Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO No Longer Measures Quality of Patents; Instead It Publishes Fake Statistics

Silencing those who dare say the truth rather than treating it as constructive feedback

Minnoye MAGA



Summary: The decline in patent quality at the EPO is a long-known issue and suppression of information about it merely enabled several more years of questionable patent grants, thereby putting at risk the perceived value of EPO services

THE EPO is generally regarded as something that used to be good and is no longer good. We're not only speaking of the human rights aspects but also technical merit/s.



"The EPO is generally regarded as something that used to be good and is no longer good."Stakeholders of the EPO too have realised that something is amiss and they're not getting their money's worth with EPs (European Patents). Published by SUEPO a few years ago was the following warning regarding ISO 9001 -- the so-called standard (ISO is worthless) that claims to pertain to quality. The recently-retired and recently-promoted VPs kept bragging about it (to the point of attacking truth-tellers) and SUEPO wasn't particularly impressed even 3 years ago. To quote:

ISO 9001



Nobody is perfect, neither is CASE



The CASE [1] system was allegedly set up in DG1 to improve quality and achieve ISO-9001 certification. CASE replaces the former CL-OCQ and is designed to assess and record the conformity of searches, grants and positive written opinions. The first comparison results are now available for the whole DG1:

CASE



In view of the ever increasing emphasis put by DG1 management on production figures, i.e. quantity, it is unlikely that these results reflect a remarkable improvement in quality. This is confirmed in an email sent by Mr Minnoye (VP1) to directorates in which “zero non-compliances have been recorded”. “Since nobody is perfect, a 100 % compliance is not very realistic considering previous audit results [...] You are urgently requested to ensure that CASE is used in your directorate”.

The overall result of DG1 as well as the 100% score of many directorates should not have come as a surprise to Mr Minnoye. The Staff Representation had cautioned the administration about the likely failure of the CASE concept (see the opinion in GAC/AV 27/2013 [2]). Management ignored the warning and went on with the implementation. Achieving the above results.

As explained in a presentation of PDQM in cooperation with BSI [3], user acceptance is essential for an ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System. Users should feel confident with the system. They should not fear punishment. They should not be used to check and report on their colleagues.

Instead, the CASE system records the confidential deliberations of the Examining Divisions which become then accessible to the line managers, and can be used for reporting (CASE Questions Answered [4]). No wonder that there is great mistrust in CASE! The fact that management wants to set “quantitative quality” targets in the future reporting system (from 2015 on) will certainly not reassure them.

The Staff Representation has always been proactive in supporting quality improvement at the Office. It had formulated counter-proposals (see GAC/AV 27/2013 [2]) before the introduction of CASE but these have been ignored. Instead of ordering that “CASE should work” - an impossible challenge -, the administration should rather take the appropriate corrective measures. Because, “nobody is perfect”.

SUEPO Central

References: [1] Conformity Assessment for Search and Examination (CASE) http://my.internal.epo.org/portal/private/epo/organisation/strategicrenewal/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/epo/intranet/organisation/strategicRenewal/quality/objectives_metrics/case [2] Opinion on “A new procedure for addressing non-conforming products in DG1 as a replacement for CL-OCQ” http://babylon/projects/babylon/gacdoc.nsf/0/79ff86d609cd0a1fc1257c47004d0895/$FILE/av%2027-13.pdf [3] British Standards Institution (BSI) http://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/iso-9001-quality-management/ [4] CASE Questions Answered: http://babylon/projects/babylon/pdqms.nsf/0/DEA1E435872927C7C1257D17002681C7/$FILE/CASE%20questions%20answered.docx



This is hardly surprising to us. What's worth noting here is that SUEPO warned about it a very long time ago and Battistelli did not heed the warnings. As a result of this vanity, there are now years' worth of EPs whose legitimacy may be questionable. That's hundreds of thousands of EPs!

The reputation of the EPO cannot be guarded and talented recruits (potential staff) won't be attractable if the EPO carries on like this. The EPO certainly has a grip on European media (threatening the media and paying the media), but the truth somehow gets out nonetheless. Earlier on we received the following message, which we are posting below with redactions:

...we all would wish more press coverage for the EPO scandals, but unfortunately nothing happens. Money corrupts and can buy almost everything. After all, money and corruption are familiar to the EPO cronies.

I had in the last week two gratifying encounters in ⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆ with persons I hadn't met before. The first was with a venerable old man who used to live near ⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆. Engaging small talk he asked about my employer. I told him European Patent Office, being almost certain that he had never heard of it. Oh what a surprise when he told me with a sad face: "das EPA? Das ist ziemlich heruntergekommen". Translation: "the EPO? a rather sordid place." No comment.

The second encounter was a ⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆ years old lady in flea market. Talking about this and that, she told me about friends of her as soon as she knew about my employer . Her friend in the EPO was rather depressed and couldn't endure the dreadful working conditions. Again no need to comment. She also quoted that the boss "a French guy with an Italian name" was held responsible for the mess.

Therefore, even if the press is silent about the scandals, the word is spreading.


As far we as know, many people who read this site aren't EPO staff but former EPO staff and EPO stakeholders (including some large corporations). Back when we were suffering DDOS attacks we had to check the back-end logs and map the networks traffic was coming from. It certainly seemed like many companies with a lot of EPs (possibly many thousands) were growing concerned about the EPO scandals. What if patents which they thought were worth billions would be worth only millions? Or worse: What would happen if the EPO collapsed? Remember we're not against patents; we're pro patent quality -- an entirely different thing.

"What if patents which they thought were worth billions would be worth only millions?"There's a massive media vacuum/blackout regarding the EPO. I have a rough idea/concrete clues about why certain publishers refuse to touch the subject. I have spoken to and even met some good writers. It's their bosses who are trying to spike articles regarding the EPO. They help protect thuggery at the EPO almost as though it's a business model. Maybe the media owners (or advertisers which bring the lion's share of revenue) prefer for the world not to see the annals. The sausage factory has a big "DO NOT ENTER" sign at the door.

For those not familar with the term "Ag-gag", check it out in Wikipedia. It helps explain a lot of the mentality embraced by Battistelli's EPO. Suffice to say, slowly but surely this backfires because they refuse to accept constructive feedback/criticism and instead obsess about hiding the truth.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source.”

--Linus Torvalds



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