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02.16.17

Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With heavily-used stock imagery (as below), this is the image of the EPO which they try to spread… (tweet from 3 days ago)

EPO image

Summary: The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere

THE EPO is not an idyllic place. The title (nor ours) is therefore sarcastic. Workers of the EPO may find the following anonymous message, sent to us by a longtime insider, informative.

I would like to bring to your attention some facts in the history of the EPO. Some of these passed facts also account for the present situation. A novice reading your blog may derive that the catastrophic social situation of the EPO nowadays is uniquely the consequence of the mismanagement by the monkey team, Battistelli and his goons. One may also derive that the Office was a nice place to work, a kind of Heaven, before the present management team arrived. This is absolutely wrong.

I could write a book about the subject, but I will make it short. I’ve known the EPO for decades and all places of employment, unfortunately I cannot tell you more without fearing immediate retaliation from the EPO.

Anyone having a legal background and accurately reading the Codex that was sent to each newcomer would realise to which extent the legal protection was poor and to which extent the legal environment was weak. Notwithstanding, many decided to go for it because besides the legal framework there was an appetising corporate culture. I mean, not just an excellent financial package but also “sexy” practical working conditions. This kind of blindness happens when you are freshly in love with the wrong partner, you see one side [but] not the other.

The dark side of the Office was always present even before it was created, I mean at times of the IIB (Institut International des Brevets) located in the Hague. The staff of the IIB enjoyed a full immunity and tax-free conditions that unfortunately led to misuse of their advantages. Decades ago the newcomer staff in the Hague benefited of a limited right to buy once a tax-free car. Could you imagine how this “tax-free right” was misused? Some newcomers were invited to sell their right to the benefit of older staff (most of the ex-IIB staff). But that was illegal. What choice was left for those “elected” newcomers? They still were in the probation period. That was for many the first disillusionment.

You would then quickly realise how many rivalries were at play among staff. The ex-IIB group, the ex-Oktrooiburo (the Dutch patent office), the Brits, the French, the ex-DPA (German patent office). And on the top of that the insane rivalry between sites of employment. All the groups were acting like a Mafia, defending and positioning their bosses across the office.

At first you had time enough to do your job decently. With “decently” I mean according to the examination rules that were considered the Holy Grail of patenting. But rapidly came production increases, some of them were justified, for instance by acknowledging a learning curve. However, more and more increases in production were justified with arguments like new computer system, BEST (bringing examination and search together) effect, splitting a department, your colleagues does better etc….

The consequence of constant production increases over decades to attain unrealistic targets was double: decrease in quality and examiners searching another activity than the core (chore?) task of “patenting” that was anyway disregarded by the management. And that was the great deal: working in any other side activity alleviated your production pressure. Your productivity (days/file) was far more important when your reporting officer had to write a notation report. Of course there were “artists” misusing the system: the best “producers in a department with far the best productivity had done as little as 4 files/dossiers in a…..year! These persons were particularly well noted as they contributed in one or more resources-hungry “projects” .

Many were aware of the breach and the usual career-seeking staff with lower morale saw an efficient way of rocketing, boosting a career. The first step was to be very friendly and get close to one of the Mafia bosses usually by drinking liters of beer during after-work parties. Then presenting and making accepted a “project”. At this stage you already were team leader in a project and partially freed from examination duties. The second step was to make your baby grow by recruiting friends among the elected Mafia then creating a sub-Mafia of your own.

In the mean time, staff that recruited for doing the “dirty” work were pressured even more because the global production of the office was sinking.

Even today the staff working in the patent production line (administrative officers and examiners) are misconsidered at a point that “management” calls them the “TOQUARDS”. If you don’t know this French word look at:

http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-synonyms/toquard

That is all the respect the managers of the Office give to their staff.

Team Battistelli is at war with its staff or better said with part of the staff, at least the 4000 union members and certainly all the toquards that do the “dirty work” compared to the the nice and far most useful job of bullying staff.

I have been very affected by the testimonials provided in two of your recent posts:

http://techrights.org/2017/02/07/epo-antipathy/ [Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VI: Fear Climate and Antipathy Now the ‘Norm’]

The quote “The Office has been sowing evil and bad acts all over,…..They have their own inconsistent convenience of career interests to preserve: truly it’s nothing, but to an emotionally and morally semi-blind creature that has lost any professional profile and moral sense, that’s all that matters.”

This statement is so poignantly true ….

http://techrights.org/2017/02/09/epo-depression-and-suicides/ [This is Why Many People at the EPO Commit Suicide]

To quote : ““Right now the friends of my friends are being ‘disappeared’
Soon it will be my friends’ turn, and then mine (…) ” (text from Professor Salman Haider)….Soon the EPO will look like a psychiatric hospital with a lot of people in great psychological distress granting patents for Europe.
Just missing the doctors to help.”

This is again the day by day life in the Office. The EPO has become a criminal organisation killing people among its staff. There are many ways to kill someone, using weapons is certainly the last recourse. The EPO offers you all the tools to commit suicide. I know that, I have seen that with my own eyes.

Yet Battistelli has won all the line .. or did he?

If I were the guy (which I am fortunately not) I would be extremely worried. The staff is now left in a legal desert as confirmed by the latest NL judgement. The staff had “nothing and some hopes”. They are left with “nothing” at all in front of a mocking dictator . No law, no tribunal, no union, no friends, no humanity.

Once you realise you are left alone in Hell without any possibility of return, some may be tempted to join the Mafia to soothe the pain (“join them if you cannot fight them”), other may turn their violence against themselves and commit suicides, other may want to blast the whole system. Battistelli shouldn’t forget what the primary task of an “engineer” was.
So I wish you good look Mr Battistelli, you have set up all the conditions for a big disaster but you’ll be a hero…..

Much of the above isn’t new to us; nor was it ignored. Prior to Battistelli’s reign we had already written about EPO protests and other issues, going back to the dawn of Techrights in 2006. But one can not deny the fact that Battistelli’s tactics are what led to stuff hitting the fan and the inherent issues at the Office becoming more widely understood.

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