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

10.23.17

SUEPO Has Just Warned That Patent Quality at the EPO is About to Get Even Worse

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The staff union of the EPO (SUEPO)

Summary: The staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) speaks of increasing “production” pressure, which is certain to result in low-quality European Patents

LAST night we wrote about worsening quality of patents (European Patents) — a problem that goes several years back and went unaddressed. Right now, circulating among EPO staff is the following document. It shows that not only is Team Battistelli unwilling to discuss the problem; it’s about to make things worse:

Introducing the (brave) new DG 1

Dedicated to an end-to-end staff pressurising process (1)

Dear SUEPO Members, dear Colleagues,

DG1 has been reorganized in “sectors”, each comprising several large directorates. VP1 has announced on the Intranet the “reallocation” of DG1 Directors to several posts in DG1: the first batch in early August, the second in late September.

This was Mr Minnoye’s last gift to the Office. For many, a poisoned gift. As of 1 January 2018, about half of the DG1 directors will be stripped of their managerial tasks. A persisting rumour has it that, before leaving, Mr Minnoye even drafted a list of DG1 directors he explicitly wanted to exclude from any chance of being assigned to large directorates. A list that, we hear, was amended and expanded by PD43 after Mr Minnoye’s retirement.

We have no insight in the “criteria” used, but we have noticed that among those stripped of their managerial function are all the DG1 directors appointed by the Staff Representation to the Disciplinary Committee (as required by the Service Regulations!) over the past 3 years. Conversely, we have to note that three of the DG1 principal directors appointed to the Disciplinary Committee by the President have been promoted to COO 2

This observation correlates with a new phenomenon: DG1 directors appear reluctant even to exchange pleasantries with staff representatives they meet in the cafeteria, requiring furtive contacts, as if they had been forewarned that any indication of “proximity” may be bad for their career.

__________
1 Our greatest thanks to the inspiring cover of the latest Gazette.
2 Ms Romano-Götsch: Job Group 2 DC appointee since 2016; Ms Seegert: DC Alternate Chair since 2015 until today (now also appointed Alternate Chair of the Joint Committee on Article 52 & 53, i.e. the new body dealing with “professional incompetence”); Mr Philpott: DC Chair in 2014.


But of course all of this is “pure coincidence”, as Mr Minnoye would have said.
Meanwhile, there is not a week in which we do not receive bad news:
- Examiners in profound distress (and we do mean profound),
- Sick colleagues being demeaned and abused, brought to the brink of collapse,
- Overzealous team managers abusing their new position,
- High tensions within Examining Divisions,
- Formality Officers about to crack under the strain, etc.

There is no sign of improvement in the short or even middle term. The production/productivity of the Reference Examiner will again rise in 2018, and so will management expectations. From 1 January 2018 all new EPO colleagues will be recruited under 5 years’ renewable contracts3. There is no need for a crystal ball to predict that the production pressure on examiners recruited under these conditions will be enormous, resulting into further production increase that will translate later again into higher production demand for all examiners4. This sky-is-the-limit madness will unfortunately not stop on 30 June 2018.

Is this the Office’s way of “modernising” itself? No, this is an out-dated, inefficient and above all dangerous management style that increases the level of psychosocial risk, which was already at an all-time high beginning of 20165.

It is now important to protect yourself, as management won’t. You are not responsible for management’s failure to organise the work in a way that is respectful for all staff, including the weakest. It is not for you to pay their bill. We intend to soon inform you on how to best protect yourself (and your weakest colleagues) in the current circumstances.

SUEPO Committees Munich & The Hague

__________
3 Cf. CA/103/17 and CA/103/17 Add. 1
4 which poses even further challenges to the quality of our “products”, but this is not the subject of this paper.
5 Cf. the results of the Technologia 2016 EPO Staff Survey

How much longer does the EPO’s management think it can fool stakeholders? The number of patent applications is declining and work is running out. Many new recruits probably have no job security; even a two-year contract might not last that long.

“How much longer does the EPO’s management think it can fool stakeholders?”“In so-called ‘social’ media,” I recently told someone, “I think it’s [low patent quality] already widely known. I didn’t know that even in the flea market people would know; I used to try to push journalists to cover (waste of time).”

The only publication which occasionally speaks about low patent quality is The Register. German and Dutch media never even bring up the subject. We can only venture to guess why…

“Mr. Campinos will be under incredible pressure to turn things around and prove his critics/sceptic wrong.”We still have a LOT of things left to publish. Possibly thousands of articles in the coming few years. EPO staff just needs morale and patience. Europe cannot carry on without a patent system (national patent offices may be insufficient), so one way or another things will eventually be rectified.

Mr. Campinos will be under incredible pressure to turn things around and prove his critics/sceptic wrong. We hope he’ll prove everyone wrong (but strongly doubt it). Dr. Ernst is still in denial about the patent quality problem (as per reports from a recent event), but ultimately he’ll need to acknowledge this.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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. I Would Have Supported the Coup (Under Very Different Circumstances)

    Richard Stallman's (rms) ordeals are showing us how not to deal with a founder; this is how power transition could be done instead, according to figosdev



  2. It Looks Like Red Hat's (IBM) Fedora Project May be 'Outsourced' to Amazon's Datacentres

    In "seeking a more modern and cost effective location" for Fedora Infrastructure it seems to have been decided, privately, that Amazon (AWS) would be the new home of this project; but there's sufficient obfuscation surrounding the matter and many people seem to be totally unaware



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, August 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, August 08, 2020



  4. Fearmongering Was Originally an IBM Thing, Not a Microsoft Thing

    Microsoft made FUD famous, but it was actually IBM’s practice that made it commonplace in the first place (the term or acronym was coined before Microsoft even mattered and on the same year Microsoft was founded)



  5. [Meme] People Get Fired for Being Bought by IBM (With a Crummy Severance Package)

    IBM used to proudly provide job security and one could have a job there for decades (career ladders and worker benefits of all sorts are what some people assess this when looking for an employer, e.g. whether they can progress, get promoted, stay onboard); by today’s standards only a month’s salary is exceptionally bad, especially when one gets fired without warning, but this is what IBM did to some Red Hat employees



  6. New FSF Video Makes the Case Against Microsoft GitHub (and Similar), So Why is the FSF's Board Being Filled Up With Active GitHub Users?

    The FSF makes a good point about “important values like autonomy, sharing, social responsibility, and collaboration” — the very things that are under attack by Microsoft’s GitHub, which is all about coercion and monopolistic control over developers



  7. Techrights is Not Against Microsoft

    It may be a suitable time to explain why Microsoft is mentioned so much and why it's not a fixation but a reactionary priority



  8. The THRIVE Guidelines

    "Nobody is perfect, and it's obvious that people already hold some to a more unreasonable interpretation of their standards than others."



  9. Links 8/8/2020: Mageia 8 Hits Beta and FSF Has New Video

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme/History] OpenPOWER or Just White POWER?

    Antiwar and anti-nukes activists cannot support those causes and support IBM at the same time, as the founder’s son (father received a medal from the Nazi Party) flew “an American heavy bomber” and enjoyed a track record of nepotism, propelling him to the top both in the military and at IBM



  11. Rebuilding Communities

    "First, we should talk about how our communities have regressed."



  12. [Meme] Microsoft in 2020: Liaising With Criminals to Make Crime the New Normal

    As the TikTok situation serves to show, Microsoft is little but a criminal cult that relies on other criminals to do Microsoft's biddings



  13. The Computer Anybody Can Edit

    "Without rebuilding and recompiling all of the packages on a large distribution, it is possible to "remaster" an ISO and get a different system -- even before you install it."



  14. Former Microsoft Employee on So-called 'Journalists' Being Blackmailed by Microsoft

    Mitchel Lewis, a former Microsoft employee, remarks on Mary Jo Foley being 'punished' by Microsoft for not mindlessly publishing Microsoft propaganda (we remarked on this before as she had spoken to me about this over a decade ago)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Friday, August 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, August 07, 2020



  16. For the Want of a Pixel

    "It is still possible to win, but the FSF has practically left the field."



  17. Ubuntu and Fedora Project Serving Microsoft

    The Ubuntu 'community' as well as the 'community' component of Red Hat (IBM) don't view Microsoft as a rival; over a decade ago Mark Shuttleworth accused Microsoft of "extortion" and "racketeering" (his words), but now he's paid to change his tune



  18. (Don't Let's) Throw Caution to the Wind

    "As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it -- all the way to the very top of Open Source itself."



  19. Links 7/8/2020: Mesa 20.2 RC, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30

    Links for the day



  20. Computing Fundamentals

    "A graphical interface is better, for some things -- sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates."



  21. IBM and the Bomb: Series Index (on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombs Being Dropped on Civilians)

    Today seems an apt time to remind readers that IBM participated in the creation of the only bombs ever to be dropped in a war (not tests) and this tradition carries on because IBM is still profiting from it, to this very day (countless billions made by IBM during the Cold War too)



  22. Freedom is Personal

    "Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly."



  23. Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 06, 2020



  25. Our Collective Privacy is Under Unprecedented Attacks and Privacy is Now Conflated With Bad Hygiene, Not Just Criminality

    At warp speed the "War on cash" or "War on anonymous transactions" is moving ahead; now that COVID-19 infects a lot of people we're led to assume that mass surveillance saves lives not because of counter-terrorism but because of contact-tracing or whatever (in practice it's hardly effective, but it's conditioning people to give up any remnants of their privacy)



  26. The Psychology of Developers

    "It turns out, there are ways around a free license -- you can make software "less free" or more imposing, without changing the license at all."



  27. Social Justice is Fine... When It is Not Just a Shallow Marketing Ploy

    Don't let well-meaning concepts such as "Social Justice" become mere buzzwords or tools of corporate propaganda (greedy people's objectives disguised as populism)



  28. Site Upgrades Likely Coming Soon

    After more than 28,000 posts are published it might be time to move from the WordPress x.9.x LTS to something newer (5.5 is about to be released); we explain why it’s not as simple as it might first seem



  29. Focus on the Big Issues, Not the Words

    The pattern that is emerging in recent months if not years is that words hurt and therefore contributors to code must shut up about injustices, including corporate misbehaviour



  30. Computing vs. Marketing

    “The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”


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