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12.10.15

The EPO’s Double Standard on Confidentiality

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More and more people are starting to grasp the absurdity of the EPO’s stance

Holtz letter

Summary: Intimidating letters from Team Battistelli are being responded to by the Holtz law firm and reported to Heiko Maas, the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection (letter in German)

IN order for true justice to be done at the EPO, the process needs to be transparent and constantly subjected to public scrutiny. That’s the cornerstone of a modern society. For some people, however, the very idea of public scrutiny may seem unacceptable.

Well, inevitably, the harder the EPO tries to keep its union-busting secret, the more people become aware of it. Streisand Effect again! Some in the EPO management have consequently become laughing stocks all around the organisation (from top to bottom). The demands of secrecy seriously backfired and people (not staff representatives) keep writing us with information, ranging from rude/foul-mouthed (directed at the more aggressive figures inside the management) to polite and informative.

“In the “harassment” case,” told us one person, “the rumor is that the allegedly aggrieved party may be none other than Mrs. Bergot herself…”

Ms Bergot is said to have been “delaying the 25 years celebration of colleagues who took unpaid leave or full-time parental leave” and also “accusing a staff representative of breaching confidentiality for merely informing staff that she has been invited by the Investigative Unit.”

Battistelli, in the mean time, shows how hypocritical Bergot has been on behalf of Team Battistelli (Bergot is a core team member, as we showed in (part one, part two, part three, and part four of “EPO: It’s Like a Family Business”), as he had been “breaching confidentiality and publicly making strong and partially bizarre accusations in a pending disciplinary case” (we covered this back in October).

In Politico, “Kantilever” has just put it like this: (enable JavaScript to see comments)

This case recently concluded with a finding by the Enlarged Board of Appeal that the accusations were inadmissible. Therefore the individual has not been found to have committed any wrongdoing, by the only body capable of taking such a decision. Clearly the President nevertheless regards the individual as guilty…

The leaking of information about the ongoing disciplinary procedure, by the President, goes against his own rules about confidentiality during such procedures. A union leader was recently suspended in Munich for allegedly leaking about a disciplinary procedure. Anyone see a double-standard here?

The allegations about weapons and Nazi materials = defamation. What were these weapons and materials? Or was it sports equipment and a history book?

Spyware (keylogging) = illegal in Germany due to strict data protection laws (Datenschutz). The President uses his cloak of immunity to get away with behaving illegally on German soil, but in truth the immunity only applies for purposes “necessary for performing [patent office staff] duties” i.e. granting patents, not spying on staff (and the public, since it was a public computer). Would love to see this go to court, but no doubt the President would cite immunity and ignore the ruling (as he recently did with a labour court ruling from The Hague).

I could go on…

Well, the allegations are basically unfounded or very weakly substantiated. Isn’t it funny that such an abusive management revels in projecting so much, calling others all sorts of names? We’ve seen mafia, Nazis, and snipers. What’s next?

“Isn’t it funny that such an abusive management revels in projecting so much, calling others all sorts of names?”The lawyer who responded to the threats to staff representatives (over relatively benign activities) reminded Team Battistelli that union activities are in general absolutely fine based on what’s allowed in Munich and are strictly protected by fundamental laws. Heiko Maas received a copy of the letter, so it’s all within view of the political system in Germany right now. Justice in secret is no justice but a staged assessment of sides with assured punishment.

In our next post we would like to show just how ludicrous a case the EPO is building against staff representatives. There is more repetition therein (than substance). It’s a sign of desperation.

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