Curtain - Merpel's final EPO post

As many kind readers have pointed out, the frequency of Merpel's visits to the EPO has been decreasing of late. This is, alas, not a sign that all is well there, but rather on the contrary that the worrying and depressing developments have been proceeding at a pace that she has, to her great regret, not been able to keep up with.

For nearly three years Merpel has been documenting the troubles of this increasingly problematic organisation, which she dubbed "Eponia" in an early satirical blogpost.

The current EPO President Benoît Battistelli has been attacking all parts of the EPO with ruthless efficiency. The strands of this are almost too numerous to enumerate, but Merpel will attempt a brief summary.  (Most of the posts on this topic are labelled "Eponia" so a search on this should reveal to any keen readers the majority of Merpel's posts.)

  • A Board of Appeal member remains in limbo having been suspended, but the Enlarged Board of Appeal three times (showing admirable and rare backbone) having declined  (also noted here) to propose his removal from office.
  • The staff representation has been emasculated, and the main staff union SUEPO has been constantly under attack, with four of its officers either sacked or demoted on dubious charges (see posts here and here).
  • The Boards of Appeal have likewise been emasculated and banished to Haar, approved by the AC last October, seemingly in retaliation for the lack of compliance of the Enlarged Board of Appeal with the President's wishes.
  • Examination quotas have been continually increased for Examiners, and while the mantra about "quality not affected" is often raised, there is actually no proper assessment of examination quality, with many reports that it is suffering.  The astonishing 40% increase in granted patents in 2016 has been widely reported, although this is presumably partly due to the changed examination priorities which, inter alia, involve progressing rapidly to grant cases that are clearly allowable.
  • The social situation at the EPO has deteriorated with repeated amendments to the employment regulations, and the atmosphere between Examiners and managers grows increasingly toxic.
The ILO-AT (the international tribunal that adjudicates employment issues for a number of international organisations including the EPO) has a huge backlog of cases, many from the EPO, so that cases take many years to reach judgment, meaning that effective justice is denied to EPO employees.  A recent decision found that the EPO's internal appeals process used a wrongly-constituted Appeals Committee, and this may invalidate a number of decisions (if you are so inclined you can watch a video of the session that announced four judgments including this one).  But a Dutch court decision lifting the immunity of the EPO from national jurisdiction, on the basis that the delay at ILO-AT denied EPO employees effective access to justice, was overturned on appeal.

The EPO question is now also being raised increasingly in political circles in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.  But so far such political pressure does not seem to have been effective either directly against the administration, or indirectly via the Administrative Council.

Of course Merpel did not expect that the writings of a fictional feline would alter the course of EPO history.  But she did hope that documenting and raising the public profile of the issues might cause some of those who actually have oversight of the EPO to take note of the developments.  Depressingly, the Administrative Council, to whom oversight of the EPO and its President is entrusted, has failed in its task and on countless occasions has agreed to the reforms proposed, usually with just some token abstentions to indicate concern.

Most of the damage has now been done with many of the harmful changes already implemented.  Several of SUEPO's committee have stepped down, and now Merpel feels the time is right for her to do the same.  She has many other calls on her time, and now she wishes to spend some more time with her kittens.  She will from time to time write about other matters, but she will no longer be covering the situation at the EPO.

There are signs that the EPO situation is being caught in the wider press as well as in political circles - EPO-related stories have at last begun to appear in the regular press with reasonable frequency, and even in everyone's favourite satirical magazine Private Eye.  Merpel hopes that this will continue, and perhaps change will finally come.  The Register recently opined that "Time is running out for European Patent Office president Benoît Battistelli", but this seems premature to Merpel even now, as he is an astute political operator and has weathered many apparently career-terminating storms before.

Merpel would like to thank the readers and commenters that have made the comments sections of earlier posts so informative.

Curtain - Merpel's final EPO post Curtain - Merpel's final EPO post Reviewed by Merpel on Friday, March 10, 2017 Rating: 5


  1. So a European IP blog is no longer going to be covering one of, if not the, biggest ongoing issues in IP in Europe? Or is somebody else other than Merpel going to start covering the crisis at the EPO for the IPKat?

  2. Everything changes, so does the IPKat. Don't change too much please. It would be good if you could keep some of the charm this blog used to have in abundance under Jeremy, Johanna, Illana, Brigit, David.

    Don't stop covering the EPO.

  3. Keep going - don't stop! He will have his Waterloo soon...surely, please God!

    From: a "customer" of the EPO, that like quality "products"...even if they to wait a little while to get them

  4. Thank you for your regular reports in the past. It appears that also applicants lost their interest in the EPO. Why should we pay enormous fees for fake quality? I feel sorry for the examiners, but they are digging their own graves by solely looking at production figures in order to get more money. No strikes anymore, no resistance, nothing. Good bye, EPO!

  5. Merpel - many thanks for covering the EPO up to now. The information, insights and commentary that you have provided have been invaluable in shedding light on dubious (AC / EPO management) practices that are a serious threat to the reputation of all of us who work in the patent microcosm.

    I do hope that you will be able to pass the baton over to another member of the IPKat family. With the reputation of the EPO now in tatters, it would be a shame if the IP world lost an important source of information that helps it to critically assess the picture painted by the management of the EPO.

  6. EPOmustGO. Replacing the president won't change anything in its democratic deficiency.


  7. Guys be proud of the work you did for the benefit of the IP community since the dysfunctionings of the EPO impact the IP community obvsiouly.

    Your posts will be missed but hey that's life.

    All the best to you and thanks for work done.

  8. Warm thanks to Merpel for what she did, but I am sad to see her resign.

    I hope that Merpel’s renouncement has not been provoked by threats uttered against her.

    It is a pity that a voice like Merpel goes out. In the end, the president of the EPO will be grinning: another one I manage to shut down…..

    That things should change at EPO which had entered a certain trot is not to be denied. But did it have to be done with an ax? There is a difference between what is legal and what is moral; what was done looks legal but is certainly not moral.

    It is sad to see that how an office which was thriving and having an excellent reputation is driven in the wall by would be managers.

    Under other skies it is called shareholder value. Here the shareholders will be happy that they can cash in annual fees much earlier, so that disapproval by the AC is probably not on the table.

    I wonder whether this frenzy of quick granting of cases is really in the interest of the applicants at large. I have always heard that it becomes expensive once the patent is granted, and the numerous publications about PACE, i.e. acceleration of search and examination, in old editions of the OJ have never been followed by increasing numbers of such requests. There were certainly good reasons for not following this invitation, unless absolute necessity. Now EPO has decided to PACE everything, but without listening to its users and exclusively pleasing its shareholders.

    In the end, one cannot suppress the feeling that what is going on at the EPO is to quickly obtain patents, which are worth what they are, so that litigation can start at the UPC. This would be to the profit of certain applicants, I do not count SMEs under those, supported by certain law firms who have been very active and keen to push the UPC through.

    This also touches upon the boards of appeal and the way they have been treated. Why do we need them, if we have the UPC? The less case law the boards of appeal produce, the less chances there are of colliding jurisprudence.

    I do not want to see it all as a plot. However, I cannot help but ask questions.

  9. Great blogs come and go

  10. So this is the end of any possibility for people to give their comments on eponia? Where else can we go?

  11. Dear Merpel,

    It is indeed a pity that so far no majority could be reached in the Administrative Council to take the decisions that would improve the situation at the EPO. It is also a pity that the decision to move the Boards of Appeal to Haar, which doesn't seem to serve any sensible purpose, was not stopped by a majority in the Administrative Council. However, that doesn't mean that nothing is happening. In my view, it is important that those delegations that do strive for improvement and spend enormous amounts of time and effort to achieve positive results continue to be supported. An independent and critical press can play an important role in the process. Your posts are widely read thoughout the EPC conutries and I think it is worthwhile to keep this up.

    The EPO as such is a wonderful organisation for patent harmonization and will become even more crucial with the introduction of the Unitary Patent. It is and will remain important to closely monitor developments and stimulate progress, certainly also towards and after 30 June 2018.

    Wouter Pors

  12. 'Public' institution threatens non-profit blog that informs the public, blog gives up. Merpel, please don't give up fighting for justice, for staff and parties affected (all of Europe).


  13. Personally I never understood that a cat could understand something of this IP business.This is not serious.

    I see despite my greatness and endless competence in all matters I do not master, how difficult this is. So a cat talking IP.... Hahahahahah

    All of this must be modernised at once: now the cat will be investing its time in more productive actions, eg chasing mice and if below target, the cat will meet the Dog.

    Benoit stop barking, quiet please I am dealing with it, calm down my Benoit, calm down, the cat will soon get it trust me

  14. Dear Merpel

    Cutting, unabashed and your often funny interventions make you special. We will miss you.


  15. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

    Shame on you, Merpel. It's impossible not to lose all respect.

  16. Dear Merpel

    Thank you for your commentary and hard work. It is very sad to see you bow (meow!) out of commenting on EPONIA matters. I do not understand but I am grateful.

    You have provided balanced insight into difficult situations, and hope for the unheard.

    There must be a reason behind this. If it is personal - so be it - sometimes life takes us away from the path we might have wished to follow and I thank you for your efforts.

    If it is something else - whether external pressure or internal frustration - could you try to find another blogger who can take on the mantel of Merpel in this role of providing sensible commentary on EPONIA. Son of Merpel (or daughter of Merpel) has a nice ring to it, someone to take on this difficult, task. Someone must be the "ringbearer" if the present incumbent cannot go on.

    Who will take up the challenge - Merpel would you help such a person if they approached you anonymously? I do hope so.

    Yours Psedononymouse

  17. Raising the profile of the goings on at the EPO might have been better accomplished had the blog posting not been under the pseudonym of a kat. Why anyone would believe that others will pay heed to such anonymous comments is beyond me.

  18. Thanks Merpel. Giving paws for thought. Enjoy a bit of me-ow time... And ignore the snarky know it all comments. We know you've made a difference!

  19. So.
    Farewell then

    You were
    A great

    Though you
    Did appreciate
    An acrostic

    This smacks
    Of a dishonourable


    EJ Bringbackalib.

  20. "Thank you for your regular reports in the past. It appears that also applicants lost their interest in the EPO. Why should we pay enormous fees for fake quality? I feel sorry for the examiners, but they are digging their own graves by solely looking at production figures in order to get more money. No strikes anymore, no resistance, nothing. Good bye, EPO!"

    We EPO Examiners are not "solely looking at production figures in order to get more money" as you put it. We are doing our best to perform our job as it supposed to be done, in an increasingly hostile environment, whilst trying to keep our jobs; no more, no less. More money does not come into it, and never has.

    Don't forget, examiners are all either scientists or engineers; once you have done our job for more than a few years, it is hard to change jobs, and is especially hard to do if you have a family. The unfortunate reality is that highly qualified, highly intelligent examiners are viewed as mindless drones by EPO higher management, and are treated as such...

  21. During all these years Merpel has been our "radio Londres" the voice of the resistance.
    Things would have been much worse without you.
    Where would have Laurent found a place to speak, to be listened ?
    We have heard the voice of the real Europeans who are the examiners, but also seen the pure mediocrity of those who pretend to be superior but in reality are less than nothing.
    Thanks to you (and a few others) he has lost the battle of communication and this made him even more mad and mean than he already was.
    I thank you for all, but things here are dark and I fear the last year is going to turn even darker.
    Please Merpel, can't you stay one more year ?

  22. It is no surprise that the only EPO issue which is given attention by the regular media is the bad relationship between the EPO management and the staff, and there is no mention whatsoever of the wealth of knowledge brought by the EPO to the worldwide scientific and technology community thanks to the easy and free access to the espacenet database (100 millions patent documents accessible and searchable with convenient translations now available). It is disappointing that bloggers interested in EPO issues follow the same line and don't give a damn about this tremendous accomplishment.

  23. Publish and be damned says...

    I used to say of Merpel that her presence on the Eponia battlefield made the difference of forty thousand men.

  24. Dear Merpel, we hate to see you go. Your coverage was precise, the documents good. Ther problem with the "wider press" is that often they have no clue at IP and especially the special legal construct of the EPO. You did know all that (see your impressive summary in this post) - a tip of the hat! The style of your writing is also something I'll miss. Oh yes - one last detail re BB: the restriction of internal appeals at the EPO in 2011 already, to the effect that appeals against "general" regulations were not possible anymore, i.e. they had to go to ILO. The start of the deluge there. With all these actions, its hard not to see a master plan in action. The final goal??? All the best to your kittens, Merpel! Maybe one of them wants to continue this sorely needed blog?


  25. But a Dutch court decision lifting the immunity of the EPO from national jurisdiction, on the basis that the delay at ILO-AT denied EPO employees effective access to justice, was overturned on appeal.

    As I understood the Appeal Court ruling, that's not quite correct, Merpel.

    The EPO's immunity was lifted not because of delays at the ILOAT but because the Staff Union (as a collective body) has no possibility to bring a complaint before the ILOAT. In other words the (main) reason for lifting immunity in that case was because the Staff Union has no access to the ILOAT.

    The position taken by the Dutch Supreme court appears to have been that this did not amount to denial of access to justice. For the Supreme Court it was sufficient that individual Staff Union members could - as EPO staff members - bring individual complaints before the ILOAT.

  26. We are living through a period in which voters notoriously cast their vote against their own long term interests. Meanwhile, at the EPO's Administrative Council, voters are not so dumb. They vote quite deliberately in what they callously and ruthlessly perceive to be their own national (and maybe also personal) financial interest. EPO staff are seen as privileged and pampered, and therefore undeserving, so that their warnings of irreparable harm being done to the Organisation by its President are hand-waved away as nothing more than self-serving. How ironic!

    How naive is it, to suppose that AC members would vote any other way?

  27. one of the commenters consider the examiners to dig their own grave. It is easy to say when you rest comfortably on your couch not knowing what it means to work in a toxic environment everyday year in year out. Even a first class IP blog like IPkat is giving up commenting the terrible situation of Eponia (pressure? threats?), how is staff supposed to have sufficient means to say no to the sick, delirious demands we get from the management? Staff is suffering and every day adds a little more, up to the day where one gets a serious illness, depression, burn out or in the worst cases commits suicide.
    IPkat, I cannot understand you stop covering the EPO news. Are you a IP and European blog ? If so, not mentioning the EPO anymore simply means we are not doing your duty of informing about IP news.
    Renaming your blog IPkat "passionate about IP (except EPO - too dangerous) " would be more appropriate.

  28. Merpel, you really have done an excellent job. Many thanks for your dedication!

    I had always great respect for the patent examiners working at the EPO. They produced detailed search reports. The correspondence with them during the examination phase showed profound technical know-how and a broad domain knowledge. I felt treated fairly in the procedures as well as in oral proceedings. The EPO used to work like a machine producing reliable and high-quality patents, no matter who was the primary examiner and no matter whether I was co-operative or not.

    This has changed. Examiners told me that they mainly rely on the output of computer-generated overviews of the prior art now. Sometimes a simple search in Google produces better results than an EPO search report costing 1,875 euro. Furthermore, examiners now try to charge applicants for non-unity based on dubious reasons. I have received so many quasi-empty letters from examiners. It is obvious that they do not spend enough time anymore to get things right. Depending on the examiner, I simply get a patent that should never have been granted, or I have to deal with procedural traps into which they try to entice me.

    I understand that the examiners have moved to this working practice because Battistelli introduced Rank and Yank. Last year, the EPO granted 90,000 patents, which is 50% more than in the years before. The examiners increased their production by 50% just to compete with their colleagues for a salary increase of about 2,000 euro per year, which only half of the examiners are entitled to receive.

    I am sorry, but I have lost all my respect for the patent examiners in the EPO. They might be excellent scientists or engineers. But falling into this well-known trap shows that they are dumb, irresponsible, and greedy. The annual salary of a patent examiner is about 100,000 euro (tax-free). Battistelli managed to lure them with a bonus of 2,000 euro for every second examiner and achieved a performance increase of 50%.

    But it is even worse. A judge remains in limbo, union officials have been fired, the appeal court will be moved to the outskirts of Munich. And the staff in the EPO remains silent. Poor people! They get what they deserve. "Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat."

  29. @Max

    It is not naïve to assume that AC members (and the EPO management) would respect the rule of law. On the contrary, it is the minimum that the users of the patent system (and the general public) should be entitled to expect.

    Whilst this situation has been allowed to persist by the EPO management's reliance upon legal immunities (and cronyism within the AC), this is no answer to the basic charge - that what has been done is contrary to EU law, the EPC and the European Convention on Human Rights.

    I know that there is a layer of society that considers itself to be above the law, but to allow this situation to continue unchallenged would frankly not only be immoral but also a high risk strategy for those involved who do not have (or who cannot guarantee retaining) absolute immunity.

    @Anon, 11 March 2017 at 06:43
    What is your point? Does the EPO deserve a pat on the back for some of its truly worthwhile achievements? Absolutely! But does this mean that the media should think twice before reporting very disturbing developments in Eponia? Absolutely not!!

    Actually, this all goes to show how highly those in the IP world value the EPO (as was). If it were otherwise, would any of us be quite so concerned about how bad things have got?

  30. O Jeremy, Jeremy! Wherefore art thou Jeremy?

    Missing you...

    Uncle Wiggily

  31. As EPO employee, I have mixed feelings, which cannot be understood by someone from outside I guess.
    I am very thankful to The Kat for sharing well documented, precise news with a british humor. We found necessary that the outside world, and in particular the IP-world understands what the situation.
    I feel as well betrayed to see a major help leaving us, while Eponia goes deeper into its orwelian world: cameras everywhere, spy softwares on our computers, a kafkaian investigation unit, directors going mad if the world "quality" is whispered, heavy recruitement despite a files shortage preparing a future all in "flexibility", examiners working on short term contracts and distress in every corners. We are not allowed to speak.
    It is not an article in one generalist newspaper per semester, which will help broadcasting the situation.
    Dear Kat, I understand that you want to take some rest but WE NEED YOU.

  32. I understand that the examiners have moved to this working practice because Battistelli introduced Rank and Yank. Last year, the EPO granted 90,000 patents, which is 50% more than in the years before. The examiners increased their production by 50% just to compete with their colleagues for a salary increase of about 2,000 euro per year, which only half of the examiners are entitled to receive.

    "I am sorry, but I have lost all my respect for the patent examiners in the EPO. They might be excellent scientists or engineers. But falling into this well-known trap shows that they are dumb, irresponsible, and greedy. The annual salary of a patent examiner is about 100,000 euro (tax-free). Battistelli managed to lure them with a bonus of 2,000 euro for every second examiner and achieved a performance increase of 50%."

    I do not know anyone who works "for the bonus of 2,000 euro". I certainly don't. In fact, I couldn't care less if I get the bonus or not. What is much more worrying is missing your target by such an amount that you get a poor report.

    "But it is even worse. A judge remains in limbo, union officials have been fired, the appeal court will be moved to the outskirts of Munich. And the staff in the EPO remains silent. Poor people! They get what they deserve. "Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat." "

    Unfortunately we are powerless, with the changes that BB has introduced. We have been been as non-silent as possible, witness the various protest marches that we have held, resulting in occasional negative reports in the (local) press. I'm curious what else it is that you think we should do under the current management - you may have rights in your country (whichever that is), unfortunately, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, we don't. Obviously, when they decide to start investigating the contents of our private electronic devices, not only will we have no rights, we will also have no privacy.

    I am posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

  33. @Uncle Wiggily

    Haven't you heard ?
    The Skeezicks and Pipsisewah have taken over the EPO !!!

  34. Unfortunately we are powerless, with the changes that BB has introduced. We have been been as non-silent as possible, witness the various protest marches that we have held, resulting in occasional negative reports in the (local) press. I'm curious what else it is that you think we should do under the current management - you may have rights in your country (whichever that is), unfortunately, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, we don't. Obviously, when they decide to start investigating the contents of our private electronic devices, not only will we have no rights, we will also have no privacy.

    EPO staff have nobody to blame but themselves.

    A proper all out strike for a month would have sent a message that could not have been ignored.

    If people are not prepared to show solidarity and fight for their rights then there is no point whingeing when they are taken away from you.

    1. Another comment obviously motivate by social envy and ignorance. You do not seem to understand that people are depending on this job, living abroad with their children visiting international school and mortgages that need to be paid. A general strike sounds so simple if you ignore the consequences this would have. We do not get any support by the Dutch and German government which is the actual scandal. Instead jellyfish Rutte shook hands for the press when the construction of the new building started... disgusting. You better think before you judge.

  35. @No sympathy

    Wow. That's pretty harsh. Whilst I too have never been in the employ of the European Patent Organisation, I would think twice before blaming the examiners in the way that you have done.

    You do realise that BB has imposed serious restrictions upon the ability of EPO employees to strike, don't you? So, in effect, he has taken away the very weapon that you condemn the EPO examiners for not deploying.

    And as for fighting for their rights, do you not count taking court cases as far as possible in both Germany and the Netherlands? And what about making repeated pleas to the members of the AC?

    Frankly, I think that you should walk a mile or two in the shoes of the examiners... deprived of rights enshrined in European law, badly let down by the "supervisory" bodies (the AC, ILOAT and the national courts) that should be there to protect you, invisible to the majority of the general public, ignored by most mainstream media and politicians, the subject of increasingly draconian rules imposed by EPO management, etc., etc. I would like to see how you coped with all of that!

    About time you had treatment for your hypoempathy disorder, methinks.

  36. You do realise that BB has imposed serious restrictions upon the ability of EPO employees to strike, don't you? So, in effect, he has taken away the very weapon that you condemn the EPO examiners for not deploying.

    Not true.

    BB certainly imposed some restrictions on striking but he did not prevent a strike being called if the staff really wanted it. There just has to be a strike ballot and the will to follow through.

    Instead of striking, the staff has basically capitulated and even went so far as to churn out a 40% production increase.

    While you are at it maybe you should ask the Appeal Boards what happened to their interview with an IP journal and why they voluntarily consented to be censored by BB?

    Unless you can explain that one I don't intend to go for any hypoempathy disorder treatment any time soon.

  37. @No sympathy

    Would that it were so simple.
    "The President of the Office may lay down further terms and conditions for the application of this Article to all employees; these shall cover inter alia the maximum strike duration and the voting process"

    Indeed, BB is not afraid of "outlawing" strikes for which the staff have voted (in spite the draconian rules).

    Looks like you will have to start that treatment after all...

    You will also have to explain what you mean about the Boards of Appeal. The structure of the EPO means that issues with DG3 are different to those with DG1. So I am not quite sure what the relevance of DG3's actions would be to the situation in DG1. Do let me know if I'm missing something, though.

  38. 40% of grants, representing 66% of examination products, representing 33% of total which is the production increase?
    Also not +2.8% increase in searches with +2% of examiners

    math and honesty come even before sympathy

  39. Protest in front of the main building in Munich.

  40. Dear Merpel,

    thank you for having undertaken the onerous and disheartening task of keeping tabs on what goes on at the European Patent Office. I can well understand that you are worn down. Your coverage as the main source and a few other sources have provided me with a total of 1.35 GB of material that only goes from bad to worse. I have kept this because it reflects a scandal of momentous dimensions, and one could fear that some of it will disappear simply due to public embarrassment. On the other hand, reading the material is not for the weak, and I cannot recommend it.

    I think that the IPKat posts have been the only trustworthy ones in the field, but the comments only have very little trustworthiness. Collectively, though, the comments through their mere numbers, do draw ugly pictures.

    I myself have been driven to saturation, I have become numb, there is very little that can shock me anymore, and I am only wondering ‘WHY’? Who benefits from this situation, except the perpetrators, of course. But where are the checks, where are those who ought to insist on adhering to the European Patent Convention? It is true that the subject matter is somewhat esoteric, and very few really understand what we had as a smooth-running machinery that is rapidly becoming a formalities-only examination and early certainty of acceptance. A whole collection of jurisprudence on the fundamental properties of a patent system that serves society will become an empty academic exercise that was good for a period of perhaps 25 years, but which will stand as a non-reachable Utopia because of the constant attrition.

    I am surprised that the SMEs are not up in arms. Maybe they believe the hogwash that politicians have told them about the UPC. They are dependent on the state (delegated, though the power is) to weed out the patent applications that do not merit acceptance. To an SME faced with a patent that is purportedly infringed it does not matter whether the company prevails in a court case, if the result is 5 years into the future. It is just as bad as ILOAT providing justice to wronged employees of the European Patent Office so many years after the infraction.

    SMEs do not have the stamina to survive an unreasonable court case. The only thing left for SMEs is to be pro-active, i.e. do the work of the European Patent Office. Search independently, file observations, but probably better: file good oppositions. Get the opposition count up! It is expensive, but it only takes one or two saved court cases to fully recoup the costs. But getting the count up also changes the statistics at the European Patent Office, and it is something that its present management may not like but can do very little about. Well, they can increase the opposition fee to the ridiculous, just as the fee for opposing a trademark in Denmark was increased by a colossal amount more than 20 years ago, because some big players leaning on the authorities thought that they had a right to bad trademarks and resented that they were being hampered by successful oppositions from the general public. Who is leaning on the EPO?

    Again, many thanks, and please continue to moderate the comments that come in to the last posts. There are now at least two posts that have more than 200 comments, but it cannot be helped if there are so few posts.

    Very disheartened,

    George Brock-Nannestad

  41. Well spoken Mr. Brock-Nannestad.
    Your contributions to the debate have always been welcome and worthwhile.

    But perhaps you are not aware of the role played by your compatriot Mr. Kongstad in this sorry little affair?

    Together with Mr. French he has succeeded in making a right Danish pastry of the EPO.

  42. Dear Merpel:

    Don't take a cat nap on this just when things are getting interesting.....

    See this from IPWatch:

    Best wishes,

    Uncle Wiggily

  43. @The Little Mermaid: no, that is precisely the problem. I (and nobody else in the general public) is aware of the role played by the Chairman of the AC, essentially because no journalists know enough about the esoteric patent field to perform investigative journalism.

    The comments in IPKat have given us rumours, but they have not been substantiated. The journalists I have spoken to have been more interested in the human angle to the managerial atrocities at the EPO, and they have not been interested in learning that such atrocities are just a means to an end. And when I have argued that we do not even know what the end is, why all of this is happening, their deadline suddenly stops their absorbance of facts.

    Kind regards,

    George Brock-Nannestad

  44. @Uncle Wiggily

    May be you should read the title of the article more carefully.
    It is phrased as a question: "Are the EPO President's days numbered?"
    Try not to fall into the trap of wishful thinking.


  45. Euro Patent Office hit with wave of anti-Battistelli letters


  46. Since the Watergate a US president can not order the surveillance of an American citizen.

    At the EPO he can!

  47. @ George Brock-Nannestad

    The problem at the EPO is not the quantity of grants (+40%) or their low quality. The main problem is that the EPO moved from rules of law to lobbying.
    In your example, you suggest for the SMEs to file observations and to file good oppositions. But what could they do when the competitor has direct contact with the directors and with the higher management?
    The examiners are instructucted to follow the opinion of their managers. The BoA is under control and has lost its independence.
    For the SMEs the main problem is not the grant of the patent of a competitor but the refusal of their own inventive patent.

  48. Really it is not too much of a pity that the feline is no longer reporting one what is none of its concerns. It is clear that this blog has been exposed to pressure and had ceeded to it in the past. Non-profit or not, this is a blog run by patent attorneys. The conflict at the EPO is a social question of labour law and human Rights. Here you find patent and TM and copyright attorneys, not experts in interational labour law or human rights. At most educated amateurs, in any case interested ones, It shows how desperate the staff of the EPO has got to be to look and in appearance find support by their natural adversaries. As it is not dignified for the EBOA to publish their decisions on Wikipedia it is not dignified for public officials to publish their concerns on a blog like this. The appropriate fora are others, e.g. that of the SUEPO and maybe even techrights. The applicant's are not the customers of the examiners they don't pay their salaries, fees are not prices, their interest is dialectically and diametrally oppossed and should remain so. Applicant's by default are not interested in quality. The present management has reduced the EPO to a money printing machine which suits most applicants and more so representatives just fine. The vast majority of their income comes from prosecution before offices not before courts Risk of litigation nullity etc are theortical issues. A negiglible fraction of granted patents either get legally enforced or challenged. The reasons for holding a patent are different. Tax optimisation, balance sheet cosmetics and some even less noble aims. Examiners on the contrary work for the public. They protect the intellectual property of the public, not that of the applicant. A fair fraction of them is not even European and hence not a stakeholder in a European organisation.

  49. @ George Brock-Nannestad
    You write 'human angle to the managerial atrocities at the EPO'.
    According to Merriam-Webster, an atrocity is a very cruel or terrible act or action.
    Pray tell, what very cruel or terrible acts or actions have you witnessed at the EPO?
    Flogging, dismembering maybe? Beheading?
    Or might it be the non-issuance of a bonus of 1500? No salary increase for 30% of the examiners, already earning 100.000 per year, tax free, with 35 paid holidays per year, international school and university paid for the kids, household allowance, full health coverage, subsidized canteen, and to top it off in The Hague, partial diplomatic status with tax free car, gasoline, electronic devices etc etc?
    The horror!
    I can imagine that hundreds of examiners are fleeing that terrible place. How many left (not retired!) last year?
    Yet whenever I meet examiners for oral proceedings, they seem relaxed and their coffee corners are always full.
    Are we really talking about the same EPO?
    C'mon people, a reality check wouldn't hurt, the EPO is by far the best place I never worked for!

    1. Swallow your social envy and shut up, will you. You have obviously no idea what you are talking about.


  50. Anonymous said... Saturday, 18 March 2017 at 14:16:00 GMT

    about atrocities

    I am an examiner working in Le Croisé and on a working day of July 2013 I have seen a colleague of mine jumping out of the window to land dead on the parking.

    Is this something that matches your definition of atrocity ?

    This suicide was NEVER investigated independantly by the local authorities since - despite the courageous request of my staff reps - the EPO invoqued ¨... immunity.

    So please shut up before telling more non sense.

  51. Reality what ?
    One question only: why don't you apply to work at this paradise ?
    It is not a secret: EPO is desperately looking for patent examiners to replace those who left (sorry - who retired).
    However, mysteriously enough, nobody having the required competences is accepting this job anymore.

  52. I am so tired. Of the trolls, of the President's men here in this forum. Nobody claims that epo staff doesn't earn enough money. But money is not everything and no reason to give up fundamental rights. Epo staff has elected staff representatives, and they were elected according to rules the President made. 3 elected staff representatives were fired by the President, one downgraded, for no reason that could be upheld in the outside world. The President abolishes our rights anchored in the statute by changing them from legal texts into circulars. There is an almost endless list of new provisions, all restricting our rights and all not feasible in any national law (maybe in NOrth Corea or Turkey), just have a look at those investigation guidelines. For the last years the Office has been reigned according to the principle of "Gleichschaltung", everything is turning worse and worse. And now Ipkat is leaving us too. So desperate.

  53. So, Jack, attorneys and EPO staff are 'natural adversaries' and ' their interest is dialectically and diametrally oppossed and should remain so'.

    I must remember this next time I chair an opposition. Now, how do I manage to annoy both parties so that they both feel persecuted?? Once more, a comment says far more about the writer. As an examiner, my only aim is to examine applications based on the EPC. I may get it wrong - in either direction - but there really is no interest here in opposing you just for the fun of it. Under the current regime, I stand to gain a lot more from being as generous to you as possible (within the EPC). As for oppositions or appeals, the idea that the judges are adversaries of every attorney is worthy of far wittier analysis than I can muster.

    Best wishes for your future dealings. Trust me, we really have never been out to get you (yes, I know, I would say that...)

  54. "Or might it be the non-issuance of a bonus of 1500? No salary increase for 30% of the examiners, already earning 100.000 per year, tax free, with 35 paid holidays per year, international school and university paid for the kids, household allowance, full health coverage, subsidized canteen, and to top it off in The Hague, partial diplomatic status with tax free car, gasoline, electronic devices etc etc?
    The horror!
    I can imagine that hundreds of examiners are fleeing that terrible place. How many left (not retired!) last year?"

    The conditions are good, no-one is denying that, even though you're wrong about the "partial diplomatic status"; that is not something that most of us enjoy. Many of the other things that you quote are in fact provided by the Office in lieu of a government; most people get educational allowances for their children from their government or local authority; as we don't have access to such bodies, the EPO, as is common with many International Organisations, has to take on these responsibilities. Or perhaps you think us having health coverage is some kind of luxury?

    All this notwithstanding, the ridiculous production increases (and they are ridiculous, regardless of what people outside the EPO might think) combined with agressive and repressive management policy is not good for morale. Combine that with the targeted investigation of union officials and staff reps, the tapping of telephones and computers, the fact that anyone sacked by the Supreme Leader is not allowed to publicly discuss his/her case, while the Office is free to leak any information it wants to sympathetic newspapers, the fact that the long-term sick are placed under de facto house-arrest, the fact that we have NO legal recourse against decisions taken by the Office/President, because of the way the Office is structured and the fact that any case submitted to the ILO takes many years to be heard.

    Employees of the EPO live and work in a legal vacuum when it comes to labour law; as has been proved repeatedly, host countries are reluctant to get involved, meaning that EPO employees have effectively zero protection from the excesses of higher management. The question is, would YOU expect to be governed by such repressive policies in your home country? I suspect not.

  55. @ Anonymous, 18 March 2017 at 14:16:00 GMT

    Thank you for your learned comment - they pop up regularly in this forum, and we usually file them under "People above a certain salary level are no entitled to human and labor rights".

  56. Amicus Curiae

    "Or might it be the non-issuance of a bonus of 1500? No salary increase for 30% of the examiners, already earning 100.000 per year, tax free, with 35 paid holidays per year, international school and university paid for the kids, household allowance, full health coverage, subsidized canteen, and to top it off in The Hague, partial diplomatic status with tax free car, gasoline, electronic devices etc etc?
    The horror!
    I can imagine that hundreds of examiners are fleeing that terrible place. How many left (not retired!) last year?"

    Again a person with exclusively financial interest in life.

    First, to my best knowledge, the statements are not correct. The average examiner earns less than 100,000/year, the salary is taxed, the standard holidays are 30 per year, international schools are paid only exceptionally, same for university, and health coverage is on the level of 1970 (the ceilings for reimbursements have never been raised). True, the canteen is subsidized. Employees pay for healthcare, pension, etc from their salary.

    Second, you obviously missed some other points, e.g. that the EPO enjoys immunity, as does the President. You should browse up the last decision from the Enlarged Board (Art 23 1/16) where they stated that the President infringed on their judicial independence. Under various national laws this is considered a crime worth time in jail. In the EPO, what happens is precisely nothing. Merpel has it here:

    It would appear that you have no issues with rule of law, respect for others, freedom and some other aspects, enshrined e.g. in the Human Rights. These cannot be bought and must not be bought.

    Nobody asked for sympathy for the individual examiner. What these examiners want is precisely what we all enjoy: protection against transgressions and access to justice. They do not have that. They may not be in a position to leave. After some years in patents, you are limited to patents. There are not that many job offerings.

    Thank you Merpel for having covered the topic. I appreciated your style, coverage and courage.

  57. @ Anonymous, 18 March 2017 at 14:16:00 GMT

    Don't forget that the President and his friends earn considerably more for a work which, at best, can be described as mediocre.


    Thank you for all these years. Is there any way we can convince you to come by from time to time?

  58. Does anyone have an update on the current status of the suspended member of the Boards of Appeal?

    On other matters, it seems that the "rebel" AC members lost their bottle again and/or were comprehensively outmanoeuvred. It may be time for those AC members to admit to their political masters that they are powerless to exercise any form of control over this troublesome President. Their masters will not be happy, but it would be better to get this all out in the open before the inevitable action at the European Court of Human Rights causes a total s**t storm.

  59. Kluwer Patent Blog has a long article detailing the situation at the European Patent Office:

    President Battistelli under pressure to improve ‘unacceptable’ social situation at EPO

    About the 40% increase in granted patents they asks:

    "But is this really what the economy needs, as the EPO claims?"

  60. Transparency in ArchitectureWednesday 22 March 2017 at 11:47:00 GMT

    King Battistelli's swish penthouse office the Euro Patent Office doesn't want you to see

  61. Don't forget that the President and his friends earn considerably more for a work which, at best, can be described as mediocre.

    "But is this really what the economy needs, as the EPO claims?"

    Now we know what the economy needs.
    New public-private partnership construction projects to kick-start the recovery ...

    King Battistelli's swish penthouse office the Euro Patent Office doesn't want you to see

  62. The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation Has Just Buried an Innocent Judge That Battistelli Does Not Like

  63. BB's L’Albergaccio visit...

    ...a thousand quarrels arise and numberless insults of offensive words could be heard across the IP world.

  64. ...a thousand quarrels arise and numberless insults of offensive words could be heard across the IP world.

    Stop speaking in riddles, what are you on about ?

  65. Is he about to be sent into exile?

  66. Looking at the fate of CA/32/17 (proposed revisions of the EPO rules governing internal investigations, disciplinary procedures and appeals), it is clear that one of the ways in which "rebel" AC members are being outmanoeuvred is through control of the agenda for AC and Board 28 meetings. It seems that Monsieur le President can count upon the unwavering support of Mr Kongstad in ensuring that the "rebels" do not get their way.

    Whist it is clear to see how such underhand tactics can work, their success does beg a rather pressing question: how is it that the AC lets the President and Mr Kongstad get away with such blatant manipulation of the agenda?

    I have my suspicions as to how this all works. A quick glance at the small number of delegations behind the submission of CA/32/17 (France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland) reveals that this seems to have been very much a minority effort. The other delegations are presumably less keen to rock the boat.

    With so many delegations acting as BB's "facilitators" (including by inaction or abstention on crucial matters), what is the betting that those pesky, unresolved issues (such as the continued, groundless suspension of a Board of Appeal member and the failure of the President to comply with the AC's demands from March 2016) will effectively be "buried" for at least the remainder of BB's term in office?

    It beggars belief how shockingly impotent the AC has been rendered, especially in a period when the EPO has suffered the indignity of being held by a national court to be acting in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The only crumb of comfort that I take in all of this is that at least BB's "facilitators" will be on the hook when the dirty secrets behind the AC's impotence eventually (and inevitably) come to light.


  67. The Max Planck Institute is organising an event in May:

  68. After almost two and a half years of disciplinary proceedings and three decisions by the Enlarged Board of Appeal against its requests, the AC allegedly is still not in a position to take a final decision on the suspension of the suspected judge, failing "the establishment of all relevant facts":
    Torture by suspension seems legal at the EPO.

  69. So the AC has decided that the fate of the suspended judge "would depend upon the establishment of all relevant facts". But how are those facts going to be established if the President keeps preventing the Enlarged Board of Appeal from establishing them?

    In essence, the sole effect achieved by the President's interference in the "judicial" proceedings is the advancement of his agenda: to prevent independent scrutiny of the "facts" upon which the allegations against the suspended judge are allegedly based (and the manner in which those "facts" were obtained); and to prolong the suspension without (fair) trial.

    All this means is that, in addition to failing to sanction the President for his unwarranted interference in the judicial proceedings, the AC has now effectively "rewarded" the President for his interference.

    It looks like the AC, following in the President's footsteps, is effectively saying farewell to the rule of law. It is also confirming that the Enlarged Board of Appeal was right to fear that the AC would side with the President... meaning that the President's thinly-veiled threats to the Enlarged Board really were an unforgivable attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

    Presumably a majority of representatives to the AC agreed with the decision not to terminate the disciplinary proceedings against the suspended judge (or not to at least reinstate him until the facts can be independently established). And if a majority was required for the AC to reach such a heinous decision, what does this say about the current state of that supervisory authority? Not only should every last one of the representatives that supported this decision be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, but we need to know who they are... so that we can start asking them some questions.

  70. Running out of work
    Just follow the management decisions since the last 5 years and try to explain what they are up to:
    - remove almost all extra-activities, projects from examiners.
    - remove all time budget for medical visits.
    - reduce holidays.
    - pressure increase on sick workers.
    - reduce time budget for classification, second examiner and chairman duties.
    - remove the time budget for industry visits.
    - reduce the time budget for learning and development.
    - limiting the part-time workers by forbidding it or penalising the worker.
    - forbidding all sort of leaves, even unpaid leaves.
    - recruiting in large numbers creating an over-capacity.
    all of these to increase the number of hours man-power,
    - pushing into a higher productivity, results in:
    increased number of man-power and increased productivity equals a great increase of Production.
    Now, after this tremendous call for the "war front line" , when we have almost all man-power devoted to the core-business, what does the management decide?
    - the management decided to refund 75% of the fee for examination if the applicant withdraws the request. the management is even considering refunding 100% of the fee.
    - let me remind all that we are running out of files/work!
    Can anyone find an explanation?
    Would a car factory wanting to stay in business refund the money for ordered cars? Do you believe that the stakeholders of this factory would be happy to return the money even though the factory C.E.O. argued that there was/is a backlog? Wouldn't you as a stakeholder investigate what's happening? Wouldn't a worker question what the hell is going on? ... and if something is really "going on" wouldn't the C.E.O. do anything possible to quiet all contradicting voices?
    You bet the EPO is heading for the closure of its expertise as we know it. Now, if examiners are digging their own grave, isn't the whole IP world just washing their hands? perhaps in a couple of years the EPO won't be around and there won't be Search reports and examinations by this office. My question is: does this suit the european industry? Is it fine with the attorneys with the EQE? Are the countries happy with this? You see, examiners do digg their own graves, but we are so used to make a good job and wish to keep always the inventors happy, that if you want to give as a hand, just stand quiet and watch us go down.
    Just food for a though!



  71. at Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Running out of work

    you write : My question is: does this suit the european industry? Is it fine with the attorneys with the EQE? Are the countries happy with this?

    well the answer is obviously a YES since they are all aware and do nothing

    The EPO on the path to become the EU WIPO ?

  72. "Running out of work"

    As the title on this post aptly says: it's curtain time.

    The new structure that replaces Minnoye will sweep the floor for the big change which is planned for 2018.

  73. Weekend call...

    Yesterday security was called in for the 10th floor Isar, apparently a pair of BB's shoes went missing. Were the royal suits burglared?

  74. Since this month of March, the EPO introduced a new (and inventive) Calendar. No, no! EPO does not follow the Gregorian Calendar , and the Julian Calendar is old news; The EPO implemented the Benotian Calendar, this is one calendar with 14 months and it goes like this: Janvier, Fevrier, Mars, Benier, Batisttil, Avril, Mai, Juin....., corresponds to 2 extra salaries, but Benier and Batisttil applies only for certain managers and it only works in French.

  75. Maybe it is "curtains" for Suepo as well... As a member, I received an invitation to a general meeting for tomorrow. Here is the text (emphasis added):

    This meeting is important for SUEPO Munich in general and for the members dismissed or downgraded in particular.

    We have struggled with the question for support for those dismissed and downgraded committee members for more then one year. As you can imagine there is by now a mountain of information. A good part of the documents entails confidential information and another part is private information. Because we fear that this information may end up in the wrong hands and may be used against past, present and future committee members we have asked our attorney on how best to proceed. The following is our decision to ensure that the documents are available to all staff for information but can not be copied.

    Since the EPO does not allow for any kind of union work on its premisses you can read the redacted documents (three legal opinions and an opinion of a tax advisor) in the office of the attorney Mr. Alexander Holtz*.

    On Wednesday the 5th April these documents will also be available to any SUEPO member in the Eine-Welt-Haus from 14:00.

    During the EGM two of the three legal opinions will be presented by their authors.

    The third legal opinion is from a former Judge at the 'Bundesgerichthof' in Karlsruhe and former Justice Minister in Thüringen. This opinion concentrates on the parts which the first two opinions diverge from each other.

    The Opinion of the tax advisor concentrates on the possibility of a more transparent and regulated support by SUEPO for those dismissed or downgraded.

    Quite simply: Battistelli has immunity, suepo does not. If there is any information which "can be used against members", it will be used against members. Making it available to the assembly of members and hoping it will "not be copied" is absurd: once it is given to read to the members, it is public and can be requested by any court.

  76. The EP-office is reducing staff representation, and increases the number of employees per line manager ("large directorates", "super-clusters").
    In a combination not a good idea, according to a study:

    The study compares companies in different countries, presence of staff representation, education levels of employees, and how many employees per manager are present.
    Result: high education and internal promotions lead to the employees working independently without the need of much supervision, thus needing less managers. This effect gets lost though, if no effective staff representation is present.

  77. @Kay:
    I don't see that much difference.
    Instead of VicePresident, Principal Director, and Director, we will have an Operating Officer, a director, and a team manager.
    Still three levels between non-managing employee and President.
    Whether the new structure is combinable with the requirements of Art. 15 and Rule 9 EPC is a different question.
    Also why we need new names for the job descriptions. But renaming job titles is currently "en vogue" everywhere.

  78. Headache,
    Actually, you forgot the PD who will shadow the COO and be his bag carrier in between the COO an d the directors.
    Rumours - 2 non-EPO COOs and one internal. Want a bet on one being French? Current practice is no 2 senior mgt from the same country - this way you can get round that little problem.

  79. So Merpel, not even curious what the B28 decided yesterday about the selection of the new EPO President? Which countries are in the running? Or is it extension time? Chances of a post or pre Brexit UK President?? Timed to encourage signing that UPC ocument? The possible machinations and plotting could be infinite. Maybe even not an AC member for the first time? An external CEO, but with little or no IP knowledge? Who knows?

  80. "Maybe even not an AC member for the first time?"

    Jog my memory if you will ... but unless I'm mistaken Alain Pompidou wasn't an AC member ...

    The smart money is on the head honcho of the EUIPO ...


  81. The EPO respects Freedom of Expression Battistelli's says : proof of the pudding

  82. Turns out that Battistelli does want another term as EPO President. Who would have guessed? The million Euro question is whether the AC will grant his wish. With "AC" these days seeming to stand for "Amazingly Complicit" or "Awfully Compliant", who would bet against it?

    Time for applicants to wake up and demand that the AC actually follows the rules by which it is bound!

  83. A new document about the tribunal of ILO was just published by SUEPO. It is worth reading.

    2 things are worth mentioning. First, there has been a change in style in ILO decisions under Battistelli's time: the number of summary dismissals has increased considerably. Basically, there were none before Battistelli.
    Second, and I feel this is even more important, ILO will not exercise any normative control. In plain English: ILO will only check whether the EPO follows their internal rules, but will not check the validity of these rules.

    What does this mean in practice? In practice, it means that the EPO staff has to follow their end of the contract (like not talking to the press under penalty of losing their pensions) while the EPO council is free to change the terms of the contract at their leisure.

    I think that the people seeking employment at the EPO ought to know.

  84. Seems like the sands are shifting at the top of the Administrative Council ...

    Translations and Speculations About Jesper Kongstad’s Planned Departure From the EPO

    And what curious timing !

    Just before the kick-off of the next Presidential election campaign ...

    All we need now are some hacked e-mails or maybe a USB stick with compromising data ...

    What a shame that the IPKat no longer reports on these exciting developments in the land of EPOnia ...


  85. Dear IPKat readers, for the sake of your information with regards to what is going on at EPO, please be aware of the content of an email received today (sent by SUEPO TH to all its members)


    Dear SUEPO Members,

    As you remember, to defend the interests of its members when attacked by President Battistelli, SUEPO sought protection from the Dutch courts in the form of an injunction. An injunction is meant to prevent a violation of rights likely (if not certain) to cause irreparable damage. Disappointingl y, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld the EPO’s immunity.

    A host state has a heavy duty of care. On the one hand, it must take reasonable steps to safeguard the immunity of an international organisation, when such immunity is necessary for the lawful operations of the organisation. On the other hand, the host state must see to it that all individuals within its jurisdiction have effective means to protect their rights when menaced.

    When the legal system applicable to an international organisation does not provide for protection in the form of an injunction, which is essential to prevent irreparable damage, and even worse when it is virtually indisputable that the organisation is violating rights, the host state has a serious difficulty. In our opinion, it has only two options: either to lift the immunity of the organisation for the benefit of a party aggrieved, or to take itself action against the rogue organisation by resorting to international arbitration (in the EPO’s case, Article 23(1) PPI).

    Being unwilling to do either, in our opinion The Netherlands have failed (so far) to discharge their duty of care, thereby allowing a breach of fundamental rights on their soil and de facto condoning, if not endorsing, the EPO’s abuses.

    Therefore, on 8 May 2017 SUEPO has filed a complaint against The Netherlands before the European Court of Human Rights.

    As usual, we will keep you informed of any essential development.

    Your SUEPO Committee in The Hague.

  86. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Against the European Patent Office (EPO), Lower House to Debate the Issue Today

    Dutch Parliament due to debate situation at the EPO (again!) today 9 May.

  87. Perhaps JK taking over as head honcho at the EPO could be Battistelli's "Plan B" in the (perhaps unlikely) event that someone at the AC points out that BB will be beyond mandatory retirement age from August next year? After all, if it cannot be BB himself, then it would have to be a "trusted" acolyte... if only to keep the lid on the explosive secrets that we all know are just waiting to be uncovered.


  88. EPO on The Register


  89. On WIPR

  90. New vacancy at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office:

  91. Update from the Administrative Council.

    Tim Moss now officially the head of the GB delegation.

    Mr Tim MOSS, Chief Executive and Comptroller General
    Intellectual Property Office

    Alternate Representative:
    Mr Sean DENNEHEY, Deputy Chief Executive
    Intellectual Property Office

  92. The question is how BB will manage to exploit the unexpected departure of the Chairman of the Administrative Council to his advantage.
    For example by arguing that "stability" can only be ensured by prolonging his (BB's) tenure.


  93. More of the same : Battistelli latest abusive proposals to the June Admin Council : sanctions, more sanctions, harsher sanctions against staff...

  94. The Merchant of Venice says...

    What is most striking is the strong sense of resignation, its impotence of self-regulation, the lack of options, the political apathy. What an extraordinary situation for an institution that has absolute power over intellect and information - there is no greater power really.

  95. There was a new document published about the new structure for the EPO. It is typical Battistelli: when being told that the new structure is not compatible with the EPC, keep the structure and pay lip service to the EPC. Try to get a copy of the document, which was distributed over the EPO intranet.

    For the following to be understood, the present management structure is: vice president (VP), principal director, director, examiner.

    In the new structure, the complete present management of DG1 (the part of the EPO doing search and examination) becomes redundant. Really:
    -there is no Vice President. Under the EPC, the VP is the only one that is independent from the President (nominated by the council). This is where Battistelli paid lip service: he nominates present VP2 as VP1. That man has done everything he wants.
    -there are 3 COOs, which are apparently the only ones in charge and report directly to the President (although they are under the VP, they report to the President... lip service).
    -the present principal directors are made redundant (really!)
    -more than half of the directors are made redundant (which should keep the other half quiet, if they don't want to be put in the "redundant" half)
    -directors are replaced by examiners who do the job in addition to their examining duties on a one-year assignment.

    So, basically, the new structure is: President, COO (chosen by the President on a short term contract, come from outside the EPO), examiner. What for?

    There is another hidden gem in that document (there always is one...). Oppositions will be done by specially chosen examiners, who cannot do more than 30% opposition work. Why 30% one may ask? Simple: tasks done for 30% of your time do not count for your notation. That system is a particularly astute way of giving something to the redundant directors while:
    -insuring that they will be without power (they don't report the people below them, since they only do 30%)
    -insuring that oppositions get the attention Battistelli thinks they deserve (the examiners still have to keep the director for which they do 70% work happy, he does not want to be redundant and is judged on output).

  96. The new opposition departments are predicated on the view that examiners who do more oppositions can be so efficient that they can almost halve the time spent by the EPO on them. Of course it will mean that these opposition examiners will cover a wider technical area (of the order of 10% of all examiners).

  97. The only time I have seen a similar management structure change in the industry, massive dismissals happened in the next months. That would make sense here if the EPO has 40% productivity gains, they will only need half the staff. Time for examiners to look for a new job I would say.


  98. indeed according to insiders info DG4 plans a new rule which would allow to fire staff for "processionnal incompetence", a vague and utterly subjective concept, without the need of disciplinary committe the rules of which are by far too cumbersome and require fairness.

    In December DG4 will propose a document that foresees ALL new staff at EPO under 3 years' contract (no more permanent employment)

    the destruction of the EPO continues


  99. Currently DG4 is busy reviewing HANDICAPPED CHILD allowances' recipients, as if the 3 dozens (or the like) of recipients were bandits abusing the EPO. Even if they were (which is of course not the case) the amounts at stake would never cover the spendings of EPO money needed for PD 43 bodyguard.

    Fortunately during this time, millions of eur are spent on IT projects with ZERO results, the building in TH has already almost exausted its contigency money and is far from finish yet, Battistelli still employs two bodyguards, flies around the globe visiting the most expensive palaces, drinking the most nobles french wines.

    who said tasteless?


  100. Good news for Mr Requena (right hand of Battistelli and ex-husband of PD43) : a position of A6 is ear-marked for him and will soon arive :o)))

    who said that talents aren't recognised at EPO ?

  101. New rules for firing people without safeguards will be presented to the next council.

    Let me first remind that Battistelli fired 3 people already, two of them a year and a half ago. The reasons were bogus, but they are still out with no solution in sight. They were fired because they were staff representatives. So we know that Battistelli can already fire people at will, it just is a bit of effort to mount a bogus case.

    Under the new règles, you will just be out for... "professional incompetence". Try to find another job in patents after you have been officially declared incompetent. Battistelli already had a big stick, now he wants a machine gun.

  102. "Handicapped child" comment above.

    When one comes to work for the Office, one leaves the social insurance system of his or her country. If one is then fired, one is left without medical insurance, so any recurrent costs for an handicapped child will not be paid. Getting back under the insurance of one's country is not generally an option.

    Basically, if your child needs regular treatment and the other parent is not independently insured, you have a huge problem.


  103. More "good news" from EPONIA

    A new policy will be presented to the June Council. It foresees that if one does not do his/her job (whatever this means) the EPO can withdraw 1/20 of his/her salary as a consequence for the day during which the job was not done as expected (this opens the door to more arbitrariness eg a manager does not like someone, instructs him/her to do something stupid which obviously the employee will not do, BINGO the manager can then retaliate via cutting a share of his/her salary without the need of a disciplinary board).

    But this is not all, more non-sense is in planning:

    DG4 currently works on documents for the December Council which foresee:

    1- to stop with the "old fashion" concept of duty of care of the employer towards his employees. The aim of the new policy is to replace it by a duty of employability - thus shifting the burden of responsability entirely on the staff's shoulders (not sure the ILO-AT finds this to its taste).

    2 - no more permanent jobs but 3 years euro-contracts for all new staff from January 18 (again provided the AC supports this). Imagine the level of the candidates they will recruit with such stupid rules which solve no existing problems. Who will leave his/her country for a boring examiner job limited to three years where one can be taken his/her salary or fired via abusive discretionary decisions and this with no defense rights ?

    All this non-sense stemms from the minds of PD HR and her accolytes. Stunning.

  104. That all sounds as if the EPO management is pushing for turbocapitalism rules.
    Despite the most definitely not being a capitalistic company earning money for their owners...

  105. Battistelli is organising elections to his staff committee this week (having changed the rules again to try to improve the chances of some candidates). And two days later he is organising a strike ballot for staff, although he is trying to do it with minimal knowledge by staff, presumably to keep the turnout below his quorate level.
    Yes, the President is organising his own strike ballot and won't let staff decide how to ballot themselves.


  106. Battistelli can digg deeper! more ill conceived reforms in sight

  107. The Office can only hope that these further reforms will be rejected by the Council. It seems that they are fed up with the President and are simply waiting for his end of term, the reasonable thing to do would be to simply halt the reforms till next year.
    If you look back at the past years, each of the reforms of Battistelli followed the same pattern: the text looked relatively innocuous, but they were a few hooks that gave the President more arbitrary powers. And the results are catastrophic.


  108. New suicide at EPO: male examiner in his 50s, one kid....

  109. It seems that it was a UK national this time.
    Maybe the UK delegation will finally start to wake up ...

  110. as indicated earlier today, another of our colleagues committed suicide yesterday. This is the fifth colleague in a few years. How many of us will die or be ill for months or the rest of their life before this regime ends? When will the outside world firmly condemn what is happening? Merpel, that also means reporting on the situation to inform the public. Remaining silent when people die is not the best way to show support.

  111. IPKat fluff filter malfunction or is someone trying to suppress the fact that the most recent EPO suicide was a British national ?


  112. actually under Battistelli it is suicide nr 6 not nr 5. Only independent enquiries by competent local authorities could clear up the doubts about the impact of the working conditions on the dramatic act.

    these are of course systematically refused, EPO abusively hiding behind its immunity.


  113. Interview of Pr Bross in on UPC hence Karlsruhe :


  114. EPO staff will be on strike soon again (sadly) since there is still absolutely ZERO social dialogue but more of the same despicable authoritarian policies, in an Orwellian atmosphere by the current French direction team.

  115. The new disciplinary rules have been criticized by the anonymous "Flyer team". Internally, we have access to the proposed text. It foresees absolutely no check and balance. On a superficial reading, it appears reasonable as there are various committees which are supposed to give an opinion. But it is like patents: the claims actually define a very short procedure after which the President can fire you without justification and without recourse.

    It is an open secret in the Office that the President is trying to get rid of everyone over 40 and replace them with far cheaper examiners, younger and more docile. Word is that they would be on 3-years contracts, but that is not even necessary if they can be fired at will.

    But firing people is always messy and it is far easier if they leave "voluntarily". To ensure "voluntary" compliance, the title under which you can now be fired is called "professional incompetence". "Professional incompetence", as defined in the proposed text, simply means you failed to meet the production objective your superior set for you. It is public knowledge that last year objective was to grant 40% more patents.

    But everything will happen behind closed doors. I expect that the older examiners in my directorate will have a nice visit of their new boss after summer which will simply tell them that they can leave "voluntarily" or get fired for "professional incompetence" before the end of the year. Because being declared "incompetent" by the EPO means that nobody will ever hire you for doing patent work, people will "voluntarily" comply.

    Signed: an examiner over 40, looking for a new job outside the Patent world.


  116. News from the 1st day of the Administrative Council in Den Haag :

    1 - Christoph Ernst (DE) former head of the German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO is the new Chair of the Administrative Council.

    Mr Ernst is a man with a proven record of performance: indeed his silence during the entire mandate of Battistelli was remarkable, close to perfection. Mr Ernst never found the need to voice concerns when colleagues committed suicide (like for 10 days in Munich), when fundamental rights of staff were violated, when the DG3 Judge was suspended (more than 2 years...), when 3 staff reps were fired and other 3 downgraded after Orwellian trials, when quality of patents dropped due to unhealthy production pressure etc etc etc). His main quality seems to be his aptitude to discretion which in a corrupt organisation like the EPO explains that he just got promoted.

    2 - Alberto Casado (SP, current VP2) becomes new VP1 in replacement of the flemmish dinausor Minnoye. Casado is known (and praised) for its exceptional competence in the various Patent Procedures as well as extensive mastering of Patent Law. No doubt that he was THE expert to task with managing 55000 highly educated examiners and formality officers. Some will say that his capacity to express himself in English may be close to that of Manuel in Falwty Towers but they are pathetic losers. In fact Alberto Casado speaks fluently Spanish which is alreaddy something.

    And during this time, as the Titanic was sinking, the Orchestra was playing music...


  117. Battistelli and Bergot (PD HR) clais that psycho related sicknesses at EPO have decreased... Sure since they fire (mentally but not only) sick staff.

    Fortunately the first case has arrived at ILO this week and the judges are not amused :

    Battistelli and Bergot ought to see their immunity lifted and sued for what they did

  118. "Finger crossed" said:
    Mr Ernst (DE) is the new chief of AC at the EPO.
    Is this the beginning of the end for the french dictator?

  119. Mr Ernst is a man with a proven record of performance

    Yes indeed.
    It's quite telling that the strongest intervention concerning the recent suicide in Munich at yesterday's AC meeting came from the Dutch delegate ...

    Mr. Ernst did not appear to show any particular concern for an incident which happened on the territory of his home country ... true to form ...

  120. Silence is Golden,

    And then the states voted 34-0 to pass BB's new and ridiculous discipline and investigation rules.
    Power corrupts. Some people.

  121. Are there any news of the suspended member of the BoA?

  122. The latest suicide: an examiner known to have experienced a burn out followed by depression, all this to end under the wheels of an S-Bahn. Meanwhile AC members enjoying their petits fours and nodding greedily, BB cozily hiding behind his bodyguards and devising yet more sadistic unilateral rule changes, attorneys and blogs looking somewhere else (but never missing an opportunity to take part in EPO staff bashing), hum, what, quality drop? haven't noticed anything, please do not cancel my authorization to represent...

  123. @Silence:
    The fate of the suspended BoA member is only inderectly known. He's still suspended. His contract has not been renewed, like his colleagues contracts.
    He's on a disciplinary measure, without disciplinary procedure.
    Guess how ATILO will find that?
    But the contract has ended, and ATILO will be okay with the job loss.

    I sincerely hope his mental health survives, because how the AC treats _their_ employee is mind-bogging.

    Mr. Ernst is a lawyer, he should know better how to treat employees with a contract, even difficult employees.
    I hope once he's officially in charge, he'll have a good look at the case, and find a way out. This case is extremely disgraceful for all concerned, especially EPO management and the AC.
    But, seeing how the new Codexchanges were waved through ("to get it off the table"), and DE voting in favour (only four abstentions: NL, IT, IE, LI), I fear the constitutional court in Germany will finally say a word about a lack of independence and power abuse inside the EPO, and a lack of supervision...

    This whole situation is like a fight: too many people are watching and waiting for someone else to step in.

    The one advantage with FR and DE voting in favour is, that if their nationals get fired, tehy might have a chance with national courts and get a job in the national administration due to gross violation of their countries' law by the delegate, and the duty of care springing forth from this case. And if someone wins against their state, guess how the delegates will react next AC meeting?

  124. This case is extremely disgraceful for all concerned, especially EPO management and the AC.

    Would you care for another petit four or a pain au chocolat ... ?
    Time to crack open the champagne for Jesper's farewell party ...
    What is that rumbling I hear in the background ... must be another summer thunderstorm on the way ...

  125. ...and Willy's... leaving party on a Friday night at an international organisation? In summer? (On a strike day??) How many people are even around. I'll let you know...

  126. So how many people showed up for Willy'S farewell bash ?


  127. Praise The Lord, finally !

    You seek a professional challenge ? you want to work to restore social peace in a toxic atmosphere, to bring back trust in management and foster team work over individual rat race, to restore product quality and the reputation of a damaged international organisation ? you respect in Fundamental Rights and negotiated solutions ? You respect the Rule of Law and social partners ? You want to make EPO staff proud again ?

    This job is for you ! apply now

  128. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!


  129. as some in the US say : FUCK YEAHHHH !

  130. The Battistelli era will soon be over at the EPO; perhaps the current EUIPO boss is being lined up to succeed him

  131. Need a change? Well, the Euro Patent Office needs a new president...

  132. Search for successor of EPO president Benoît Battistelli has started

    The search for a successor of Benoît Battistelli as president of the European Patent Organisation has started in full with the publication of a vacancy notice on the EPO website. It is obvious from the text that the controversial Battistelli, whose term in office ends in June 2018, has no chances to stay on.

    According to the notice, which was decided on during last week’s meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council (AC), candidates need to have ‘thorough knowledge and proven practical application of modern management methods, including an outstanding ability to establish and foster social dialogue’, among others. This seems to be a direct reference to the failure of the current president to improve the social situation at the EPO.

  133. Strike participation rates

    10 July 2017

    In accordance with the rights guaranteed to EPO staff, a small proportion of the EPO's workforce observed their right to strike on Friday 30 June and Monday 3 July. A low rate of participation by staff was registered.

    On 30 June, just 8.1% of staff declared themselves as striking for the full day and 4.3% for a half day. On 3 July, that number fell to 7.5% on strike for the full day and 3.3% for a half day.

    Services to users were unaffected as a result of measures implemented to ensure the normal functioning of the Office and the low participation rate.

  134. These are the figures for monday. The strike participation was very low on monday (it was a bit higher on friday), but the figures do not tell the whole story. The office actively removed all posters and flyers informing the staff about strike in the previous days (email has been prohibited for such uses for years) and instructed large segments of the staff population that they were not allowed to strike (directors, team leaders, anyone with special tasks, etc...). That the delay between polls and strike are so long also insured that strike happened AFTER the council meeting and many members of staff felt that strike after decisions were taken was of little use.

  135. Strikes are completely inefficient anyway. Each examiner gets a target to meet at the end of the year and whatever work one does not do during strike will need to be done anyway. Some of the examiners who striked brought the files home. Basically strikes are good for the management, they get the work and keep the pay. Their only effects are political, but demos are more efficient and cheaper.

    That is: demos were more efficient, but it seems that TV networks have been instructed to turn their cameras the other way lately. I remember seeing Bayerische Rundfunk and even other TV networks in Munich last year, but now they are gone.


  136. and not to be forgotten: the feeling of fear which is wide spread among staff. Many are now totally frozen to voice critics or to be heard voicing some, like in the good old Soviet times....

    Now that the new set of abusive rules have been enacted the coming months we are going to see a new wave of "resignations" (read huge pressure on isolated staff members "invited to leave voluntarily" vs. being dismissed) and this in big numbers.

    Remember that the plan is that in each DG in each branch everyone knows the story of someone having been sacked.

    Battistelli can celebrate: thanks to PD 43 the despicable level of France Telecom is now reached suicide wise (in %)

  137. As we all know, to manage effectively, you need statistics, lots of them.

    As we all know, within the international circles of top managers, Silverback Alpha Males compete so see which of them are most effective, in achieving their respective cost-cutting goals.

    The mention of suicide stats at the EPO overtaking those of France Telecom gave me an idea. As a measure of the effectiveness of cost-cutting, how meaningful are they, to those on the look-out to employ a top manager? In particular, when BB starts looking for a new job, will he include them in his resume?

  138. EPO Begins Process For New President, Administrative Council Head

    The European Patent Office is seeking a successor to President Benoît Battistelli, whose term ends in June 2018. Will a new chief and new Administrative Council (AC) chairman be able to resolve the never-ending turmoil between management and staff?

    Job candidates must have a university diploma and proven high-level management experience, says the 3 July EPO job announcement (here: Their prior experience in the public or private sector must show they have in-depth understanding of the needs of an international organisation; and thorough knowledge and proven practical application of modern management methods, “including an outstanding ability to establish and foster social dialogue.”

  139. Is Germany’s UPC Ratification Postponement Related to Problems at the EPO?

    A question currently being asked by some people watching UPC developments in Germany: “Is Germany’s UPC ratification postponement related to problems at the EPO?”

  140. The Parliamentary UPCA ratification proceedings in Germany

    Article on the course of the legislative proceedings on the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court in Germany until the intervention by the German Constitutional Court (17/07/2017)

    The Parliamentary proceedings on the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPCA”) in Germany have revealed a state of political affairs which should cause concern to each citizen.

    It shows the extensively used practice of so-called “second class adoptions” in which legislative decisions are made by a materially inquorate Parliament, because nobody raises the objection necessary for the annulment of the session.

    It was in this manner that the legislative acts on the UPCA were unanimously adopted by 35 cheerful Members of Parliament (“MPs”) in the second and third reading in the early morning hours on 10/03/2017. Five further unanimous decisions add to this picture.

    After the vote, all groups represented in the German Parliament denied providing the names of the participating MPs, three of four contacted MPs also rejected talking about the matter.

    A report on German law-making in the year 2017, in which the institutions involved could not care less about the German Constitution.


  141. EPO on The Register :


  142. About the Unitary patent and the German Constitutional Court case

  143. STRASBOURG: Representative of Lufthansa Accused of Corruption

    According to some international sources, it was on account of the tendencies with which he has been endowed by nature and which he used to assist international corporations in protecting dubious patents in the Republic of Croatia that he was rewarded with a position at the EPO in Munich, although his skills and mindset indicate that he does not belong there.

  144. There is a new article on the EPO intranet about the quality of searches and examination. Curiously, in the era of windowless hairdresser salons, the department responsible for quality control reports that quality of the EPO has never been higher. But one has to read a bit further to understand: TIMELINESS is a big part of quality and the EPO is issuing search reports and examination faster than ever. Apparently, the content of the search or examination is of little interest to the department responsible for quality control, important is that they are out fast!

  145. That last comment from Anonymous made my jaw drop. Assessing "quality" on the basis of what one can measure? Seriously?

    Amongst the things one can measure is the gap in time between paying the search fee and getting the search report.

    Amongst the things one cannot measure is the "quality" of the search.

    But nevertheless, EPO management announces that quality has increased, purely because the search reports are issuing faster.

    What a joke!

  146. Apparently, the content of the search or examination is of little interest to the department responsible for quality control, important is that they are out fast!

    This sounds like the pioneering approach adopted by some smaller national IPOs a few years ago. Nice to see such techniques being successfully exported to the EPO.

    "The acceleration of the administrative part of the proceedings, and thus the overall decision-making process on the merits of the matter, is in the interest of both the requester and the holder of the trademark.

    In other words, upon receipt of a request for cancellation of a trademark, if it is in order, as required by Article 47 of the Trademark Act (Official Gazette 173/03, 76/07 and 30/09), the Office is required to forward the request to the holder of the trademark without any examination of the substantive merits, which was also done in this case."

  147. I see now that I was too quick to express my disgust, how the EPO measures "quality" of assessing patentability.

    If I gather it right, the EPO does not claim that search quality has improved. Rather, the assertion is that it has "never been higher". The difference is crucial. For any assessment that requires more than bean-counting or number crunching, the "never been higher" mantra is a safe one to utter, regardless how much it flies in the face of what we all know. Still, once BB defines "quality" as "timeliness", he can of course get the answer he craves.

    Thus, Donald Trump can safely assert that there has never been a US President of higher "quality" than himself, because never has a President spent fewer working days in The White House. He must be the greatest Decider of all time, right?

    Or the NHS can safely assert that the "quality" of orthopaedic (or brain) surgery in English hospitals has "never been higher" because each patient today spends fewer days in a hospital ward than used to be the case.

    As Alison Brimelow urged, getting EPO search reports out on time is important. But the core quality of the search is something entirely different. Just suppose that, even as we speak, "core quality" is going down, just as fast as "timeliness" is going up. If the EPO President defines "QQuality" as the aggregate of core quality and timeliness, then "QQuality has never been higher" than it is today, even while core quality is worse today than it has ever been.

  148. It is quite ironical that at the time when the EPO pushes for quick grant, the UK IPO has published a blog warning about the deleterious effects a quick prosecution might have.

    The most relevant part:
    Can this [the grant procedure]be sped up?

    Yes, but you should think carefully about whether a fast grant is in your best interests. For example, the earlier your patent application is published, the earlier the technology is in the public domain [at least quick publication can be avoided, as eventually all applications are published at 18 months].

    Many applicants are happy to proceed to grant at a slower pace. This enables them to develop and plan the commercialisation and marketing of their invention, whilst the patent application process continues. It also gives them time to determine whether their invention is commercially viable before committing to a greater financial outlay.

    I doubt that anything more can be said, but that the communication between the EPO and some of the national patent offices appears to be sub-optimal, to say the least!

  149. What people should know is that examiners do not have the time to do their job. Let me explain:
    -examiners have an objective at the beginning of the year, let us say 100 files.
    -these 100 files should be examination and search, e.g. 50 searches and 50 examinations or 60/40, etc...
    -only end actions count in examination, so the 50 examinations can be 50 grants or 40 grants and 10 refusals, etc...
    -if you don't get your objective, you have a problem.

    Basically, a few years ago the objective was reasonable. Say, you got 100 files to do and you could end up with 60 searches, 35 grants and 5 refusals.

    Today, we have the combination of several factors at the same time:
    -it is not 100, it was increased to 120 or 140 or more (examiners have no say in that, they can object an unreasonable increase but the complain will not lead anywhere). Let us say 120.
    -the office is hiring plenty of new examiners, they get a high proportion of the searches (because they are starting, they have no stock).
    -consequently, experience examiners get less searches. For example, for the 120 files objective, you would normally need 75 searches, but your director has only 30 in stock for you for the whole year. Suddenly, you need to do 120-30=90 examination files.
    -now for the good part: only final actions count, but refusals take at least 6 months more. You need to summon for oral proceedings. You can either do your job correctly (and then you end up with 30 searches, 50 grants and 40 summons and are 40 files short or your objective as the summons do not count) or grant a few more "borderline" files to get to your objective.

    I think that the only way out would be if the industry (applicants, representatives) would start to file oppositions massively. We still take the time to do a proper job on opposition files, while we don't on pure examination files.

  150. Dear examiner in mechanics,

    To use oppositions as a checking mechanism for the quality of examination is an old idea, but it does not work.

    For a start, there are only 5% of the granted patents which are opposed.

    Then, in some technical areas there are hardly any, and in other areas, they are quasi systematic. Number of oppositions are in new and upcoming areas, that means they are there as long as there is a place to take or subsidies to grasp. Once the market is settled, then they disappear as quickly as they arrived.

    Some oppositions are on the basis of public prior use or divulgation, and hence not relevant for assessing the search and the examination procedure.

    Last but not least, they are not for free. The actual fee might be low, but then you have to add costs for representation. Unless there is an economic interest, nobody will oppose.

    There are other means to draw the attention to the lowering quality, but those are not without danger for the individual examiner.

  151. Summer recess agenda ...

    Lately some rumours going on, that BB and VP4 look to replace 3 of his PD's in the framework of the new DG2 re-structuration. Apparently the areas procurement, HR social dialogue and buildings are named. A new EPO era?

  152. Dutch Government Publication Confirms Battistelli’s Influence Over Smaller EPC States

    Bijblad bij De Industriële Eigendom
    Issue No. 2 – April 2017 – Vol. 85

    “The Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organization (EPO) held its latest meeting on 15 and 16 March 2017. To begin with, the AC has now lost a lot of ground, just one year after the AC itself issued very concrete instructions to EPO President Battistelli, with a (unanimous) resolution. Due his apparent influence on a large group of smaller countries, Battistelli does not have to worry about the smaller group of larger (critical) EPC states (Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden). An unreal situation.”

  153. @ "Cannot resist a snigger". Sure it will cost more, but it will still cost a lot less than a UPC litigation. But it is quite simple really: for a fee, applicants used to get quality search and examination. The fees stayed the same, but applicants don't get the same search quality and examination. Hence: it costs more. If an applicant still needs the same quality search and examination... or want to impose it on their competitors, they will need to pay more for doing an extra search themselves, pay extra representation, invest more time, etc...


  154. beginning of the end?

    OUCH in Wirstschaftswoche auf 4 pages :

    SUEPO said nothing else for years ,to no avail.

    All of a sudden (after having cashed hundreds of Millions Euros stemming from teh work done at EPO) the German discover that behind the mad figures, the granted patents are of crap quality and that this does not serve their interests????????

    All this could have been avoided had the Germand delegate in the Administrative Council C. ERNST not supported ALL destructive policies by Battistelli et al. Instead he preferred to bow down.


  155. And another one from DE :

  156. If an applicant still needs the same quality search and examination... or want to impose it on their competitors, they will need to pay more for doing an extra search themselves, pay extra representation, invest more time, etc...

    But at least Battistelli still gets to order the most expensive plonk in exclusive restaurants in Brussels ...

  157. Europäisches Patentamt: Chef mit Sozialkompetenz gesucht

    The AC is reportedly looking for someone with "social competence" to lead the EPO ...

  158. Dear examiner in mechanics,

    Why should the users of system pay for a service which is not any longer delivered by the EPO? The fees are high enough, and it is ´clear that there are gripes about the falling quality.

    There is one way to draw the attention of the management, and it is for free: file a complaint.

    Be careful, in such a situation it is the examiner which will be the primary target.

    Do you really want this?

    Inquire as to what happened to the examining division which granted the building site wagon with a window to be used as hair dresser saloon.


    I wonder how much the UPC court will be...

  160. Well, it is mostly the costs of the renting contract. Find a new tennant, and you can recover most of said money.
    Pity the rent prices might drop a bit, due to London financial city also reducing the number of employees....

  161. Inquire as to what happened to the examining division which granted the building site wagon with a window to be used as hair dresser saloon.

    Why? What happened to them?

  162. To Kuriosity Killed the Kat,

    This information was of primarily use for examiners.
    As the case was in mechanics, it will be easy for an examiner in mechanics to gain knowledge of what happened.

    Being too curious can lead to being nosy, and that is not nice.

    Nothing more to say.

  163. The last news of the ongoing reorganisation were published yesterday. Directorates have been grouped and as a consequence less directors are necessary. As you may know, traditionally, directors are the ones reporting on the examiners and controlling the quality of their work. Some directors took that part of their job quite seriously, others mainly looked at the quantity of the production and did not mind when some corners were cut.

    Guess what? The directors who saw their posts disappear where just the ones known to defend the quality of the search and examination process. As on 1/1/18, they will all be out of a job.

    Another "coincidence", as Minnoye would have said.

  164. To Kuriosity Killed the Kat,

    Some questions do not deserve a reply. Here is one of this kind.


  165. about the EPO

    A bombshell by Pr Bross has just been published on GRUR Int. issue 8-9/2017

  166. A bombshell by Pr Bross has just been published on GRUR Int. issue 8-9/2017

    Or just another academic brain-fart that will have little or no impact on the world of Macchiastellian realpolitik ?

  167. It's interesting to see, how far the quality level can fall.
    There is even an "inventor" who got a prize, yet does not seem to be the real inventor (look at the SME section...). According to and the inventor was Ernst Krendlinger (though a lot of the information in these articles does not quite fit to the published documents). And my former colleagues tell me, there is yet another person named for the German priority application (they did not want to tell me the name). Maybe someone interested could request "Akteneinsicht" to confirm this?

    It's disgusting to see low quality even on the pet projects of our beloved president...

  168. Yes, but avery interesting read anyway, because it IS the style of academic brain-fart that constitutional judges come up with.
    The final verdict and the resulting realpolitik may be very different, but this will be a part of the German Constitutional judges considerations.

    Now, how they will explain it away to allow the continuation of a constitution Germany had wondefully and practically working in very fine for 40+ years will be another read....

  169. The elite of very well paid and full of benefits public servants is discontent, but now interestingly they seem worried about "quality" of their job. If they do the job, they are fully responsible for such quality. SUEPO doesn't care about quality, it cares about the social and financial benefits of the workers, and that's legitimate. My question: who cares about the public interest in this "war"? Answer: as always, no-one!


  170. correction to the post of "Anonymous said dated Wednesday, 16 August 2017 at 17:23:00 BST"

    What you allege is partly not correct: SUEPO has denounced for years the risks that too high production pressure was meaning for patent quality, this to no avail.

    Most IP blogs have so far laughed and reported (eg IAM) that SUEPO were crying wolf, that there would be no proof of this etc etc.

    Now all of sudden the IP world (read German newspapers such as Wirstschaftswoche) discover that yes, it could be well possible that currently the EPO is producing patents of low quality since it is impossible to produce solid ones at the pace at which examiners are requested to produce.

    Please guys do not spit on SUEPO which did the job. And yes the EPO produces low quality patents. This is the elephant in the IP room.

  171. Reports of suspected arson attack against EPO Director in Munich.

    Brandanschlag gegen den Direktor des Patentamts?

    Nachbar hat Angst vor Brandstiftern

  172. SUEPO has been busy sloganeering about declining patent quality since at least 2008 and Pompidou/Brimelow era.

  173. If Ford can make cars with acceptable quality for the driver, and safety for the public, does everyone need to pay the price for a gold-plated Rolls-Royce, and experience the delay while it is hand made?

    Admittedly, you might not want a Trabbi from the USPTO, but shouldn't there be a happy medium?

  174. at Car buyer said...

    fair point indeed. Only in the past 30 years the Ford production did not decrease quality but instead tremendously increased it.

    At the EPO the contrary occured. Come on face it, accept it and let us not whine about it but redress it. Nothing more nothing less.

    Producing stronger patents (or being able to produce them) is also a matter of professional pride for the examiners, thus allowed to do their work as they should and not to cut corners.

    Not sure you would currently like to step in in a Ford built by EPO staff given the way they are forced to work

  175. Car buyer said...
    Admittedly, you might not want a Trabbi from the USPTO, but shouldn't there be a happy medium?

    Are you stuck in a time-warp Car-buyer ?

    The EPO has overtaken the USPTO in terms of Trabbi production.

    Wake up and smell the coffee ...

  176.  Only in the past 30 years the Ford production did not decrease quality but instead tremendously increased it.

    Yet Ford cars are still not gold-plated, nor do they cost as much or take as long to build as a Roller.

    Still looking for a happy medium from the EPO.


  177. CA/53/17: Procedure for designating the deputy of the President of the Boards of Appeal

    CA/D 7/17:


    3. Article 1 ... As concerns the exercise of the functions and powers which are the subject of the Act of Delegation signed by the President of the Office, such replacement shall require the agreement of the President of the Office….


    13. … The functions and powers, which are the subject of the Act of Delegation signed by the President of the Office, can be exercised by the deputy only with the agreement of the President of the Office. As explained in Annex 1, point 10 of CA/43/16 Rev.1 a delegation of powers is by its very nature highly intuitu personae in character. Consequently, the President of the Boards of Appeal cannot subdelegate these functions and powers without the agreement of the President of the Office.

  178. New CFO at EPO. I wonder what his mother language will be for his position in Munich? Not German. Not English. Not a surprise.

    Diversity, diversity....


  179. New example of cronyism at EPO

    Gilles Requena (right hand and damned soul of Battistelli who brought him at EPO from INPI, and who is the husband of PD 43 HR Elodie Bergot whose rocket (euphemism for abusive) career is currently challenged at AT-ILO has just been nominated at the level of Principal Director this WITHOUT any publication of a vacancy (correct me if I am wrong).

    Hey guys why caring to bother about rules when it is so much fun violating them !

    Well done Battistelli! Expect more from him until his departure

  180. @Examiner in mechanics said...: I donot het why you are defending a system that -as you admit- provides a low quality product when executing the core task: search and examination to get to a valid grant or a refusal. Putting it back to your clients to get your job done is an absurd proposal. Do you also build your own car, your own house, grow your own veggies, keep your own cows for your steak?... or do you rely on all those that do that professionally doing their jobs well?
    If you cannot do your job well, you should either change the system so you can, or quit. But stop spending your clients money without delivering. That is criminal, and it is only becaus of the EPOs immunity that you personally and your organization are not being sewed.
    O, last tip in case you stay on your job: you can draw up a positive search esult and a positive IGRA within 5 minutes - just use search terms that just give you a few A documents, cannot be difficult to do. High volumes, many grants, but do you really think you make anyone happy with that?

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