back to article Now German companies are beating the drum over poor patent quality

The issue of falling patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) has again reared its head, this time thanks to German intellectual property lawyers. Following a testy exchange last week at an official meeting of the EPO's Administrative Council where staff aired their grievances and were attacked by EPO president …

  1. frank ly


    "For several years Battistelli has been aggressively pushing changes at the EPO aimed at increasing the number of patents that are reviewed and approved."

    I can understand a desire to increase the number reviewed (an efficiency improvement) but why has he specified that the number approved should be increased?

    "..."modernise" the EPO and keep it in line with other competing patent authorities in the US and Japan."

    Ah, it's a race, an international competition? What are the prizes for winning?

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Changes

      The prize is, of course, earnings of patent lawyers.

      I hate when various ‘innovation’ rankings of countries and regions include the numbers of patents granted [per capita] as a clearly good thing. Higher numbers can mean more innovation -- or that the patent system is bonkers and anything goes.

    2. Nick Kew

      Re: Changes

      The prize for winning is more opportunities and a lower bar for European companies to act as privateers, raiding the rest of the world.

      At least, that's the general idea, based on how US economic imperialism has worked for a long time. I'm not convinced it can work for Europe, as the dynamics of the legal systems are so different (clearly German lawyers aren't up for it). I wonder if there's a profitable arbitrage to be had in jurisdiction-shopping?

  2. jmch Silver badge


    There is no solid evidence of a fall in quality, he countered, and pointed out that the number of appeals had actually fallen. "The mere fact that more patents are granted does not mean that the quality suffers," he argued.

    What rubbish!!! If EPO rejects a patent, the filer will presumably appeal. If the patent is accepted, of course there will be no appeal. So less appeals is an obvious result of more patents granted. Mor epatents granted means either an upsurge in quality of patent filings, or a lowering of standards for accepting filings of the same quality. My money is on the second.

  3. ma1010

    They want it to be like the US one?

    In that case, they can probably get by with one clerk who just stamps "APPROVED" on every application. "Grant all applications. Let 'em fight it out in court" is pretty much the motto of USPTO. I'm expecting them to hire Battistelli at USPTO, unless he takes a job with ICANN.

  4. Ray Foulkes

    Suits the big companies

    Getting patents approved, whether valid or not, suits larger companies. If challenged by another large company they "swap rights". Invalid patents are not useless, they can be used to keep all the small players out of the game since they cannot afford patent lawyers. Now, I wonder why the push has been on to grant more patents with less scrutiny?? Not that I am suggesting foul play, certainly not.

  5. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Efficiency was taking priority over quality.

    Efficiency != speed. This article and many others paint a picture of declining quality to the point the patent system is undermining itself. That is not efficiency, it's merely speed for the sake of the numbers game. The only people satisfied by that will be the beancounters (more closures= more submission fees) and patent lawyers obvs. And what civilised person would piss on either of those classes of sub-human were they on fire?

    It sounds like King B wants a system modelled on the US patent office. Oh lordy.

  6. John G Imrie

    Congratualtions Battistelli

    I would like to thank Battistelli for proving to me just how wrong my view of the world is. Thanks to him I now have a grudging respect for IP lawyers.

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