11.02.16

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Patent Maximalism is Destroying the European Patent Office (Just a Paperwork Assembly Line), Exile of Boards Ensures No Turnaround

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And the Administrative Council allows this to happen, knowing darn well the consequences

“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 April 1963

LANDBRUG photo

Summary: The EPO is racing to the bottom of patent quality and the last resort, the Boards of Appeal, are being destroyed by Battistelli, who attempts to make this destruction appear like “improved independence” while the Administrative Council, led by Battistelli’s Pet Chinchilla, condones these outrageous moves or simply abstains rather than object (ruinous passivity)

THE EPO keeps following the footsteps of the old USPTO — the patent office in which there was only one goal: maximalise profit (for the Office). The inherent problem with this misguided strategy is that it’s short-term (and thus quite likely short-lived), as applicants sooner or later realise that their patents are being devalued and that the newer patents are not even worth pursuing. Too much of everything or too much of anything has a stigma or proverbs associated with it in many languages/cultures.

Watch this latest nonsensical piece of patent maximalism seeded by the EPO and EUIPO for cheap PR. The EPO is so proud that someone reprinted these lies — lies that even Managing IP refused to accept several years ago. Deloitte has also just released similar propaganda in the form of a press release. These people view the whole world in terms of patents (or so-called “Intellectual Property”, which also includes trademarks and other laws). “Industries that use IPR intensively have a huge impact on the economy, study shows. Here are the key findings,” the EPO wrote this week, repeating some of this whole nonsense. They try to take credit for every single segment of the science and technology world!

“Too much of everything or too much of anything has a stigma or proverbs associated with it in many languages/cultures.”In reality, the EPO needs the appeal boards and it needs outside (independent) auditors of patent quality. Sadly, Battistelli is allowed by his Pet Chinchillas at the Council to just demolish these boards, little by little, step by step. The EPO under Battistelli already rejects the law and doesn’t give a damn about what the European Parliament says, so much so that, as Benjamin Henrion put it today: “EPO software patent guidelines have been updated, they keep using the term “computer-implemented inventions” https://is.gd/U8GQmj” (this is a new publication from a British site).

Yet again, as a matter of fact, the EPO is pushing software patents that are against the EPC and the Parliament’s determination. This is happening every week these days, i.e. a lot more frequently than before. We have campaigned on this subject for a very long time (I have personally done so longer than this site’s existence) and this week comes yet another lie from the EPO (namely that people need no special software to apply for a patent, clearly a fallacy). Also this week we see the EPO using EPOPIC as yet another opportunity to distract from abuses, retweeting stuff like [1, 2].

“Why is the media no longer covering internal EPO affairs?”How many people are even aware of what goes on inside the EPO? As one insider put it (illustrating it visually too): “This is how it feels like walking through the EPO corridors in 2016″ (see the image and the responses there). Why is the media no longer covering internal EPO affairs? Have intimidation tactics worked? Why do insiders need to submit anonymous comments in some thread from almost 5 months ago? One such comment says: “The EPO is for sure a magic place with its 365 day/year Halloween, leave-no-trace social conferences and its alien AC support forces. Happy Halloween!”

“As a side effect, more of the EPO money is leeched towards Germany,” another person wrote about the relocation of the boards to Haar:

Re. Art. 36 EPC (weighing of votes):
Germany did not vote no in the Budget and Finance Committee…
I assume, Munich is happy that another building is now in use, thus earning taxes.
As a side effect, more of the EPO money is leeched towards Germany.

Without the German vote, the weighing will be very close against the mass of smaller countries coming to the Administrative Council meeting in December (meeting 150! time for a fancy dinner!).

Here is a very detailed comment about what happened in the meeting behind closed doors:

Yes the German delegation seems to be playing a double game here.
During the June assembly they did not make any criticism of the planned move.

The only delegations that criticised or questioned the proposal were as follows.

Switzerland
“The boards’ location falls within the EPO President’s powers. In the redesigned framework, the BOA President would also play a role, by drawing up their budget. Only via the budget can the Council exercise direct influence. So this is not a formal request either; we are merely pointing out that in our opinion the boards’ location has no bearing on their independence. The Swiss delegation is therefore not prepared to agree to any spending on relocating the boards, and suggests leaving them where they are.”

Ireland
“Relocation: Ireland believes that a separate location for the boards of appeal is neither justified nor required. Users have already expressed the view that
the boards are considered to be independent from the rest of the Office and the fact that the boards are physically located in the Isar building does not
impinge on their independence. It seems that even a relocation within Munich would give rise to unnecessary expense and my delegation cannot see that the expenditure associated with such a move could be justified.”

Austria
“As far as relocating the boards was concerned, those most immediately affected, i.e.BOA members and users, would have to agree. And the cost – even in the
Munich area – would also have to be taken into account.”

Netherlands
There was no point relocating the boards, as proposed in Section C of CA/43/16; this would merely waste money.

Slovakia
“The Office’s relocation proposal was certainly better than the original one, but even such a move should still be presented to the Budget and Finance Committee for opinion, because it would cost a lot of money.”

Czech Republic
“Lastly, on the relocation issue it agreed with earlier speakers. This was more an internal management issue, and should be uncoupled from the
independence question. But if the majority was in favour of a move, it would oppose it.”

Bulgaria
“Relocation did not seem essential, and the costs involved should be looked into.”

Denmark
“Lastly, it was certainly not convinced that relocating the boards – whether in Munich or the vicinity – would make them look more independent.”

As we predicted years ago, the EPO is rapidly losing top talent and is becoming a paperwork pipeline (look at the recruitment standards), without much/any science in the mix. See these two new articles [1, 2] that show us in what ways the EPO is ‘evolving’. Brain drain continues, but the priority now seems to be more paperwork. Nicely done? Painful, covert way to kill any joy and pride associated with a job at the EPO?

Unless something is done to undo the coup, the EPO will end up like the chinchilla shown at the top, dissected and skinned for whatever profit may be in it.

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