06.08.16

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Goodbye to Patent Quality at the EPO, Thanks to Team Battistelli With Its Extreme Policies

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Removing the ‘burden’ of quality control

Praetorian guard

Summary: The erosion of patent quality at the European Patent Office seems ever more evident and inevitable, especially if the UPC becomes a reality (opening doors to software patents) and makes the boards of appeal marginal

NOW that the EPO is in full propaganda mode and there are dedicated hashtags for purchased press coverage I’ve decided to stay home and cover more closely some EPO affairs, in addition to all the other stuff (unrelated to EPO). The EPO is totally out of control. It’s run by lunatics who believe their ‘circle’ can just buy votes, ‘studies’, press ‘coverage’ etc. How far can this go before the EPO implodes or politicians invoke some magic law that can hold Battistelli accountable?

Good explanation of why the EPO management is effectively trying to demolish the boards (a little oversight or accountability) was posted by an anonymous blogger as per information that initially came from IP Kat and angered the EPO management enough to have the site banned (media analysis/sources seem to suggest this was the final straw which did it).

Here is the core of the analysis, which is accompanied by numbers:

This shows that the increase in fees has dramatically affected ex parte appeals, with appeals before the increase averaging at about 1200 a year and in the first full year after the increase amounting to only 864 appeals (a 28% decrease).

The increase in fees has affected inter partes appeals less, with the number of appeals in opposition roughly tracking the number of grants (roughly 2.5% of grants end up with an appeal in opposition).

If a mere 50% increase in appeal fee has resulted in such a drastic change in applicant behaviour, what effect might the huge proposed increase have?

It is to be hoped that the Administrative Council will recognise that an effective appeal system is essential to maintaining quality at the EPO, and will not increase the appeal fee [at all].

“A few thoughts on the effect of the last big increase in appeal fees can be found here,” s/he wrote in IP Kat. The numbers seem to support the hypothesis that fee hikes directly impact the number of appeals. It demonstrates that Battistelli’s plot would squash the boards in the same way the Tories in the UK destroy the NHS, claiming failure or lack of demand (which they themselves created or led to, respectively).

“Well, with lower/declining quality of patents, which is a known issue (see how the EPO accelerates examination under pressure), not many appeals by the applicants would be needed, especially if massive fee hikes are implemented.”One critical comment on the above says: “Perhaps a table of number of grants against number of ex-parte appeals may help (or refusals even). Given the increase in productivity, could there be a simpler link – less refusals = less appeals”

Well, with lower/declining quality of patents, which is a known issue (see how the EPO accelerates examination under pressure), not many appeals by the applicants would be needed, especially if massive fee hikes are implemented. The value of EPs (European Patents) would itself decline, making the relative cost of appeal disproportionately high. This may be good for ‘production’ figures that don’t account for quality and use more convenient (easily-measurable) yardsticks like number of granted patents, repeating the USPTO's mistakes (patent saturation necessarily means deflation). As one person put it this morning, “when it comes to management at the EPO, the dumber, the better.” Under Battistelli it’s all about loyalty (to Battistelli, not to the EPO as an Organisation), not brains or skills. No wonder people are leaving in droves and brain drain is repeatedly being reported to us [1, 2, 3, 4].

“No wonder people are leaving in droves and brain drain is repeatedly being reported to us.”Another new comment says that “private practice are receiving more and more applications for patent attorney positions from EPO examiners.” Here is the full comment: “Rumours – confirmed by some industry sources – are numerous that industry and private practice are receiving more and more applications for patent attorney positions from EPO examiners. While I see more and more advertisements on Linkedin re. recruitment of examiners.”

There is also a discussion there which compares the USPTO and the EPO (not on quality but on staff regulations). The same person says: “Well, that USPTO regulation makes perfect sense. And is a good example for the EPO, if not yet in place. For the interest of applicants, not for the direct interest of the EPO. So still… Conflict of interests of the EPO… outside counsel to SUEPO? Investigative agency hired by the AC to investigate too close family ties at the top of the EPO? I am still very much in the dark what such legitimate interests of the Office may be.”

“On the surface, today’s EPO has a lot of scandals and enough to make it Europe’s leading pariah, but it’s disconnected from oversight so it keeps behaving like a rogue regime, mostly uninterrupted (outside intervention is not sufficiently effective).”Apparently, conflict of interests is absolutely verboten for all staff except Team Battistelli, where people even bring family members to roles with massive salaries. Making this situation ever more comical, it’s these family members who are also then put in charge of identifying issues like conflict of interests (Human Resources).

The EPO. What a house of cards…

The EPO now bans access to sites which are critical of the EPO and at the same time pays the media to say what Battistelli tells the media to say about the EPO. These sponsored/bought articles (by EPO) should in their own right be a huge scandal (waste, press abuse, misleading the public) and as more ‘media partners’ start to issue their puff pieces we kindly ask readers to keep us informed (some of this coverage is not in English). On the surface, today’s EPO has a lot of scandals and enough to make it Europe’s leading pariah, but it’s disconnected from oversight so it keeps behaving like a rogue regime, mostly uninterrupted (outside intervention is not sufficiently effective). The EPC inadvertently created a monster and this monster is called Battistelli.

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