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

10.10.16

New Letter to the Delegates of the Administrative Council

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli liar
Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: A concise new letter explains the situation at the EPO and what Battistelli is planning to do next, especially if the Administrative Council gives him a carte blanche, as usual

THE heads of the delegation of the Administrative Council of the EPO are about to meet and the following letter is being sent to them from staff that, as a matter of survival, must remain anonymous. Below is the content of the letter:

Open letter – by email to the Heads of Delegation

11 October 2016

Copies to:
Competent Ministries of the Member States

The social situation at the EPO and the Administrative Council’s responsibility

Dear heads and members of the delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

We would like to share our concerns about the current social climate at the EPO and urge you to take appropriate action.

‘Social Conference’ – how to avoid social dialogue
You will probably agree that in any organisation the first step towards genuine dialogue is to work towards a shared understanding of the problems at hand and of the long term goals, in other words, to share an agreed agenda. This seems a reasonably evident requirement for the future success of the EPO. Sadly, the Office missed a chance to take a first step towards this, when it alone set the agenda of the ‘Social Conference’ scheduled for 11 October. Consultants will present a ‘social study’1 while the President refuses to discuss the results of a staff survey2 commissioned by the EPO’s largest staff union. It is difficult to imagine how even the seeds of social dialogue can exist while the Office continues with its unilateral approach to the most multilateral of issues. The President’s threats to and persecution of elected representatives3 of his social partner only serve to shift the situation from bad to worse. Through his actions he makes social dialogue impossible. For staff across the Office, the ‘Social Conference’ can only be seen as just another useless attempt to mould a distorted perception of the reality at the EPO. And to avoid true social dialogue.

The social situation at the EPO – a matter of perception?
You may already have seen a letter of the President of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys, ‘Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden’ (Orde)4, dated 12 February 2016 and addressed to the Council, which recently became public5. The Orde perceives the social climate in the Office as follows:

‘… 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.’

Consequences of the current social climate for the future of the European patent
It is illusory to think that a human resources policy without any negotiation, founded on intimidation and the non-respect of fundamental rights can bind highly skilled staff to the Organisation. The Orde is right to use the word “disgrace” to describe any violation of human rights that takes place at the EPO. No amount of immunity can diminish that disgrace. Disengaged and demotivated employees will clearly not be able to examine patent applications with the critical focused mind needed for delivering a legally valid monopoly right. We cannot imagine that the delegations to the Administrative Council still believe that it will be possible to maintain a successful European patent and foster economic growth without the active support of staff. We certainly don’t.

An estimated6 2016/2014 increase in production (+ 23%) and productivity (+11%) is not a sign of successful reforms but rather proves that the examiners have lost any ambition to withstand unrealistic and arbitrary production targets imposed on them by the Administration. The current management style has destroyed staff’s professional attitude and pride to work for an organisation whose aim is, or at least was, to support economic growth by delivering high quality patents. It is our view that the European Patent Organisation finds itself in the deepest crisis7 of its history.

The currently planned reforms, if adopted, would aggravate the crisis
If proposal CA/53/16 Rev. 1 (reviewed Disciplinary Guidelines) gets approval, Mr Battistelli will be in a position to dismiss staff members for ‘professional incompetence’ without any meaningful advisory review instance. He will be able to expose EPO employees to unemployment without the safety net of a social security system. For fear of dismissal, staff will no doubt do their best to deliver another productivity increase. The quality of search reports and the legal validity of European patents will drop further.

By adopting the reviewed Investigation Guidelines (CA/52/16 Rev. 1) the Council would authorise the Administration, i.e. Mr Battistelli, Mr Topić and Ms Bergot, to proceed with investigative and disciplinary proceedings in a way that is in contradiction to the principles of due legal process. Before adopting any revised proposal, we ask the delegations to consider the recent proposal for WIPO’s new Investigation Guidelines8. WIPO has immense problems in its staff relations. But in this case, they seem to have put forward a balanced proposal, at least on first inspection. It takes account of lessons learned9, provides an independent investigative unit, and guarantees due process and whistle-blower protection, including the case of investigations against senior officials10.

Please do not support the current proposals CA/52/16 Rev. 1 and CA/53/16 Rev. 1. There can be no doubt that they give new tools of abuse to those at high level who wish to use them, and increase the risk of victimisation, harassment and miscarriages of justice in a system that is already under fire for not fulfilling the requirements of legal process.

Staff protest against the treatment of their elected representatives by the President and the passive attitude of the Board 28 vis-à-vis this issue in its recent meeting3. We kindly ask all delegations to remember the AC’s resolution 11 of this March and to take the steps that must follow it:

“to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation

pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions;”

We further plead that matters of such grave concern no longer be discussed in closed session. Arguments put forward need to be visible to the affected parties, being staff and applicant community.

With our best regards,

The EPO-FLIER team

a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous
due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

_________
1 European Patent Office – Social Study 2016, by PwC
2 https://www.suepo.org/results_of_the_2016_european_patent_office_staff_survey/d-43311
3 B28/10/16 (21.09.2016): “the Board noted information provided by the President about three current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague”
4The Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys is the professional organisation of Dutch patent attorneys; its about 500 members are active in private practice and in industry, most of them are also European Patent Attorneys
5 http://techrights.org/2016/09/29/netherlands-institute-of-patent-attorneys-on-battistelli/
6 http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/sc16170cp.pdf
7 B28/2/16 (02.02.2016): “The Board qualified the situation as a crisis – a view challenged by the President.”
8 http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/govbody/en/wo_ga_48/wo_ga_48_16.pdf
9 http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/09/30/gurry-speaks-on-allegations-for-first-time-as-wipo-members-discussion-actions
10 http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/10/10/members-debate-changes-to-oversight-at-wipo/
11 http://www.epo.org/about-us/organisation/communiques.html#a23

I have taken two day off work this week. We can hopefully provide coverage of what happens as the media sure isn’t doing its job. We more or less know why.

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. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  2. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  3. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  5. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  6. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  7. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day



  8. Can We Quit Celebrating DRM in GNU/Linux?

    Over the past couple of days various news sites and "Linux" sites expressed great satisfaction [1-5] over the passive embrace of Disney's DRM ploy (Disney+), even when Disney itself rejects DRM, seeing the harms practically caused by it [6,7]



  9. You Know WSL is Bad for GNU/Linux Because Anti-Linux People, Microsoft and Its Propagandists, Want People to Use That

    Microsoft and its boosters (and media partners) haven’t grown tired of spreading falsehoods to stigmatise and take control of GNU/Linux by creating their own versions and traps for it



  10. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 07, 2019



  11. 5 Years Ago the Linux Foundation Turned Linux.com Into a Non-Linux Site

    One can leverage the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to better understand how, over time, the Foundation called “Linux” deviated or diverged away from its mission statement for the sole purpose of raising corporate funds and selling influence to corporations (passing the community’s hard work to them — a form of tacit privatisation)



  12. Microsoft Redefining Ownership and Identity of GNU/Linux

    The idea that “Microsoft loves Linux” is as insane as it gets; but the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux” is a powerful enabler of Microsoft entryism, e.g. if Greg steps down, does a Microsoft employee become the deputy of Linus Torvalds?



  13. Things That Cannot Be Said

    The limits on what we can say are mostly defined by what sources permit us to say publicly (for the sake of source protection)



  14. Fake European Patents (on Algorithms) Leading to Fake Embargoes

    Law firms have gotten their way in Germany; instead of supporting the productive workers the patent system is nowadays promoting the litigation 'industry' and it ought to be corrected



  15. From Moderate Advice to FUD and Misinformation: The Case of a VPN Vulnerability (CVE-2019-14899)

    What should have been a trivial bugfix in a variety of operating systems and bits of software — both proprietary and Free software — somehow became anti-Linux FUD, clickbait and worse



  16. Dangerous Thinker

    Society oughtn't be alarmed by people who say unusual things; it should be wary and sceptical of those corporations ever so eager to silence such people



  17. Unitary Patent (UPC) Died Along With the Credibility of Managing IP and the Rest of the UPC Lobby

    It is pretty astounding that Team UPC (collective term for people who crafted and lobby for this illegal construct) is still telling us lies, even in the absence of underlying supportive facts, and pressure groups disguised as "news sites" latch onto anything to perpetuate an illusion of progress (even in the face of a growing number of major barriers)



  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



  19. Links 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day



  20. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day



  21. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop



  22. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019



  24. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019



  27. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day



  28. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs



  29. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  30. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)


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