Bonum Certa Men Certa

EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

Purple people
Office run by lying, law-breaking 'suits' instead of scientists



Summary: It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)

As we noted earlier this month and last month -- preparation and publication, respectively -- IAM had (once again, as usual) orchestrated the "quality" festival for Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, seeking to mislead and manipulate EPO governance by a false sense of calm. Are they supposed to feel like their mis-governance accomplished success?



Over the years we published many articles about patent quality. We also saw EPO staff coming under exceptional threats/fire for merely pointed out the fact quality of European Patents (or validity of them) was rapidly decreasing. Instead of giving traffic/attention to the annual IAM lies (Watchtroll has just written about the EPO as well), let's repost below a publication of relevance from earlier this year. We never reproduced it as HTML (and Gemini), but it's never too late:

Time and Timeliness vs. Quality and Production Pressure?



Management is very proud of the quality of EPO products. Indeed, Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan 2020-2023 is to "Deliver high-quality products (and services efficiently)".

But have you ever wondered how the quality of a search and a grant is actually defined? We have, and have previously written in detail on the topic.

The Office has also thought a lot about this issue, dedicating an entire intranet page ("Creating a common definition of quality") to the search for a proper definition.

From that page, it can be derived that on the one hand:

● quality is still to be defined, i.e. one of the EPO's projects is to 'Develop a common definition of quality for EPO search and examination products that is agreed and shared with internal and external users'”,

but on the other hand

“quality is our top priority”.

Thus, as soon as quality is properly defined, it will be our top priority. Let's assume that to be true.

Elsewhere on the intranet ("Early Certainty: EPO’s plan to improve timeliness and address business‘ needs") we can read that "The EPO strives to provide high quality products which withstand potential post-grant proceedings. This establishes legal certainty". So we can derive that quality is based, among other things, on whether the best prior art was found before examination.

Let's now take a step back and look at what happens in reality.

The Office sets production targets that have considerably reduced the time available per application for each examiner. However, the less time you have, the less probable it will be that you can find the best prior art, thoroughly examine the application to check the requirements of the EPC, and draft your findings in a way that the applicant can understand them.

Therefore, this lessens the probability that your granted patent will withstand potential post-grant proceedings. This in turn can only worsen the quality, should it be defined as maximum legal validity. A detailed treatise on quality using this definition authored by the CSC inter alia can be found here1.

There are known counter-arguments to any pleas for increased (or even maintained) time for processing searches and examinations:

"If you can do this dossier in 3 days, you can do it in 3 days minus 1 hour". This implies, if taken to its absurd, iterative conclusion, that every dossier could eventually be completed in zero minutes. Taken to an even more absurd extreme, we would be completing dossiers in negative time.

"The Applicant cannot wait for our products, we have to deliver them ASAP". Should this really be at the expense of quality, as defined by maximum validity at grant? It is well known to applicants that if they want to proceed faster they can request accelerated search / examination. Such requests remain rare.

This situation by itself is bad enough, but it is complicated yet further by all sorts of “nice-to-haves” which have now been given to examiners as "must have" objectives. For example, for unclear reasons dossiers at the beginning of examination (Priority 3 in the dossier management system) also now have to be dealt with ASAP, so that they will be finished by the end of the year. However, such actions often do not lead to a grant, considering the normal patenting practice of applicants. Many further parameters of various sorts are also given to examiners as objectives, with questionable value as hard objectives. An earlier paper on “over-parameterisation” can be found here2.

In conclusion, we still cannot understand how a system with ever-higher production targets, and ever-more “unproductive” but mandatory goals, can be reconciled with the quality target the EPO has set for itself.

Your Staff Representation

_______ 1 “Good enough? A discussion paper about Patent Quality at the EPO”, LSC Munich & Berlin paper (sc18003mp) of 19.04.2018 2 “All the President’s Peas”, CSC paper (sc18008cp) of 17.01.2018


Of course IAM et al won't be writing about such simple facts; they're paid to ignore reality or look the other way while the EPO spews out lots of Invalid Patents (IPs) instead of proper European Patents (EPs). We'll publish more material related to this tomorrow (Sunday).

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