02.22.18

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Further Attacks on EPO Staff and the Appeal Boards; Former EPO Boards of Appeal Member Speaks About EPO Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s easy for her to speak out about these scandals now that she’s retired (just like Siegfried Broß)

EPO circus
Image credit: Sheikh it Sheikh it‏

Summary: In the process of devaluing EPO workers and perhaps preparing them for a large round of layoffs information is also revealed about further repressions against the independence of the Boards of Appeal

THE EPO is rumoured to be heading towards layoffs (700-1000 in number, i.e. 10-15% of staff), as we noted yesterday morning and CA/3/18 seems to be stripped apart by Battistelli, as we noted last night. “New Art. 53(1)(f) must be suppressed in the proposal CA/3/18,” another source told us overnight. “That was decided in the Board 28 meeting on Wednesday. So, the status of “permanent staff” is maintained. But the other foreseen changes probably stay in CA/3/18 (still to be confirmed).”

“We certainly hope that the German Constitutional Court is paying attention to this.”We are hearing these things (about layoffs and “permanent staff” status) from multiple independent sources, so it’s likely to be true. As time goes by rumours become concrete and eventually the press too reports these as facts (albeit belatedly, sometimes as much as a month late).

Here’s another new comment related to this (not many people will have noticed it):

Another curious detail is that in order to designate his deputy the President of the Boards of Appeal needs to have the approval of the President of the Office (CA/D 4/17).

https://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/257/en/CA-D_4-17_en.pdf

The background to this arrangement can be found in CA/53/17.

https://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/258/en/CA-53-17_en.pdf

We certainly hope that the German Constitutional Court is paying attention to this. Our next post will be about the German Constitutional Court.

Catarina HoltzIn the meantime, however, mind the following new comment from Catarina Holtz, [1, 2], who describes herself as “former legally qualified member of the EPO Boards of Appeal, former Appellate Court Judge Stockholm” when she says: (probably in a rush due to a few trivial typos)

I am very impressed, Herr Bausch, with your astute observations. But, there is a problem for every international organisation, which tells us why we cannot succeed going national with our complaints. Why? Because all of them work in a deficient legal environment. There is no other constitution than the convention under which it works, there is no Parliament or Government, with their respective functions, governed by the people who voted them into office. one to adopt laws, the other to excute them. And above all, there is no access to any court to deal with complaints, be they staff grudges against treatment of them, or parties to cases who feel discriminated. ILO is the single way out and as some have already observed, the EPO might just disregard them. And mark this, this is the situation for each and every international organisation from the UN down (remember the Kompass case?). Study the case law of the ECHR on cases where staff of such isntitutions have tried to be heard, eg. Waite and Kennedy v. Germany or Heinz v. the conctracting states to the EPO. These are examples of why there is no access to the ECtHR, the states and the organisation are immune. So the effort of the EU to become a member of the ECHR is commendable, that would give staff and others a venue to be heard. The rest is not silence, but a continuous effort is required to make the powers of the EPO to see reason. What is happening there is disgraceful.

A lot of this can (and probably should) result in sanctions against Battistelli and the UPC. In a society which is based on law and order such behaviour cannot be tolerated. We don’t expect ILO to intervene in any way because it’s part of the problem and labour complaints/appeals arising from ILO end up in its very own Administrative Tribunal, as ridiculous as that ultimately sounds (no independence). If the EPO Boards of Appeal is controlled (indirectly) by Battistelli, who sort of appeal (against the Office) mechanism is it really? Imagine a UPC headed by Battistelli…

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