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10.22.16

Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli’s Abuses at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The likes of Laurent Prunier may still have someone to turn to

Philip Cordery

Summary: Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

AS we noted here last week and the week before that, a French politician had intervened and supported EPO protesters. He is not Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, the politician who represents or is responsible for French staff working abroad (usually in Europe/EU, not overseas) but another one, whom we also wrote about in the past [1, 2]. He wrote about the subject earlier this month.

Earlier today on we asked if someone can translate from French (to English) for Techrights to publish. Petra Kramer is a Dutch speaker who understands EPO terminology, so she provided the following imperfect translation:

On October 13, I was backed some 600 employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) marching peacefully through the streets of The Hague to express dissatisfaction with the authoritarian and arbitrary management of the organization.

Unhealthy production pressure, drastic limitation of the right to strike, varied threats of sanctions, Trade union representatives of staff laid off. This is the daily life in this international organization that has been abusively hiding for 3 years behind the functional immunity to violate with impunity basic and fundamental principles of labor law.

The EPO, like many other international organizations, enjoys immunity from jurisdiction and execution that no law or decision can be imposed, in order to guard against any national interference, this part the performance of his duties (i.e. Batistelli’s mission to impose patent maximalism and increasing of production thereby lowering patent quality, PK) . Immunity as the main official, the French President Benoît Battistelli brandished as a defense. However, as I have said and repeated many times: “Immunity should not mean impunity.”

I prefer to speak of the EPO which is at the heart of this mission, that is to say, a great organization of which all employees are devoted to the service of industry and innovation in Europe for almost 40 years, including the seriousness of their work is a measure of competence in the highly demanding business of intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the social pressure coupled with the brutal imposition of ever higher productivity of recent years finally rub off on the quality of the work, the risk ultimately seriously affects the trust of users.

In this poisonous atmosphere and anxiety, I went several times to The Hague to support staff there. I stood face to face with many staff members who informed me all about what happens behind the beautiful facade of this organization. I interacted tirelessly for 3 years with the French authorities to alert them of the industrial, social, and moral implications.

The latest developments are both disturbing and unacceptable. In January, three staff representatives were dismissed or degraded in Munich. Today is the turn of those from The Hague to be under threat. It may be a coincidence. This hunt on representatives of all members of staff of the majority union is unworthy of an organization in a democratic country.

The governance [or mismanagement, PK] of the management team is not only a pain for staff and limiting the effectiveness of the EPO, it has also has become long overdue to intervene for the image of France in Europe and the world. Enough is enough. Battistelli has to go.

NB. I was forced to blur the photo to protect employees who have had the courage to come to the event.

This is similar to what he also posted in Facebook (and we quoted here before). Kramer asked how to reform the Office [1, 2], but this is a question best addressed at actual EPO staff, not clueless management that forms Battistelli’s circle. My personal view is that i) patent scope must be tightened, ii) appeal boards strengthened/broadened (to help with (i)), iii) the Administrative Council needs to be flushed (particularly at the top) to ensure it’s not in the pocket of the Office, iv) the whole of Team Battistelli needs to be dismissed and v) the Office should seek to recruit lost staff and attract new talent while making their unions stronger and recognising that the Office should be staff-driven, not Battistelli-driven. All of these changes would bring the EPO closer in line with the law, with the EPC, and with human dignity.

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