EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.16.15

AIPPI Sends Angry Letter to the Administrative Council Regarding the EPO’s Attacks on the Boards and Staff Unions, Saying it Damages the EPO’s Function and Reputation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AIPPI letter

Summary: Patent practitioners and their representatives are upset at the European Patent Office and specifically at Benoît Battistelli; they demand action by Jesper Kongstad, Chairman of the Administrative Council

EARLIER today the EPO‘s management probably felt a little nervous knowing that the Administrative Council (part of the European Patent Organisation that has the power to sack Benoît Battistelli) had gathered with delegates and received lot of input from peripheral stakeholders. Here is what AIPPI, a widely respected body, wrote and sent earlier today (emphaisis with large fonts is ours):

AIPPI

Vereniging voor Intellectuele Eigendom

Nederlandse groep van de Association Internationale
pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (AIPPI)

European Patent Organisation
Administrative Council
C/o Mr. Jesper Kongstad, Chairman
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich
Germany

Also by e-mail:
jko@dkpto.dk
council@epo.org
council_secretary@epo.org

The Hague, 16 December 2015

Dear Mr. Kongstad,

We are writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the EPO Administrative Council. The Vereniging voor Intellectuele Eigendom, the Dutch group of the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (AIPPI), is highly concerned about recent developments at the European Patent Office and requests that you bring this letter to the attention of the entire Administrative Council.

“Even patent judges from across Europe have expressed criticism in this regard.”For some time now there has been a debate about the independency of the EPO Boards of Appeal. These Boards have a final judicial say on the validity of European Patents in the sense that there is no further legal recourse if a patent is revoked by a Board of Appeal. Patents are valuable intellectual property rights and essential for a good climate for innovation in Europe. They enjoy the protection of a fundamental right under Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights). As such, applicants for patent protection and patent proprietors are entitled to an adjudication by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The independence and impartiality of the EPO Boards of Appeal from the EPO executive, including the President of the EPO, is therefore crucial and does not allow for any compromise. Currently there are insufficient guarantees for the independence, which may also cause concern with regard to the impartiality. This has already been found by the Enlarged Board of Appeal itself and there is consensus among the interested circles that this needs to be improved. Even patent judges from across Europe have expressed criticism in this regard.

“Moreover, it seems that the President has misinformed the EPO Administrative Council on the involvement of the Boards of Appeal themselves in the development of this proposal.”It is very worrying that the process towards more independence seems to be dominated by the President of the EPO who does not appear to take into account input from for instance the Boards of Appeal themselves. On 4 December 2015 the President of the EPO presented an updated proposal for the reform of the Boards of Appeal to Board 28. This proposal does not contain sufficient guarantees for the independence and impartiality of the Boards of Appeal, since the EPO executive and the President still have a role of oversight and managerial control in the new setting. Any control of the executive over the judiciary could be considered a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the underlying principle of the separation of powers, and is therefore unacceptable because there should be no doubt at all that the EPO Boards of Appeal are independent and impartial.

Moreover, it seems that the President has misinformed the EPO Administrative Council on the involvement of the Boards of Appeal themselves in the development of this proposal. That at least is the position taken by the Presidium of the Boards of Appeal in a letter to the Administrative Council of

Secretariaat AIPPI Nederland
Lodewijk de Vromestraat 25,3962 VG Wijk bij Duurstede, The Netherlands
tel. +31 343 575 397 – Fax +31 343 594 566 – e-mail: secretariaat@aippi.nl – www.aippi.nl
ING rekening NL72INGB06616.09.340 – KvK 40413308


[page 2]

1 December 2015. The fact alone that the Presidium felt it necessary to send such a letter is highly unusual and very alarming indeed.

The ultimate consequence of these developments could be that national courts, and the future Unified Patent Court, do not consider themselves bound by decisions from the Boards of Appeal or even discard them as not constituting relevant case law. This would create a legal uncertainty which is highly undesirable.

“The damage that has been done to the EPO and its reputation, and to the interests of the European industry, can unfortunately be seen as a result of the conduct of the President of the EPO…”Additionally, an immediate effect is that the reputation of the EPO as an organisation which safeguards the interests of patent applicants and proprietors and of their competitors is at risk. We have noticed an increasing flow of negative publicity on these issues in the media, including high quality newspapers. The damage that has been done to the EPO and its reputation, and to the interests of the European industry, can unfortunately be seen as a result of the conduct of the President of the EPO, who seems to be unable so far to approach the issue in a balanced way with proper respect for the separation of powers.

Unfortunately, the public image that currently exists of the EPO is further damaged by another issue: the conflict on employment conditions, efficiency and “social democracy” at the EPO. We have no doubts that reforms are needed at the EPO. The Administrative Council has elected the President in full support of his roadmap and we do not question that roadmap as such.

“In fact, it appears that the right of EPO employees to organize themselves in unions is not recognized. Instead, it seems that union officials are investigated and even interrogated by an investigation unit and then suspended. These suspensions are accompanied by cuts in their salaries.”However, in the execution of these reforms an increasing number of conflicts has arisen. As we understand from media coverage, but also from information obtained from persons who are directly involved, these conflicts are not handled in a way that enhances the probability of achieving workable results. Instead, the approach of the President towards these issues and conflicts tends to aggravate them without any necessity. The number and nature of the conflicts that we hear and read about appears to clearly exceed the limit of isolated incidents.

As we understand, there is no normal dialogue with the workers unions. In fact, it appears that the right of EPO employees to organize themselves in unions is not recognized. Instead, it seems that union officials are investigated and even interrogated by an investigation unit and then suspended. These suspensions are accompanied by cuts in their salaries. In our view, it is impossible to achieve any result in this way. There are also reports of numerous conflicts with other members of staff. An increasing number of repressive rules and regulations appear to have been introduced which do not seem to fit in at all with a modem professional organisation. All of this has led to an increasing number of staff demonstrations.

The way these issues are being handled by the President distracts the attention from the necessary reforms as such and instead leads all attention to the repressive approach chosen by the President. Again, this is leading to grave and maybe irreparable damage to the reputation of the EPO in Europe and abroad.

“Again, this is leading to grave and maybe irreparable damage to the reputation of the EPO in Europe and abroad.”Because of these two issues, i) the endangering of the independence of the Boards of Appeal and ii) the way of handling of conflicts on employment conditions, which are both characterized by an intolerant approach by the President of the EPO so far, at least in the eye of the majority of the media, the position of the EPO itself has come at risk.

Regardless of which solutions should be adopted to guarantee the independent position of the Boards of Appeal and to resolve the social unrest at the EPO, it is imperative that the Administrative Council takes immediate action to terminate the destructive approach chosen by the President of the EPO.

We therefore urge and beg the Administrative Council to take control of the situation and prevent that further damage is done to the EPO.

Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Vereniging voor Intellectuele Eigendom,

Koen Bijank
President

Wouter Pors
Secretary

NB: to avoid a potential conflict of interest, we did not consult our board-members D.J. de Groot and T.H. Tanja-van den Broek

Kongstad recently did nothing when he had to chance to. If he fails to take action in spite of growing anger all around Europe, then maybe it’s time to remove Kongstad too. He seems to be figuratively in bed with Benoît Battistelli.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  2. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  3. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  4. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  5. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  6. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  7. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  8. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  9. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  10. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  11. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  12. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  13. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  14. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  15. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  16. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  17. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  18. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  19. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  20. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)



  21. Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some 'slush funds'



  22. Links 14/9/2019: SUSE CaaS Platform, Huawei Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  23. Links 13/9/2019: Catfish 1.4.10, GNOME Firmware 3.34.0 Release

    Links for the day



  24. Links 12/9/2019: GNU/Linux at Huawei, GNOME 3.34 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 12/9/2019: Manjaro 18.1 and KaOS 2019.09 Releases

    Links for the day



  26. EPO: Give Us Low-Quality Patent Applications, Patent Trolls Have Use for Those

    What good is the EPC when the EPO feels free to ignore it and nobody holds the EPO accountable for it? At the moment we're living in a post-EPC Europe where the only thing that counts is co-called 'products' (i.e. quantity, not quality).



  27. Coverage for Sponsors: What the Linux Foundation Does is Indistinguishable From Marketing Agencies' Functions

    The marketing agency that controls the name "Linux" is hardly showing any interest in technology or in journalism; it's just buying media coverage for sponsors and this is what it boils down to for the most part (at great expense)



  28. Watch Out, Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Bought Tons of Git Repositories and Now It Goes After Linux

    Microsoft reminds us how E.E.E. tactics work; Microsoft is just hijacking its competition and misleading the market (claiming the competition to be its own, having "extended" it Microsoft's way with proprietary code)



  29. Links 11/9/2019: Acer in LVFS, RawTherapee 5.7 and Qt 5.12.5 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Linux Foundation Inc. Buys Press About Itself and Media Coverage for Sponsors

    Sponsoring so-called ‘news’ sites is bad enough; it is even worse when such media then covers you and your sponsors, such as Snyk (a Linux Foundation sponsor/member, fancier word for client)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts