back to article European Patent Office palace coup bombs

A determined effort to oust European Patent Office (EPO) president Benoit Battistelli amounted to nothing this week, as representatives from European countries instead spent two days rehashing a reform proposal. The meeting of the EPO's Administrative Council in Munich had threatened to become a showdown over Battistelli's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So very European

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      <cough> ICANN

  2. s. pam
    Facepalm

    Pay & file your applications in the USA.

    Filing a patent application in the USA is so much easier, and has a far greater chance of being granted. There's a reason the likes of IBM file all their applications there after all.

    Besides, who really wants an EU patent anyway? Seriously!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

      Having a greater chance of your patent being accepted sounds like a great thing, except that it isn't.

      At all.

      You could replace every patent office in the world with a stamping machine - come along, put your patent docs in the machine, get them stamped - Bingo - you have your patent.

      Then all that remains is fighting out the validity of that patent in the various courts around the world, with rooms full of lawyers from all of the other companies that self-stamped their patents. The result is zero certainty in the validity of your patent and a fortune spent on lawyers with zero certainty of the outcome.

      Patent applications need to be checked very carefully in order to ensure that the applicant can have a very high degree of certainty that their patent is actually valid - with that certainty companies can make decisions regarding investment and further research.

      See also https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2178-boy-takes-swing-at-us-patents/ and somewhat rounded corners.

      1. Jon 37

        Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

        Nope.

        Most big players don't contest the validity of a big pile of patents - they just show their own big pile of patents and agree a cross-licensing deal. It's cheaper and avoids a lot of risk.

        Most small players can't contest the validity of even a single patent - they just can't afford the legal fees (about a million dollars), and they don't want the risk of a big judgement against them that puts them out of business, so they just have to pay up.

        So most people filing patents would like them all to be rubber-stamped. Patent applications need to be checked very carefully in order to protect everyone else from the patent-holder.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

          Small players can contest validity of a patent - it does not have to cost a million dollars. I am a Chartered UK patent attorney and a European Patent Attorney. I would happily prepare and file an opposition to a granted European patent for £15k (of course it depends on the complexity, and how much effort you want to chuck at it). That has to be done within 9 months of grant.

          There also are other low cost options in the UK, such as requesting an opinion from the UK patent office, which can result in the patent office taking action to revoke all by itself.

          In the US there are only expensive options.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

          > Most small players can't contest the validity of even a single patent - they just can't afford the legal fees (about a million dollars), and they don't want the risk of a big judgement against them that puts them out of business, so they just have to pay up.

          Here in Europe there are ways to stop patent applications without paying a fee. Also you can file an opposition against patents granted by the EPO within 9 month without paying a million dollars. We do that. It works here.

          About 5 percent of EPO patents are opposed.

      2. Patman

        Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

        "A very high degree of certainty in the validity of your patent"? Dream on. The likelihood of your patent being found invalid is determined by its commercial value, and has very little to do with the search and examination process. An EPO examiner spends a few days on each case. In a serious validity challenge, you will move heaven and earth to find prior art or weaknesses in the patent. It may take many man-months, or even man-years. The EPO's little contribution is a helpful indicator, but it does not give you "a very high degree of certainty", or even any kind of certainty. In fact it can be downright misleading.

        By the way, some patent systems (eg Switzerland) function very well without any examination of patentability. It's the applicant's responsibility to make sure that he doesn't claim protection for something he's not entitled to. This makes for a very sober and reasonable patent environment.

      3. s. pam
        Flame

        Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

        You've quite obviously have never been through the process or been granted same. Having my name on seven patents in the USA it's very far from a rubber stamping exercise. To get those seven I've had almost twenty rejected on things such as prior art, someone in the review committee where I worked thought it was like a previous idea, or the USPTO rejected it as un-patentable. Then you wait for years and one day a letter pops in saying "Patent Granted".

        The EU version is a rubber stamping, or is that goose(?) stamping group with no real appreciation of the deep amount of research, thinking, and it shows! They'll either approve something in weeks/months or give the most incomprehensible reasons to reject .

        Been there, know what I'm talking about.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

          > Been there, know what I'm talking about.

          OK. In that case it is very odd that you claim "The EU version is a rubber stamping". You see the EU Patent Office does not exist. In spite of decades of talk and more talk it has never existed.

          On the other hand there is the EPO which everyone who knows what they are talking about realises is not and has never been part of EU.

    2. g e

      Indeed!

      I, for example have just been granted patent in the USA for Shoes and The Wheel1, exceptionally easy.

      1 On a mobile device, natch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: Indeed!

        "Besides, who really wants an EU patent anyway? Seriously!"

        Err anyone that wants their stuff protected in the EU?

        What a stupid statement. Oh silly me, forgot, USA law = World Law.

    3. SEPAM

      Re: Pay & file your applications in the USA.

      It appears you are aware of the requirements for exporting a patent application. If you as a US citizen file an application abroad without first obtaining permission, which you do most easily by a national filing and a PCT filing, you can end up ion prison.

      In many countries patent applications are "born secret" and require such permissions. In some countries failure to follow the law will see you spend many years in jail.

      As for filing in Europe you can compare the US with a population of 300 million with EPO with a member state population of about 400 million.

      Tell me, have you ever filed a patent application?

  3. druck Silver badge
    Coat

    Another institution beginning with European we'll be glad to see the back off.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      There is one good thing about the European patent office

      Every hour they argue among themselves is worth 8 patents not granted. I cannot imagine the UK patent office doing something so constructive. The UK patent office is responsible for the policy of granting software patents as long as 'software' is spelled 'computer implemented invention'.

      There was some rubbish in the Brexit propaganda about foreign EU judges making rulings that applied to UK companies. The bit they forgot to mention was that UK judges made rulings that applied to the whole of Europe. Once an EU court is selected for a patent dispute, that court's decision applies to the whole of Europe so companies do not have to face nuisance litigation in every state. Before Brexit, a UK company could get their case heard in the UK.

      Leaving the EU will not make the European patent office go away. UK trolls will still have to file there to sue EU companies. EU trolls will still sue UK companies, but post Brexit the hearing will be outside the UK.

      Years ago, like thousands of other programmers I wrote to my MEP and asked him to vote against legalising software patents. The European parliament listened, so people with time and money to burn stand a good chance of getting a computer implemented invention patent invalidated because software is mathematics which is not patentable. I have also written to UK MPs and got replies like 'I do not care about that, I just want to send money to Africa', 'programmers do not understand the benefits of the patent system so I am going to spend millions on an advertising campaign to educate them' and 'programmers do not understand patents'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is one good thing about the European patent office

        > Once an EU court is selected for a patent dispute, that court's decision applies to the whole of Europe

        Awesome. How did they do this?

        You see, the EPO member states include also countries like Turkey, Switzerland and Norway, countries that are NOT members of the EU. And now you tell me that an EU court will decide matters inside these countries? This would normally be considered "ultra vires" but according to you not in this case. Therefore I must again ask: how did they achieve this?

        Also your wide brush also includes countries that are in Europe but not EPO members states.

  4. Mr Flibble
    Headmaster

    “with the authority to reign in management”

    They have authority to be monarchs within management?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life of Brian

    https://youtu.be/55fqjw2J1vI

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