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

01.24.16

Dismissal of EPO Staff Representatives Does Not Eliminate Them as EPO Staff Sticks Together, Shares the Burden, the Pain

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hornets’ nest phenomenon clearly not understood by EPO management

Hornets' nest

Summary: Despite dismissals and rather severe punishments (which were over-zealously applied by Battistelli in spite of advice from the disciplinary committees), the staff unions at the EPO continue to show signs of strength and take further actions (some even more effective than before, e.g. strikes)

THE thing which EPO management does not seem to ‘get’, just as it’s still failing to understand the Streisand Effect, is that the harder it crushes the unions, the more ‘aggressive’ or combative (in a reactionary fashion) union members will become and the worse things will get for EPO management. They’re poking a hornets’ nest.

After repeated attacks on the unions, culminating in dismissals, some staff decided to go on strike. The common/shared pain, moreover, may help support those who were dismissed. The overstressed staff views representatives as martyrs or as people who cannot be left to perish, helping the EPO management make an example of them (to scare others).

Financial support is now being offered to dismissed union leaders. To quote correspondence that we saw, “answering the most urgent matter, several initiatives have started here and there. However, in the light of the complex local situations in Holland and Germany, different models are being investigated. It can be assumed that staff will be informed as soon as something concrete is suggested. Here is what SUEPO Munich writes on the subject: “Of the five (!) staff representatives who have thus far been unduly sanctioned by Mr Battistelli, Ion Brumme is the hardest hit. Ion will need help. We are working on this. We are studying how best to arrange this from a legal and taxation on point of view.”

There are also indications that severe punishment did not prevent Weaver from being involved in union activities. “On a more personal note,” says the correspondence, “after months of absence, today, Malika Weaver was in the Office and again active in the CSC. While the marks of her ordeal were visible, it was nonetheless good to see her again. We can only sincerely hope that, one day, Ion Brumme and Els Hardon can also be seen again on the EPO premises. In the mean me it looks like all are doing their utmost to make it happen eventually.”

Brumme was not supposed to be sacked, but Battistelli vainly ignored the disciplinary committees. Sun King listens to nobody; Battistelli runs an autocracy masquerading as something else. This in itself is a good cause for a strike. Based on this new comment, “I cannot see where the examiners are DOING something as sign of protest. Obviously, demonstrating in public is not as effective as expected, the people “outside” EPO are not sensitive when workers earning 10k are not happy. If the AC can only be influenced by results, well, logically, it only remains one thing: producing less. I wonder when they will realize this. Of course, this would mean that they should say “bye-bye” to their bonuses…”

Months ago we complained about EPO examination done in a rush (i.e. a sloppy job) in order to meet some superficial targets. Well, as this comment puts it, “anyone is being pressurised to produce at least 10% more than average. Otherwise you’re threatened with …. I foresee a breakdown.

“Besides putting down work, all other industrial actions are considered to violate your contract and WILL lead to disciplinary procedures. “go slow” (producing less than average) is considered s.th. warranting dismissal now. “rechecking applicable procedures”, “going by the book” and other quality actions where you take the time and recheck whether you missed s.th. according to the guidelines are not allowed industrial actions. together with the scrapped training budget, we examiners are given no chance to read what the changed regulations are. Except in our private time. Yeah, facing dismissal because you want to do it right the first time is not a sign of trust.”

One comment says: “Again this year approx. 50 warning letters for under-performance will be issued or a voucher for a stiff session of institutional harassment …thereby securing some clientele for EB’s HR Conflict Resolution Department!”

Producing less is the road to dismissal in a performance-driven organisation,” says another comment. “Early Serenity from Search is such a success that many directorates start working on search files of priority group 4 and tackle the examination backlog by grant/refusal procedures not evolving from the tedious case law of the boards, but from on-demand just-in-time efficiency requirements. Those will be implemented preferably by five-year contractor examinators that can then be disposed of in a more flexible and legally solid manner, thereby also reducing the CO2-emmissions drastically. All these improvements are coming at no extra cost to the user! Check your parachutes, gentleman. We’ll soon reach our jumping altitude. And the light went green…”

It’s becoming easier to see by now why many workers see the need for reform, and why they’re willing to go to protests or even go on strike. A newer comment which we found this morning says:

The problem is that the experience you gain as an EPO examiner is of limited use outside the EPO. Once you have been there a decade or so, you’re effectively stuck there for life. You don’t discover this until you actually start applying for jobs. Then you quickly realise that you will have to take a a real-terms pay cut of 50% or so if you really want to leave. I’ve been there, so I know what I’m talking about.

This is why I think that Battistelli is so cruel and vindictive. The man basically has you guys by the short and curlies, and he knows it. In the absence of any effective restraint from the Administrative Council, he can squeeze your pips as hard as he likes, and you will still dance obediently to his tune.

A few years ago, I would still have recommended the job of EPO examiner as a responsible and intellectually fulfilling job, albeit with the caveat that it’s difficult to make the transition back to the real world. These days, I would urge any prospective candidate to think very carefully indeed before selling their soul to such an organisation.

One person then asks: “What about everyone calling in sick? In these circumstances I think most doctors would support that having to work under such unbearable pressure and threats is sickening and causing massive burn outs. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops if BB declares the sick people not sick, against the doctors’ advises. Which he may, according to the new rules, unbelievably.”

If the EPO is led to understanding that crushing unions backfires this badly, maybe it will give up trying.

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. Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, April 03, 2020



  3. Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

    Links for the day



  4. Digital Communication, Digitalisation and Videogaming Among the EPO's Latest Smokescreens for Illegal and Abstract Patents on Algorithms

    The EPO keeps liaising with the EU to promote patents which EU officials have themselves said were illegal; to make matters worse, the EPO's violations of its own laws inspire the United States to do the same



  5. Emotional Blackmail for Illegal Software Patents

    Semantic tactics the European Patent Office (EPO) uses to promote software patents in Europe and may theoretically use in the future (satire)



  6. Clear Linux is to GNU/Linux What Clearly Defined is to Open Source

    The idea that we need Intel to take GNU/Linux ‘mainstream’ is ludicrous; as OSDL co-founder (now succeeded in the flesh of the Corporate Linux Foundation), Intel is more about Linux (with DRM, “secure boot” and everything that lets it be remotely controlled) than about GNU and it’s not too keen on GPL (copyleft), either



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020



  8. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  9. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting



  10. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part IX: Semi-Happy Ending

    Richard Stallman is here to stay and the FSF will let him stay (as chief of GNU); we want to close the series on a positive note



  11. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 01, 2020



  12. Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

    Although we've failed to write as much as usual, we're still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)



  13. Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

    Links for the day



  14. Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 31, 2020



  16. Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

    What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 30, 2020



  18. Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  20. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  21. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  22. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  24. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  26. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  27. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  28. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  29. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  30. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)


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