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05.12.17

Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli’s Regime at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Novell, Patents at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Better days will come, but it might be too late to save the jobs of examiners (and hence the EPO as we knew it, with some of the brightest minds of Europe)

Nice sunset
Keep hope…

Summary: A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (it’s all talk and lobbying)

READERS often ask what can be done to repair and redeem the EPO amid endless scandals and abuses committed by the management. Readers are almost always more pessimistic than us; we’re not overly optimistic but we are certainly seeing progress in the right direction (e.g. most member states voting in favour of ousting Battistelli, Kongstad being allegedly pushes out by the Danish government and more). It’s a long, tiring process that requires patience; I wrote many thousands of articles about Novell, for example, and eventually, after 4 years of activism, the company virtually died. Some prominent developers attributed the company’s demise to Techrights. I have already experienced this kind of process, which typically requires a lot of patience and eventually triggers departures (resignations, early retirements etc.) at the very top. It’s already happening at the EPO (Ciaran McGinley, Minnoye, Kongstad and so on) and Team Battistelli signals a run for the money, which is another symptom of collapse (people trying to secure their post-career savings, pensions and so on).

“It’s a long, tiring process that requires patience; I wrote many thousands of articles about Novell, for example, and eventually, after 4 years of activism, the company virtually died.”A translation of a Telegraaf report about the EPO was published today or yesterday by SUEPO. It’s the Dutch newspaper that accused Battistelli of "terror" half a year ago and here is a translation of this latest article, citing again those memorable accusations of “terror”:

Complaint against the State concerning problems at Patent Office

RIJSWIJK – The European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk is the subject of discussion once again due to problems on the workfloor. Two trade unions at the international organisation, where a striking number of employees committed suicide in 2014, have submitted a complaint against the Netherlands. The reason: violation of the right to access to the courts.

At the EPO, which employs a few thousand people, there has been talk of a culture of intimidation by the management for years, resulting in serious damage to the working atmosphere within the organisation. “The management is also making it impossible for the trade unions to effectively represent the interests of their members,” says lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld. “Although an organisation like the Patent Office enjoys immunity from jurisdiction under normal circumstances, this does not apply if the trade unions have no effective legal remedy to raise the problems. In accordance with established case law at the European Court, a national court can adopt jurisdiction in this case.”

SEE ALSO: Concerns about ’terror’ at Patent Office

On Tuesday, Zegveld submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. “As a signatory state, the Netherlands is obliged to ensure that the European Treaty is guaranteed on its territory. Instead of this, violations of human rights are being covered up.”

The issue at the Patent Office is in fact being debated in the Dutch House of Representatives today.

The organisation has now been led with a firm hand for years by the French despot Benoît Battistelli. State Secretary Van Dam (Economic Affairs) stated at the end of last year that he would be keeping a finger on the pulse at the Patent Office.

We predict or project that Battistelli will only end his term if the delegates are ‘generous’ enough to believe it’s somehow acceptable to let him carry on because he’s already near the end of his second term. Having said that, he will never see the UPC come to fruition, meaning that 8 years at the helm will have ended up as a miserable failure.

“We predict or project that Battistelli will only end his term if the delegates are ‘generous’ enough to believe it’s somehow acceptable to let him carry on because he’s already near the end of his second term.”Based on comments received earlier today, EPO insiders have been exposed to more Kool-Aid than most. Who knows, maybe Battistelli ‘pulls a Flint’ and lets that Kool-Aid slip into the water supply of the Isar or even the Isar building. Either way, we are gratified to see more people (even former Kats) openly recognising that one side of the argument over UPC has been muzzled, left out, suppressed etc. Quite a few of these former Kats are not optimistic about the UPC compared to the Kats who virtually took over that blog. Some of them are too shy to speak about it publicly, but there is broad realisation that the UPC is sort of stuck. Found today [via Benjamin Henrion] was this podcast about “Insight Into Litigation Before the UPC”, a new UPC puff piece promoted by a law firm, and various responses to it (from Francisco Moreno too), e.g. explaining that we “could revert all those 10 reasons to support the UPC” (rewriting the lobbying-type headline from Withers & Rogers — a firm whose actions would harm British businesses).

“For UK businesses,” it claims, “there is a clear advantage to being able to litigate in one’s mother tongue. This will be possible at all UPC hearings…”

“The truth of the matter is, the UPC is built very loosely on a pile of lies.”First of all, the UK isn’t in the UPC (Brexit makes that pretty much impossible) but perhaps more importantly, not many British companies would pursue litigation abroad (where they don’t operate) and they would be very much exposed to more litigation from other countries (if not other continents). Funny how they don’t mention that…

The truth of the matter is, the UPC is built very loosely on a pile of lies. Some of the lies are truly incredible and are complete reversals of the truth! Here is Francisco Moreno highlighting the next UPC think tank, which claims “[d]iversity of views and opinion” (an utter lie. Battistelli and Team UPC clearly misportray their lobbying event).

As Henrion pointed out, “they never invite the critics. Yet another echo chamber with the usual suspects.”

“If anyone knows who is likely to replace Kongstad, please do get in touch with us as close scrutiny of the candidates would help guide the choice made by delegates (most of whom already want Battistelli kicked out).”See the screenshot. Yes, that’s Battistelli right there and the “Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court conference” in Munich will cost ‘only’ €600 for one single day! Talk about barrier to outside participation. With Battistelli in there, we are reminded of the fact that he is the person to blame for chaos inside and outside the EPO. He wanted to become the ‘face’ of UPC and instead he will be immortalised as a horrible dictator who crashed the EPO.

Will Battistelli manage to rewrite the rules to make himself eligible for another term (he was ineligibly even for the current term, due to his age and political activity)? Will he use the failure of the UPC as an excuse for buying more time? One sure thing is, the EPO’s management is crumbling right now. Minnoye is leaving soon (we’ll have a departure ‘gift’ for him), Battistelli’s popularity is at an all-time low (probably in the history of the EPO as a whole), and the Council is prospectively headless. If anyone knows who is likely to replace Kongstad, please do get in touch with us as close scrutiny of the candidates would help guide the choice made by delegates (most of whom already want Battistelli kicked out).

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