11.29.16

EPO DG1 Principal Director “Out of the Muppet Show”

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


Summary: The ridicule of EPO management is a symptom of a poisonous work environment which now resembles an assembly line of bad patents, where employees are treated unfairly, severely, and in clear defiance of labour laws

“Out of the Muppet Show” is what a reader of ours called this video (apparently circulating internally right now). Also “pathetic”, but again, such characterisations say a lot about the general atmosphere at the EPO nowadays. Once upon a time the EPO was renowned for its high quality of examination (and thus high-quality patents) and nowadays, even this week, some companies still brag about grants of EPs, perhaps not realising that the EPO is a production line of low-quality patents, insiders tell us (more on that another day). In this particular new example, Medigus says it “has received a Notice of Intention to Grant a Patent from the European Patent Office (EPO) for its micro ScoutCam miniature camera technology. [...] patent will be valid until September 16, 2030.” We don’t know if the EPO will even last that long (in its current form). Its management is treated as a laughing stock by its very own employees and there are massive financial losses, not mention brain drain.

Learning From the Mistakes of the US Patent System (and More Latterly China) When Assessing Patent Maximalism

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How many patents are enough? A billion? To Battistelli it’s all about money (and self-glorifying photo ops), not innovation!

Battistelli at wedding
Reference/related: Affaire Bygmalion (Battistelli's political party when he was Mayor)

Summary: The warning signs coming both from the East and from the West, demonstrating the pitfalls of a policy too permissive on patents and thus on litigation

THERE IS A lot to be said today about the EPO and the UPC. The cautionary tale here is what happened in the US and what is still happening/developing in China. Both places fostered patent maximalism, resulting in patent trolling.

The patent microcosm, as expected and as we last noted yesterday, obsesses over whatever can weaken PTAB and strengthen bad patents like software patents (abstract concepts, not devices or chemicals etc.) so it latches onto Unwired Planet v Google right now.

“Who benefits from this? The patent meta-industry, obviously. At whose expense? Everybody else’s expense!”Over at the EPO-friendly MIP, Mr. Loney publishes article that says “The Federal Circuit’s Unwired Planet v Google decision will lead to more rigorous review of covered business method review petitions by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and discourage filing” (which is a not good thing). Another new article, this one by Professor Dennis Crouch, demonstrates that the patent troll of Ericsson is doing a lot of damage to patent reform in the US. We already mentioned this the other day, with about two dozen articles from patent law firms that want to eliminate PTAB and return to patent maximalism (and restraint minimalism). These trolls of Ericsson already begin to leave their mark or make an impact in Europe as well, emboldened by the EPO and filing lawsuits in London.

The motivation here is clear to see: less barriers to and more patents in a lot more disciplines. Who benefits from this? The patent meta-industry, obviously. At whose expense? Everybody else’s expense!

Over at the EPO-friendly IAM, some time this morning it was claimed that the hotbed of patent trolls, China, is setting the ground for patent chaos in all of Asia. It was separately noted that a Microsoft patent extortion proxy, Intellectual Ventures, will be embracing yet another proxy (it reportedly has thousands of them!) to operate in China. Here is the key part:

All the available evidence points to Intellectual High-Tech KFT being a vehicle controlled by Intellectual Ventures (IV). It has made numerous acquisitions of patents over the last few years – the vast majority from Japanese corporates – and more than a fair few of these have ended up with III Holdings 3 LLC, an entity associated with the third iteration of IV’s Invention Investment Fund.

It is possible that there is an IV connection to the CPT transaction too. The Taiwanese company’s assignment to HZW is its first transfer of patents to a third party since July 2011 – when it assigned a substantial number of assets to none other than IV. At the time, IV’s man in Taipei was Don Merino, who later joined Transpacific IP and is now running his own IP strategy consultancy on the island. It wouldn’t be a surprise if some of the same people were involved in getting this deal done.

Great! More patent trolls.

Remember that the number of patents is not a measure of innovation, nor is it a reliable measure of wealth of countries (unless patents are expensive to pursue and cheap to come up with). In China and in the US the quality of patents is truly appalling at times. Software patents, for instance, are not innovative at all; they are a dime a dozen and some are so trivial that it’s jaw-dropping.

“Remember that the number of patents is not a measure of innovation, nor is it a reliable measure of wealth of countries (unless patents are expensive to pursue and cheap to come up with).”Earlier this week Benjamin Henrion said that “counting the number of patents is not measuring innovation. And when you start mixing a variable with another one, more meaningless.”

He alluded to something from WEF (Switzerland with its patent hype) that said: “This map tells you everything you need to know about #innovation in Europe” (Switzerland likes such maps because they’re convenient propaganda for Switzerland).

Henrion and I both know it’s nonsense. A lot of patent examiners know that too. As for patent law firms, they probably lie to themselves. As the saying goes, they’re paid not to understand (or it’s hard to understand something which you’re paid to not even wish to understand).

“When you sell patents for a living,” I told him, “then patents are the only thing that counts.

He rightly asked “again measuring innovation with patents?”

“Don’t take Europe down the path of patent maximalism or we shall all suffer for decades to come (until erroneously-granted patents expire).”Maybe the number of patent lawsuits too will become a false measure of innovation. If so, then the US has a serious innovation deficit because, as even Professor Dennis Crouch’s site put it this week, patent lawsuit are shown sharply. To quote the relation to AIA (patent reform in the US half a decade ago): “Prior to the America Invents Act of 2011, the courts allowed plaintiffs to join multiple parties as defendants in a single lawsuit – even when the only relationship between the parties was that they all were alleged to infringe the asserted patent. The AIA blocked those multi-party actions in its non-joinder provision. The result was that the number of lawsuits filed per year rose post-AIA even though the number of accused infringers actually dropped. This also means that anyone looking at trends in infringement actions needs to carefully analyze the data if their time span extends across the AIA enactment date.”

The US is cleaning up its act by axing a lot of software patents and it shows. What we learn from this is that the worse the quality of patents becomes, the more litigation takes places (and thus more money goes into the pockets of patent law firms).

Don’t take Europe down the path of patent maximalism or we shall all suffer for decades to come (until erroneously-granted patents expire).

The International Labour Organisation Once Again Proves Useless for Labour of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Long delay (about half a decade), then nothing

International Labour Organisation on EPO
The famous report where ILO complained about EPO-induced workload

Summary: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is once again failing too serve justice, instead just sending complaints elsewhere, in effect into a black hole

THE ILO may have its reputation, but how much does it really help labour in international institutions like the EPO? With small amounts of money in compensation (orders of magnitude less of the damage caused) or referral back to the EPO, where the notion of justice simply does not exist, what does that make ILO justice look like? It makes one wonder if there’s even any rationale at all for dealing with ILO anymore. The message they get across is that they either don’t care or just want to make it appear like they care (or both).

ILO is overloaded/flooded with EPO complaints, but that’s hardly an excuse when every pertinent case may represent a ruined life if not a ruined family. Two decisions were expected to be delivered today. Right now we cover the first, which was published along with another decision (to be covered separately). Here is local copy of this decisions, just in case of removal [PDF]. The complainant is Mr S. C. F. and the judges are Barbagallo, Hansen, and Moore. Watch how useless the outcome was:

1. The decision of 24 June 2015 is set aside.
2. The case is sent back to the EPO for examination by an Appeals Committee composed in accordance with the applicable rules.
3. All other claims are dismissed.

The extract says: “As to the complainant’s request for oral proceedings, the Tribunal notes that the parties have presented their case extensively and comprehensively in their written submissions, which are sufficient to enable the Tribunal to reach a reasoned and informed decision on the only issue that must be determined at this stage. The request for oral proceedings is therefore rejected.”

One person told us that this “case sent back to EPO for examination by Appeals Committee composed in accordance with the applicable rules. Two members of the Appeals Committee were volunteers who were not appointed by the Staff Committee as specifically required. The applicable provisions and therefore the composition of the Appeals Committee cannot be considered to be the balanced composition as provided for by the rules.”

We hope that ILO is at least aware of its utter failure to serve a perception of justice, let alone justice. It serves to show just how out-of-control today’s EPO really is. Unlike Swiss CERN, this Switzerland-based institution is quickly becoming part of the problem. Battistelli can falsely claim — as he habitually does — that people have access to outside justice; but they haven’t.

CERN Slams the European Patent Office for Abuse of Employees

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Showing their conCERN for people, not for ruthless tyrants like Battistelli

CERN on EPO

Summary: The European Organisation for Nuclear Research known as CERN is openly condemning EPO management and the Administrative Council for violation of human/labour rights, not to mention the other abuses that are rampant under Battistelli’s notorious regime

EUROPE’S most renowned scientific institution, CERN, is upset at the EPO and it doesn’t even hide it anymore. Publishing in its “CERN Bulletin” (not in Swiss but in French and in English), CERN says the following:

Here at CERN, the relations between the personnel and its delegates, the Management and the Member States take place currently in very favourable conditions, showing mutual respect, and attention to the points of view of the other parties, in order to reach a concerted position. We will take all actions within our realm to maintain this quality of relationship; but the situation at the European Patent Office reminds us that we shall remain vigilant about the due respect of the rights of the personnel and its representatives.

It is important that, as international civil servants working at CERN, we shall keep regular contacts with our colleagues from other international and European organisations, in order to stay informed, and eventually show a display of solidarity when unacceptable practice happens.

We support our colleagues at the European Patent Office in the hardship that is imposed on them by the current Presidency. We take note of the efforts that the Administrative Council of the EPO has made public, in a motion dated March 2016, to try and solve the situation, but we regret that the EPO Presidency does not follow the recommendations of its Administrative Council.

We hope that more such institutions will come forth and condemn the EPO’s management. Otherwise there might be no EPO left, just some fossil with a bunch of rotting EPs that should ever have been granted in the first place (in the name of “production”).

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