03.04.17

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EPO Mimics Interpol, But Interpol Should Raid the EPO and End the Management’s Abuses Once and for All

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s chiefs, or the thugs who are effectively placed above the law, seem to be attempting a war on whistleblowers

EPO war on whistleblowers
Sadly for them, anyone who brings a phone to work already has a camera and data can be encrypted

Summary: The unreasonable and likely illegal measures taken by EPO management in order to supervise dissent (even from outside the EPO) deserve outside scrutiny, from those capable of breaching Battistelli’s wall of immunity

The Register, which has readership of millions of people per day (not just in the UK), continues to do a fine series on EPO scandals. It is in no way coordinated by Techrights, but it is ever more apparent that they rely on us for information, documents, etc. so keep these coming.

“There is plenty of room here for comparisons to the Trump administration, which faces a growing number of leaks and unauthorised disclosures that it is unable to prevent/respond to.”The latest article, as is common, got published just before the weekend entered, after we had published some new material (don’t miss last night’s article, "Dutch Foreign Minister Reads the Riot Act to EPO Vice-President Willy/Guillaume Minnoye").

The latest in the series from The Register looks into the privacy angle (sheer privacy abuses) by Team Battistelli and those cronies like Minnoye who have grown increasingly worried about leaks (they actually speak about it). There is plenty of room here for comparisons to the Trump administration, which faces a growing number of leaks and unauthorised disclosures that it is unable to prevent/respond to. To quote Kieren McCarthy:

The European Patent Office (EPO) is seeking new powers that it would allow it to search the bags and electronic devices of its staff and office visitors.

Under proposed rule changes put forward by the organization’s administration, security staff would be entitled to seize and search bags, phones and laptops at any of the EPO’s locations. The changes would also prohibit the creation or dissemination of posters and flyers without explicit management permission.

To justify the extraordinary measures, the organization’s security head argued that the EPO’s protocols were not up to similar levels as “similar” international organizations such as the United Nations and Interpol.

It didn’t take long for EPO staff to slam the comparison between an office that reviews patent applications and one that deals with issues of national and international security. As far as anyone is aware none of Microsoft’s patents have ever come in a folder marked “Top Secret”.

In a memo sent to workers at the EPO’s Hague office, the staff committee noted that “in the 40 years’ history of the Office, there has not been any real threat. One wonders if new and very intrusive rules are necessary in the first place.”

As is usual for such articles from The Register, comments quickly deviate away from the EPO and latch onto Brexit.

The above, as usual, is being used to argue for Brexit, even by Remainers, one of whom wrote: “It’s this chap and all the chaps and chapesses in the EU who do this that made me tremble on the verge of a Brexit vote. This is NOT what I would ever want The lack of accountability in the EU means that autocracy and corruption are sky-high. The worst decision the fledgling EU made was to emulate the French civil service. I am hoping that the shock of the UK going will make them clear their house, but sadly i think they will justify their rightness by not changing a thing.”

As usual, someone was quick to point out the obvious: “Are you aware of how many times it has been pointed out that the EPO is not an organ of the EU? That this has absolutely nothing to do with the EU? That if it was an EU body the issue would have likely been resolved long ago?

“Your gripes about the EU may be very valid but this is not an example of them. It weakens your case.”

Another person wrote (calling the EPO “EU Patent Office”): “It takes a lot of work to get a ZERO % vote of confidence from your workers. Even in the worst environments, there are usually 10% or 20% of employees who management pretty much leaves alone and who think that things aren’t so bad.

“And now the office wants to ban posters and leaflets without management review? You’d better not work at the EU Patent Office while trying to offer weekend piano lessons/kittens you want to give away/tickets to the local community theater production of “Camelot”/etc.”

Another Brexit-themed comment said: “The UK leaving won’t make a difference to us. Our inventors will still need to get Patent protection in Europe and therefore be running right into his Fiefdom. The EU seemingly can’t get rid of him. Why? If there is one bit of the EU that needs fixing now this is one.”

That’s actually a good question because the immunity still hasn’t been cracked by EU officials.

One person responded with: “Presumably he knows where the bodies are berried or it might be that the unelected EU president and staff all think like he does. It does make one wonder why the EU accounts have never passed an audit.”

Another one said: “The danger is that if someone discovers a successful way of getting rid of one useless senior EU bureaucrat then they might use it to get rid of some more. Better to keep your head down.”

We previously (quite recently) explained the extent to which Battistelli harms the European Union. It’s easy to see that in the comments above, especially considering how the EPO continues to ignore EU directives pertaining to patent scope.

One person added: “You would be correct if the EPO were an EU body but it is not. Holding the EU responsible for something it has no control over is absurd. Of course the EU cannot get rid of him. The EU has no authority over him; no capacity to hire or fire. What do you suggest “the EU” do?”

A more detailed explanation soon came:

The European Patent Organisation is set up in a way not dissimilar to the EU itself. It exists as a result of a treaty entered into by various separate sovereign nations, many (but not all) who have also signed up to the various treaties that underpin the EU.

And, like the EU and the European Commission, this makes the EPO effectively un-governable. Whilst it is in theory accountable to its member nations, it would take all of them to agree on a course of action if it’s direction were to be forcibly changed, like sacking the head of the office.

The discussion surrounding BREXIT is fascinating. On the one hand there’s a bunch of EU types promising a hard time for Britain, no trade deal, big divorce settlement, etc. On the either hand there’s the German government who seemingly don’t agree (they sell a lot of cars here), Sweden and Poland talking openly about having to do a deal with the UK, etc.

One way or other it’s going to define who in Europe really pulls the strings; sovereign nations or the European Union / Commission? The treaties say that the nations have devolved many powers to the EU, including the power to arrange trade deals, but it’s the member nations who have to decide on whether their (collective?) best interests are still being served by the EU. BREXIT is perhaps the first issue big enough to force all the member nations to truly, seriously consider that question. Here in the UK we’re kinda dependent on them doing so.

Alas, the situation in the European Patent Office is so low down the list of priorities for the member nations of the EPO that it is unlikely it will be sorted out. This situation will continue to fester until the situation resolves itself “naturally”, or until the Office has become so dysfunctional that politicians in the member nations are being badgered about problems with patents by companies in their own country.

Like many international treaties of this sort, there’s very often little thought put into them to define what should happen when things go wrong, how indeed performance of the arrangements should be measured so as to know whether things are going wrong or not, etc. The treaties behind the Eurozone are classics of the genre, with nothing in them to define what happens when a member nation goes bust. Hence the improvised support for Greece, and soon Italy. Such ommissions in the Eurozone treaties were part of the reason why the British government ultimately deciding to not join in.

This always happens because when all the negotiators are sat in that one room talking about setting up the treaty, it’s impolite to ask the awkward questions about “problems arising” which might be taken as an insult by others in the room. Appalling really.

Some comments lay all the blame on Battistelli. For example: “Battistelli crazy is the new batshit crazy and even seems to be outdoing certain politicians who will remain nameless. I have to wonder who’s taking lessons from who here?”

No matter how much bad publicity the EPO attracts, Battistelli miraculously remains in his job and the complicit Administrative Council does virtually nothing about it. We can imagine which lies the EPO will disseminate next, in order to pretend things are improving. Here is a comment to that effect:

In a few months time (when this particular news has blown over) we’ll suddenly get some new positive stories about how much good work EPO is doing (I always thought EPO was illegal while cycling) and it’ll probably soon followed by a bill.

Because this kind of quality obviously comes at a cost. These guys don’t work for free you know.

And then a few months later you’ll learn that it has all come to pass. Carefully kept outside the media.

All in all, the comments are in some sense as interesting as the article, which presents no new information (which hasn’t already been covered by Techrights). The comments show just how urgent an overhaul is at the EPO — an overhaul which involved no UPC but removal of the whole Battistelli “swamp”.

In the mean time, software continues to be patented by the EPO (as insiders keep telling us), Bastian Best continues to collaborate with the EPO to make it so (watch what he has just released) and law firms like Boult Wade Tennant plan/explain how to slide patents through EPO examiners that are overworked and pressured for “production”.

“In this regard,” said the law firm a few days ago, “identifying what kind of amendments the EPO examiners will and will not deem to be “allowable” can be difficult. Decision T1679/10 issued by the EPO Boards of Appeal provides clarification on the criteria for deciding whether an amendment should be refused on these grounds.”

Right now the Boards of Appeal openly complain that they cannot issue independent determinations. Battistelli also gives unreasonable demands, working examiners to death and ensuring they haven't time to do their work properly.

Who does this whole system really serve? Neither the EU nor Europeans. It exists in a vacuum (Eponia), which is exempted from the law and violates national laws in host nations. Where is Interpol when one needs it? Or even Europol…

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