Bonum Certa Men Certa

EPO Spreads Two Lies Today, One About Patent 'Production' and Another About 'Quality'

Measuring what's not immeasurable using false yardsticks

Calipers



Summary: Today's face-saving lies from the EPO focus on the very serious scandals that worry stakeholders while at the same time distracting from ongoing attacks on EPO staff and basic rights

THE EPO tries hard to distract from the latest scandals. Today it was recycling an old EU-IPO 'study', then returned to its daily repetition of the pro-UPC nonsensical 'study' and daily repetition of the "SME" thing. None of this is new. It's weeks old.



Also today, the EPO issued two "news" items, which is unusual (sometimes it goes on for a month with not even one). Both regurgitate familiar propaganda. The first notes that the EPO has been granting lots of crappy patents (too fast, too leniently, which necessarily means decline in patent quality). The global patent bubble grows bigger, but the EPO is a large contributor to this bubble, having experienced 'growth' four times higher than the IP5 average (top five patent offices). When it comes to patents, quality should matter, not quantity, but watch what the EPO wrote: (warning: epo.org link)

To cope with increasing demand, the EPO has put in place a series of quality [sic] and efficiency measures, which in 2016 led to an 8.5% rise in products (completed searches, substantive examinations and oppositions), and 40% more patents granted.


Terrible. Nothing to be proud of. Never mind the fact that they're rapidly running out of 'stock'. They have been granting, among other things, patents on algorithms and patents on life (these later turned out to be null and void). This leads us to the second "news" item, which is more of the old CPVO spin (CPVO is not what many people assume it to be). Read the "quality" nonsense further down (including the heading which precedes it). To quote the "news": (warning: epo.org link)

Martin Ekvad, CPVO President, emphasised the importance of formalising cooperation in an agreement concluded last year between the EPO and CPVO...

[...]

At the EPO less than one in three patent applications in biotechnology becomes a European patent, while the overall grant rate in all fields of technology is around 48%.


That says almost nothing and fails to account for what happened earlier this year. Many patents on life/organisms were instantaneously invalidated. How about that? Why were these granted in the first place? The sentence above, along with that paragraph, is constructed to help Battistelli lie about patent quality. Who does he need to lie to? Gullible people like Dr. Ernst, who continues to publicly deny the issue (even when directly challenged by concerned users of the patent system).

Ernst has done far too little to earn trust from SUEPO (judging by the tone of the site) and every comment about him in Kluwer Patent Blog has been negative. Here are the latest two. They're about the expectation that he will go along with Battistelli and again punish all the workers:

dear you two again : the document is NOT OFF THE TABLE at all.

DG 4 submits it for information in December with changes : from 100% contracts to (only) 40 % (which will put the entire structure under even more production pressure than it is now) and, cherry on the cake, now they introduce the option to transform the contract into a permanent one after FIFTEEN YEARS (…or not).

This document will be submitted for decision in March 2018.

so please stop doing as if it was off the table since this new proposal is equally bad as the previous one, totally non adapted to a stable international organisation like the EPO, the aim of which being to serve the PUBLIC on the long run and certainly not to produce cash surplus for its Member States (surplus which nowadays fall in their (deficit) national budgets) this at the expenses of the health of staff hundreds of employees who go burned-out, in-treatments, in depressions, or even commit suicide when they cannot cope any more (6 non-investigated suicides over the past 5 years, a 7th miraculously avoided for 3 months).




I want to make one thing clear: the documents on 5 years contracts for EPO staff should end up in the bin. I have never had a different opinion on it.

The new proposal is even more ludicrous. Even if after 15 years there is a possibility to get a permanent job, which person sound in its mind would leave its national security and social protections systems to hire at the EPO? Such a stupid idea can only germ in the minds of people who are playing manager, but do not really know what it means to manage in the interest of the body they rule. It makes me sad to see that a reputable office like the EPO is run by such people.

The net result will be more younger people at the EPO, as I do not know anybody having a stable job for a few years leaving this in order to hire at the EPO. There will be also more Germans in Munich and more Dutch in The Hague, trends which are already existing today.

Here Mr Ernst has to resist the fools running the office by not putting such a proposal on the agenda of the AC.

If a measure with such a long term effect is decided three months before a new president comes, then it shows the esteem shown to his successor by the present holder of the function. As another commenter said it makes you want to puke.


Several days ago a reader told us that the EPO had adopted a notorious French model which makes workers very stressed (sometimes/often suicidal) and as of today there's this ruling from the French Supreme Court about public mockery of patent infringers. It's not very new, but this was covered some hours ago by IP Kat, which said:

The French Supreme Court last month affirmed that a patentee is free to publish a decision of patent infringement on their website. In doing so, the patentee neither tarnishes the name of the defendant nor breaches any other principle of tortious liability towards the defendant.


This is a matter of free speech; we recently covered the matter in relation to the EFF getting sued repeatedly for mocking patents. At the EPO workers get in a lot of trouble if they say that patent quality is declining. We covered examples of such incidents earlier this year.

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