03.16.15

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EPO Management Still in a Freefall, Tries to Warp/Divert the Debate Away From Its Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of EPO news and a preview of things to come

THANKS to several dozens of pointers and important leaks which we have received over the past 3 weeks, we are now empowered enough to show that there’s no going back for the EPO, whose management is presently under perpetual fire from European politicians, high-profile insiders, and principal stakeholders. Momentum is there and current inertia highlights the inevitability of EPO collapse (its management’s at least). In the coming weeks we are going to lay out some of the latest ‘dirty laundry’. We recently spoke with several sources in Croatia (verbally) in order to establish some of the murkier facts. There is a corruption-laden background whose nature is sure to shock even EPO sceptics. We are going to try our best to shift the debate back to the real issues, not the silly new distractions that now occupy the mainstream media in Europe’s patent-centric circles/sections/columns.

“There is a corruption-laden background whose nature is sure to shock even EPO sceptics.”IP Kat was very active as it covered these matters almost on a daily basis (it’s now dominated by it and it still runs long series like “what actually happened at the December Administrative Council meeting?” [1, 2] or “EPO Boards of Appeal reform plan” [1, 2, 3]) while Techrights, expectedly, was on break. The EU patent package reared its ugly head again and patent scope (or breadth) in the EU was also discussed. The EPO’s management has this sick obsession with the number of patents — neglecting quality in order to maximise the number of patents. As IP Kat put it earlier this month: “The European Patent Office (EPO) finally decided on what the ‘same invention’ was for priority purposes in G2/98. Before this decision there was the possibility that trivial features or those that did not contribute to the technical effect could be ignored when assessing whether the invention described in the priority document was the same as that described in the Convention application. However, G2/98 held that the ‘same invention’ for priority required a strict test. The example was given of overlapping European applications where one needs to decipher which subject matter in an application is citable against which subject matter in another application, based on the filing date to which it is entitled. That is only possible if the test is strict, essentially requiring every single feature to be present for it to be the ‘same invention’.”

IP Kat also debunked the old myth about Unitary Patent as a collective money saver — the very myth that had many support the Unitary Patent in the first place. One site reveals Italy’s scepticism and states that: the “Italian government has asked the opinion of enterprises and intellectual property experts on whether Italy should join the unitary patent system and/or ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement: no thanks, say the Collegio Italiano dei Consulenti in Proprietà Industriale and SME confederation CONFIMI.”

Why even ask patent lawyers or so-called “intellectual property experts”? They’re not scientists, they exist to tax scientists. Watch the corporate role in all this debate. It’s appalling. And why does this occupy the news all of a sudden, much so at the expense of EPO scandals coverage?

The last time we wrote about the EPO there was an imminent staff protest — a protest to which the British government responded pro-actively ((the arrogant Benoît Battistelli tried hard to derail the protest). As far as we could tell the EPO’s plan was to bury bad news or distract from protests almost on the very same day as the staff protest in Munich, using this Munich-sourced press release. It led to an irrelevant chatter and some resultant coverage, perpetuating the misguided idea that more patents means more protection/innovation and that “success” means more patents.

The EPO’s management has not been terribly successful at suppressing the debate about its abuses. As articles like this or that serve to remind us, there is still greater focus violations of law. As one critics of the EPO’s management put it: “The victims of this structural problem are the EPO staff on the one hand (I don’t have a position on their compensation or anything like that, but I do believe that they should be protected in accordance with contemporary human rights standards) and, if things go wrong with the UPC, industry on the other hand.”

We wish not to repeat or replicate what IP Kat already reported on, so readers who wish to know more can read “EPO Enlarged Board tells Chairman: ‘disobey President when necessary’” and “Breakdown in management-staff relations at the European Patent Office”. In the coming days we are going to cover different stories from different angles. Please bear with us while we organise the heaps of material we have amassed owing to numerous sources. Several people wrote to us just to say that Techrights articles about the EPO have been brought up even in European Parliament, so we know a real difference is being made.

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