1. Who is Faris Kalabić?
Father and a patent examiner. Born in Mostar, grew up in Sarajevo, where I went to school and graduated faculty. I went to Vienna, from Vienna to the USA, the Netherlands. Ended up in Berlin.
2. You work in the European Patent Office. Can you explain what a patent examiner does and what that type of examination looks like?
In short, it is done in two phases; we get a patent application, where applicants, i.e. our clients form requests based on some innovation they think they have found, and then the examination phase is reduced to two phases, one is the research phase, where you search in databases to see if there are documents published before they applied with that patent, to determine whether it has already been published or not. After that the second phase follows- the testing phase, which comes down to testing, and just like for a formal patent application, it must be determined whether the patent is new.
3. By definition, patents are exclusive rights granted for some kind of innovation. Is it possible for a patent examiner to miss something and to patent something that is a replica and not innovation or an original, and how to determine that with absolute certainty?
It happens all the time. However there is a second and third degree of verification, there is a second phase called opposition. Opposition is when you have a specific company. If, for example, you have granted a patent to Siemens, then, say, Ericson or Huawei can file an objection, which is called opposition to your decision. In principle, this rarely happens, it depends of course on which technical field you work. In some fields, it is a standard procedure and sometimes it is more difficult to establish.
4. How come you ended up working with patents; did you choose them or have they chosen you?
The story begins when during the end of my doctoral dissertation in Berlin, a friend told me I have something for you, it was about work…I applied to the European Patent Office and I was lucky...You have to know 3 languages; English, German and French and my French wasn’t good, but I was lucky that I was dating a French girl back then. (laughter)
5. For how long have you been working there?
For 22 years.
6. What are you currently working on within the European Patent Office?
I recently switched to a new technical field, it’s 5G and 6G, which is now getting popular. It's mostly the patents about how it's done, the ones that create the standards get together and then you get their patents.
7. You are the author of the book 'Capital 2.0.' There is an interesting question on the cover of the book "Money rules the world, and who rules money"? Is there an answer to this question or do we have to read the book?
Well, it wouldn’t be bad to read the book anyway. And money is ruled by Wall Street bankers. There is only 'one type of money' and that is the dollar, now again it has nothing to do with these patents of mine…Let's put it this way; money is an opportunity for someone to gain something, and for rich people money does not have that meaning at all, it is more a reflection of political power, it is absolutely irrelevant whether you have 1 billion or 100 billion, it doesn't matter to them. Money is actually one tool that creates a hierarchy, creates a pyramid. And those people who work in banks, they are now creating that global money and using that money to be able to use the whole world as a supermarket. The value papers, how they like calling it, the actions, are created with such incomprehensible ease…
8. I heard that Mr. Faris is a great chess player? What is chess for you and what does it offer you, and can the philosophy or chess strategy be implemented in everyday life?
This is a difficult question…There is a prejudice that chess players are by default very smart, I would not agree…Chess develops a certain logic, that is true, it allows you to understand better through that logical mathematical design certain things…I’ve been playing chess since I was little so I don’t know where to separate myself from chess. Usually chess players are quite antisocial. When you are "more special" it is always difficult for you, as well as when you have knowledge that others do not have.
9. Your life story is tied to many cities and states, where have you lived so far?
I first went to Austria, sometime in '91, where I enrolled in college and finished it. Then I didn't know what to do and I saw an ad in Austria by accident, they were looking for developers for some mathematical modeling, and since I had experience with it because my graduate thesis was about para differential equations and then I applied, and they really gave me a job. Shortly after that, I was invited to come to America, and then I spent 13, 14 months in America, that was during the end of ’94, while there was a war here. Being in America was interesting to me, they paid me for a semester at Yale, so that I can learn what they were interested in, although I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't understand, I was dealing with equations that, back then, I didn't understand what they are used for. Later I understood them and it led me to write a book. After that I went to England, I did the same job there for a while, then I started doing that PhD which was a shock but I wanted to go back to something of my own because working for banks is very well paid but it doesn’t make any sense as for career development, etc. Then I enrolled in that doctorate in Berlin, and after half a year I went to Holland where I was admitted to the Patent office, they had an Academy there.
10. Life motto?
The problem with life is that we tend to live too far ahead, yet our understanding of it is backward.