12.22.15

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Europe Under Siege by Patent Lawyers, UPC Ambitions, and the Administrative Council’s Continued Passive Support of Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pyramid of Patent System
A 1911 Industrial Worker publication advocating industrial unionism (unedited original is in the public domain)

Summary: The interests of Europe, historically a beacon of innovation, are being jeopardised to give way for the interests of the rich and powerful, including foreign corporations/billionaires (along with lawyers whom they hire to help perpetuate their power)

OUR previous post spoke about patent trolls and software patents, which are closely connected in practice (statistically-meaningful supportive evidence does exist). We still worry — and apparently SUEPO does too — that patent scope at the EPO has gone awry and we believe that it will get a lot worse if (or when) UPC becomes a reality.

“The UPC would bring even more of them (patent lawyers, patent thickets, patent trolls) to Europe. “We couldn’t help but notice that in Europe too patent trolls are becoming a problem and they utilise software patents. The UPC would bring even more of them (patent lawyers, patent thickets, patent trolls) to Europe. It would be a bureaucratic mess. Some people make a lot of money from such a mess, as do military contractors at times of war and conflict, even just tensions (catalysing proactive armament, akin to patent stockpiling).

Patent lawyers from Marks & Clerk have just published (today) an article in which they try to study how to overcome those ‘pesky’ boards when it comes to patenting. The boards, including the Enlarged Board, sometimes help squash software patents. Marks & Clerk (also today) gives tips for tricking/fooling the judges. Meanwhile, in another example form today, other patent lawyers want and pursue the UPC because they gain from it at the expense of the European public. Watch how they’re jumping the gun ahead of the European public even voting on it:

The Eversheds UPC team attended a teach-in session in Luxembourg on 17 November 2015 with the providers of the UPC Case Management System (“UPC CMS”), which is currently in alpha testing.

There will soon be an EPO-sponsored pro-UPC event in the US and this new softball (questions) interview with Battistelli is UPC promotion as well. As one person put it: “The section on the Boards of Appeal, in particular, is full of what can only be described as complete and utter rubbish” (not just that section, but it’s behind a paywall, at least from here).

This is a truly shameless attack on democracy. It’s the patent microcosm that’s conspiring to make it so, usually behind closed doors, for its own selfish interests. Incidentally, the statement from the Council has just been published and it says that it “again expressed concern about the deteriorated social climate and called for initiatives and genuine efforts from all parties involved to seek compromise solutions to end a situation detrimental to the proper functioning of the Office and the public image of the whole Organisation.” Well, no wonder; it’s self-inflicted.

As one new comment there put it:

I am struck by the exhortations in the Communique for “compromise” on all sides. More useless hand-wringing and more futile expressions of disappointment.

I defer to commentators here with better inside knowledge than me, but I wonder, do general readers (or even the political masters of those who sit on the EPO’s AC) realise how remote the EPO is from the Rule of Law, when it comes to disciplinary proceedings against EPO employees?

As I understand it, any unfortunate employee who comes to the attention of the authorities in Eponia faces disciplinary proceedings in which the EPO President is the prosecuting entity. Not only that, the President’s men form the tribunal that hears the case and passes judgement on it. Not only that though. It is the President that enforces the judgement.

And if the President of Eponia does not like the judgement, he is free to ignore it, re-write it, and enforce the judgement as re-written to his liking. There’s nobody (except the AC) to stop him.

Here in Germany, there are great expectations placed on adults, to set a good example to the children. Woe betide anybody who zips across a street in the presence of little children, before the pedestrian traffic light has switched from a little red man to a little green man. Rules are to be obeyed, not broken. Officious bystanders do more than wring their hands. They inform the police that you have committted an offence.

But whenever there are no Rules, why then you can behave as you like. Speed down the 2-lane Autobahn A 92 to Deggendorf at 250 km/h? Even when the inside lane is full of slow-moving traffic and the road is greasy. No problem!

So imagine The President’s Chief General Counsel, his German Consigliere, Herr Lutz, giving advice to his boss, whispering in his ear. Boss, ignore the AC. You break no law, you offend no Rule. There are no police. Ergo, you do no wrong and there is nothing to stop you continuing, boss, to your heart’s content.

In truth, the only thing that can stop the reckless vehicle is the AC. And all the AC seems capable of doing is wringing its hands and calling on the parties to “compromise”. Is that the best they can do? Is that all they’ve got? The faceless members of the AC ought to be ashamed of themselves.

As for the political masters of the AC members, politicians have this great ability to see things in a way that no shame ever attaches to them. They all fancy themselves as Teflon Tony. They distance themselves, don’t they, and deny any responsibility.

On mainland Europe, nobody understands the English notion of equity/fairness. English readers just do not grasp how offensive it is to the Rule of Law, what goes on inside the EPO. The villain is a Frenchman that looks like Napoleon Bonaparte and the season of pantomime is upon us. When the English yellow press runs the story though, it will be another reason for English voters to decide to walk away from the EU.

Patent examiners ought to realise (at least reevaluate or reassess) their role in this cross-national system. They can use their knowledge and influence to steer patent policy in a sane direction, e.g. to maximise health (e.g. saving lives in poor economies), class-agnostic commonwealth, and innovation. Patent examiners don’t work in a production/assembly line (should not be treated as such either) and if they act as public servants in a public service, then the collective interests of Europe — not those of some large foreign corporations — should always be paramount. If Battistelli and his goons stand in the way, get rid of them.

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