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01.30.18

The Failure of ILO’s Administrative Tribunal Highlights Poor State of Justice in Europe and Worldwide

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Administrative Tribunal of ILO: President may set aside judgment according to opinions of the disciplinary committee. So workers are at the mercy of arbitrary [sic] — why a disciplinary committee?”

Summary: As the EPO and the UPC serve to demonstrate, we’re back to being ruled by ‘kings’ or governed by ‘monarchies’ while tribunals serve only (or primarily) a theatrical role

THE EPO is wasting millions of euros (stakeholders’ money) on lawyers, simply in order for them to help cover up Battistelli’s abuses. That also means crushing staff (his victims, whose legal budget isn’t limitless). We wrote about it earlier today. The EPO has said nothing about it. The EPO’s Twitter feed is full of fluff (“You just came up with some buzzword/acronym and then claim that many things belong to it,” I told them; they pay the media to ‘plant’ some puff pieces about this at the expense of stakeholders/EPO budget, conveniently forgetting that they're supposed to be a patent office).

“The EPO is wasting millions of euros (stakeholders’ money) on lawyers, simply in order for them to help cover up Battistelli’s abusesl.”The Presidential Palace of Battistelli continues gaining infinite powers while indulging in immunity and therein lies the problem, argues the following comment:

In my view, the judgements discussed in this article provide a rather neat illustration of a worrying problem with the governance of the EPO, namely a serious imbalance of arms between EPO employees and EPO senior management.

For example, in the Hardon case, the e-mail may well have shocked and offended “Mr A”. This seems to have been taken by the ILO as the only relevant starting point. However, I understand that the EPO management blocked all efforts to initiate an independent investigation into the events to which Ms Hardon’s e-mail referred … and so we will never know whether her “undiplomatic” description of the events could actually have been accurate (or justified / justifiable).

Thus, it is perfectly possible that by exerting control over how (if at all) events were investigated, the EPO management were able to construct their own narrative in which the dismissal of Ms Hardon appears to be an appropriate response. In the absence of any independent fact-finding, we will simply never know the truth of the matter … and neither will the ILO.

Another, more stark illustration of the imbalance of arms is provided by the ILO’s response to the alleged leaking of confidential information by those “briefing against” Mr Corcoran. There is no doubt that confidential information was leaked, as there is irrefutable proof that it came into the public domain. The nature of the information and the manner in which it was leaked also point to an effort to undermine the presumption of innocence in Mr Corcoran’s case. Nevertheless, clear evidence of wrongdoing by an unspecified individual led the EPO management to conduct …. no investigations whatsoever! This is precisely the opposite of what happened when the EPO management became aware of “leaks” that were unflattering to them.

The huge irony and double-standards evident in the contrasting outcomes could not be more obvious. This is further compounded by the fact that a defamation action against the “leaker” is impossible … again because of the inequality of arms. For example, Mr Corcoran’s lack of access to records of internal EPO communications would make it almost impossible to identify the “leaker” … and even if that hurdle was overcome, knowing the identity might not help (eg if the “leaker” asserted immunity from prosecution). On the other hand, those pursuing defamation claims against Mr Corcoran had full access to information obtained by “snooping” on internal communications, and did not need to worry about the defendant asserting immunity.

With such an obvious (and serious) inequality of arms evident in disputes between the EPO and its employees, is there anyone out there who still believes that the “protections” and “access to justice” afforded to EPO employees are in any way comparable to those afforded to employees under EU and German / Dutch national laws? Is it therefore not time that we gave those employees the same protections and access to justice as those enjoyed by individuals who do not happen to work for an international organisation?

This brings us to the UPC, another potentially lawless concept where one can be subjected to binding court rulings in a language different from one’s own (and from courts overseas, possibly with a plaintiff outside the EU, even some shell entity). GRUR is apparently the latest to pretend this is perfectly OK. Alexander Esslinger and Birgit Clark both link to this tweet which said: “The German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (#GRUR) has published its amicus curiae brief in the constitutional complaint against the #UPC Agreement before the German Constitutional Court (@BVerfG ) #Patent ”

Esslinger pretty much copied this entire tweet (how odd) and I responded by saying that “the court ought to ask groups other than the patent ‘industry’ if they’ve been consulted about UPC (it would hurt them a lot)…”

“For similar reasons (hosting international organisations like ICC), the Dutch government does not want to remove Battistelli’s immunity when he breaks the law and ILO in Geneva is far too soft on the EPO.”What about people who are actually impacted by these laws? It’s like they don’t seem to matter to Germany. As for the EPO, it’s a convenient cash cow owing to its location. It oughtn’t be a taboo subject. The staff representation said it very clearly, repeatedly even. For similar reasons (hosting international organisations like ICC), the Dutch government does not want to remove Battistelli’s immunity when he breaks the law and ILO in Geneva is far too soft on the EPO. This is a mutual back-rubbing exercise rather than real accountability and justice. They construct a hypothetical or theoretical hierarchy of accountability (like the EPC attempted to do), but it clearly doesn’t function.

Anyway, here is a direct link to the PDF from GRUR (dated just over a month ago; 31 pages long and signed by “Gert Würtenberger, Präsident”). We are guessing that Team UPC is already reading this and preparing puff pieces about it, possibly to appear by the week’s end somewhere like Kluwer Patent Blog. These people certainly don’t care about the law (all they care about is their money) and if EPO staff is being crushed because of them, well… they couldn’t care any less.

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