04.02.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

Željko Topić: “SUEPO [Staff Union] Has No Standing in This Office. SUEPO Has No Role to Play in This Office.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIPO article

Summary: EPO staff responds to the weak charm offensive from “Mr Battistelli’s boys”, stating that much work — including protests — remains to be done

LAST WEEK we started writing about the Dutch scandal that led Benoît Battistelli to concessions, in an effort to appease his critics who got his very job under serious threat. Florian Müller said that Battistelli would allow SUEPO to merely exist (based on just a statement) and also published some thoughts about the EPO Administrative Council meeting that we had mentioned for quite a while. Flier [PDF] and comments [PDF] from staff were also uploaded and we present these below.

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

23.03.2015
su15028mp – 0.2.1/0.3.2/0.2.2

ACTIONS CONTINUE
DEMONSTRATION: WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH
ISAR BUILDING AT 12.30h

The EPO in the news
Last Saturday (21 March) the two most respected Dutch newspapers, NRC and Volkskrant, both ran highly critical two-page articles about the EPO. The NRC commented in a second article on the refusal of the EPO to admit the Dutch labour inspection after a suicide on the premises in The Hague. As usual, Mr Battistelli denied all the charges, insisted on the EPO’s immunity and blamed SUEPO. The articles can be found here:

NRC, “Ik ben geen zonnekoning”

http://www.nrc.nl/handelsblad/van/2015/maart/21/ik-ben-geen-zonnekoning-1477227

(printable version)1, (Google translation)

NRC, “De arbeidsinspectie komt er bij het Europees Octrooibureau niet in”,
http://www.nrc.nl/handelsblad/van/2015/maart/21/ruzie-de-arbeidsinspectie-komt-er-bij-heteuropee-1477187 (printable version)2, (Google translation)

De Volkskrant, “Baas van Europese octrooiorganisatie voert schrikbewind”
http://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/baas-van-europese-octrooiorganisatie-voertschrikbewind~a3918719/ (printable version)3, (Google translation)

SUEPO will provide official translations as soon as possible.

IP blogs have also become rather critical of Mr Battistelli’s attitude and behaviour, see e.g.:

http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2015/03/20/behavior-benoit-battistelli-is-bad-for-the-epos-reputation/

http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/03/epo-human-rights-issues-and-eu-patent.html

Finally, an English translation of judgment pronounced in a court case in Croatia earlier this
year has become available: http://techrights.org/2015/03/18/full-judgment-against-topic/

In this case Mr Topic (VP4) complained about defamation. The judge could not see any defamation in the – very serious – accusations against Mr Topic. These findings are highly embarrassing not only for Mr Topic but also for Mr Battistelli who has long denounced what he called a “defamation campaign against VP4”4. Mr Battistelli imposed (and the Council rubberstamped) a house ban on a Member of the Boards of Appeal suspected of involvement in the alleged “defamation campaign”5. Such charges now seem difficult to maintain.

___________
1 http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15136cp.pdf
2 http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15138cp.pdf
3 http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15139cp.pdf
4 see e.g. Mr Battistelli’s note to all staff of 26.02.2013:
5 link to Communiqué No. 64


And the politicians?
The leading politicians responsible for patent matters in the Member States remain mostly silent. But it is clear that Mr Battistelli’s open disdain for the Dutch judiciary and the Dutch
labour inspection has raised eye-brows in The Netherlands. We also hear that Mr Battistelli’s plan to move DG3 to Berlin did not go down well with the German government. It seems that the French government is starting to become seriously worried about possible damage to the reputation of France. And we doubt that the UK minister of Innovation (“the Baroness”) failed to notice the criticism about her apparent inactivity in the current crisis:

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/03/peace-for-our-time-or-another-wasted.html

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/02/epo-suepo-and-question-of-governance.html

Next reforms
The Administrative Council of the EPO will meet on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 March in Munich. On the agenda are a reform of DG3 (CA/16/15) and the next “health reform” (CA/14/15a). The proposed reform of DG3 is purportedly intended to improve the “perception of independence of the Boards of Appeal.” In reality the reform amounts to a hostile take-over of DG3 by the Administrative Council.

The “health reform” pretends to improve the reintegration of staff on long-term sick-leave or invalidity. In practice it will seriously weaken the position of sick staff vis à vis the Office by excluding the treating physician from the medical committee. The Office furthermore plans to unilaterally abolish the – thus far compulsory – invalidity insurance that staff may have been paying for 10, 20 or even 30 years. This amounts to a breach of contract.

Apart from being financially disadvantageous, the new regulations would oblige sick staff to remain at their place of employment during at least 10 years of full incapacity before the Office will consider recognizing their invalidity. During this time they will need to request permission from their employer for every absence. According to SUEPO this is an impermissible infringement of their privacy.

What are our claims?
Staff at the EPO calls on the Administrative Council:
- to reject the proposed health reform that foresees measures that have no equivalent in any of the EPO member states and violates fundamental rights, and
- to order the President of the EPO to enter into negotiation with the staff representation in order to come to an agreed solution.

SUEPO intends to organise a demonstration every month for as long as it takes to bring the EPO back on track.

SUEPO Munich

“I’m open. But we also have troublesome unions. A mix of French unions with German efficiency: a dangerous cocktail.”

Benoît Battistelli, NRC, “Ik ben geen zonnekoning”, 21 March 2015

Here are the comments:

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

27.03.2015
su15029mp – 0.2.1/0.3.1/0.3.2

ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL
25 / 26 MARCH 2015 – A REPORT
&
NEXT ACTIONS

The Administrative Council: deaf & dumb?

Leading IP blogs have become rather critical of Mr Battistelli’s attitude and behaviour, as well as of the EPO Administrative Council’s passivity in this respect, see e.g.:

http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2015/03/20/behavior-benoit-battistelli-is-bad-for-the-epos-reputation/

http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/03/epo-human-rights-issues-and-eu-patent.html

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/03/a-kat-may-look-at-administrative.html

SUEPO1, EPO staff in general2 and the Members of the Boards of Appeal3 have also called upon the delegations not to rush through the fundamental reforms on the agenda, namely an outline of a reform of the Boards of Appeal (CA/16/15) and the second health reform (CA/14/15), without thorough reflection and proper consultation of the internal and external stake-holders. To no avail.

DG3 matters
Despite all the comments and objections (see above), the delegations unanimously approved the framework for the proposed reform of the Boards of Appeal. Another controversial decision concerned the suspension of a DG3 accused of “anonymous defamation of VP4” which was prolonged. And again there were no new appointments to DG3, meaning that DG3 will be forced to cope with an increasing workload through increased “efficiency” rather than increased capacity.

The health reform
The health reform also passed, albeit with 10 abstentions. The delegations discussed a 8 (!) hours in closed session (i.e. with the usual observers and without their “social partner”), probably mostly about the social dialog and the social reforms. The open discussion of the health reform was planned to take a mere 10 minutes. It seems for the Office difficult to signal more clearly to your “social partner” that you are not interested in his opinion. On the other hand: the open session finally took 50 minutes rather than 10. And the 8 hours in closed session are a clear sign that discussions are now taking place. That can almost be qualified as “progress”. The three major delegations (DE, FR, and UK) were amongst those who abstained. They were joined by CZ, IE, IT, MT, SE, SI and SK. This voting pattern shows that

_______
1 http://munich.suepo.org/archive/su15023ml.pdf
2 http://munich.suepo.org/archive/su15024mp.pdf
3 http://amba-epo.org/page/get/ca1615 and http://www.epostaff.org/archive/ex15146cp.pdf


traditional alliances in the Council have shifted. A majority of mostly small countries with a weak or negligible patent system are now outvoting countries with a much bigger population and a greater interest in a functional patent system. This does not bode well for the stability of the EPO and for its functioning as administrator for the Unitary Patent.

What next?
The Council’s approval of the reform of DG3 was not a final decision. The topic will be back on the agenda in June. We can only hope that by then the responsible politicians will have finally woken up and realised what is really going on: a hostile take-over of DG3 by the Administrative Council involving the creation of 8 new “jobs for the boys” – presumably Mr Battistelli’s boys.

For the health reform SUEPO will provide staff with the requests for management review that are now the necessary first step before filing an internal appeal. We will renew our contact with the Bayerische Laendesärztekammer in order to get answers to some pertinent questions about the extent to which medical doctors in Germany may fulfil the tasks the EPO intends to assign to them. Finally, SUEPO will provide legal support for its members who are denied invalidity or otherwise disadvantaged by the latest reform.

Union matters
Amazingly, after having once again brushed aside the concerns of staff and their representation and pushed through yet another ill-conceived reform, Mr Battistelli and Mr Kongstad now jointly announce4 “new initiatives to restore social peace” starting with an invitation to the trade unions (note the plural) to a kick-off meeting on 22 April 2015. Given the previous positions5 of Mr Kongstad, he and Mr Battistelli seem an unlikely pair to negotiate social peace. Whereas SUEPO wishes to echo Mr Battistelli’s statements that “our door is always open”, we also make it clear that we are not interested in merely improving “the perception of a social dialogue”.

Next actions
Should the discussions with Mr Battistelli and Mr Kongstad lead to unexpected progress (e.g. the withdrawal of the above health reform) then SUEPO would be more than delighted to postpone further actions. Until this happens, however, SUEPO intends to organise a demonstration every month for as long as it takes to bring the EPO back on track.

Details of the next demonstration will be published after the Easter holidays.

SUEPO Munich
“I am not talking about SUEPO at all: SUEPO has no standing in this Office. SUEPO has no role to play in this Office.”

Željko Topić (VP4), 19 March 2015, in a meeting with the Munich Staff Committee

_______
4 http://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2015/20150326.html
5 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/battistelli-and-kongstad-respond-to-epo.html

“Details of the next demonstration will be published after the Easter holidays,” says the above, so surely Battistelli knows that it’s far from over. It shouldn’t be over until there is justice, which should include not just recognition of the staff’s rights but also removal of corrupt EPO officials.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft DuckDuckGo Falls to Lowest Share in 2 Years After Being Widely Exposed as Microsoft Proxy, Fake 'Privacy'

    DuckDuckGo, according to this latest data from Statcounter, fell from about 0.71% to just 0.58%; all the gains have been lost amid scandals, such as widespread realisation that DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft informant, curated by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft (Bing is meanwhile laying off many people, but the media isn’t covering that or barely bothers)



  2. This is What the Microsoft-Sponsored Media Has Been Hyping Up for Weeks (Ahead of Microsoft Layoffs)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  3. [Meme] António Campinos Wants to Be F***ing President Until 2028

    António Campinos insists he will be EPO President for 10 years, i.e. even longer than Benoît Battistelli (despite having appalling approval rates from staff)



  4. European Patent Office Staff Losing Hope

    The EPO’s management with its shallow campaign of obfuscation (pretending to protect children or some other nonsense) is not fooling patent examiners, who have grown tired and whose representatives say “the administration shows no intention of involving the staff representation in the drafting of the consultant’s mandate” (like in Sirius ‘Open Source’ where technical staff is ignored completely for misguided proposals to pass in the dark)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 26, 2023



  6. Sirius Relegated/Demoted/Destined Itself to Technical Hell by Refusing to Listen to the Technical Staff (Which Wanted to Stay With Asterisk/Free Software)

    In my final year at Sirius ‘Open Source’ communication systems had already become chaotic; there were too many dysfunctional tools, a lack of instructions, a lack of coordination and the proposed ‘solution’ (this past October) was just more complexity and red tape



  7. Geminispace Approaching Another Growth Milestone (2,300 Active Capsules)

    The expansion of Geminispace is worth noting again because another milestone is approached, flirted with, or will be surpassed this coming weekend



  8. [Meme] Cannot Get a Phone to Work... in 2022

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ wasted hours of workers’ time just testing the phone after it had moved to a defective system of Google (proprietary); instead of a rollback (back to Asterisk) the company doubled down on the faulty system and the phones still didn’t work properly, resulting in missing calls and angst (the company just blamed the workers who all along rejected this new system)



  9. [Meme] Modern Phones

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is mistaking “modern” for better; insecurity and a lack of tech savvy typically leads to that



  10. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Corporation Demonstrates a Lack of Understanding of Security and Privacy

    Sirius ‘Open Source’, emboldened by ISO ‘paperwork’ (certification), lost sight of what it truly takes to run a business securely, mistaking worthless gadgets for “advancement” while compelling staff to sign a new contract in a hurry (prior contract-signing scandals notwithstanding)



  11. Links 26/01/2023: LibreOffice 7.4.5 and Ubuntu Pro Offers

    Links for the day



  12. Links 26/01/2023: GNU poke 3.0 and PipeWire 0.3.65

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 25, 2023



  14. Companies Would Collapse Upon Abandoning Their Original Goals (That Attracted All the Productive Staff)

    Staff with technical skills won't stick around in companies that reject technical arguments and moreover move to proprietary software in a company that brands itself "Open Source"



  15. [Meme] Listen to Your Workers, Avert Disaster

    Companies that refuse to take input from staff are doomed to fail



  16. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Understand the Company's Value Proposition (Building Systems) and Rejects Security

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything



  17. Links 25/01/2023: NuTyX 23.01.1 and GNU Guile 3.0.9 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Links 25/01/2023: Stratis 3.5.0 and Many Political Links

    Links for the day



  19. New Record Low: Only One 'Linux' Article in ZDNet in More Than Two Weeks

    Only a few years ago ZDNet published about 3 “Linux” stories per day (mostly FUD pieces); now it’s a ghost town, painted in ‘alien green’; considering ZDNet’s agenda (and sponsors) maybe it’s better this way



  20. Links 25/01/2023: Pale Moon 32.0 and DXVK 2.1

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 24, 2023



  22. ISO Certification Hardly Tackles Any of the Real Issues

    The real-world threats faced by private companies or non-profit organisations aren't covered by the ISO certification mill; today we publish the last post on this topic before proceeding to some practical examples



  23. [Meme] Medical Data Sovereignty

    What happens when your medical records/data are accessible to a company based abroad after a mysterious NDA with the Gates Foundation? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not mind.



  24. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Open Wash Ltd. and Medical Data/Projects at Risk/Peril

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was good at gloating about “ISO” as in ISO certification (see our ISO wiki to understand what ISO truly is; ISO certification needs to be more widely condemned and exposed) while signing all sorts of dodgy deals and lying to clients (some, like the Gates Foundation, were never mentioned because of a mysterious NDA); security and privacy were systematically neglected and some qualified as criminal negligence (with fines/penalties likely an applicable liability if caught/reported)



  25. Links 24/01/2023: Wine 8.0 is Ready, FSF Bolsters Copyleft

    Links for the day



  26. Azure Has Layoffs Again, Microsoft Still Cutting

    Even supposed ‘growth’ areas at Microsoft are being culled (this growth is faked, it is a lie)



  27. Links 24/01/2023: Tails 5.9 and ArcoLinux v23.02

    Links for the day



  28. Links 24/01/2023: GStreamer 1.22 and Skrooge Gets New Site

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 23, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, January 23, 2023



  30. The Inside(r) Story of ISO 'Certification' Mills

    Based on my experiences inside Sirius ‘Open Source’ — as I was there for nearly 12 years — I finally tell what I’ve witnessed about ISO certification processes (see ISO wiki for prior experiences)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts