12.10.15

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A Little Taste of European Patent Office ‘Justice’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A fair trial… fair enough for the king.

Erdoğan for EPO

Summary: Justice at the European Patent Office (EPO) remains elusive because a so-called ‘investigation’ seems more like a retroactive (going years into the past) exercise in dirt-digging, character assassination (of the accused), and insistence on overwhelming secrecy (in this public institution enjoying a state-granted monopoly)

IT IS important for Techrights to show the low standards for dismissal of perceived threats at the EPO, even staff representatives. Team Battistelli wants to keep everything secret (except perhaps the character assassination against defendants), so wouldn’t that be just? The EPO wants a “trial by media” with gross omissions and neglect of context, defense, etc.

Last night we responded to the EPO management‘s preparatory notes of the so-called ‘investigation’ which is really just union busting disguised as something else. Here are some of “The Charges” on which we wish to comment based on our limited understanding of the situation:

11. Statement of Facts: The first charge arises from investigations C-62, 62a and 62b/2014 conducted by the IU.

Any investigation conducted by the goons of Team Battistelli cannot be treated as objective or independent. We already know, based on another investigation, that the I.U.'s work is highly deficient. It’s political and it’s controlled from above, by Team Battistelli.

2) failed to cooperate with the investigative procedure, inter alia refusing to appear at an interview to which she had been invited by the IU.

This was acceptable, based on these lawyers' take, which we put in text the other day. The I.U. is somewhat of a sham because it obviously disregards basic human rights. Rejecting it isn’t just an act of civil disobedience and investigation of the Investigative Unit is probably well overdue because it does not seem to comply with international standards [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. No wonder people at the EPO call it the "gestapo".

20. Pursuant to Article 14 (1) ServRegs, a permanent employee shall carry out his duties and conduct himself solely with the interests of the European Patent Organisation in mind.

First of all, it’s not known if the accused was actually disseminated anything as alleged. Moreover, there are higher priorities sometimes.

The EPO insists that people who work for the EPO should conduct “solely with the interests of the European Patent Organisation in mind.” When one becomes aware of apparent misconduct, however, one should be allowed to blow the whistle, even inside an international body. People who work at the EPO don’t deserve to be reduced to slaves without speech or consciousness. To suggest otherwise would evoke all sorts of famous novel names/titles.

It is worth noting that whenever the accuser says stuff like “repeated dissemination of information” there’s basically a reference to an entirely another person, another case, and another dubious set of allegations. So it’s all an effort to bring forth guilt by association, where association is established by something quite loose like mere communication.

The accuser talks about “causing a corresponding risk of damage to the public image of the European Patent Organisation” as if the EPO has got some sort of God-given right to a good public image, irrespective of the management’s actions. There is later a claim about “safeguarding of the integrity and reputation of her employer.” This basically is a demand for blind loyalty.

Having failed to actually make much headway with a case against the defendant, a secret accuser is then brought into the text to attack the defendant’s character from a vacuum, with repetition of the word "sniper" (plentiful). This comes across like a cheap personal attack, or ad hominem tactics. It goes on for many pages (endless repetition) in an effort to paint the accused as a sort of harasser, which is so hypocritical a claim coming from the EPO’s management. These personal attacks are so cheap that they’re not even worth broadcasting and responding to. They serve to show just how desperate Team Battistelli is to destroy the character of the defendant. It’s a common technique in high-profile national security cases.

Skipping a lot of the ad hominem we get to:

77. On 18.09.2015 the Office received a reply sent by Ms Zegveld on behalf of the defendant denying any liability for breach of confidentiality and claiming inter alia that it was the defendant’s right as staff representative to inform all staff about the investigation being conducted against her (Annex 19).

Seems reasonable enough. We wrote about this before.

Then again the EPO reverts back to the notion that it can bust unions in secret:

87. By the further e-mail sent by the defendant on 17.11.2015 to all the other members of the Munich including those who had not been involved in any capacity whatsoever with the said investigation, and to she has demonstrated again the intentional disregard of the confidentiality requirements which form a necessary part of her employment with the EPO.

Well, union-busting isn’t exactly an ordinary situation and informing others that it is happening may be essential and justifiable. It’s evident that Team Battistelli wants a monopoly on power and it wants to acquire and secure this power by mass surveillance and censorship.

Team Battistelli seems to have received a sobering reminder of this whole situation’s true nature:

95. In her defence, the defendant has brought forward, through her legal advisor, the following arguments:
a) That marking a communication as “confidential” does not necessarily mean that it is so.
b) That the defendant was entitled as a staff representative to disclose to staff that she is being investigated by the Office.
c) That in any case the Office has provided no evidence that the defendant disclosed the e-mail concerning the investigation.

Then the EPO returns to some character assassination attempts, trying to even blame depressions and suicides on SUEPO itself.

The following point is hypocritical beyond belief, as Team Battistelli claims to be — wait for it! — “safeguarding the welfare of employees”. In context:

110. The defendant’s acts strike at the core of her employer’s reputation and functioning, notably the preservation of an office culture safeguarding the welfare of employees, as well as at the heart of the relationship of trust and confidence between the defendant and her employer.

Put simply, Team Battistelli no longer feels like she is loyal to Team Battistelli. Should anyone at all be loyal to it given its abusive practices? This whole witch-hunt should only serve to reinforce the perception of Team Battistelli having vendettas and megalomania.

The accuser says that the defendant wanted to “maximise the harm to the procedure” (meaning the attack on unions, referred to as “procedure”). The use of the word “harm” makes a suppressive action sound like some kind of vulnerable human.

The following shows the hidden motive all along — it’s to sack the defendant. But Battistelli’s folks try to frame themselves as gracious and apologetic with the beginning of the following point:

114. The Office earnestly sought to remediate the situation but has now exhausted all means and must accept that the employment relationship with the defendant is no longer sustainable.

Wow, “earnestly”? Yeah, right…

Since Battistelli’s people don’t actually have a solid case here (just some allegations and character assassination) they welcome more opportunities for more allegations and character assassination, maybe in order to deter the defendant:

116. The Office reserves all its rights under inter alia Article 101 (2) ServRegs to call witnesses to the hearing before the Disciplinary Committee and/or submit further evidence as well as to bring forward any other procedural or substantive requests including any further relevant incidents that may occur in the meantime and were not known to the Office by the time of signature of the present report.

Get this:

117. The present report is also submitted without prejudice to any claims against the defendant under inter alia Art. 25 and 28 ServRegs.

It’s “submitted without prejudice”. Funny that one…

To summarise, the main cause for this case (character assassination aside) is communication with a person, a judge who the EPO alleges is some kind of armed Nazi (seems like another ongoing character assassination). They’re building a castle of sand on top of another castle of sand.

Team Battistelli is very much hurt by the fact that there was no cooperation with its precious I.U., which is only a sham or a prelude to show/mock trial.

Is this really something which merits dismissing a staff representative? Readers can decide for themselves.

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