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

09.29.16

Letter From the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys (Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden) to the Administrative Council of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys
Source: Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys

Summary: The Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys, a group representing a large number of Dutch patent practitioners, is against Benoît Battistelli and his horrible behaviour at the European Patent Office (EPO)

“An interesting new document has come to light,” told us a source this morning about the EPO. “It is a letter dated 12th of February 2016 which was apparently sent on behalf of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys or Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden to the Administrative Council of the EPO. The letter does not pull any punches and is worth reading in full.”

“The letter does not pull any punches and is worth reading in full.”
      –Anonymous
Our source “doesn’t know whether Kongstad actually distributed this letter to the other members of the Administrative Council or whether he colluded with Battistelli to suppress it. But now that it has finally come to light it may be worth publishing.”

We have taken a look at this letter and highlighted important bits below. Worth noting is the attorneys’ concern about the reputation of the Office and the lack of action from the Administrative Council.

European Patent Organisation
Administrative Council
C/o Mr. Jesper Kongstad, Chairman
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
D- 80469 Munich
Germany

Also by e-mail:
jko@dkpto.dk/ council@epo.org/ council_secretary@epo.org

The Hague, Februari 12th, 2016

Dear Mr. Kongstad,

On behalf of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys or Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden (Orde), we want to draw your attention to the following issues. The Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys is the professional organisation of Dutch patent attorneys. The existence of the Orde is enshrined in the Dutch Patent Act and membership is mandatory for all Dutch patent attorneys. Our members (around 500) are active in private practice as well as in the industry. Most of our members are also European Patent Attorneys and act regularly before the EPO.

The European Patent System is on the brink of a new era. The Unitary Patent System (UPS) and the associated Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is a new and significant step forward. It will improve the patent system in Europe and make it more reliable and attractive for its users, both legally and economically. In particular, the UPS/UPC intends to make Europe more attractive compared with the other major patents systems such as those of the United States, Japan, China and South Korea. The Orde believes that such enhanced cooperation is the way forward in a globalising economy wherein the value of an enterprise more and more relies on the value of its intellectual property. We fully support and endorse such endeavours.

The Orde understands that organisations such as the EPO have to reinvent themselves from time to time in order to remain state of the art. The Orde applauds the ambition of the EPO to “set worldwide standards in quality and efficiency“(source: EPO vision). The existing roadmap to achieve this (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) is not disputed by us. We believe that indeed the EPO can be a leading patent office in the world. We notice and acknowledge that the EPO has been able to substantially improve the speed and quality of its patent processes as well as the communication with its users (applicants/patent attorneys).

However, the Orde has to express its serious and on-going concern about the way in which this reinventing process is taking place and the effects that it has on the image of the EPO. The Orde follows with growing worries the developments at the EPO. In particular, we are concerned about the developments regarding the organisation and government of the Boards of Appeal and the treatment of the EPO personnel. It is the ‘how’ that now brings us to this letter.

We observe that the reorganization process towards increased independence of the Boards of Appeal is not progressing or too slow. Earlier proposals for reform by the President do not guarantee adequate independence. The undesirable lack of independence has also been found by the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The observation that the President does not appear to listen to the valuable input of the Boards (who have been qualified one by Sir Robin Jacob as “judges in all but name”), is a striking denial of their qualities. The Orde is of the opinion that Boards have a crucial role in determining the validity of European Patents. Consequently, the impartiality and independence of the Boards of Appeal without any interference or control of the President of the EPO is essential for the proper functioning of the EPO judicial system. Now and in the future.

We observe in the 2016 EPO Business Distribution Scheme of the Technical Boards of Appeal that there are about 10% vacant positions in Boards of Appeal in 2016. More than 25% of the boards seem to be without chairman, effectively deactivating the Boards in question. We observe that there is no apparent reason for doing so. The Boards have an essential role in preserving the quality of the European Patent System. Their role in the Unitary Patent System remains crucial and must be properly facilitated. With the current understaffing of the Boards, we are worried that appeal procedures will be unduly delayed, creating legal uncertainty and adversely affects the quality of the European patent system. The Orde is of the opinion that the quality and staffing of the Boards of Appeal is to be maintained.

We observe that the employment conditions at the EPO and the basic rights of employees are seriously compromised. In the beginning it appeared as common and understandable reactions to changes that every organisation experiences. However, over time the information that reached the public became more and became more serious. The latest incident being that officials of SUEPO are subjected to disciplinary measures, downgraded, pension reductions and some SUEPO members plainly fired. We have already seen that any form of normal communication between SUEPO and EPO is severely flawed or is non-existent. We see many reports of oppressive rules and regulations. We note that, when we seek information from EPO employees, they are reluctant to communicate in fear of retribution by internal investigative units. It seems that the people at the EPO are afraid of their own management. The Orde rejects this situation vehemently. We cannot understand that the President of an organization that envisages to “set worldwide standards in quality and efficiency“ is not capable or not willing to apply the same standards to its people management. We refer also to the ruling of the Dutch Appeal Court that the EPO appears to be violating basic human rights.

A disgrace, irrespective whether the EPO benefits from its immunity as an international organisation or not. A reputable international organization such as EPO should not have it’s employment conditions and employee rights held up against such a basic thing as human rights.

We observe repeated demonstrations of large groups of EPO personnel in Munich or The Hague. We know many of the employees of the EPO. Either from a professional relationship as examiner or because many of them live among us in the Netherlands and we share schools and clubs with them. We know that they are highly motivated, highly intelligent, capable and reasonable people that care about the patent system and the organisation they work for. We hear that most of them understand the ‘why’ and ‘what’. The observation that they demonstrate repeatedly in large groups is nevertheless a clear indication that they are unhappy. They do not deserve to be led by a President who, regardless of other qualities, seems to have an intolerant and destructive people management style as part of the ‘how’.

We call upon the Administrative Council to instruct the President to acknowledge and normalise the basic human right of the EPO employees to organize themselves and come up for their position. The reinvention process of the EPO should be a firm yet healthy discussion between management and employees who, in the end, have the common interest of the organisation at large in mind.

We observe also that the dispute between the President and the EPO has attracted the public interest already more than once. The EPO does not live in a diplomatic vacuum. The EPO is part of today’s society and everything that that happens inside the EPO will find its way to the outside. Very quickly and very complete via internet and social media. Various newspapers and TV-programmes have paid attention to the quarrels at the EPO.

In addition to the information from public media, we receive information from our members that that they are increasingly being questioned about what is happening at the EPO. These questions come from their foreign colleagues (patent attorneys around the world) as well as direct clients, i.e. inventors and applicants. These people are the primary clients of the EPO and they wonder what is going on. The fact that the Orde is a Dutch organisation does not make a difference for our clients, our members also act before the EPO. For our clients and applicants, we are all part of the same patent system. These observations and questions from clients and applicants mean that the credibility and reputation of the EPO is already tainted in Europe and abroad. The Orde does not see this as a healthy situation. The Orde is of the opinion that the role of President of the EPO also contains the responsibility of maintaining and furthering the reputation of the EPO for the general public.

We sincerely believe that the current situation at the EPO has spun out of control by the actions of its President. The Orde believes that the EPO, with the President as its leading official should practice the vision of the EPO: “All our relationships – within our Office and with partners around the world – will prosper through trust, transparency, fairness and mutual respect.”

We are of the opinion that the current situation demands serious and concrete efforts by the Administrative Council to stop the President of the EPO from continuing these unproductive and destructive practices. We call upon the Administrative Council to take up its responsibility, to supervise the EPO and take control of the situation.

Sincerely,

On behalf of the Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden

Robbert-Jan de Lang
President

It is not surprising to see their views on the UPC, but suffice to say their interests are not the same as Europe’s. We shall tackle the UPC in our next post.

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. The EPO's HR Roadmap Retrospective

    A look back at the terrible ‘accomplishments’ of the Jesper Kongstad-led Administrative Council, which still issues hogwash and face-saving lies, as one might expect from a protector of Battistelli that lies to national representatives and buries inconvenient topics



  2. Links 26/3/2017: Debian Project Leader Elections, SecureDrop and Alexandre Oliva FSF Winners

    Links for the day



  3. His Master's Voice, Jesper Kongstad, Blocks Discussion of Investigative and Disciplinary Procedures at the EPO

    The Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation is actively preventing not just the dismissal of Battistelli but also discussion of Battistelli's abuses



  4. Heiko Maas and the State of Germany Viewed as Increasingly Complicit in EPO Scandals and Toxic UPC Agenda

    It is becoming hard if not impossible to interpret silence and inaction from Maas as a form of endorsement for everything the EPO has been doing, with the German delegates displaying more of that apathy which in itself constitutes a form of complicity



  5. With IP Kat Coverage of EPO Scandals Coming to an End (Officially), Techrights and The Register Remain to Cover New Developments

    One final post about the end of Merpel’s EPO coverage, which is unfortunate but understandable given the EPO’s track record attacking the media, including blogs like IP Kat, sites of patent stakeholders, and even so-called media partners



  6. Everyone, Including Patent Law Firms, Will Suffer From the Demise of the EPO

    Concerns about quality of patents granted by the EPO (EPs) are publicly raised by industry/EPO insiders, albeit in an anonymous fashion



  7. Yes, Battistelli's Ban on EPO Strikes (or Severe Limitation Thereof) is a Violation of Human Rights

    Battistelli has curtailed even the right to strike, yet anonymous cowards attempt to blame the staff (as in patent examiners) for not going out of their way to engage in 'unauthorised' strikes (entailing dismissal)



  8. Even the EPO's Administrative Council No Longer Trusts Its Chairman, Battistelli's 'Chinchilla' Jesper Kongstad

    Kongstad's protection of Battistelli, whom he is supposed to oversee, stretches to the point where national representatives (delegates) are being misinformed



  9. Thanks to Merpel, the World Knows EPO Scandals a Lot Better, But It's a Shame That IP Kat Helped UPC

    A look back at Merpel's final post about EPO scandals and the looming threat of the UPC, which UPC opportunists such as Bristows LLP still try hard to make a reality, exploiting bogus (hastily-granted) patents for endless litigation all around Europe



  10. EPO Critics Threatened by Self-Censorship, Comment Censorship, and a Growing Threat to Anonymity

    Putting in perspective the campaign for justice at the EPO, which to a large degree relies on whistleblowers and thus depends a great deal on freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and anonymity



  11. Links 25/3/2017: Maru OS 0.4, C++17 Complete

    Links for the day



  12. Judge and Justice Bashing in the United States, EPC Bashing at the EPO

    Enforcement of the law based on constitutional grounds and based on the European Patent Convention (EPC) in an age of retribution and insults -- sometimes even libel -- against judges



  13. Looking for EPO Nepotism? Forget About Jouve and Look Closely at Europatis Instead.

    Debates about the contract of Jouve with the EPO overlook the elephants in the room, which include companies that are established and run by former EPO chiefs and enjoy a relationship with the EPO



  14. Depressing EPO News: Attacks on Staff, Attacks on Life, Brain Drain, Patents on Life, Patent Trolls Come to Germany, and Spain Being Misled

    A roundup of the latest developments at the EPO combined with feedback from insiders, who are not tolerating their misguided and increasingly abusive management



  15. It Certainly Looks Like Microsoft is Already Siccing Its Patent Trolls, Including Intellectual Ventures, on Companies That Use Linux (Until They Pay 'Protection' Money)

    News about Intellectual Ventures and Finjan Holdings (Microsoft-funded patent trolls) reinforces our allegations -- not mere suspicions anymore -- that Microsoft would 'punish' companies that are not paying subscription fees (hosting) or royalties (patent tax) to Microsoft and are thus in some sense 'indebted' to Microsoft



  16. Links 24/3/2017: Microsoft Aggression, Eudyptula Challenge Status Report

    Links for the day



  17. Bernhard Rapkay, Former MEP and Rapporteur on Unitary Patent, Shoots Down UPC Hopes While UPC Hopefuls Recognise That Spain Isn't Interested Either

    Germany, the UK and Spain remain massive barriers to the UPC -- all this in spite of misleading reports and fake news which attempted to make politicians believe otherwise (for political leverage, by means of dirty lobbying contingent upon misinformation)



  18. Links 23/3/2017: Qt 5.9 Beta, Gluster Storage 3.2

    Links for the day



  19. The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation Has Just Buried an Innocent Judge That Battistelli Does Not Like

    An innocent judge (never proven guilty of anything, only publicly defamed with help from Team Battistelli and dubious 'intelligence' gathering) is one of the forgotten casualties of the latest meeting of the Administrative Council (AC), which has become growingly complicit rather than a mere bystander at a 'crime' scene



  20. Nepotism at the European Patent Office and Suspicious Absence of Tenders for Big Projects

    Carte blanche is a French term which now perfectly describes the symptoms encountered in the European Patent Office, more so once led by a lot of French people (Battistelli and his friends)



  21. “Terror” Patent Office Bemoans Terror, Spreads Lies

    Response to some of the latest utterances from the European Patent Office, where patently untruthful claims have rapidly become the norm



  22. China Seems to be Using Patents to Push Foreign Companies Out of China, in the Same Way It Infamously Uses Censorship

    Chinese patent policies are harming competition from abroad, e.g. Japan and the US, and US patent policy is being shaped by its higher courts, albeit not yet effectively combating the element that's destroying productive companies (besieged by patent trolls)



  23. 22,000 Blog Posts

    A special number is reached again, marking another milestone for the site



  24. The EPO is Lying to Its Own Staff About ILO and Endless (Over 2 Years) EPO Mistrials

    The creative writing skills of some spinners who work for Battistelli would have staff believe that all is fine and dandy at the EPO and ILO is dealing effectively with staff complaints about the EPO (even if several years too late)



  25. EPO’s Georg Weber Continues Horrifying Trend of EPO Promoting Software Patents in Defiance of Directive, EPC, and Common Sense

    The EPO's promotion of software patents, even out in the open, is an insult to the notion that the EPO is adhering to or is bound by the rules upon which it maintains its conditional monopoly



  26. Protectionism v Sharing: How the US Supreme Court Decides Patent Cases

    As the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) starts delivering some decisions we take stock of what's to come regarding patents



  27. Links 22/3/2017: GNOME 3.24, Wine-Staging 2.4 Released

    Links for the day



  28. The Battistelli Regime, With Its Endless Scandals, Threatens to Crash the Unitary Patent (UPC), Stakeholders Concerned

    The disdain and the growing impatience have become a huge liability not just to Battistelli but to the European Patent Office (EPO) as a whole



  29. The Photos the EPO Absolutely Doesn't Want the Public to See: Battistelli is Building a Palace Using Stakeholders' Money

    The Office is scrambling to hide evidence of its out-of-control spendings, which will leave the EPO out of money when the backlog is eliminated by many erroneous grants (or rejections)



  30. In the US Patent System, Evolved Tricks for Bypassing Invalidations of Software Patents and Getting Them Granted by the USPTO

    A roundup of news about patents in the US and how the patent microcosm attempts to patent software in spite of Alice (high-impact SCOTUS decision from 2014)


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