10.23.17

Gemini version available ♊︎

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  2. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  3. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  4. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  5. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  7. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  8. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  9. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  10. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day



  11. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  12. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  14. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day



  16. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day



  17. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication



  18. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 18, 2022



  19. Links 19/1/2022: Wine 7.x Era Begins and Istio 1.12.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  20. Another Video IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    It seems very much possible that IBM (or someone close to IBM) is trying to purge me from Twitter, so let’s examine what they may be trying to distract from. As we put it 2 years ago, "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss).



  21. What IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    Let's 'Streisand it'...



  22. Good News, Bad News (and Back to Normal)

    When many services are reliant on the integrity of a single, very tiny MicroSD card you're only moments away from 2 days of intensive labour (recovery, investigation, migration, and further coding); we've learned our lessons and took advantage of this incident to upgrade the operating system, double the storage space, even improve the code slightly (for compatibility with newer systems)



  23. Someone Is Very Desperate to Knock My Account Off Twitter

    Many reports against me — some successful — are putting my free speech (and factual statements) at risk



  24. Links 18/1/2022: Deepin 20.4 and Qubes OS 4.1.0 RC4

    Links for the day



  25. Links 18/1/2022: GNOME 42 Alpha and KStars 3.5.7

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 17, 2022



  27. Links 17/1/2022: More Microsoft-Connected FUD Against Linux as Its Share Continues to Fall

    Links for the day



  28. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge



  29. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022


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