EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.16.16

Dutch Media (NRC) Cites Documents Leaked to Techrights and EPO Refuses to Comment on Them

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The protests are the least of Battistelli’s concerns at the moment

NRC on protest

Summary: The ‘damage control’ at the European Patent Office (EPO) continues as the mainstream media in Europe increasingly takes a side, and it’s not the side of the Office

THERE is plenty of unwanted attention for EPO management right now. It started with a semi-political meeting that pretty much had the EPO go ballistic (truly terrible diplomatic approach, Battistelli is an incompetent politician and lobbyist, just like the rest of his party) and then came the Administrative Council’s meetup. This is a subject that we begin to explore in this post. There is a lot more to come.

“It started with a semi-political meeting that pretty much had the EPO go ballistic (truly terrible diplomatic approach, Battistelli is an incompetent politician and lobbyist, just like the rest of his party) and then came the Administrative Council’s meetup.”We begin with a polite request to readers. There are many articles in German [1, 2, 3] and in Dutch right now. We only have a translation for the Dutch one, at least for now (plus another that we wrote about earlier), so that leaves 3 articles in German (plus the utterly poor one we mentioned last night, coming from Munich) that we could use translations of. Contact information and advice can be found here.

Petra Kramer worked on a translation of this article from NRC, which is a large Dutch broadcaster. Human-corrected machine translation of it can be found below. “Paywalled,” Kramer wrote, so “you know the drill.” Highlighted below are new(er) bits that are relatively unique:

It will be a painful meeting

European Patent Office Member States have to choose sides this week in the conflict between their appointed boss of the European Patent Office and the staff.

It was a brief and heated conversation between a critical Dutchman and an indignant Frenchman. So went the meeting between Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) and President Benoît Battistelli of the European Patent Office in early March, according to sources close to the organization.

Van Dam (38) and Battistelli (65) seemed to talk past each other. Van Dam expressed his concern about the conflict between Battistelli and union SUEPO. The Netherlands and many other member states of the patent office want an examination into sanctions against prominent members of both the union and the works council: two of them have been dismissed, one was reduced in salary.

But Battistelli denounced the “smear campaign” by the union and felt supported by Member States. When the State Secretary repeated his criticism, it was the last straw for Battistelli. The Frenchman got angry and left the office of Van Dam after half an hour. The State Secretary has already expressed concern, says a spokesman. This conversation brought “no new insights”.

The internal tensions at the patent office are to be fought on Wednesday and Thursday in Munich. That’s when the Administrative Council will meet, the highest body in which 38 Member States are represented. The Council wants to force Battistelli to be open about punitive measures against workers. A leaked draft proposal of Battistelli’s supervisors reveals they intend to file a motion of disapproval.

Private investigation service

The conflict at the European Patent Office, which in addition Rijswijk also has offices in Munich, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels affects many interests. The Office established in 1977 adopts patent applications and grants patents valid from Iceland to Turkey. Thus, the agency protects the products and the competitiveness of multinationals like Philips, Samsung, and Siemens, but also those by private inventors.

Under Battistelli, the number of patent examinations of 7,000 employees rose by 14 percent last year, according to the patent office. But workers complain about stress and authoritarian control. The workload would be detrimental to the quality of patent protection and the health of workers. The office has a private investigative service which screens workers and labour inspections are barred from entrance. Even when someone killed themselves in 2013 by jumping out the window of their office on the seventh floor in Rijswijk.

As an international organization, the Agency neither recognizes the national labour laws nor trade union SUEPO. The Dutch government cannot intervene on its own territory, but also wants to remain a pleasant host to other international organizations, like the ICC and the European Space Agency. States are now compelled to speak out about the conflict because the attention of the international media is growing. But none of the critical countries dares to openly apostatize Battistelli – who they reappointed him until 2018 themselves.

Earlier this month Battistelli said in this newspaper that the relationship with member states is “excellent” and the proposal on the external investigation was off the table. But those involved and documents tell a different story. Battistelli would not have “the will” to implement “open discussion”.

For example, the blog Techrights published leaked minutes the management board February. These states that Battistelli has “a clear lack of will” to enter “an open discussion” on “contentious issues” – especially “social dialogue” with the union. The resolution could have been no surprise to the President: the management board had given him “many signs” for “a significant period”, it says.

Battistelli received sharp criticism last December when the management board met in Munich. The president presented beautiful annual figures and proudly told about the increase in productivity and decrease in the number of sick leave and in internal objections. There also were zero days of strike.

The delegates of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland were astonished. Yes, Battistelli earned praise for the beautiful business results, but why hasn’t the president said anything about the crisis? Member States were deeply concerned about the image of the patent office.

It is not surprising that there are no strikes because Battistelli has to authorize them, the Council continued. If employees want to make a career or want a bonus, they have to work harder. Both higher production and higher quality, does not exist. Volkswagen supposedly sold powerful and clean diesel cars – we know how that ended.

Borders of immunity investigated

All lies, Battistelli said. If there was a climate of fear, the numbers would not have been so beautiful. The president received support from Italy and Croatia, which called the image as portrayed in the media to be biased.

How the meeting in Munich will go cannot be predicted. The proposal has been watered down to gain more support among the Member States, sources say. Battistelli must ensure that punitive measures against employees are fair and he should consider access to external researchers. How to measure it, is still unclear. It could also be that Battistelli embraces the weakened proposal embraces himself.

Possibly the patent office will remain functioning without any changes, but the union and Member States will remain vigilant. Later this year a study on the working conditions will be published. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands is examining the limits of the immunity of the office.

The patent office says they do not comment on leaked documents nor on the meeting the state secretary. Spokesmen say that discussions between Member States are very common.

How convenient for them to just decline to comment because it’s not an ‘official’ announcement from them, like their lies about performance.

We look forward to more translations. In the mean time we shall work our way through newly-leaked material and publish to the best our ability/capacity (I’m personally using my holiday quota this week, in order to have more time to examine and report on the situation).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  2. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  3. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  4. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  5. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  6. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  7. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  8. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  9. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  10. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  11. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  12. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  13. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  14. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  15. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  17. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  18. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  19. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  20. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  21. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  22. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  23. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  24. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  25. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  26. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  28. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  29. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  30. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts