The European Patent Office: a Message from Merpel

Readers of this weblog will not fail to have noticed the quantity of blogposts on the legal, administrative and social issues that have turned the European Patent Office (EPO), once a byword for expertise, efficiency and excellence, into the setting for a modern soap opera in which the three 'e's are replaced by the three 'p's: power-politics, point-scoring and paranoia.

By recognising both the "social unease" that exists in the EPO and by timetabling the need to address it, this month's Administrative Council Meeting appears to have provided at least a basis for the various interested parties -- the President, Boards of Appeal, management, staff and unions, and also the members of the Administrative Council themselves if truth be told -- to start afresh by building relationships that are founded on respect, on tolerance and understanding, on listening to one another, plus a leavening dose of humility.

The outcome of the Administrative Council Meeting will certainly not be to everyone's liking. For one thing, it approved the controversial healthcare reforms which, viewed from the standpoint of an objective bystander, appear to be one of the most significant causes of the "social unrest" and which will remain a permanent obstacle to its being remedied. Nor will its acceptance of the proposal for a Board of Appeal Committee, in the face of some sensible and constructive criticisms from the Praesidium and Board members, have done much to enhance respect or confidence for the Council itself. However, a door has been opened and a small step has been taken in the right direction. The question to ask now is whether, now that this opportunity has been created, it will be taken and built upon -- or mocked and spurned.

It is easy to be sceptical and to say that something won't work, particularly if you can do it anonymously by penning comments on a blogpost. It's also rather fun to be able to say to anyone who can be bothered to listen "See, it didn't work. I told you so!"  It's far harder to swallow one's pride, sit down with people you have not hitherto liked, trusted or respected, and talk through the problems that the EPO has to address, both those which it always has to face and those which it has recently created for itself. But that is what this Kat is calling for.

Essentially, what is needed now is for the President and all the other parties involved to make sure that their first concern is the running of the Office, not the ruining of it.  This requires all of them to demonstrate skills of statesmanship, a commodity that has been in short supply of late and a skill that should not be confused for even one moment with bending others to one's will through force. No-one knows the EPO better than those who are involved in its operations at all levels and it is only through them that its salvation will be brought about, not through ideal solutions imposed from outside the Office.

It seems to this Kat that, while the main focus of attention will remain the President, management, unions and employees, the Administrative Council is also on trial. It has finally taken a decisive step but its members should remember that their responsibility does not stop at this juncture. On the contrary, now that they have set the ball rolling, it is incumbent on them to make sure that it continues to do so. If this hard-earned momentum is lost now, it may difficult or impossible to regain. The Administrative Council's members, collectively and individually, cannot now turn their backs on the governance of the EPO and hope that, now that they have had their say, all will be well. They need to know what is happening in the Office, and why it is happening; they need to applaud each step that is taken in the right direction, to offer encouragement and advice where necessary. Some say the Administrative Council is too large to be efficient and that a better, sharper tool is needed for the tasks it faces. Its performance now will be an indicator of whether this is true.

This Kat expects that, unless something very tragic happens, the number of frenetic blogposts on the latest news of the Eponia conflict zone will diminish sharply.  She looks forward to being able to report on happier news in the future, though that will only be the case if the warring factions read and take to heart the third paragraph of this missive -- though naturally she will be swift to point to evidence that any of the players in this game are not taking her message to heart. Maybe one day she will be able to write that the EPO has gone from its three 'e's and three 'p's to the three 'o's: optimism for the future, organisational fairness and transparency, and overall contentment for all who commit their careers and their endeavours to the EPO cause.
The European Patent Office: a Message from Merpel The European Patent Office: a Message from Merpel Reviewed by Merpel on Friday, March 27, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Fair comments.
    Amy indication which members of the AC will take part? Presumably April 22nd has been chosen in order to allow particular people to attend (or maybe just reflects Easter holidays? ) so it would be interesting to know if the other members will be the abstainees or the B28. That may give an indication of the likelihood of compromise on one side at least.

  2. Dear Merpel,
    I too would love to see a time when there is no need anymore to report over abuses at the EPO. That way the IPkat could quietly resume its reporting over legal developments, new decisions and anything I have interest in. Trouble is, abuses have not stopped, and believing that they will any soon is at best naive. BB's style has pervaded all levels and departments at the EPO; just last week, an employee was suspended and forcefully removed from the premises - according to HR, showing more decency by informing him when he was home is "not the way things are done anymore". Existing mid-management has become either supine or bullish, newly selected managers are downright scary.
    So in short: the temptation may be huge to put your head in the sand - much in the way of the -french- blog du droit européen des brevets - but that will not make the situation of employees at the EPO and the work they produce any better.
    good night, and good luck

  3. If human rights are violated (with full knowledge) what could be the right path to proceed other than to bring to the EPO and to the responsible people justice?

  4. All very heart-warming, I'm sure - but you don't live in our house, Merpel.

    The likelihood that there will be any substantive change in the attitudes of the administration is, I think, highly unlikely. Furthermore, they have a lot of fences to mend. Don't take the president's utterances on the subject of our staff representatives as anything but self-serving: he has deliberately provoked this conflict and then criticised the staff representation for reacting to his provocation (and I speak as someone who has had his own criticisms of and issues with SUEPO and staff rep in the past).

    So, while hoping for some positive developments, I am not holding my breath. As I said in a previous post, this is probably just an opportunity for Battistelli to pretend to engage in a dialogue which ultimately breaks down and then blame the unions - again.

  5. Breaking news:

    "Disciplinary case in the Boards of Appeal

    Having taken note of the report presented by the Investigation Unit, the AC decided to launch a disciplinary procedure concerning a member of the Boards of Appeal and to maintain his suspension. The setting up of the Disciplinary Committee of the AC and the new rules of procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal regarding disciplinary case were also approved."

  6. In the final paragraph you say "unless something tragic happens". Well I'm sorry to say something tragic has happened since, once again, all measures have been voted in. The next step is clearly more court cases for breaking of contract, more internal appeals that can only win if they ever get heard, and more sad sad wasting of everyone's time and energy to the general detriment of those the system was set up to protect.
    The administrative council has clearly demonstrated their inability or unwillingness to govern and has firmly placed itself in the EPO management camp, meaning that there is de facto no supervision. I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised when we see the UK and Germans building up their manpower to fill the vacuum left when the EPO closes. Putting your direct competitors on your board of directors was always a bit questionable.
    It's mainly sad that they apparently think the interested observers will fall for it. If there are any honest ministers out there, could you perhaps arrange a diplomatic conference, rework the governance and allow the EPO to exist and function honestly.

  7. It seem like in the good old times at school - who is told to "stop it" is not the bully who hit you but the one who hits back ...
    Just for Merpel's info, the health reform the AC has just adopted is not merely "controversia"l, it is by any reasonabe standards inhmane!
    And also, in my view something tragic has already happened:
    - despite a court judgement against Vp4 in his home country, which should have exonerated the board member concerned, the AC has not closed the issue, but is continuing with its disciplinary proceedings
    -the Boards will loose their ability to write their own Rules of Procedure, and thereby their status as an indorndent judiciary has effectively been destroyed.
    Is that not tragic enough?
    Good bye, EPO, and would the last person leaving the EPO please turn out the lights.

  8. I think the comment-posters have proved Merpel's point exactly. It reads as if there are people at the EPO who are not so much nursing their grievances as positively cherishing them, giving them an affectionate pat from time to time to make sure that their pet peeves are still in perfect working order. The basic premises of their case seem to be "things can't be put in the future because they're not right at present", "there's no point speaking to you now because you didn't want to listen to me before".

    As an outsider myself, I see quantities of self-pity and moaning but not much evidence of positive thinking or statesmanship. It's time to draw a line in the sand and start again. If nothing comes of it, at least you guys have tried. And stop feeling so sorry for yourselves. Do something about it.

  9. Yes do something for your selfs.... you know ...feel depressed and Close your Office doors and cry..
    instead of terminating Quality, stopping production and resist RESIST with the only way you can....stop producing. take leave unpaid leave stay home , etc dont do battiman any production.-



  10. With regard to the noticeable lack of French blogging in relation to the recent events at the EPO, I would venture that none dare risk offending M. Battestelli, whose influential reach potentially still extends into the INPI, Ministry of industry and other related sectors for fear of encountering unforeseen procedural obstacles in later life. Look after number one, the rest will look after itself.

    Alternatively, it could be that many in the French IP profession have little sympathy for the staff at the EPO, particularly examiners, who are still perceived to have a cushy life, and should just get on with actually doing some real work for a change.

    Not that I'm a provocateur, conspiracy theorist, or anything - nurse, where are my meds ?

  11. Writing as an IP Masters student, doing patents this year, it occurred to me that the EPO conflict is an ideal testing-ground for the problem-solution approach to inventive step I've been reading about. The problem to be solved has been well described. There are several possible solutions too. Has Merpel proposed one that is not obvious to suggest since everyone assumes it will not work?

  12. On the principle that hope dies last, let's see whether the President is serious. We don't know what was said behind closed dors, and to demand that Battistelly does a public U-turn would be asking to much.
    It's just sad that the AC felt unable to postpone the decision on the health reform until recognition of the staff union was formalised.

  13. PSA hint:

    Churchill as opposed to Chamberlain

    (ps, don't expect us to come to your rescue this time)

  14. Battistelli can easily cooperate and save face. He can say that the whole initiative towards dealing with social unease and recognising the union was his own original idea. It doesn't matter if no one believes him, so long as he believes himself and people don't contradict him to his face.

  15. Fafnir,

    Where do you find this principle that hope dies last?

    To the contrary, I offer the following clip, especially from 0:16 to 0:28...

  16. Merpel

    You have pointed to the use of three p's [power-politics, point-scoring and paranoia].

    Not wishing to take the p's, I point out that there are several more p's that could apply to the history of this matter [provocation, procrastination, propinquity (the EPO does seem like a pressure cooker at times)]

    Some p's that would best be left out include pompous pontification and pretension to precognition.

  17. InsideOut

    You probably noted that there were 10 abstentions when the AC voted for a health reform with obvious legal sinkholes.

    Some will be very proud of their home country (and/or their respective host country) for their representatives voting for something they would get sued for in the country they represent. And - no surprise - some abstained to be able to say "We were not in favour ... and thus we were also not responsible." What model organisation is this, that needs to (or at least risks to) violate basic rights? Any law student would probably be able to draft reforms that are at least not flawed like that from the very beginning. Don't tell me, that there is no other way to reform the EPO but to to violate some basic rights for some years until courts on various levels dealt with the mess created.

  18. “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’

    Winston thought. ‘By making him suffer,’ he said.

    ‘Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

    G. Orwell "1984"

  19. New rules for staff:
    If you are well, go to work
    if you are ill, go to work
    if you have something catching and infectious, go to work (you'll have to, anyway) - and then talk to as many people as you can.
    Repeat as often as necessary and particularly at times when the AC meets.
    Don't forget, spelled out in simple language this is what the new rules demand ...
    And for some more detailed advice: you can fully implement the new rules by sneezing, coughing and spluttering without putting your handkerchief before your mouth,
    if you have diarrhea don't wash your hands, and quite generally make sure you infect as many of your colleagues as you can. With a bit of luck, the infection may spread to the top.

    1. doctor says: nice try, but BB enjoys immunity !

  20. Amicus Curiae

    Aha, there shall be talks, involving the Council, the President and the Trade Unions. The legal framework of the EPO shall be changed, to provide formal recognition of Trade Unions. That is certainly good news.

    On the other hand, the Council approved the issues put on the agenda by the President. Stated differently, neither the scope of the reforms nor their pace have changed.

    One wonders what these talks shall achieve. The EPO strike regulations still infringe on human rights, as decided by the Dutch Court. This will not be changed by talks. The Court accepted the underlying complaint because the Union did not have access to an independent court. This, too, will not be changed by talks. One wonders what solution for this particular problem is envisaged. The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation is not available. Its statute does not extend to unions.

    It seems that the Unions will, as a first step and a prerequisite to serious talks, have to insist on an amendment to the EPO strike regulations, to bring them in line with human rights. The Council did, on basis of the information available, not even discuss this issue. This raises the concern that the EPO is not prepared to move.

    Talks are nice, but some urgent action will be preferred. The EPO got its work cut out, what are they waiting for?

  21. Just received from SUEPO The Hague

    Feedback on the 25/26 March meeting of the Administrative Council
    Upcoming meeting of 22nd of April
    Dear SUEPO members, dear colleagues,

    It was a bizarre meeting of the Administrative Council (AC).

    Wednesday was basically dedicated to a long confidential session, from 11 am till 7 pm.
    We suspect the atmosphere was quite tense judging from the long faces during coffee breaks.
    Thursday was a time where very mixed signals were given.

    a) The AC adopted a controversial proposal for a Board of Appeal Committee. It also
    prolonged the suspension of the BoA member, pending disciplinary proceedings.

    b) The AC adopted the Sick Leave & Invalidity reform without much discussion, knowing full well that it contains many flaws, and knowing that staff and SUEPO was not involved/consulted in any meaningful way. Although the adoption of the
    reform has been announced as “unanimous” (technically correct), there were nevertheless ten abstentions (FR, DE, UK, IE, IT, SE, SK, SI, CZ, MT).

    c) The AC did not discuss, at least not publicly, the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
    The Dutch delegation did not go further than saying it found the way the Office handled the situation awkward. There was no decision to implement the judgment.

    d) Then, Mr Battistelli and Mr Kongstad announced that the AC would step in to reestablish social dialogue, including with the unions. Oddly, no reference was made
    to the draft proposal for a Framework Agreement we sent to Mr Battistelli and the
    AC as early as February 2014.

    SUEPO is determined to act as a responsible social partner, and is to participate in good faith to the upcoming meeting of 22nd April.

    However, you will understand that we remain prudently sceptical.
    The offer to talk is a dramatic departure from previous statements. Mr Battistelli labelled SUEPO a “troublesome union”, “a mix of French union(ism) and German
    efficiency”, a “dangerous cocktail”; he asserted that a small group of radicals was conducting a misinformation campaign. Then, through Communiqué 69 and the
    MAC’s note to the public, he suggested that the Court of Appeal’s judgment was only based on rumours, that the judges got it all wrong, and that in any event hewould not obey the order.

    And what does the Council really want? The unprecedented number of
    abstentions and the Council’s decision to participate directly in the “social dialogue” (contradicting earlier statements that they did not want to micromanage the Office) may indicate that some cracks are forming in the Council’s façade of
    support to the President.

    Does the Council intend to implement de facto the Dutch court order without being seen to acknowledge jurisdiction?
    Or is it just a time-buying smoke screen to maintain the status quo?

    Our position is that the EPO is and remains in contempt of Court until the instructions of the Court have been complied with, “voluntarily” or not. All bans on communications must be lifted, all threats ceased, and SUEPO must be allowed to negotiate on substantive issues of concern to staff.

    We will insist that discussions on substantive matters take place immediately, without waiting for a formalization of the “union recognition”. Vague statements of
    intentions will not suffice. The EPO must show concretely that it is solidly and honestly heading back on track, towards compliance with the Rule of Law. Until and unless that goal has been reached, we will hold the member states and their delegations responsible for any adverse consequence.

    Your SUEPO Committee The Hague

  22. Some more news from the Council:
    143rd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

    The Council addressed the issue of the social climate at the EPO. After an extensive debate, the Council decided to give the highest priority to the restoration of the social dialogue.

    So, at least for the moment, a tone that is different from the "only a small but vocal minority" one.

    Regarding the BoA reform:
    The Council gave its general support to the policy lines as presented. First concrete proposals will be elaborated for decision at the next Council meeting, in June 2015. These proposals will have to take due account of contributions received as a result of a broad consultation of stakeholders, to be launched shortly.

    Not too bad in itself. But June 2015 for elaboration of the proposals in the form of rule amendments is clearly way too ambitious if the goal is to take on board serious input and arrive at something sensible.

    The Council established its Disciplinary Committee for 2015. Chairman is Sir Konrad Schiemann, a UK judge with both national and international substantial experience and reputation.

    So not a puppet. Good.

  23. Readers may wish to refer to the Communique from the AC here:

    I shall refrain from any sort of comment - doubtless the rest of the readership will have their own opinions!

  24. Insideout brilliantly encapsulated the whole problem in just a few words: "Any law student would probably be able to draft reforms that are at least not flawed like that from the very beginning. Don't tell me, that there is no other way to reform the EPO but to to violate some basic rights for some years until courts on various levels dealt with the mess created."

    Why are the Admin Council voting through things that are not going to survive legal process? We're not talking complex issues here, we're talking slam dunks for any decent lawyer. So the staff will win - in x years, where x is large - and then there will be an unholy mess to sort out.

  25. The only reason why the AC can and does behave irresponsible by approving legally flawed rules, is the legal vacuum. i. e. the enormous time gap till the ATILO decision is produced and on top of that ATILO likes to refuse judging on the AC decisions in general. In such legal vacuum space the illegal behavior not only can but always does arise. And it is worth noticing that for the creation of this legal vacuum not the AC is responsible, but the member states. Moreover, the legal vacuum can only be closed by the member states and not the AC.
    That the Dutch court decision resulted in some change in the AC clearly shows it, because, the AC are now finding out that the legal vacuum space is not as entirely empty as they thought.
    This is not meant here as an excuse for the AC, for AC is responsible for its decisions, but rather as the search of the root-cause. When the root-cause is determined only than the problem can be fixed permanently.

    Baroness Much-Refusal

  26. Either the boards are independent or they are not. Loosing the power to write their own rules of procedure and passing that right to a subcommittee of the AC is not what is meant by independence.
    The proposal to put a greater distance between Boards and the rest of the Office as such seems a good one. Why does BB then have to go further and turn what could have been a good way forward into a straight jacket depriving the boards of their independence?
    Simple changes to his proposal could still provide a promising way forward: by all means, create a new President of the Boards who reports directly to the full A/C or the BOAC. The BOAC may be given some powers of supervision over the Boards by the AC, but it cannot and actually should not ever be part of the independent Boards.
    The irony is that the same President of the Office who himself will not bow to any form of supervision by the AC now wants to put micromanagement powers Into the hands of the body (BOAC) that should merely exercise supervisory powers w.r.t the otherwise independent boards.

  27. Eponym says:
    Apart from the silence on the French blog, there is yet another very conspicuous silence: that of the epi. I have heard it say that they were silenced by threatening to withdraw the license of some of the epi members. Whether the actual threat is true I don't know, but that they were somehow silenced seems pretty clear. I heard that during the AC meeting they had no other contribution to the new board rules than pathetically stating that they wished that procedural rules were applied more consistently throughout the boards.

  28. Mork said
    "Why are the Admin Council voting through things that are not going to survive legal process? We're not talking complex issues here, we're talking slam dunks for any decent lawyer"

    So there we have it. Since the problem of independence of the Boards of Appeal is inherent in the EPC, no decent lawyers were involved in framing the EPC.

    All that can be achieved by the AC is a sticking plaster. What is needed is an EPC revision and no one appears to have any appetite for that, nor for the long overdue meeting of ministers required by Article 4a EPC.

    When each contracting state appears willing to ignore the laws they enact or ratify, the best that can be hoped for are sticking plasters and a continuing lack of clarity over the status of the Boards of Appeal.

    Still, a satisfaction with the murky and unclear now has quasi-judicial approval. From G3/14 it appears that only a lack of clarity produced by an amendment may be studied - not a lack of clarity present from the outset.

  29. Mork, you are right in principle, but don't forget, Battistelli doesn't give a damn about the Office, its staff or its users.

    Battistelli wants to exercise power for the sake of doing so. The fact that in X (lerge x) number of years all this will get to the ILO (and in some cases to national or international courts) doesn't worry him one little bit - he'll be long gone from his post by then, and might even watch with satisfaction how everybody else is trying to unravel the spaghetti he has cooked.

    It is interesting to note that rumour has it that he first talked to the ILO, and only when they informed (assured?) him that cases woud take ten years or so before they are heard did his restructuring start in earnest.

  30. @Meldrew at 9.05

    Having spoken to people who knew the fathers of the EPC, it seems that the problem at the time was not that there weren't any decent lawyers involved in drafting the provisions of the EPC.

    Instead, The problem at the time was apparently purely political. It was already asking a lot of national governments to transfer the sovereign right to grant patents to an internaional organisation, the EPO. Any attempt at that time to incorporate in the EPC prOvisions creating a common court with jurisdiction over the patents granted by that newly created EPO would have been too much to ask for.

    Hence the split between the Munich Convention, which set up the EPO, and the Luxembourg Convention which would have created that court, but never entered into force. (And if you look at the botch job the UPC is, you can see that things are no different today.)
    Realising the impossibility of creating a separate court with universal jurisdiction, the best that could be done was to provide for a judicial instance with very limited jurisdiction, and "hide" that court within the EPC.

    It would seem that in that age of trying to create a better Europe, none of the draftsmen of the Convention (who must now be rotating in their graves) would ever have dreamed that one day someone would come along and use all the rough edges that had to be left around the convention to satisfy his ego by destroying it all from within under the guise of "improving the system". And even less would they have expected that the AC would let him get away with it.

    The positive, and with hindsight quite naive spirit of the founding fathers could, unfortunately, as it now turns out, still be felt in the year 2000, when the EPC was thoroughly revised, as was the idea of keeping the convention relating to the granting authority separate from considerations concerning a fully fledged court.

    So, one should not blame the lawyers here, but instead put the blame where it truly belongs in this case - with the politicians.

  31. The AC gave the president the mandate to give the union a recognition within the legal framework within the EPO. It appears to me very likely that it means the following.
    The union will be proposed with that it could be acknowledged as one of the groups of people that is eligible to call for a strake at the EPO and in exchange the union accepts that the president organizes and puts time limit on the strike, etc. This legal framework already exists at the EPO and that is how the union will be recognized within it.
    This will not be acceptable to the union but the president will state that, as much as he would liked to, he could not do more, because, it would exceed the mandate that he has from the AC, and the chairman of the AC will confirm it.
    At the next meeting of the AC the president will report to the AC that the generous offer from the AC was refused by the union and nothing more could be done on his part, and the chairman will confirm that it is true. The AC will have no reason to question or doubt the report by the president. So that at the end it will be the union that is at fault and that is what the AC and the rest of the world will hear.
    Naturally, it is a pure speculation, only. But somehow I think that there is more to it than just that.

    Baroness Much-Refusal

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. A friend found the following C.S. Lewis quote ... quite applicable to the EPO:

    "... That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended — civilizations are built up — excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery
    and ruin. ..." (in: Mere Christianity)

  34. I am an examiner, but would like to remain otherwise anonymous. The office has embarked on a series of reforms under the guidance of a so-called roadmap. Roads are built for cars and cars can go down any road and even off road. A more appropriate allegory for the process the EPO is embarking on is a one-way trainride to full office automation.
    The train has gathered up a lot of speed and so carries with a phenomenal amount of inertia. All of us on this train have only got one way tickets. Once it will have reached its destination, buying a return ticket will be forbiddingly expensive. Holding up the train now is a daunting exercise. Nonetheless if applicants are genuinely interested in maintaining a human - leaving humane aside - aspect to examination carried out by the EPO there is something concrete I can suggest they do to perhaps even hold up this train. It is no secret, examiners are under far more pressure to work fast than they have ever been. So called semi-automation is supposed to assist them in being able to keep up. So please, applicants, stay on the alert for communications, which all seem to conform to the same megaclause format, and also look at the cited documents carefully to gauge your level of satisfaction at an early stage with the increased automation you are being graced with. I hope you are in possession of at least some work produced by EPO staff, which you would judge to be professional. This must be the benchmark for any results of office automation. If the more recently produced work does not meet this benchmark you have the choice of acting. Here is my concrete proposal to you. Any work past or present, which you find meets the benchmark, for my sake I hope this will be work of an individual nature not relying too heavily on standardization, be so kind and make the effort of voicing your praise for the work delivered to: the president, the vice president DG1, the principal director of the relevant organizational unit, the director and the examiner - or at least something going along these lines. At least the examiner wont ignore it. It will probably be the first time in years he has experienced any real incentive in what he is doing. It will be the first time he knows he's not barking up the wrong tree. In the hope of enough praising notes reaching the ears of those concerned, the message, I hereby purport, of applicants desiring individual treatment of their application rather than application of a standardized procedure, will become increasingly difficult to ignore. I am confident that any experienced attorney representing an applicant has the skill to draft a "song of praise" for a communication or a decision not even in their favour without jeopardising their standing in subsequent procedural steps. What you do with work, which displeases you is your choice and it is not my recommendation here nor in my interests for you to act in such cases. Presently I believe, I do searches and read the application in such detail that I fully understand the intentions behind the invention and make available what is relevant in the prior art to the granting process. I also try to communicate with the applicant in such a way that a meaningful exchange with a view to granting in mind can be reached. Nothing motivates me more in my job than to be perceived to be fair and reasonable, meaning providing reasoning. For me it is difficult to tell, whether I should continue spending so much time and effort on individual cases in my quest to meet my self-imposed standards. Perhaps bowing out to automation is the better option in my case. Thank you for taking the effort to read this post.

  35. It is because, a reward is always given to those who create the perception of high performance and no more questions are asked.

    It is the same with preception of independence. No need to ask anyting anymore, because the perception of independence has been enhanced.


  36. And likewise the perception of "good governance" ...

  37. Well-informed reports:
    It seems that after the last unpleasant (for him) developments Mr Battistelli is ready to resign in exchange of a considerably high handshake from the EPO.
    "Either I carry out the reforms my way or I go" he apparently shouted at some delegates who had abstained. One delegate pointed to the door with a smile. It seems that at this point Battistelli left in anger.

  38. Well informed reports:
    Please repeat this after April 1 is well and truly past ...

  39. Psuedononimouse says

    to the anonymous Examiner of 29 April.

    Well said! It was a pleasure to read a constructive proposition.

  40. A cleaning lady quotes...

    BB’s 3minute elevator speech to JK

    BB: This is the great transparent Roadmapovator.
    JK: It's an elevator.
    BB: No, it's a Roadmapovator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Rodmapovatorv can go sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways...
    JK: And frontways?
    BB: ...and squareways, and front ways, and any other ways that you can think of. It can take you to any room in the whole Organisation just by pressing one of these buttons. Any of these buttons. Just press a button, and *zing*! You're off. And up until now, I've pressed them all... except one.
    BB: This one. Go ahead, Jesper.
    JK: Me?
    [BB nods as Jesper presses the button]


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