11.24.15

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New Heise Article Makes It Clear That ‘Nazi’-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emile Zola's article
Context

Summary: The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called ‘house ban’) increasingly look like the management’s own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

READERS are advised to recall that the EPO’s media strategy right now is to frame its dissenting staff as armed and violent Nazis or Jihadists. It’s a pretext for attacking such staff, denying staff the right to free speech. Yesterday we published 7 articles about the EPO’s many abuses. In the 7th article we mentioned this new article from Heise journalist Stefan Krempl, whose previous article had a translation of (translation into English, as posted here). This time too we have a quick translation (approximately 12 hours after publication). Here it is:

European Patent Office throws out union leaders

heise online

23.11.2015 18:33 Stefan Krempl

The European Patent Office opened disciplinary proceedings against three trade unionists and suspended them. They are accused of having unlawfully counseled employees and to have blabbered too much.

“They are accused of having unlawfully counseled employees and to have blabbered too much.”The domestic bliss at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich remains troubled. The newest unrest is mainly caused by the agency’s harsh treatment of three leading representatives of the institution’s international trade union (SUEPO): the chairwoman of the staff representation, Elizabeth Hardon, her predecessor, as well as the treasurer have been ordered to stay away from work since last week. The EPO opened disciplinary proceedings against them and suspended them as well. They are threatened with a swift dismissal.

The unionists are accused among other things of having unlawfully counseled fellow employees as well as a recently suspended patent judge, in addition to having threatened or bullied other union members, and to have informed third parties of the ongoing internal investigations against them. An EPO-spokesman confirmed the procedure to the Münchner Merkur and the Juve professional information service.

Confidential information betrayed?

“A labour law expert having knowledge of the case declared to “Juve” that in view of the latest escalation, the legal protection of the concerned parties was reduced to a joke.”Hardon had already been threatened last September with legal measures. She was most notably inculpated of having divulged that she had been summoned before the office’s relatively recent “Investigation Unit”. Through her lawyer, the unionist had resolutely rejected the accusations in a letter to the EPO Administrative Council. The matter at stake was allegedly a single sentence in a private and confidential discussion amongst the Staff Representation, as a part of an “opinion finding process”.

“Even if the disciplinary commission were to clear Hardon and her comrades of any wrongdoings, the president of the EPO wouldn’t be bound by its conclusions and nevertheless dismiss or otherwise sanction them.”A labour law expert having knowledge of the case declared to “Juve” that in view of the latest escalation, the legal protection of the concerned parties was reduced to a joke. Even if the disciplinary commission were to clear Hardon and her comrades of any wrongdoings, the president of the EPO wouldn’t be bound by its conclusions and nevertheless dismiss or otherwise sanction them. Only at that point would the concerned parties be able to involve the International Labor Organisation’s Administrative Tribunal. But many years could pass until a final decision is pronounced, and no one can verify whether the judgement is implemented.

The Patent Office’s “Sun King”

“The Frenchman has been accused for quite a while of running the institution as if he were the Sun King.”According to some reports, about 2000 EPO-employees spontaneously gathered for a demo before the Munich seat of the organisation, which has around 7000 employees in several locations. The demonstrators’ anger was particularly directed against the organisation’s chief Benoît Battistelli. The Frenchman has been accused for quite a while of running the institution as if he were the Sun King. Even though there were strikes and demos protesting against the working conditions within the EPO before Battistelli’s time, the protest have been markedly exacerbated since his 2010 inauguration as president.

“It stated that the accusations against the jurist were insufficiently substantiated.”The EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeals meanwhile rejected a request of the Administrative Council for removing a patent judge from his office, who had been the target of an other disciplinary procedure, in addition to having been counseled by Hardon. This emerged from the decision which the IPKat blog published. It stated that the accusations against the jurist were insufficiently substantiated. This raised the suspicion that the real intent was to get rid of a “bothersome judge”. The Administrative Council nevertheless initiated around mid-October a procedure for removing him from office. The highest instance of the judicial branch of the administration will have to deal with this affair anew.

“This raised the suspicion that the real intent was to get rid of a “bothersome judge”.”The Administrative council, which is composed of the representatives of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), is the supervisory instance of the administration. It has supported Battistelli up to now. The EPO as an international administration is not subject to the law of any particular country, and thus frequently floats in a difficult to control gray area. (axk)

There is a link inside the article to the letter from Hardon, who complains about institutional harassment by "Sun King" and his team. It’s a link to Techrights. Unfortunately, the flow of information inside the EPO is greatly impeded by such institutional harassment. As one person put it, “the fact that no one dared to forward [material] in electronic form to the staff representation speaks volumes about the atmosphere of fear of retaliation that currently prevails in the Office, and the total lack of trust of staff in any meaningful form of data protection in the Office” (the EPO just arrogantly ignores European laws).

“The president stated several times that the opponents to his plans are just a few disgruntled examiners,” as this person points out, yet this president is attacking every employee. “I see that the techrights.org webserver is unresponsive,” wrote another person last night. “Could it be under suffering for its unfavourable coverage of the ongoing EPO hoohah?”

“I see that the techrights.org webserver is unresponsive. Could it be under suffering for its unfavourable coverage of the ongoing EPO hoohah?”
      –Anonymous
“What is the opposite of a “media partner”, by the way? Whatever it is, maybe the EPO has decided that techrights.org is one, deserving of special treatment.”

Actually, a massive surge in the number of cracking attempts to about 5 per second is partly to blame for accessibility or uptime issues. We don’t know who’s being such frequent attacks; we can only hypothetise. There is another new comment there, which says: “In his letter to the French representative Pierre-Yves le Borgn’, President Battistelli wrote that it was easy to prove that the interrogations of staff representatives were not violent because they were recorded. In order to prove this to be correct these recordings should be made available to the addressee by the EPO, a public institution that pretends to be more and more transparent. In fact staff are banned from the EPO premises if they make public that they were submitted to interrogation.

“The “conspirators” are not guilty of any wrongdoing either and Battistelli wilfully misled to the representative, the AC and the general public.”
      –Anonymous
“Mr Battistelli further stated that there was an intense defamation campaign originated by a member of DG3 who was guilty, according to BB, of conspiracy against the EPO. Said member, according to BB, stored weapons (!) and nazi propaganda in his office and wrote racist letters. Battistelli, when he wrote this letter on 20.11.2015 was aware of the EBoA decision Art 23 1/15, which concluded that there was no convincing evidence whatsoever in this respect. Said DG3 member is thus innocent and Lord Schiemmann has been proven to be wrong.”

“The “conspirators” are not guilty of any wrongdoing either and Battistelli wilfully misled to the representative, the AC and the general public.

“Further, Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent, which is a mere allegation, he has not permitted staff expression on this subject nor on any other and there is no “rich and respectful social dialogue” either.

“Further, Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent, which is a mere allegation, he has not permitted staff expression on this subject nor on any other and there is no “rich and respectful social dialogue” either.”
      –Anonymous
“Just to put it straight, there are, according to public EPO reports, 6000 candidates for examiner posts at the EPO in 2015, not 20.000. Productivity has increased mainly thanks to window dressing (ECfS).

“Thank you Mr. Le Borgn’.”

We are still hoping to publish a translation (from French to English) of the EPO’s puff pieces in its “media partner” — the same pieces which Battistelli is so eager to pass around to people like Pierre-Yves.

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