03.16.16

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Reader’s Article: “Guantanamo Possible in Germany”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

German Gitmo

Summary: A reader’s contribution to the debate about human rights (or lack thereof) at the European Patent Office (EPO)

In a recent report of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Siegfried Broß, a former judge of the German Constitutional Court expressed concern about the situation at the EPO: “Guantanamo would be possible in Germany.”

“But thanks to EPO vice president Guillaume Minnoye, we all know that the EPO-regime would not even accept the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.”While the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, did not want to give an interview to Bayerisches Fernsehen, regarding the controversial investigation procedures, the German Federal Justice Ministry wrote: “Germany has called on the President of the EPO repeatedly and urgently to change the rules it has laid down for the investigation procedures in this respect. This has unfortunately not yet happened.”

“Mere requests are too little”, says former federal constitutional judge Siegfried Broß in the BR report. “The Federal Constitutional Court explicitly states that the Federal Republic of Germany may not ‘hold out its hand’ to acts which violate human rights. From that point of view, Germany as a host country is indeed called upon to act. If you exaggerate a little and think ahead, with the way of thinking that has come to light here, Guantanamo would be possible in Germany. And that cannot be – everybody understands that.”

But thanks to EPO vice president Guillaume Minnoye, we all know that the EPO-regime would not even accept the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

“Mr Battistelli has to go!”The Administrative Council (AC) can and should put an end to the EPO’s illegal practice this week. And as the EPO’s major host country, Germany has a particular responsibility for the employees. But since the German minister of justice, Heiko Maas, has been conspicuously cautious with (publicly) criticising the EPO regime, it is currently not clear what the position of the German delegation is. Amongst others, the German government had pushed for the current reforms: “The reforms are necessary and partially long overdue.” The reforms were apparently more important for them than the social peace in the Office.

Heise newsticker mentioned that, for the organisation’s member states, the EPO is above all a ‘cash cow’ whose milk should continue flowing: In 2014 the turnover with patents and procedural fees would have been close to 1.6 billion Euros.

In order to keep the ‘cash cow’ alive, the German delegation must make sure that the EPO’s examiners can do their job properly, in order to be able to fulfil the EPC mandate. A return to the rule-of-law is a necessary first step. It is unrealistic that this can be achieved together with president Battistelli, as he is continuously demonstrating.

Mr Battistelli has to go!

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