02.23.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

EPO Roundup: Low Profile, Employment Changes, Patent Trolls, Refusal to Obey Courts, and Animal Breeding Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Breeding patents back on the agenda

Breeding

Summary: A few recent developments and observations regarding the European Patent Office (EPO), which is in a volatile state and is making no public statement about the future of staff (‘canteen talk’ now revolves around alleged deep cuts to staffing)

THE EPO has made no announcements for quite a while. Low profile seem to have generally been kept so far this year. We’ve hypothesised about the reasons for this, but these are merely hypotheses. We can recall days (or months) when the EPO made plenty of controversial statements, but nowadays both the site and the accounts (of the EPO) say nothing of great importance. Yesterday the EPO spoke about “intellectual property & patents,” which is an odd way to frame things. “It’s misleading to say” that, I told them, “because the former is a propaganda term, the latter a law which is typically put under this umbrella that’s a propaganda term. It’s not a property.”

Unlike the USPTO, the EPO does not deal with anything but patents (the “T” in USPTO stands for trademarks). It’s important to separate all these things and not refer to them collectively using terms like “IP”, which perpetuates old falsehoods. Speaking of which, there’s that old canard about “innovation” in yesterday’s news from the US. Real “invention” isn’t to be measured in terms of patents, but the article “Washington state stakes its claim as a bastion for invention” would have us believe otherwise. To quote:

Washington was home to 2,220 inventors in 2017 (29.98 per capita), behind New York’s 2,290, Texas’ 3,007 and California’s 10,009, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data.

This has a lot to do with where large corporations are based, not with inherent spark for inventorship. We’ll revisit this topic later in the weekend. We intend to write a lot about the US.

It has meanwhile been reported in news sites that, just as we noted the day before, a Battistelli proposal had been watered down. To quote:

A proposal to scrap permanent employment contracts at the European Patent Office (EPO) has been halted and a controversial article within it withdrawn, a source close to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has confirmed.

The original proposals were aimed at the “modernisation of the employment framework of the EPO” and would ensure its “long-term sustainability” and allow for a more “flexible management of the EPO’s workforce”.

[...]

According to the CSC, it would apply to all staff, including current permanent employees of the EPO, and gives the office the power to terminate the service of staff without any safeguards.

The source said that the CSC’s letter was a driving force in the withdrawal of article 53(f).

Additionally, there’s this new article about the ascent of patent trolls in Europe — based on a study that the patent trolls' lobby immediately attacked (within hours of publication). To quote:

Furthermore, according to the study, patents being asserted or owned by NPEs in Europe are more often successfully invalidated than those patents being asserted or owned by non NPEs. The study also shows that Germany is oftentimes the battleground for such litigation. Here, a defendant in a patent infringement case cannot bring a counterclaim for invalidity but has to attack the validity of the asserted patent in a different forum. This usually means either starting an opposition procedure, most often before the European Patent Office, or filing a nullity action with the German Federal Patent Court. In the latter case, the infringement case will usually have already been decided on – and the decision potentially been enforced – before the validity case is ruled on.

Last but not least, another law firm (Moeller IP Advisors) wrote about Battesteli’s latest INPI (Argentina) visit — a subject we wrote about earlier this month. To quote:

On February 5, 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Argentina (INPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the introduction of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) by INPI. The MoU was signed during a meeting held between EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Argentina’s Commerce Secretary Miguel Braun in Buenos Aires to discuss recent developments in patents and innovation and the cooperation between the two regions in this field. According to the MoU, INPI will start classifying its publications with the CPC by January 2019.

The CPC, which was launched by the EPO and the USPTO in January 2013, is now considered the new global standard for refined patent classification. It is already in use, or will soon be used, by 26 patent offices around the world. Argentina has joined other Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil and Chile, in the adoption of the CPC.

These nations barely have any European patents (compared to Germany for instance), so it seems like another cheap publicity stunt for Battistelli, who is leaving the Office in 4 months.

Battistelli’s legacy has been a very ruinous one not just for the EPO but for international bodies in general. Look no further than the latest comments at The Register. Here are some key ones (posted in the past day or so):

Given that Battistelli ignores all court judgements against him, seemingly with impunity, what will it matter how the court rules? He’s taking advantage of the requirement for unanimous agreement by the EO’s controlling bodies to ignore them, until he can change the rules to make himself an untouchable dictator for life.

This one he cannot ignore. If it goes against him it de-ratifies the convention which is the basis of him being in office.
Additionally, if memory serves me right, one of the other cases is his (so far) successful claim that he is above German law including labour law. This once again goes against German constitution which states that the ultimate law of the land is the German law and no other law can claim supremacy.
Even if the first case somehow (I do not see how) fails, the second will pretty much get him fired outright under German labour code. There and then.

I think at a certain stage, courts say “we disagree, and you’ve now got a prison sentance for contempt of court”.
And if he doesn’t turn up for that, then a warrant for his arrest is issued, and he ends up with famously humourless german police arresting him and unceremouniously tossing him in the clink.

The European Patent Organisation is recognised in German law as an international organisation with immunity (like diplomatic immunity).
So German labour law doesn’t apply to their workers. Diplomatic immunities do not conflict with the German constitution.

Surely diplomatic immunity only works if the hosting country accept it. At any time Germany could expel him, deport him to his home country and end the diplomatic immunity formally.
As an EU citizen he is probably free to re-enter the country, but with his immunity formally ended if he walked into the office and started acting as king again, there shouldn’t be anything stopping the humourless police doing their thing.

If the EPO is not subject to national laws, does that mean that employees are similarly not constrained by the law in their work?
This surely means that it’s legal for an EPO employee to provide lethal feedback to the management team?
Maybe someone should ask Battistelli if he’s sure he wants his organisation to have immunity from national laws.

Not implementing the ILO decision?
I was just wondering if anyone knows whats the come back against Battesteli and the EPO for not implementing the IPO’s [sic. ILO] decision?
As far as I was aware when it came to labour disputes, the ILO is the be all and end all. So its not like the EPO are waiting to appeal the decision. So what is the punishment from the ILO? There has to be some stick involved otherwise firms/organisations finding themselves on the losing side of a case would just ignore the result.

Yes, ILO’s reputation too is in peril now.

As one person succinctly put it:

Battistelli

The person who achieved something I would have thought impossible – giving megalomaniacs a bad name.

The repercussions of his power obsession seem to be endless.

There’s also a comment on quality of patents:

*retain* confidence Europe’s patent system? Get real …

…that would imply there was such a feeling in the past …
The European patent system is broken. There are absolutely no guards left against patenting the most obvious bullshit. Patents on as-per-the-rules unpatentable things (like DNA or code) are granted without hesitation.
Number of patents granted has replaced quality of examination as the number 1 requirement for examiners at the EPA.
That way the EPA is effectively laying out a mine-field in the way of future innovation.
Patent examiners critical of that development are pushed out of their jobs.
Regaining control over the EPA is the necessary first step.
Re-examining the patents granted in the last years and invalidating 90% of these would be a good second step.

It certainly seems like patents on nature are back at the EPO (even after the seeds/plant monopolies being voided along with CRISPR oppositions). From yesterday’s news: “KeyGene Crop, Animal Breeding Patent Upheld in Europe”

It’s mostly behind a paywall, but the publicly-available part says “KeyGene announced today the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld one of its patents related to the improvement of phenotypic traits of plants or animals.”

This kind of patent has already caused protests in Germany. Farmers aren’t happy; it’s akin to those Monsanto (now Bayer in Germany) patents that accomplish nothing but cementing the market for few giant corporations.

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. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 07, 2021



  2. Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  3. [Meme] EU Assurances

    The EPO‘s staff cannot be blamed for losing patience as elected public representatives completely fail to do their job (with few exceptions)



  4. Clare Daly (GUE/NGL) Does What Every Public Official in Europe Should Have Done About EPO Shenanigans

    There’s another (new) push to hold the EPO accountable, seeing that the overseers clearly do not do their job and instead cover up the abuses



  5. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day



  6. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day



  7. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs



  8. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  9. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  10. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  11. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  12. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  14. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  15. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  16. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  17. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  18. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  19. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  20. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  22. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  23. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  24. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  25. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  26. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  27. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  28. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  30. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)


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