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

02.24.17

Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUEPO is vindicated, again

Els Hardon

Summary: The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts

THE stories we have published about the EPO are approaching 2,000 in number and we spent thousands of hours on these. One reader told us the other day that these stories are having an impact. To quote:

Knowing that the management reads your blog, I suggest to disseminate some information that may accelerate the deliverance process. For instance, this information: I have recently observed in the Isar headquarters of the epo in Munich a remarkable change in the atmosphere, a kind of feeling you may have when the war is nearly at end, or at the end of a reign. The minions are preparing the departure of Sun king Bat (sounds pretty north-Korean!). Of course they are younger than the capo and may want to stay after his departure to further milk the cow. All they need is a “Persilschein” – denazification certificate- to show that they were on the proper side in spite of the situation. In our digital era this is no longer a problem: all “classified” /compromising documents circulating in the office (and there are many!!!!) are instantly photographed and sent to the “cloud”. Thank you google for your google disk and thank you to all companies producing these amazing smart-phones. I guess that after the departure of the capo, the rain coming from the cloud is likely to be a storm of …. Sun King Bat will then appreciate the difference between immunity and impunity.

Can anyone relate to the above? Either way, yes, we do have a lot of documents coming. They’re in the pipeline, just waiting for the right timing (and relevance) to come out. This assures accountability, even if belated accountability.

The other day we found ourselves criticised in an anonymous comment at IP Kat. Someone claimed that no brain drain was going on, refuting what many insiders have said anonymously (in public) and told us directly. Brain drain is not just about retirements but about many early retirements, not counting a lot of unjust dismissals of veteran (experienced and valuable) staff. Here is what the comment said:

@Rasputini @Techrights
I see my comment has attracted the attention of Dr Roy from Techrights.
The hundred examiners leaving is not a sign of brain drain nor has it anything to do with the current management.
It is simply a result of an aging population and the recruitment policies 30 years ago.
I’ll try to explain so that even Dr Roy can follow, should he have a mind willing to understand:
1) we have about 4200 examiners
2) examiners start on average when they are about 30 years old at the EPO
3) the average (pre-) retirement age is currently about 60 years old
4) on average examiners therefore work during 30 years at the EPO
5) on average, 4200/30=140 examiners will therefore retire per year
The 100 current retirements is lower than average since 30 years ago we recruited less. The number will even drop a bit in the next 5 years, then rise up to 200-250.
No magic, no brain drain, no terror management driving people away. Just demography.
And with 200-250 yearly retirements in the near future, no risk of overcapacity at all, quite the contrary I’m afraid.

It didn’t take long for people to refute the above, for example with the following comment:

30 years ago, the EPO had less than 2000 employees, some of them having been there since the time of the IIB. Normally 1 out of 30 or 40 would reach the retirement age which sums up to a natural turnover lower than 67 per year, all staff included. The actual number of staff leaving is more than twice this number. Statistically speaking, a brain drain at the EPO cannot be denied.

Dismantling an argument that suggested we were wrong about brain drain, “anxious attorney” wrote:

Moreover the EPO started with accepting only new examiners from national offices. So elder people. A few years after the start of the EPO also patent attorneys up to 40 years old could apply for a job at the EPO. Many of them older people. More years later also relatively young people finishing their studies at a university could apply. However preferred were people with some years of technical or research experience, so also older ones. Anonymus (1)here above made a very rough calculation, missing a lot of important factors. Anonymes(2) made a better analyses.

Denying that there is EPO brain drain seems rather strange to us as it is so obvious for insiders to see. It has gone on for more than a year and internal numbers (which were privately shared with us) confirm it as an undeniable fact. We did not publish names of people, mostly for privacy reasons (they’re not high-profile public figures).

The problem is now further exacerbated as Battistelli’s management receives a 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders. The following comment is a remark about what it means for “national offices” (NPOs) and what this may, in turn, mean for EPO pensions:

A happy almost ex-examiner-to-be:
After much trouble and pain actually trying to do my work, I’ve at last seen the light. I am now able to see the convincing arguments of the applicant. All of them. Thank you Mr french. I can work 4 times faster now and everyone is happy. My cupboards are almost empty but I can start dealing with patents from other technical areas. “Flexibility is much appreciated”, I was told. They are right: I go even faster now that I search & examine medicaments, locks, reactors, filters, telephones, glassware, cosmetics, oled tv. I am such an expert in all these fields: I immediately spot the convincing arguments. I was given last week a larger container for my stamp ink. What I have problem to understand is why they keep asking for patents from us. Oops. They stopped? They now apply directly to national offices? Who could have guessed? What I am going to do now? Who is going to pay my pension? What pension? What EPO? Thank you Mr french. Thank you.

What happens at the EPO, due to the above “Mr french” (Battistelli), can only be described as a disaster, although that word might be an understatement. Board 28 already called it a "crisis" one year ago and has since then done absolutely nothing to correct it. It is therefore, in a sense, complicit. As one person put it yesterday in Twitter, “The complicity is of all member states who see, know and don’t act.”

“No interest by media in other nations,” the person wrote in relation to EU IPO too, “what a shame.” In our view, large media organisations too have been somewhat complicit, even if by intentional inaction (turning a blind eye).

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. This Week Techrights Crosses 26,000 Posts Milestone, 3 Weeks Before Turning 13 (2,000+ Posts/Year)

    A self-congratulatory post about another year that's passed (without breaks from publishing) and another milestone associated with posting volume



  2. No Calls to "Remove Gates" From the Board (Over a Real Scandal/Crime), Only to "Remove Stallman" (Over Phony Distraction From the Former)

    Jeffrey Epstein's connections to Bill Gates extend well beyond Gates himself; other people inside Microsoft are closely involved as well, so Microsoft might want to cut ties with its co-founder before it becomes a very major mess



  3. “The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

    It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists



  4. Meme: Software Patents at the EPO

    The evolution of “technical effect” nonsense at the EPO



  5. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 13, 2019



  6. Firm of Microsoft's Former Litigation Chief Uses Microsoft-Connected Patent Lawsuit Against GNU/Linux (GNOME Foundation) for New Breed of FUD Campaigns

    The patent troll of Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold has fed a patent troll that's attacking GNU/Linux and a firm owned by Microsoft's former litigation chief says it proves "Open Source Software Remains a Target"



  7. "Widespread Adoption" (Did You Mean: Takeover by Monopolies?)

    "Quite a few of them are people that would rather replace David with Goliath, just because he's bigger. Quite a few are already taking money from Goliath."



  8. Links 13/10/2019: Red Hat CFO Fired and KDE Plasma 5.17 Preparations

    Links for the day



  9. Bill's Media Strategy Amid GatesGate

    There are many ways by which to game the media’s news cycle — an art mastered by the groper in chief



  10. Hard-Core Micro-Soft

    The word "core" is increasingly being (mis)used to portray user-hostile proprietary software as something more benign if not "open"



  11. Free Software Timeline and Federation: When Free Software Advocacy/Support is a Monopoly Expansion Becomes Necessary

    Support for Software Freedom — like support for Free software (think Red Hat/IBM and systemd) — should be decentralised and compartmentalised to make the movement stronger and adaptable



  12. Projection Tactics

    The corporate media hasn't been doing its job lately; it has systematically defamed the wrong people, perhaps in an effort to distract from 'big fish'



  13. Meme: Richard Stallman Irrelevant

    Saint IGNUcius — Richard Stallman — just isn’t the Saint Bill Gates is



  14. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 12, 2019



  15. Links 13/10/2019: Mastodon 3.0, GNU Binutils 2.33.1, and the Road to KDE Frameworks 6

    Links for the day



  16. The New York Times About the Real Epstein-Software Scandal (Nothing to Do With Stallman)

    The media is belatedly catching up with and covering the real MIT scandal which extends far beyond MIT



  17. Openwashing Reports Are on Hold

    The need to stress Software Freedom and shun all that "open" nonsense has quickly become apparent; some of the people who oppose Stallman turn out to be "Open Source" proponents who don't even value freedom of expression (free speech)



  18. Support the GNU Project and Support Free Speech

    Techrights is loyal to Software Freedom and those eager to promote it; it cannot, however, support those who don’t support free speech



  19. Today's EPO is Working for Patent Trolls and the 'Aye Pee' (IP) 'Industry' Instead of Science

    The EPO is making allegiances and alliances with groups that represent neither science nor businesses but instead push for monopolies, litigation and extortion; lawlessness appears to have become the EPO's very objective instead of what it intends to tackle



  20. The Campinos Car Crash

    The EPO is crashing and we know who’s to blame other than Battistelli



  21. Software Patents (or Monopolies on Algorithms) Are Not 'Property' and They're Not Even Legally Valid

    The EPO insists that it's OK to grant patents on just about everything and propaganda terms are being leveraged to justify this dangerous attitude



  22. The EPO's Universal Patent Injustice Concealed With Polyglottic Tricks

    The EPO is fooling nobody; it's desperate to hide the very simple fact that Battistelli did something illegal and over the past few years every decision issued by the EPO was legally invalid (as per the EPC)



  23. Microsoft Tweets in Linux Platforms

    This observation about the Linux Foundation seems very appropriate (and true) now that Linux.com’s sole editor is (re)posting Microsoft tweets (shades of Jono Bacon)



  24. Links 12/10/2019: Rspamd 2.0, Kdenlive 19.08.2, Plasma Mobile Progress, FreeBSD 12.1 RC1

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, October 11, 2019



  26. MIT Scandal in a Nutshell

    What happened a month ago, explained using a meme



  27. António Campinos, With Diplomatic Immunity, Continues Breaking the Law by Granting Patents the EU and EPC Forbade

    The EPO shows how immunity leads to crimes being committed with total impunity; at this point the EPO's immunity must be removed and judges should be permitted to do their job, which is enforcing the law



  28. EPO is Trying to 'Force-Feed' Europe Some Fake Patents by Hijacking Courts

    Having granted a lot of dubious European Patents (to maintain constant growth despite a decreasing number of applications) the EPO seeks to subvert the court system; so far only the constitutions and the laws are being subverted — to the point where these ambitions are collapsing in Europe’s highest courts



  29. If the EPO Plans to Go 'Virtually' Private (Outside Contracting), Then Failing It Would be Deliberate

    Sooner rather than later EPO workers need to entertain the possibility that so-called 'plan Battistelli' is to enrich a bunch of well-connected people rather than improve the Office or its services



  30. Linux Oughtn't Be Just a Brand

    The non-Linux-using Linux Foundation and how it views the Linux project


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