01.08.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

The European Patent Office (EPO) Doesn’t Like Spanish, So Why Should the Spanish Tolerate the EPO?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Contra EPO

Contra EPO

Summary: Old complaints about the EPO’s discrimination against Spanish speakers, as demonstrated by actually speaking to EPO staff

Spanish is — by some criteria and depending on the definitions one chooses — the world’s most used language (e.g. based on number of countries where it is a first/spoken language). Techrights made Spanish its second language and there are many articles here which were published in Spanish.

“The Spanish language hardly even exists at the EPO. It is definitely not treated as it should and one needn’t look far back to see how the EPO, which is based in Munich, (mis)treats Spanish staff.”The EPO discriminates against many European languages, but only the Italians and the Spanish had the courage to stress this point and fight over such an important matter (perpetuating power through lingual domination, as the British have done for centuries). The EPO’s Twitter account (“European Patent Office” only ever writes in English) promoted automated translations the other day, but these are subpar. Here is the tool they recommend (warning: epo.org link). “Patent Translate,” they said in Twitter a few days ago, “comes with a correction editor, which allows you to propose even better translations” (well, that’s crowdsourcing, turning Spaniards, for instance, into volunteers for corporations’ private gain).

The Spanish language hardly even exists at the EPO. It is definitely not treated as it should and one needn’t look far back to see how the EPO, which is based in Munich, (mis)treats Spanish staff. One of them had a nervous breakdown a couple of months ago, after he had been bullied by the ‘whiter’ staff of the EPO, the I.U. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“They can at least demand that the EPO doesn’t treat Spanish as a non-language.”We recently became aware of other forms of discrimination against Spaniards at the EPO. “I was reading this article,” one person told us about an article we've translated into Spanish a few days ago. “I tried to request Spanish as an opposition language when we were opposing the Amazon Gift patent,” this person told us. “We got a nice phone call and email from the EPO saying we have to pay for a translator, while other people with German or French would not have to pay for simultaneous translations during oral proceedings.”

That’s rather revealing, is it not?

We decided to look further and deeper into it because this is a shared complaint (shared among EU member states); only the Spanish, however, have a strong enough voice (large population) and a good argument for the inclusion of their language because it’s incredibly popular (second only to Chinese, Arabic, and English depending on the definition of popularity). It was brought up when debating the UPC’s viability at one time. The EPO’s management wants the UPC to pass (it even lobbies for it out in the open), but the Spanish people, if properly organised, can definitely do a lot to derail it. They can at least demand that the EPO doesn’t treat Spanish as a non-language. Some groups already complained about this, but nothing really came out of such efforts.

“We sent this request in Spanish,” wrote to us the above person (the name can be found deeper in the links if one is desperate to know it), and the English translation is his. He ended up “trying to download the thousand pages in the EPO register to locate the right PDF” in this mess. The original letter is as follows (from the FFII):

Bruselas, 07 de mayo 2012

Sujeto: EP927945: el lenguaje de la vista oral de 12 de junio 2012

Estimados Miembros de la Oficina Europea de Patentes,

FFII eV ha recibido su carta del 16 de abril 2012 en relación con la elección de las lenguas de los procedimientos orales con respecto a nuestra oposición a la patente de regalo de Amazon EP927945.

Tenemos la intención de usar el español tanto para los procedimentos por vía oral (habla) como para la interpretación simultánea (escucha).

Saludos cordiales,

And in English:

Brussels, the 7 may 2012

Concerns: Amazon gift patent EP927945: language of the oral
proceedings of 12 June 2012

Dear Members of the European Patent Office,

FFII eV has well received your letter of 16th of April 2012 regarding the choice of languages of the oral proceedings regarding our opposition to the Amazon gift patent EP927945.

We intend to use Spanish for the both the language of the oral proceedings (speaking) and the simultaneous interpretation (listening).

Best regards,

“The link to the EPO register is here,” he said. “Unfortunately, their website is so crappy that you cannot download the PDF with wget. Here is our answer to their refusal. Trying to find the original in plain text…”

“What is going on, how did it become so bad, and why aren’t Spaniards more vocal about this?”Their official answer is here.

“Trying to recover the email from [a person] who is Spanish,” he wrote, “when he received the phone call from the EPO yields the following old letter…”

The following is quite self-explanatory:

Dear board,

this email is private, don’t forward it, etc.

A German speaking woman from the EPO has just called the office. She was speaking like a script. Question from me, standard answer from her. Well trained. I summarized.

Mr. [redacted] has sent a fax in Spanish :-), but Spanish is not one of the 3 languages accepted by the EPO. I of course said that this is not good for the Spanish speaking people in the EU, bla bla. The standard answer: the 3 official languages of the EPO are bla bla, additionally the EPO offers at no cost a list of translators bla bla that we can hire. I asked for this in written form, she said she cannot reply to a fax in Spanish, we should send the fax in one of the 3 official languages and then she will reply. She asks for this to happen quickly, as she cannot achieve a fax in Spanish in the EPO system.

In conclusion, Spanish is strangely enough being snubbed by the EPO, whereas French (which fewer nations and people can speak) is an “official” language. The same goes for German, which not many people speak at all (except in Germany’s area). Are member states treated favourably based on their financial might as opposed to the target audience internationally and locally (Portuguese is more popular than both French and German, maybe even combined, going by some criteria)? What is going on, how did it become so bad, and why aren’t Spaniards more vocal about this?

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  2. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  3. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  5. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  8. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  9. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  10. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  11. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  13. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  15. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  16. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  17. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  18. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  20. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  21. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  22. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  24. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  26. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  28. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  30. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts