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01.13.15

Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong, Criticising Battistelli and Topić, Calls for Action Against EPO Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dennis De Jong

Summary: Even politicians, not just from France but also from the Netherlands, now add their voices to large-scale complaints about intimidation, nepotism, waste and corruption at the EPO

A FORTNIGHT ago we wrote that the European Parliament had declined to intervene in the affairs of the corrupt EPO. Thankfully it’s not over because the latest news from the EPO involves intervention by a Dutch MEP (member of the European Parliament).

“Thankfully it’s not over because the latest news from the EPO involves intervention by a Dutch MEP (member of the European Parliament).”“It seems that following the dismissal of the Petition filed with the European Parliament,” tells us a source, “the Dutch MEP Dennis de Jong (from the Socialist party) has criticised the decision of the Petitions Committee and is pressing for an investigation of the situation at the EPO.

“He recently published an article about EPO matters on his “Weeklog” and since it’s all in Dutch we need to rely on automated translations. Google Translate allowed us to get the gist of it and here is an automated translation (we have made minor changes to make the text more coherent):

WEEKLOG: UNREST AT EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE

There may be days that go by when you do not think of the EPO (European Patents Office, EPO), but it’s worth keeping the news of this European organization in mind. Officials who work there have rebelled. Their actions are directed against — in their eyes — the dictatorial rule of the Director of EPA, Benoit Battistelli. Soon I’ll speak with staff representatives. Whether EPO is or is not an EU institution, the EU wants to do business with them or go for a new kind of European patent. Then we wish to hear that there are no situations where workers’ rights are trampled and there is the smell of nepotism in appointments and dismissals.

Like their colleagues in Brussels, officials of EPA a gigantic, high salaries. Moreover, they are not promoted based on performance but on the basis of seniority. Battistelli wants to cut costs, in part because patents approvals in his organization are expensive. So he wants to get rid of quite a few privileges of the staff. You are there for what to suggest, but that does not mean you just can decrease your staff count, the right to participate in a fair and independent appeals, let alone enter a culture of intimidation. And that is exactly what Battistelli has done according to officials from federal EPA.

Since EPO is an independent international organization, it should be working and be controlled by the rules of the organization itself. For example, there is an EPA office in Rijswijk, the Dutch law does not apply. Normally, international organizations actually look at what is common for national officials when it comes to the right as you to organize workers in a union, to communicate with each other about labor rights, and, if you are suspected of a violation of internal rules, appeal is to go to an independent commission, but not so at EPA.

All these rights, according to the staff of EPO, have been wholly or partially abolished. The union is forbidden to operate within the buildings of EPA and the existing council was abolished. An internal investigation established that it is often intimidating to work and people are encouraged to tattle on colleagues, as reticent. Moreover, there are questions about the integrity of the right hand of Battistelli, the Croat Topic, accused of corruption in his home country, but whose appointment there by Battistelli is pushed through.

The participating countries, including the Netherlands, have the last word in the administration of EPO. Recently, however, Battistelli was re-appointed for a term of four years. Apparently, the protest is something these countries have not taken seriously. That is first and foremost a matter for the House, but by the indirect involvement of the EU also from the European Parliament. Officials with whom I have been in contact wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. But their case should be heard in Brussels. That seems like a better response than the response of the petition committee of the EP who referred the case back to a complaint of officials tied to the Internal Appeals of EPO. And while the complaints are properly focused among others on the fact that the committee can no longer operate independently but has been put into receivership by Battistelli. As for me, here comes to the bottom of: trade union rights apply to everyone, including officials and even for highly paid.

If someone who is fluent in Dutch can provide an accurate translation, please do so below or mail us.

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