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Italian Television to Cover EPO Abuses, Bringing the Outrage to the Mainstream in Another Country

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The above clip (click to play) is a teaser of a programme which will air shortly, criticising abuses and unaccountability at the EPO

THE EPO is experiencing unprecedented unrest and “Upcoming coverage,” said one person the other day (addressing several people including myself), shall be about “unaccountable EPO and patents on Italian TV. Next Sunday.” This coverage will be in Italian, but hopefully some time thereafter there will be translations, such as subtitled versions, added days or weeks later (there are usually people out there willing to produce these).

As the clip above shows, Battistelli will be among the parties criticised. Abuses will be covered and speaking of which, this new document [PDF] (perhaps work in progress) turned up online (as PDF, not as HTML, which we have produced a version of) and Merpel gave some context as follows:

Investigation Unit

One of the most controversial aspects of the current functioning of the EPO is the “Investigation Unit” which conducts internal investigations (sometimes also using external investigation companies such as Control Risks) into staff conduct under “Circular 342″, which came into effect in January 2013. During such investigations, failure to cooperate is itself a disciplinary offence (so no right to silence), and no legal representation is permitted. Here at least there is some progress – the President has started a review of the functioning of the Investigation Unit, and SUEPO has provided its comments. Merpel will cast her last piece of hope that this review may lead to a disciplinary procedure that does not offend basic principles of due process.

“In its communique of its meeting in October 2015, the Administrative Council saw no reason to doubt that the general principles of law were correctly applied throughout the investigative and disciplinary procedure against a member of the Boards of Appeal.”
“SUEPO’s document on the Investigation Guidelines,” wrote one commenter, “illustrates the pressure exercised on EPO staff including members of the Boards of Appeal. However, there seems to be little hope that the Administrative Council is willing to change the situation. In its communique of its meeting in October 2015, the Administrative Council saw no reason to doubt that the general principles of law were correctly applied throughout the investigative and disciplinary procedure against a member of the Boards of Appeal. In its March meeting, the Council could not agree on a resolution insisting on an external review of the actions taken against staff representatives based on the results of the Investigation Guidelines and exceeding even the proposals of the Disciplinary Committee. Instead, the Council eroded the personal independence of Board members by allowing suspension as a preliminary measure for a period of 2 years and even longer, i.e. for an essential part of the appointment period. This amounts to a temporary removal from office which makes Article 23 of the Convention meaningless, ignoring the exclusive competence of the Enlarged Board of Appeal to propose removal from office.”

We are still eager to receive and publish material regarding yesterday’s protest, which has so far yielded no press coverage that we can find (in English at least). Press coverage can expand the scope of concern; in Bavarian, for instance, this led to parliamentarian interventions last month.

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  1. katkatkat said,

    May 16, 2016 at 3:15 am


    The report of the Italian television war really bad: not clear, incomplete and confused. Nothing compared to the report of Bayerischer Rundfunk few weeks ago.
    Mr Masi, head of the Italian delegation the Administrative Council, who never shows up at the meetings, even stated that Battistelli is doing well with his reforms. He has most possibly never read the text of any document. He speaks without knowing.
    The report confused several issues about trade marks, patents and infringement, and said little or nothing about the real issues of governance and abuses. Bad journalism! Useless for you, Roy, to look for a translation of the report. It would be wasted time.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks. I never heard of the Italian delegation — or any Italian authorities/officials for that matter — doing anything regarding the EPO. And if rumours are not baseless, then Italy is also selling out regarding UPC.

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