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12.18.17

“As an EPO Employee, I Am Actually Embarrassed by the Behaviour of the President and the Administrative Council”

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO hiding evidence

Summary: Voices of condemnation and disgust are still reverberating within and outside the European Patent Office — an institution that now proudly and flagrantly operates outside the Rule of Law

THE EPO debate slowed down a bit over the weekend. SUEPO is saying nothing new and we haven’t received information that wasn’t published already.

It sometimes helps when we turn our attention to blog comments, especially in legal blogs, as some come from anonymous EPO insiders. We try to keep record of such comments because some tend to simply vanish (i.e. disappear after a moderator decides to censor).

IP Kat has a history or a track record of nuking entire comment threads about the EPO (in bulk, even 40 comments all at once) and about the UPC (Bristows typically does this censorship, even in other blogs).

We’ve been skipping some of the less relevant comments, e.g. gossip. Looking at the latest and very rare blog post from IP Kat (which touches EPO scandals) we see something familiar. Based on this comment, the ‘Kat’ continues to delete comments about the EPO which it deems who-knows-what:

I have to wonder why my reply has not been posted. The reply was not offensive -verily, it recognizes that the author of the piece here made a special effort to include a reminder of the comment moderation policy.

Sorry folks, but the exchange of dialogue won’t be happening here.

We have therefore decided to take what does show up (gets past moderation, which has become super-strict and leads to self-censorship; names, including “Battistelli”, do not show up at all).

This, in our view, can impact many things including the UPC:

Judicial independence, or lack of it, is quite a meaty topic

Indeed. And if US Anon was familiar with Article 32 of the TRIPS Agreement he might even realise that the EPO shenanigans could have repercussions beyond Europe.

http://www.cptech.org/ip/texts/trips/32.html

It was previously noted by some eagle-eyed observers that an emissary of the “heavenly sovereign” (Tenno)was present at the famous EBA hearing on 14 June 2016.
Was this a mere coincidence … ?

Then, responding to what we are pretty certain was an incorrect claim:

really?
Has Mr. C been heard on the charges? If not, which I assume, then they again commit to the same fault as in the previous procedure and objected by ATILO.

This was said in response to claims that Judge Corcoran got suspended again. We have seen no evidence to support that. Having said that, there’s strategic legal bullying against Corcoran in Croatia and Germany (probably intended to slow him down and encumber him with legal bills/costs).

“The current legal system allows to keep him in legal limbo for the rest of his career,” the following comment said. “This is definitely not acceptable.”

Here is the full comment:

A good question, whether a Board of Appeal member, after not being re-appointed, may be subject to disciplinary action by the Office President, for alleged acts while being a Board Member.

Well, the Council did initiate disciplinary proceedings, meaning there are proceedings pending. Starting new proceedings over the same allegations would be forbidden by most jurisdictions “Non bis de eadem re sit actio”.

Could the Council turn over these proceedings to the Office President? Hm, considering the judgments, that would appear to be excluded. The next most senior management representative, as suggested by the judgments, may not have sufficient rank. I venture to say that all Vice Presidents suffer from the same bias as the President. So, in this concrete case, I do not see how such a transfer could be done, assuming it is legal in the first place.

What is much more striking is the total lack of remedies for the concerned board member. Having to wait for years without getting a decision on the merits is not acceptable in terms of labour law. There should be a fast track procedure.

I did not see a message terminating the disciplinary proceedings, hence, it seems that these proceedings are still pending. The Board member has no means to speed up the issue, or to ask a court to order a stop of these proceedings. He has to wait until a decision is taken. The current legal system allows to keep him in legal limbo for the rest of his career. This is definitely not acceptable.

The next comment came from EPO staff. “As an EPO employee,” it said, “I am actually embarassed by the behaviour of the President and the AC, as they have been publicly shown to be malicious, incompetent, and incapable of either understanding or following the rule of law.”

The full comment:

To be honest, the guilt or not of Mr. Corcoran is one issue that has largely been overlooked during this sorry saga. If he did post (offensive) comments about the President or one of his friends from a PC located on EPO premises, even if in a public area, then he was clearly taking a big risk – why he did not do this from home or from an Internet cafe is something only he can know.

The simple fact is that the President and the AC came up with ZERO evidence of any “crime”(for wont of a better word), but continued to harass Corcoran nevertheless, so sure were they that he had done something wrong. The first case presented to the BoA was a joke – “here’s a pen-drive with 1000 documents on it, we’re sure you can find something incriminating in them”. I mean, come on, if that was the best “evidence” that they had, then the whole case was pretty thin from the get-go.

It is clearly quite possible that Corcoran did do something that he possibly shouldn’t have, but we will never no, so badly has the case been handled. As an EPO employee, I am actually embarassed by the behaviour of the President and the AC, as they have been publicly shown to be malicious, incompetent, and incapable of either understanding or following the rule of law.

“I know that the EPO works according to its own laws,” the next comment said, “but does that include ditching the maxim that a person is presumed innocent until he is proved guilty?”

The EPO is “unaware of issues like independence of the judiciary, presumption of innocence, right to be heard, due process, etc.”

So said the following:

I have followed this story for years, and there is one thing that really puzzles me. If all this is true, then what we see is not less than the slow and thorough demolition of an individual in the public eye, including his own colleagues. These, however, are sais to be judges, so they are not unaware of issues like independence of the judiciary, presumption of innocence, right to be heard, due process, etc. But all we have heard so far in support of their peers is … deafening silence.
One can only hope for them that the whole story is made of shameless lies.

Then someone spoke about the underlying nature of the alleged comments:

I am interested in your comment that “making adverse public comments on the internet about a colleague would be a disciplinary offence in most workplaces, even if they are not defamatory”.

Whilst I agree that this is likely true for a “normal” workplace, I question whether it is appropriate to apply such a general rule to the facts of this particular case.

The first reason for this is that, as I understand it, the “public comments” were made pseudonymously. Hence, the public was not in a position to confirm whether the comments really were made by an employee of the EPO. (Indeed, the manner in which the true identity of the commenter was “revealed” is, in my view, much more problematic than the content of the comments… but that is another story.)

The second is that it could be argued that there was a public interest in the information revealed by the comments, with the consequence that the commenter could be afforded the status of a “whistleblower”. This could either wholly or partly undermine any disciplinary case against Mr Corcoran, depending upon whether he revealed any “confidential” information that was not connected to the “wrongdoing” that he was seeking to expose.

With these factors in mind, I would be inclined to dismiss all disciplinary charges against Mr Corcoran. However, I am not in possession of all of the relevant facts… though I strongly suspect that the same could be said of the delegates to the AC.

Not even delegates to the AC know what this ‘case’ is all about. This is why we want to publish something related to the court papers. Almost 3 years ago we learned that Corcoran was merely ‘collateral damage’ caught in the net at a time many EPO employees spoke about abuses and passed material around. The fishing expedition, which involved illegal surveillance, chose the poor judge as somewhat of a scapegoat to be demonised (portrayed as a violent Nazi) and made an example of. It’s like a long-lost twin brother of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now runs the Office; the modus operandi is a reign of terror, totally unfitting within the context of Bavarian culture (Battistelli is an Italian name and he comes from Corsica).

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