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06.07.16

Perpetual Attack on EPO Staff, Even After the Staff Leaves the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sun King’s general approach towards staff and his media strategy

Summary: The war on staff’s freedom (even freedom of speech, including after leaving the EPO) escalated to the point of jaw-dropping levels

IT IS no secret that EPO management witch-hunts people, especially those who are associated with (or run) SUEPO. Those people must behave as Battistelli (Sun King) pleases at all times, even after he dismisses them (apparently) because vengeance goes a long way. The Battistelli Kool-Aid must flow uninterrupted. People must stop reading blogs that express criticism or question the EPO. They should instead tune in to EPO (paid) “media partners”. That’s the Battistelli way.

Having realised that she is banned by the EPO anyway, Merpel now continues her work with little hesitation (not much is left to lose). I know the feeling. Among the comments posted in relation to the censorship (please note we have updated this post 3 times already, with new information) we have [1, 2]:

The Bike has been expertised and only normal wear detected on the brakes …I guess it will not make it to the intranet.

You are joking, right? Expertised by whom, anyway?

The “Bike” meme/theme — or the “Bike Affair” as some call it — just won’t go away. It helps distract from meaningful conversation about Battistelli and his goons, as does the event on Thursday (to coincide with a protest). Once again the EPO resorts to 'spamming' people for this silly event. Compare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] (pretty much identical message, which can get them temporarily shadow-banned by Twitter). This is truly pathetic.

Looking at the latest from Merpel, based on a lot of comments and discussions in comments (which we never get around to covering due to lack of time) she has composed this article about “the EPO’s plans to restrict post-service employment”. To quote the key bits:

Merpel wrote recently about the latest plans of the European Patent Office to reform the Boards of Appeal of the EPO. One aspect present in the earlier proposals of CA/16/15 (see IPKat here, here and here) was that post-service restrictions on employment should apply to former members of the Boards of Appeal, in order to prevent the appearance of conflicts of interest. This aspect has been removed from the main proposal and made the subject of an entire new proposal of its own, to apply not just to Board of Appeal members, but all employees of the EPO.

[...]

It must be cause for concern where powers are stated to be used only exceptionally, but granted without restriction. Moreover, the EPO is explicitly moving to a situation where more employees are expected not to stay their whole working lives with the EPO, so the question of what an ex-employee can do will rise in prominence. For example, the proposals for reform of the Boards of Appeal plan to remove security of tenure so that Board members can no longer expect to be automatically re-appointed at the end of each 5 year term.

For the Boards of Appeal, the most significant issue is that Board members cannot improperly use their former status to the advantage of a particular party by representing them in proceedings before the EPO, but this was dealt with more than 2 decades ago in case G/94.

As an organisation, the EPO is struggling (to put it politely) with its staff relations. It is baffling that the Administrative Council might think it to be a good idea to to add to the list of staff grievances by granting the EPO President, who is the “appointing authority” for most staff, an entirely new ability to control the career of staff members even beyond their departure from the Office, without at least being convinced first that the lack of such powers was damaging the Office.

So Merpel returns to her original question – what is the evidence that further restrictions are required now?

“I may be prejudiced, but this sounds like “Silence! I kill you!”,” said this one response. To quote the whole thing:

I am puzzled at how a former member of a Board of Appeal could take a position where he or she would create a conflict with respect to the legitimate interests of the European Patent Office.

Indeed, we have G2/94. But as this relates to partiality, one would say the proposed oral submission of the former Board member could harm the interests of the other party, not so much the interests of the EPO. And, by the way, G2/94 related to partiality of the Board of Appeal, which is, as we all know, not part of the European Patent Office (hmm… ok, they are employed by the Office?).

So, again, what legitimate interests of the EPO could be at stake for any position taken up by a former Board member?

I may be prejudiced, but this sounds like “Silence! I kill you!”.

It’s also said that “the current EPO looks like the old soviet structures in the 80s’,” to quote another comment:

The current EPO direction wants to control 360°, 24/7 the life of each and single one.

An ex-EPO director now happy pensioner told me today : the current EPO looks like the old soviet structures in the 80s’

Sad, very sad

“This is a measure of pure vindictiveness, with no reasonable justification whatsoever,” added another:

There does not need to be “evidence” to support any whim of the President. Who is going to say him nay? However, there are several benefits from his point of view. As already noted, this measure would have a crippling effect on members of the Board of Appeal wishing to pursue any “occupational activity” after leaving the EPO. In a strategy to undermine the BoA this is another effective action.

There is also the benefit of blocking the activities of anyone retired or dismissed who wishes to work for SUEPO, whether paid or not. There are already several people who would potentially be affected by this measure, especially the two SUEPO leaders dismissed in Munich. Displease the President and the risk is that he and his investigators will pursue you to the ends of the earth and for the rest of your working life.

This is a measure of pure vindictiveness, with no reasonable justification whatsoever.

And finally, a shorter remark:

The Will of the President is all the evidence you need, Merpel.

A lot more of this can be found in comments in other threads, which is possibly why the EPO grew angry enough to just block the entire site/blog.

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