06.15.16

EPO Brain Drain Goes All the Way to the Top as Head of Patent Administration Abruptly Resigns

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A pattern of resignations continues [1, 2, 3, 4] as Ciaran McGinley too will fall this fall (having just announced intent of resignation or retirement intent far too early in his career)

A photo from EPO Vienna

Summary: People who are allegedly responsible for the unprecedented lawlessness at the EPO are leaving again, perhaps realising what’s next to come and shrewdly trying to dodge it based on insider information which they possess

IN OUR previous post we showed how SUEPO leaders and staff representatives are being abused inside the IU (EPO Investigative Unit). They’re gagged, so not much is known about what goes on inside. No wonder there are strikes this year. The EPO has become an embarrassing institution to work for, based on what EPO workers sometimes tell us. It wasn’t always like that. The EPO used to have relatively good reputation (we had an amicable attitude towards the EPO back in the Brimelow days), not just based on EPO mouthpieces.

“The EPO has become an embarrassing institution to work for, based on what EPO workers sometimes tell us.”Based on the latest news, Board 28 was right to say there's a "crisis" at the EPO. Now, only a few months later, the top managers have begun quitting their jobs. Vacuum remains behind them, compromising the quality of operations (not just as measured by number of approved applications but actual patent quality). We are growing rather concerned that it puts in jeopardy the entire organisation (hence everybody’s jobs, including delegates’).

When one sees his or her employees committing suicide under the Battistelli regime it’s not too shocking to see high-level resignations. If Battistelli does not step down pretty soon, signaling change and hope (to use the Obama buzzwords), a lot of other managers (even those in Battistelli’s circle but especially good, moral, respected ones) will vanish. This will compromise the entire Office, so the Organisation must act fast and decisively. This might also save lives (recall this letter from Ciaran McGinley about the fourth suicide).

Several different sources told us about the latest resignation. Basically, the head of Patent Administration (where many of the suicides happened at the EPO) has just unexpectedly resigned. This was known about yesterday, but now the word is circulating more widely. “I got the news yesterday lunchtime,” told us one person, “however I wasn’t allowed to share” the information, “but since it’s live now, here we go:

It could either mean personal damage control or jumping from the sinking ship (SOS Titanic) or both! The time will tell us.

BREAKING NEWS !

PD 21 CIARAN MCGINLEY JUST INFORMED STAFF THAT HE LEAVES IN EARLY RETIREMENT

with among other one striking sentence “However, looking to the future leads me to the conclusion that early retirement from the EPO is the right step both personally and professionally.”

In our experience (writing about software), people often retire early right before (or shortly after) major scandals that jeopardise one’s ‘peak’ or memorable legacy.

Our theory about this is that he cannot take it anymore, no matter the compensation (salary) working for incompetent top-level managers whom the staff hates so much that some commit suicide. There have been stories like this in other companies. That’s a sort of “acceptance” stage and appropriate action. We begrudgingly commend Ciaran McGinley for this decision, which surely he knew would damage Battistelli’s legitimacy before his potential sacking later this month (well overdue).

“Regarding the resignation of McGinley,” told us another source, “my first thought was exactly like what was portrayed below the first lines: Ciaran McGinley must know something that everyone else don’t.”

Is there more on the way? For completeness of our records, here is Ciaran McGinley’s farewell message in full:

From: Silke Johmann On Behalf Of Ciaran McGinley
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 1:35 PM
To: PA_all Staff
Subject: To all staff in Patent Administration

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to inform you of my intention to take early retirement later this year, namely from 1st November onwards. I have informed Alberto yesterday evening and the President this morning.

Since taking up my duties at the European Patent Office on 1 January 1982, it has been a continuous privilege to have worked in, and to have contributed to, this organisation. It has furthermore been an honour to have served under, and worked directly with, all six Presidencies. The last years have been especially enjoyable as Principal Director of Patent Administration and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful contribution made by each and every one of you. Serving you since 1 January 2010 has been a highlight of my professional career at the EPO.

However, looking to the future leads me to the conclusion that early retirement from the EPO is the right step both personally and professionally. After all these years, I believe that the circumstances are now such that it is time for me to move on.

No doubt we will have the opportunity to share, reminisce and thank each other more personally in the coming months. I very much look forward to that.

Yours faithfully,

Ciaran McGinley
Principal Director, Patent Administration

So Ciaran McGinley, who has worked for the EPO since I was just two weeks old, is now leaving prematurely. Here are some thoughts we found about this, which look upon McGinley rather negatively, framing him as a big part of the problem:

An iconic EPO top manager is prematurely leaving the EPO…

- PD 21, Mr. Ciaran McGinley has announced to his staff his “intention to take early retirement later this year, namely from 1st November onwards”. This announce has come as a great surprise: Mr McG has been a notorious EPO manager for his long and (hyper-?) active time in the EPO but is still far from the EPO statutory pension age of 65.

- He has served in various positions, in particular as advisor to two EPO Presidents (worked under six of them), and is/was renowned for the legions of bold and staff-unfriendly reform ideas, which he repeatedly defended (against all parties preferably, in particular staff) with little diplomacy but with a remarkable skillful and eloquent stamina year after year… Just to cite one: the abolition of Automatic steps, which is unfortunately now a reality under Mr. Battistelli last career reform… So why should such a reform champion leave?

- Surely, personal reasons must prevail (enough pension rights, financial sustainability, personal and professional plans, etc..). Or has this manager informations about an imminent pension reform, that staff does not know about (at least not the Staff representation), rendering a quick departure a tactically clever thing to do? However, most “great leaders” who identify with their organisation, tend to feel essential for the future of the office and often believe in being unreplaceable: so why stopping now so “early”, so suddenly Surely not for simple mundane criteria such as stability and safety.

- Clearly when a herald of “tough” reforms thinks that “circumstances are now such that it is me for [him] to move on”, it does raise a few eye-brows… One cannot but have the impression that, perhaps, even for him, the radical provocateur he always likes(d) to posture himself, the present climate and today’s leadership may have gone a few unbearable steps too far.

- The question is not if other staff or managers think along these lines (a look in the staff survey should be enough to know the answer): the question is when will the Administrative Council understand and act to stop this?

That’s actually a good question. McGinley may be one among several ‘bigwigs’ to fall. Several people believe so. Stay tuned… there’s a lot more coming.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day



  2. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)



  3. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."



  4. Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day



  5. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity



  6. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020



  8. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)



  9. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives



  10. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough



  11. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers



  12. Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

    Links for the day



  13. 29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

    Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we've made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)



  14. [Meme] Trump is Out. Now It's Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

    The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it's not just another corporate presidency



  15. Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

    ZDNet's Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)



  16. The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

    On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming "real soon!"



  17. Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

    Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag. By Benjamin HENRION.



  18. [Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With 'Hey Hi' (AI)

    If it's not legal for 'Hey Hi' (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?



  19. European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to 'Justice Over the Telephone' and Decree by E-mail

    The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe's public interest



  20. Making Free Software Work for Users

    The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 25, 2020



  22. Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

    Links for the day



  23. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day



  24. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring



  25. The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

    Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)



  26. The European Patent Office Should be Run by Patent Examiners (Scientists), Not Politicians

    Europe would be better off (and patent quality much improved) had people with an actual grasp of science and reality were in charge of the EPO, not a money-chasing kakistocracy (which is what we have now)



  27. Member of the EPO's Boards of Appeal Explains Why VICOs (or ViCo/Video Conferences/Virtual 'Hearings') Are Not Suitable for Justice

    It's interesting to hear (or see/read) what people inside the EPO have to say about the "new normal" when they enjoy a certain level of anonymity (to avert retribution)



  28. Open Source Initiative (OSI) Co-founder Bruce Perens: Open Invention Network (OIN) is Protecting the Software Patent System From Reform and OSI Approves Faux 'Open' Licences (Openwashing)

    Richard Stallman was right about the OSI and the fake 'movement' that claims to have 'coined' the term "Open Source" (it wasn't a new term at all; it had been used in another context and the Free software community spoke of things like "Open Hardware" years earlier)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 24, 2020



  30. Making JavaScript Suck Less

    "Other than that, the first rule of JavaScript is: Do not use JavaScript. But this article is for people who break the first rule."


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

Recent Posts