12.19.17

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Today’s Report From the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organisation ‘Tackles’ the Most Important Issue: Judge Corcoran

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lying about the nature of the case and its supposed ‘closure’

one hand washes the other (and both wash the face)
Idiom

Summary: The Administrative Council, whose job is to govern the Office, seems to be engaging in a rather disturbing ‘coverup’ job, which merely reinforces popular perceptions that Battistelli controls his so-called ‘bosses’

THE EPO is not honest, to say the least and to put it politely. Apart from the usual #IPforSMEs nonsense and some other fluff, there’s still nothing in the EPO’s timeline about the Judge. Nothing. Not even about last week’s meeting. At all! Isn’t that odd?

They find time to brag about paying German media for PR (“Together with @Handelsblatt Research Institute we looked at #4IR”) and corrupting academia for UPC lobbying (“Experts from the University of Colorado, London School of Economics”). They also wrote about holidays today (“We’d like to remind you that the EPO offices will be closed from 23.12.2017 to 1.1.2018 inclusively”), neglecting to say that EPO management canceled 3 holidays this year!

These are all tweets from today. Still nothing at all about the scarce media coverage of EPO scandals. Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze of JUVE have just published this article about the scandals. The headline is something along the lines of “Disciplinary case at the European Patent Office: Pyrrhic victory for suspended judge” and the opening paragraph says:

Jahrelang durfte ein irischer Richter seinen früheren Arbeitsplatz beim Europäischen Partentamt nicht betreten, weil Behördenchef Benoît Battistelli ihm Hausverbot erteilt hatte – doch seit voriger Woche ist der Mann wieder als Mitglied der Beschwerdekammern beim Europäischen Patentamt (EPA) tätig. Damit hat der Präsident der Beschwerdekammern, Carl Josefsson, zwei Urteile des Verwaltungsgerichts der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILOAT) umgesetzt. Dieses hatte angeordnet, den Richter wieder einzusetzen. Allerdings wird er wohl nur noch wenige Tage bis zum Jahresende seine Richtertätigkeit ausüben. Denn der Verwaltungsrat verlängerte seine Amtszeit nicht.

Based on a rough translation, there’s not much in there (which we have not covered before). It says that according to an internal statement, Josefsson gave the judge the house access rights on 11 December. He then resumed his work. The judge had always asserted his innocence and, unlike before the decision of the board of directors, the judge is no longer open to re-entering the ILOAT. He now has to go through the lengthy internal complaint path first.”

Tough ‘luck’. eh?

So it’s far from a solved issue.

Now watch what the EPO said some hours ago (here and also here). To quote the minutes in full:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 154th meeting in Munich on 13 and 14 December 2017 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).

The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. In the ensuing discussion the Council welcomed the very positive results the Office was expecting for 2017, praised the management and staff for their achievements and encouraged all to progress in terms of social dialogue. The Council further noted the oral reports by the chairpersons of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and the Budget and Finance Committee on their recent meetings.

A series of elections and appointments was then on the agenda:

– the Council elected Gerard BARRETT (IE) as deputy Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. It further appointed Viktor LUSZCZ (HU) to the Boards of Appeal Committee;

– in the case of the RFPSS Supervisory Board in its new composition, the Council appointed with effect from 1 January 2018 its two own representatives and one alternate, as well as the four external expert members and one alternate, including the new Chairman Michel LIND;

– the Council also decided on appointments to the new Appeals Committee of its Chair, Paul MAHONEY, the two deputy Chairs and two further members. It also appointed the Chairman, Markus MOHLER, and the members of the Council Disciplinary Committee, all with effect from 1 January 2018;

– and finally, the Council decided on a number of appointments and re-appointments as technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal and as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board.

In respect of legal affairs the Council adopted in particular the Office proposals on fees for 2018-2020 under the existing working agreements on search co-operation.

Turning to personnel policy matters the Council conducted a general debate on the orientation paper submitted by the Office, regarding modernisation of the employment framework. It supported the principle of introducing more flexibility and expected the strategic, legal and financial outcomes of the discussion to be reflected in the concrete assessments and proposed modalities the Office would submit in early 2018.

The Council also addressed a number of financial matters. Firstly, it unanimously approved the draft budget for 2018 as well as the budget estimates for the four following years. In particular it endorsed the related Office proposals regarding a substantial reduction in PCT fees and online filing fees and the increase in the appeal fee. It also approved the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and further measures in the field of pensions.

In a closed session, the Council took a final decision in a disciplinary case against an employee appointed by the Council – a case which had attracted significant public attention. This decision was taken with due regard to all relevant elements. The Council expressed its satisfaction at having closed the case. In particular, it underlined its expectation that now – after a long period of intense debate – legal peace would be restored.

Council Secretariat

What’s most relevant at the moment is that last paragraph. It says that the matter is resolved (“closed”), but it’s far from resolved; hence the statement is very misleading.

People at IP Kat (3 comments so far) noticed the above and one said:

Hmmm. “Final” decision? Curious that they do not say what that was or on what grounds it was taken. I expect we will see this heading to the ILOAT yet again… The expression of an expectation that “legal peace” will be restored takes some chutzpah, too.

It’s another lie from the EPO. We’ve lost count. They’re not credible or trustworthy anymore. Not even the AC.

Here’s the next comment:

AC, through its wise and respectable chairman, based on infallible information provided by the President of the Office, has decided that the ILOAT decissions are confidential, and that therefore neither staff, nor staff representation may discuss these descissions, and the implication that staff does not have access to any judicial remedies.
Therefore nobody can confirm that Mr. C has been, based on new confidential documents provided by the accuser, which has due to its confidential nature not been communicated to the accused, who has NOT been invited to present his view of the case, and in absence of the accused and in absence of anyone representing the accused, suspended again.
But since the President of the Office was not present in the room (after he presented the CONFIDENTIAL, allegedly non-public ILOAT decissions, and the lessons to be learnt), when the AC made the vote, the ILOAT decissions and its implications have been fully recognised.

There is, in the new procedure, by decission of the AC, no procedural flaw present.

The incredible amount of lying from the EPO and the AC is worrisome. The coverup attempts from the EC are troubling and the silence from ILO isn’t helpful, either. Is this the best Europe can do when abject injustice is up on display?

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