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Leaked E-mails From the EPO’s Roberto Vacca Reveal That Patent Quality at the European Patent Office Has Become Farcical

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A production line mentality at the EPO, which is now simply “drunk” on so-called ‘production’

A production line

Summary: Roberto Vacca, an EPO officer, points out what everyone at the EPO already knew; “Quality First,” as one reader put it to us, “Welcome in the era of Post-Patents!”

THE EPO under Battistelli is so obsessed with so-called ‘production’ that it might as well turn into a registration office like in France. Why does Battistelli keep pretending that he cares about patent quality? All he cares about is so-called ‘production’ that is measured using the wrong yardstick. He’s thinking like a Chinese factory manager whose employees just jump out the window (which is why so-called 'suicide nets' get installed).

“Are people paying thousands of Euros for a person to just have a quick glance for an hour or two before issuing a report/determination (obviously limited and flawed)”Inside sources have leaked to us some valuable information. “We are talking about 85 hair-dresser containers here,” one of them wrote. “Production/Productivity” is not what it used to mean; now it’s the assembly line mentality.

“In the Directorate of Mr Vacca,” we got told, “someone produced 62 searches and 23 final examination actions in January 2017 alone.”

That means almost 5 per day, assuming a 5-day week (working days). That is absolutely ridiculous! Are people paying thousands of Euros for a person to just have a quick glance for an hour or two before issuing a report/determination (obviously limited and flawed)? Maybe the unrealistic demands imposed on staff have made them so stressed that they cannot afford to care anymore and as a matter of survival at the job (not being “disciplined”) they turn into robotic beings. Disaster!

“Maybe the unrealistic demands imposed on staff have made them so stressed that they cannot afford to care anymore and as a matter of survival at the job (not being “disciplined”) they turn into robotic beings.”“The productivity is 3.05 (9 (!) times the reference),” we got told. “It is a team manager (he has managerial tasks next to his production ones). This followed a Cluster management meeting (team managers incl.) in which the high prio 1 backlog of ex-Hedemann teams was an issue.”

We have already explained some of the above terminology. Terms like “prio 1″ just mean very high priority. “Obviously,” we got told, “this created waves, within and outside of the directorate. The Director Mr Vacca sent two e-mails to his directorate.”

See below.

Dear all,

Some of you have been surprised by the PAX figures for our directorate released yesterday. One of the bubbles in the diagram is quite out of scale, and I must say that, without knowing very well the colleague, the quality of his work, and also some special circumstances, I would have also been more than surprised.

However, I know the colleague in question very well and I know that he has a record of excellent performance, and consistently excellent quality, since many years. His files go through the divisions and chairmen check as all the others and are CASEd as those of everybody else in our directorate. His searches have a % of A-docs only, much lower than the average and the number of intermediate communications is well in line with the average of the directorate.

The numbers, which are really excellent since many years, have been further boosted this time due to a number of files which had been completed just before Christmas but for organisational reasons have been coded only in January, and also by a large number of doublures which have been treated all together. The special circumstance have led to an out-of-scale that (unfortunately for the Directorate…) will be only a one-off.

I would like to stress that this is not to justify our colleague: excellent performance deserves praise rather than justification! It is to address your concerns and reassure you that this is in no way a sign of deterioration of the attention to quality we all share!

Then this (bold in the original E-mail, not our emphasis):

Dear colleagues,
With my email yesterday I have explained to all of you the background of such an extraordinary performance, for which I am really grateful to our colleague.
However, it seems that information was not enough for some of you. It has been reported to me that colleagues have been repeatedly disturbed in their daily work with questions and remarks they were not interested into. Comments and discussions are going on, also in public areas such as the canteen, with tone which are not far from configuring harassment against our colleague, and have spread also to other directorates.
I want this to stop now.
Those who are acting this way have probably not realized how offensive it is for a colleague who is doing an excellent work for our Directorate and our Office.
If any of you wants to have more information and discuss the issue further, just come to see me, I will be more than happy to do so.
But stop disturbing other colleagues and making unsubstantiated allegations. We have all far too much work to do this year, to spend timé and energy this way.

I do count on the support of each of you.


When will Battistelli get sacked, if not for his very serious abuses then for failure to maintain quality at the Office and for receiving a 0% approval rating from those who apply for patents, request searches, and so on? The situation is untenable and unsustainable. The EPO has become a laughing stock and it will soon run out of "stock", rendering the examiners redundant/obsolete. Does the clueless (no scientific qualification) Battistelli envision humans/field experts being replaced by robot operators? Is he that senile or just maliciously selfish?

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