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

03.20.16

European Patent Office: Administrative Council gives the President a bollocking

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Patent Office: Administrative Council gives the President a bollocking

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office shows its displeasure with the President of the institution, but does not oblige him to reverse or review decisions.

Before the latest meeting of the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Office (EPO), the AC’s chairman Jesper Kongstad had expressed annoyance at the way EPO President Benoît Battistelli dealt with the staff. He demanded that the recent dismissals and disciplinary measures against leaders of the EPO union SUEPO be subjected to independent review.

Such interventions are now off the table, following the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the AC. While the Administrative Council makes clear that it does not endorse Battistelli’s actions, it nevertheless does not intend to review his decisions. The AC asks the EPO President to ensure in future that his disciplinary measures are seen to be fair, and “to consider” submitting them to external assessors or mediation tribunals for review.

Battistelli to reach agreement with the unions

According to the AC resolution, the staff regulations should be amended, in particular concerning the internal Investigation Unit (IU). Battistelli based his controversial suspension of a patent judge and dismissal of union leaders on work carried out by the Investigation Unit, which had installed keyloggers in publicly-accessible computers at the EPO to track down a person allegedly defaming the Office.

Battistelli must also agree rules for cooperation with both EPO unions. At the beginning of March 2016, the President made a great song and dance of reaching such an agreement, while forgetting to mention that the union in question represented fewer than 100 of the more than 6000 EPO employees. SUEPO, with 3400 members, has so far refused to sign the document, which stipulates inter alia that the union must submit to the internal rules of the EPO – rules which can be unilaterally amended by the Office.

Criticism of efficiency measures and working conditions

A dispute has long been bubbling under at the EPO regarding Battistelli’s drive for efficiency gains, and the related working conditions. Patent examiners are critical of the project, because quickly-granted patents may not have been examined thoroughly, and may therefore be vulnerable to legal challenge. Since 2012, the patent examiners have been resisting plans to pay bonuses out of the Office’s revenue surplus on the grounds that this gives a false motivation for granting patents. The Office’s surplus at that time was 89 Million Euros; this had almost doubled by 2015.

According to EPO rules, employees who are ill must be at their home address from 10am to 12am and 2pm to 4pm every day of their sickness leave. The EPO reserves the right to check on the employee by sending a doctor to visit. An employee who is summoned to a meeting with the internal Investigation Unit is permitted neither to remain silent nor to be accompanied by a legal representative.

The European Patent Office has 38 member countries, including non-EU members such as Turkey and Switzerland. As a supranational organisation, it is not bound by any national law. Its employees therefore do not have the option of taking the EPO to a tribunal in the country where they work, or in their country of origin. In the first instance they must rely on internal procedures, and their only route for filing a formal complaint is at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva. The procedure at the ILO can last up to ten years, and the ILO complained in 2015 that it has been flooded with EPO complaints(ck)


Update (30/3/2016): another translation of this article was published by SUEPO later on [PDF].

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. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  2. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  3. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  4. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  5. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  6. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  7. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  8. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  9. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  10. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  11. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  12. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  13. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  14. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  15. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  16. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  17. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  18. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  19. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  20. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  21. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  23. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  24. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  25. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  26. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  27. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  29. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  30. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China


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