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03.16.16

EPO’s Leadership All-time Low: Benoît Battistelli’s Meeting With Secretary Martijn van Dam Explodes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NRC story

Summary: Astonishingly, Battistelli’s temper becomes too much for him to bear and he escapes the building right at the middle of an important meeting

THE EPO faces more embarrassment as Benoît Battistelli, who evidently lacks social skills (recall how he treats delegates), pisses off or shocks yet more public officials. Petra Kramer and others have told us about new media reports such as this. Human-corrected machine translation of this seminal article has been provided to us by Kramer. “Paywalled,” she remarked on it, “but you should know the drill by now; get rid of cookies from NRC.” Here it is in English:

EPO boss left meeting with Van Dam in anger

The Frenchman Benoît Battistelli was irritated during a critical interview with Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) and walked away.

The President of the European Patent Office in Rijswijk, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, showed his infamous temper this week in The Hague. Battistelli (65) was irritated during a critical interview with Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party). After half an hour Battistelli was angry and he left the office of the Secretary of State in the Ministry. Sources close to the patent office confirm.

The international organization in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Belgium (7,000 employees) accepts patent applications and grants European patents. But the patent office is mainly in the news because of the ongoing conflict between Battistelli and the union that he does not want to recognize, SUEPO. The Governing Council, the supreme body of the patent office which consists of 38 Member States today voted on external research into sanctions against trade unionists.

During the interview on Friday, March 4th State Secretary Van Dam expressed his concerns about working conditions and reputational damage to the patent office. But Battistelli accused the union of a smear campaign and said that he was supported by most Member States. When the Secretary repeated his criticism because it fell on deaf ears, president Battistelli broke off the conversation with Van Dam and he left.

The Secretary of State has expressed concern before about the patent office, a spokesperson for Economic Affairs responded on request. This conversation has delivered “no new insights”, the spokesman said. The spokespersons of the patent office said not to be able make statements about the conversation with the Secretary of State, because they were not informed about the course of the conversation.

A day before the interview at a press conference in Brussels Battistelli said he came to ask Van Dam questions. Earlier, he told NRC:

“Especially if he realizes that the Netherlands benefits from the patent office. We invest 250 million euros in a new building. We put 1 billion euros to the Dutch economy. So I’m going to ask him whether he is aware of these elements ”

Dutch News put it as follows (citing the above):

Angry EU patent office chief breaks off talks with Dutch minister: NRC

[...]

The Dutch minister is said to have raised working conditions and the damage to the patent office’s reputation during the meeting with Battistelli at the beginning of this month.

He accuses the union of slander and says his position is supported by most member states. When Van Dam repeated his concerns, Battistelli broke off the conversation and walked out, the sources said.

Battistelli is very much delusional about the reality at the Office. Either he misleads himself, his (high-level) colleagues mislead him, or the PR team that lies to staff and to journalists got to him. Whatever it is, Battistelli is an embarrassment to the Office. The Organisation, i.e. the Administrative Council, should do the right thing now.

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