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01.02.18

2018 Starts at the EPO and Both EPC and UPC Are in State of Crisis

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European authorities have begun taking the Rule of Law more seriously

Rule of Law: European Commission acts to defend judicial independence in Poland
Reference: Rule of Law: European Commission acts to defend judicial independence in Poland

Summary: The situation at the EPO is becoming worse than untenable and the end of Battistelli’s tenure within less than half a year won’t be the end of it all

THE EPO reopens this week and scandals are guaranteed to resume shortly. Patrick Corcoran, for example, is now under the control of Battistelli. EPO insiders don’t expect that to last very long; it’s not an expression of a wish but merely an expectation.

We are meanwhile trying to pursue the famous Baranès letter (he is a former Vice-President, who resigned quickly). We even attempted to ask him directly for a copy. “Whether he’ll agree “spit in the soup” remains to be seen,” one reader told us. “He’s still part of the “system”, and there might be possible means of reprisal against him. There’s also the question of the strength of his opinions. But he’s also reached retirement age, and collecting his pensions.”

“Honestly,” said another reader, “if I were Battistelli I would book a flight to some remote place, change my name never show up again.”

There’s belief that expiry of Battistelli’s diplomatic immunity will soon doom him.

“Honestly, if I were Battistelli I would book a flight to some remote place, change my name never show up again.”
      –Anonymous
The reader explains that “the situation is becoming each day more surreal: the metastasis within Team Battistelli are fighting each other to further rise the ladder and extend the cancer. For the time being just rumours, but with my little experience of (EPO) life, it has always been the case. It is a very difficult exercise to remain a favourite minion when the king changes.”

Things are already heating up again. Aside from internal complaints about the budget of the EPO (noted an hour ago), there’s the Patrick Corcoran situation to watch out for. There’s now a whole (fairly long) Wikipedia article about it. As one comment put it this week, this can end the UPC ambitions for good:

In this respect, it would be very interesting indeed if a member of the Boards of Appeal were to provide testimony to the BVerfG on the issue of independence …

Article 22 – Disclosure in legal proceedings
(1) A permanent employee shall not, without permission from the President of the Office, disclose, on any grounds whatever, in any legal proceedings, information not already made public of which he has knowledge by reason of his duties. …

This was one of the pretexts used by Battistelli to go after Corcoran.

Someone going by the name Francesca (may be a real name) then said:

BoA members are NOT permanent employees.
Therefore Article 22(1) ServReg does not apply to BoA members…
But after this comment, the next “periodical update of the ServRegs” will undoubtedly “update” this article.

Also regarding the EPC, Francesca appeared in this new comment on another blog:

Regarding a diplomatic conference: staff has asked several times for it.
The EPC 2000 even inserted a specific article, as at the time of drafting the EPC 2000 the UPC discussions were not closing to an end, and therefore any possibly necessary amendment of the EPC for this was postponed. To discuss these matters, the contracting states decided to meet at at least misterial level at least once each five years to discuss the progress and possible necessary amendments of the EPC.

Furthermore, monsieur Président has been asked by staff during one of his famous “meet the president” happenings, why the AC has not started any preparations for one of these ministerial conferences according to article 4a EPC when the AC asked for proposals regarding the DG3/BoA reforms.

His answer was, that he does not want a diplomatic conference. If politicians would meet, that would be like opening a can of worms: you can set a schedule, but the results will be completely unforseeable.

Also: some 30 years ago, there have been proposals to hire new BoA members only under the condition, that once their technical board has been issued new (or renewed) contracts, their board would move to Berlin. This would’ve resulted in a separation of the BoA from the EPO managements main building within 10 years, thus delivering the increased perception of independence.

The proposal included moving supervisory elements of the EPO (IT development, audit, finances) to Berlin too, and thus over some 20 years stop examination in Berlin.

Yesterday we wrote about the origins/genesis of the EPO. A source of ours spoke of the “triangular exchange,” alluding (at the time) to talks of “DG3 to Vienna, Vienna to Berlin, and Berlin to Munich… The more, the merrier.” The EPO is primarily a cash cow of Germany and if BVerfG managed to defy the financial agenda/interests, then 2018 promises to be a historic year for the EPO.

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