04.22.18

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The EPO is Dying and Those Who Have Killed It Are Becoming Very Rich in the Process

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 7:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We wouldn’t be surprised if Campinos became known/remembered as the EPO’s last President (ever), just like Ron Hovsepian at Novell

French patent office
The EPO is a French patent office. When quality does not matter it’s just another French patent office (like INPI), run mostly by French people who are connected to Battistelli.

Summary: Following the footsteps of Ron Hovsepian at Novell, Battistelli at the EPO (along with Team Battistelli) may mean the end of the EPO as we know it (or the end altogether); one manager and a cabal of confidants make themselves obscenely rich by basically sacrificing the very organisation they were entrusted to serve

THE EPO is so out of control that examiners must give up any genuine ambition of doing their job properly, as per the EPC.

A trusted source wrote to tell us about Battistelli’s “last present,” saying that he now decides to “make it two times harder to refuse applications.” This comes from a reliable source.

We have been hearing and reading similar things for quite some time, but it only seems to get worse over time. The vision of endless growth is misguided and it’s bound to cause massive layoffs some time soon. The Office and by extension the Organisation is in disarray. It cannot survive like this. But Office management has tenures and can just ‘move on’ when the Office implodes (probably after management rewarding itself with lots of massive bonuses) and the Organisation is occupied/dominated by people from national patent offices, so the death of the EPO might actually be good for them in the long run.

“A trusted source wrote to tell us about Battistelli’s “last present,” saying that he now decides to “make it two times harder to refuse applications.” This comes from a reliable source.”Are we seeing the end time of the Office? Do not be misled by the constant lies from Battistelli, who according to a recent poll has single-digit approval rates among stakeholders and his choice of succession (another Frenchman, Campinos) is cause for optimism for just 1 in 7 stakeholders. The EPO, to us at least, seems like the failed organisations we covered before. In 2006 until around 2010 we wrote thousands of articles about Novell right here in this Web site; Novell quickly imploded after it had signed a submissive patent deal with Microsoft. We now see the same symptoms at the EPO, with management granting itself humongous wages, pay rises, bonuses etc. while staff gets laid off and business runs dry. Prior to 2006 I was a huge fan of Novell and SUSE, but when a manager called Ron Hovsepian took over he rapidly destroyed Novell, wrongly assuming that patents would somehow save the company; at the end they got picked up by Microsoft. Wikipedia calls CPTN “a consortium of technology companies led by Microsoft that acquired a portfolio of 882 patents as part of the sale of Novell to Attachmate” and we we wrote a lot about it. Mr. Hovsepian became a very rich man while he destroyed the company; the same is true for Battistelli right now.

“An Office which controls the Boards of Appeal (like Battistelli does) is an instrument which totally lacks oversight.”Putting aside the Novell analogy (I dedicated 4 years of my life to covering that), how about IP Kat? It doesn’t even write so much nowadays (this year) and sometimes it seems like IP Kat is on the same side as patent trolls, more so after its founder (Jeremy) left. It’s like the blog is run by Bristows (Team UPC), which now does this multi-part puff piece about a Microsoft-connected think tank called Fordham IP.

Where’s their coverage of EPO matters? EPO scandals?

The Boards of Appeal at the EPO are complaining that they are understaffed, besieged, and even abused. IP Kat‘s Eibhlin Vardy managed to write something that overlooks all this, courtesy of lawyers from Kilburn & Strode:

The EPO is not this GuestKat’s natural habitat, and so she was glad to be reminded of the consultation on the new rules of procedures of the Boards of Appeal from Katfriend Gwilym Roberts of Kilburn & Strode.

Nothing has been said about the complaints from the Boards of Appeal (just a day or two beforehand). How come? The EPO wrote: “We look forward to receiving your comments on proposed changes to our appeal procedure.”

This is the sort of fluff that IP Kat is repeating. Well, the Boards of Appeal actually complain, but this is how the EPO framed it: “2017 was a year of growth for the EPO Boards of Appeal in terms of their overall quantitative performance.”

Growth?

Battistelli has shrunk them. They complain about understaffing.

At IP Kat (the way it’s run nowadays) the comments are, as usual, better than the posts. “A friend of the Boards” who is the sole commenter wrote:

It is a bit easy to complain that the boards are slow. They are slow due to the fact that the BA are dramatically understaffed, and everybody knows the cause of this understaffing. Even if from July 2018 onwards the staffing level may slowly get back to normal, so that the backlog can be brought to a decent level, this will take years. And here the BA are not to blame!

In the last three years the backlog has grown by 500 files/year. On the 31.12 of the following years the backlog was: 7907 in 2015, 8418 in 2016 and 8 946 in 2017.

In their present version the RPBA are in place since 2005, so it cannot said that they come as a surprise. Neither the fact that any request filed at the BA should be substantiated.

The bulk of the amendments proposed is simply to codify the recent case law of the BA in matters of procedure. But one stance which is established now for many years, will not change: it is fatal to wait to go to the BA to file requests which could have been filed earlier. Nothing new under the sun!

When one looks at T 2046/14, it is a prime example of how the attitude of an applicant can be detrimental to its interests by not being pro-active. In this case, it is no surprise that the patent has been revoked as the MR, AR 1 and 2, as well as AR 6-8 were all offending Art 123(2), reason for which the patent was revoked by the OD. AR 3-5 filed when entering appeal where not defended before the OD, and were filed without any substantiation as to why they would overcome the objections under Art 123(2). AR 9 was filed during OP when the decision had fallen that none of the preceding requests were not allowable and/or not admitted. AR 10-12, totally new requests, were filed when entering appeal and no reasons where given as to why they could overcome the objections. On top of it, they were divergent.

All those late filed requests were dealt with under the present RPBA, which already have enough bite.

As far as preliminary opinions are concerned, the vast majority of BA are already informing the parties about their opinion, but I doubt that they will ever become binding, or they will have to deal with all objections raised in the procedure.

Minutes of first instance are already playing an important role. For example the BA looks at them when an alleged procedural violation is brought in. In the absence of reaction of the party to the minutes, the substantial procedural violation is generally dismissed. But in any case, the BA cannot order an amendment to the minutes, and they have never done, for the simple reason they were not present.

However, this brings in a problem. The minutes of the OP before the first instance are not part of the decision as such, and hence not open to appeal. They are actually the property of the minute writer and of the countersigning officer. You may even request an OP for attempting to amend the minutes, but it is left to the discretion of the signatories of the minutes whether they want to amend them or not. As said the BA cannot force a change to the minutes. Looking at cases, most of the requests to amend minutes are not successful and the new rule will not change a lot.

An Office which controls the Boards of Appeal (like Battistelli does) is an instrument which totally lacks oversight. This is why Battistelli can keep looting the budget/coffers, grant lots of bogus monopolies (like a drunken maniac on a money-printing or patent-printing machine), hire friends and their family members, and nobody will say or do a thing to stop him, not even when helping himself to the cookie jar ('bonuses'). Those who attempt to say something can end up like Judge Corcoran or key staff like Els Hardon — a cautionary couple of tales for sure. The EPO is dysfunctional beyond repair.

“Those who attempt to say something can end up like Judge Corcoran or key staff like Els Hardon — a cautionary couple of tales for sure.”The modus operandi at play here is a rather familiar one; we saw that not only in Novell. It is very common in financial institutions where a manager or a small bunch of managers take massive risks (at the company’s or shareholders’ expense), e.g. toxic, high-risk loans. They know it’s a bubble that will inevitably implode, causing the business to collapse. But on this road to the collapse it seems like they bring about explosive quarter-to-quarter growth, so they give themselves many successive bonuses, probably stash these somewhere offshore and when the business goes bankrupt and all the staff gets laid off they just can’t care less; nobody will go after their hidden money or demand back these bonuses. They become obscenely rich/ridiculously well-defended by expensive and well-connected law firms and probably never have to pursue a job anywhere anymore. Generally speaking, destruction of an organisation for self enrichment is a widely known phenomenon with many known examples of it. Just to be clear, the way it usually works is, a person does not intentionally strive for destruction but simply prioritises making oneself (and friends/spouse/other) rich, so if that priority/priorities necessitates destruction, then so be it. This is why accountability or impartial audit structures must exist. The EPO deprecated these under Battistelli.

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