Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents on Life and on Algorithms in Europe Will Doom the EPO

Santorini cat



Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) wrongly assumes that just granting as many patents as possible -- irrespective of their merit and contribution (or lack thereof) to society -- will magically make itself sustainable in the long run

THE rapidly-declining (to meet 'targets') quality of patents granted by the EPO isn't really the fault of examiners but the rules which govern examination. We know who sets these rules; they're not examiners but a bunch of tyrannical maniacs, typically unqualified in the fields they decide on (more so under Battistelli because of his cronyism).

"The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC -- a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives."Back when technical judges were under attack from Team Battistelli (the Boards of Appeal have never regained their independence since then) the EPO was granting patents on Carlsberg and Heineken beer. The EPO has not reversed this course of action but found a mere 'compromise', as reported yesterday:

The European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to restrict the scope of a patent it previously granted to beer manufacturers Carlsberg and Heineken for a specific strand of barley.


But that does not mean that the patent/s got eliminated. As another site put it yesterday:

The patent covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer. The patent originally covered all plants with reduced content of some undesirable flavours. Now the patent is restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours. This genetic variation is considered to be an invention despite being random and the plants being the result of conventional breeding. No Patents on Seeds! plans to appeal the decision and is demanding that politicians take action.

"This decision is only a partial success for us. Despite legally binding rules, the EPO continues to grant patents on plants derived from conventional breeding. In 2018, patents were granted on petroselinum, cichorium, melons, tomatoes and lettuce," says Erling Frederiksen for No Patents on Seeds! (Denmark). "As long as such patents are still being granted, we will continue to file oppositions."

In June 2018, No Patents on Seeds! called upon European politicians to take an active role against seed monopolies such as those created by the Bayer takeover of Monsanto. Member states of the EPO will once again be reminded of their continuing responsibility to protect the common good.


"This decision is only a partial success for us," they say. Because there are still patents on mere crops. Those are reminiscent if not related to GMO patents (Bayer/Monsanto no doubt pays attention), which are used to oppress poor farmers, controlling and 'owning' their food supply or ability to grow seeds/plants. Curiously enough, shortly after William New (head of IP Watch) met António Campinos and bragged about it in a public 'selfie' he came up with yesterday's puff piece about "Building Respect for IP Division" (a WIPO indoctrination campaign in Africa). Such WIPO agenda was also served by Frantzeska Papadopoulou just hours apart at IP Kat -- a blog in which UPC booster Eibhlin Vardy then promoted a software patents advocacy event of the EPO, entitled "Computer-Implemented Inventions" (CII, the EPO's favoured term for software patents in Europe). To quote:

Hosted by Queen Mary University of London at Kilburn & Strode's offices at Lacon London, the event involves presentations from the technical board of appeal responsible for examining appeals in the fields of computing and computer-implemented inventions. The board will present on recent case law developments and topics include "Debating the Line between Technical and Non-Technical Matter" and "Technical Contribution in a User Interface". Q&A and drinks to follow.

This is an unprecedented (if short notice) opportunity to meet the entire EPO computer-implemented inventions Board of Appeal.


The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC -- a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives.

Yesterday IPPro Patents reporter Barney Dixon published this piece about new messages from Roberta Romano-Götsch, saying that these "reveal quality decline and ‘confuse’ staff..."

As a reminder, this is the same Romano-Götsch who recently liaised with patent extremists (Watchtroll) and lied about patent quality at the EPO. Honesty isn't her strength; she was close to VP Minnoye (she's part of Team Battistelli, close to Minnoye and Battistelli, having apparently drafted bogus letters in Battistelli's support, based on several independent sources). She spoke for the EPO's Team Battistelli amid scandals covered by Italian media and we have been told many negative things about her servitude to the worst abusers. In any event, this is what she says now, albeit internally:

New messages from the European Patent Office (EPO) in relation to production targets and quality are “confusing”, according to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO).

Two emails, both from Roberta Romano-Götsch, COO Mobility and Mechatronics at the EPO, discussed production targets at the office.

The first, sent to directors and team managers in Mobility and Mechatronics, said that a recent decrease in production figures needs to stop.

She said: “If there is a general feeling that we can relax because the production has not become a priority, this is very naïf. We have a financial sustainability to secure and a rewards exercise coming up.”

“Please help me get the message right—we do not relax!”

[...]

Romano-Götsch said that the number of files checked per sector was too low to be able to have reliable data for Mobility and Mechatronics, but explained that she did “not want to wait for more quarters to take action”.

She explained: “I have asked Directorate Quality Audit about the areas of substantive examination where they see more frequently issues in Mobility and Mechatronics. This is the information I received: of the 75 non-conforming grants since January, 32 were considered to lack novelty—in many cases with respect to an X document is cited in the case. In 15 cases grants were considered in breach of Art 123(2), especially due to intermediate generalisation.”

Romano-Götsch added: “So: to reinforce the quality of grants, I ask you to explain in the votum why any document cited as X in the search report is not relevant anymore at the time of grant.”

“I am convinced that a well drafted votum allows you to have a final check on the patentability of your application. It is about content and not only form. We are also providing you with support on Art 123(2) through classroom training. The first ones are due in two weeks—no time to waste!

[...]

These latest emails from Romano-Götsch seem to provide contradictory information to the EPO's official statements on quality at the office, and confirm the suspicions of many, including that of German law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner, that an “overreaching desire” for high productivity has led to a drop in quality and adequately assessed patents.

SUEPO says that these messages from Romano-Götsch are “confusing”.

[...]

According to SUEPO, this “relentless pressure” is “dangerous for the health, well-being and physical and professional integrity of staff, especially the weakest among our colleagues.”


"We have a financial sustainability to secure," said Romano-Götsch after Battistelli had sent millions of EPO euros to his other employer and tied hundreds of millions of euros to potentially toxic loans.

Corrupt management is killing the EPO. They try to enrich themselves while killing it.

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