12.25.17

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Raw: Battistelli’s Circle (Topić and Bergot) Undermines Justice at the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MoU signed by Bergot
Photo op from last year (Battistelli, Topić and Bergot shoulder to shoulder)

Summary: The managers of the European Patent Office (EPO) continue to demonstrate that the concept of justice seems outlandish to them

Mr Željko Topić
Vice-President DG4
ISAR – R.707

Request for information re appeals

Dear Mr Topić,

We continue to be approached by colleagues who inform us that their unanimous positive recommendation of the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) has been rejected either by you or by PD4.3 (Ms Bergot). We have the same experience ourselves: in fact, we are not aware of a single positive opinion having been respected by you or your staff in 2013 and 2014.

Should the above perception prove to be correct, then this would amount to a systematic abuse of the internal appeal process and a denial of justice for EPO staff. The President (or person to which he has delegated this authority) is required to take the opinion of the Internal Appeal Committee fully into account when taking a final decision.

We are also informed that the backlog of internal appeals have exceeded 700 cases. We have understood that rather than taking measures to increase the capacity of the appeal system, the resources available have been reduced in 2013. At current expected processing rates of less than 100 cases per year, a complainant cannot expect to receive a final decision in less than 7 years.

The above problems undermine the integrity of the appeal process and may already represent a systematic failure of access to justice. One outcome will be an unnecessary increase in cases before the ILOAT. But is it also likely that an increasing number of cases will be filed in national courts since access to justice internally can no longer be guaranteed.

In order to clarify the situation, we request detailed information on the following:

- the number of cases treated in 2013
- the number of unanimous and majority positive opinions in 2013
- the number of these positive opinions not followed by the President.

At the same time, we remind you of a letter (copy attached) we sent to the Internal Appeals Committee on 15 November 2013, wherein we requested information on the case-load backlog. In their response, the Secretariat informed us that they were in the process of preparing a full report on their activities which was due to be finished “in early 2014”. Since this may provide at least a partial answer to some of our questions, we would appreciate receiving a copy of the report.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to receiving all pertinent information.

Yours sincerely,

Joachim Michels
Central Staff Committee

cc.: Mr Raimund Lutz, VP5,
Mr Dražen Petrović, Registrar ILO-AT
Open letter to staff

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