Bonum Certa Men Certa

The USPTO and EPO Pretend to Care About Patent Quality by Mingling With the Terms “Patent” and “Quality”

A working coup: The EPO's Working Party on Quality is Battistelli's Own Ministry of Truth

Short: EPO's “Working Party for Quality” is to Quality What the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea” is to Democracy

Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four
Reference: Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four



Summary: The whole "patent quality" propaganda from EPO and USPTO management continues unabated; they strive to maintain the fiction that quality rather than money is their prime motivator

AS we noted in our previous post, the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps promoting software patents in Europe (even in those words, not "CII"); the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is meanwhile moving in the exact opposite direction (in practice at least). It has gotten a lot harder to receive US software patents and then successfully enforce these.



"It has gotten a lot harder to receive US software patents and then successfully enforce these."Janal Kalis wrote: "The USPTO Reported 28 New PTAB Decisions Regarding 101 Eligibility. All of the Decisions Affirmed the Examiners' Rejections."

Kalis alludes to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and to 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101, which helps eliminate most if not all software patents in the US. Programmers in the US are happy and programmers in Europe should be paying closer attention to what the EPO is up to; "Ideas are cheap," as one European opponent of software patents put it yesterday, "execution difficult" (patents don't cover execution/implementation but mere concepts, unlike copyrights).

"Kalis alludes to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and to 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101, which helps eliminate most if not all software patents in the US."Kevin Noonan (Patent Docs) has just taken note of the Arista Networks, Inc. v Cisco Systems, Inc. inter partes review (IPR), which was escalated upon appeal to the Federal Circuit while the ITC totally ignored -- quite infamously in fact -- PTAB's ruling. The case has since then been settled at huge expense to Arista Networks and here's what the highest court bar SCOTUS (this might reach SCOTUS next) had to say last week:

On Friday, the Federal Circuit handed down its decision in Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., deciding that the Board had erred in certain of its determinations regarding Arista's inter partes review challenge to certain claims of Cisco's U.S. Patent No. 7,340,597 (for reasons discussed briefly below). More importantly, the Court affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's decision that the doctrine of assignor estoppel does not preclude institution of any of the various post-grant challenges to granted patents contained in the patent law revisions enacted under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (35 U.S.C. ۤۤ 311-319, ۤۤ 321-329, and 125 Stat. 329-31 (2011)).

[...]

While this interpretation of the statute is consistent with (and supported by ample citation to) Supreme Court precedent and proclivities, the Court's penchant for weighing in on statutory interpretation questions involving the AIA make it certainly possible that this decision might also come under Supreme Court review. It is less likely that the Court would disagree with the Federal Circuit's decision here but may be tempted to put its imprimatur on this aspect of the proper statutory interpretation of the AIA.


This isn't quite over yet; what's at stake here are IPRs. Some time tomorrow, according to Patent Docs, there will be a so-called AIA Trials Seminar (stacked by the patent maximalists, as usual). To quote: "The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) AIA Trials Committee and John Marshall Law School will be offering an "AIA Trials Seminar" on November 14, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (CT) at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL."

Another event for lawyers, by lawyers?

Patent Docs keeps advertising all these conferences/webinars/seminars of the patent microcosm, including this one which takes place later today. To quote: "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on November 13, 2018" (that's a few hours from now).

"Thankfully, EPO insiders openly talk about the quality issues, which António Campinos persistently denies along with his 'boss' (Ernst) who will soon become his 'assistant'."They call it "USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series" because the USPTO -- like the corrupt EPO -- only needs to pretend to care about patent quality by spamming/googlebombing these words ("Patent Quality"). It's not difficult to see that all they really care about is money, i.e. patent maximalism. Quality is an obstacle to them.

Thankfully, EPO insiders openly talk about the quality issues, which António Campinos persistently denies along with his 'boss' (Ernst) who will soon become his 'assistant'. If Campinos so stubbornly denies that there's no issue, then why does he, according to this morning's article, meet those who express such concerns? It's an anonymous article, whose latter part (towards the end of the article) deals with attacks on judges and staff representatives, i.e. those who are concerned (internally) about patent quality among other things. Sooner or later, perhaps inevitably, both insiders and outsiders, or workers and stakeholders, will learn that Campinos is just a pretender, a banker. He promises the moon, but he gives Hell. He sends misleading messages to staff whom he gags (as usual) and here's the latest 'smooth' move from Campinos the pretender:

The European Patent Office and representatives of 14 German law firms who had expressed concerns about EPO patent quality earlier this year in a letter, have started a “constructive dialogue”.

The representatives had a meeting with the new President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, and other EPO officials, on 16 October 2018 in Munich. According to a press release issued last week by the law firms, “the officials of the European Patent Office listened to the experiences, opinions and fears of patent attorneys and lawyers and expressed their willingness to talk. There is agreement that the EPO has delivered very high quality internationally in the past and that it is up to all stakeholders to preserve it. At the end of the meeting, the European Patent Office promised to continue the constructive dialogue that has now begun. It will be about the definition of quality criteria, as well as the possibilities to investigate criticism and to remove causes of criticism.”

[...]

I [sic] an email last month to EPO staff, Campions wrote he told the ILO that the EPO’s internal procedures for conflict resolution have since been improved: “I have recently signed and implemented a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chair of the Appeals Committee. That is partly a result of your direct input in recent one-to-one meetings with staff. Many of you spoke positively in our meetings about the increased independence and impartiality of the Appeals Committee, and, as a result, greater faith in the system. This MoU has therefore now formally safeguarded that independence and impartiality. Importantly, it also recognises the need to allocate adequate resources to ensure proper functioning of the Appeals Committee and its Secretariat. The second point that I discussed with ILO leaders is the recent increased effort in social dialogue and I hope many of you will agree this is developing positively (…).” In his mail, Campinos encourages EPO staff members with pending cases before the ILOAT “to consider reaching an amicable settlement with the Office”.

In the meantime, there has been some action in the case of Patrick Corcoran, according to various sources. The Irish judge was thrown out of the EPO building in Munich late 2014 on suspicion of having distributed defamatory material about the EPO upper management. After various illegal and fruitless attempts of former president Battistelli to have him fired, he was acquitted last year by the ILOAT and the Landgericht München, but was subsequently told that his future at the EPO would no longer be in Munich as an appeal board member, but in The Hague as an examiner (see also this blogpost). Apparently, the prospect of a forced transfer was the last straw after years of hardship: Corcoran fell gravely ill. The sources told Kluwer IP Law that his transfer has now been reversed or put on hold.

It remains to be seen if an “amicable settlement” is possible for some former SUEPO leaders. The case of Laurent Prunier, for instance, has been brought to Campinos’ attention several times, but is still pending before the ILOAT. Another former SUEPO leader, Elizabeth Hardon, has been waiting for months now for an EPO reaction in her unfinished ILOAT case.


The above speaks of "quality criteria" for patents; it does not, however, specify what will be done about many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of low-quality patents that should never have become European Patents.

"Now that the EPO is run by a former banker, don't expect anything to change."The above also notes a “constructive dialogue” as if dialogue is what's needed to solve a long-term problem. In the meantime staff continues to grant low-quality patents just to survive at this employer.

Neither office (neither US nor Europe) cares about quality; as a year-old paper explains, it's all about money. Now that the EPO is run by a former banker, don't expect anything to change. He is just trying to maintain the illusion/impression that he cares about quality, just as he met staff representatives merely to spread lies about truce and reconciliation.

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