch state because the violation of trade union rights take place on Dutch territory. Does the state do enough to prevent this? The answer is no.”

Exploitation

Next month a parliamentary debate on the working conditions will be held. In a parliamentary debate last month, the patent office has already been criticized by SP and D66 and government parties PvdA and VVD. The PvdA cited the example of exploitation of Libyan and Sudanese staff in London. Didn’t a British judge allow the European Convention on Human Rights to still outweigh the “diplomatic immunity”?

The conflict forces Netherlands in a strange dilemma. The state supported the patent office in the courtroom, but at the same time the government is critical. Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour) recently expressed in a letter his concern about the “difficult relationship between unions and senior management.” During the introductory interview which Van Dam held with Battistelli last year the Frenchman walked out the meeting in anger.

The Dutch patent world is concerned, says a spokesman for Economic Affairs. The Netherlands are represented by Derk-Jan de Groot, director of the Netherlands at the Patent Office. Together with other major patent countries like Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands is among the critical countries.

The problem is that the management board of all Member States, the highest body is too big and too diverse to reach a solution. Last year there seemed to have been a revolution, when 26 of the 38 Member States (with 12 abstentions) called Battistelli to a halt. They asked for arbitration in the conflict, cessation of ongoing proceedings against trade unionists and reform of sanctions. But almost all the proposals have been delayed, hence the situation “has not improved,” according to a spokesman for Economic Affairs. One SUEPO member who was overwrought and therefore on sick leave at home, was subsequently fired. It seems that all parties are intent to let Batistelli serve out his second term which ends on June 30 next year.

The patent office welcomes the “confirmation of the legal immunity” by the Supreme Court and “will continue to work to strengthen the social dialogue,” a spokesman said.

Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC Dead

Summary: The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of “analysis” or “news”)

OVER the past week we have come across many tweets, blogs, and articles that misinform the public about the UPC. We tackled only a few of these as we lack the time to exhaustively cover and respond to it all. It’s just chaotic.

Meanwhile we’ve noticed the UPC optimists in Germany repeating the lies from Team UPC in the UK. This is spreading to other media and other countries. Also see this new tweet that speaks of “Publication of: Unitary #Patent and the Unified Patent Court: #Europe adopts new tools to promote #innovation… http://fb.me/ug3HvgKi” (nope, it’s not adopting it, that’s still just an idea that’s being floated and faces many barriers from different countries). What the UPC is really about (or for) is to “promote litigation,” as Benjamin Henrion said, responding to that nonsense about “promote #innovation” (empty buzzword that lacks any real meaning in this context).

As another person put it, “if the courts are distributed between UK & EU then it will be unworkable if there is a hard border” (the Brexit barrier to UPC, one among several barriers).

“They’re lying through their teeth and they hope that politicians will let the UPC slide through under the false impression/belief that it’s inevitable and that if they don’t hop on board their country will be left out.”All that wishful thinking and fake news from those looking to profit from the UPC will continue to be tackled here, albeit only selectively due to lack of time/capacity. “Here is a visualisation of what the public will see in December when the UPC goes online,” wrote someone from the EPO, having produced the image at the top. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” wrote this person about the UPC.

Battistelli and the likes of him (Michel Barnier for example) have been promising the UPC for nearly a decade and predicted its imminent commencement for at least half a decade! They’re lying through their teeth and they hope that politicians will let the UPC slide through under the false impression/belief that it’s inevitable and that if they don’t hop on board their country will be left out.

01.19.17

Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MapR

Summary: The patents gold rush sees another company joining the ‘fun’, albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any

After all that openwashing (or “open” marketing) by MapR, today we were greeted by headlines such as “MapR claims open source big data victory with patent award” and “MapR Nabs a Patent for its Converged Data Platform” (that’s software). CBR says the patent “covers key components such as protection for file, table and stream processing for technology advances such as convergence, fast processing with low latency, high availability and Strong consistency, and security.”

“If MapR intends to join the patents gold rush, then it is not a serious cooperative participant in the Hadoop community.”We can’t quite see a cause for celebration here because any new (additional) software patent is a case of adding fire to the fire, no matter who pursues and gets granted such a patent. There are no “good” software patents; there are benign ones, like those which got invalidated and can therefore not be sold, either (e.g. Red Hat getting liquidated and having its patents sold to trolls, or acquired in a potentially hostile takeover by a patent aggressor).

We recently noted that Blockstream had no patents yet oddly enough pledged not to sue using patents (which we therefore assume it was pursuing). We more recently wrote about the patent menace around Blockchain [1, 2] and now there is this new article about it:

Banks, Startups and Trolls to Duke Over Blockchain?

Reports came out during the holiday season last year of banks quietly stocking up on blockchain patents. Banks will compete with startups making the same moves. They will also compete for patents with trolls who suppress innovation.

The future of blockchain innovation depends on who exactly holds the keys to blockchain technology.

Trolls

Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Mastercard have all submitted requests for and hold patents for blockchain technologies.

The Economist reported that “startups, including Coinbase, Chain and 21 Inc, have been busy, too.”

If MapR intends to join the patents gold rush, then it is not a serious cooperative participant in the Hadoop community. It needs to rethink its strategy, wherever it got it from (probably some self-serving law firm/s), then focus on development and dissemination of code, not patents.

Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

Posted in America, Patents at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Law is very slow to evolve, but under Lee (on the left below) it has evolved nicely

USPTO panel

Summary: The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today’s confirmation of Lee’s ‘extended tenure’ at the Office

THE USPTO remains in fairly safe hands with Michelle Lee in charge. Despite some worrisome reports of rumours that she was leaving earlier today IAM wrote: “BREAKING NEWS – IAM understands an announcement could be made today that Michelle Lee will remain as USPTO Director in Trump administration.”

Shortly thereafter it published an article about it and it says the following:

Michelle Lee set to remain as Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office under the Trump administration

Well-placed sources have told IAM that the USPTO could announce as early as today that Michelle Lee will continue as the agency’s director under the Trump administration when the new President takes office following his inauguration tomorrow. If confirmed, the reappointment would not be subject to approval from the Senate.

Lee has helped make the USPTO “Great Again” by improving patent quality and tightening scope, unlike David Kappos, her predecessor who now receives money from big corporations to lobby for the USPTO to get worse again. Shame on him. Never again!

In the mean time, the Wall Street media says that infringement litigation figures — not just over patents but also over copyrights — are down sharply. The gist of it:

Intellectual property infringement complaints in U.S. federal courts dropped in 2016 from a year ago, driven by declines in patent and copyright infringement claims, Bloomberg Law data shows.

Patent infringement filings totaled 4,624 complaints in 2016. That represented a 22 percent drop from a year earlier, as recent case law and regulation have made it tougher for patent licensing companies, also called non-practicing entities (NPEs), to mount and win legal fights. Patent infringement complaint filings rose steadily starting in 2010 and peaked in 2013, when 6,314 cases were filed in federal courts.

We pessimistically thought that Trump would make the patent litigation mess "Great Again" (he still can, but with Lee in charge even after his inauguration it remains to be seen). We don’t know who was behind the decision to keep Lee in charge and whether that can change after Trump’s inauguration (we hope not). These are somewhat political appointments and today is the Democrats’ last day in charge.

Speaking of litigation numbers going down (under Lee’s watch), the trolls’ business is declining and Detkin’s move away (partly away) from Intellectual Ventures is certainly a good sign. Even a trolls-funded ‘news’ site, which habitually grooms Intellectual Ventures, tacitly that admits patent trolling is an iffy/dying business. See this week’s article:

But it was Detkin’s move that looked particularly significant. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the IV co-founder and Rivette are two legends of the patent transactions and strategy world. As our story made clear, the pair estimated that they have been behind around $5 billion-worth of IP-related deals. Having scaled back his IV workload in late 2014, Detkin will continue to spend 50% of his time working for the patent giant, while joining forces with Rivette will enable him to focus more on advising larger companies on their IP strategies.

These moves come at a time when we’re seeing a huge shakeout in the licensing industry. Over the last few years large numbers of senior executives, some with very respectable track records have been on the move, in many cases not of their own volition as assertion strategies have struggled. With that in mind a comment last week from Rivette stood out in particular. “It’s not just about focusing on monetisation anymore,” he remarked. “Instead it is a lot more nuanced than can we sue or sell.”

Trolls are more reluctant to sue after Alice. See what recently happened to Intellectual Ventures at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). It lost so badly that judge Mayer eliminated not only Intellectual Ventures’ software patents but also — by extrapolation/extension — almost all software patents out there.

Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is what the EPO said in 2015 (every year the UPC is “ready” or “about to start”)…

Benoît Battistelli quote

Summary: The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting “real soon now” don’t quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC’s facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom

THERESA May may indeed have just killed the UPC, based on her historic speech which was delivered earlier this week. We already published a couple of articles about it and this one person drew our attention to a a new article by Peter Leung from Bloomberg BNA. “U.K.’s ‘Hard Brexit’ Plans May Undermine Patent Court” says the headline and here is the opening part with a succinct explanation:

The U.K.’s plan to join the proposed Europe-wide patent court could run into conflict with Prime Minister Theresa May’s desire to leave the jurisdiction of the European Union’s highest court.

May’s Jan. 17 speech promised to “bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.”

However, decisions by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) will be binding on the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

May’s speech highlights the fact that the fate of the UPC is closely intertwined with the complex negotiations over the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU.

In November, the U.K. announced that it would ratify the UPC agreement even though it will leave the EU. The new patent court is expected to start operations in 2017 and will have jurisdiction over a new unified patent right to have effect in most of Europe.

“The decision to proceed with ratification should not be seen as pre-empting the U.K.’s objectives or position in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU,” the U.K. Intellectual Property Office told Bloomberg BNA in an emailed statement.

The above, for a change, involved some fact-checking. Many publications these days, especially in the area of patents (or IP, which would mean also trademarks, copyrights etc.), are used/exploited/hijacked by Team UPC and/or the patent microcosm to promote the UPC based on jingoistic lies. They do the same thing to high-profile blogs. We have grown tired of that and recently adopted the label “fake news” in rebutting that noise.

“We need a strike in the UK against the Unitary Patent,” Benjamin Henrion wrote this week, as there is threat of “software patents via the backdoor” (as we covered here before).

“Shall the need arise,” I told him, we can set up a petition and call for protests, but “for now they’re just waffling over a dead UPC…”

There are attempts to fool or to shame the system into the will of UPC hopefuls. Those who are sober realists are being painted as having embraced a more extreme view. Take this new blog post for instance. “Ultimately,” it says, “whether the argument is accepted by the government and argued for strongly will depend not on its detailed, technical merits but whether it is acceptable to enough Tory MPs and right-wing newspapers. There are plenty of other areas of international trade where similar arguments are being raised. For example, representatives of the Law Society and English Bar made similar points about the mutual recognition of court judgments in the UK and EU, post-Brexit, when they gave oral evidence to the House of Lords’ Justice Sub-Committee recently.”

The matter of fact is, businesses in the UK — or Europe as a whole for that matter — do not want the UPC (they're being talked about — not for — by the patent microcosm). Most of them don’t even know what the heck it stands for and what on Earth the UPC is or does. Those who think they know what the UPC would do often base it on misinformation, as they have been lied to by the patent microcosm (see this week's example of fake news in ‘Financial Director’).

The “Unitary Patent,” says Gérald Sédrati-Dinet this week, “after 6 years, arguments I’ve raised on http://unitary-patent.eu are still valid” (links to some other fake news).

Remember he was threatened by the EPO, just like us. These people are bullying dissenting voices; they want to silence UPC antagonists.

It turns out that there is yet another barrier to the UPC, other than Brexit and Spain’s persistent refusal to accept the UPC. According to this tweet, which links to a new article in Polish, “Poland [is] yet not ready to join European Unitary Patent System | WTS Rzecznicy Patentowi @MSZ_RP @PremierRP http://wtspatent.pl/aktualnosci/patent-europejski-ze-skutkiem-jednolitym/”

“And if not dead,” asks the following comment, “is the UPP mortally wounded?”

Well it is dead unless it somehow gets resurrected, which is almost an impossibility in nature, unless one has strong religious beliefs (like a lot of the UPC echo chamber, where people just preach to their choir and say to each other what they want to hear). The UPC is dead/dying. But nobody wants to say it. Here is the full comment:

TM has now ruled out the CJEU having “direct” legal authority in the UK. Does this mean that the unitary patent project has just been killed (despite the UK, rather bizarrely, having previously indicated its willingness to proceed)?

And if not dead, is the UPP mortally wounded? It is now crystal-clear that the UK will no longer be an EU Member State, most likely by 2019. But the current wording of the UPC Agreement and the UP Regulations rather heavily rely upon all “Participating” Member States being EU Members. This affects pretty much every founding principle of the UPP, including issues such as unitary effect / character, legal personality of the UPC and scope / enforcement of decisions of the UPC… and there are no signs yet of any plans to “fix” those problems.

Based upon current signs, it seems that the political will is to press on regardless. But placing such a huge gamble on the system being able to survive Brexit seems absurd. The UK may feel that it will gain influence by getting the UPC up and running before Brexit… but it will then become a hostage to fortune with regard to the inevitable challenge at the CJEU, alleging non-compliance of the UPP with EU law. At that point, the UK will have no representation at the CJEU. So what will the UK then do if the EU Member States decide to kick out the non-EU country in order to preserve the system?

Here is another (longer) comment on the subject, latched just yesterday onto an article from 3 years ago:

Darren: I have an off-the-wall question for you. Can a “unitary” European Patent have unitary effect in a “Participating Member State” (PMS) that has not ratified the UPCA?

I had always presumed that the answer is a clear “no”. However, the rather loose wording used in Reg. 1257/2012 has given me pause for thought. Let me explain why.

Art. 2(a) of Reg. 1257/2012 defines a “PMS” essentially as an EU MS that participates in Enhanced Cooperation under Decision 2011/167/EU (or subsequent decision) in connection with unitary patents. That definition of PMSs clearly includes countries that have not ratified the UPCA.

So this begs the question of whether Reg. 1257/2012 limits the unitary effect of an EPUE to only certain PMSs.

Art. 5(2) is one example of a provision of Reg. 1257/2012 that refers to PMSs in which an EPUE has unitary effect. This of course implies that there can be PMSs in which the EPUE does not have unitary effect… a concept that is confirmed by the 2nd paragraph of Art. 18(2).

However, what is meant in Art. 18(2) by “participating Member States in which the Unified Patent Court has exclusive jurisdiction with regard to European patents with unitary effect”? The UPCA does not talk about “exclusive jurisdiction”, but rather “exclusive competence”. Further, the “exclusive competence”, as defined in Art. 32 UPCA does not have any geographical limits. (The opposite is true for the territorial scope of the decisions of the UPC, as defined by Art. 34 UPCA… but the question of where a decision has effect is completely separate from the question of where a patent has effect.)

Of course, this is where Art. 17(2) or Art. 18(5) of Reg. 1257/2012 could help. Those provisions require PMSs to update the Commission with progress made in updating national laws to ensure no “double” (unitary / national) protection. That is, those countries that do not notify the Commission under Art. 17(2) or 18(5) might be deemed to be PMSs in which there can be no unitary effect.

However, it seems absurd to interpret the territorial effect of an EU Regulation (which, of course, has direct effect regardless of national implementation) by reference to actions taken, or not taken, under national law.

Indeed, if ratification of the UPCA were a prerequisite to an EPUE having unitary effect in a PMS, then why does Reg. 1257/2012 not explicitly say so? After all, ratification progress is mentioned in Art. 18(3)… but with no apparent connection to Art. 18(2).

Also, what are we to make of the mis-match between “exclusive jurisdiction” in Reg. 1257/2012 and “exclusive competence” in the UPCA (bearing in mind the small areas of retained competence of the national courts, as well as the shared competence during the transitional period)?

If we can answer all of the above points, then I suspect that the answer to your original question will also emerge. Indeed, there will likely be a way found for the UPC and national courts to clearly distinguish between EPC Contracting States that are “ratified” PMSs, “non-ratified” PMSs, non-PMS EU MSs and non-EU MSs. But whether that distinction will survive Brexit is another question entirely…

People who are actually in this profession know deep inside that the UPC is unlikely to happen (certainty true in the UK). But what they say publicly is just a futile attempt to persuade young and inexperienced (especially in this area) politicians like Jo Johnson. We oughtn’t let them get away with the spreading of falsehoods.

Farce of an ‘Independence’ for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the ‘Overseer’/Host

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Mole’ or ‘rat’ a more derogatory way to put it in such scenarios…

A mouse trap

Summary: The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli

Pinocchio Battistelli, after a month of almost complete silence (the longest he has managed to go on without lying to the public), resumed his lying today. He speaks (warning: epo.org link) of “further improvements” in his so-called ‘blog’, but actually patent quality declined sharply, a lot of experienced examiners are leaving, and the EPO has become a laughing stock not just in Europe but in the whole world.

Battistelli, who is known for his fantasy world (either living in extreme denial or just lying habitually and also knowingly) boasts “best value for all our stakeholders” and “high quality”. This new caricature of EPO workers calling out "Bullshit!" comes to mind. Here is the complete paragraph from Pinocchio Battistelli: “It is clear from our preliminary results that filings have continued to rise during 2016. As an administering organisation, it is our job – no matter what the figures – to ensure that we are delivering the very best value for all our stakeholders; to our users, high quality, competitive services; for our member states, a modern international organisation that supports the European economy and its inventors; and, to our staff, an organisation that prepares its future on solid ground through investments and that appropriately rewards their achievements.”

It’s not hard to see that the above paragraph is full of lies. Battistelli is also lying about the UPC today, pretending that it’s coming this year (he says so every year and it’s always turning out to have been a lie). Here is the full paragraph: “The potential arrival of the unitary patent is set to be one of the most significant developments this year. 2016 was a mixed year for the UPP, with further UPC ratifications and a Brexit vote that caused speculation on its future. Now, following the UK’s decision to continue with ratification of the UPC, 2017 may well be the year in which the EPO administers the very first unitary patent. While the UPC is set to bring greater legal certainty to the European patent system, there will also be judicial developments at the EPO itself. The reform of the boards of appeal, adopted last year, is set to enhance perceptions of independence and managerial efficiency. This spring will see the start of the mandate of the new President of the BoA and the BoA unit is scheduled to relocate to a specific building this summer.”

That last part is one among many misleading claims (we don’t have time to rebut them all, including parts of about the UPC, which will be the subject of our next post), but when Pinocchio speaks of “perceptions of independence” he is talking out of his back hole again.

Based on some of the latest comments in IP Kat, for instance, not only Battistelli's ‘pet chinchilla’ Patricia García-Escudero is in the supposedly independent management. See this comment:

What a pity VP1 lacked examination experience.
Otherwise he could have continued service in the ranks of the examiners.

Just like VP3 who following his departure as Vice-President is now a common or garden legal member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal …

http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/171AFEDA714D60A2C125807C004D801E/$File/Enlarged_Board_of_Appeal_BDS_01_01_2017.pdf

“Sorry to hear about VP1,” another person responded. “He hasn’t been as fortunate as the former VP3 who apparently continues in service as a normal legal member of the Boards of Appeal.”

“Apparently,” said the above person. “the Kat is intent on censoring my comments referring to the fact that the a former Vice_President remains in service as a legal member of the Boards of Appeal.” This person later retracted this claim and wrote: “I take it all back. The Kat has apparently managed to extract my previous comments from its fluffball spam-filter…”

We wrote about censorship of comments over there at IP Kat several times before, even when these comments were very much needed (and polite).

Either way, the above continued with: “It means that he is a (legal) member (but not chairman!) of the Enlarged Board of Appeal rather than of a simple Board of Appeal.”

Finally came a clearer explanation with a reference:

Not just the Enlarged Board of Appeal.
He is a member of the Legal Board.
Check the business distribution for the Technical Boards.

https://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/business-distribution.html

He is assigned as a legal member to Boards 3.2.04 and 3.4.03.

So then… how much of an independence will these boards have? In some sense, the EPO continues to get worse than ever and the management sets itself up for more scandals.

As mentioned in this post yesterday, there is a new article in French about the EPO and someone noticed it, then wrote: “Article today in Le Canard Enchainé with a very pertinent cartoon !”

Here is the cartoon in question (below). Not to worry; we’ll end this secrecy.

French EPO cartoon

01.18.17

Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

Posted in Finance, Patents at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years

EARLIER TODAY SUEPO finally updated its Web site by posting this copy of an article [PDF] titled “Riche cuisine a l’Office européen des brevets” (for those who can comprehend French). But it’s not a signal of SUEPO accelerating again after weeks of inactivity (or very scare public activity).

“SUEPO has collapsed,” one person told us, perhaps overstating it a little bit. We heard similar things from other people. Here is an E-mail sent out earlier on:

Dear SUEPO members,
Dear colleagues,

2016 was a very difficult year for SUEPO. Mr Battistelli dismissed two members of the Munich SUEPO committee (Elizabeth Hardon and Ion Brumme) and downgraded a third (Malika Weaver) for the simple reason of defending staff rights. In The Hague one committee member was also dismissed (Laurent Prunier). Further investigations of other SUEPO committee members are pending.

Additionally Mr. Battistelli continued in 2016 with his abusive reforms, empty “consultations”, attacks on both ordinary staff and staff representatives as well as disregarding SUEPO as a social partner, making a mockery of his claims that he is seeking to establish a “social dialogue”. On top of this come cronyism, abuses of power and a total disrespect for the Rule of Law.

The Administrative Council seems unwilling or unable to react as recently shown again in its decision concerning ILO-AT Judgment 3785 regarding the illegal composition of the Internal Appeals Committee.

Despite the permanent implicit threat to all the committee members, last year the Munich SUEPO committee still managed to continue to defend staff rights. But the sheer madness of it all is having a serious negative impact on our health and on our families.

Towards the end of last year ██████ resigned. He has now been followed by ██████, ██████, ██████ and ██████. The reason for these resignations is that it is no longer possible for them to continue under the prevailing toxic conditions.

The resignations make a further full functioning of the Munich SUEPO committee near to impossible. The remaining committee members, ██████, ██████ and ██████, will continue to manage the ongoing affairs. All Munich SUEPO members will be invited to a General Assembly, the date and time of which is still to be decided and will be published soon.

Munich SUEPO Committee

We hope that people will step in to help. As we noted at the end of last year, SUEPO must consider going anonymous in order to avert persecution (we have redacted names above so as to not help Battistelli and his goons find new scapegoats). They would be absolutely justified in going anonymous given the way they and/or their colleagues have been (mis)treated.

Where are the human rights groups? Is Eponia insular enough to conveniently ignore?

Well, regardless, the fight for justice continues. Techrights, which is safer (from retribution etc.) will continue to combat abusive management at the EPO, in the interest of Europe in general, as well as EPO staff’s. We welcome submissions of material and information related to the EPO. We still have a lot of stuff that we are eager to publish this year, usually at the right opportunity based on relevance to current events.

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