09.12.15

EPO Staff Suicides Estimated to Have Grown Tenfold Under Current Regime — Claim

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But Battistelli continues to deny there is a problem and won’t fall on his sword (no joke/entertainment but an idiom)

Ruined church

Summary: Instead of EPO staff driving away the corrupt management, it’s the management crushing staff unions and driving away the staff (causing brain drain), or driving some to suicide

THE SELF-DEFENCE we often hear from the EPO, including from Battistelli in person, is that the number of suicides at the EPO is not statistically unusual. Some EPO apologists say the same thing, often without checking and actually comparing statistics.

Dutch newspapers have written about the suicides in recent days (they deem it worthy of a mention, not opportunism or a distortion of facts) and over at IP Kat, having read the automated translations of these articles, “Merpel urges the Administrative Council (AC) to act, and to act quickly. Discussions about whether the Office has immunity from employment law or is exempt from the prevailing standards of employee care throughout the EU are not only immaterial, they are repugnant in the present circumstances. Each AC delegate should take individual responsibility to ensure that the next time such a personal tragedy occurs, nobody thinks it newsworthy and nobody links it to the EPO as a place of employment.”

A lot of new information (however unverified) can be found in the comments. One commenter wrote: “I am not sure that SUEPO did the right thing, making the matter public, but the reply of the President is shameful as well. Even if the death cannot be linked directly linked with the working conditions, claiming that everything is honky dory is a blatant lie. That he respects the dignity of staff is just laughable. ”

SUEPO did not make the matter public, it was first reported in Techrights last month and all along we tried hard to protect the identity of the person in question (the first person to mention the name in correspondence was the EPO’s Ciaran McGinley, PD Patent Administration, and later Battistelli). Even in private correspondence with Battistelli SUEPO consistently abstained from name-dropping, even after Battistelli had done that.

“The suicides don’t surprise us at all given the management’s bullying, euphemistically called “interrogation” (maybe we should dub it Battistelligence).”IP Kat has many comments that are interesting because some of them add new information and the posters often come from within the EPO (both the management and those below the management). One person shares this story: “I know the widow of one of the EPO suicided colleague. She really wanted an independent investigation. Then the EPO informed her that such request of investigation is inappropriate. Such behavior will postpone the payment of all the allowances. (+/- 4 years of procedure for the internal appeal, then +/- 4 additional years for the appeal at the ILOAT).

“The direct consequence: the widow and her children would be left without money and without social security for 8 years.

“This wife was desperate by the dead of her husband. She couldn´t face additional money problems and she had to cooperate with the EPO.”

Here is some unverified bunch of historical statistics about suicides at the EPO: “I believe that what is striking here is the INCREASE of the suicide rate at the EPO, which were 3 (three in total !) in the more than 30 years between 1977 and 2009.

“This means that the suicide rate changed in 2010 from 1 every 10 years to 1 every year.”

The suicides don’t surprise us at all given the management’s bullying, euphemistically called “interrogation” (maybe we should dub it Battistelligence). It’s militarised. Maybe one day we will expand on what exactly happens behind closed doors and who is doing that.

“Nothing is done to lower the work pressure,” one person writes, “on the contrary + nothing is done to stop the brutal management methods on the contrary = further suicides among the weakest staff are likely to soon occur at the European Patent Office.”

It would not shock us at this stage. The EPO is now bullying even staff representatives. How dumb a move.

One person correctly pointed out: “The point is surely that such tragedies demand a proper investigation. Precisely because of its claim to blanket immunity, the EPO is in loco the state for many aspects of its employees’ lives. In the outside world a suicide IS investigated by a coroner’s court in the UK (I am not sure about what happens in continental law), and such investigations sometimes lead to recommendations for prevention. On a large scale the epidemiology of suicide is studied by governments as a basis for preventive policies. The exclusion of suicides by EPO employees from any such investigation is completely unacceptable.”

SUEPO has meanwhile shared this Dutch interview from NPO Radio 1, titled “Verziekte arbeidsomstandigheden bij Octrooibureau in Rijswijk” (it’s all in Dutch).

To quote SUEPO, “Ms Liesbeth Zegveld, SUEPO lawyer and Mr John Kerstens, Member of the Dutch House of Parliament (Tweede Kamer PvdA) were interviewed on 10 September 2015 on the Dutch channel Radio 1 over the “unhealthy working environment” in the European Patent Office.”

We would really appreciate translations from Dutch to English. These would broaden the reach of this scandal and allow MEPs whose Dutch is zilch to become better informed.

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2015/09/12/epo-suicide-statistics/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Dr.Guinness said,

    September 13, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Gravatar

    Why the request of investigation of the widow of one of the EPO suicided colleague is inappropriate? On which EPO rules the postponement of the payment of all the allowances is based. This criminal people make their own rules to hide their crimes ? When they have nothing to hide, why are they against an investigation ?

    Statistics per country about suicides can easily be found in the internet.
    List by the World Health Organization (2012) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate . Have a look to Netherlands and Germany:
    Suicides per 100,000 people per year : Germany 9.2 So suicides per 3500 people in Germany are only 0,322. Netherlands 8,2 So suicides per 3500 people in The Netherlands are only 0,287 For 7000 people
    (3500 Germany plus 3500 Netherlands) we find 0,6 per year. This is in three years less than two people. In the EPO we had in three years time five. An investigation is urgent and more than justified.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 16, 2021



  2. Hate Letter Against FSF (Concern Trolls): 1415 Committers, Letter in Support of FSF (With Its Founder Back): 5116

    Taking into account people who asked for their names to be removed from the defamatory hate letter (inciting people, based on falsehoods), it's not impossible that the support letter really triples or quadruples it in terms of number of signatures



  3. Richard Stallman: Sharing is Good... We Need to Legalise It

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains his take on copyright and the artificial restriction being used against sharing



  4. Nadine Strossen and Hannah Wolfman-Jones Rebut Accusations Against Stallman and Choose Him as Coauthor

    "Here are her thoughts and the response she received from Nadine, extracted verbatim with their permission from the original article"



  5. Links 17/4/2021: GNOME 40 in Tumbleweed, Devuan 4.0 Alpha, Kate Editor Makes a Leap

    Links for the day



  6. EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO 'to Court' (the ILO's Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

    The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them



  7. The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

    A fake "GNU" (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name "GNU") is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it's an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)



  8. Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

    Links for the day



  9. The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

    Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion



  10. Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

    What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media



  11. Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

    A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 15, 2021



  13. [Meme] Laundering Bribes as 'Cooperation Money'

    Germany has financial interest in ensuring that EPO abuses carry on and nobody holds the EPO accountable



  14. Articles in Support of Richard Stallman

    Reproduced with permission



  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 20: Taking Stock

    Benoît Battistelli's legacy at the EPO is a legacy of corruption and cover-up; we take stock of how illegality was defended and persists to this day



  16. Links 15/4/2021: Zorin OS 16 Beta and Pushing Linux to GitHub- and Microsoft-Connected Rust

    Links for the day



  17. [Meme] Enemies With Common Interests

    The Software Freedom Movement (or Free Software Movement) has many enemies; some of them just hide in the shadows or speak out through shadowy front groups/NGOs that they semi-officially sponsor



  18. [Meme] Germany's Red Cash Cow

    EPO brings a lot of money to the German state. But at what cost to citizens and Germany’s public image?



  19. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 19: The Deafening Silence of the Media

    "There has been speculation that Maas might have had his own political interest in protecting Battistelli and the Balkan Express because of certain allegations about financial irregularities involving the German Patents and Trademark Office (DPMA) which were doing the rounds at the time."



  20. The Indirection Game

    How to attack institutions and concepts by personifying them, then proceeding to character assassination based on lies and deliberate distortions



  21. Links 15/4/2021: LXQt 0.17, Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

    Links for the day



  22. The Patent Battles in Europe Are Connected to the War on GNU/Linux (as a Community-Led Effort)

    Monoplisers of GNU and Linux want us to think that OIN is the solution while they actively lobby for software patents in Europe and the people in charge of Europe’s second-largest institution and Europe’s largest patent office help them; this long video contains thoughts about news from the past couple of days



  23. Richard Stallman: Freedom is the Goal (Updated)

    What Richard Stallman (RMS) told me in person on his trip here



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 14, 2021



  25. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

    "It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President."



  26. Richard Stallman's Honors and Awards (and Why He Resigned in 2019)

    Reproduced with permission



  27. Links 14/4/2021: Alpine Releases and X.Org Server 1.20.11 Release (Security)

    Links for the day



  28. Links 14/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7, Tor Browser 10.5a14

    Links for the day



  29. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!

    A French-German co-production of "Yes, Minister!" starring Raimund Lutz, Heiko Maas and Christoph Ernst. Directed by Benoît Battistell.



  30. Over 1,000 EPO Workers Initiate Legal Challenge Against the EPO's Attack on Salaries (in Defiance of Assurances Made to Workers Who Relocate to Another Country With Whole Families)

    The EPO’s attack on workers and pensioners isn’t going ahead without challenge; while the “Mafia” (what EPO workers call the management) loots the organisation it takes away money from the workers — i.e. from besieged folks who do all the work and face growing workloads during a pandemic


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