Bonum Certa Men Certa

EPO Still Wasting Budget, Paying Media and Academics for Spin

António Campinos FTI



Summary: EPO money continues to flow like water into hands that are complicit in legitimising the EPO's management and policies; this highlights the grave dangers of lack of oversight at the EPO, not to mention lawlessness or lack of enforcement

ONE aspect of EPO misconduct has been corruption and bribery of media -- a topic we've covered in literally dozens of posts over the years. It leads to erosion of public trust in journalism. To make matters worse, the EPO did the same thing to academia. For a number of years it had been paying scholars to produce EPO propaganda. As a former scholar myself, I find that rather disturbing. It represents one of the things I hated most, having seen industry-funded colleagues and 'research'. This is not acceptable as it causes the public to be sceptical of universities, even when they speak of serious issues such as climate change. The EPO has been lying to its staff for a very long time, never mind the lies to journalists (some of whom repeated EPO lies without being paid for it). We gave a lot of examples.



"This is not acceptable as it causes the public to be sceptical of universities, even when they speak of serious issues such as climate change."Earlier this week when we wrote about the new survey -- a load of spin that we later dubbed Management's Voice, Management's Future -- readers wrote to us with further input. They found the survey insulting. It insulted their intelligence. Yesterday JUVE's most familiar face tweeted: "The 2019 EPO staff survey results yield a mixed bag. Staff workload shows a marked improvement compared to conditions under the previous president. But not all feedback about the new mangement is positive."

JUVE's article was composed by Christina Schulze, generally a good journalist with solid knowledge and understanding in this area (she has a good track record when it comes to covering EPO scandals). The title says "Aiming for peace at the EPO," but who wouldn't be aiming for it? Even dictators say they want peace. They want calm. They want people to stop resisting injustice, dictatorship. But does the EPO aim for justice? No.

"The EPO is amplifying its employee voice," say the article's first words, but in reality that's just EPO management claiming to be doing that while distorting that voice. Ask the staff (without that staff risking reprisal). The opening paragraph states:

The EPO is amplifying its employee voice through a new staff survey. It was conducted this year by risk management and advisory company Willis Towers Watson.

The study aims to determine if the revamped management strategy is having a positive impact on staff participation in the EPO. With a response rate of 85%, exactly 5,675 EPO employees participated.


We expected such press coverage, not necessarily from the above site with its often pro-UPC and sometimes pro-EPO spin -- all in the name of 'balance' of course! (i.e. believing Team Battistelli and greedy Team UPC)

As we shall see (or already show at this moment), being pro-EPO (management) is a "smart" business decision because there's money up for grabs. Battistelli seeded millions of EPO euros for such a purpose. Sites like IAM grabbed that money (e.g. pro-UPC event in the US).

Looking around for some UPC coverage, we've just found US media with connections to the EPO boosting the UPC. Vincent Look, "an intellectual property and registered patent attorney" by his own description, published under the loaded headline "What to Know in the Lead-Up to Brexit and the Unitary Patent System" even though the UPC is dead. This comes from Watchtroll, so it's consistent with what they did before. The EPO links to them and gives them interviews, never mind the site's aggressive tendencies. Watch what politicians they're associated with (notice IAM at the background):

Malathi Nayak on Coons



He also spoke at IAM events and here's Watchtroll:

Lobbying for Watchtroll



Shown above is Coons. Watchtroll has has just published an article titled "Tillis, Coons Ask Iancu to Take Action on Serial IPR Challenges" (like appeals at the EPO).

These spinners try to make people who call out fake patents seem like the moral equivalent of trolls. In their own words: "In their latest letter weighing in on intellectual property issues, Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons have expressed their concerns about the effects of “serial” inter partes review (IPR) petitions on the U.S. patent system."

Notice the wording; it's like "serial infringer" or "efficient infringer" -- terms they habitually use to demonise practicing companies as opposed to trolls and law firms (i.e. themselves). Coons is just trying to make a name (and career) for himself out of this anti-PTAB trash [1, 2, 3]. He has done that for years. He failed. For years! Watchtroll is again conflating patents with science or invention ("Senate IP Subcommittee Witnesses Offer Solutions for Finding ‘Lost Einsteins,’ But Miss Opportunity to Discuss Broader Patent Problems" published yesterday). Such is the effect of making a fake 'industry' of lawyers and lawsuits; they obstruct science for legal billing.

Whose side is the EPO on? Today's EPO is working for patent bullies and trolls. An article by José Santacroce (Moeller IP Advisors) reminded us of it yesterday. To quote:

The European Patent Office (EPO), the European Committee of Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) have signed recently a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the support they provide to industry and stakeholders in Europe and beyond in the field of standard-essential patents.

This is the first MoU between the organizations who will now work together to extend knowledge about the relationship between standardization and patents.

The purpose of this collaboration is to support inventors, innovators, researchers and industry on standard-essential patents (SEPs) in different areas of technology by promoting the dissemination of technical standards including relevant patented technologies. The agreement complements the established co-operation in this field between the EPO, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Commission.


The above from Mondaq is self-promotional (as usual from that site), but it shows that law firms like what the EPO is doing. It's good for them. It's good for their biggest clients (large multinational corporations). And yet the EPO still pretends to care about "SMEs" while constantly undermining them, discriminating against them and so on. Yesterday it wrote: "Claire Fentsch from @IPRHelpdesk will set out the basic IP toolkit that SMEs need at this event in Bucharest" (an EPO promotional event).

There's a similar issue in the US, but we do not cover US cases and affairs anymore (not at the same level of granularity). See our daily links under "Intellectual Monopolies" for more details. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) PTAB continues to leverage prior art and obviousness (Sections 102 and 103, not just Section 101) to eliminate bad patents. Even the anti-PTAB Anticipat says so and presents numbers/graphs. So patents continue to be thrown out aplenty. If they're not valid, they should bin them. We also took stock of some upcoming cases and outcomes that are encouraging. Software patents are definitely not coming back to the US (not soon anyway).

Meanwhile, proponents of software patents in Europe have mentioned the UPC in this piece that was mentioned by SUEPO before. Tobias Kaufmann (Bardehle Pagenberg) speaks of the employer's "Contribution To The Public Consultation" of the EPO, which hardly changed at all.

Based on yesterday's tweets and "news" from the EPO, António Campinos belatedly continues the same program Battistelli created as a publicity stunt while bribing academics for bias and lies. In this tweet about call for proposals the EPO links to this old page (warning: epo.org link) and says: "We've just launched a new edition of our Academic Research Programme. What it is, how to win a grant and all other details are just a click away..."

The press release (warning: epo.org link) says:

Under the programme, grants of up to EUR 100 000 are awarded in respect of selected proposals on patent-related matters.

[...]

The 2019 call for projects addresses the following thematic areas spanning various disciplines including economics, IP management, and data sciences:

Measuring the impact of patents on innovation The role of patents in technology transfer, commercialisation, and/or investment decisions Patent services and intermediaries Patents and disruptive technologies (AI, Blockchain, 3D, etc.) Impact of public policy and the regulatory landscape on the use of patents by SMEs and PROs across Europe Patents and climate change mitigation technologies Advanced use of PATSTAT, patent searching, and analytics (e.g. classification, potential of IP linked open data)



So the EPO is like oil companies funding 'research' on pollution caused by oil. Wonderful. Nothing has changed. Campinos pays PR firms, he produces expensive fake narrative of staff welfare and now he pays for sellout 'scholars' (like the Koch brothers do for patent 'research' in the US).

Speaking of sellouts, only months after EPO Attaché Albert Keyack entered the private sector (like Jesper Kongstad) we now see Alberto Casado Cerviño doing the same.

"Alberto Casado Cerviño, the European Patent Office's former vice president, has joined Spanish IP boutique Baylos," World Intellectual Property Review wrote yesterday. Battistelli's bulldog has meanwhile created his own business in Croatia.

The EPO has a 'revolving doors' problem, just like the USPTO. From corridors of EPO corruption these people move on to private firms or create their own, 'monetising' their connections.

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