12.27.16

Bad Service at the European Patent Office (EPO) Escalated in the Form of Complaints to European Authorities/Politicians

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Toxic work environment has destroyed the quality of the EPO’s work and nobody can even be held accountable?

Juncker
By Factio popularis Europaea, CC BY 2.0

Summary: A look at actions taken at a political level against the EPO in spite of the EPO’s truly awkward exemption from lawfulness or even minimal accountability

EARLIER TODAY we leaked a letter which had been sent to Quality Support (DQS) at the European Patent Office (EPO), demonstrating just how terrible things have become. Things were so terrible on so many levels (see the 7 points in the letter) and apparently it’s not so exceptional, either.

“I just read your article on Techrights about the leaked letter to the DQS at EPO,” one reader told us, “complaining about that mess made by examiners on Art 94 etc.”

“It is a general harassment climate made of mean and cheap feuds that examiners do perpetrate among themselves when induced by pressure from above, fed by malevolent lies and spread further by people with low social competence, highly and chronically frustrated, both in their work and in their life (I must assume).”
      –Anonymous
This reader told us this “can be a good example of how bad the “malevolent climate” (to use the words chosen by the Technologia survey) can influence the work of examiners, up to the point that the substantial quality of the job is compromised. It is a general harassment climate made of mean and cheap feuds that examiners do perpetrate among themselves when induced by pressure from above, fed by malevolent lies and spread further by people with low social competence, highly and chronically frustrated, both in their work and in their life (I must assume).”

There is an interesting followup on the said case, which we decided to also publish in redacted form (but separately from the letter so as to keep things tidier). We kindly asked, repeatedly in fact, for updates regarding interactions with MEPs and EPO ‘support’ folks. We won’t be revealing any names here, probably because some of those involved (even at the EPO) are not directly culpable and we definitely don’t want to interfere with ongoing political processes (wheels in motion, so to speak). Other people say to us that they’re having the same experience as in the said letter and it helps them to see evidence of that pattern. We need to aspire for power in numbers (number of complainants), as only this way we can demonstrate that there is a widespread, systemic failure, as some attorneys are already noticing and writing about.

The E-mails below show some input from European politicians. “This shows that matters are being progressed on a number of fronts,” as our source put it to us. Our source added that s/he “wonder[s] when they’ll [politicians] realise the EPO appears to be unaccountable to anyone.”

“The E-mails below show some input from European politicians.”Well, this is a known problem. “State within a state” some called it (there were press articles about that on numerous occasions* prior to the EPO's FTI Consulting Web-gagging/media manipulation deal). Our article about the unaccountability of the EPO go back to 2014 and nothing has improved since then. To make matters worse, the German media effectively gagged itself (maybe in connection to FTI Consulting and SLAPP actions from the EPO's lawyers).

We have been gathering this input for quite a while as confidentiality was needed and now is probably a suitable time to publicise it. Publishing at this late stage would probably not compromise the political process as much as before and as long as names are left out, retribution and witch-hunts from Team Battistelli — as notorious as this modus operandi has become — are not possible.

An early message about this actually relied a great deal on reporting by Techrights:

From: ███████
Sent: █████████
To: [Conservative in the European Parliament]
Subject: EPO – Techrights Blog

Dear █████,

Please note that the following site http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/EPO has now published on its blog the generic problems I referred to: ██████.

Regards

█████

The European Ombudsman and the European Commission got brought up/involved as follows:

From: [Conservative in the European Parliament]
To: ███████
Sent: ███████
Subject: RE: EPO – Techrights Blog

Dear ███████,

Thank you for your emails & ███████ to you too- I have only returned to the office today and have been reading through your correspondence.

I did manage to discuss this quickly with ███████ before ███████ and he wanted me to contact both the European Ombudsman and the European Commission to try and establish if there is a role they could play here. I would like to see if they come back to me before sending off the letter.

The next meeting I have with ███████ is on Tuesday, if we have not had a response by then we will send the letter regardless. This should mean that it reaches Munich well before the end of ███████. I will also ask him then about the techrights campaign.

I have also thought about the prospect of contacting the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills- as they are responsible for the UK Intellectual Property Office. Have you had any contact with them? A letter from them to the EPO might be useful too.

Please let me know your thoughts

Best

███████

Now the British Department of Business, Innovation and Skills gets brought up:

From: ███████
To: [Conservative in the European Parliament]
Sent: ███████
Subject: Re: EPO – Techrights Blog

Dear ███████,

Sorry that I have landed you with so much on your ███████.

I think contacting the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills a great idea. I haven’t contacted them at all. I was keen to get a further push from the UK so earlier today I had written to ███████ my MP asking if she could put her ore in too. I have told her that ███████ is already on the case. Clearly the more angles we explore the better provided we don’t trip over each other. With this in mind I will aim to share the actions with you and her so we are all on the same page at the same time. If you would like it handled differently please do let me know.

I also know a former judge who usually has an interest in people’s rights. I have asked her if she might be interested in helping but since I only asked today I at present don’t know if she will be willing to help. I will keep you posted.

Many thanks

███████

One week later the UK Intellectual Property Office got mentioned along with Lucy (who is no longer in that job):

From: [Conservative in the European Parliament]
To: ███████
Sent: ███████
Subject: RE: EPO – Techrights Blog

Dear ███████,

Thank you for your patience whilst I get back to you

I’ve now heard back from the European Ombudsmen, they have confirmed that the EPO is outside of their mandate (Unfortunately the European Patents Office is not one of the bodies, offices or agencies of the EU. It was established under the European Patent Convention 1973 and finally set up in 1977. It contains the all the Member States of the EU and other countries which are not part of the EU. Further, the EU is also not a member of the Convention. As such it is a separate intergovernmental organisation and so not part of the Ombudsman’s mandate.) They have recommended the UK Intellectual Property Office as a further point of contact, in line with what I suggested last week.

As we have yet to receive a response to our Parliamentary Question, I have taken a look at some of the others submitted to the European Commission on this topic. Like the Ombudsmen, the Commission is also insistent that the EPO is outside of their mandate, therefore I do not think that it will be very useful for us to wait for their response.

So moving forward,

I have now spoken to ███████ and we have sent off a letter to Baroness Neville Roche, the head of the UK Intellectual Property Office. I have passed her along a copy of the original letter you sent to ███████, outlining your case, as well as a cover letter with an update on your case. ███████ has asked her to review your case and offer assistance.

Furthermore, we have now send [sic] off the response to the EPO in line with the drafting you sent through.

I will let you know when we have a response. Please keep us informed of any updates your end.

Best wishes,

███████

“I believe the action of the EPO has effectively stripped me of all economic value of my invention already,” our source told us. “I think the only thing that will get them to sit up and pay attention/change is if they are sued. I am not sure if this is possible and what the risks and costs to myself might be. have you ever heard of them being sued?”

Well, my lawyers once explored that option and various people sent input about that. It seems as though the EPO is almost immune to lawsuits too — not just to the law itself — and as Minnoye serves to remind us, the EPO is happy to just ignore even a ruling from the highest Dutch court, so why bother? The European Patent Convention inadvertently created quite a monstrous institution. Monsters don’t die in peace; they fight whoever is eager to challenge them.
______
* In the EPO Wiki at Techrights, look under entries that fall (by colour coding) under “state within a state”. This links to (and translates into English) quite a few articles from German and Dutch media, published at a time when they still bothered covering the issue.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. Links 29/11/2020: Genode OS Framework 20.11, Linux 5.11 Kernel Changes, and Latest in KDE Itinerary

    Links for the day



  2. Sincere Thoughts About Outreachy

    Outreachy's role in the Free software community and inclusion in the FSF's High Priority Projects, as seen from the eyes of a female coder from a minority group; she used to work for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and she expresses concerns about what Outreachy has become



  3. Free Software Under Tyranny of Codes of Conduct as the Western Equivalent of Blasphemy Law (Corporations as the New Religion/Sponsors as Deities)

    The free speech crisis in Free software communities has enabled expulsion of opinionated people whose opinions truly matter; in their place we now have companies that bomb people, sometimes even kidnapping children and sterilising women because nothing says “Ethics” like naked fascism and corporate domination everywhere



  4. Release: 4 More Documents and Letters About the Financial Siege at Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    Documents disputing the accuracy of the "hoax" from António Campinos and the Mercers



  5. One Year Ago: The Last EPO Demonstration Before COVID-19

    About a year ago staff of the EPO apparently had its last protest (in front of the Isar building) before staff got ‘herded’ into homes, where workers became more isolated and even illegally spied on



  6. [Meme] Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is an Attack on Europe and the European Businesses That Don't Do Litigation

    Litigation lawyers and patent zealots want to set Europe ablaze with legislation that they themselves crafted; thankfully, however, they face constitutional obstacles, no matter how many politicians they bamboozle and buy



  7. Reasons EPO Staff Decided to Go on Strike This Year (Before or Until Coronavirus Prevented It)

    An year-old letter from the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) to the President of the EPO; 7 reasons for going on strike are enumerated



  8. EPO Can Save Money by “Dropping Events Like the Inventor of the Year, Reducing the Number of Managers, Throwing Less Money at Consultants or Bringing the Boards of Appeal Back into Office Buildings.”

    Constructive suggestions from EPO staff, made just over a year ago and assembled into a letter to their EPO colleagues



  9. The Real Fate of the UPC 'Stunt' in Germany Will be Known Next Month (or Next Year) and There Are Substantial Constitutional Barriers in the Way

    Contrary to what Team UPC wants people to think, UPC(A) isn’t a “done deal” in Germany; they never actually addressed the substance of complaints and with help from Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in the Commission they’re just attempting a blatant coup



  10. Microsoft Removes Free Software From GitHub Again, This Time for Motion Picture Association (MPA)

    GitHub is proving to be more of a censorship site than a code-sharing site; with the GitHub takeover Microsoft became a 'censorship police' or force of occupation against its ideological competition; just weeks after the YouTube-DL debacle and further take-downs seeking to 'protect' broken DRM schemes (by banning code) we can see that Microsoft isn't defending developers at all; it's just protecting the interests of MPA, RIAA and other Biden circles from the interests of the general population, which sometimes circumvents perfectly circumventable 'DRM' schemes



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 28, 2020



  12. Help Make Techrights (and Other Technology-Centric Sites) More Robust to Censorship by Setting Up More IPFS Nodes

    We’re trying to improve the site’s availability (ensuring it can never be offline) and make it more censorship-resistant; people who adopt IPFS can make that happen while tackling the “bloated Web” and “centralised Internet” issues — all at the same time



  13. Microsoft Loves Linux and Android Apps Running on Windows Instead of GNU/Linux and Android Devices

    Microsoft loves Linux, they say; but as Microsoft's former VP James Allchin put it: "If you're going to kill someone there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the trigger [...] We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger."



  14. Links 28/11/2020: RenderDoc 1.11, GNOME 40 Scrolling Horizontally

    Links for the day



  15. Nine Documents About the Financial Siege Against EPO Staff (Past, Present, and Future)

    Today we release dozens of pages of letters and documents (internal to Europe's second-largest institution); they all focus on the betrayal and skulduggery, crushing staff in spite of what was originally promised (and what workers actually signed up for)



  16. EPO Senior Management (Cabal) “Essentially Deaf to the Proposals From Staff Representatives.”

    Representatives of EPO staff feel like the management of the EPO is "deaf" and uncaring; there's hardly any meaningful progress (or none whatsoever) when it comes to truly honest dialogue with real participation



  17. EPO Management, Led by António Campinos, Attempted to Stifle or Prevent Staff From Being Surveyed

    Battistelli's cabal, which covers up a lot of fraud and corruption, is attempting to prevent the staff from expressing an opinion (for insiders and perhaps outsiders to assess) because things are really bad and autocratic measures are seen as necessary to keep the lid on issues/abuses



  18. The European Patent Office's Central Staff Committee: Office Cannot Recruit Fit-for-Purpose Patent Examiners Anymore

    One third of EPO recruits are 'locals' (Germans), 0.2% are Swiss, 1% Scandinavian; the EPO as an employer became unattractive and it's unable to attract the staff it needs (as was projected and planned when the EPC was agreed upon)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 27, 2020



  20. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day



  21. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)



  22. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."



  23. Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day



  24. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity



  25. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020



  27. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)



  28. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives



  29. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough



  30. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers


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