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01.15.16

Hundreds of EPO Staff at The Hague (Including Managers) Spontaneously Protested Today, Making Almost Half of All Staff Present

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protests by EPO staff against the EPO itself have grown large enough to become comparable/competitive with antiwar protests (below)

A protest

Summary: Actions against the EPO’s union-busting moves (culminating in mass firing of union leaders) quickly multiply and readers are urged to contact their delegates as soon as possible

IN SPITE of the spontaneity of today’s EPO protests (just a couple of hours to plan), nearly 2,000 people from Munich protested in support of the fired representatives (details in a previous article). The numbers were even greater when there was time to prepare, e.g. when petitioning anonymously or attending a scheduled protest.

“Contact delegates immediately to make them informed of what just happened.”We have lots of EPO-related articles to be published tomorrow. They are all related to firing of staff as this is a huge scandal. It only gets worse when one sees what actually happened behind the scenes. Contact delegates immediately to make them informed of what just happened. This is a huge injustice that even Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' condemned very strongly. To explain this in relatively simple terms, what the EPO just did (or tried to do) is to make it harder/impossible for staff to join the unions! It’s classic union-busting action and look which firms the EPO has recruited/contracted to help with this task. The attack on staff unions may be only the beginning. UPC critics should now beware… the surveillance is still in place and was never removed (the pretext was a fishing expedition for sources, not an attack on dissent and self-censorship though Big Brother-esque methods).

Browsing or reading through some comments for anonymous updates, this is the most informative comment we have found so far. The commenter is “feeling so sad with these terrible news. Employees in the Hague heard the news at 11.30 and spontaneously gathered at 12.00. There were a few hundreds of people, including managers.”

“To explain this in relatively simple terms, what the EPO just did (or tried to do) is to make it harder/impossible for staff to join the unions!”So there was also an EPO staff protest in The Hague today (we heard of it but didn’t have the numbers), not just in Munich. There were probably more (we might write about that later).

Among other comments there are some that allude to WIPO for timely analogies, e.g. this one which says: “Interestingly, this reminded me that WIPO is the other place were a Union representative that exposed bad practices within the organisation was happily dismissed. What the f#*k is going on in these patent organizations? Why do they all seem to think that they are above the law?”

The commenter links to this report from over a year ago. It says: “On 19 September 2014, the World Intellectual Property Agency (WIPO) fired Mr Moncef Kateb, president of the WIPO Staff Association, the accredited trade union of the UN specialized agency’s staff, in retaliation for his defense of staff and continued opposition to alleged misconduct by the WIPO Director General and his administration.”

Remember that WIPO’s managers also threaten bloggers, not just their own staff. Great resemblance there. Just hours ago, IP Watch, often a critic of WIPO, showed how WIPO tries to expand its cope of power with so-called ‘IP’ in Africa.

But anyway, we digress.

“Battistelli and his supporters,” said another comment, “have sacked staff representatives based on mock trials and bogus evidence.” Here is the comment in full: “In the past few months this and other blogs have published a huge number of contributions and evidence in respect of the manifest violations of human rights and of the rules of law by Mr Battistelli and his clan. A number of press articles have also appeared with highlights of the arrogance and cynicism of Mr Battistelli and members of his magic circle, and the negligence and apathy of the Administrative Coucil. Enough evidence to trouble and irritate any normal thinking mind. Unperturbed by the mounting criticism, Mr Battistelli and his supporters carried on implementing their programme and now they have sacked staff representatives based on mock trials and bogus evidence. What really angers me is the total indifference of the host countries, in particular Germany. The Germans hide themselves under the smoke screen of the special status of the EPO. How hypocritical! I have now completely lost my trust in their democracy as I’m convinced that for their own sake they would not hesitate to tolerate any misbehaviour. They could gain my respect back only if, in retaliation for the EPO dictatorship, they will refuse to ratify the Unitary Patent convention.”

The part about “indifference of the host countries” is quite true and this is why we urge people to Contact delegates immediately. I spoke (and heard back from) the German delegation. They’re listening. But if nobody contacts them, then cowardice will lead to inaction and apathy. Somebody wrote this poem:

We’ve never heard silence quite this loud,
as the mist of our thoughts drifts into a cloud.

Once we could fly and now we are lower than high,
all we can do is flutter & sigh.

EPO used to set us free but now we can’t even get off our feet
from feeling BB’s nasty streak.

The IP universe bleeds through the holes of BB’s moon,
blood dripping in our bodies, making us swoon.

Our heart feels empty and our throat is stuffed,
an inner turmoil that storms us in a huff.

Nothing leads BB and goons into the right path
we are damnations, hell’s wrath.

Crying and rambling, our brain slowly pours,
convoluted thoughts full of depths and closed doors.

“During the last meeting of the Administrative Council,” one person wrote, “Battistelli was ordered to leave the staff representatives alone. In his sentence of today he shows the AC his obedience, and his middle finger.”

Another person wrote: “Today’s news is an utter disgrace, and indeed, as a previous commenter remarked, is Batistelli’s two finger salute to the AC and the whole patent community. Being above the law, he can do what he wants.”

Well, speak to delegates and ensure this thug is held accountable. He has done enormous damage to the international image and reputation of the EPO, where even the staff protests routinely. This one comment says: “The disciplinary committee did not reccommend dismissal for Ion Brumme because he has five children – one is just a baby – and a loan to pay on his house.

“You behaviour is disgraceful Mr Battistelli.”

Another commenter wrote: “Time for the AC to launch an independent investigation against the EPO administration and the EPO president concerning harassment against staff representatives.”

“This whole supervisory system is rigged.”I was told earlier this month that my complaints had been forwarded to the AC and its Chairman. I have not heard back since then, so I assume Kongstad and his colleagues stick to the conspiracy of silence they’ve adhered to even when letters were sent to them from Transparency International (before the conflict of interests). This whole supervisory system is rigged. It’s no longer functional. It got ‘hacked’ by Battistelli, who gradually shut down regulation and oversight, then bragged about it.

The EPO is in shambles for many reasons, not just the above. According to this new article, once again an EPO patent (warning: epo.org link) was found to be invalid by a court (one of many such patents). To quote IP Kat: “Concentration isn’t that hard – Methotrexate patent Accordingly found invalid [...] Accord, a generics manufacturer, initiated proceedings, seeking revocation of medac’s patent (EP 2046332), which related to the use of methotrexate for subcutaneous administration in the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune diseases, wherein the methotrexate is administered in a pharmaceutically acceptable solvent at a concentration of about 50mg/ml. The patent contained Swiss and second medical use claims.”

“Oversight and external/independent investigation are desperately needed.”We have a lot more coming regarding the EPO (not just union-busting) and there are several political actions (at numerous levels) going on regarding the alluded abuse against patent applicants, not just patent examiners. Be patient as it may take time for us to safely disclose information about that. The EPO sure looks like a house of cards right now. Oversight and external/independent investigation are desperately needed. It might already be too late.

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2 Comments

  1. Sardegna48 said,

    January 16, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Gravatar

    The misconduct /harassment of the EPO management is not limited to SUEPO representatives,but all the staff who became sick for work harassment can confirm that the EPO has full control of the Medical Committees(MC) which can decide whether a staff member is suffering of an occupational disease or not.Occupational disease related to their work conditions,willfully created by some EPO managers.
    Also in clear cases of harassment,the MCs (under full control of the EPO) do not recognize an occupational invalidity for not been the EPO liable for work harassment.I am available to provide written evidence of what I have just stated…

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Rest assured others too are complaining about repressions, not just the Medical Committees. These people need to speak out, or at the very least contact the delegates (discreetly).

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