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02.23.16

New Leak: Battistelli’s Circle, Now Fighting for Survival, Circulates a Letter (and Why Some at the EPO Believe It’s a Form of Blackmail)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another new leak regarding the emperor’s last stand, as the upcoming Administrative Council meeting (in March) may reveal, for the first time ever, a Chairman (Jesper Kongstad) who has lost trust in Battistelli, the President of the Office

THE EPO is in a state of disarray and the lunatic dictator acts accordingly, aided by his increasingly-notorious circle of dictators whose livelihood depends on their chief dictator. This afternoon we urgently published a leak that we had gotten from 3 independent sources. The following article serves to reaffirm the authenticity of some things we got from many other sources, so it’s definitely not likely to have been faked or manipulated (we compared the sources to ascertain accuracy).

On a more personal note, my wife’s flu is meanwhile passing/progressing to me as well, just ahead of a very busy day (of reporting on EPO matters). It’s really quite a personal struggle (it’s 2 AM now), but nothing compared to the abuse some staff representatives at the EPO have been subjected to.

One source of ours said about the last post that s/he “got a copy of this document that ha[d] been circulating about lately. Source unknown, thus: authenticity not guaranteed. It could originate from any of the 38 delegations.

“Kongstad looks as if he is distancing himself from his old accomplice Battistelli, and positioning himself for the postbellum period.

“The last paragraph of the draft resolution is a hint that Battistelli — or the future EPOrg president — could be made much more accountable to the AC [Administrative Council], and his actions would be more narrowly controlled. But then the AC members (and the governments who send them) would have to come up with actual, visible, policies for the Patent Office.

“If there is any truth to the rumour that Battistelli intends to walk away with “his” loot no matter what, then he undoubtedly possesses some means of leverage over JK [Jesper Kongstad]. Remember, JK and Battistelli “negotiated” together the President’s secret employment contract, with its perks, bonuses and all.”

Glyn Moody was especially astonished by the part which said: “Unfortunately, we have not been able to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the President” (from the leak we published).

One anonymous comment said to us earlier today that “BB [Battistelli] and his supporters have prepared a ridiculous letter in support of the management and against the above draft letter/decision. The letter denies the existence of a social conflict and states a support for the course of action taken by BB. The President is clearly blackmailing the managers and so many directors are facing a dilemma: sign it or not? They know that if BB survives they will have a hard life. I hope you’ll receive copy of it and that you’ll post it here. It will show the extent of madness of the EPO high management. No letter will help BB. He’s bound to fall soon.”

Well, we got the letter from several sources, not only one, and both of the below examples are in agreement (formatting and typo variations only). It’s definitely authentic, there’s no prank here. Here it is (version 1):

Letter to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

From: the management of the EPO

We have been made aware of a draft decision some delegations intend to present to the next March 2016 Administrative Council session.

We would like to share with you our concerns. We take this exceptional step as this is commensurate to the seriousness of the consequences of the draft resolution, if adopted.

Firstly, we would like to point out that we are committed to the mission and goals of the Organisation. To that respect, we have supported and implemented the reforms and new policies stemming from the 5 roadmaps unanimously adopted by the AC in 2011 and 2014. These reforms have already borne fruit and the Organisation is now healthier than ever and is equipped to deliver first class services (Unitary patent, quality, timeliness…) At the same time the reforms have increased the long term sustainability of the Organisation, while maintaining a very attractive package and excellent working conditions for its staff. This healthy situation benefits directly the European economy, the Member States, and EPO’s staff.

Concerns from the staff occur in all countries and Organisations in period of substantial transformation. Despite this, the staff is currently highly performing and committed to the mission and goals of the Organisation.

We are aware that Officials of the EPO are being put directly or indirectly under pressure. The Office and more and more of its officials at all levels of the hierarchy including elected staff representatives have been and are subject to defamation campaigns internally and externally, personal threats and harassment.

In that respect it is the Office’s duty of care to address the situation and proceed under the EPO’s regulatory framework, to establish the facts and when needed, engage in disciplinary procedures. The respondents have regulatory means of redress including the request to a review of the decisions.

Under the current circumstances we urge you to consider that the proposal submitted to the AC will undermine the position of all managers to successfully pursue the changes initiated in the road maps as decided in the Administrative Council and will create unfortunate precedents which will jeopardize seriously the management of the Organisation and its capacity to ensure its operations effectively now and in the future.

We fully support the Organisation’s mission and its fundamental values. Therefore we urge the Administration Council, before taking any decision on the matter to give careful consideration to this letter:
- to remain firm on ethics and not tolerate misconduct;
- to focus on the great achievements and improve the positive image of the Organisation;
- to endorse the on-going initiatives of the Office in the social dialogue (recognition of unions, social study, current review of regulations, social conference).

We are convinced that the implementation of the reforms is a solid basis for a solid EPO fit for the future.

Formatting is the source’s own. Another person separately got hold of the original. “I was in the process of sending you the text which VP1 (Willy Minnoye) wanted his subordinate directors to “voluntarily” endorse when the scoop came out at IPkat. At least you’ll have the full version, in case it hasn’t already reached you through a dozen other correspondents.”

Well, that’s an overestimate of how many people sent the letter to us, but here’s the cleaned-up OCR version of the same document (version 2 of n):

Letter to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

From: the management of the EPO

We have been made aware of a draft decision some delegations intend to present to the next March 2016 Administrative Council session

We would like to share with you our concerns. We take this exceptional step as this is commensurate to the seriousness of the consequences of the draft resolution, if adopted.

Firstly, we would like to point out that we are committed to the mission and goals of the Organisation. To that respect, we have supported and implemented the reforms and new policies stemming from the 5 roadmaps unanimously adopted by the AC in 2011 and 2014. These reforms have already borne fruit and the Organisation is now healthier than ever and is equipped to deliver first class services (Unitary patent, quality, timeliness…). At the same time the reforms have increased the long term sustainability of the Organisation, while maintaining s very attractive package and excellent working conditions for its staff. This healthy situation benefits d,rectiy the European economy, the Member States, and EPO’s staff.

Concerns from the staff occur in all countries and Organisations in period of substantial transformation. Despite this, the staff is currently highly performina and committed to the mission and goals of the Organisation.

We are aware that Officials of the EPO are being put directly or indirectly under pressure. The Office and more and more of its officials at all levels of the hierarchy including elected staff representatives have been and are subject to defamation campaigns internally and externally, personal threats and harassment.

In that respect it is the Office’s duty of care to address the situation and proceed under the EPO’s regulatory framework, to establish the facts and when needed, engage in disciplinary procedures. The respondents have regulatory means of redress including the request to a review of the decisions.

Under the current circumstances, we urge you to consider that the proposa1 submitted to the AC will undermine the position of all managers to successfully pursue the changes initiated in the road maps as decided in the Administrative Council and will create unfortunate precedents which will jeopardize seriously the management of the Organisation and its capacity to ensure its operations effectively now and in the future.

We fully support the Organisation’s mission and its fundamental values Therefore we urge the Administrative Council, before taking any decision on the matter to give careful consideration to this letter:

- to remain firm on ethics and not tolerate misconduct

- to focus on the great achievements and improve the positive image of the Organisation

- to endorse the on-going initiatives of the Office in the social dialogue (recognition of unions, social study, current review of regulations social conference).

We are convinced that the implementation of the reforms is a solid base for a strong EPO fit for the future.

Imagine what would happen to staff that refused to sign this letter. IP Kat is meanwhile deleting comments as if there’s suddenly some fear of a lawsuit over the content of comments (we were told by some people about IP Kat‘s censorship for a while now) and here is the latest from Merpel, who wrote in the third person’s narrative: “Merpel has been receiving a stream of rumour and hearsay since last week, indicating a serious bust-up between EPO President Benoit Battistelli and the members of Board 28 (the sub-group that runs the business of the Administrative Council). Notably, Mr Battistelli has apparently lost the crucial support of Mr Jesper Kongstad, the Chair of the Administrative Council, who had until now been one of Battistelli’s key defenders. The final meeting allegedly culminated in an ultimatum to Mr Battistelli to which he allegedly responded by walking out of the meeting.

“Merpel has been slow to pass on these reports as she prefers to report verified facts and not mere unsubstantiated rumour. As a result much of the comment moderation over the last week on this site has involved repeatedly deleting well-intended reports of what the latest whispers around the EPO were saying – deletions which Merpel justifies on the basis that the whispers were not always in agreement and were rarely substantiated.

“Merpel has however received from several sources, some of which are normally reliable, the text of a letter attributed to Mr Kongstad and addressed to the AC delegates. This draft letter is accompanied by a draft resolution for the AC to sign off on at its meeting in March. Merpel strongly suspects that the text which is being passed around the EPO is not the final draft that will be (or has been) sent by Mr Kongstad, but the gist of the communication is clear nonetheless.”

So far, the main false rumour that we have come across relates to Bergot. The rest turned out to be accurate.

To quote further from Merpel:

In what appears to be a sign that Mr Battistelli is not going to bend the knee without some resistance, a remarkable letter has been drafted by those most loyal to Mr Battistelli addressed to the AC “from the management of the EPO”. This letter has, Merpel understands, been presented to EPO managers and directors for their signature – purely voluntarily, you understand.

The letter is drafted as an attempt to persuade the AC to vote against the resolution drafted by Board 28. While it studiously avoids mentioning Mr Battistelli it urges the AC to support “the Office” and to vote against the proposals of Board 28.

This letter of support says (and Merpel doesn’t joke about such matters) that the Organisation is “healthier than ever”. It warns that the proposal drafted by Mr Kongstad will undermine all EPO managers and will jeopardize the reforms that are underway. The AC should, according to this letter, focus on the Office’s “great achievements” and endorse the Office’s social dialogue, not criticise and undermine it.

Merpel does not yet know how many managers have signed the letter, or what the implications might be for either agreeing or declining to sign it. She will keep readers updated when significant developments occur.

[...]

Given the unprecedented implications of these developments, and the fact that feelings are running extraordinarily high, Merpel has decided at least for now to disable the comments facility on this post and she will be disallowing comments on other posts that address these developments. If readers have any concrete and verifiable further news to share, please email merpel.mckitten@gmail.com.

It’s only getting worse. First there was a ban on totally anonymous comments and now this? Is the EPO sending some E-mails to IP Kat?

Now that IP Kat rejects comments about the EPO (except when it comes to the UPC), we wish to remind readers how to get in contact with us securely. We wouldn’t trust GMail for anything as the EPO works closely with Google — not just on translations — and the EPO’s I.U. claims to have already intercepted several communications (not ours but Florian Müller‘s) that relied on GMail (the exact circumstances are not known as documents we have seen and publicly shared don’t specify the methods).

Noteworthy is the comment above about why this letter puts enormous pressure on people to obey the tyrant and pretend to support him (even while wishing he’d be fired). Whoever signs this letter, well… the Administrative Council and its Chairman (Jesper Kongstad) should feel free to disregard/dismiss them, as they are obviously signing under pressure (compelled to endorse or risk one’s job). It’s like a Crimean election.

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A Single Comment

  1. katkatkat said,

    February 24, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Gravatar

    Great job!
    Best wishes to you and your wife for a speedy recovery.
    Many thanks for your engagement.
    May truth and justice prevail!

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