Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Institut International des Brevets (IIB), INPADOC and Other Historic Endeavours Relate to EPO and DG1/DG2

Not much public information/online literature about it (not anymore)

Institut International des Brevets (IIB)



Summary: The roots of the Dutch/German-centric EPO and the lesser-discussed points/questions which these roots may bring up

LAST NIGHT we wrote about the EPO being a cash cow of Germany. A lot of this money comes from outside Europe to mostly enrich the German economy (for patents with European -- and beyond -- scope).



"EPO staff representatives have, over the years, written a lot about the issue of impunity/immunity in international organisations."The FFII's President then told me he "heard the money goes into the Ministry of Justice, and if that's the case, they also decide on UPC, so there might be a serious conflict of interest there. During the swpat [software patents] directive, competence was transferred from the ministry of economics to the ministry of justice."

Germany's role in the EPO and the roots of EPO structures are worth recalling. We studied the subject a long time ago (when Germany blatantly refused to enforce German law against the EPO's management), but we never published anything about it. Whose European Patent Office is it anyway? "I'm not at all into social media, but I just had a look at their EPO Twitter feed," said former EPO staff. "What a crock! Do they sub-contract to the Pyongyang People's daily?"

No, it's based in Germany. A lot of the EPO is based there. It should certainly not be a taboo subject to highlight this fact. It's not a protest against the European Union or against Germany itself.

"Let's not forget the element which emerged later: an 'unwanted' DG (DG3) was sent to Haar.""The reference to Art. 5(2) illustrates a profound asymmetry," one person told me when the EPO threatened to sue me. "The EPO claims immunity in all matters whenever it suits them. But then they turn around and cries "but, hey, please, I'm a real person!" when it also suits them. I'm not sure whether the drafters of the EPC had such a monstrous outcome in mind."

EPO staff representatives have, over the years, written a lot about the issue of impunity/immunity in international organisations. It is, indeed, quite a monstrosity.

Citing several pages of a 1990s law treatise, one reader of ours said that "[t]here is at least one chapter specifically dealing with the EPO. A mere few lines describe a case which happened in Austria sometimes in the 1980s which I found rather egregious."

This, in turn, leads back to EPO history (which might be poorly or inaccurately recalled). To quote:

IIRC, the EPO took over a commercial company, and made it an integral part of organisation.

If memory serves me right, the company wasn't named, but it could only have been INPADOC, the patent information service. The Vienna agency is now in charge of the production of the EPO's own patent information, the publication of EPO patent-related documents, and gathers patent information worldwide for inclusion in EPO databases, which are also sold.

Again, inferring from the few details given, the company must have had a long term lease for their office space, but the EPO moved the operation to new premises, and simply walked out of the old contract.

The landlord sued for the unpaid rent, considering that the office took over the obligations of the former entity, but the EPO pulled the "IMMUNITY" trump card, and the judge obliged!!!

Now, Art. 5 was obviously designed to allow the EPO to sue, say, plumbers who botch their work.

But a competent plumber whose bill wasn't paid by the EPO must also be able to sue, isn't it?

I don't know what kind of impression 30-year old continental case law would make on an English judge.

I would be rather surprised if the Derbyshire council, or any other one, wouldn't be allowed in matters of commercial law. A parallel could be drawn.

BTW, this was the Vienna office which Battistelli want[ed] to swap with DG3.

How about a triangular exchange? DG3 to Vienna, Vienna to Berlin, and Berlin to Munich... The more, the merrier.



We often wondered why DGs came about at all. What was the historic significance of these? Here's a possible explanation:

The EPO was built on two pillars:

1) The IIB, "Institut International des Brevets", which was a pre-existing institution founded around 1947 based at The Hague. It was designed to supply prior-art searches to a number of countries, for the eventual determination of patent validity strictly under national laws. In essence it was a big library with a lot of librarians. It was merged into the EPO as its "Directorate General 1" - DG1. [And IIB staff weren't too happy about that, but that's another story.]

2) The DG2 in Munich which opened its doors in 1978, for performing the substantive examination assessing patentability according to the law defined in the EPC, based on documentary evidence located by DG1.

[The distinct DG1 and DG2 have now disappeared and merged into a new "DG1"]

The IIB had been mostly an affair of French, Benelux and Latin countries in the early 20th century, of which Germany had been excluded.

I would have to find absolute proof of that, and visit archives, but it seems from the circumstantial evidence that this project was intimately connected to an humanist dream of a world documentation center for gathering and organising all forms of human intellectual production.

The early history of concept of DG2 is more sinister, and if I were Battistelli, I would avoid using the "nazi" label to smear my opponents... quite a bit of stuff in German from 1940-1945 is quite uncomfortable to read, as it looks like a virtual blueprint for the structure of the 1973 EPC...

Is this the kind of history you had in mind?

The miracle in my eyes is how an humanist endeavor [DG1] and a corporate wet dream [DG2] came to be merged into one project as a part of "European Construction".


Let's not forget the element which emerged later: an 'unwanted' DG (DG3) was sent to Haar. Poetic?

"Back around 2010 we wrote many articles about the vision of a global patent system, based largely on leaked material which came to be known as Cablegate.""I've been interested for a long time in the early history of the EPO," one person once told us, "a topic on which not that much has been written. By "history" I mean, real work by historians analyzing the motivations of the negotiating parties, and on the "proto-history" of the institution. The quest for an international patent system has been ongoing for at least the last 140 years, and the EPO undoubtedly isn't the final episode."

Think of the UPC, among other things, maybe even WIPO's ambitions and IP5. Back around 2010 we wrote many articles about the vision of a global patent system, based largely on leaked material which came to be known as Cablegate.

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