Bonum Certa Men Certa

Next Week's Annual Report From the EPO Will Say Nothing About Decline in Patent Quality

The EPO is going downhill, but its PR people will claim the exact opposite (it's their job to mislead)

Decline



Summary: Decline in patent examination standards for the purpose of 'faking' growth (like Battistelli wants) won't be accounted for in the annual report, nor will attempts to attract more applications/applicants by offering them 'discounts'

THE management of the EPO will release its annual report in a few days. As we explained some days ago, this report will hide the negatives and accentuate the positives, just like last year. We wrote many articles last year in order to explain how facts had been distorted and poorly presented by the EPO.



"As we explained some days ago, this report will hide the negatives and accentuate the positives, just like last year."EPO PR people already prepare their rather limited audience (many followers are not real people): "Stay tuned to find out about patenting trends in 2017. We will publish our annual report on 7 March."

On Friday they also resorted to more greenwashing tweets about patents that typically prevent proliferation of 'green' technology, rendering it an overpriced monopoly rather than the Commons.

"We wrote many articles last year in order to explain how facts had been distorted and poorly presented by the EPO."In the meantime we are assessing the sorts of patents granted by the EPO. Some are more controversial than others, so those subjected to appeals/oppositions are a little more interesting. Well, meanwhile we have been looking into some European Patents (EPs) on algorithms as they do exist.

Patent number/ID EP2179387/EP2179387A4 (publication number 08775543) seems interesting because it's summarised as follows: "Disclosed is a method and an advertising system for delivering advertisements in a mobile communication network. The method comprises detecting a need to deliver an advertisement, and arranging said delivery such that one or more indicators of advertisement behaviour specific to individual recipients of advertisements and/or to the overall system are taken into account. delivery of advertisements in mobile advertising system."

No device or anything, just a simple chart. I've read it and it seems like a classic software patent. It's not supposed to have been granted (in my humble assessment), yet law firms are all too eager to see everything patented. Benjamin Henrion, for example, has just highlighed this new blog post from epc.nl (entitled "Software patenteren vergt creativiteit"). The domain they chose for their firm is interesting because it sounds like EPC in the Netherlands (the EPC denies software patents actually), so the acronym "EPC" got sort of hijacked by software patents proponents.

"In the meantime we are assessing the sorts of patents granted by the EPO."When the annual report comes out next week remember that this annual report includes no measure of quality and it exploits a depleted pool of pending/queued applications that are assessed and often granted in a rush. This annual report would not account for reduction in fees, which in our assessment may contribute to an artificial surge in number ("discount"/"sale" tactics) without adjusting the numbers accordingly, e.g. total revenue.

Someone has just posted the following comment at IP Kat to say:

But it does put me in mind of the current obsession inside the EPO with the "clarity" of the text of patent specifications. This obsession is absurd, but it does provide a glorious proof of what you write about, that every reader has a different and unique interpretation of any given text.

No patent attorney ever reached 100% "clarity". For the EPO to refuse a petition from the inventor, applicant or patent owner because its clarity is less than 100% is outrageous. Perfect clarity is something one can approach only asymptotically. The EPO should confine its enquiry to whether the level of clarity is good enough, whether it is "fit for purpose", and not whether it is 100%


From what we have heard or read, one serious issue at the moment is that many rejections are due to rather superficial things or clerical mistakes (how an application gets filed) rather than underlying technical deficiencies, lack of merit, prior art etc. It's a lot easier to disqulity an application this way, creating an illusion of high 'production' whilst also maintaining similar rejection rates. If anyone inside or outside the EPO has further insight on this, please get in touch. Forums for discussions of EPO matters (e.g. CSC publications, blog comments and so on) are being suppressed these days, impeding free flow of information. EPO management has so much to hide.

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