EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  2. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  3. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  4. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  5. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  6. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  7. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  9. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  10. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  11. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  12. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  13. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  14. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  15. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  16. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  17. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  18. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe



  19. A Linux Foundation Run by People Who Reject Linux is Like a Children's Charity Whose Management Dislikes Children

    We remain concerned about the lack of commitment that the Linux Foundation has for Linux; much of the Linux Foundation's Board, for example, comes from hostile companies



  20. Links 15/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC5 and SolydXK Reviewed

    Links for the day



  21. Links 14/4/2019: Blender 2.80 Release Plan and Ducktype 1.0

    Links for the day



  22. 'Poor' (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

    Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea



  23. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 2)

    Calls for papers (CfP) and who gets to assess what's presented or what's not presented is a lesser-explored aspect, especially in this age when large corporate sponsors get to indirectly run entire 'community' events



  24. Patent Maximalists Are Enabling Injustices and Frauds

    It's time to come to grips with the simple fact that extreme patent lenience causes society to suffer and is mostly beneficial to bad actors; for the patent profession to maintain a level of credibility and legitimacy it must reject the deplorable, condemnable zealots



  25. Further Decreasing Focus on Software Patents in the United States as They Barely Exist in Valid Form Anymore

    No headway made after almost 4 months of Iancu-led stunts; software patents remain largely dead and buried, so we’re moving on to other topics



  26. Links 13/4/2019: Wine 4.6 and Emacs 26.2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/4/2019: Mesa 19.0.2, Rust 1.34.0 and Flatpak 1.3.2 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Caricature: EPO Standing Tall

    A reader's response to the EPO's tall claims and fluff from yesterday



  29. The EPO is Slipping Out of Control Again and It's Another Battistelli-Like Mess With Disregard for the Rule of Law and Patent Scope

    The banker in chief is just 'printing' or 'minting' lots and lots of patents, even clearly bogus ones that lack substance to back their perceived value



  30. Global Finance Magazine Spreads Lies About the Unitary Patent and German Constitutional Court

    Alluding to the concept of a "unified European patent," some site connected to Class Editori S.p.A. and based in Manhattan/New York City tells obvious lies about the Unified Patent Court (UPC), possibly in an effort to sway outcomes and twist people's expectations


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts