EPO queue jumping part 1 - Don't be an SME

Here’s an interesting thought experiment about how patent offices should operate. Two patent applications are pending at the European Patent Office (EPO). Imagine that one was filed several years ago by Microsoft, and the other was filed at the same time by (say) an Italian SME which files “only” 10 patent applications per annum.

Lady Justice may have to ditch her traditional 
blindfold if she wants a job at the EPO 
Photo: Tim Evanson 
Nothing much has happened on either case now for several years, but both files are allocated to the same examiner. Which case should the examiner pick up first – the one filed by the “customer” with 750 filings per year, or the one filed by the SME? 

Merpel hopes that her readers will agree that both files should be treated equally in the same queue. Indeed there is a good argument that the SME should get priority treatment, being less able to afford the annual renewal fee imposed by the EPO for each year of inaction, which is already more than €1,000 by the 5th anniversary of filing, and rises to over €1,500 per annum from the 9th anniversary onwards.

Any readers who agree with the equal treatment concept may be disturbed by certain rumours that have reached Merpel’s pointed ears. They start off innocuously enough:
Changing priorities in DG1 Earlier this year the Office issued two internal memos entitled “Closer Contacts with Major Applicants”. The reason given was to

“foster a better esprit de service, not least to ensure that we do not lose workload market share to other major Offices”.
We cite further:

“The ICT cluster has had close contact with both Canon and Microsoft recently and their experience prompted this pilot… The pilot started on 1.4 for ten major applicants.... For the 10 applicants, there will be one DG1 director in direct contact with one person in the company… The idea is that the DG1 director will be in regular contact ... with his counterpart from the applicant and that at least once in the pilot year there will be a high level visit (PD, directors, DG2 and DG5 representatives where necessary) to the company.”
Pausing here (the good stuff comes later), Merpel does not have a particular issue with the concept of the EPO or indeed any organisation providing a relationship manager for large users of any organisation. She also knows that the EPO has for many years sent examiners out into the real world to talk with applicants, so as to keep abreast of technology and of the real state of the art, as opposed to the legal fiction created by patent law.  Other patent offices, such as the UK IPO, also visit applicants and patent attorneys who are users of their services [this is something that IPKat blogmeister Jeremy has strongly advocated in talks he has given over the past decade].

However, this pilot programme seems different, both in terms of purpose and in terms of execution. There is something imbalanced in having high-ranking EPO officials make a pilgrimage to the premises of large applicants “to ensure that we do not lose workload market share”. There is an element of bending the knee involved that makes Merpel uncomfortable.

But now for the part that made Merpel cough up a larger-than-normal furball. Her correspondent comments that:
One of the early off-shoots was that directors and examiners were gently reminded that the Office had entered in a closer cooperation project with Microsoft, so could the examiners please take care of a list of [overdue] Microsoft files for which the deadline [for the examiner to issue a communication] had expired? We [i.e. Merpel's correspondent] obviously have no problems with reminders to examiners to prioritise files that are overdue. But such reminders should cover all files that are similarly overdue, not just those of a specific applicant.
The implications of this are astounding. Smaller applicants are being discriminated against because they don’t have the clout of threatening to pull their business from the EPO. But if you’re a major contributor to the EPO’s coffers, your cases will get priority at the expense of smaller applicants.

Merpel hopes this is all untrue, but it has the “stranger than fiction” quality that is characteristic of many EPO stories that have proved accurate. Anyone who knows more and who can comply with the normal rules of comment etiquette, please do tell!
Reminder for commenters: As has been true with Merpel's EPO posts for some time, and as is now the general IPKat policy, comment-posters are required to identify themselves via a pseudonym if they don't want to use their own names, since there are far too many people called "Anonymous" and it can be difficult-to-impossible to work out which Anonymous is which. Also, Merpel moderates EPO-related comments quite heavily, knowing that some readers get so exercised that they forget the normal standards of comment etiquette (or even of libel laws).
EPO queue jumping part 1 - Don't be an SME EPO queue jumping part 1 - Don't be an SME Reviewed by Merpel on Friday, October 02, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. I am very confused by your outrage.

    If "We obviously have no problems with reminders to examiners to prioritise files that are overdue. But such reminders should cover all files that are similarly overdue, not just those of a specific applicant." is quoting from the memo it is telling examiners and directors to behave properly. Such a reminder that examination and prioritisation should be objective is to be welcomed.

    Indeed, an advantage of Early Certainty from Search and objective prioritisation is that by providing a prioritised list of cases for examiners to work on it reduces (but does not eliminate) the risk of "favours" to particular applicants.

    However, I am outraged by the statement that links with major users were to avoid loss of "workload market share to other major Offices."

    The EPO is meant to be a public service organisation whose aim should be to efficiently provide the appropriate services for the public good: not a commercial organisation intent on gathering market share at the expense of its basic job of GRANTING EUROPEAN PATENTS. The scandal is the EPO advertising its services on US television when it cannot deal with the workload it currently has.

    The workload fetish illustrates the paranoia and megalomania that has infested the EPO since its earliest days. It is time the office sought therapy.

  2. Bringbackalib says

    The EPO is rightly trying to defend market share against the likes of South Korea.In the pipeline are plans to let large companies do their own Search,Examination and of course Grant.The EPO can then recruit examiners who think prior art is a vernissage.

  3. Mack the Knife says:

    Well, so everyone is equal (in that they pay the same fees etc), but not everyone is treated equally, if your article is true. Sounds like French Communism has finally landed and found a roost at the EPO....

  4. The EPO would probably do a better job if granting quality patents if it let the applicants do the job themselves. I have received so many overly-broad/unworthy patent grants from the EPO, I find it embarrassing.

  5. Meldrew: Perhaps the editing was ambiguous. The post has been updated to clarify.

    The statement you quote ("We obviously have no problems with reminders to examiners to prioritise files that are overdue. But such reminders should cover all files that are similarly overdue, not just those of a specific applicant.") is not from the EPO memo. It is a comment made by Merpel's correspondent explaining why the EPO's implementation of this pilot programme and the conferring of an advantage on large users at the expense of small users is wrong -- a view which seems to be shared by the author quoted by Merpel, by your good self, and by Merpel.

  6. The EPO has a long tradition of treating sub-sets of customers more favourably than others. One particular group which appears to receive favourable treatment is that of French applicants/opponents. Over the years, stories recounted by different representatives have supported my own experience that if the other party is French, with certain divisions or boards your chances of being succesful are reduced significantly irrespective of the strength of the arguments.

    Wrote H. Bosch

  7. Attorney with integrity mines a deep vein of hypocrisy with his comment above. While it is of course deeply troubling if I or any of my colleagues grants an application which is not in conformity with the requirements of the Convention, does he not see that it takes two to tango?

    Lying on my desk is a finished EP search originating from an Asian applicant. It has, thus, certainly been translated. It has been filed by a European Attorney (of British nationality in this case, working for a British company of attorneys), who, having passed the EQE, must presumably be conversant with the provisions if the Convention, Implementing Regulations, Guidelines, and so forth. Despite this:

    1. no attempt has been made to conform to the requirements of Rules 43(1) or 43(7) EPC;
    2. the claims are utterly vague and defined only by results to be achieved and thus not in conformity with Art. 84 EPC;
    3. as a direct result, at least claim 1 is neither novel nor inventive with respect even to the prior art cited by the applicant.

    One would have thought that the average attorney of integrity would have the integrity to at least point out to the applicant some fairly obvious lacunae in the filing documents. This is, by the way, hardly an isolated case.

    Is it also not the case that in allowing poorly drafted applications to be granted by a mediocre examiner, the attorney is also failing in his duty to the applicant, in that such a broad grant will leave the lucky patent owner wide open to additional costs in e.g. at least opposition before the EPO or (far worse) litigation in national courts?

    One is reminded of Matthew 7, verse 1 to 5...

  8. "The EPO has a long tradition of treating sub-sets of customers more favourably than others. One particular group which appears to receive favourable treatment is that of French applicants/opponents. Over the years, stories recounted by different representatives have supported my own experience that if the other party is French, with certain divisions or boards your chances of being succesful are reduced significantly irrespective of the strength of the arguments."

    Sounds a bit like the EPO internal appeals process where (I have heard) that if the the other party is "staff" (as it invariably is ...) its chances of being succesful are reduced significantly irrespective of the strength of the arguments. And even if they win, the President can ignore the recommendation of the appeals committee, leaving it to the ILOAT to sort matters out a decade later .....

  9. Examiner with integrity

    You assume that non-European applicants listen to their attorneys.

    It is still extremely common to get instructions to make no changes, remove no claims, pay all fees, and try to get exactly the same as was filed in the country of origin for the expressed reason that:-
    - a change in Europe might reflect adversely in the country of origin
    - a change might imply there was something wrong in the original application
    - the European rules cannot mean what they say and the attorney is trying to do unnecessary work
    - a fixed service fee has been quoted by the overseas attorney to his client and so you have to price down to this fee even if it involves much higher claims fees than are necessary
    - any combination of the above.

    In short, the attorney is a servant not a master, and the servant can advise his master but will not necessarily be listened to, and sometimes the servant's advise is filtered through another servant.

    In Europe, attorneys are listened to, but still some applicants "know better" and ask us to do stupid things.

    The job of the attorney is not to stop their client doing stupid things: it is to ensure the client knows the consequences of those stupid things.

    Occasionally, the stupid things turn out not to be stupid - the attorney has just been kept in the dark. This is another way for applicants to get sub-optimal results

  10. Examiner with integrity:

    I can assure you that the relevant patent attorney is most likely acutely aware of the issues with the relevant application and has pointed them out to the applicant. However, a significant proportion of applicants will never agree to incur the expense of amending a European application before they are required to do so, for example as a result of objections in a search or examination report. Many instructions are simply to file a European application without amendment, save to reduce the claim number below 16.

    I am absolutely appalled to see that, despite your integrity, you view such applications as the attorney failing in his duty to the applicant. If this is a common view of Examiners it is definitely worthwhile that they meet with real-life applicants and attorneys on a much more regular basis, simply in order that they can get obtain some small insight into commercial realities outside the EPO's ivory towers.

  11. @Meldrew: thank you, I am , of course, aware of all these things, but, just as there are duff examiners not doing their job properly (hopefully a minority), it cannot be denied that some attorneys don't always seem to do the best for their clients, the servant-master relationship notwithstanding.

    Those of us on both sides who do their job conscientiously and to a high standard (as I hope I do) should stick together. I just get pretty sick of being tarred with that 'EPO examiners are useless hacks' brush, based upon a few duff results experienced by one cynical attorney.

  12. Mack the Knife says:

    Meldrew at 12:50 - well said. Examiner with Integrity seems to be misunderstanding of why certain things happen in certain ways...He/She should not judge an attorney by his clients instructions...

  13. All the animals are equal.

    Some are just more equal than others.

  14. To "The Attorney With Integrity"

    Your selective confession rings hollow - where my friend was your soul while you were prosecuting these applications whose grants you now seem to find so remorseful?

    The "ethics" of false representation seems to be an altogether alien concept for you.

    How DO you see around that log in your own eye?

  15. @Concerned attorney; @Mack the Knife:

    Ah, here we go again: the typical 'de haut en bas' attitude adopted by attorneys towards we humble examiners, who clearly, locked as we are in our ivory tower, are unaware of the 'commercial realities' outside in the real world (as if any part of the IP world is 'real' in any sense).

    But I digress: a quotation from a review of a 'webinar' on professional ethics held in 2011 by CIPA seems to get to the heart of things (speaker: Speaker: Dr. Michael Jewess; Reviewer: Dr Andrew J. McGettrick, Murgitroyd & Company):

    "Exceptional obligations which trump the client’s interest were then discussed. These are summarised as follows. A practitioner must not knowingly make any false or misleading statement, even if requested to do so by a client. Similarly, a practitioner should not file a patent application for an invention in which the specific embodiment is fully disclosed in the prior art, and should not mislead a third party as to the status of a client’s right. Again, this may involve the practitioner refusing to carry out a client’s instructions. In mergers and acquisitions, practitioners should not mislead the purchaser about infringement risks being run by the business the client is selling. In addition, practitioners should not support the IP aspects of a deal that is in breach of law on competition, bribery and corruption, or health and safety.

    There are also requirements for practitioners not to mislead a court or a patent office, or to take advantage of a person on the ‘other side’ having no legal advisor/ representation."

    I would also draw your attention to Section 1(g) of the Code of Conduct of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

    "(g) A breach of this Code cannot be justified by referring to instructions from a client."

    Quite so.

  16. Well said Meldrew, but:
    The EPI member is the 'pig in the middle' with a duty to explain to the Examiner in language that the Examiner understands, and to the Applicant in language he or she understands. In the USA, they know from their own law what it means to 'add matter' and it is not at all the same as under the EPC. You haven't done your job until the non-European attorney has understood that his domestic law is leading him astray. Once he understands all this, he will be more inclined to accept your advice. I fear that many EPI members don't know enough about law outside the EPC to grasp why the attorney won't accept what they advise. There's the problem.

  17. Examiner with integrity.

    A reference to professional ethics you that is entirely irrelevant to the situation described in your previous comment does not help an argument that you understand or even appreciate commercial realities.

    Quite simply, the situation described in your previous comment does not appear to breach any professional ethics (the specification does not have any false or misleading statements, does not have a specific embodiment that is fully disclosed in the prior art, and is not misleading). As a result it does not appear to even come close to breaching the code of conduct for patent attorneys. What it does seem to do, and I fully empathise with this, is make the compiling of the initial search harder than would be if the attorney had spent significant time and incurred significant charges amending the specification before filing. However, just because it makes your life harder it doesn't mean any professional ethics have been breached.

  18. Mack the Knife says:

    Examiner with Integrity - thank you for that. To be clear from the get-go, I'm not an attorney - I'm your end-user/client, and I'm not happy with the service you provide.

    Problem is that in reality the attorneys might think that someone else will do it (which they will), so why not me? It's not like someone is going to die, is it? Clients wasting money...so what?

    If everyone took the ethics quite so literally, sat on the moral high ground, then the number of applications will drop, less fees would be paid and there'd less money to pay the examiners...you'd be out of a job!

    The EPO is in reality a service provider. I've never seen it act like one and the attitude of some of the EPO staff reflect the feeling that they are self serving bureaucrats...that's simply what a lot of attorneys and applicants think of you. You probably don't care either, but it is worthwhile remembering who pays the bills....so please, get on with examining my application which has been sat around for 8 years since my attorney last filed a response and I've had to pay all these fees to keep your nice coffee machines and pensions topped up....

  19. It appears to this observer that the "ethics as they are" and the "ethics as they should be" are two distinctly different animals.

    I have seen this confusion on other legal blogs before. The ones wanting a different set of ethics in place never seem to recognize that what they want and what they think "should be" are not in fact the determining factors, and the discussion often ends with them muttering to themselves as they walk away.

  20. This attorney-examiner debate is futile and tiresome. Can everybody please mind his own business and not tell the other party how it should act, let alone lecture it on its code of conduct? If an attorney acts in a clearly unacceptable way, inform the epi. If an examiner acts in a clearly unacceptable way, inform the epo. Otherwise, suck it up.

  21. Shnorrer says:

    I have to say that I am troubled by this development.

    I represent mostly SMEs. If they file applications at all, they hardly file EP any more (the prospect of the UPC is an incentive to go national, I have to say) and now they will hear that the big companies get special treatment by the EPO. How can I tell them that their chances to have a big competitor’s patent revoked by an opposition division are reasonable if the Office tells its examiners to give preferential treatment to those companies? Does the Office have suicidal tendencies?

    The patent system always was made for big companies, but this bias still amplifies. Will anybody tell the EPO that they are not a company selling products but an institution for granting monopolies that concern non-filing SMEs and the general public as much as they concern big business? Meetings of the President with big companies behind closed doors and special arrangements should be a no-go. The Office sure behaves as if it had forgotten whom it should serve.

  22. Anonymous Examiner with IntegrityFriday 2 October 2015 at 18:55:00 GMT+1

    Oh boy, I seem to have opened a large can of worms here: detailed replies tomorrow, I think.

  23. To Examiner with Integrity,
    the Asian applicant no doubt looks forward to your rapid grant of his current claims, possibly subject to a minor amendment for clarity.
    The attorney will no doubt be glad to have this application off their desk as their client is not able to fund the work sufficiently. the client will no doubt die of shock when they see the validation and renewal fees.

  24. Dear The Pigs,
    Alas you are way off the mark. The patents I talk about did not originate from my own quill, but those of others. Now be careful where you stand as I cast my stones.

  25. "Meetings of the President with big companies behind closed doors and special arrangements should be a no-go. The Office sure behaves as if it had forgotten whom it should serve."

    Somebody has obviously never heard of the "Croatian Model" ...

  26. origination was not the incident I mentioned - prosecution was.

    You better be able to throw and clear your glass house, at the least....

  27. Examiner with Integrity

    "Those of us on both sides who do their job conscientiously and to a high standard (as I hope I do) should stick together. "

    Just so.


    "This attorney-examiner debate is futile and tiresome."

    I fully agree.


    If we don't let each other know how the other's behaviour affects us there is little chance in gaining useful understanding that might make both our jobs easier

    So please, let's keep talking - with due respect and the intent to understand.

  28. What is the big deal here?

    Is really nobody here aware of Guidelines E-VII, 3?
    If the SME wants its applications to be processed more quickly, it can at all times file a PACE request.

    Maybe we should be outraged at the fact that the PACE program exists?

  29. Glad to be out of the madhouseSaturday 3 October 2015 at 13:39:00 GMT+1

    I think that I can contribute my POV to the Examiner vs. Attorney debate, being a former EPO examiner, and currently being an EPA with many overseas clients:

    Examiners must understand that, unless the client requests something clearly unethical, we are bound by our clients' instructions. Indeed, some clients' refusal to let us act in their best interest is one of the biggest sources of frustration in an attorney's working day. My firm systematically proposes reviewing and adapting overseas-drafted applications for compliance with the formal requirements of the EPC before filing or entering the regional phase at the EPO. Most regular clients have come to appreciate this service and usually accept our proposed preliminary amendments, but this does not mean that all our clients will always accept this. Whether out of misunderstandings, sheer bloodymindedness, or because the client actually has some good hidden reason, clients sometimes refuse. That's life, and we must all deal with the consequences.

    Incidentally, I'd also appreciate if some Examiners also looked up what those formal requirements actually are. I'm sure that many, reading Rules 42 and 43 EPC attentively, would actually be surprised to learn that R. 42(1)(b) doesn't at all require that the Applicant mentions in the description the prior art cited in the Search Report, that Rule 43(1) actually leaves great latitude not to use the two-part form, or that Rule 43(7) doesn't require that the drawing reference number accompanies each appearance of a feature throughout the entire claim set.

    In general, I must deplore an increasingly "by the numbers" approach to examination, particularly when it comes to clarity, sufficiency of disclosure, and added matter. Artificial tests and checklists are applied without much thought as to their purpose and/or legal support in the EPC. This unthinking approach can lead to deserving applications being abandoned, while invalid and/or unclear patents are granted.

    Yet I know that most Examiners are highly talented and motivated individuals. Why do they act like that, then? Work pressure and a "mushroom-grower" approach by management ("keep them in the dark and feed them shit") is partly to blame, but the biggest flaw lies in training. I can confidently say that, in my time, the training on search procedures, novelty and inventive step was excellent, but that the training on added matter was mediocre, and that on clarity and sufficiency of disclosure was appallingly bad. Examiners were trained with an entirely formalistic approach and were never confronted with case studies of, for instance, how an unclear claim can be an obstacle in determining infringement (or non-infringement). What I find most worrying is that I know for a fact that the EPO management has steadily cut down on training since I left, so that the most recent entrants have never been adequately trained, and experienced Examiners have hardly received training updates. Examiner training urgently needs outside inputs, but these rather dubious "partnerships" with some big applicants are hardly an adequate replacement for that.

  30. Glad to be out of the madhouseSaturday 3 October 2015 at 13:56:00 GMT+1

    Re. PACE: One of the most astonishing revelations I've had when talking to current Examiners is that nobody has bothered to tell them about the PPH scheme. PPH requests involve an enormous amount of additional red tape (the claims must correspond to those deemed patentable by another participating PO) with respect to regular PACE requests, yet have been heavily promoted among overseas applicants, in particular in Japan, even though the applications are just stamped PACE when they arrive onto Examiners' desks. It seems to me that the EPO management has never liked the whole idea of PPH (perhaps with good reason), that it was dragged kicking and screaming into PPH when some national POs started signing PPH agreements with overseas POs on their own, and that, as a result of this, the EPO has been more or less consciously working to sabotage PPH, creating in the process an astounding amount of unnecessary work for Examiners, European and overseas practitioners and applicants alike...

  31. Directors maintain an unhealthy relationship with major applicants and law firms already since long. They do not only interfere with the prioritisation of the files of their "friends" but issue unequivocal orders as to the nature of the decision desired by what they consider customers. Not following these indications, the examiner risks a lot more than just a missed promotion. In particularily important cases the directors nomimate themselves chairman, irrespective of the fact, that they possess no formal or actual expertise in the technical field whatsoever. The ICT "cluster" is a particular case. They promote computer implemented inventions as a field of profit. The principle director does not blush when he mentions the examiners negative decisions in the same sentence as their pensions.To apply the law takes more than a little courage.
    So while the situation was already desastrous before this pilot, the institutionalisation of malpractice will break the resistance of the last examiners who still believe they are public servants and not employees of huge multinationals.

  32. There seems to be nothing new about any of this.
    It appears to be entirely consistent with the way BB operated at the INPI and nobody ever complained about that as far as I am aware.

    So why are you all whingeing now that it has become established practice at the EPO ?

    "Savez-vous que monsieur B. B. est un élu UMP à St germain en laye ? Et qu'il est très apprécié de Christine Lagarde ?
    Savez-vous aussi qu'étant impartial, quand il y a un recours contre sa décision, il fait le déplacement de Paris jusqu'à Bordeaux pour rencontrer la partie (...) à qui il a donné raison et ce afin de l'aider à se défendre...
    Toujours étant impartial, il renouvelle sans problème la marque Mouton Noir (...) en 2000 et 2010 alors qu'il transmet parallèlement à la Cour la preuve que cette marque est annulée depuis... 1996. (confirmé en 2007 par la Cour de Cassation).
    La Cour qui a confirmé en 1998 l'annulation de cette marque arrive pourtant aujourd'hui a reconnaître que cette marque est notoire et elle rejette l'argument selon lequel cette prétendue notoriété est illégale donc inopposable... Conclusion ????

    Source: http://razlebol.skynetblogs.be/archive/2010/06/11/inpi-et-les-faux-et-usage-de-faux-hallucinant-mais-tristemen.html

    See the "Commentaires"

  33. Tell me, el Condor, what can you imagine the directors gaining for themselves by the behaviour you perceive? I find it hard to imagine they are taking bribes from outside the Office. Things haven't got that bad yet, I hope. But could it instead be that, by such behaviour, they are improving their prospects of promotion? That I could imagine.

    Think only of the company BB keeps, as he jets around the world from hand-shake to hand-shake, back slap to back slap, nudge-nudge to wink-wink. The world is small. What goes on in one jurisdiction has echoes in the others. Just look how many of the provisions of ther AIA are included at the behest of the so-called Global Titan PTO users. What could the EPO President do, to match that?

    Compare the VW Supervisory Board with that at the EPO, the Administrative Council. All the SPD politicians and union representatives that make up a majority of votes on that Board were (at minimum) wilfully blind to the defeat software written by Bosch for VW. So just how wilfully blind are the Member States on the EPO's AC?

    If a few EPO Examining Division Directors are behaving as you say, this then would be yet another example of the well-known Dead Fish situation, the rot starting at the head. The only thing that roots out corruption is US-style fact-finding. But I can't see Loretta Lynch going after the EPO like she did FIFA. Sometimes Europe just has to clean its own stable.

  34. Alas poor piggy, he gets it wrong again. What need had I to prosecute applications that sit on my desk, yet the first examination report I receive and some the first on the case after 3-5 years result in grant? Even with a log in my eye I would still easily hit the little piggy with my stones. Making sure not to hit Mr Cameron, of course.

  35. Operation “HR Roadmap flavours” says…

    BB: Larger directorates, 5 year employment contracts, boosting production, getting rid of under performers and critics, getting more applications and most of all strengthening my network and ideas.

    EB: Anyway we are already getting rid of any permanent director contracts and replace them by 5 year contracts. We have already side-lined quite a bit of permanent directors and some of them have already started to dismantle their own directorates, others are just waiting to be sacked as under-performers and their successors are already recruited (...or in the process).

    ZT: Brilliant idea next we let the remaining directors also do more favours to AC delegates, national patent offices and large companies by recruiting their minions, this against unconditional support for the EPO in the council and more needed in the Press. Our friends will name their minions and we will make sure a place is freed up and their minions get a fair chance….

    VP1: hmmm…?????[thinking about his bonus and pension…..]


  36. I heard that VP1 is mad at the leaks not at the content of the leaks ....

    The problem is not to give special treatment to major global corporation but those who make it known to the public...


  37. "The only thing that roots out corruption is US-style fact-finding. But I can't see Loretta Lynch going after the EPO like she did FIFA. Sometimes Europe just has to clean its own stable."

    That is why BB instituted an "Investigative Unit", the official fact-finding organ of the EPO.

    They have consistently found that there is no corruption at the EPO.

    What more do you need ?

  38. There are no ascertained cases of corruption, not even rumours thereof in the EPO. I never heard of any. One possibility is that the civil servants there are from an exclusive sect or cast and of higher moral standards than any other human assosciation in history. There is another possibility though. The reason why there is no corruption is the same as in any odd dictatorship in men's history. Fear of disclosure. Disclosing an act of corruption is definitely more dangerous than committing. This was true in the Soviet Union and not only there.

  39. Exminers have been meeting with the big filers for as long as can remember and my memory takes me back for the appointment of the current president.

  40. "There are no ascertained cases of corruption, not even rumours thereof in the EPO.

    Under the present regime there exist many cases of (alleged) "misconduct". This typically means some kind of act displeasing to the upper echelons of the EPO Administration.

    There have however been rumours of "corruption" but insofar as any investigation has been carried out nothing was found.

    This of course has nothing to do with the fact that the Investigative Unit reports directly to the President and is completely under his control.

    The concept of a "conflict of interest" appears to be completely alien to the EPO Administration.

  41. I fully agree that the discussion examiner-attorney is futile and does not bring matters forward.
    That examiners have visited applicants, large and small, is nothing new and should continue. It is important that examiners see in real life what they are talking about on a piece of paper.
    What is not good, is the fact that some privileged relationship is apparently established with large applicants.
    When on the other hand, one hears that the patent system, EPC and UPC playing a preeminent role, is to the benefit of European Industry, and especially its SMEs it shows how hypocritical all this waffling is.
    Should directors only have 5 year contracts, then the degradation experienced when principal directors were only given 5 year contracts will continue. By fear of not having their contract renewed, they will very up-down transmission lines. Anything against what comes from above will simply not be taken into account.
    That members of DG3 also have 5 year contracts is not to be compared. They are, at least for the time being, independent. Something BB would like to change as well, and certainly put more production pressure.
    All those measures have for aim to churn out as many applications as possible in the minimum of time and leaving the difficult cases behind.
    It is disgusting!

  42. Schestowitz article on leaked internal EPO memo, which had been referred to by another IAM article, has been removed from techrights.org website without any explanation: dead link to article
    Anyone know what the backstory is?

  43. @ Lost in the confusion

    No idea what happened to the story you refer to but a follow-up article is still there:


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