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05.01.16

The European Patent Office Still Silently Abusive, Will Pay $15,000 in Compensation to Female Worker After Belated ILO Judgment

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) issues a judgment on a case of abuse by the EPO and notes “excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings.”

ILO may be struggling with the huge load caused by EPO complaints (suggestions have been made in that regard), but occasionally it catches up with at least some of the EPO backlog and issues actual judgments, probably close to a decade after the initial complaint was made. The EPO’s management has virtually been flooding or drowning out the ILO because of its sheer abuses, which caused an unprecedented number of complaints to be filed there.

One recent decision got our attention. “It seems the long text is only in French but it makes interesting reading,” one person told us about this ILO judgment from a couple of months ago. “It´s about harassment at the EPO and how it´s being dealt with internally” (presumably by the likes of the “gestapo” as it’s called internally [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]).

The English summary says: “The complainant challenges the decision requiring her to undergo a medical examination during the investigation of her complaint of harassment and the dismissal of that complaint.” What’s noteworthy here is the age of this case; the first decision on it was 7 years ago:

1. The decisions of 16 December 2009, 4 February 2010 and 19 June 2013 are set aside.
2. The EPO shall pay the complainant 10,000 euros in compensation for the moral injury resulting from the decisions which have been set aside.
3. It shall pay her 1,000 euros in moral damages for the excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings.
4. It shall also pay her 1,000 euros in costs.
5. All other claims, insofar as they are not moot, are dismissed.

Watch EPO money/budget ‘at work’. There’s a hidden cost for incompetent administration.

The above oughtn’t be so shocking to those who have been following the EPO’s abuses. Notice how long it took justice to be done; the complainant could have changed several jobs since then or maybe lost interest in the case, having spent a lot of time and energy, presumably on costly appeals. Putting aside potential evidence of human rights abuses, what we have here is a reminder that EPO employees simply cannot rely on ILO for justice and if Battistelli the tyrant breaks the rules or misuses his own rules (which he himself made up), there will be no effective resort to independent and rapid justice.

Somebody sent us an EPO insider opinion, noting that “an EPO source who also pointed me to your latest post on Siegfried Bross bemieves [sic] the following: ‘in my opinion the President’s strategy is to lay low this year, or at least most of it (“a year of consolidation”) hoping that the Council will calm down and the opposition will die out (actively contributing to that by killing a few more enemies). This gives him the time to prepare for the next attack. He is doing a Financial Study and a Social Study, and trying to build up FFPE. The really nasty bits (pension reform and more) will then come next year – to be approved in the December Council. The whole thing about criminal proceedings is in my opinion mostly saber-rattling.’”

Nowadays Battistelli is demolishing the EPO by doing everything to ensure brain drain [1, 2, 3, 4], recruitment difficulties (due to reputation damage), huge strikes, and dissatisfied applicants. Read this comment posted just before the weekend:

Nobbi says: Don’t be distracted by the “SocialDemocracy/MoU/SocialStudy/SocialConference” manoeuvre.

1. Reduce the salay-mass and thereby the contributions to the pension fund. Motivate staff close to (early) retirement to leave, improving staff demography and creating a pension fund problem requiring further reforms. Over-recruit examiners at the lower end of the salary scale, if possible on limited contract. Does not help the pension fund problem created. It is not supposed to. Bonuses to management.

2. On top of the usual ever-increasing targets for production, add personal “quality-is-timeliness” targets for first and/or further communications in examination (Early Certainty from Advanced Examination sooner than you expected (ECfAE)) and implement the Paris Criteria. More bonuses to management.

Result: Oh!?! Too many examiners … too few files … less renewal fees for the EPOrg … more for the national offices.

3. Get rid of the examiners on contract and of the more experienced yet still to costly examiners left. Push them to ridiculous production. You can always leave if you dont’t like it! Bonuses …

Result: Less costly examiners, less contributions to the pension fund. Oh! A pension fund problem.

4. Comes in the PriceworthyConsultant and says: Increase the retirement age and the contribution rate to the pension fund for the (meanwhile rubber-stamping) examiners still left. Bonuses for the consultant and …

5. Comes in another PriceworthyConsultant and says: Outsource search and examination to finally get rid of in-house examiners. Dissolve the pension fund and use the cash for … bonuses…

6. The AI-oracle generates fully automated zero-day search and just-in-time on-demand as-you-wish examination and says: Get rid of all non-management and lower-management staff. No need for a pension fund as we have bonuses for …

“Sure it is,” one person responded. “For those who will still be employees of “the office”. In your scenario: the president and the vice presidents.”

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