back to article European Patent Office's document churning snatches Germany's attention: 'We are concerned about quality'

A row has broken out at the European Patent Office over the quality of its work. The international organization's big annual meeting in Munich this week has been overshadowed by a war of words between staff and the EPO's president, Benoit Battistelli. Staff are warning that quality is falling in response to an aggressive …

  1. Detective Emil
    Holmes

    But at least one government subsequently picked apart that report …

    Follow-up on that interesting aside, please: I can't find anything about it with a quick search.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: But at least one government subsequently picked apart that report …

      I'm not sure the proceedings on these sort of meetings are public record. There's a good chance they are not available.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But at least one government subsequently picked apart that report …

      see article is on 2 pages

  2. wyatt

    A call to the Jackal is needed..

  3. Bakker

    The EPA did have (still does?) a quality audit department which were independent examiners who controlled the actual output for quality - should it really have been granted etc. The figures e're only for internal use and were disputed and massaged. But they weren't good. BB never talks about them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quantity over quality. The same is happening everywhere that I know of.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Property is Theft...

    ...therefore Intellectual Property is Intellectual Theft.

    Who is the staff rep? The name is not mentioned in the article.

    Whoever (s)he is, (s)he has good connections on El Reg, looking at the number of articles on this agency. There are more articles on EPO than on ENISA!

    Anyway, staff of EPO complaining of having too much work impacting the quality of the process is nothing new, and that was years before the arrival of today EPO's president. 11 years ago, the SUEPO already stated that "the number of challenges over the validity of granted patents could easily increase.". Mr. McCarthy uses the same argument 11 years later: "it raises the likelihood that approved patents are then challenged and even defeated in court". So Mr. McCarthy, could you please enlighten us, how much did that number of challenge in court increase in the last 11 years? And compared to the number of patents?

    Also, in the article it is stated that "the organization [was] repeatedly pulled in front of the International Labor Organization, the courts and even the European Court of Human Rights.". How many cases were opened? Did any of them produce results? What were they if any?

    No more one-sided statements but data, please!

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Property is Theft...

      There were three staff reps that spoke at the closed meeting, representing three different parts of the organization.

      Since they are representatives and were not speaking in a personal capacity, and given the EPO's clear intimidation and persecution of staff that have criticized management, I didn't think it appropriate to name them. Nor do I now.

      The German government representative was Cornelia Rudloff-Schaffer. You can see the full list of govt reps here: https://www.epo.org/about-us/governance/administrative-council/representatives.html?update=epoorg#de

      I didn't "use the argument" about the risk of patent quality - I explained why concerns over patent quality are so significant.

      If you want to know about the EPO and ILO and ECHR, here are some links to previous articles:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/16/euro_patent_office_hit_with_antibattistelli_letters/

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/17/epo_president_ignores_another_formal_rebuke/

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/10/staff_takes_epo_to_human_rights_court/

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Property is Theft...

        I explained why concerns over patent quality are so significant.

        As I said that argument was used 11 ago, one year before the new policy was enforced. I guess than 10 years after we can have data instead of insinuations, can't we? So, 10 years after, did the legal challenges rise or not? In what proportion? Or is it just FUD?

        here are some links to previous articles

        The articles you mention say that actions are intended against EPO, but they don't mention the results of these actions. There's a principle relating to Justice: everyone should be considered innocent before being proven guilty. So if EPO management has been condemned it proves your point: has it been? How many condemnations, how many acquittals?

        I know some public offices and companies which are paralyzed because a union holds the power there, blocking any change and acting with tactics the Camora would be proud of: harassment, persecutions, false accusations and so on.

        I do not know if it is the case in EPO, and I won't be able to know it with El Reg's articles which always side with SUEPO against management. We never hear here about the arguments of the other side, but just have again and again accusations against management. 121 articles on the subject for FFS, about something which is really barely IT related!

        EPO has a budget of ~ €2,000,000,000/year, mostly paid by States' contributions, for an administrative work and for a goal which can be morally disputed, because one could argue that all patents are theft. Asking such an agency being efficient does not seem to be an absolute scandal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Property is Theft...

      @ Potemkine

      Hey you sound very much like EPO management to argument as you do my friend !

      Btw what for do you need the identity of the staff rep: to have him/her hanging on a tree as new example for the masses ? Very weird question unless one wants to retaliate here.

      Indeed you are right: it is not knew that SUEPO deplore drops in quality of the patents issued. And the fact that it was already worrying years ago is not exclusive of the fact that the situation is catastrophic now

      The patent quality at EPO is THE elephant in the room.

      Who (apart you) can you credibly imagine one sec. that the amazing figures (internal figures controlled by no one else than the President Office) can be achieved without cutting corners ?

      Or is there a conspiracy where SUEPO managed to buy the German Delegate ?

      What is the point you want to prove here if not trying to cast a negative light on this article. How much does the EPO pay you to destroy the work of The Register ?

      As for the ILO-AT go yourself on the ILO website which is public and check the numbers of EPO cases by yourself. Your point is non sense since this is a fact that hundreds of EPO complaints are pending in front of the ILO-AT stemming from the EPO (due to the illegal policies implemented by the current administration).

      If you want to see all publications in the press (Press which is of course corrupted by SUEPO) you can also visit www.suepo.org

      Next time please go trolling another site. We speak of serious business here

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Property is Theft...

        Sorry for not taking for granted SUEPO's arguments just because they are repeated again and again. When one keeps saying the same side of the story it makes me become skeptical.

        As for the ILO-AT go yourself on the ILO website which is public and check the numbers of EPO cases by yourself.

        Ok, let's do that. I also look at the last decisions of ILO-AT regarding complaints against EPO

        Judgment #3894: The complaint is dismissed

        Judgment #3893: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3892: The complaint is dismissed

        Judgment #3891: The complaints are dismissed.

        Judgment #3890: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3888: The complaints are dismissed.

        Judgment #3887: The EPO shall pay the complainant 20,000 euros in moral damage.All other claims are dismissed.

        Judgment #3819: The application for review is dismissed.

        Judgement #3817: The application for review is dismissed.

        Judgment #3814: The complaint is dismissed

        Judgment #3813: The complaint is dismissed

        Judgment #3812: The complaints are dismissed.

        Judgment #3811: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3810: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3809: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3808: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3807: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3806: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3805: The complaint is dismissed.

        Judgment #3804: The complaint is dismissed

        We speak of serious business here

        €2,000,000,000/year, yep, it's a serious business indeed, with big interests

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Property is Theft...

      um, the article says:

      > The number of rejections has declined massively.

      so, er, either something "magical" has happened across the entire world of patent applicants – or, examination quality has gone right down.

      (By the way, I wonder if they are just adopting the same policy that the US seems to have had for decades now, which seems, overwhelmingly, to be to just grant patents to American firms, presumably on the basis that overall this will assist the American economy?)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    product quality vs. process quality

    The distinction is an important one. It seems that the EPO include timeliness of delivery in its assessment of quality which can be misleading....or even dangerous if you consider the opposite. If a product is of lesser quality because it took longer to arrive then the extreme case could be that a European Patent may not be worth waiting for!

  7. Don't mess with EPO staff

    Another interested article on the EPO : http://www.iam-media.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=79116bde-d265-4e20-9cd3-3fa188daf0d1

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "untruths"

    someone is reading the american political playbook. Does someone already have a patent on the word "lie"?

  9. GSTZ

    Quality

    Earlier this year I've filed a patent application with the EPO and now did receive their initial research results. My application is seen as valid, so formally I have nothing to complain about here. However the brief comments given provide just one reference to another document - and that one has very little to do with the subject of my invention. Seems that a poor soul under heavy pressure to close as many open cases as quickly as possible just did that ...

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