06.06.15

EPO and Administrative Council Stall Criticism by Pretending to Negotiate With Staff Whilst Actually Attacking It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The goal of censoring critics

Benoit Battistelli

Summary: Benoît Battistelli and his ilk are not actually interested in making changes, only in silencing their critics

AT THE increasingly disgraced EPO, not much publicly happened in the month of May (and much of the prior month) because staff representatives tried a more diplomatic approach, assuming (quite wrongly) that EPO management would accept and formally recognise staff participation in decision making, workers’ rights, etc. Things may be just about to explode again because the staff aren’t having/tolerating any of the management’s pretenses of concessions, especially not when the management preys on staff and European media. The EPO seems to have opted for delaying tactics (giving the impression of negotiation) while nasty, shady, and privatised (state-connected) spies stab staff in the back.

Many IP addresses are being blocked this week due to DDOS attacks on Techrights; we have reasons for assuming it’s related to EPO coverage (we have a lot more coming about EPO management), for reasons we explained before [1, 2, 3, 4].

According to SUEPO’s site: “The last tri-partite meeting (Administrative Council/Office/Unions) on Union recognition took place on 28 May. Neither the Office nor the Administrative Council (AC) have given any indication that they intend to involve SUEPO in any form of serious collective bargaining.

“The EPO also refuses to stop investigations against staff and union representatives launched during the talks on unions recognition.”

Here is the statement issued in PDF form:

Unions Recognition Talks

going nowhere as slowly as possible

The last tri-partite meeting (Administrative Council + Office + Unions) on Union recognition took place on 28 May.

As was foreseeable from the talks during the two preparatory meetings between the Unions and the Administration (Office), the EPO refuses:

- to stop investigations against staff and union representatives launched during the talks on unions recognition;
- to accept basic principles for (mandatory) dispute resolution in case of disagreement between management and unions, or non-compliance with agreements signed;
- to provide unions with the minimal resources needed;
- to revisit urgently recently introduced reforms (Careers & Performance management, Sick leave & invalidity);
- to apply best practices (in spite of statements to the contrary by Mr Kongstad in the kick-off meeting);

Meanwhile, neither the Office nor the Administrative Council (AC) have given any indication that they intend to involve SUEPO in any form of serious collective bargaining.

Neither Mr Battistelli nor Mr Kongstad (Council Chairman) is serious about recognizing Unions as social partners. Sweet talk and communication spins cannot hide the truth, which is: their alleged overture towards unions is nothing but a disingenuous fig leaf to buy time and favour with the AC delegations.

In these circumstances, time has come to reassert unambiguously the claims granted by the Dutch Court of Appeal in its ruling of 17 February 2015, and fight for proper means of enforcement which, if proven unavailable, will place all the member states under liability for violation of fundamental rights.

SUEPO Central

Why is the EPO’s management being given the benefit of the doubt, especially given its appalling track record? This management is not only disliked by staff (many of whom go on strike), but also patent practitioners, such as patent lawyers. As IP Kat put it yesterday: “European Inventor Award survey… Award is not viewed as a particularly useful or attractive event by a large proportion of people who spend their time and practise their skills in the social media’s IP space.” (context here)

IP Kat also wrote about patent reform in Europe, noting: “Following an update by Margot Fröhlinger (Principal Director, EPO) on the unitary patent and unified patent court, the EPLIT meeting turned to issues concerning the draft Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate, the unclear and potentially unfair rules on “grandfathering” of practitioners without litigation certificates in the representation of clients before the new courts, the assessment of court fees based on the estimated value of the litigation [to this Kat, such an assessment sounds like a perfect recipe for a headache], the recoverability of costs and the training of technically qualified judges.”

Nowadays, the media, politicians, many of the patent practitioners, patent examiners and obviously scientists are all upset at the EPO. Why would anyone still give Benoît Battistelli and his ilk another chance? It is a waste of time and it gives these thugs an opportunity to silently attack the opposition while everything looks calm. There is a very rogue element at the top and it needs to be eliminated; compromises don’t lead anywhere because Battistelli isn’t man of compromise (he threatened to resign over this very idea).

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