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06.29.15

Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

Posted in Patents at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well

Lawyers and other patent-centric parasites based in the unofficial home of patent trolls, the state of Texas, are very much upset with Alice — a case which essentially invalidates many of the patents they use for extortion. We covered this before and explained the reasons for it. Their livelihood is in jeopardy because they can’t quite prey on life savings of individuals and modest (at best) bank accounts of various startups around the US. “East Texas Federal Judge Sets Rules for Post-’Alice’ World,” says one article. We recently showed how patent practitioners in Texas were lobbying hard to keep the patent trolls going (antagonising patent reform), with their blackmail (as a ‘business’) flourishing. Using Lex Machina’s figures, Matt Levy very recently shared some statistics about Texas, and the Eastern District of Texas in particular. To quote: “The Eastern District of Texas had over 1,400 patent cases filed last year, and over 1,000 patent cases have been filed there in the first half of 2015. (Source: Lex Machina) Just last month (May), out of the 418 lawsuits filed, 295 were filed in Marshall, Texas, a town with a population of just under 24,000. For comparison, there were only 199 patent lawsuits filed in total in May 2014.”

“Apple sued the biggest Android distributor (Samsung) and Google’s/Android’s favourite child (Motorola), but then again so did Microsoft.”BlackBerry, which is rumoured to be exploring Android as the only route forward (not just one among several routes) was looking like an anti-Android troll in the making until not so long ago, but according to this analysis of “BlackBerry’s Licensing Revenue” (meaning patents): “There was little to no IP licensing done in the recent past.”

Perhaps BlackBerry is no longer a threat like Nokia, which Microsoft definitely turned into an anti-Android patent troll (of the bigger kind).

Speaking of trolls, Joe Mullin, a trolls expert, says that a “[p]atent troll wins $30M verdict against Sprint, has more trials on the way”. This story, for a change, didn’t develop in Texas. To quote Mullin, “Nebraska jury has ordered Sprint to pay $30 million to Prism Technologies, a patent-holding company that has sued the five largest cell phone carriers.

“Tuesday’s verdict (PDF) comes at a time when Congress is debating, for the second time in recent years, a bill to rein in companies like Prism, often referred to as “patent trolls.”

“Prism Technologies was founded as a successor to Prism Resources, an operating company that existed from 1991 to 2001 according to an online biography of co-founder Richard Gregg, who testified at trial. The company is now focused solely on licensing and litigation, and it has continued to get more patents.”

A week ago, citing this article from Ina Fried, BoingBoing asked, “Is patent trolling going out of style?”

That is indeed the case based on the booster of Microsoft and longtime promoter of Microsoft’s attacks (with patents) on GNU/Linux (Ina Fried did a lot of this while still at CNET/CBS). Fried writes: “For a while it seemed the mobile industry was deteriorating into a battle over who had the best patents — and the best patent lawyers.

“Apple was suing Samsung, Motorola was suing Microsoft and Google was in everyone’s cross hairs. And there were a lot more cases that weren’t making headlines.”

Apple sued the biggest Android distributor (Samsung) and Google’s/Android’s favourite child (Motorola), but then again so did Microsoft. The latter aggressor sued both companies and recently pressured the former to become a vassal of Microsoft in exchange for settlement. Microsoft has essentially itself become more like a patent troll, but since it refuses to let its own platform go (despite massive losses), it does not yet qualify, not as per the textbook definition of “patent troll”.

“Unified Patents,” said this one report from the other day, “works to deter nonpracticing entities from asserting weak patents” (whatever “weak” means).

When will Microsoft be recognised for what it really has become? When will European authorities react in lieu with their promise and stop Nokia from essentially becoming a European patent troll? Will BlackBerry ever sell its patents or itself become a patent troll? And in light of Apple‘s latest (over)hyped patent [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], will more people care to realise that Apple is not an innovator but an aggressor (using patents for lawsuits and imtmidation, not highlight any significant breakthroughs)? Also mind Amazon‘s latest Orwellian patent, which hardly comes across as anything that a 5-year-old wouldn’t have managed to ‘invent’.

06.28.15

The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

Posted in Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ensuring that rich people become even richer, resistant to challenge

NYC

Summary: A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends

THE HUGE news (in our assessment) that no Free software and GNU/Linux sites ever talk about is the fast demise of software patents in the United States. The prospects of patent blackmail are greatly affected (vastly diminished) by this. It helps any unaffiliated (independent from corporations and thus autonomous) software project compete against big entities with patents — those that have been shutting down Free software projects for years, usually by means of intimidation alone. Indie Free software developers cannot afford days in court and the income they receive from Free software they develop tends to be zero or very little, so the incentive to go to court is reasonably low.

Not only software patents are affected but patents on business methods are too. As this one article put it a fortnight ago: “Each panelist had a very interesting perspective on the future of patents held by banking and financial services firms, where the majority of these patents are primarily business methods and software related.”

Debates about patent scope are important. Some wonder whether drugs should be patentable (ethical issues arise because of potentially mortal impact) and other wonder about patenting medical devices so as to price them out of reach, if not just monopolise them, thus making them more scarce (unavailable in poorer places or inaccessible to poor people).

“No matter who wins and who loses a case, patent lawyers will always profit from it.”Patents originally promised ‘protection’ for the little independent inventor, supposedly protecting him or her from much better funded corporations with copycats and mass production. In reality, as these new figures serve to show, patents are being hoarded or at least gathered mostly by large corporations, perhaps reminding us who is best served by today’s patent system. It’s getting worse — and fast! The past decade alone has been terrible amd the passage of power to large corporations accelerated, as evidenced by patents. As Patently-O puts it: “As with dependent claims, the average number of independent claims per patent has also dropped significantly over the past decade. (From around 3.2 to 2.5 independent claims per patent). As the histogram shows below, the decline comes primarily from a rise in the percentage of applications with three-or-fewer independent claims.”

Many thanks to Dennis Crouch for shattering a common myth about ‘protection’ for the little independent inventor. This myth is now dead. Crouch attributes this to costs and explains that “change is largely driven by PTO fees and the ongoing commodification of patent prosecution.”

The system is now just tilted in favour of large corporations. The Fitbit-Jawbone feud which we mentioned the other day is still in the news [1, 2] and it helps remind us who benefits the most from patent extravaganza (more so than corporations): patent lawyers. No matter who wins and who loses a case, patent lawyers will always profit from it. Patent litigation is a racket and a racket that needs to be ended, just like Major General Smedley Butler once explained in relation to the war industry.

After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will Europe tolerate corruption again?

“[A]mazing that corruption is [accepted] by the entire developed world. stunning that it has met with resistance only with some developing nations and maybe the european union.”

Ashok Pai

European flags

Summary: The abuses of the EPO’s management summarised in a 9-page document, which includes many references to media coverage in Europe

THE coming weeks or months promise potentially big changes, similar to the ones at FIFA (with Blatter in Battistelli’s shoes). Like glorified tyrant Lee Kuan Yew, Battistelli exercises authoritarian control in pursuit of profit (at all costs, even by expanding patent scope beyond what is legal), including corruption of the media, corruption of what was supposed to resemble separation of powers, and self-indulgence in massive inequality, even embezzlement of public money and misuse thereof for human rights violations. Some large businesses may genuinely like Battistelli, but not the citizens (of Europe) or the workers (of EPO); they are just afraid to say it. It’s a reign of terror. It’s tyranny.

The Council of Europe's complaint (with over 80 high-profile signatures) sure put a lot of pressure on the EPO‘s management. Here is the direct link corresponding to the Council of Europe’s official statement in its Web site. The French version is here.

Some time on Sunday SUEPO wrote in its public site:

The social conflict at the European Patent Office continues. The working climate has become toxic for both individual staff in the EPO and for the broader functioning of this European institution as a whole.

An overview of the latest events and an analysis of the current situation can be found in this publication.

Since this is a PDF-only publication, we decided to reproduce it as HTML, potentially broadening its reach:

26.06.2015

su15271cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2/5.3

Situation of European Patent Office (EPO)

JUNE 2015

Governments, politicians, representatives of Europe’s industry, NGOs and other interested critical observers, all should be concerned about the situation at the European Patent Office.

The officials of the EPO are entrusted with carrying out the European patent granting process, which includes taking responsibility for an independent review of European patent applications and for the application of law in this area of intellectual property.

However, governance over the current EPO procedure lacks fundamental checks and balances, there is no democratic control, and the staff themselves have in many cases no effective access to an independent, impartial judicial review when contesting a decision.

Yet checks and balances with access to a fair trial are fundamental components of the rule of law enjoyed in the democracies of our founding States, since they belong to their “community of values”. But apparently these are not applied in the EPO, which is fast becoming an island of lawlessness in the very heart of Europe.

For EPO staff, this governance problem is compounded by the now notoriously authoritarian administration style of the President of the EPO, Benoit Battistelli, such that the problem is now acute. Under his regime, the EPO has become a police state operating with impunity. Opposition is not tolerated and any staff perceived as being “obstructive” are removed by way of disciplinary procedures, penalties or other means, sometimes of dubious legality. Staff – in particular Union officials – are investigated and interrogated, in some cases by an external security agency, without any personal safeguards.

The events described in this document illustrate the dramatic downward trend in social dialog over the last four years. This drift, which is now increasingly visible to the public, finds its roots in an EPO management style characterized by its authoritarian leadership. The working climate is toxic for both individual staff in the EPO and for the broader functioning of this European institution as a whole. Functional immunity granted to the EPO has been conceived as blanket immunity, thereby exposing staff to the unlawful exertion of internal influence.

Not only the Administrative Council of the EPO, but also the European authorities and the public at large, all should beware the undesirable consequences when such abusive powers are left to operate effectively with total impunity.

UPDATED PRESS COVERAGE AND LETTERS FROM SUEPO
CAN BE FOUND HERE:

http://www.suepo.org/public/news

1


The EPO as a battlefield?1

1. Reforms

The European Patent Convention is now over 40 years old. The EPO is set up according to principles of the international civil service, many of which date back to the early 20th century. As early as 2007, the Administrative Council mandated a succession of EPO Presidents to develop and then introduce a number of reforms. The need for reform is understandable; it should strive to maintain the organisation’s compatibility with the needs and values of the public it professes to serve. However until now, most of the reforms have concerned human resources management and changing working conditions. None have addressed the issues of transparent governance with management accountability.
The working conditions laid down in the Service Regulations are not published; once the Administrative Council adopts new working conditions, they are implemented without any possibility for an independent instance or for the public to verify their compatibility with fundamental rights or with the generally accepted principles of law. A combination of claimed total immunity and, at the behest of the President, the abolition of external audit has led to this grave situation. Far from being of simply academic concern, the issue of control over governance and enforcement of fundamental rights is a very concrete issue. Although EPO staff members are civil servants, they do not enjoy the same “safety net” as
their counterparts in national administrations. In the event of termination of contract, EPO staff have no claim to support from a national health insurance, nor will they receive any unemployment benefits. In addition, their pension rights are not always secured.

2. Democratic deficit

All citizens of any democratic country retain, at least indirectly through their elected representatives, a certain degree of influence over the rules and legislation that will apply to them. They can always take part through internal procedures of political parties in the elaboration of proposals, they can participate in public debates, and ultimately they can vote legislators out of office at the next election. This is not the case in the EPO. Binding rules are enacted by the Administrative Council (which consists of non-elected civil servants from member states) on the recommendations of the President of the EPO. Lack of meaningful consultation or collaboration means staff has virtually no say and judicial control is limited.
Many of the changes introduced are perceived as being nonsensical, disruptive and later deemed inconsistent with subsequent changes. This has caused widespread discontent.

3. Repression of dissent: An uncontrolled police state

Even though the outcome was often less than satisfactory, the EPO management must be given credit for trying, at least between 2007 and 2010, to allay the concerns of staff by engaging in meaningful dialogue with elected staff representatives, including the staff union. All this has changed dramatically under the current President. Instead of engaging in dialogue, he has chosen the path of systematically repressing the slightest expression of dissent and/or opposition.
To silence any dissenting voice, the President has unilaterally introduced a raft of reforms including: changing the rules for challenging decisions; introducing new “investigation

____________________
1 IPKat provides an interesting overview of the events at the EPO since 1 January 2015.

2


guidelines“; introducing new strike rules; banning SUEPO from EPO premises; applying disciplinary measures to Staff Representatives; banning Staff Representatives from sending emails to more than 50 Staff members; investigating Staff representatives using the Investigating Unit who use sometimes dubious methods and external2 contractors.
Both the international press and the internet are replete with negative reports concerning the management style of Benoît Battistelli. These include:

  • Censorship over deteriorating working conditions;
  • Disciplinary measures and threats against those individuals who raise the issue of four suicides in 3 years. Threats of reprisals against those who intend to join a peaceful demonstration duly authorized by the city authorities;
  • Suspension of and disciplinary measures against two Staff Committee nominees in the Appeal Committee, allegedly for daring to resist management manipulation;
  • Suspension of a “patent judge”, a Board of Appeal member, by the EPO President under the guise of a “house ban”, which has now endured for more than 6 months)3;
  • Installation of secret spying equipment (including key-loggers) on computers in the semi-public areas of the EPO: such computers were made available to members of the Administrative Council (during AC meetings) and visiting patent attorneys while prosecuting patents for their clients;
  • Approval – albeit retroactively4 – of such spying by the Data Protection Officer;
  • While ostensibly trying to repair its image by endeavouring to re-open dialogue with the Unions5, the Administration has concurrently launched investigations against the majority (if not all) of the Staff representatives and Union Officials. Many of these investigations have been sub-contracted to an external company, Control Risks, who have a somewhat
    controversial reputation. Their techniques involve interrogation without any safeguards, all this at the initiative of the investigation unit, itself under the direct authority of the President of the Office.

4. No effective access to justice

Staff is particularly aggrieved because it has no reasonable way to seek relief through judicial review:

  • The internal dispute resolution process (the Internal Appeals Committee) and the subsequent external instance (the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation) are reserved for individual grievances that can be instigated once the alleged

____________________
2 A comprehensive list can be found in the following SUEPO publication.
3 This action has generated enormous disquiet, not only among bloggers, attorneys and EPO union officials, but also within the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The Administrative Council endorsed this decision in its December session. Up to date (June 2015), disciplinary proceedings are on-going and the BoA member is still suspended until a further decision, probably the next AC session.
4 It has become apparent from a document (archive) available on internet (FOSS Patents) that the covert surveillance of publicly accessible computers in the Munich ISAR building by the Investigation Unit has been signed by the Data Protection Officer of the European Patent Office. A blogger, Florian Mueller, comments as follows: “There is now
conclusive evidence that the EPO has violated basic human rights not only of its staff but even of unsuspecting visitors of one of the EPO’s Munich facilities. [...] [T]he request that the “data protection officer” (who is more than 25 years late to serve as a Stasi official) authorized merely refers to freedom-of-speech issues: “a sustained campaign of defamatory and insulting communications against [the EPO's Jack Warner] Vice President Zejlko Topic, other senior managers of the Office and possibly Administrative Council Delegates, in the form of normal post and electronic mail.”
In the mean time, neither the EPO nor the AC representatives have commented upon these events, let alone taken steps to suspend the investigations. See References [6]-[11] below.
5 In an attempt to limit the damage in the public eye, and to counter the criticism within the Administrative Council, the Chair of the Council Jesper Kongstad and the President of the EPO Benoit Battistelli called for “a renewed social dialogue”: They “consider in particular that the formal recognition of the trade unions within the EPO’s legal framework could create the conditions to re-launch the process and to overcome some longstanding issues5.” This led the way to “trilateral meetings” with representatives of the unions, of the Administrative Council and the President. However, it has become quite clear that any “recognition” has to remain toothless.

3


  • damage has occurred. Only in very exceptionally circumstances can a general decision, such as a decision modifying working conditions, be challenged perhaps collectively before it has been implemented.
  • An appeal against dismissal or other disciplinary action can only be sought in front of the “Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation” (ILOAT) in Geneva, who cannot grant injunctive relief. The situation can only be corrected once the damage has occurred: such relief may take many years. This and the lack of any emergency procedure,
    makes EPO staff particularly vulnerable to succumbing to the threats inherent in the present management style.
  • The staff union has no access to either the Internal Appeals Committee or to the ATILO. As a corporate body established under national law, the Union may have access to the domestic courts of the host countries, but the EPO shields itself behind its functional immunity from any and all jurisdiction and execution.
  • Even when staff members have access to the statutory dispute resolution process, it takes on average 3-5 years for a grievance to be assessed by the Internal Appeals Committee. If the grievance then proceeds to the ATILO, the claimant can count on a minimum of another 3-4 years before the grievance is heard. All in all, with the current increasing backlog in the
    Internal Appeals Committee and at the ATILO, it is expected that grievances lodged after 2011 will not be adjudicated before at least a decade.
  • Staff repeatedly complain that the Appeals Committee is both highly dysfunctional and lacking in impartiality. Things were so bad that in October 2014, the Central Staff Committee refused to appoint representatives to the Appeals Committee until these issues were resolved. Instead of addressing them, the President simply ordered his appointees to proceed without staff representatives6.
  • On behalf of the AC, the Board of Auditors of the European Patent Organisation reviewed the Internal Appeals procedure in June 2015 (CA/20/15). They have confirmed that the President does not follow recommendations of his own Appeals Committee insofar as he (almost) systematically rules against staff. The ILO-AT itself judged that it “is ill equipped to act as a trial court” (J.3291). For SUEPO, there can be no social peace without unrestricted access to impartial justice.
  • Moreover, if one takes the figures provided by the auditors for 2013 – 20 Nov 2014 in A/20/15 and compares them to the figures provided by the President in his social report (CA/55/15), one realizes that between 20 Nov. and 23 Dec. 2014, the Committee apparently managed to produce over 150 opinions in a single month! One could be tempted to conclude that when the clash exploded and the Appeals Committee was directed to continue its work without staff representatives, the remainder of the Committee either accelerated to an incredible speed or found a short-cut to the procedures: in a couple of sessions and within a few days, it took care and to provide opinions on the equivalent of the past year’s “production”.

5. Conflict

The management style that currently prevails in the EPO may well be both detrimental to its proper functioning and undermine the EPO’s reputation on the international stage. This has generated a considerable number of articles in the mainstream press or well-respected blogs on intellectual property. Questions have even been raised in several European parliaments. Despite this unrest, the organization fails to adhere to European values.

To try and ease the situation, the staff representation has repeatedly proposed to Mr. Battistelli to use an external mediator; this suggestion has always been rejected. The Union has proposed a

____________________
6 Staff Committee views can be found here [1].

4


framework agreement to regulate relations between itself and management; the proposal has also been ignored. Recently, the German court in Munich also suggested mediation as a means to
facilitate resolution of a dispute with the union; Mr Battistelli flatly rejected the Court’s recommendation.

Eventually, the Union has had to bring the matter before a national court where they claimed that the EPO was infringing SUEPO’s right to operate and to engage in collective bargaining. The Dutch Court of Appeal, in its February judgment, ruled in favour of SUEPO vs EPO. To quote from an article in the Nederlands Juristenblad, a Dutch legal magazine:

“The Court of Appeal in The Hague has created an international precedent in the case against EPO by rejecting the immunity of an international organisation in a collective labour law case, and also awarding the claims on their merits, based on the fact that the organisation in question violated fundamental human rights. This decision is important because it further institutionalises the accountability of international organisations. Unfortunately the Netherlands also showed itself at its most narrow-minded: the Minister instructed the bailiff to not enforce the judgement because the organisation enjoys immunity from enforcement under international law. This instruction not only erodes the separation of powers stipulated by the Constitution, it isn’t an obligation under international law either: as is the case for immunity from jurisdiction, immunity from enforcement can only be granted if the organisation adequately protects fundamental rights.”

In the meantime, the Dutch government has now apparently joined the EPO in an attempt to overturn the judgment in the next instance (“cassation”)7.

6. An unhealthy concentration of Power.

Like many international organisations, the EPO and its (high) officials enjoy a degree of immunity that borders on impunity. There are virtually no checks and balances left to counter any abuse. Of perhaps greatest concern is the lack of checks and balances in respect of the highest “judicial instance” of the EPO, the Board of Appeals. Even the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO took up this issue in early 2014 through a remarkable decision >[16].

President Battistelli has engaged in a series of reforms for the Boards of Appeal8:

  • Perceived independence: a new proposal (CA/16/15) states its goals as “to increase the organisational and managerial autonomy of the BOA, the perception of their independence (enshrined in Article 23 EPC) and also their efficiency, in order to respect the principle of effective legal protection within the legal framework of the current EPC”.
    In a position paper, the association of the members of the BoA (AMBA) criticised the proposal: in their opinion, it “mixes up the roles of a supervisory committee and a council of the judiciary without being either” and without solving “the problems noted in R 19/12”. Furthermore, “making re-appointment dependent on performance appraisals, including quality aspects, [goes] against the security of tenure.“ uncertainty of permanent status“ which in turn is not “helpful in recruiting experienced external candidates”. Finally, the proposed “move to Berlin would have serious consequences on manpower”.
  • New career proposal: AMBA and the Presidium of the BoA equally criticised the new proposal for implementing a new career system noting that it “takes no account of the special situation of the boards of appeal, and even removes existing derogations”.

____________________

7 See references [3]-[5] below.
8 See references [12]-[15].

5


These proposals are under discussion and are receiving great public attention. AMBA concludes that these proposals are “in contrast to a clear separation of powers which is a basic principle in all European countries and which is of utmost importance for the acceptance of the European patent system.”

7. The interest of the European public

There is a serious problem of governance in the EPO. The opacity of its decision-making processes and the lack of accountability, which the EPO justifies on the basis of “its immunity”, is anachronistic in both Europe and in the 21st century: we live in a time where states require from their institutions (and from each other) both financial transparency and accountability. While the EPO may still be “competitive” as an employer in terms of remuneration benefits, its internal human resources policies, in particular with regards to interpersonal relationships, are both antiquated and brutal.

Generally speaking, European society should not tolerate that some of its citizens are deprived of their fundamental rights simply because they are employed by an intergovernmental organisation, or because they are well paid. This is surely particularly pertinent when the EPO member states are, in their overwhelming majority, also member states of the European Union. Yet this is exactly what now happens at the EPO.

The Administrative Council of the EPO, and thereby vicariously the member states, are being at best complacent, at worst grossly negligent of their responsibilities. The Council largely gives the President carte blanche, without asking what the consequences might be or considering how he could use his powers. Structurally, the President of the EPO acts as accuser, investigator, judge and final arbiter on all matters; there is no separation of power guaranteeing a healthy system of checks and balances for his actions. The nearly absolute power the current President enjoys and the manner in which he uses it continues to be a source of particular concern and dismay. Staff and their unions consider the limitations on the freedom of expression and freedom of association (embodied in the strike regulations) without effective access to justice as breaches of their fundamental rights as Europeans.

Furthermore, beyond the fact that European citizens are deprived of the fundamental rights, this working environment is highly toxic for both the individual staff in the EPO and for the normal functioning of this European institution as a whole. An authoritarian leadership without effective judicial protection makes individual staff members particularly vulnerable to suffering under the present management style: not only does their health suffer, but their capacity as officials entrusted with the European patent granting process is impaired. Under these conditions, how can one expect EPO agents to fulfil their responsibilities and undertake an independent review of European patent applications and apply the law dictated by the EPC? If the EPO is tasked with granting patent rights to inventors and European industry, how credible are those rights if delivered by an institution that is ostensibly unable to comply with the rule of law in its own internal affairs?

Functional immunity granted to the EPO has been conceived by management as blanket immunity, thereby exposing staff to the use of abusive powers with total impunity.

It is high time that the competent authorities take a keener interest in what is happening at the EPO and insist that the house be put in order. This should be done by introducing proper policies through consultation and negotiation, not through repression and intimidation.

6


REFERENCES

[1] “EPO Justice: Analysis of Board of Auditors Review (CA/20/15)” , by the Central Staff Committee, 02.06.2105

https://www.suepo.org/rights/public/archive/sc15220cp.pdf

“Report – EPO Internal Justice System”, SUEPO, 18.12.2013

http://www.suepo.org/public/su13201cp.pdf

“Trias Politica” – Beyond the problems, the way out: “Feuille de Route” for Social Democracy“, by SUEPO, 18.12.2013

http://www.suepo.org/public/su13202cp.pdf

[2] “SOCIAL CONFLICT AT THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE”, by SUEPO, 27.11.2014

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14294cp.pdf

[3] Judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal in SUEPO v EPO
The judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal is available in English, French and German.

http://www.suepo.org/archive/su15088cpe.pdf

Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Recht haben und recht bekommen”, 27.02.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15092cp.pdf (with translations)

Nederlands Juristenblad, “Fundamentele arbeidsrechten en immuniteit”, 08.05.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15222cp.pdf (with translations)

[4] Communiqué 69 from the President of the EPO (Annex)

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/02/the-epo-privileged-and-immune-says_24.html

[5] Notification from the Dutch Government (Annex)

http://www.suepo.org/public/su15090cp.pdf

[6] “The so-called data protection officer of the EPO signed off on keylogging, hidden
cameras”, FOSS Patents, 14.06.2015

http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/06/the-so-called-data-protection-officer.html

“Forderung nach externem Datenschützer”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10.06.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15250cp.pdf (with translations)

[7] “Wie bei der FIFA oder in China – Europäisches Patentamt: Beschäftigte bespitzelt”, Münchner Merkur, 12.06.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15244cp.pdf

[8] “MPs call for tough action on rogue investigators”, 06.06.2012

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/120706-pi-rpt-published/

“The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens”, Spiegel Online,
“Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist”, Spiegel Online
“Watching the detectives”, The Guardian
“From guard dogs and fences to business intelligence”, Financial Times

7


[9] “Sturm im Glashaus”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 31.05.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15214cp.pdf (with translations)

“Krisenfachleute spähen im Europäischen Patentamt”, FAZ, 02.06.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15219cp.pdf (with translations)

[10] “Un si bon office”, Le Monde, 06.04.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15152cp.pdf

[11] Demonstration in front of the British consulate in Munich planned for the 25.02.15 and
cancelled on 23.03.2015. What does EPO staff want?

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14286cp.pdf

“Präsident droht protestwilligen Mitarbeitern”, Münchner Merkur, 25.02.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15070cp.pdf

[12] Letter of Sir Robin Jacob addressed to Mr Jesper Kongstad, Chairman of the AC of the EPO.

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/01/judicial-independence-europes-ip-judges.html

[13] Communiqué on decisions taken by the Administrative Council at its 142nd meeting concerning the suspension of the member of the Board of Appeal, 12.12.2014

http://www.epo.org/about-us/organisation/communiques.html#a10

For all matter concerning the Board of Appeals please refer to the Association of the
Board Members:

http://www.amba-epo.org/

[14] The further public condemnations:

Letter from Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy at Bardehele PagenBerg to the German representative of the AC, 08.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/the-chorus-swells-another-entreaty-to.html

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/top-notch-patent-litigator-sees.html

Letter from the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the representatives of the AC, 08.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/breaking-news-enlarged-board-appeals.html

Letter from two external members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the representatives of the AC;

http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/leading-european-ip-judges-join-chorus.html

Six further external members of the Enlarged Board agree, 11.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-more-judges-criticise-battistellis.html

[15] Letter from the EP Lawyers Association to the AC representatives, 29.12.2014

[16] Concerns from Law Associations about the new BoA Career proposal (CA/16/15)

8


In the framework of the user consultation, the following raised concerns about the
proposal in CA/16/15:

Letter from Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), 15.05.2015

http://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/NTCdocument/1__Letter_independen1_1432041035.pdf

Letter from EPLAW, 04.06.2015
http://www.eplawpatentblog.com/2015/June/20150604 Letter to Mr. Battistelli.pdf

[17] Decision R 19/12:

The Enlarged Board decides that the Vice President of DG3 is to be recused from a petition for review case on suspicion of partiality because of his continuing connection with the EPO management.

https://register.epo.org/application?documentId=EV0ZJBW50569684&number=EP99947419&lng=en&npl=false

Further Press reports

[18] “Streit beim Europäischen Patentamt”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.03.2014
http://www.suepo.org/public/Streit_eskaliert_de_en_nl.pdf (with translations)

[19] “Umstritten und Souverän”, Die Zeit, Ausgabe Nr.13 20.03.2014

http://www.zeit.de/2014/13/benoit-battistelli-epa-europaeisches-patentamt

[20] Brief vom französischen Abgeordneten Philip Cordery an die französischen Minister Arnaud Montebourg und Fleur Pellerin.
http://www.suepo.org/public/CorderyLetterFr-En-De.pdf (with translations)

[21] Offener Brief vom französischen Abgeordneten Pierre-Yves Le Borgn‘

http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2014/04/interrogations-sur-la-gouvernance-de-loffice-europeen-des-brevets/

[22] “Eine kleine Minderheit schürt Ängste”, Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.03.2014

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14078cp.pdf

[23] “Ärger im Europäischen Patentamt – Aufstand gegen den Sonnenkönig”, Berliner Zeitung vom 30.03.2014

http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/wirtschaft/aerger-im-europaeischen-patentamt-aufstand-gegen-den-sonnenkoenig,10808230,26698776.html

[24] “A l’Office européen des brevets, ambiance délétère et président contesté”, AFP & Libération.fr, 30.03.2014

http://www.liberation.fr/economie/2014/03/30/a-l-office-europeen-des-brevets-ambiance-deletere-et-president-conteste_991434

9

If “Mister President” and “Sun King” (his common nickname), also known as Benoît Battistelli, ends up announcing his resignation (hopefully forced, albeit silently) some time soon, it won’t surprise us. He won’t allow himself to publicly accept defeat (get fired), he has already threatened to resign (fall on his sword under great pressure with suicidal tendencies), much to the expectation of Wouter Pors, an IP practitioner widely known around Europe. It would also be somewhat poetic a justice given the number of suicides Battistelli et al. are claimed to have caused.

Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 3:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Agenda disguised as professional advice

Cherries

Summary: Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected

THE subject of software patents profoundly affects Free software, which is still under attack from software patents. The recent collapse of many software patents (not all) has been catalogued here for quite some time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and we continue to see more confirmatory evidence of this trend. The media which is run by or is at least influenced by patent practitioners does not like to cover this subject and it’s truly a shame that activists against software patents have gone so quiet in recent years. The patent lawyers’ press selects (or cherry-picks) cases that are exceptional and help reinforce software patents, even this month, leaving the public with the false impression that nothing has really changed after the Alice case. We oughtn’t let this case go to waste.

“That’s cherry-picking, but then again, that is what lawyers do, even when they cite precedence in court.”Earlier this month we found some of the latest revisionism from lawyers. Proskauer Rose LLP pushed it by apparently paying (as a press release) for coverage, injecting a pro-software patents piece into lots of lawyers’ sites [1, 2, 3], including The National Law Review, which also went with the typical headline: “Job Applicant Software Patents Not Terminated for Invalidity”. These are the publications that a lot of patent lawyers follow and the intent of Proskauer Rose LLP is probably to give them tips on how to game the system (which is basically what they all do, trying to bypass rules using common tricks). Here is a quote from the analysis: “Although the subject matter eligibility of software patents has come under increased scrutiny since the Supreme Court issued its opinion last year in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, one Massachusetts court recently declined to invalidate a trio of patents directed to job applicant software. Plaintiff Kenexa had asserted infringement claims against three defendants, and two of the defendants—including HireAbility—subsequently moved for judgment on the pleadings that Kenexa’s patents recite unpatentable subject matter under § 101.”

So, they do acknowledge that “the subject matter eligibility of software patents has come under increased scrutiny since the Supreme Court issued its opinion last year in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank,” but then they go on to just covering one exceptional case where software patents managed to survive in court. That’s cherry-picking, but then again, that is what lawyers do, even when they cite precedence in court. It’s subjective by design. That’s just their job. The clients, and hence the lawyers, have an agenda to push. This is the transaction, but clients deserve an honest, objective advice. It’s not journalism but more like advocacy (what the UK calls “barristers” are literally advocates). Just watch Mr. Quinn trying to sell his ‘services’ while advertising for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). These people openly promote as broad a patent scope as possible (inclusive of software patents) for the same reasons arms and surveillance contractors want war and instability. The more problems the world has, the more business these people receive and the more money they make. It’s the broken windows theory.

PATENT Act No Longer in the News… and That’s Just Fine

Posted in Patents at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents

Whether one calls it Innovation/Invent/Invention/Awesome/BEST Act or just PATENT Act, the latest branding incarnation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (whatever buzzword one chooses does not say anything about the substance), in practice there is very limited a reform. It has been systematically watered down, as some experts have already pointed out, to the point of being meaningful and beneficial only to few very large corporations with legions of lobbyists in Washington. Interestingly enough, it is completely absent from the news right now. Not that it matters so much…

“We are likely to hear a lot about ‘reform’ and the so-called PATENT Act in the coming month (it’s not in the news, albeit still on the agenda), but nothing substantial will change as a result.”An article by Mike Masnick speaks of patent reform as it relates to so-called ‘free markets’. “A modest attempt at patent reform,” he wrote, “(mainly targeting egregious patent trolling practices) is making its way through Congress these days at the usual glacial pace. However, even if it does eventually make it through, there is still a tremendous amount left to do on patent reform. Derek Khanna, who famously wrote the wonderful House Republican Study Committee report urging major copyright reform — which so upset Hollywood that favors were called in to get the entire report retracted and cost Khanna his job, has now tried to write a similar report on patent reform. This one is for Lincoln Labs — a think tank trying to present more free market/libertarian ideas into the technology policy arena.”

We are likely to hear a lot about ‘reform’ and the so-called PATENT Act in the coming month (it’s not in the news, albeit still on the agenda), but nothing substantial will change as a result. In the coming few posts we will deal with the real reform that comes from key rulings at the courts, gradually weakening software patents. There is plenty of good news these days.

06.26.15

The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An emergency

Summary: Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians — many of whom from Battistelli’s home country — become better informed of the EPO’s management fiasco, abuses, and scandals

We have just been sent a copy [PDF] of the written declaration sponsored by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (mentioned here before) and signed by 82 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Rollbacks of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office are clearly not being tolerated. Here is the declaration as HTML:

Doc. 13836

25 June 2015

Rollback of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office

Written declaration No. 596

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it On 17 February 2015, the Hague Court of Appeal condemned the European Patent Office (EPO), arguing that its internal dispute settlement system led to a rollback of fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Social Charter. The Court considered that the EPO could not invoke its immunity when a trade union is deprived of any means to challenge violations of the personnel’s rights, for want of any legal remedy before the International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal or via any other internal procedure.

An international organisation cannot become a place of lesser law, sheltered by its jurisdictional immunity. Restraining the right of association, reducing the right to go on strike, preventing the personnel from being entitled to collective bargaining, depriving all organisations from any effective remedy and failing to carry out a court decision are all unacceptable developments. We call on the 38 member States of the EPO, all members of the Council of Europe, to bring this situation to an end and urge the EPO’s management to comply with the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal.

Signed (see overleaf)


Doc. 13836 Written declaration

Signed1:

LE BORGN’ Pierre-Yves, France, SOC
AGRAMUNT Pedro, Spain, EPP/CD
ALAVEZ RUIZ Aleida, Mexico
ALLAIN Brigitte, France, SOC
ANDERSON Donald, United Kingdom, SOC
ANDREOLI Paride, San Marino, SOC
BARILARO Christian, Monaco, ALDE
BENTON Joe, United Kingdom, SOC
BIES Philippe, France, SOC
BİLGEHAN Gülsün, Turkey, SOC
BLONDIN Maryvonne, France, SOC
BOCKEL Jean-Marie, France, EPP/CD
BONET PEROT Sílvia Eloïsa, Andorra, SOC
CANTU SEGOVIA Eloy, Mexico
CHAOUKI Khalid, Italy, SOC
CHRISTOFFERSEN Lise, Norway, SOC
CILEVIČS Boriss, Latvia, SOC
CORSINI Paolo, Italy, SOC
CROZON Pascale, France, SOC
DAVIES Geraint, United Kingdom, SOC
DÍAZ TEJERA Arcadio, Spain, SOC
DOKLE Namik, Albania, SOC
DURRIEU Josette, France, SOC
FLEGO Gvozden Srećko, Croatia, SOC
FLYNN Paul, United Kingdom, SOC
FOURNIER Bernard, France, EPP/CD
FRESKO-ROLFO Béatrice, Monaco, EPP/CD
GABÁNIOVÁ Darina, Slovak Republic, SOC
GIOVAGNOLI Gerardo, San Marino, SOC
GOSSELIN-FLEURY Geneviève, France, SOC
GROSS Andreas, Switzerland, SOC
GUNNARSSON Jonas, Sweden, SOC
GUTIÉRREZ Antonio, Spain, SOC
GUZENINA Maria, Finland, SOC
HAGEBAKKEN Tore, Norway, SOC
HAIDER Monica, Sweden, SOC
HARANGOZÓ Gábor, Hungary, SOC
HEINRICH Gabriela, Germany, SOC
IORDACHE Florin, Romania, SOC
IWIŃSKI Tadeusz, Poland, SOC
JANSSON Eva-Lena, Sweden, SOC
JURATOVIC Josip, Germany, SOC
KARLSSON Niklas, Sweden, SOC
KOX Tiny, Netherlands, UEL
LE DÉAUT Jean-Yves, France, SOC
LESKAJ Valentina, Albania, SOC
LONCLE François, France, SOC
LUND Jacob, Denmark, SOC
MAHOUX Philippe, Belgium, SOC
MAIJ Marit, Netherlands, SOC
MARKOVIĆ Milica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC
MARTINEL Martine, France, SOC

_________
1.
SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EC: European Conservatives Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: Representatives not belonging to a Political Group


Doc. 13836 Written declaration

MAURY PASQUIER Liliane, Switzerland, SOC
MEALE Alan, United Kingdom, SOC
MESTERHÁZY Attila, Hungary, SOC
MULIĆ Melita, Croatia, SOC
NACHTMANNOVÁ Oľga, Slovak Republic, SOC
NEGUTA Andrei, Republic of Moldova, SOC
NICOLETTI Michele, Italy, SOC
OBRADOVIĆ Žarko, Serbia, SOC
OHLSSON Carina, Sweden, SOC
PÂSLARU Florin Costin, Romania, SOC
PETRÁK Ľubomir, Slovak Republic, SOC
QUÉRÉ Catherine, France, SOC
RAWERT Mechthild, Germany, SOC
ROCHEBLOINE François, France, EPP/CD
RODRÍGUEZ Soraya, Spain, SOC
ROSEIRA Maria de Belém, Portugal, SOC
ROUQUET René, France, SOC
SÁEZ Àlex, Spain, SOC
SCHENNACH Stefan, Austria, SOC
SCHMIDT Frithjof, Germany, SOC
SCHWABE Frank, Germany, SOC
SEKULIĆ Predrag, Montenegro, SOC
SIMENSEN Kåre, Norway, SOC
STRIK Tineke, Netherlands, SOC
SUTTER Petra, De, Belgium, SOC
TAKTAKISHVILI Chiora, Georgia, ALDE
TOMLINSON John E., United Kingdom, SOC
VĖSAITĖ Birutė, Lithuania, SOC
VORUZ Eric, Switzerland, SOC
VRIES Klaas, de, Netherlands, SOC
VUČKOVIĆ Nataša, Serbia, SOC
XUCLÀ Jordi, Spain, ALDE

_____________________________
Total = 82

The latest item on IP Kat beat us to it. Merpel writes: “Altogether more than 100 parliamentarians from 32 countries have now expressed their anxieties and concerns regarding the persistent erosion of fundamental rights experienced by EPO staff over the past year and a half at the hands of the current regime, which presumably still enjoys the substantial support of the Administrative Council which has notional control of the organisation.”

Merpel also found this political intervention in the European Parliament:

The European Patent Office (EPO) was set up forty years ago. It currently employs about seven thousand highly qualified people, most of whom work at its offices in Germany (Munich) and the Netherlands (Ryswick). In 2014 alone, it received 274 000 patent applications from companies all over the world. Its budget of EUR 2 000 million makes it the second largest European institution after the Commission.

There have been a huge number of complaints about the EPO. Cases of staff suffering from depression (including four suicides since 2012), a climate of intimidation caused by the creation of an internal investigation unit, and restrictions on the right to strike have been reported by the trade union, SUEPO, which is now banned from EPO premises. Among other things, the union is complaining about management’s plan to lower the cost of registering patents at the price of employees’ health.

Is the Commission aware of this situation and what is being done to investigate it? Also, what are the grounds for the immunity granted to the European Patent Office, which allegedly derives from the fact that it is extraterritorial, thus making it impossible for any legal action to be taken to protect workers’ rights?

Over at IP Kat there are some interesting comments from what appears to be EPO staff. The first:

During this time in a Galaxy far away ….

The Administrative Council just extended for 3 years VP5 (Raimund Lutz) the man who finds everything perfectly legal (when national courts and parliamentaries don’t)…

AND

VP1 (who will be 70 at the end of his mandate whereas max. pension age at EPO is 67….

AND

Battistelli starts his new mandate with secret salarial conditions …

AND

the AC did not bother to comment on the on-going spying on staff reps/unionists nor on public spying

All is fine in Eponia !!

Second comment speaks of betrayal:

Many years ago I gave a promise to the Office, and with it to the general public of Europe, that I would examine patents and only grant those with a high probability of validity as far as I could establish. In return for this the office made a promise to look after me. We had an agreement, which I considered to be binding. I have kept my promise so far and I intend to keep my promise. Unfortunately this is not made easier by the fact the some people in the Office have decided to withdraw the promise made by the office to me by changing the whole substance of my working conditions without my agreement. If I am to keep my promise, this must be tolerated, however, since there is no functioning legal system which will tell them to stop, so I have no defence. None the less, I intend to keep my promise, since I believe, and all the evidence I’ve seen confirms, that valid patents are important for the general public and the whole patent system.
It would be really nice if someone could persuade the office to revert to keeping it’s promise. I do hope these initiatives are a step along the way.

There are many more anonymous comments in there. The management of the EPO seems to have become besieged by an increasingly informed workforce, Parliament, and public. This can’t end well for Battistelli. His time is running out.

The EPO’s Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations now run the European Patent Office (EPO)

Ray of light

Summary: The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO’s technical staff (scientists and examiners)

THE EPO scandals continue and there is no denying that there is trouble when a huge proportion of the staff goes out to demonstrate right in front of the employer. Only a shameless liar would try to blame some “disgruntled employee” or “defamation”. The EPO, more so these days than ever before, is not a public service. It just sucks in public money. It is essentially a corporate entity masquerading as a public institution because it provides benefits like legal immunity, welfare (“too big to fail”), etc.

The EPO Administrative Council (AC), which has become Benoît Battistelli’s number one fan after some entryism, is trying to destroy the European industry with more patent monopolies and fees. According to patent lawyers’ media, Mr Kongstad’s office is at the forefront of this atrocious move:

The Select Committee of the EPO Administrative Council, which represents the 25 EU states expected to be covered by the Unitary Patent, adopted the so-called true top 4 proposal by a three-quarter majority yesterday.

One of the selling points of the planned Unitary Patent is that a single annual renewal fee payable to the EPO will maintain the right in the participating EU member states, meaning that national fees will no longer have to be paid.

The above says that the AC “represents the 25 EU states”, but in reality it seems to represent Battistelli and his rich friends, who want to become even richer.

The AC’s Kongstad is finding himself under fire again, this time from his own staff. SUEPO’s Web site says that “Ms Bergot, Principal Director of Human Resources of the EPO, has scheduled new meetings of the working group on “union recognition” between the administration and union officials. However, Mr Kongstad (Chairman of the Administrative Council) has still not reacted to the letter sent by SUEPO Central concerning the investigation of staff representatives and/or union executives during trilateral talks.

“Pending Mr Kongstad’s written answer, as also reiteratered in the Council meeting of 24/25 June 2015, SUEPO regrets it must decline the invitation at present. Of course, SUEPO is looking forward to developments making the resumption of meaningful discussions possible.”

SUEPO has this PDF reply letter, sent to Ms Bergot:

Dear Ms Bergot,

You have scheduled new meetings of the working group on “unions recognition” between the administration and union officials.

You must be aware of the letter sent by SUEPO Central to the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Mr Kongstad, which was made public on 10 June 2015 (*).

Pending Mr Kongstad’s written answer to our requests, as also reiteratered in the Council, we regret we must decline your invitation at present. Of course, we look forward to developments making the resumption of meaningful discussions possible.

Recall that Gilles Requena, the EPO’s Administrator (Presidential Office), is the spouse of Ms Bergot [PDF]. Bergot, the Principal Director of Human Resources, is clearly there because of connections, not skills. She’s far from the only such instance. Battistelli has quickly turned the EPO into an international laughing stock. It’s time to reclaim the EPO or reboot it.

06.25.15

An Estimated 1,000 EPO Staff in Munich Demonstrated Against EPO Management Yesterday Afternoon

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Earliest coverage of yesterday’s protest against EPO corruption and abuses

THE EPOlike Microsoft — spies on people for business reasons, not for security reasons. Staff of the EPO decided to protest again, as we wrote earlier this week, and Microsoft Florian was there to document it.

Florian Müller, who used to lobby against software patents before defecting (Microsoft and other companies paid him for this), was there at the scene to cover the protest. “Yesterday,” he wrote early this morning, “the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) held a demonstration in front of the EPO’s main building in Munich. While there have already been various other SUEPO demonstrations in Munich, a couple of which I reported on, yesterday’s protest had a new (though not exclusive) focus: surveillance by means of hidden cameras and keyloggers. Participants in the demonstration carried signs showing surveillance cameras…”

There is an estimate of the number of staff in attendance. “It appears credible to me,” he said, that “approximately 1,000 EPO employees participated — a fairly high percentage of all Munich-based EPO staff.”

There are some photos there to prove it (without people’s faces, obviously for their own protection, knowing Benoît Battistelli’s modus operandi).

Separately, the London-based patent lawyers’ blog IP Kat warns us of the threat of UPC looming over the UK:

But first, a digression, which may be of more general interest than the specifics of the particular consultation. The IPKat, ever eager to seek news for his dear readers, took the opportunity to ask whether there was any truth in the speculation that has appeared repeatedly in comments on this blog and elsewhere that the current UK Government might delay ratification of the UPC Agreement until after the UK Referendum on membership of the EU, which is not scheduled until 2017. The Intellectual Property Office, as it turns out, has an answer prepared for this question, and the IPKat is delighted to share it with you.

The horrible UPC (making patents even worse and more wide-reaching) is trying to creep into Europe as quickly as possible (while the public is mostly asleep). The EPO is largely responsible for this and more scrutiny is needed. It’s similar to those awful ‘trade’ agreements, but awareness among the public is severely lacking.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

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