The English Version of the Central Staff Committee’s Open Letter to the Praesidium of the Administrative Council Regarding Battistelli’s ‘Social Study’ EPO Propaganda
Flipping narratives to support an abusive regime
The classic “killing babies” Korean War propaganda. Designer: Xu Ling (徐灵) ca. 1950
Summary: Many staff representatives at the EPO point out to the Praesidium of the Administrative Council that what Battistelli calls Social Study is actually self-serving propaganda which is not credible
At the end of last year the Praesidium got involved as EPO abuses were becoming un-ignorable, even to the Council. It wasn’t long thereafter that staff representatives wrote to the Praesidium (we published the original, i.e. German, version of it).
“For a strong, legitimate, widely-respected EPO the tyrants need to go away and leave the highly-educated patent examiners in good, well-meaning, caring hands.”The Battistelli-led and nearly North Korea-inspired management seems to believe it can convince the public that EPO staff is happy, or that only a "vocal minority" is upset (Ms Lefèvre is involved in this propaganda). Now, remember the so-called ‘Social Study’? They even call it a “study”, as though it’s academic. It’s safe to dismiss it as propaganda. This is what the Central Staff Committee at the EPO is trying to make clear to the Praesidium right now. The EPO union leaders’ open letter to the AC Praesidium is now available in English. We planned to have published it earlier on, but it fits more nicely with some recent articles of ours — articles some of which serve to confirm the evident and perhaps inevitable demise of the abusers. Thanks to the anonymous translators Techrights has access to (very talented polyglots) and some people who work as staff representatives, we occasionally get our hands on a lot of stuff. When staff representatives circulate material it often reaches us too, one way or another.
Now, to be clear, many of our sources don’t work for the EPO at all. The anger at Battistelli is everywhere both inside and outside Europe. This document wasn’t even sent to us from Europe. Based on the PDF with the English translation/version we have just produced the following HTML version, which may be handy for future reference. We strive to have a complete and detailed record of this long overdue “meltdown” — as British media called it this week — of Team Battistelli, not the EPO itself. For a strong, legitimate, widely-respected EPO the tyrants need to go away and leave the highly-educated patent examiners in good, well-meaning, caring hands. The CSC’s (Central Staff Committee) open letter is included below with our emphasis in yellow for those who prefer to just quickly ‘scan’ the letter.
To the Board
of the Administrative Council
of the European Patent Organisation
17 February 2016
Social Study 2016 – Position of the Central Staff Committee (CSC)
Dear Board members,
The preparation and the progress of the Social Study 2016 was an agenda item on both the 69th and 70th meeting. Once again, the Social Study is back on the agenda for the next meeting. We regret that the CSC meeting scheduled for 16 to 18 February 2016 in Munich has not been not approved, since it was our intention to use the occasion to get in touch with you personally to explain our position. Therefore, we take the liberty to notify you in writing that due to current events, the CSC had to change its attitude towards the envisaged study.
At the meeting of the General Consultative Committee on 9 December 2015, the attending members of the CSC showed cautious optimism in their remarks on the document about the Social Study 2016, which was added to the agenda at short notice. In particular, the leadership by the Administrative Council and their apparent willingness to receive comments and suggestions from the CSC seemed to us to show promise as an apparent move away from the President’s very one-sided views on the social situation in the EPO. In the last meeting of the Administrative Council, we reiterated in our remarks that special attention should be paid to ensuring the independence of the external contractor, to guaranteeing the absolute anonymity of the participating staff members and to providing a genuinely unbiased assessment of staff’s view on the impact of the current working atmosphere on the quality of their work results.
However, events have proven otherwise. On 7 January 2016, we were informed that the President had decided to invite the CSC to nominate an observer to the Award Committee for the tender. On 15 January 2016, we complied with this invitation respecting the tight timeframe set. On 21 January 2016, we submitted further comments and suggestions for the Social Study 2016 in writing. Nevertheless, the President claimed on 4 February 2016 in his event “Meet the President” to the staff that despite an invitation, the CSC had never submitted comments on the planned social study.
Our observer was unfortunately never invited to any meeting or otherwise involved in the preparation of the study. His first active involvement was on the afternoon of 11 February 2016, when he received documents for the tender which was scheduled for publication the next day (12 February 2016). The material included several documents consisting of more than 100 pages. It was not even clear to what extent they could be forwarded for broader discussion in the CSC.
We consider this kind of consultation as deficient and not bona fide. Rather, we fear that it will be used in an attempt to present the participation of an observer for the CSC in the Award Committee as demonstrating the alleged independence of the Social Study 2016. Therefore, we make thoroughly clear at this point that the CSC has now withdrawn, at least for the time being, its initial support for the implementation of the study. Moreover, we are surprised that apparently no one from the Administrative Council – not even from its Board 28 – participates any longer in the preparation, tendering and implementation of the Social Study 2016, all the more so because Article 32 EPC foresees suitable means for the Administrative Council to do so.
As the lead has apparently been abandoned without any proposals or suggestions of the CSC being taken into account, our main reasons for continuing our support of the study are now rendered obsolete. With this perspective, we therefore cannot recommend the employees of the European Patent Office to participate in any interviews and surveys as part of the Social Study 2016.
What remains is for us to simply wish the President good luck in convincing everyone about the independence and credibility of his Social Study 2016.
The Central Staff Committee
We confirm that the above letter was correctly decided by the Central Staff Committee.
[Signatures of the CSC members]
cc.: Mr B. Battistelli, President of the EPO
Mr Y. Grandjean, Director Council Secretariat