03.03.16

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Overview of Today’s Growing Press Coverage About the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coverage broadens in scope and geography

Summary: A roundup of this week’s (and especially today’s) EPO coverage, including some of the latest propaganda from the EPO (management) and media that repeats whatever the EPO says

“There was an extensive Dutch media coverage relating to the demonstration held on 28 January in the Hague. The TV news (Thursday 28 January 09:00) on NOS (From 3’40’’) is now provided [see above] with subtitles in English, French and German,” SUEPO noted this afternoon, later adding also a list of press reports that begin to surface (even this morning) in European media:

Press releases for March 2016

(03/03/2016)

The English translation mentioned above has just been converted by us so that it can be presented as plain HTML:

European Patent Office agreement with union that represents 1 percent of staff

Eppo König

2 March 2016

After a year of negotiations, the criticised European Patent Office signed an agreement on official recognition of a trade union on Wednesday in Brussels. But this was not the largest union, SUEPO, which is refusing to sign in protest. The signatory is FFPE-EPO, which, with 75 members, represents 1 percent of the 7,000 employees.

Employees at the patent office, which grants European patents and is based in four countries, have been complaining for a long time about work pressure, intimidation by the management and restriction of their right to strike. Until now, the office has also not recognised any unions, since as an international organisation it supposedly does not fall under national labour laws.

Last year, the office did invite the unions to enter into a “social dialogue” which would lead to recognition. But SUEPO withdrew in June, when the patent office took punitive measures against three union leaders. Two of them were dismissed.

Last week, news leaked that the president of the office, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, came into conflict over this with the administrative council, the highest body. The council has “serious concerns” about the punitive measures. The same week, Battistelli invited the unions to sign an agreement on recognition.

SUEPO, which represents almost half of the 7,000 employees, will not sign as long as its leaders feel “threatened and unlawfully persecuted”. SUEPO considers it a “toothless agreement” without clear “rights and obligations”.

Samuel van der Bijl, Chair of FFPE-EPO recognises that his union is small, but hopes to attract more members through the agreement. The agreement says nothing about the right to strike, but this is at the top of the agenda according to Van der Bijl.

The patent office says that it is one of the first international organisations to recognise unions. Battistelli has stated that he is open to “all themes” in relation to work.

We don't honestly believe that FFPE-EPO is much more than a yellow union, which is why we are going to write more articles about it later in the week

Battistelli, according to this article, continues to deny that he is leaving (well, he will probably have to, irrespective of his desire). Here is the key part:

Asked about rumours about a possible “retirement package” of some €18million, and if his salary was over €1million a year, Battistelli said these allegations were the result of a defamation campaign which has been going on for some time.

He qualified his relationship with the EPO Council as “excellent” and said the Council asked him to extend his mandate by three years. He said his salary is €300,000 per year and “not a single euro in bonus.” The €18million is the budgetary amount of all rewards given to staff in 2015, he said, which was divided between some 70 percent of the staff, about 5,500 people, he said.

[Editor’s note: these claims of progress with staff relations and denial of negotiation for an exit package run contrary to reports and documents being circulated by information sources claiming inside information at the EPO. IP-Watch could not confirm these reports at press time.]

Actually, a lot of the defamation comes from Battistelli these days.

We have meanwhile noticed that “Lidstaten keren zich tegen ‘tirannieke’ topman Europees octrooibureau” and “Octrooibureau wil onderzoek naar bestuursstijl president” (two articles we previously posted here with an English translation) now have SUEPO translations available in English, French and German. Here are the English versions as PDFs.

“This “UK delegation” and this “preparatory committee” are nothing but self-serving non-scientists.”We have also just noticed this article from WIPR which helps British lawyers promote the UPC. There is no input from outsiders to this system. None whatsoever. Nonetheless, UK-IPO helps pull this Trojan horse across the Channel, and according to WIPR: “The UK delegation of the preparatory committee for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has secured a zero cost opt-out for the new system, the government has said.

“According to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), after “18 months of hard work” the UK delegation has secured the deal.”

This “UK delegation” and this “preparatory committee” are nothing but self-serving non-scientists. They should be allowed to take forward the UPC with no public input. That’s grossly antidemocratic. They are stealing democracy.

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