02.01.16

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Under Battistelli’s Regime the European Patent Office is Rapidly Rotting

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And by trying to hide it from sight, the circle of Battistelli only makes things a lot worse

Dead tree

Summary: Technical problems, patent maximalism (in a desperate effort to artificially elevate patent-related figures) and other serious issues observed inside the European Patent Office (EPO)

AS of this morning, says the EPO's PR team, Team Battistelli welcomes another Frenchman to a top EPO position, reinforcing an observation or a trend of entyrism/coup d'état in slow motion*. It’s one among many EPO problems. “The Chief Economist unit of the EPO,” says this announcement, “was set up to provide economic insights into issues relating to patents, innovation and economic growth. It aims to contribute high-level expertise and analysis to public and expert forums and to foster well-informed debate. Its studies on the economic and societal aspects of patents in Europe have been commended as providing important evidence to the public.”

This is hogwash. The economic value of an overly permissive patent system (which the EPO rapidly became) is negative. Some people who leave anonymous comments definitely notice the decline of quality at the EPO and this morning one person wrote:

Just took a peek at the UK file to see what happened in this case. Notes state:

“04 February 2015 Application for amendment under Section 75 before the court filed on 25 September 2008 (HC07 C01905)
04 February 2015 Entry of 04 February 2015 entered in error.”

Appear the UKIPO want to be more like the EPO, making errors.

Battistelli does not even recognise such problems, including grants of invalid European patents (EP), including software patents in Europe.

With brain drain being reported to us (we covered this before on numerous occasions), a lot of things are rotting at the EPO these days, not just EPO buildings (a subject we shall leave for another day). Based on the initial tweet of the PR team (full context in [1, 2, 3]), the EPO did not even know Espacenet had been down until clients complained and a response was sent this morning. Technical incompetence such as this motivates some applicants to even consider suing the EPO, as we showed over the weekend.

Just before the weekend the EPO published an article only in German (about Mr. Fischer, who is German), “peddling patents-as-a-metric,” as one of our readers put it, citing this propagandistic article as an example. The number of patents does not say much. See how the USPTO doubled the number of granted patents in just a few years. Edison, a bogus legend, wasn’t an innovator but a businessman, an aggressor, and some say a patent troll (we covered this several times in the past). Patent offices are making a myth out of him, like Columbus (who didn’t discover anything, he merely invaded places that were already occupied by people, making him a raider).

Over at IP Kat, where many commenters are examiners and patent lawyers, there was this interesting discussion about patents as a tax. It started with this comment:

Remember that patents are a type of tax. The member states ceded this sovereign tax-raising power to the EPO on condition that the EPO render a share of the tax revenue back to them. The fact that the EPO is the first supranational tax-raising organ in Europe has largely escaped public attention so far. However, if the current bunch of misfits continues to drive the EPO into ignominy, it will only be a matter of time before the media (not least in the UK) wakes up to the fact that part of our sovereign authority is now under the control of an expensive, self-interested organisation managed by a nepotistic cabal under a despotic Enarque. The political fallout from such public scrutiny could be significant. And if it does come to this, then the Administrative Council will disown Battistelli and his cronies pretty smartly.

Here is a response to it:

Thinking about the statement “Remember that patents are a type of tax.”

I am reminded of how easy it is to twist a meme.

In this “tax” meme, who, exactly is being taxed?

Those with “anti-patent” feelings will try to twist the meme into an answer to this question being society itself – but that is just NOT the case, as the actual answer is that those being taxed are the innovators who chose to use the (optional) patent system.

There is no tax on society, given the premise that a patent right is given as quid for a certain quo.

Sorry for the interlude – now back to the “grift” of EPO leadership.

And finally there’s this:

Society at large is indeed highly concerned by the patent costs and the way patent fees are distributed to member states.
Albeit patent fees are paid directly by patent owners, it seems a bit naive to think they are not reflected in the products sold on the market: whenever we buy a smartphone or a car, a portion of the money we pay for it covers patent costs.
Society thus undoubtedly pays for patents, and its contribution actually amounts to a hidden consumer tax, which socially is far less just than an income tax.

It is nice to see that not everyone falls into the EPO’s self-deluding myth that economic value comes from patents irrespective of their scope. The EPO now operates like a corporation just trying to maximise everything (for short-term gains) and leaving the European public to deal with the externalities.
______
* Coup d’état is a French term. Very apt given the situation at the EPO these days.

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