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

12.01.16

Dutch and French Politicians Complain About the European Patent Office, British Media Coverage Regular Now

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Philip Cordery

Summary: Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has already come under scrutiny from many politicians, but they are unable to do much because of the EPO’s insanely-granted (in retrospect highly irrational) immunity/impunity. Could EPO management get away with robbery, rape and murder as well? Hard to tell unless or until this happens… after 5 suicides the EPO’s management continues to deny authorities access to EPO sites (in order to properly investigate this). For all we know, EPO management can cover anything up, defame the accuser/s, and insist that it is the victim of a “campaign of defamation”. Watch in disgust and recall its appalling response to Bavarian TV coverage about one of the suicides.

Philip Cordery, a French politician who is sympathetic towards EPO staff, has just written in his blog again. To quote the French: “J’ai interrogé ce mercredi 30 novembre, lors de la traditionnelle séance de questions au gouvernement, le secrétaire d’Etat chargé de l’industrie, Christophe Sirugue, sur la situation sociale à l’Office européen des brevets.”

“Could EPO management get away with robbery, rape and murder as well?”We hope that a French-speaking reader can provide us with a reliable translation. Well, perhaps SUEPO will supply translations at some stage, but it doesn’t always happen. More French officials now speak out against the EPO’s management, including Richard Yung, who is also no beginner to this controversy. To quote Yung’s blog post: “M. Richard Yung attire l’attention de M. le ministre de l’économie et des finances sur la dégradation du climat social au sein de l’Office européen des brevets (OEB).”

This one too we could use a complete translation of. Accuracy is important as we strive to maintain a good record and poor translations have betrayed us at least once in the past.

Petra Kramer, our Dutch EPO ‘expert’ (she cares about the EPO’s situation although she does not have any connections to it), translated this new NOS article (like BBC of the Netherlands) for us. Here is a complete translation:

Van Dam: social situation European Patent Office should be better

State Secretary Van Dam wants the European Patent Office (EPO) to take concrete steps to improve the social situation. In a letter to the Lower House, he writes that a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) contains concrete leads to achieve this.

The agency has offices in several cities in Europe, including in Rijswijk. At the institute there are long-lived concerns about the working conditions and the social situation. Staff Office in Rijswijk’s took to the streets to protest several times, even last week. Even the House and the Cabinet have expressed their concerns.

Lack of trust

The EPO has called for the study partly at the insistence of the government. PWC states, several important reforms which have already been implemented, which are successful in part. Named for example, are a sharp drop in sick leave and the introduction of part-time jobs and working from home.

But the researchers are also critical about several issues. They questioned the reforms in the areas of participation and the implementation of the right to strike. They signal an “us-versus-them culture and lack of mutual trust between management and staff.”

Finger on sore spot

According to Van Dam the report puts the finger on the sore spot. The State Secretary is more concerned about the lack of internal trust and will continue to address that issue with the President of the Office.

At the EPO union members have repeatedly been fired, even recently. Van Dam writes that he can not speak about that last particular case, but he believes it is “not a healthy breeding ground for the restoration of social relations.”

Recently, the results of the PWC study were presented to 350 people involved in the EPO. Van Dam states it’s telling that the largest trade union was not invited to that meeting.

“The news is in the last sentence,” Petra Kramer noted. “SUEPO [was] not involved in PWC-study of EPO.”

“Diplomatical approach is certainly not bad,” told us an EPO insider, “however in this case totally useless. Van Dam is a way too subservient!”

Thankfully, the British press (Britain’s leading site in the area of technology) is covering the EPO scandals these days. This is the second time this week (the first one being about the UPC). Kieren McCarthy used the same game of words that we had used, revolving around the word “conCERN”. Here is the latest from McCarthy about Battisetlli’s McCarthyism and the response to it:

CERN concern: Particle boffins join backlash against Euro Patent Office’s King Battistelli

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, has joined the list of organizations and media outlets calling for action against the president of the European Patent Office (EPO).

In its weekly staff bulletin, the particle physicists’ take issue with Benoit Battistelli for targeting and firing staff. “Over the past three years this organization has been under the rule of a president who imposes productivity targets which hinders the quality of the work done by the intellectual property specialists,” the bulletin notes.

It then accuses him of “degrading” the EPO with behavior “worthy of the 19th century” and endangering both the EPO itself and the European economy.

CERN is not the only organization to use such strong language. The European Public Service Union (EPSU), which represents more than eight million workers in Europe, has written [PDF] to a number of leading French, Dutch and German politicians this week asking them to “re-establish the rule of law” at the EPO citing “continuous threats to union representatives” by Battistelli, and violation of workers’ rights.

If things continue to be this bad, it’s not clear if there is any future at all for the EPO. Some believe that this plays into the hands of UPC proponents, perhaps connected to an attempt to make the EPO a more EU-connected institution, a bit like EUIPO. And speaking of EUIPO, watch the EPO sucking up to it this week [1, 2]; we remind readers that some EPO insiders believe these two institutions will one day be merged.

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. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 14, 2019



  2. Links 15/12/2019: Wine 5.0 RC1 Released, KDE Frameworks 5.65.0, Qubes OS 4.0.2 RC3

    Links for the day



  3. It Matters a Lot What You Call the System

    Why the best name for the best operating system would be "GNU", not "Linux" (media has twisted the words so as to marginalise GNU and its politics/philosophy)



  4. Only the EPO Goes as Far as Bribing Publishers (the Media) to Promote Software Patents and Publish Fictional Stories

    The world’s patent offices are growing tired of granting software patents which courts later toss out (because these patents are not valid); not only does the EPO advocate such patents — typically using a bundle of buzzwords — it’s also bribing the media to help



  5. EU Needs to Show That It Cares About SMEs and Not 'European Champions' That Are Actually Foreign Monopolies

    Judging by the EU’s nearly blind and unconditional support for the management of the EPO — no matter how abusive and corrupt it has gotten — one has to wonder if the ex-EU official in charge of the EPO reveals a profound democracy deficit as well as growing dangers to Europe’s businesses — the productive firms to which patent maximalism often represents far more risk than opportunity



  6. Guest Article: The Free Software Movement Should Come Out From the Box

    "From now onwards we have to think from a user’s rights perspective and mobilise users of Free software. They should know what rights they ought to get."



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 13, 2019



  8. Links 13/12/2019: QEMU 4.2.0, GNU Guile 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  9. Links 13/12/2019: Zorin OS 15.1, Vim 8.2

    Links for the day



  10. Linux Foundation Has Outsourced All the Licence Compliance Stuff to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator

    OpenChain Specification/OpenChain Project and Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) are yet more examples -- the latest of many -- of the Linux Foundation being outsourced to Microsoft, not only for code but also documentation and hosting



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 12, 2019



  12. Copyleft: Keeping Code Free

    Now that news about "Linux" is dominated by promotion of proprietary software we ought to remember what perpetrators of such a strategy seek to eliminate



  13. Plans That Worked, Plans That Failed

    "I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!"



  14. Links 12/12/2019: KDE Applications 19.12, Qt Creator 4.11, New VirtualBox

    Links for the day



  15. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  16. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  17. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  19. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  20. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  21. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  22. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  25. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  26. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  27. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  28. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  29. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  30. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms


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