Summary: A joint UPSU/FNV letter, in defence of the rule of law and human rights, calls for immediate action against the EPO with its inexcusable immunity
EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, and FVN, its Dutch affiliate, have just done something very important which can pave the way to serious political actions and interventions, like those that we saw earlier this year.
Shown above is an open letter to Dutch Prime Minister, titled: “Abuse of immunity by the EPO on the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands”
The source of this letter accompanied it with a press release, titled: “European Patent Office does not live in a Dutch no man’s land” (original at http://www.epsu.org/a/11777)
For readers’ information, here is the accompanying press release as well, adding to recent pressure from the I.L.O. (which has had a lot of rulings against/regarding the EPO, including some high-profile examples [
(EPSU/FNV Press Release, Brussels 06 November 2015) In a joint letter, EPSU, the European Public Service Union, and its Dutch affiliate, FNV, call upon the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to take action against breaches of fundamental workers’ rights at the European Patent Office based in the Hague, Netherlands.
“The media have reported on EPO’s unacceptable management led by its President, Mr Battistelli.”The European Patent Office’s core activity is the examination of patent applications and the grant of European patents.
The media have reported on EPO’s unacceptable management led by its President, Mr Battistelli.
In a ruling of 17 February, the Hague-based appeal Court instructed EPO to uphold the rule-of-law and social dialogue standards in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and ILO Conventions No87, on the right to organise in trade unions, and No 98 on the right to collective bargaining.
“The Dutch government must not tolerate these abusive practices on its own territory that bring back workers to the 19th century.”
–Marieke ManschotEPO responded that the court ruling was not executable on the ground that it enjoys immunity. The Dutch government is currently backing the EPO in a case before the Dutch constitutional court aiming at declaring the Dutch judiciary system as incompetent to issue such rulings.
“Refusal to cooperate with labour inspectors, repetitive threats towards union representatives, breaches of data protection rules, these are just examples of EPO’s managerial practices. The Dutch government must not tolerate these abusive practices on its own territory that bring back workers to the 19th century. There must be limits to immunity” says FNV union official Marieke Manschot
“They must accept the fact that they don’t live in a legal no man’s land.”
–Jan Willem Goudriaan“It is EPO’s whole governance that is deficient. European and international organisations must respect labour law and trade unions. They must accept the fact that they don’t live in a legal no man’s land. Immunity has been designed to facilitate international cooperation and protect those functions or people who need protection, not to abuse workers” says EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan
EPSU and FNV expect clear answers from Prime Minister Rutte on efficient and fast measures to remedy the situation at EPO.
See EPSU/FNV letter to Prime Minister Rutte sent on 04 November 2015 below.
- Netherlands: FNV Marieke Manschot,
- Belgium: EPSU Nadja Salson
The EPO scandals are escalating in terms of severity because the EPO now resorts to militarism [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
Tomorrow we will have some articles about the US and the European patent systems. A lot remains to be said. █
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Gestapomen following the white buses (a Swedish photograph in the public domain)
Summary: Military connections in the Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office makes one wonder what this whole organisation has really turned into
THIS will be the last part of this series, which lasted about a week and included [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
Today we will take a deeper look at the military connections that the EPO quietly boasts. Currently, "gestapo" is what some people call the Investigative Unit internally and they are not being overly dramatic. Techniques which even resemble torture are now being covertly used. They are of course being justified using the same old ways/excuses/pretexts. As this article from a few days ago (by an Associate Dean and author specialising in this area) put it: “In both the Nazi and American examples, the experiments were carried out in the name of “national security.” A Nazi doctor whom I (Lifton) interviewed had at first opposed the harmful “research” but changed his mind and participated in typhus experiments with prisoners after being told by a Nazi medical bureaucrat that they were necessary for finding ways to prevent epidemics in German troops.”
In the case of the EPO, human rights violations are being justified as “necessary” for the integrity or stability of the Office. This is not acceptable and one day, if justice is to ever be served, the Office (or the Organisation) can face criminal charges over it (like some people in the US last month).
Looking at some ‘lower level’ staff at the Investigative Unit, it seems apparent that they brought in some truly aggressive or shady people.
Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre (image on the left extracted from this 2010 publication
[PDF]), for example, comes from the French secret services and served in Afghanistan. She is Head of the Conflict Resolution Unit which works in close cooperation with the Investigative Unit. Ms Lefèvre is also Head of Internal Communication.
“Our sources told us that Mr Kinch is actually an investigator from Control Risks (CRG), which we dubbed “British Blackwater” because of its dubious past activities.”Simona Barbieri, also reportedly in this unit, is a good friend of Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre (perhaps another case of "friend brings a friend") and then there is Matthew Kinch. To quote a somewhat sanitised biography, “Matthew Kinch is a linguist and specialist in global media monitoring, who headed BBC Monitoring’s operations in Eastern Europe and, most recently, Afghanistan. He now works as a media consultant. Matthew speaks English, German, Spanish, Russian, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian and Catalan.”
Our sources told us that Mr Kinch is actually an investigator from Control Risks (CRG), which we dubbed “British Blackwater” because of its dubious past activities. “He speaks at least 8 languages,” we were told, “and worked as a journalist for the BBC in Afghanistan. He has the perfect spy profile. Some say that he met Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre while she was serving in Afghanistan and that’s how he later got his contract with the EPO.” Perhaps not only INPI gets ‘reunited’ inside the EPO, if true…
For our newer readers, who may not have seen our previous articles about CRG, here are some places to start:
“This is what is happening behind the glassed windows and the immunity of the EPO,” told us a source. “And nobody cares.” █
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Summary: A call for USPTO staff to blow the whistle if misconduct is known and the public needs to know about it
ANY system which maximises profit by granting ‘weapons’ typically wants more conflict. Just like it’s true for the war/defence/arms industry, it is true for the patents industry. Legal wars are a form of war and some people become incredibly rich in the process, irrespective of the outcome.
Patent systems tend to be restrained by a system that is independent from them and decides what is patentable (based on public interest), but what happens when this restraint is removed, corrupted, or made complicit with (or dependent on) the subject of restraint?
“Legal wars are a form of war and some people become incredibly rich in the process, irrespective of the outcome.”A war between Apple and Android continues to rage, as covered by Florian Müller the other day. It was also covered in the media, based on the original opinion
[PDF]. “Goes to show,” one person wrote, “the USPTO is broken (check it out: The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence by Dr. Roy Schestowitz).”
As longtime readers may know, the USPTO is no friend of ours because it’s where many of the world’s patent trolls (and software patents) come from. It’s also easily corruptible by large corporations, which are often running it (worse in that regard than the EPO). A noteworthy fact: USPTO search is powered by Microsoft (is Google not good enough?), which makes one wonder if the USPTO in bed with Microsoft just like EPO.
A source wrote to us regarding what this source called “USPTO corruption”, citing this older article of ours.
Amidst all these exposés of the EPO we don’t want readers to just assume that the USPTO is much better; perhaps it just needs more whistleblowers. We wrote about USPTO corruption just earlier this year and as we wrote at the time, the USPTO’s “attempted cover-up attempts show that rather than deal with the abuses the USPTO became very much complicit.”
“My invention,” told us our source, “was publicly disclosed on a website/book/video [but then] was stolen and a bunch of guys got a patent on them in less than a year. How can the patent examiner [have] missed these prior arts? The examiner allowed the patent to be expedited because USPTO got paid extra money. Also USPTO is corrupt because it easily allows patent to get approved without doing a thorough search on prior art. USPTO wants people to file for reexamination to invalidate patents that cost on average $16,000. Or even worse they want people to go on litigation for the sake of profit.”
We have been covering similar abuses recently, in relation to the EPO, where there is a fast track for special 'partners' (inevitably with no proper prior art search). Leaked evidence (in the form of a documents) makes it unmistakably the case rather than suspicion alone.
We would very much like to start a similar series about abuses by the USPTO, but we have been waiting for people with information like the above to come forward.
People are invited to anonymously provide us any additional details (including documents if any) to allow us to write more about this topic. The unfairness of these systems ought to end. A lot of patent lawyers have been very interested in finding out what the EPO does wrong; perhaps the USPTO too has a lot of ‘dirty laundry’. █
“Software patents have been nothing but trouble for innovation. We the software engineers know this, yet we actually have full-blown posters in our break-room showcasing the individual engineers who came up with something we were able to push through the USPTO. Individually, we pretty much all consider the software-patent showcase poster to be a colossal joke.” —Kelledin, PLI: State Street Overruled… PERIOD
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