12.03.15

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French Member of Parliament Reacts to EPO Management Amidst Ongoing Attacks on Staff Representatives and Facts-free Information War

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Responds to explosive leaks which show a massive new PR contract with an American company

Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ letter

Summary: The EPO’s information war (with a $80,000-per-month budget dedicated just to reputation laundering and spin) upsets French politician Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’

A FEW days ago we wrote about Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’. He was being informed by EPO staff representatives that the EPO‘s President, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, was lying about them in private letters (written in French). This isn’t unusual for Battistelli; we already covered several similar examples. In the world of Team Battistelli, you can only be in one of two teams; either Battistelli’s team or the enemies’ team. It’s a lot like nations under autocratic regimes (such as North Korea’s). Dissent is neither normal nor tolerated. There is no sense of democracy or even of free speech. Moreover, there is hardly a rule of law; the President (or Dear Leader) is the law, with the President’s guards being the unaccountable enforcers. Internally, at the EPO, these are referred to as "the gestapo" because of their actions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“Stuff keeps coming in,” told us a French-speaking person last night. “There is something new at the Web site of MP Le Borgn’.

“A strongly-worded letter signed “Les examinateurs exaspérés” ["The exasperated examiners" or "the fed up examiners"] reviews the profoundly toxic atmosphere at the EPO.

Techrights is mentioned prominently on page 2.

“I’m quite sure at this point that a translation will pop up quickly. I nevertheless include an OCR version in case you want to run it through a translator.

Here is the text of the letter [PDF], which is basically a scanned copy:

Munich, le 30 novembre 2015

ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE FRANCAISE
A l’attention de Mr. Le Borgn’, Député
Rue de l’Université 126
75355 Paris 07 SP
France

Monsieur le Député,

Tout d’abord permettez-nous de vous exprimer notre reconnaissance pour vos prises de position courageuses et vos interventions en vue de rétablir la Justice et la moralité dans l’Office européen des Brevets.

A deux reprises déjà le conseil d’administration de l’Office a demandé au président Battistelli de reprendre le dialogue social. Sa réponse a été la mise à pied de toute évidence injustifiée de trois dirigeants élus de notre syndicat, la SUEPO. Des investigations ont été ouvertes contre eux. Les accusations de l’Office ne semblent pas du tout reposer sur des bases solides, et ont été formellement réfutées par des juristes allemands. Les sources juridiques qu’invoque l’Office sont actuellement inconnues et pour le moins douteuses. Aucune contre-argumentation crédible ne semble avoir été présentée qui mette en défaut les conclusions des avocats consultés par la SUEPO. A La Haye des membres de la SUEPO et de la Représentation du Personnel ont aussi été soumis à des interrogatoires où ils ont dû subir d’inacceptables pressions psychologiques. Dans le courrier qu’il vous a adressé, le président Battistelli déclare que ces séances auraient été enregistrées. Une question se pose d’emblée: quelle est la légalité de tels enregistrements? Les unités d’investigation à qui sont confiées ces enquêtes et ces interrogatoires disposent d’un pouvoir inquisitorial inacceptable totalement en dehors du cadre de l’éthique et de la sécurite juridique garanties à leurs citoyens par les democraties europeennes modernes.

A travers ces dirigeants de la SUEPO, ce sont 7000 fonctionnaires qui sont agressés par les agissements du président Battistelli. En deux heures s’est organisée une manifestation groupant 2000 personnes en face du bâtiment « Isar », siège de l’Office. Compte tenu du nombre d’employés à Munich, cela est énorme.., et constitue bien sûr ce que le président Battisteffi aura sans doute encore l’audace d’appeler « une minorité ». L’indignation et l’écoeurement sont à leur comble. Il est grand temps que soit mis un terme à cette culture du mépris du personnel et que le conseil d’administration de l’Office fasse enfin entendre sa voix en ce sens.

Nous en avons assez d’être traités comme le cheptel du président Battistelli. Nous avons tous étudié dans les écoles et universités les plus prestigieuses, et nombre de nos collègues sont détenteurs de diplômes de doctorat. La plupart d’entre nous sont issus de l’industrie, où ils ont occupé des postes à responsabilité ou des fonctions managériales. Ils pourraient avec certitude donner d’utiles leçons à la direction de l’Office et enfin lui apprendre les bonnes pratiques dans ce domaine.

Empreinte de crainte et de suspicion, l’ambiance de travail est des plus sinistres. Qui à l’Office a encore confiance dans son ordinateur ou dans les photocopieuses, parfois même dans ses collègues? Nous en sommes venus à nous méfier des téléphones mis à disposition dans nos bureaux à tel point que pour communiquer sur des sujets les plus anodins, nos collègues en viennent à ne plus utiliser que leurs. « Handys », non sans avoir jeté un regard circulaire autour d’eux pour s’assurer que leur conversation ne soit pas écoutée. La confiance a totalement disparu dans les relations entre employés et supérieurs hiérarchiques: à tort ou à raison, nous craignons constamment d’être victimes d’un coup fourré. Il ne faut donc pas s’étonner que dans cet environnement toxique les collègues désabusés réagissent de plus en plus nombreux par une « démission interne », certains ayant d’ailleurs déjà exprimé que le matin, c’est avec la haine de leur employeur qu’ils franchissent les portes de l’Office.

C’est encore avec la plus vive inquiétude que nous constatons que des mesures d’intimidation de journalistes ou de «bloggers » orchestrées par l’Office sont mentionnées sur le «net» voyez par exemple

http://techrights.org/2015/11/27/epo-reputation-laundering/
http://techrights.org/2015/11/27/epo-information-warfare/

Cette source, ainsi que des informations internes dignes de foi, semblent clairement indiquer que l’Office a maintenant débloqué un budget de l’ordre de 800 000 € pour des campagnes de presse. Comment et dans quels buts ces considérables montants d’argent public seront-ils utilisés? Cette question ne préoccupe apparemment pas le conseil d’administration. La direction de l’Office ne se gêne pas pour traîner dans la boue les membres du personnel qui osent exprimer une opinion dissidente, en particulier s’il s’agit des dirigeants syndicaux ou de la représentation du personnel. L’étape suivante sera-t-elle de museler la presse et de taire les critiques par des campagnes de diffamation et d’intimidation, ou d’abuser des cours de justice européennes pour parvenir à ces fins?

Nous voudrions bien signer cette lettre de nos vrais noms, mais voilà! Vous n’ignorez pas que l’Office s’est adjugé les services de l’inquiétante firme « Control Risks », apparemment impliquée dans un certain nombre de scandales concernant l’espionnage illégal de journalistes, de clients et d’employés de firmes en Allemagne. La crainte qu’étant connus nous puissions être victime d’une implacable vengeance reste donc fondée.

L’Office doit respecter la légalité et la justice telles qu’elles existent dans les démocraties européennes modernes. Nous ne voulons pas plus que le rétablissement de nos droits et le respect de notre honneur.
Vous exprimant notre confiance, nous vous prions, Monsieur le Député, d’agréer l’expression de nos sentiments respectueux.

Les Examinateurs exaspérés.

Any accurate translation of the above would be very much appreciated. I cannot speak or comprehend French myself.

“If they honestly believe that their target audience is going to be so gullible, then it says a lot about their dim views of the outside world.”As Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ appears to be a reader of Techrights now, we wish to point out that a lot of what the EPO’s management is going to tell him cannot be trusted. They have created a very warped version of reality, where staff dissent is compared to Nazism or terrorism (like what recently happened in Paris). We have many examples where the management was trying to play a connotation game so as to insinuate that if you sympathise with SUEPO (or with the suspended judge), then you are “with the terrorists” (famous words from George Bush) or with violent neo-Nazis. This sort of psychological war suggests to us that many in the EPO’s management (or PR department) don’t even act like grown-ups. If they honestly believe that their target audience is going to be so gullible, then it says a lot about their dim views of the outside world.

Incidentally, text circulating inside the EPO right now speaks of “Victimisation” and covers the projection tactics of the management. “It looks like some public sympathy for management is sought because “allegedly” they have been receiving threats (verbal and physical),” wrote a person, “both inside and outside the Office for their actions. A PD has been reported even mentioning police involvement yesterday… No such thing has come back to our well-informed ears and clearly, if any of these “events” were true (and we would welcome any feedback if this were the case), I and I am sure any staff and staff representatives would condemn such acts. Portraying what many perceive as perpetrators of institutional violence as victims reminds of the “pompiers pyromanes” (pyromaniac firefighters). In any case it is yet another step in today’s conflict logic with no way out. Can the public afford a conflict that never ends?”

“We have never heard of anything non-peaceful from EPO protesters.”We wrote about this at least thrice before. It seems like a totally bogus narrative. We have never heard of anything non-peaceful from EPO protesters. Perhaps it’s just an agent provocateur strategy — something which an aggressive media strategy backed by a $80,000-per-month budget (plus union busters like CRG) actually saw worthwhile.

If someone actually heard of physical threats, please speak out. The only time we hear of such things it’s done by the management to scapegoats among the staff, who are the “real victims,” to quote the above person. “On the fact side,” the person added, “as you know many staff representatives office-wide are being targeted by different forms of attacks including (but not limited to) threatening letters, disciplinary procedures and suspensions. In particular the big duty stations of The Hague & Munich are hit extremely hard: those that have resigned already (6 I think) or have been regularly sick are trying to compensate for the last wave of the last five 100% Staff Representatives that are either suspended or sick.”

Speaking of “exhaustion”, the person writes: “In other words, staff should not wonder why their remaining representatives are close to exhaustion…”

“They make an example out of several representatives and therefore intimidate the rest.”It’s a form of psychological war. They make an example out of several representatives and therefore intimidate the rest. Classic union-busting procedures. Coca-Cola went as far as actually assassinating some union leaders. Now, that’s how you create real, total fear.

“On the positive side,” wrote the above person, “this situation seems to be perceived by staff and an increasing number of feedback and offers to help is flowing in. This is also explaining the appearance of the latest spontaneous, sometime somewhat chaotic, actions, such as petition and call for strike… In this sense staff of the big duty stations seems to understand that sticking together, helping each-others and eventually stepping-in has unfortunately become the necessary way forward to keep staff voice heard.”

As we wrote in our previous article, there are record-breaking numbers right now. The efforts to malign, demonise and incite against staff representatives are obviously not working. They just serve to reinforce the management’s departure from truth. It’s an information war. It’s a high-budget information war.

“In war, truth is the first casualty.”

Aeschylus, Father of tragedy

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