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10.22.17

The EPO No Longer Measures Quality of Patents; Instead It Publishes Fake Statistics

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Silencing those who dare say the truth rather than treating it as constructive feedback

Minnoye MAGA

Summary: The decline in patent quality at the EPO is a long-known issue and suppression of information about it merely enabled several more years of questionable patent grants, thereby putting at risk the perceived value of EPO services

THE EPO is generally regarded as something that used to be good and is no longer good. We’re not only speaking of the human rights aspects but also technical merit/s.

“The EPO is generally regarded as something that used to be good and is no longer good.”Stakeholders of the EPO too have realised that something is amiss and they’re not getting their money’s worth with EPs (European Patents). Published by SUEPO a few years ago was the following warning regarding ISO 9001 — the so-called standard (ISO is worthless) that claims to pertain to quality. The recently-retired and recently-promoted VPs kept bragging about it (to the point of attacking truth-tellers) and SUEPO wasn’t particularly impressed even 3 years ago. To quote:

ISO 9001

Nobody is perfect, neither is CASE

The CASE [1] system was allegedly set up in DG1 to improve quality and achieve ISO-9001 certification. CASE replaces the former CL-OCQ and is designed to assess and record the conformity of searches, grants and positive written opinions. The first comparison results are now available for the whole DG1:

CASE

In view of the ever increasing emphasis put by DG1 management on production figures, i.e. quantity, it is unlikely that these results reflect a remarkable improvement in quality. This is confirmed in an email sent by Mr Minnoye (VP1) to directorates in which “zero non-compliances have been recorded”. “Since nobody is perfect, a 100 % compliance is not very realistic considering previous audit results [...] You are urgently requested to ensure that CASE is used in your directorate”.

The overall result of DG1 as well as the 100% score of many directorates should not have come as a surprise to Mr Minnoye. The Staff Representation had cautioned the administration about the likely failure of the CASE concept (see the opinion in GAC/AV 27/2013 [2]). Management ignored the warning and went on with the implementation. Achieving the above results.

As explained in a presentation of PDQM in cooperation with BSI [3], user acceptance is essential for an ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System. Users should feel confident with the system. They should not fear punishment. They should not be used to check and report on their colleagues.

Instead, the CASE system records the confidential deliberations of the Examining Divisions which become then accessible to the line managers, and can be used for reporting (CASE Questions Answered [4]). No wonder that there is great mistrust in CASE! The fact that management wants to set “quantitative quality” targets in the future reporting system (from 2015 on) will certainly not reassure them.

The Staff Representation has always been proactive in supporting quality improvement at the Office. It had formulated counter-proposals (see GAC/AV 27/2013 [2]) before the introduction of CASE but these have been ignored. Instead of ordering that “CASE should work” – an impossible challenge -, the administration should rather take the appropriate corrective measures. Because, “nobody is perfect”.

SUEPO Central

References:
[1] Conformity Assessment for Search and Examination (CASE)

http://my.internal.epo.org/portal/private/epo/organisation/strategicrenewal/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/epo/intranet/organisation/strategicRenewal/quality/objectives_metrics/case

[2] Opinion on “A new procedure for addressing non-conforming products in DG1 as a
replacement for CL-OCQ”

http://babylon/projects/babylon/gacdoc.nsf/0/79ff86d609cd0a1fc1257c47004d0895/$FILE/av%2027-13.pdf

[3] British Standards Institution (BSI)

http://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/iso-9001-quality-management/

[4] CASE Questions Answered:

http://babylon/projects/babylon/pdqms.nsf/0/DEA1E435872927C7C1257D17002681C7/$FILE/CASE%20questions%20answered.docx

This is hardly surprising to us. What’s worth noting here is that SUEPO warned about it a very long time ago and Battistelli did not heed the warnings. As a result of this vanity, there are now years’ worth of EPs whose legitimacy may be questionable. That’s hundreds of thousands of EPs!

The reputation of the EPO cannot be guarded and talented recruits (potential staff) won’t be attractable if the EPO carries on like this. The EPO certainly has a grip on European media (threatening the media and paying the media), but the truth somehow gets out nonetheless. Earlier on we received the following message, which we are posting below with redactions:

…we all would wish more press coverage for the EPO scandals, but unfortunately nothing happens. Money corrupts and can buy almost everything. After all, money and corruption are familiar to the EPO cronies.

I had in the last week two gratifying encounters in █████████████████ with persons I hadn’t met before. The first was with a venerable old man who used to live near ██████████. Engaging small talk he asked about my employer. I told him European Patent Office, being almost certain that he had never heard of it. Oh what a surprise when he told me with a sad face: “das EPA? Das ist ziemlich heruntergekommen”. Translation: “the EPO? a rather sordid place.” No comment.

The second encounter was a █████████ years old lady in flea market. Talking about this and that, she told me about friends of her as soon as she knew about my employer . Her friend in the EPO was rather depressed and couldn’t endure the dreadful working conditions. Again no need to comment. She also quoted that the boss “a French guy with an Italian name” was held responsible for the mess.

Therefore, even if the press is silent about the scandals, the word is spreading.

As far we as know, many people who read this site aren’t EPO staff but former EPO staff and EPO stakeholders (including some large corporations). Back when we were suffering DDOS attacks we had to check the back-end logs and map the networks traffic was coming from. It certainly seemed like many companies with a lot of EPs (possibly many thousands) were growing concerned about the EPO scandals. What if patents which they thought were worth billions would be worth only millions? Or worse: What would happen if the EPO collapsed? Remember we’re not against patents; we’re pro patent quality — an entirely different thing.

“What if patents which they thought were worth billions would be worth only millions?”There’s a massive media vacuum/blackout regarding the EPO. I have a rough idea/concrete clues about why certain publishers refuse to touch the subject. I have spoken to and even met some good writers. It’s their bosses who are trying to spike articles regarding the EPO. They help protect thuggery at the EPO almost as though it’s a business model. Maybe the media owners (or advertisers which bring the lion’s share of revenue) prefer for the world not to see the annals. The sausage factory has a big “DO NOT ENTER” sign at the door.

For those not familar with the term “Ag-gag”, check it out in Wikipedia. It helps explain a lot of the mentality embraced by Battistelli’s EPO. Suffice to say, slowly but surely this backfires because they refuse to accept constructive feedback/criticism and instead obsess about hiding the truth.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source.”

Linus Torvalds

Speaking of “Social Democracy” While Suffering Extreme Democratic Deficiency

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sarkozy and Battistelli

Summary: The EPO represents an even broader assault on democracy in Europe (implicating ILO, Team UPC, national delegates, and national governments), but Benoît Battistelli is unique in the sense that he’s disguising it or lying to himself about it

IT is generally regarded as black comedy inside the EPO that Battistelli attempted to frame his regime as "social democracy". Nothing could be further from the truth because Battistelli is antisocial and his regime is undemocratic (even antidemocratic).

“Laws were composed by lobbyists behind closed doors and politicians with a stake in the outcome turned up at 1:30AM to ‘vote’ (even if about 95% of the public representatives were asleep and likely unaware of the vote).”We previously described as “antidemocratic” the UPC campaign. The whole thing had been a sham from start to finish (by “finish” we mean the likely scuttling of it). Laws were composed by lobbyists behind closed doors and politicians with a stake in the outcome turned up at 1:30AM to 'vote' (even if about 95% of the public representatives were asleep and likely unaware of the vote).

The UPC comes tumbling down these days. There are too many delays — certainly some may be fatal. “Then all dreams of a quick judgment seem increasingly unlikely,” Mathieu Klos‏ (Juve) wrote. (“Dahin alle Träume auf schnelles Urteil aus Karlsruhe Klageabweisung immer unwahrscheinlicher”)

“The UPC deserves to die because it has corrupted the media (which published puff pieces for Team UPC, directly or indirectly), misrepresented businesses, misled people and even corrupted political systems (all the way up to constitutions).”“More than that,” Dr. Thorsten Bausch‏ replied, it could be the end of “all dreams of a UPCA in its present form. What comes then?” (“Mehr noch: Dahin alle Träume auf ein UPCA in seiner jetzigen Form. Doch was kommt dann?”)

The UPC deserves to die because it has corrupted the media (which published puff pieces for Team UPC, directly or indirectly), misrepresented businesses, misled people and even corrupted political systems (all the way up to constitutions). It’s pretty incredible that it managed to get as far as it has.

At what cost do patent fanatics think they can carry on? Six EPO workers committed suicide in recent years, the atmosphere/morale among patent examiners is appalling, and national laws are being violated in Munich and The Hague as a matter of routine. As one person put it last night , “for the EPO’s paymasters, the more human rights abuse of employees at the EPO, the better.”

Sadly, they (the millionaires and billionaires) don’t suffer from it; they just don’t care. Here’s the full comment:

I said above that the Big Corporate Fish don’t care about abuses of human rights at the EPO. I was wrong.

They do care. If the EPC Member States evidently abuse their own employees, it becomes hypocritical of elected Governments to criticise Big Corp, when it, in turn, abuses the rights of its own employees.

This neutering of any political criticism of labour abuses in multi-national corporations is extremely useful for them and their lobbyist forces.

Thus, for the EPO’s paymasters, the more human rights abuse of employees at the EPO, the better. Shame on you, Member States, in the pockets of the sociopathic multi-national corporations.

The next comment after that was responding to conspiracy theories and noted “Battistelli is what is called in FR a prolo. A man with no education and no behavior.”

“Sadly, they (the millionaires and billionaires) don’t suffer from it; they just don’t care.”“He owes his position to the activism of Sarkozy,” it added, perhaps alluding to a subject we covered before (Battistelli and Sarkozy are indeed very closely connected).

“Believe it or not,” it says, “Battistelli was the ONLY candidate classified as totally unsuited for the position of VP (in particular for his obvious lack of social skills and arrogant behaviour).”

…please do not spread fake info of the kind wrt Battistelli’s ring.

His cheap ring is called a chevaliere. This is a pleb ring which no decent frenchman mastering etiquette would wear for at least fourty years (except in the deep countryside province). It is a sign of utterly bad taste, as is, his pathetic golden Hermes belt which again no one disposing upon a decent education would wear since the 1970s.

Battistelli is what is called in FR a prolo. A man with no education and no behavior.

As to the Masonery. No one knows (by nature unless he reveals it which is not the case) if he is a free mason but many speculate. Even if he was, all what he did to the EPO has nothing to do with Masonery but with his cheap behaviour.

Do not forget that when he candidated for the position of VP1 (when FR ex VP1 Mr Michel retired about 13 years ago) the EPO organised for once (and never again) a real high level assessment center (with Roland Berger). Believe it or not: Battistelli was the ONLY candidate classified as totally unsuited for the position of VP (in particular for his obvious lack of social skills and arrogant behaviour).

Few years after, after 30 rounds or more of votes he was elected president. He owes his position to the activism of Sarkozy.

So Pink there is no illuminati involved nor Opus Dei as many wrongly speculate. This pathetically human and cheap human in the very case of Battistelli.

We did not know about that above-mentioned assessment. If anyone has any more information about it, please contact us. We wrote about Michel many times before, but we did not know about a “high level assessment center”. It must be pretty old, going back to the days Battistelli was just a politician trying to learn what on Earth patents were (for his INPI position).

“It must be pretty old, going back to the days Battistelli was just a politician trying to learn what on Earth patents were (for his INPI position).”Battistelli’s political career must not have been very exciting. He just had some diplomatic positions (nothing too fancy). It’s therefore not too shocking that Battistelli and his ilk would pursue fake elections, just like rogue politicians.

We’re reminded of attempts to organise a strike almost exactly three years ago. There was a strike ballot on October 23rd, 2014 (today is October 22nd) and at the end of October an open letter was circulated regarding this planned strike. The Central Staff Committee wrote the following message to Battistelli:

Dear Mr Battistelli,

We have the following observations concerning the implementation of the strike ballot held on 23 October 2014:
- You refused to accept our nominations to the ballot committee. As a consequence, we were not in a position to verify whether the voting regulations were respected, in particular with regards to fairness and confidentiality of the ballot.

- The list of voters included senior managers such as the Vice-Presidents and yourself. This is inappropriate.
- The ballot was held to coincide with school holidays in The Hague and Berlin: this most likely had a negative impact on the final participation rate.
- We received feedback from some staff that proxy votes have been lost. We are not in a position to judge the frequency of such technical irregularities, but again this most likely had a negative impact on the participation rate.

Given that the outcome of the ballot is nevertheless clear, unambiguous and simply confirms the feedback we receive daily from staff, we will refrain from challenging the results.

We do, however, strongly object to what seems to be an impaired implementation performed in bad faith of the new strike regulations, regulations that themselves already infringe fundamental staff rights.

A notification of strike was sent to Battistelli on the 12th of November (2014) by the Central Staff Committee to say: “Ms Bergot announced in her publication to staff dated 23 October 2014 the result of the strike ballot organised by the Office: Staff has voted in favour of a strike. Following this decision to start a strike, we inform you of the following…”

“A year later the leadership of SUEPO got suspended and the following year Battistelli rendered them unemployed.”It was an open letter at the time. It made it clear that all other options had been exhausted. To quote their open letter: “Please be assured that the Central Staff Committee has always been prepared to enter a fair social dialogue and continues to be so. If social dialogue in the time between the above blocks of strike days leads to a substantial progress on the grounds for strike, we are willing to recommend to Staff to terminate the strike actions.”

A year later the leadership of SUEPO got suspended and the following year Battistelli rendered them unemployed. He arrogantly ignored the recommendations (even of his very own Disciplinary Committee), reaffirming the widely-held view that he does not comprehend democracy and the Rule of Law.

One heck of a leader, eh? That’s the “social democracy” Battistelli had in mind all along.

Management by Intimidation Has Caused Deaths at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Management by Intimidation

Summary: An accurate diagnosis of the conditions created at the European Patent Office (EPO) by Benoît Battistelli and his cronies, who have essentially hijacked the Organisation — not just the Office — then attacked every ‘enemy’, either real or perceived

THE previous article about Professor Alain Pompidou (former EPO President who, as far as we know, EPO staff at the time did not hate). Nobody is perfect, but Professor Pompidou was at least regarded not as a bully. People in circles close to the EPO generally told us positive things about him. Pompidou did complain about productivity or laziness (IP Kat covered it at one point). When Alison Brimelow stepped down IP Kat said that “Brimelow is reported to be unhappy at the quantity of politics that has invaded her senior administrative job description [and] calls for the clarification, extension and abolition of the computer program “as such” exception to patentability.”

We covered all this (at the time) and at no point did we hear about suicides, for instance. Staff did occasionally protest (we covered that and posted photos), but back then there was no aggressive crackdown on staff and their representatives. When Battistelli took over he introduced a de-motivational career path, which was explained also in this presentation [PDF]. But what pushed people to depression and sometimes even suicide (not to mention brain drain due to departures and inability to attract/recruit talent) was explained in the following document from 3 years ago:

Zentraler Vorstand . Central Executive Committee . Bureau Central

03.11.2014
sc14260cp – 0.2.1/4.1

Management by FEAR

Dear colleagues,

Some of you may still remember a power-point presentation from a management meeting years ago that suggested “fear, isolation and punishment” as a method for dealing with “under-performers. The staff representation requested the (then) President to distance herself from such statements. She never did and neither did Mr Battistelli, when asked.

There are various names for such management methods. “Management by intimidation” (“MBI”) is one of them. As an annex, we have copied list of warning signs for MBI. We invite you to do the test and see which apply to our organization.

The article from which the list was copied1 states that MBI practices lead to a demotivated work-force and are costly for an organization. In the EPO the consequences of MBI might be less quickly visible because the quality of the work done (the most obvious part to suffer) is not properly measured, and our income derives in part from the work done in the past (renewal fees). Still: the long-term impact will be negative on the organisation and the costs in terms of human suffering and reputation will be huge.

We therefore call on the individual responsibility of each staff member and each manager to resist the current development. For managers this means in particular not exposing staff under their responsibility to the isolation2 and punishment3 that is part of the Office’s new way of dealing with “challenging people4”.

SUEPO Central

_______________
1 Impact of Management by Intimidation on Human Capital: Is It Destroying Your Organization?
http://www.acua.org/ACUA_Resources/Auditor/Summer2006.pdf, pages 5-10
2 e.g. suspension
3 usually dismissal.
4 “DG1 Teaming Up: Challenging People”, A. Bailas, Yann Chabod

http://babylon/projects/babylon/acedg1.nsf/0/268766D76E00FFB8C1257C8200471D56/$FILE/Presentation_MM14_Challenging%20People.ppt


Warning Signs of MBI (Management by Intimidation)

After years of consulting and management reviews, the authors discovered patterns of behavior. Do you see these in your organization?

1. Use of Threats: MBI practitioners threaten or intimidate people to perform, not inspire people to do their best. Letters of warning, informal threats of dismissal and informal requests to resign are some of the popular tactics used by MBI practitioners in organizations. Show of unchecked power is the basis for their operating philosophy.

2. Ineffective Oversight Body: Members of the oversight body (e.g., board of directors) are carefully screened and hand-picked. The intent is to ensure that members, who do not habitually question the activities of management, are selected and retained. Such an ineffective oversight body gives MBI practitioners a carte blanche to act administratively with unchecked powers. The body views auditors as necessary evils, rather than partners who assist its members in discharging their oversight responsibilities. The need to avoid micro-management is used as an excuse for this kind of hand-off oversight philosophy.

3. Censored Communications: MBI practitioners do not like employees to communicate openly and frankly about their views on organizational matters. They manipulate communication channels to ensure that only positive things are said and written about the organizations to external parties. Employees who express unfavorable opinions about the working conditions are routinely reprimanded by superiors who subscribe to the MBI philosophy. Commitment to truth is nonexistent. Board members, external auditors, internal auditors, and regulators receive communications censored or sanitized by MBI practitioners to conceal the real organizational climate and culture.

4. Self-Centeredness: MBI practitioners are self-centered leaders. They make decisions that are usually best for them, their favorite subordinates, their friends and their business partners. Personal agendas are disguised as organizational agendas.

5. Unchallenged Authority: MBI practitioners do not like their authority challenged or questioned by anyone. They have no compunction whatsoever in eliminating and neutralizing people who habitually challenge their authority.

6. Lack of Accountability: MBI practitioners are the least accountable people in organizations. They are quick to take credit for successful initiatives and equally quick to apportion blame on others for organizational failures. They are meticulous in building cases – real or imagined – against dispensable employees or scapegoats. MBI practitioners last long in organizations mainly because the culture of accountability is nonexistent.

7. Lack of Transparency: MBI practices are not transparent to people who are not directly and indirectly impacted by such practices. We either experience or learn about them from colleagues who were affected by the practices. MBI practitioners are too concerned about leaving audit trails that they have adopted the practice of not documenting their activities as much as possible and tacitly asking their subordinates to do the same.

8. Questionable Hiring Practices: MBI practitioners tend to ignore good personnel policies and resort to cronyism and nepotism in their hiring decisions. Covert tactics are used to ensure that friends and relatives are given preferential considerations. Ruse interviews are occasionally conducted just to satisfy legal requirements.


9. Lack of Diversity: MBI practitioners preach but do not practice diversity. They develop policies, procedures and plans that extol the virtues of diversity. They organize events intended to create the illusion that their organizations believe in diversity. A closer look will reveal that the people they surround themselves with in key leadership positions are not diverse. Lucrative positions, contracts and bonuses are typically awarded to people who look, think and act like them.

10. Double Standards: Activities that are acceptable to MBI practitioners are not necessarily acceptable to ordinary employees. Double standards are consistently applied in organizations. It is acceptable for MBI practitioners to circumvent rules if it suits their whims, but employees who commit the same type acts are involuntarily terminated.

11. Disdain for Independent Reviewers: MBI practitioners treat internal auditors, external auditors and other independent reviewers with open disdain. They do not want anyone to review and criticize their activities nor the activities of their “trusted” employees. They operate under the illusion that their actions are beyond reproach and not subject to audit. MBI practitioners prefer to have “other people” audited or investigated so that they can get the ammunition to eliminate certain people and show that certain conducts cannot be tolerated. The philosophy of “trust but verify” is foreign to MBI practitioners.

12. Management Myopia: MBI practitioners are inherently reactive managers. They like status quo. They dislike people who rock the boat or think outside the box. They rarely communicate their expectations to employees in a clear, unambiguous manner. They conduct periodic performance evaluations based on their moods at a particular time. Disliked employees are harshly criticized and “trusted” employees are richly rewarded. MBI practitioners manage to survive for as long as possible to aggrandize themselves – not to ensure the long-term health of their organizations.

13. Bliss in Feigned Ignorance: MBI practitioners find bliss in feigned ignorance. The less they know about bad things in their organization, the better for them. That is why they harbor visceral hatred for whistleblowers or employees they perceive as “bad news” messengers. They work hard to erect corporate buffers that will deter unfavorable news from reaching their attention. When confronted by the reality of things in their organizations, they are quick to use
the standard excuse of “I didn’t know” or “I was not aware” of the problems and their associated risks.

It’s interesting just to what degree the above describes the EPO under Battistelli. Almost every single point is an accurate description of today’s EPO. It’s almost as though the entire article was composed regarding or based on the EPO.

The Difference Between Alain Pompidou and Benoît Battistelli as EPO President

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Letter from Pompidou

Summary: The different approaches adopted by Pompidou and Battistelli; one pursued amicable mediation and training, whereas the other resorted to vindicative witch-hunts, kangaroo courts, and a culture of terror which resulted in many suicides (nearly seven)

THE EPO is nowadays being managed by a right-wing politician. It has been the case for about 7 years and the next President will be an ex-banker (earlier this morning we finished a series about that). Remember that the EPO, at its core, should be about science and technology. Scientists tend to be more professional and compassionate than ENA graduates. They also better understand scientists (such as examiners). Pompidou is the adopted son of Georges Pompidou, former President of France, but he is also former professor of histology, embryology and cytogenetics, according to Wikipedia. António Campinos too is the son of a politician (Joaquim Jorge de Pinho Campinos), but he is not a scientist.

The redacted mail at the top shows us how President Pompidou dealt with conflict — a sharp contrast to how Battistelli handles things.

The following 3-page document from 3 years ago shows how the Central Staff Committee (not SUEPO) viewed Battistelli’s approach:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité central du Personnel

12.11.2014
sc14265cp – 0.2.1/5.1/6.1

Disciplinary Committee

Introduction

The Disciplinary Committee is a statutory body set up under the EPO Service Regulations. The Committee has to be consulted if the President intends to impose a serious disciplinary measure against a staff member1 or wishes to dismiss a staff member for poor performance.

As with all such bodies at the Office (the GAC – now GCC – the Medical Committee, the Internal Appeals Committee, the COHSEC etc.), the legal construct is that the Committee considers the facts and gives a reasoned opinion. The President then decides.

Problems

This legal construction functions if the Office has a President who is prepared to consider the reasoned opinions which the consultative committees give him. However, Mr Battistelli has in the past ignored the medical opinions of doctors in the Medical Committee and decided that staff members not capable of performing their job for medical reasons should nevertheless not be sent on invalidity. This is something that no other President has done. Not even Mr Pompidou, who in contrast to Mr Battistelli, was a doctor. It should also be well known by now that Mr Battistelli as a matter of course ignores opinions of the Internal Appeals Committee that are favourable to staff. Mr Battistelli so disliked the reasoned opinions of the GAC that he abolished it and replaced it with the GCC, which, according to his understanding, is not allowed to give opinions, and merely votes on proposals2.

It should thus come as no surprise that Mr Battistelli also ignores the reasoned opinions of the Disciplinary Committee. In the past, he has imposed disciplinary measures on staff which are more severe than the Committee recommended. In other cases, he has imposed severe disciplinary measures even though the Committee considered that no disciplinary measure should be applied.

The above is worrying enough. However, there are further reasons why staff should be concerned with the functioning of the Disciplinary Committee:

1. The President’s nominations as Chairman and deputy

The President nominates the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee and his deputy. The Disciplinary Committee is not a “standing committee”. That is to say, it does not have a fixed constitution. Rather, its membership (other than the Chairman) changes from case to case (see below). Thus it is of crucial importance who the President nominates as Chairman. This person is the only member who has an overview of similar cases and has experience in
___________________________________
1 A warning or reprimand may be issued without consulting the Disciplinary Committee. More serious measures e.g. downgrading or dismissal require consultation.
2 This is one reason why the GCC is for staff inferior to the GAC and thus a reason why abolishing the GAC severely limits staff’s consultation rights.


handling cases, drafting opinions and so on. This is particularly important since the Committee has limited e.g. legal support for reasons of confidentiality.

Up until this year, the President nominated members of the Legal Board of Appeal. That is to say, people who are both legally qualified and neither appointed by himself nor under his disciplinary authority. From this year, Mr Battistelli nominated managers on contract at grade A6. Thus, the President sends a case to the Disciplinary Committee chaired by a manager on contract who falls under his disciplinary (and managerial) authority. The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee drafts a recommendation. This recommendation goes back to the Chairman’s superior, namely the President. The President then decides.

This is precisely the construct which, in Findlay v. The United Kingdom the European Court of Human Rights ruled against in case 22107/933 (see in particular §70 – 80 of that case)!

2. Significantly more cases

This year has seen a more than doubling of the number of disciplinary cases. In itself, this should be a cause for concern. In the course of their normal duties both the Chairman and deputy have a heavy burden of other work and duty travels. Indeed, the Chairman has staff in both The Hague and Munich. We thus hope that both of them will be able to give this task the time it requires, especially (as seems likely) should the number of cases increase further. This was not a problem in the past (see above), when both nominees had tasks that ensured that they were generally available.

3. The President interfering with Staff Committee nominations

According to Article 98(1) ServRegs, half the nominations to the Disciplinary Committee are made by the President and half by the Staff Committee. These nominations are made by grade or group-of-grades. Who is to serve as member in a particular case is decided by drawing of lots. The names in the draw may not be of a grade (or group-of-grades) lower than that of the subject of the case. For example, if the case subject is an A3 examiner, then only Disciplinary Committee nominees in group of grades A4(2)/A1, A5 or A6 are in the draw.

For reasons of independence (see above) and procedural expertise the Staff Committee has mainly nominated members and chairmen of the Boards of Appeal for the A5 and A6 slots. These nominations have all been deleted by Mr Battistelli (see also recent Communiqué 62). This despite the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO already having decided in Judgment 1147, that the Staff Committee may nominate DG3 members to statutory bodies. Indeed, in a submission in the proceedings leading to this Judgment, the Office even argued in its surrejoinder (see §E) that “Since disciplinary committees are quasi-judicial bodies it is proper for them to benefit from the experience of a DG 3 official”.

The effect on staff of this change is that there are fewer Staff Committee members whose
names may be drawn in a particular disciplinary case.

4. No possibility of internal appeal

As part of the appeal reform in 2012, decisions taken following consultation of the Disciplinary Committee are excluded from the internal appeals system. That is to say, there is
___________________________________
3 http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-58016


no further internal oversight mechanism. The affected staff member has to file a complaint directly with the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO.

The Internal Appeals Committee used to be relatively good at picking up formal violations. It also performed an important fact finding role – a job which the Tribunal does not do; it expects that already to have been done.

Removing oversight of disciplinary decisions from the IAC thus means that an important instance for staff has been removed. It also increases the need for the Disciplinary Committee to produce error free, comprehensive and legally sound opinions which can form the basis of complaints in front of the ILO. Given that the Disciplinary Committee is not a standing committee and given that the Chairman is no longer legally qualified, we would be surprised if this was always the case.

Conclusions

For the above reasons, we consider that at the moment the Office no longer has a properly functioning disciplinary mechanism. We thus recommend all staff whom are unfortunate enough to have a case brought against them to raise the above procedural violations should they bring their case in front of the Administrative Tribunal.

Finally

If the above sounds bad enough for “normal” staff members such as examiners, administrators, lawyers, formalities officers etc. consider the position of A5, A6 and A7 staff.

Owing to the President’s actions, there are now only two A5 and no A6 Disciplinary Committee members nominated by the Staff Committee (see above). Thus, it is not possible to form a valid committee for staff in these grades. How do you draw lots for two names from a pot comprising two (for A5 staff) or no (for A6 staff) names? However, we note that the Internal Appeals Committee is currently carrying on its work without any Staff Committee nominees. We thus suspect that Mr Battistelli would likewise instruct the Disciplinary Committee to proceed in such cases with only members nominated by himself!

From Article 98(3) ServRegs it is obvious that it was originally intended that a Disciplinary Committee would be formed for dealing with proceedings affecting staff at grade A7. However, under the latest vice-President contracts, these provisions no longer apply. That is to say, disciplinary measures may be imposed, by the Council, following an investigation by the President’s investigative unit, against a vice-President without first consulting a Disciplinary Committee.

Is it any wonder that, by their silence, these groups of staff have shown remarkable loyalty to Mr Battistelli?

As Thomas Jefferson put it: “when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”.

The Central Staff Committee

Since then, the Administrative Tribunal of ILO found the composition of these Disciplinary Committees to be invalid, thus voiding over a hundred prior rulings. But ILO being ILO, it succumbed to Battistelli and eventually let sheer injustices remain in tact, rendering ILO itself complicit (rather than an effective watchdog).

The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO – Part IV: Links Between CGD (Former Employer of António Campinos) and the INPI

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 12:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Everything comes together

INPI and banks
Large (legible) version

Summary: More information about connections between CGD and the Portuguese Intellectual Property Office (INPI)

THE next President of the EPO isn’t quite what he seems. There are things about him which he isn’t eager to disclose, hence our series about his past.

Previous parts of this series are as follows:

Campinos and his supporters boasted/showed off his experience in the field of “IP” (they intentionally don’t say trademarks, which are not the same as patents). But what does his track record in trademarks really show? This is the subject of today’s final part of this series.


Some interesting details about links between CGD and the Portuguese Intellectual Property Office (Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial – INPI) have been unearthed on the official Web site of the INPI.

An undated press release posted on the INPI Web site reports on the establishment of a “strategic partnership” agreement between Caixa Capital, a venture capital company of CGD Group, and INPI for the promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship.

The collaboration protocol was signed the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caixa and by the President of INPI, António Campinos.

Campinos took up his position as President of the OHIM in Alicante (now EUIPO) on 1 October 2010 just three months after Battistelli had been installed as President of the EPO.

This means that the press release must date from some time between 2005 and 2010, in other words from the time that Campinos was Director of the INPI.

Translation of the text of the undated press release:

Technology-based entrepreneurs with easy access to financial resources

Caixa Capital, a venture capital company of CGD Group, and INPI have established a strategic partnership agreement for the promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship.

This agreement aims to support national inventors, creators and entrepreneurs in the protection and economic valuation of their innovations, in particular by promoting the availability and facilitating access to financial instruments and resources to enable them to realise business ideas.

It was also announced during the signing of the protocol, the creation of the Invention Award of the Year, to be launched in the first quarter of 2010 within a fair that will showcase inventions and other intellectual creations registered with INPI.

It is also planned to jointly organise a series of Academy-Industry meetings, with the aim of facilitating the transfer and valorisation of the research results developed by the entities of the National Technological and Scientific System.

The collaboration protocol was signed by Eng. Faria de Oliveira, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caixa and Dr. António Campinos, President of INPI.

A more recent press release from January 2015 reports on a further and much more far-reaching “collaboration protocol” between the INPI and CGD.

Translation of the text of the January 2015 press release:

INPI and CGD sign Collaboration Protocol

Taking into account INPI’s strategic orientation, to promote cooperation with national organisations and entities with a view to increasing Portuguese business competitiveness and strengthening the use of Industrial Property among the academic, scientific and business communities, it was signed on 5 January of 2015, a Protocol of Collaboration between INPI and Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

The Protocol, in addition to establishing the terms of the partnership between the two entities, also intends to implement the following activities:

- Sharing of statistical information related to Industrial Property rights, made available by INPI;

- Sharing of publicity materials made available by INPI;

- Organisation of training actions in matters of Industrial Property, within the framework of the activities promoted by the Industrial Property Academy of INPI;

- Participation in events and publicity actions organised by CGD.

If the INPI and CGD deem it appropriate to pursue the objectives set out in the Protocol, other forms of cooperation may be established, duly agreed upon and introduced in an addendum to the Protocol.

23 January 2015

An earlier press release from February 2011 reveals that the INPI had already been closely involved in events and publicity actions organised by CGD.

In this case, the event in question was the “INVENTA – Caixa prize” which is an “Inventor of the Year” award of the kind which will be familiar to observers of the EPO. Of course the Portuguese event is a small-scale one and far more low key than the “European Inventor of the Year” ceremony.

By a curious coincidence, the “personalities” who turned up for the “INVENTA – Caixa Prize” ceremony in Lisbon in February 2011 included none other than EPO President Benoît Battistelli. Maybe this is where he got his inspiration for his EPO extravaganza?

Translation of the text of the February 2011 press release:

INVENTA – Cash Prize | INPI – Winners

The winners of INVENTA – Caixa Prize | INPI.

In a ceremony held yesterday at Caixa Geral de Depósitos headquarters in Lisbon, the sector and absolute winners of INVENTA – Caixa Prize | INPI.

INVENTA.com

PT Innovation with the patent “High Performance Discovery Device for Content Transmission”

INVENTA.san

University of Coimbra with the patent “Nouveaux derives de porphyrine, notamment chlorines et / or leurs applications en therapie photodynamique”

INVENTA.eco

Oon Recycling Solutions with the patent “Transforming food oil used in candles”

Overall Winner

University of Coimbra with the patent “Nouveaux derives de porphyrine, notamment chlorines et / or leurs applications en therapie photodynamique”

The sector winners will be awarded a prize of 15,000 euros and the overall winner a prize of 25,000 euros.

The prizes were delivered by the following personalities:

Dr. Maria Leonor Trindade of the National Institute of Industrial Property;

Dr. Jorge Tomé of Caixa Geral de Depósitos;

Dr. Luís Portela from Health Cluster Portugal;

Dr. Diogo Vasconcelos of the Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications;

Prof. Daniel Bessa from COTEC and

Dr. José Honório from the Business Council for Sustainable Development,

all members of the jury,

the President of CGD Faria de Oliveira,

the President of the Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market António Campinos,

the President of the European Patent Office Benoît Battistelli and

by the Secretary of State for Justice and Judicial Modernization José Magalhães.

To all candidates, nominees, sector winners and absolute winner, INPI presents its congratulations.

25 February 2011

A Portuguese press article from May 2017 (see the top) reported that CGD had been successful in a trademark dispute between CGD and the Spanish-owned Caixabank. The dispute involved the “Caixa” trademark.

The word “caixa” in Portuguese means something like a cash desk (similar to the Spanish “caja” or French “caisse”) so it seems somewhat surprising that such a generic term can be protected by trademark. But with the right connections to your local Intellectual Property Office it seems that nothing is impossible these days.

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