Patent maximalism (rubberstamping), low examination quality, fiscal preference for large corporations and much more
Summary: Conservative Benoît Battistelli is trying to impose on the European Patent Office various truly misguided policies and he viciously attacks anyone or anything that stands in his way, including his formal overseers
MYSELF and others at Techrights worry deeply. We worry that Battistelli (of UMP, the French conservative party) will turn the Office into another large corporations-leaning USPTO and London (or some other European cities) into the next Eastern District of Texas, complete with venue shifting (dragging defendants to a distant and plaintiff-friendly court), high/unbearable litigation costs that favour settlement in spite of injustice (unless the defendant has deep pockets), massive scope of injunctions (beyond an entire continent), and of course software patents (among other low-quality patents). One reader told us yesterday, “have you heard of the latest load of rubbish from the EPO?” See the above screenshot. No comment is even necessary. How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?
“How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?”EPO workers are rightly afraid. Their job security (and their entire employer) has been compromised and is now at mortal risk (stakeholders know what’s happening) because of Battistelli and his friends. Battistelli does not even seem to mind. He attacks sceptics, not just critics. He is like Munich’s Erdoğan. Stability is not the goal; implementing his self-serving vision is the goal. Megalomaniacs can never admit their mistakes and change course.
News sites have learned to distrust Battistelli. Yesterday, for example, Managing IP asked readers about the latest lies from Battistelli's PR department rather than publish an article about it, perhaps seeing it for what it really is (propaganda). Yesterday the EPO PR people were trying to spread the message, but we have not yet seen a single Web site (even IP sites) covering it. Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.
“Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.”Looking at IP Kat yesterday, we saw nothing but affirmation that people now know better that there is a profound problem at the EPO. “In this context,” one person wrote, “I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down.” Here is the comment in full:
I reread the discussion again and it seems indeed that the days of the board of appeal are counted. Unfortunately, that also means that the examiners quality will not be controlled any more. When I talk to examiners, their main concern is that the BOA would turn over one of their decisions. THAT is what prevents them from cutting corners.
In this context, I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down. And I also know that the Office is hiring less competent examiners, quite simply because the pay is not as attractive as it was. Munich is expensive, local firms are not finding the engineers they need and have raised their entry salaries accordingly while the EPO has lowered theirs.
I also read here that some patent attorneys are suggesting that the applicants use the national route, for increased legal certainty. How will that solve their problems when the competitor comes with an infrigement case based on an unclear, vague patent granted by the EPO and validated by the UPC, which will have force of law in all EU states?
Another person wrote that “at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting.” We keep hearing from numerous sources that the EPO is struggling with brain drain and accordingly it lowered the recruitment bar. New workers don’t receive the same type of salaries and almost none of the benefits (not even job security). They are pressured to grant a lot of patents to justify their place at the EPO, which is exactly what happens at the USPTO (with notorious quality control in recent years). Here is the comment in full:
If you want to know the future of the EPO, take a peek at the official “social report”:
Despite being nothing more than a dry and dusty collection of statistics, the report contains some interesting figures.
Some of these clearly demonstrate that, at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting. For example, relative to the figures for 2014:
Numbers of advertised vacancies: up >25%
Number of job applications received: down 12%
Nationalities decreased presence: GB (-32), DE (-29), NL (-28), AT (-10), SE (-7), DK (-6), CH (-5), IE (-3), PT (-1), LU (-1)
Nationalities increased presence: RO (+9), ES (+8), IT (+6), PL (+6), TR (+4), BG (+3), RS (+3), LT (+2), FI (+1), FR (+1), HR (+1), MK (+1)
Permanent staff: down 1.3%
Contract staff: up 13.45%
New hires: down 30%
Termination of employment: up 44%
Increases in termination: retirement (+51%), resignation (+44%), invalidity (+36%)
The figures also show signs of increasingly aggressive management tactics, such as no strikes allowed in 2015 (vs. 22 days in 2014), 99% of all internal appeals rejected (vs. 88% in 2014). The trend at ILOAT, however, is going in the opposite direction (with allowed or partially allowed cases virtually doubling in percentage).
Given the shocking trends that it reveals (which appear to point to an organisation that is in crisis), I am somewhat surprised that this report was produced at all.
What do the AC have to say about this? Figures that speak for themselves surely cannot be brushed under the carpet so easily.
Responding to the above, one person wrote: “Of course they can – at the European Patent Office the money brought in by the increased productivity speaks louder than any figures.”
“It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting,” another person noted:
It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting. But that did not stop Minnoye to start a project to eliminate all examination stock backlog until end 2020. The project involves recruiting enough examiners to deal with the backlog (=hundreds) thereby creating “overcapacity”. The project started this month, the first applicant were sent letters requiring them to state wether they were still interested in examination.
Minnoye will push this at all cost: stock must be zero within 4 years.
The EPO’s “AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created,” one person wrote. The comment in full:
Sure, but the increase in money will only be a short-term effect. Unlike BB, the AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created. From this perspective, I still find it somewhat puzzling that the AC is doing so little to stop BB dynamiting the foundations upon which the EPO (and its reputation) is built.
It won’t be long before the general public, not just insiders at the EPO, recognise this crisis and demand change. It’s not too late to save the EPO, especially if there is public acknowledgement of the errors and then an effort to fix the errors. The main problem, however, remains; attracting again the same experienced examiners (some of whom left or retired early) is impossible and revisiting all the erroneously-granted patents would be laborious and harm ‘customer’ confidence.
Battistelli has secured his place in history books for the same reason Erdoğan has. █
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Hostile environment in which trolls thrive owing to software patents and cashless startups that must settle
Summary: With unconvincing excuses such as OIN, large corporations including IBM continue to promote software patents in the United States, even when public officials and USPTO officials (like Bahr on the left) work towards ending those
SOFTWARE patents remain a very major barrier not just to FOSS developers but to all software development. Such patents, unsurprisingly, are being promoted by monopolists and their facilitators, to whom they’re a major source of revenue. Those monopolists continually rig the whole system in their favour as they can definitely afford it; in fact, it might be considered part of the obligation to shareholders (protectionism through legislation).
The mainstream media or corporate media no longer talks about software patents. Instead it speaks about “patent trolls” and by patent trolls it means the small ones, not the media owners. Apple, for instance, is directly connected to some major media conglomerates, so bias in patent coverage is to be expected in some cases (we wrote about this in past years). Let’s be easily deluded and just ignore Apple demanding billions (not millions) from Android OEMs (patent aggression and sometimes trolling includes big vendors) and also forget Apple’s unique role in Intellectual Ventures (explained here several years ago), the world’s largest patent troll which goes after Android vendors. The article “Apple will pay $25M to patent troll to avoid East Texas trial” is eye-catching and so is “Newegg’s Three-Step Solution to Fighting Patent Trolls” by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This group likes to focus on patent trolls rather than patent scope. Here is some of the latest from Gary Shapiro:
Lee Cheng is a troll trapper. As chief legal officer for Newegg.com, the second-largest online only retailer in the United States, Cheng has successfully battled the almost three dozen trolls that have attacked his company in the last ten years. And not just fight them, but win.
Patent trolls — sometimes called “non-practicing entities,” or NPEs — don’t actually create any products or services. Instead, they scoop up patents for the express purpose of using them to extort money from real companies large and small that can’t or don’t want to pay high legal defense costs. NPEs focus on settlements and generally have no desire to test their generally poor-quality patents in trial and through appeal. Even bad patents can generate millions in settlement dollars.
A newly-updated Harvard Business School study finds patent trolls sue cash-rich firms “seemingly irrespective of actual patent-infringement” — because that’s where the money is. The Harvard researchers noted trolls are taking a toll on innovation at the firms they target: “After settling with NPEs (or losing to them in court), companies on average reduce their research-and-development (R&D) investment by more than 25 percent.” So instead of funding development of the Next Big Thing in consumer technology, these American small businesses are handing over legalized extortion payments to trolls.
Research estimates that patent trolls drain a prodigious $1.5 billion a week from the economy. I sat down with Lee Cheng to get a from-the-trenches account of the patent troll problem, and to let him share his lessons for taking down the trolls.
“They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals.”What Gary Shapiro misses here is that patent trolls are often part of a broader shell game played by large corporations such as Microsoft. They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals. All the focus is now being shifted towards trolls, both in the media and US Congress. Just see this new tweet (“VIDEO: Sen. Jeff Flake Targets Patent Trolls”).
Proskauer Rose LLP, which likes to cherry-pick cases in promotion of software patents, recently released this so-called ‘analysis’. They try to maintain a grip on software patents no matter what. Some large corporations are doing the same thing and it’s not limited to Microsoft. Consider IBM.
IBM’s commitment to Free software, especially now that it pays lobbyists like David Kappos for software patentability, should be seriously doubted. It just likes “Linux”. Manny Schecter, a patent chief at IBM, is an ardent proponent of software patents and he has just linked to “Latest very brief USPTO update to patent examiners on subject matter eligibility in view of recent cases…”
This is a PDF of a new Robert Bahr (Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy) letter regarding the Rapid Litigation case and Sequenom case (both covered here earlier this month). Herein he is alluding to Mayo and Alice as he might try to gently challenge these or begrudgingly adopt what the ‘pesky’ Supreme Court said. Here is a quote from the PDF: “In summary, the USPTO’s current subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples are consistent with the Federal Circuit’s panel decisions in Rapid Litigation Management and Sequenom. Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016). Questions should be referred to Technology Center subject matter experts or your SPE.”
Where does IBM stand on the subject? It’s hardly even a mystery. IBM does not like Alice because IBM loves software patents and actively works to expand these to more countries/continents. At the same time IBM brags about OIN as though it magically makes IBM’s patent policies absolutely fine and compatible with FOSS. “I don’t think there is an alternative choice when you are small entity,” told me someone today. “When has OIN actually helped a small company? Even as a deterrent,” I replied. “When your entity is relatively small,” he said, “OIN represents a potential shield to provide you even a minimum of security.”
“Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016).”
–Robert BahrBut how in practice can OIN protect one against a troll for example? It cannot. OIN is totally useless against patent trolls. Don’t ever forget that. I saw that firsthand when I was part of E-mail thread I had initiated. Small companies sometimes try taking rivals to court with their patents. If the rival is big enough, then countersuit is massive (IBM has a massive portfolio which virtually every software patents infringes on), defeating the very point of bothering with a lawsuit in the first place. Large companies may use trolls as satellites/proxies, so the lawsuits/countersuits can come from all sorts of mysterious directions.
“Intel and McAfee Sued for Patent Infringement,” writes Patent Buddy this week. Security Profiling LLC (LLCs are usually patent trolls) is suing in the Eastern District of Texas. What can Intel do about it? Nothing. Intel is now trying to sell/offload McAfee, based on last week’s news reports (see our daily links for half a dozen such reports). Has it become too much of a burden perhaps? The point about patent trolls and OIN sticks, no matter what. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has just fallen for the OIN public relations machine, joining the chorus which began with an 'exclusive' puff piece. OIN is not a “Linux” thing as some want it to be widely viewed; it’s mostly an IBM, Sony etc. thing. It helps legitimise software patents rather than acknowledge that they are not compatible with FOSS or Linux and thus need to be ended. █
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Using (or milking) the Office for his personal purposes?
Things are not always as simple as they may seem
Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s agenda at the EPO is anything but beneficial to the EPO and suspicions that Battistelli’s overall agenda is transitioning to the UPC to further his goals grow feet
EIGHT years ago we wrote about vendor capture in relation to ISO. Individuals or companies sometimes take advantage of police departments (see famous example above), public institutions or even other companies and the EPO appears to become a good example of this.
Some anonymous voices openly allege that Battistelli is not only surrounding himself with French people (former colleagues, family members etc.) at the top-level management (astronomical salaries and job security) but is also serving French buddies of his in France (he is politically-affiliated, in defiance of ILO or EPO rules), looking to empower himself in Paris (several sources sent us rumours over the years about his pursued role inside UPC). The following new comment repeats what we too have been saying regarding the UPC and Battistelli’s controversial actions, only to be proven correct by EPO management. They even explicitly admitted to it when asked by Dr. Glyn Moody several months ago. Here is what the comment says about the board of appeals (which relate to DG3):
I have been suggesting for ages that BB [Benoît Battistelli] is busy “clearing the path” for the UPC and its seat in Paris. For as long as DG3 exists, some litigants might prefer to dispute validity in Munich rather than in Paris. How badly will that hinder the growth of a healthy caseload docket in Paris?
But now it seems that the UPC is dead. No docket then for Paris, in the foreseeable future.
Time for the AC to press BB to stop clearing the path, to change direction and reinvigorate DG3, so it can dispatch cases in reasonable time? Wake up industry. Put pressure on your governments to instruct their AC representative accordingly.
Here is another comment on the subject:
Let me just say this: it is going to be the UPC, it is going to be in Paris and the board of appeal members will have nothing to say about it. They will never get employed by the UPC. The council and the president agree, nothing can stop them.
This was, as it turns out, noted also in the German media, not just Ars Technica (the aforementioned article from Glyn Moody). To quote:
That is certainly the plan of BB & Co. as was revealed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in October 2015.
One alleged aim of the failed coup attempt against BB was “… to prevent the Office from facing the biggest change in its history: the transition to the single European patent and a new jurisdiction with the Court in Paris, including branch offices, also in Munich. The Enlarged Board would be replaced as soon as all States have ratified the agreement.
Unfortunately in the meantime the Süddeutsche seems to have stopped reporting about EPO affairs:
Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment. “If you look at ILOAT 3699, it is about Bernard Paye,” one source told us, “the ex-head of Internal Audit, who was pushed aside because of the abolition of the Audit Committee, which he objected to.”
Something such as the Audit Committee existed for the function of oversight — something which Battistelli absolutely could not (and still cannot) stand — and he took little time — once he had seized power — to totally destroy it, as we first noted here in 2014 (the Audit Committee and independence of Internal Audit was abolished).
Internal Audit, as we noted before (years ago), is directly under Battistelli’s control now. We also mentioned this more recently, even a in relation to the EPO’s Investigative Unit. The story of how this came about must be recalled. Bernard Paye has now won his case against the Office, but not many people will have noticed (let alone remember him). “The ILOAT is pretty damning of the Office,” a source told us, and “the language is quite strong, “inconsistent arguments”, etc.”
“Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment.”We spent some time converting this decision into HTML and adding highlights in yellow. This once again reminds us of the important of whistleblower protections at the Office. As the decision below helps reaffirm, Bernard Paye was assigned to (or offered) a fictitious post — a similar thing to what happened in Croatia when Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’ tries to get rid of people (we covered this before). He was effectively fired for not agreeing with Battistelli and his “yes men”. The UPC is mentioned there too, namely “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent” (it all boils down to the UPC quite so often).
The decision below was reached (not yet published) earlier this month, so it took several years to reach a conclusion, at which point the chance of redemption, justice etc. was rather hard to reason about. In fact, this long delay would likely serve as a deterrent against future such cases (complaints) and the compensation offered is only a sixth of what was requested, which makes this entire ordeal (long process) less than worthwhile, except maybe as a matter of principle and setting the record straight.
Here is the full decision’s text (in English this time, not French):
Organisation internationale du Travail Tribunal administratif
International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal
the French text alone
P. (No. 2)
Judgment No. 3699
THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL,
Considering the second complaint filed by Mr B. Y. P. against the European Patent Organisation (EPO) on 20 June 2013 and corrected on 12 July, the EPO’s reply of 11 November 2013, the complainant’s rejoinder of 31 January 2014 and the EPO’s surrejoinder of 10 June 2014;
Considering Article II, paragraph 5, of the Statute of the Tribunal;
Having examined the written submissions and decided not to hold oral proceedings, for which neither party has applied;
Considering that the facts of the case may be summed up as follows:
The complainant challenges the decision to transfer him to a Senior Advisor post.
At the material time, the complainant held the grade A6 post of Head of the Internal Audit department, that is, Principal Directorate 0.6 of the European Patent Office, the EPO’s secretariat. When the President of the Office proposed that the Administrative Council abolish the Audit Committee – one of its subsidiary bodies – the complainant expressed his disagreement. On 30 June 2011 the Administrative Council adopted decision CA/D 4/11 abolishing the Audit Committee with immediate effect.
By a letter of 21 July 2011, the President of the Office informed the complainant that his public “opposition” to the decision to abolish Judgment No. 3699 the Audit Committee made it impossible for him to continue as Head of Internal Audit, and that he considered that this was no longer in the interests of the service. Under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Service Regulations for permanent employees of the EPO, the President therefore proposed to transfer the complainant to a post of “special advisor” and asked him to submit his “reactions” by 1 August.
A vacancy notice for the grade A6 post of Senior Advisor planning and preparation of the unitary patent – which was to be filled by way of a transfer – was published on 6 September. On 16 September the complainant wrote to the President stating that he did not intend to apply for that post as he did not believe he had the necessary qualifications and experience. By a letter of 29 September the complainant was notified that in the Office’s interests the President had decided to transfer him to the post with effect from 1 October. On 14 December 2011 the complainant filed an internal appeal against this decision, submitting that it constituted an abuse of authority, a hidden disciplinary sanction and an affront to his dignity. He requested the cancellation of the decision, his reinstatement in a post that corresponded to his qualifications, experience and level, and redress for the injury that he claimed to have suffered.
The Internal Appeals Committee, to which the matter was referred, delivered its opinion on 14 December 2012 after hearing both parties. Considering in particular that the complainant’s transfer to a post that did not really correspond to grade A6 had injured his dignity, the Committee unanimously recommended that the President cancel the decision to transfer the complainant, award the complainant 25,000 euros in moral damages and take prompt action to reassign him to a genuine grade A6 post with a view to allowing the complainant to end his career on a positive note. Failing this, the complainant should be awarded additional damages of 5,000 euros. By a letter of 25 March 2013, which constitutes the impugned decision, the complainant, who had retired on 31 December 2012, was notified of the President’s decision to dismiss his internal appeal.
The complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the impugned decision to transfer him to the post of Senior Advisor was unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for the moral injury he considers he has suffered as well as 2,000 euros in costs.
The EPO asks the Tribunal to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.
1. In his complaint, the complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the decision of the President of the Office to transfer him to a post of senior advisor unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for moral injury as well as costs in the amount of 2,000 euros. In support of his complaint, he submits that his “transfer constituted an abuse of authority and a hidden disciplinary sanction and that the post to which [he] was transferred was fictitious and was created to suit the circumstances
in violation of the applicable procedures”. He further submits that the post in question was not commensurate with his grade.
2. The EPO denies that the decision to transfer the complainant was unlawful. It further submits that, contrary to the complainant’s assertion, he was transferred to a post with grade A6 duties in keeping with his qualifications and experience.
3. This case presents two material questions. The first is that of whether or not the complainant’s transfer was wrongful. The second relates to the grade of the duties which the complainant was assigned; in other words, did the post of Senior Advisor to which the complainant was appointed correspond to a grade A6 position?
4. According to the complainant, his transfer was wrongful and was in fact a hidden sanction. He adds that the post to which he was assigned was “fictitious”. The defendant submits that the complainant was transferred in the EPO’s interests in light of his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee.
5. Although the complainant believes that his transfer was a hidden sanction, he does not bring any evidence in support of this allegation. His submissions merely contain an unsubstantiated assertion that his transfer to the contested post of Senior Advisor was a hidden sanction for his refusal to apply for that post. Furthermore, in his rejoinder he writes that he has “never disputed the right of the President of the Office to order a transfer in the Organisation’s interests, of which he is the judge”. There is no doubt here as to the Organisation’s interests: as the defendant argues persuasively, “it was no longer in the Office’s interest for the complainant to remain as Head of Internal Audit given that his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee demonstrated a marked divergence of opinion regarding the conditions in which Internal Audit was to operate and its position”. Moreover, the evidence shows that, contrary to what the complainant asserts, the post to which he was assigned involved duties that were real – irrespective of their level, which will be addressed below – and the post cannot therefore be regarded as “fictitious”.
6. The complainant submits that the post of Senior Advisor to which he was transferred was not commensurate with his A6 grade. In this regard, he stated in his internal appeal that Senior Advisor posts were “posts held by staff members who held grade A4 at most and who [did] not exercise any authority”. He added that the grade A6 responsibilities outlined in the “Job Descriptions” appended to the Service Regulations, according to which “[t]he Officer runs a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields or is chairman of a Board of Appeal [and] duties primarily consist in developing [...] authoritative guidelines [...] and taking decisions in particularly difficult and important cases”, were not involved in the task assigned to him, which merely consisted in “conduct[ing] an in-depth analysis of the situation and draft[ing] proposals”. The EPO maintains that the complainant’s duties in his new role of Senior Advisor corresponded to grade A6.
7. It is to no avail that the EPO attempts to show that the complainant’s duties were of grade A6 level. First, it invites the Tribunal to interpret the job description appended to the Service Regulations liberally as, in the defendant’s view, it would not be possible for the Office to perform its functions properly “if it were obliged to apply the generic post descriptions strictly to the letter, without regard to the particular circumstances of the case in question”. Next, it poses the question, tailored to this particular case, of “whether, in the circumstances of the present case, the complainant’s new role was reasonably commensurate with his grade”, and not that of whether it corresponded exactly to grade A6 duties. Lastly, it asserts that “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent, though involving no management responsibilities, were nevertheless at the same level as those of a grade A6 post”. These inconsistent arguments, submitted by the defendant to convince the Tribunal that the complainant’s new duties were at grade A6 level, poorly disguise the fact that this was not at all the case. The defendant itself acknowledges in its submissions that “the complainant’s new role did not entail all of the characteristics of a grade A6 post according to the generic description provided in the Service Regulations”. The Tribunal concludes that the complainant’s new duties were not commensurate with grade A6. The complainant did not run a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields; he was neither a Principal Director nor a Chairman of a Board of Appeal; he could not take decisions in particularly difficult or important cases. Hence, the contested transfer decision must, as the complainant requests, be ruled unlawful.
8. The EPO will be ordered to pay the complainant the sum of 10,000 euros as redress for the moral injury incurred as a result of that decision.
9. As the complainant succeeds in part, he is entitled to an award of costs, set at 2,000 euros. For the above reasons,
1. The impugned decision is quashed and the contested transfer decision is declared unlawful.
2. The EPO shall pay the complainant 10,000 euros in moral damages.
3. It shall also pay him 2,000 euros in costs.
In witness of this judgment, adopted on 28 April 2016, Mr Claude Rouiller, President of the Tribunal, Mr Patrick Frydman, Judge, and Ms Fatoumata Diakité, Judge, sign below, as do I, Dražen Petrović, Registrar.
Delivered in public in Geneva on 6 July 2016.
Battistelli’s abuses may as well end up bankrupting/fossilising the Office (compensations, millions spent on buying the media for UPC promotion and setting up lobbying events). He has already, based on reports made to us, reduced demand for EPO services as stakeholders recognise the sharp decline in quality of service and thus go elsewhere or recommend/advise clients to turn to national offices etc.
There are more cases like the above and we intend to mention or properly cover them in the future as they serve to highlight/establish Team Battistelli’s guilt. █
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Summary: A reminder of where the EPO stands on social issues and why the latest so-called ‘social’ report is nothing but paid-for propaganda for Battistelli’s political ambitions
THE EPO is in a state of crisis (as even the entire Organisation admits). The President has 0% approval rating and there is growing unrest. Later this year EPO management will probably be chastised by the Dutch Supreme Court (and Dutch politicians, never mind Dutch media) and another trial at The Hague began on Friday. There are clearly several cases against EPO management at The Hague right now. The latter is about the attack on staff representatives (more of them silently got sacked recently) and the former about a variety of issues less severe (but nonetheless ones for which the EPO was found guilty).
EPO workers, we recently learned, are already doing fund-raisers for a post-Battistelli party. This party would probably take a while to actually take place and additionally, his departure isn’t the end of it all. He has polluted the entire management rank. It’s full of his cronies now. If Battistelli’s craziness and his paranoia continue to escalate, soon enough he’ll hire people with jobs skills like “eating” to test (or taste) his food for him. He has become just about as insane as Erdoğan or other tyrants which history turned into iconic symbols (not just Napoleon). “Still no comment from the EPO President about the coup attempt in Turkey,” one person wrote earlier today. “Doesn’t he care about what is going on there? Let us not forget that Turkey is an EPO member state!!!”
The EPO has said nothing about Turkey but instead it has just released a pile of lies (they call it “social report” rather than “social study”, maybe to help dodge — SEO-wise — the negative association with the long-malign ‘study’). We wrote about this study many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Insiders have warned about how it was done and why it would tell lies once released. Right now the EPO's PR team and its outside help (FTI Consulting, with over a million Euros of EPO budget) must be pressuring journalists to repeat their ‘social’ lies. How many will they manage to bamboozle and/or co-opt? That remains to be seen.
It typically takes a day or two for the EPO to mention its blog posts or “news” [sic] in its Twitter account. Over at Twitter today the EPO is promoting this event in Madrid, Spain. In spite of or because Spain is a thorn in the EPO’s side? Remember that Spain is one of the biggest barriers to the UPC and mind the fact that “EPO management is still busy with the UPC,” according to this new comment. Here is the comment in full: “People discuss the future of the board of appeal as it it had a future. The president said it many times: in his mind, there is no need for the board of appeal with the UPC. The board of appeal members missing have not been replaced in the past years (just check how many posts are still vacant) and will not be replaced. The move to another place is classical in French politics, just check how it was done at French Telecom (it’s in the press): they moved people around to harass them and force them to resign. The EPO management is still busy with the UPC, BTW. They believe brexit is not a problem.”
“This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction.”The EPO can ignore Brexit all it wants, but it pretty much rendered the UPC dead (or dying, or in a limbo for several years to come). Looking beyond the failed UPC, Sweden opens a new specialised court of its own. “A new era for the Swedish intellectual property market will be ushered in on September 1 2016 with the opening of the Patent and Market court in Stockholm,” wrote a sister site of WIPR. “On the whole, Swedish participants in this year’s WTR 1000 research process are expecting the introduction of a specialised, IP-exclusive court to be an overwhelmingly positive development for their jurisdiction.”
Things are not working out so well for the EPO these days. This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction. █
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All Battistelli Needs Right Now is a Reichstag Fire or Parliamentarian Attack (Not Bicycles)
Original photo: Erdoğan, 2012
Summary: Pretexts for crackdown on law-abiding people or figureheads who are remote and independent the hallmark not only of Erdoğan but also the EPO’s President, Benoit Battistelli
THIS afternoon we took note of an analogy involving Erdoğan. It has gone viral today (if not yesterday). Battistelli, like Erdoğan, is taking advantage of emergency — real or perceived — to seize total control/endless power and crack down on potential competition/opponents while surrounding oneself by people who even mess around with a bailiff. OpenDemocracy called the coup d’état attempt against Erdoğan “Turkey’s Reichstag fire” and many people haven’t been missing the stunning similarities/parallels when it comes to the EPO. Earlier today someone wrote: “Just wait, the EPO President will probably condemn the Cout détat in Turkey, just wait…”
“…many people haven’t been missing the stunning similarities/parallels when it comes to the EPO.”Given how Battistelli, inherently a politician, takes advantage of political events to further his agenda (he last did this a few days ago [1, 2]), they rightly suspect he might spin this one too. As a side note, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdoğan blames for the coup (in spite of him being half the globe away), alleges that this whole coup may have been staged (coordination at the top, but no knowledge of the plot among the troops down under).
“What an embarrassment to Turkish democracy and to the rule of law (or lack thereof) at the EPO.”Another person wrote: “The Frenchman Battistelli expresses heartfelt sympathy to the people of France. But only in English. Presumably for reasons of administrative efficiency. Who actually writes this sanctimonious bull***t, anyway? And who cares what the European Patent Office “firmly believes”? It’s just a patent office, FFS. Now eagerly anticipating Battistell’s statement expressing solidarity with President Erdogan.”
A nice analogy in this case can be highlighted here (“”Turkey’s Erdogan Expands Post-Coup Crackdown To Target Judges”) and many other articles about the coup. Battistelli and Erdoğan are both going after judges as if they are the root of all evil. What an embarrassment to Turkish democracy and to the rule of law (or lack thereof) at the EPO. █
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The sort of ‘journalism’ software patents proponents would stoop down to
Summary: Attacking the enforcer of Alice v CLS because it’s doing harm to his source of income, which makes him angry
AS EVERY reader probably knows by now, software patents are dying in the US and PTAB helps end them without even trials, based on technical reassessments [1, 2].
Technology Center 3600 has become the scapegoat of Gene Quinn (and his chums). That was earlier today. Watch this “WatchTroll” (as we’ve called him for a number of years) as he attacks PTAB, which merely does its job. It invalidates a lot of software patents, but WatchTroll uses sexual dysfunction connotation and picture of marionettes to imply misconduct, malpractice or incapacity. “What is happening in TC 3600,” he said, “is prosecution is being re-opened for the purpose of issuing Alice rejections.”
“WatchTroll, like Kappos, is trying to shame the USPTO or pressure political figures/officials to put an end to Alice (or those enforcing it).”Yes, what’s wrong with that?
“Of course,” he adds, “Alice v. CLS Bank was decided in June 2014, so this is not a new development.”
So what? So suddenly it’s “too late” to do justice? Better late than never. The EPO could take a lesson from this.
WatchTroll, like Kappos, is trying to shame the USPTO or pressure political figures/officials to put an end to Alice (or those enforcing it). They show no respect for the Supreme Court.
“Maybe the problem here isn’t Technology Center 3600 but the greedy WatchTroll (and the likes of him).”WatchTroll’s closing words are harsh and they urge the Patent Office to punish people who are doing their job. He wrote: “Re-opening these cases was an abuse of power plain and simple. Will the Patent Office do anything about what is going on in Technology Center 3600? Time will tell, but it is becoming increasingly impossible to believe that senior management of the Office is not well aware of the fundamental unfairness applicants in TC 3600 face. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to believe they do not at least tacitly authorize the behavior.”
Maybe the problem here isn’t Technology Center 3600 but the greedy WatchTroll (and the likes of him). It’s no secret that they are patent maximalists who pursue patents on algorithms without even understanding the concept of algorithms (WatchTroll said he had written code but could not name a single example when I asked him to, whereupon he ran away).
No doubt some patent attorneys support software patents (I debated one of them earlier today), but shouldn’t the will of software developers count when it comes to their own discipline? Why is it that media which covers patents is so saturated or stuffed with people who aren’t in fact developing software but are happy to encourage software patenting because they profit from it? █
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Summary: Relative apathy if not complete silence regarding the EPO at Süddeutsche Zeitung following reports of FTI Consulting’s deal expansion (media positioning in Germany), with hundreds of thousands of Euros (EPO budget) thrown at the controversial task
FOR THOSE WHO don’t know this already, Süddeutsche Zeitung is a Munich-based publication, so one might expect it to write about the EPO very frequently (the EPO is headquartered in Munich). There is no lack of EPO scandals to write about; there are — if anything — too many of them to keep abreast of. So where on Earth has Süddeutsche Zeitung gone? Panama? Mind the EPO connection…
Süddeutsche used to do some proper journalism regarding the EPO (e.g. [1, 2]), but as soon as FTI Consulting got involved a judge got defamed by Süddeutsche. It was never the same anymore. Was Süddeutsche ‘sabotaged’ by the Office, to put a spin on their ludicrous (and now infamous) headline? We don’t know for sure, but we heard stories…
A lot of the traditional/objective tone at Süddeutsche changed after the EPO had signed the FTI Consulting deal, later to be expanded specifically in Germany (for reputation laundering purposes, not necessarily at or just at Süddeutsche Zeitung). Around that time I made some private inquiries, as poor reporting gradually turned into silence (unwillingness to cover).
Here is one message that I sent them months ago:
BRINGING FORWARD / WIEDERVORLAGE
I would like to enquire, with humble and good intentions, why you have been silent about the demonstrations at the EPO in Munich, The Hague, and the general situation at the EPO. The media, including the media in Munich, has an obligation to inform the public about such issues.
Has the EPO been in contact or used pressure to affect your angle on this? If so, you are not alone. Please explain why there has been such a silence for a very long time; it’s not reasonable to just pretend nothing is happening at the EPO.
If it’s possible for somebody, e.g. Katja Riedel, to contact me (E-mail or phone) to explain the reasons for not publishing anything, that would be greatly appreciated.
I sent several more messages, but I have not received a response from Süddeutsche. I never did. However, someone told me that something had been going on internally at Süddeutsche. They probably just didn’t want to talk about it. If any of our readers might be willing to challenge their silence and get their explanation for it, please write to
email@example.com. We know for a fact that there is something nefarious therein and we leave it for readers to explore further. Maybe when they received enough such queries they will eventually feel compelled to respond. █
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Circulating around the World Wide Web today
Summary: Reminds you of someone?
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