The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Protested Today in Munich (Against the EPO’s Management) While President Benoît Battistelli Lied
The sorts of pictures that Battistelli doesn’t want the delegates to see ahead of tomorrow’s meeting…
Summary: The EPO’s so-called ‘Social Conference’ (prepackaged, commissioned and paid-for bundle of lies) took place today, but staff was outside protesting against this Orwellian charade from President Benoît Battistelli
THE very many scandals at the EPO (all of them the management’s fault) have led staff of the EPO to to taking the great risk of going out, leaving their office to protest against the management at lunchtime. Personal sacrifices are plenty; these people aren’t the selfish/overpaid/cushy job/spoiled types which pro-Battistelli media tries to portray them as. They are loyal to fellow workers, not (just, if at all) to autocrats who manage them and do a great disservice to Europe with their horrible policies. Techrights has enormous respect for examiners who support their representatives and are willing to ruin their work security, personal safety, health etc. just to do the right thing. We cannot stress strongly enough that collective punishment isn’t of merit here because many examiners have served the Office since long before Battistelli arrived at the scene and brought his cronies. We all want to save the EPO, not destroy it. It’s Battistelli who is destroying the Office.
“We all want to save the EPO, not destroy it. It’s Battistelli who is destroying the Office.”Shown above is Ion Brumme (dismissed by Battistelli earlier this year). He was speaking at today’s SUEPO demonstration, which took place directly under the room where the EPO Social Conference was taking place (this photo is from today by the way).
Clever move there from SUEPO. Did it help highlight the great degree of injustice that this entire Social Conference was? SUEPO was denied access so that Battistelli can lie unchallenged. He was ‘grooming’ people ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. He wants to avoid/dodge accountability for social injustice at the Office. He wants demands from March to simply vanish as though they never existed.
As one person put it in comments the other day:
that is no real wonder.
Internally only the last two weeks things started happening.
We live in a cycle of 3 months, which is dictated by the four meetings of the AC every year.
Management tables their proposals as late as possible, to deny everyone a possibility to fully read all the papers and make an informed opinion, thus eliminating any possibility for positive feedback (this became an obvious tactic under Miss Brimelow) and staff has learnt to wait for the proposals to be on the table instead of guessing what might come.
The fight for PR has already started on management side, the staff has a bit more difficulty with that, as it has less money available for that, and is not allowed to discuss anything our management considers to be internal matters anywhere. We have even been urged not to discuss among ourselves or with our union committee(s)…
“It’s a total disgrace and it makes it abundantly clear that the Administrative Council no longer does its job.”One day, time permitting, we might get around to revisiting the demands from March and what exactly happened to them back in June. It’s a total disgrace and it makes it abundantly clear that the Administrative Council no longer does its job.
Earlier today we mentioned an open letter to the Delegations of the EPO's Administrative Council. It relates to the change proposal for new WIPO Investigation Guidelines (see the WIPO Investigation Guidelines proposal from 3 weeks ago
[PDF]) and this was covered earlier today by IP Watch, a site that closely follows WIPO — more so than it follows the calamity at the EPO. Here are portions of what it published:
The Administrative Council (AC), made up of members of the EPO member states, meets 12-13 October in Munich. In an 11 October letter to the council, the EPO-FLIER team, which identifies itself as a “group of concerned staff” who wish to remain anonymous “due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law” at the office, blasted President Benoît Battistelli’s proposed new disciplinary and investigation guidelines and urged governments instead to consider a WIPO proposal (available here).
Battistelli’s new guidelines, if approved, would allow the president to dismiss staff members for “professional incompetence” without any meaningful advisory review, and would also permit the administration to investigate and discipline employees without due process, the EPO-FLIER letter said. It asked AC members to consider WIPO’s recently proposed investigation guidelines, saying that while WIPO has “immense problems in its staff relations,” it seems to have floated a balanced proposal that includes an independent investigative unit, due process guarantees and whistle-blower protections.
A summary of conclusions from the 22 September AC Board meeting noted that the German delegation “was unhappy with President’s change proposal for the Investigation Guidelines CA/52/16 Rev. 1 … so that ‘no common understanding could be reached on the right to be silent and on other issues. The President had strong reservations on this issue, insisting on the necessity to ensure an efficient procedure to fight fraud and harassment, and reserved the possibility to withdraw the package from the agenda.’”
In a 12 February 2016 letter, made public on 29 September by techrights.org (available here), http://techrights.org/2016/09/29/netherlands-institute-of-patent-attorneys-on-battistelli/ the president of the 500-member Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys (Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden) told the AC that while the Orde applauds EPO efforts to set worldwide standards in patent quality and efficiency, it “has to express its serious and on-going concern” about the way in which the office’s reinvention process is happening and the “effects that it has on the image of the EPO.” Specifically, the letter said, patent lawyers are worried about developments regarding the organisation and government of the Boards of Appeals and the treatment of EPO personnel.
The Orde observed that employment conditions at the office and the basic rights of employees are “seriously compromised.” In the beginning, staff opposition seemed to be a common and understandable reaction to changes every organisation experiences, but over time the information that reached the public became more and more serious, with union officials subjected to disciplinary measures and downgraded, pension reductions and firings, the organisation said.
“It seems that the people at the EPO are afraid of their own management,” the Orde said. “We sincerely believe that the current situation at the EPO has spun out of control by the actions of its President,” and that the AC should stop Battistelli from “continuing these unproductive and destructive practices,” it said.
The current climate holds negative consequences for the future of the European patent, EPO-FLIER said. The estimated 2016 over 2014 increase in production (up 23 percent) and productivity (up 11 percent) “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” – to the detriment of patent quality.
Publications in Battistelli's pocket have said nothing about it and relative quiet/calm/apathy in the media is what we predicted several days ago, due to threats and money awards from Battistelli to the media. It’s nice to see IP Watch returning to EPO coverage and we hope to see more of that in the future.
There was also a new article today in the French media, focusing on the social situation not at WIPO but at the EPO (Battistelli — it’s worth repeating — tried to become WIPO’s head). Hopefully a SUEPO-provided translation of this French article about the EPO is imminent; several people told us about it today and SUEPO too linked to it. Do we have any volunteers for translation?
“It’s nice to see IP Watch returning to EPO coverage and we hope to see more of that in the future.”As for the EPO, it has said nothing at all (publicly at least) about the Social Conference. Not even a tweet about it! Nothing about the Friday release of the so-called 'social' 'study', either. Maybe they just want to keep it all covert/internal so as to avoid outside scrutiny, criticism, or independent assessment. They know it’s junk/pseudo-science and propaganda that wouldn’t carry water. The EPO chose quite some timing for useless PPH distraction (warning:
epo.org link), having just published this nonsense today and repeatedly warned people about a deadline for participation in Battistelli's next public lobbying event. Getting desperate there, eh? Maybe because people don’t play along with the stunt/lobbying this time around? They have 'spammed' nearly 50 universities across Europe about it, but these universities hardly reciprocated. One of these latest calls of misery says: “Tomorrow is the last day! If you know a researcher who has invented something amazing, nominate them now…”
Another one says: “Nominations close in about 24 hours. Who should win next year’s European Inventor Award?”