03.24.15

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Benoît Battistelli’s EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign ‘in the Longer Term’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court

THE Dutch media is cracking down on Benoît Battistelli and his authoritarian regime (more on that in days to come). Dutch solicitors too are growing impatient, realising perhaps that the EPO and the Dutch system both lose legitimacy because of Battistelli. Two days ago Dutch News called the EPO’s notorious work atmosphere (that induces suicides) ‘reign of terror’ and wrote that “The European patent office in Rijswijk came under fire in the Dutch media this weekend after claims the management operate a reign of terror. The Volkskrant said on Saturday that many staff have psychological problems. ‘The pressure of work has gone up enormously and colleagues are becoming desperate,’ one source told the Volkskrant. The organisation has become a bastion of fear, the source said. The low point came in 2013 when a young colleague killed himself while at work, the source said. There has never been an investigation into the death but other workers suspect the unreasonable pressure played a part. The organisation has refused to allow the labour inspectorate to look into working conditions at the EU institution and its president, Benoît Battistelli, told the NRC the inspectors have ‘no reason to intervene’.” The article also refers to the Dutch saga which we intend to cover in a much greater level of detail very soon (a lot to catch up with and prepare for publication, including more than a dozen PDFs).

Pors WouterBattistelli has landed himself in yet more of a scandal (a path of scandals) when he chose to discredit, ignore and even stomp a Dutch court’s decision. One of the latest postings on the “Kluwer Patent Blog” is titled “Behavior of Benoît Battistelli is bad for the EPO’s reputation”. Written by the widely-respected and highly-regarded Wouter Pors (secretary of the Dutch group of AIPPI), it says the following: “The behavior of EPO president Benoît Battistelli is bad for the reputation of the European Patent Office and may in the longer term force him to resign. Wouter Pors, IP practitioner of Bird & Bird, said this in an interview with Kluwer IP Law, on the occasion of a recent decision of the Dutch appeal Court in The Hague.

“The so-called Gerechtshof found that the EPO is violating the European Treaty on Human Rights by blocking mails from the labor unions and by limiting the workers’ right to strike. The Court said that regardless of the question whether the EPO is an autonomous international organization with its own legal order and staff policy, and which in principle enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of Dutch courts, this autonomy cannot encompass/include the right to violate fundamental European rights (…) without offering parties such as the unions any legal remedy.”

“Battistelli reacted with fury. He was quick to announce that the judgment was ’neither legally admissible nor practically enforceable’ and nothing would change at the EPO. Apart from that, he thought it ‘unfortunate that such a dangerous development was initiated and encouraged by an union whose first aim should be to preserve the fundamental interests of the staff and the Organisation’. Battistelli must have felt reassured by the Dutch minister Opstelten, who announced that as the EPO was ‘immune from execution’, there would be no action from the authorities in the Netherlands.

“The way Battistelli talked about the Court was very inappropriate, according to Wouter Pors. ‘You cannot say this. It amounts to saying “the judge is crazy”! That is disrespectful and contrary to fundamental principles as laid down in Art 4 of the Treaty on the creation of the European Union, that members of the EU should respect each other’s institutions. 28 out of the 38 EPC members are also members of the European Union. They cannot accept such disrespect towards one of their courts.’”

“This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. “Here is some background information about Wouter Pors. Bird & Bird says “Wouter Pors leads the IP group, and has a broad practice covering patent, copyright and trade mark litigation.”

This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. Even pro-patents circles are tired of him. They want him out.

Meanwhile, according to some sources, “Luxembourg parliam[ent] today approved #UnifiedPatentCourt Agreement unanimously! main discussion was languages/costs.” The FFII’s president wrote back that “Luxembourg ratified the unipat today, time to work on an appeal. Anyone knows the delay to file an appeal?” The FFII’s Ante Wessels recently warned that the “International investment court plan threatens our democracy”. That’s what it’s all about really. It’s an attack on democracy in Europe. Battistelli plays a considerable role in it.

The EU patent package that we have been covering for years and chastising repeatedly is back in the headline (as mentioned here a week before the news from Luxembourg) and professors are raging while Wouter (above) responds. Wouter Pors writes something titled “Law professors petition against the Unitary Patent Package – but are the arguments correct?” (c/f professors’ petition [PDF])

One sure thing is, there is a lot of shakiness in the European patent system right now. Corruption, abuse, oppression and censorship are just some of the elements at play. This cannot endure; change is imminent.

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