02.06.16

The ‘Offenses’ of EPO Staff Representatives Boil Down to Truth-Telling

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NOSSummary: Dutch television examined the documents of the mock ‘trials’ against SUEPO leaders and concluded that whistle-blowing (i.e. exposing abuses by EPO management), not misconduct, is the reason for overzealous dismissals

Benoît Battistelli’s harassment of staff representatives may some day culminate in his own dismissal (just a rumour for now). He has caused tremendous damage to the EPO and he is personally connected to a lot of people in management — people who are also among the biggest culprits.

Battistelli, who has a long habit (or addiction, or paranoia) of walking around with private bodyguards, compares his critics to something like 'snipers' or 'Mafia' (the ‘sniper’ remarks are clearly taken out of context). Battistelli deluded himself into thinking he's fighting some kind of war on terror, but the only threat he has faced so far is embarrassing information coming out to the media. The crushing of the unions and the pretexts for it are all about confidentiality, as if secrecy — as judged by management (to protect it from criticism/scrutiny) — is the most important thing. Truth itself is now an enemy of Team Battistelli, which is basically a self-guarding clique.

The following recent article (from the Dutch Broadcast Foundation), which SUEPO provided a translation of with images included [PDF], remarks on the nature of the allegations, which we highlight in yellow below:

Protest against ‘intimidation’ at European Patent Office

The European Patent Office in Rijswijk Marc Hamer / NOS

By:

Hugo van der Parre
Research Editor

Bas de Vries
NOS Net Editor

Employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk are taking to the streets today. The employees are protesting the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third. Among the employees is the Dutch chair of the union, Elizabeth Hardon.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld representing the union speaks of “outright intimidation”. The location in Rijswijk is the largest international organisation in the Netherlands, with 2,700 employees.

The punished employees all work for the European Patent Office union from its headquarters in Munich. According to the protestors, they are facing the consequences of the fact that they dared to criticise the “tyrannical” head of EPO, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli.

Head of the organisation Battistelli has an entirely different interpretation. According to him, he was forced to strike hard as the three employees did not follow internal rules in various ways and discredited their own organisation.

Lawyer Zegveld: ‘They are protesting against a culture of intimidation’

Tensions within the European Patent Office have been there for quite some time, but the issue now appears to be escalating. “It seems that constitutional rights just don’t apply here,” one of the employees said, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear for reprisals. “We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.”

The only supervisory entity at the top is the so-called Management Board, which consists almost entirely of the directors of the national patent offices of the 38 EPO countries. But they have yet to take a stand, according to the Suepo union. When Hardon appealed to the Management Board for help leading up to her dismissal, they just referred her back to Battistelli. He then not only kicked her out, but also cut her accumulated pension rights as an extra sanction.

We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.

European Patent Office employee

A representative of the French parliament for French citizens abroad, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, called the sanctions imposed on the employees “a disgrace and highly unjust”. Member of the Dutch House of Representatives John Kerstens (of the Labour Party) wants “the Dutch cabinet to do everything in its power to ensure normal work relationships”. Kerstens: “Employee rights that are seen as completely normal cannot be infringed upon to such a degree that employees feel threatened and intimidated.”

Today’s protest march in The Hague will go from the French to the German embassy. The disgruntled employees hope to get the governments of both countries to intervene, and hope the Dutch government will do the same.

Rutte

The Dutch cabinet has yet to make a clear statement on the issue. In response to questions from the House of Representatives, Minister Asscher previously underlined that part of the problem is that the board of management of the European Patent Office has legal immunity. That means, among other things, that the Dutch Inspectorate (I-SZW) cannot be granted access to the offices in Rijswijk as long as Battistelli does not allow it.

The European Patent Office is currently building a new office near the current building in Rijswijk, costing €205 million. Prime Minister Rutte helped Battistelli lay the first stone in the summer of 2014. On its website, the city of Rijswijk states that the EPO “makes an important contribution to the Dutch economy by providing jobs to tens of thousands of people in The Hague area”.

Yesterday, the NOS asked the European Patent Office for a response to the criticism surrounding head of the organisation Battistelli. But as of last night, they had yet to respond.

The ‘charge’: slander campaign or constructed?

According to Benoît Battistelli, he is the victim of a targeted action led by his own staff. “We can now openly say that over the past two or three years, we have been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of which the goal was to destabilise and discredit the organisation,” the EPO president said last October in an interview with Financieele Dagblad.

The dismissed Dutch chair of the office’s own union in Munich is suspected of things including helping another colleague in that campaign. She is also said to have threatened colleagues and expressed that an internal procedure was being carried out against her. The latter is prohibited at the EPO as well.

According to union lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, this is clearly a constructed charge against union chair Hardon. For example, documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position.

Nevertheless, Battistelli is cracking down hard on Elizabeth Hardon. She is not only being fired; she is also losing 20% of her accumulated pension rights. The latter is stricter than the advice the president received from an internal ‘disciplinary committee’ that examined her case.

That applies even more strongly to the case against the ex-chair of the Suepo union. His disciplinary committee recommended leaving most charges against him alone, but in his case Battistelli also opted for dismissal. The union treasurer’s salary went down by eight pay scales.

This is clearly not justice. It’s very gross injustice. We decided to make more of the information publicly available because only by accessing the claims can one see how truly ridiculous they are. The above says that “documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position.”

The EPO does not have a President; it has a ruthless emperor. It doesn’t matter what the law says and what people below him may say, he and only he will have the last word. Appointments at the EPO’s management follow the standards of third world countries and so does the behaviour of this management. Where is the German media, which is suspiciously reluctant to shed light on any of this?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2016/02/06/nos-on-epo-affairs/

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 27/2/2021: IPFS 0.8, OnionShare 2.3.1, and New Stuff in KDE

    Links for the day



  2. The Internet After Social Control Media (and Maybe After the World Wide Web Too)

    There seems to be a growing trend of protests and backlash against centralised Internet disservices; there's also growing dissatisfaction over bloat and spyware, which the Web rendered a 'norm'



  3. SCO's Darl McBride is Finished (Bankruptcy)

    Some news about the site and about the long-forgotten SCO, whose infamous old (and sacked) Darl McBride (responsible for decade-long attacks on Linux) loses everything, based on fresh legal documents



  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, February 26, 2021



  5. Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  8. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  9. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  10. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  12. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  13. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  14. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  15. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  16. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  17. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  18. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  19. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  20. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  21. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  23. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  24. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  25. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  26. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  27. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  29. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  30. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day


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