Gemini version available ♊︎

The Duke Law Patent Quality Conference and the Planned Erosion of Patent Quality at the EPO, for the Sake of So-called ‘Production’

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Factory mentality, as opposed to research mentality, inevitably takes its toll

Inside factory

Summary: Stocks are being depleted by superficial work (searches or examination) at the EPO, whereas belatedly, inside the USPTO, the problems associated with shoddy work or lenient examination are being realised, and ramifications noted even by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

“As we have discussed,” Patently-O wrote earlier today about the Duke Law Patent Quality Conference (regarding the USPTO), “the two of us are following closely the USPTO’s efforts to address issues of patent quality through its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI) – an urgent but also enduring challenge that one of our nation’s first patent examiners, Thomas Jefferson, struggled with. Our institutions, the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy and the Santa Clara High Tech Law Institute, are also co-sponsoring two conferences on EPQI and other levers for improving patent quality.

As readers may recall, during the summer we mentioned the GAO report and its relevance to the EPO. The US patent system seems to be improving patent quality, whereas Battistelli goes in the opposite direction (maybe registration/filing alone given the current trajectory), so he definitely needs to attend the above conference. He might actually learn something, though we doubt he can ever acknowledge any mistakes of his. An article titled “Fixing why USPTO issues low-quality patents should be oversight hearing’s focus” has already just been published by The Hill. Notice the theme. The public debate/discourse sure is evolving.

Looking at the situation inside the EPO, there isn’t even an acknowledgement of the problem (at the management/executive level). Patent examiners, however, see the writings on the wall. Some of them wrote about “Patent rain, brain drain and quality bust at the EPO,” calling “Overcapacity and insecurity” an “HR tool” (controlling staff by workload and fear). To quote some bits from these insiders at the EPO:

1. Toward overcapacity, full steam ahead!

According to the EPO workload manager, on the 23.05 the EPO Search Backlog was 4000, on the 30.05 3500…. This trend is picking up as can clearly be seen on the rolling 12M stock curves taking a dive: the spread between applications and searches is increasing monthly since 2014, with an average between 25k and 30k monthly of excess searches. This “scissors effect” will soon lead to the end of the Search stock: presently, it is estimated to a little less than four months of stock!

The situation in Examination may seem less dramatic at this stage, but an inflection point has taken place (see evolution of the EPO examination workload) since January 2016 as staff have started to shift their attention to examination in certain areas due to the lack of search files. When the search stock will be depleted office-wide, the trend will accelerate as capacity will shift to examination. This is coherent with the “Early Certainty1” policy which clear and open objective is to tackle the backlog in examination.

At the present rate2, it is estimated that compared to previous years, the total product stock will melt at a 50k rhythm per year, corresponding in the middle run to a substantial amount of overcapacity in the workforce

1 The dedicated site FAQ attempts to be reassuring on this issue: “What happens with „supernumerary“ examiners once the backlog is cleared? Will young examiners be recruited on 5-year contracts? [...] there are for the moment no plans to recruit examiners on contract and if this discussion would ever come up, it would certainly not be due to Early Certainty”

2 According to the data, the output/input balance was 9500 searches and 3100 examinations in the first quarter.

Put in very simple terms, EPO staff foresees a situation wherein all the skilled (and well-paid) staff will be pressured to go or be laid off, ensuring that patent quality at the EPO declines even further. We are going to elaborate on this another day, as there are some more urgent matters to tackle tonight and some important news regarding patent scope (software patents) from the US.

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. Links 28/05/2023: eGates System Collapses, More High TCO Stories (Microsoft Windows)

    Links for the day

  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 27, 2023

  3. No More Twitter, Mastodon, and Diaspora for Tux Machines (Goodbye to Social Control Media)

    People would benefit from mass abandonment of such pseudo-social pseudo-media.

  4. Links 28/05/2023: New Wine and More

    Links for the day

  5. Links 27/05/2023: Plans Made for GNU's 40th Anniversary

    Links for the day

  6. Social Control Media Needs to be Purged and We Need to Convince Others to Quit It Too (to Protect Ourselves as Individuals and as a Society)

    With the Tux Machines anniversary (19 years) just days away we seriously consider abandoning all social control media accounts of that site, including Mastodon and Diaspora; social control networks do far more harm than good and they’ve gotten a lot worse over time

  7. Anonymously Travelling: Still Feasible?

    The short story is that in the UK it's still possible to travel anonymously by bus, tram, and train (even with shades, hat and mask/s on), but how long for? Or how much longer have we got before this too gets banned under the false guise of "protecting us" (or "smart"/"modern")?

  8. With EUIPO in Focus, and Even an EU Kangaroo Tribunal, EPO Corruption (and Cross-Pollination With This EU Agency) Becomes a Major Liability/Risk to the EU

    With the UPC days away (an illegal and unconstitutional kangaroo court system, tied to the European Union in spite of critical deficiencies) it’s curious to see EPO scandals of corruption spilling over to the European Union already

  9. European Patent Office (EPO) Management Not Supported by the EPO's Applicants, So Why Is It Still There?

    This third translation in the batch is an article similar to the prior one, but the text is a bit different (“Patente ohne Wert”)

  10. EPO Applicants Complain That Patent Quality Sank and EPO Management Isn't Listening (Nor Caring)

    SUEPO has just released 3 translations of new articles in German (here is the first of the batch); the following is the second of the three (“Kritik am Europäischen Patentamt – Patente ohne Wert?”)

  11. German Media About Industry Patent Quality Charter (IPQC) and the European Patent Office (EPO)

    SUEPO has just released 3 translations of new articles in German; this is the first of the three (“Industrie kritisiert Europäisches Patentamt”)

  12. Geminispace Continues to Grow Even If (or When) Stéphane Bortzmeyer Stops Measuring Its Growth

    A Gemini crawler called Lupa (Free/libre software) has been used for years by Stéphane Bortzmeyer to study Gemini and report on how the community was evolving, especially from a technical perspective; but his own instance of Lupa has produced no up-to-date results for several weeks

  13. Links 27/05/2023: Goodbyes to Tina Turner

    Links for the day

  14. HMRC: You Can Click and Type to Report Crime, But No Feedback or Reference Number Given

    The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ were reported 7 days ago to HMRC (equivalent to the IRS in the US, more or less); but there has been no visible progress and no tracking reference is given to identify the report

  15. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, May 26, 2023

  16. One Week After Sirius Open Source Was Reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Tax Fraud: No Response, No Action, Nothing...

    One week ago we reported tax abuses of Sirius ‘Open Source’ to HMRC; we still wait for any actual signs that HMRC is doing anything at all about the matter (Sirius has British government clients, so maybe they’d rather not look into that, in which case HMRC might be reported to the Ombudsman for malpractice)

  17. Links 26/05/2023: Weston 12.0 Highlights and US Debt Limit Panic

    Links for the day

  18. Gemini Links 26/05/2023: New People in Gemini

    Links for the day

  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 25, 2023

  20. Links 26/05/2023: Qt 6.5.1 and Subsystems in GNUnet

    Links for the day

  21. Links 25/05/2023: Mesa 23.1.1 and Debian Reunion

    Links for the day

  22. Links 25/05/2023: IBM as Leading Wayland Pusher

    Links for the day

  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 24, 2023

  24. Links 25/05/2023: Istio 1.16.5 and Curl 8.1.1

    Links for the day

  25. Gemini Links 25/05/2023: On Profit and Desire for Gemini

    Links for the day

  26. SiliconANGLE: Sponsored by Microsoft and Red Hat to Conduct the Marriage Ceremony

    SiliconANGLE insists that paying SiliconANGLE money for coverage does not lead to bias, but every sane person who keeps abreast of SiliconANGLE — and I read their entire feed every day — knows that it’s a ludicrous lie (Red Hat/IBM and the Linux Foundation also buy puff pieces and “event coverage” from SiliconANGLE, so it’s marketing disguised as “journalism”

  27. Links 24/05/2023: Podman Desktop 1.0, BSDCan 2024, and More

    Links for the day

  28. Gemini Links 24/05/2023: Razors, Profit, and More

    Links for the day

  29. [Meme] When the Patent Office Controls Kangaroo Patent Courts and Judges

    The EPO has been hijacked by industry and its lobbyists; now the same is happening to EU patent courts, even though it is illegal and unconstitutional

  30. The Illegally 'Revised' Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is Disgracing the Perception of Law and Order in the European Union

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn’t legal, the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is being altered on the fly (by a person patently ineligible to do so), and so it generally looks like even patent courts across Europe might soon become as corrupt as the European Patent Office, which has no basis in the Rule of the Law and is basically just a front for large corporations (most of them aren’t even European)

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