EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.07.18

One Week of António Campinos at the EPO: Early Uncertainty

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elizabeth Hardon was virtually forced to retire and Patrick Corcoran is reportedly hospitalised (in spite of their innocence)

Glasses on calendar

Summary: António Campinos completes a week’s work at the European Patent Office, but our main concern or reservation is that he is not doing anything to assure staff and stakeholders that the Office takes justice seriously

WE WOULD genuinely anticipate and very honestly like to think that the scandals can be left behind. It would be nice, wouldn’t it? But in order for that to happen we need to observe change and remorse. We haven’t quite seen that yet.

“Unless Patrick Corcoran and Elizabeth Hardon get their jobs back (as difficult as it may be given their frustration), we’re just left assuming that President Campinos has done nothing to restore a sense of justice, let alone justice itself.”Among the many articles posted about Battistelli’s last (and in some sense horrific) week was this Heise report about his attack on justice and attack on the staff union. SUEPO’s translation [PDF] of this article appeared online just before the weekend (in its Web site). Highlighted below are two reminders that the judge is still not back, a SUEPO leader was compelled to end her career (after Battistelli had threatened to take away some of her pension too) and the other two staff representatives have not yet received a sign of reassurance/compliance (with ILO-AT’s rulings) from António Campinos, not to mention other staff representatives who have not yet had their ‘hearings’ (ILO does not offer an opportunity to actually speak). Here is the translation:

Union members of the European Patent Office win claim against dismissal

(Picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

The International Labour Organization has upheld claims by three union members against the European Patent Office. It has suspended demotions and dismissals.

Shortly before the end of his term in office, on 30 June 2018, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) Benoît Battistelli has had his ears boxed, in public. The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) has found in favour of three leading members of the EPO staff union SUEPO in their claims against the disciplinary measures and dismissals which he imposed. The EPO, as a supranational organization, is not subject to any national law. When it comes to labour law disputes, the ILOAT has exclusive jurisdiction.

With his decisions, Battistelli overrode the findings of the disciplinary commission responsible at the EPO in 2016. The commission only wanted to demote the union executive Ion Brumme within the EPO hierarchy, but the President fired him instead. For the Treasurer of the EPO union, Malika Weaver, the commission imposed a block on promotion for three years, which Battistelli turned into a demotion.

Illegal decisions right from the start

The ILOAT ruled in its decisions 4042 and 4043 that the decisions by the disciplinary commission itself were already illegal. They rested essentially on the accusation that the accused has made “confidential” EPO documents accessible to the public. The ILOAT decisions pointed out that the authorities had not been able to provide any clear definition of
confidentiality. It ruled that both claimants should be reinstated in their appropriate positions, as well as awarding them damages and 5 percent interest on lost salary payments.

In the case of SUEPO chief executive Elizabeth Hardon, likewise fired by Battistelli in 2016, the ILOAT likewise found in favour of the claimant, but she had already agreed with the EPO on early retirement as at 1 July 2018.

Double victory for dismissed judge

The ILOAT has already ruled in favour of a former judge of the EPO Board of Appeal in proceedings at the end of 2017. He had been suspended in a doubtful procedure due to “defamation”. The Tribunal demanded in its decision 3958, among other things, that the judge be allowed with immediate effect to enter the EPO building again, and that he be compensated for the suspension. It ruled that in the proceedings Battistelli had taken decisions regardless of a manifest conflict of interests, and that rules of procedure had been broken. At the same time as the decision by the ILOAT, Munich Regional Court ruled that there were no adequate grounds for suspicion with regard to the criminal charges made against the suspended judge.

Constant conflicts with the staff

During Benoît Battistelli’s term of office, the European Patent Office has constantly been rocked by conflicts between the management and staff. Among other issues, SUEPO has criticised the increasing pressure, which has led to less thorough examination of patent applications. The EPO also imposed unannounced visits by doctors to employees who had reported sick, and installed keyloggers on publicly accessible computers in the service building. (Christian Kirsch) / (ck)

Much has been published and much has been said over the past fortnight. An anonymous comment from “EPO staff is waiting for a CLEAR SIGNAL of change” is worth reproducing. It says a bunch of things about Wednesday:

Mr Campinos yesterday invited each of us to a one-to-one meeting with him to give inputs and ideas on “what can still be improved”. While being positively surprised for such a change of attitude, it will take a VERY long time until we begin to trust a President of the EPO again.

Therefore, I dare posting here a couple of remarks [between square brackets below], sure that they will get to him somehow. In particular, I’ll just comment a few passages of the “Letter of Motivation” that he sent to the EPO when he applied for his post and that it was published on our Intranet yesterday.

“Attracting, training, developing and retaining talent must be at the heart of EPO HR policies, as should be nurturing fairness, gender and nationality balances”.
[Please do ask EPO HR the latest statistics on “attracting, training, developing and retaining” talents. Tell them that you’d like to see the ‘real numbers’]

“The EPO should provide its staff with a clear understanding of its strategic goals, making their contributions more meaningful and thus developing a clear sense of professional purpose”.
[Good point. For the time being we have no idea what the “strategic goal” and the “professional purpose” of firing out grants and running out of dossiers in most of the technical fields might have been]

“Merit must be rewarded and celebrated”
[Only the high-producers are rewarded. And nobody knows who they are].

“Team work, and teleworking, where appropriate, should be developed”
[Teamworking is dead. Teleworking is seen as a relief from seeing colleagues against which you have been obliged to compete in the same rat race].

“Managers should be called upon to improve their communication skills, and through communication, ensure a better alignment within the organisation”.
[Examiners have even become afraid of their directors. There are no directorate meetings anymore. All available time is to be devoted uniquely to ‘production’].

“Social dialogue must be renewed and tensions eased, through the development of a culture that favours compromise, not losing sight of the EPO’s long term sustainability”. To this extent, I am sincerely committed to reach and hold common ground with the EPO’s social partners”.
[Yes! This is the way to go. Good luck Mr President]

I’d like to conclude with the last words he pronounced on his presentation video, made available yesterday as well: “If we are work together we can shape an EPO we are all proud of”
[AGAIN].

Unless Patrick Corcoran and Elizabeth Hardon get their jobs back (as difficult as it may be given their frustration), we’re just left assuming that President Campinos has done nothing to restore a sense of justice, let alone justice itself. Moreover, we have not yet seen any evidence of SUEPO regaining confidence to speak out freely, SUEPO’s representatives being compensated/reinstated, and others like Prunier being invited back to their job (even without ILO-AT getting involved, which can take a year if not years).

“It’s just a PR/face change fronting for Team Battistelli.”When Campinos came, a week after the rulings from ILO-AT, we actually thought — not just hoped — that he would openly make peace with SUEPO. Instead, all we have seen from Campinos is UPC lobbying, accompanied by a press release full of lies and a ‘blog’ post (Battistelli’s ‘blog’). So we’re not so hopeful and not even cautiously optimistic ahead of his second week. What a disappointment; a man of words, not of deeds. It’s just a PR/face change fronting for Team Battistelli.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. “Stallman Was Right” is Not Just a Meme as It's Usually True

    The track record of Stallman isn't immaculate, but it's exceptionally good if not impressive



  2. EPO Diplomatic Immunity

    What people can get away with at the European Patent Office (EPO) if their name is Battistelli or António Campinos



  3. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Reveals How the German Government Actively Ignored SMEs to Push the Notorious 'Unitary Patent' Sham

    Turning European Patents (which are no longer good patents but expensive or overpriced patent monopolies — patents which European courts will likely reject) into “unitary” ones (i.e. enforceable EU-wide with one legal action) would harm wrongly-accused parties that mostly or only operate in one single country, overriding the authority of those parties’ national laws and courts



  4. Links 22/10/2019: Pacman 5.2, Shame of Disney+ DRM, Microsoft's DRM Scheme, Microsoft Reprimanded for Privacy Abuses

    Links for the day



  5. Patents Need to Exist Only to Pass Information Around and Keep Good Ideas Alive, Not to Feed Litigation Firms and Litigation 'Enthusiasts'

    The current situation or the status quo where legal professionals are advised not to even look at patents means that patents aren’t for “information” and “innovation” anymore; moreover, calling them “intellectual property rights” (or IPRs) is spreading a malicious lie



  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 21, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, October 21, 2019



  7. SUEPO Protest Tomorrow. All EPO Staff in Munich Ought to Attend and Prepare to Strike Too.

    Tomorrow’s planned protest should be a bridge towards a full strike, which takes more time to plan for and get authorisation for (because of increasingly strict restrictions)



  8. Looking for Explanations About Samsung's DeX and Other FOSS Initiatives Being Canned

    DeX was primarily a threat to the desktop/laptop monopoly of Microsoft, so its sudden abandonment — without even an explanation — continues to attract speculations



  9. EPO Will Need a Lot More Than Photo Ops and Hoax 'Studies' to Restore the Perception of Lawfulness

    Battistelli‘s illegal attacks on European Patent Office (EPO) judges have tarnished any impression that the EPO serves justice and the current regime torpedoes an assessment of these attacks; EPO workers understand that to follow guidelines from the management may be a breach of the EPC



  10. Links 21/10/2019: More on DeX, Disney DRM and Linux 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  11. GNU/Linux is Bigger Than Ever (Used More Than Ever Before), But Communication Means and Brands Have Changed

    The GNU/Linux market is alive and healthy; it's how we measure its health that ought to adapt because things are constantly changing, more rapidly in the realm of technology than anywhere else



  12. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 20, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 20, 2019



  13. Samsung Does Not Say Why It's Dropping DeX, But the ASUS EEE Story Might Offer Clues

    It's not at all outlandish or unreasonable to suggest that Microsoft used patents or bribes or kickbacks as incentives for Samsung to abandon GNU/Linux as a desktop platform



  14. EPO: It's Only Getting Worse

    Inhaling Seagull meme for EPO presidents



  15. It Has Begun: EPO Staff Protests Against António Campinos (Starting Wednesday)

    Wednesday marks the resumption of EPO protests; it’s happening for the first time under Campinos and only a year after he took Office. Even Battistelli, the notorious thug, lasted longer before such escalations/actions or — put another way — he did better than that (if one checks the timeline of his presidency)



  16. Links 20/10/2019: GNU/Linux at Penn Manor School District, Wine-Staging 4.18, Xfce 4.16 Development, FreeBSD 12.1 RC2

    Links for the day



  17. Guest Post: Understanding Autism for More Complete Inclusion

    "...assuming that autistic people are all the same isn't only technically wrong, it is misleading and leads to harmful and needless misunderstandings."



  18. Guest Post: Free Software Freedom is Not a Freedom of Choice

    The concept of "Freedom of Choice" and how the ruling class uses it to give a false impression of "Freedom"



  19. Guest Post: Free Software Developers and Pursuing 'Market Share'

    "The only people interested in software freedom are (almost always) free software developers. And users are interested in freedom to a very limited extent: the "free beer" side. Even many free software developers are only interested in the "free beer" part of free software."



  20. The Assertion That Microsoft Uses Communist Tactics Against GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    A study of Taistoism might help understand how Free/libre software is being undermined



  21. European Patent Office and US Patent and Trademark Office Cranks Discovered Buzzwords, Stopped Worrying, Started Granting Patents They Know to be Fake

    The world's patent repositories are being saturated with loads of junk patents or patents that have no legal bearing but can still be leveraged for extortion purposes; the EPO is resorting to lies and artificially-elevated buzzwords to justify granting such fake (yet ruinous) patents



  22. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 19, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 19, 2019



  23. “The True Hypocrite is the One Who Ceases to Perceive His Deception, the One Who Lies With Sincerity,” Said André Paul Guillaume Gide (Nobel Prize in Literature)

    Lies flow like water in the realm of EPO and its publishers, whose sole role is dissemination of deliberate falsehoods, misnomers and misinformation



  24. The EPO Cannot Guard Fake European Patents From Scrutiny (in the Long Run)

    Legal certainty associated with newly-granted European Patents is already pretty low and as long as the EPO refuses to acknowledge that its courts (or boards) lack autonomy the EPO merely brushes a growing problem under the rug



  25. Links 19/10/2019: DeX Discontinued, DXVK 1.4.3 and Wine 4.18 Released

    Links for the day



  26. 'Corporate Linux' Will Not Protect Software Freedom

    The corporate model is inherently not compatible with software that users themselves fully control (or Software Freedom in general), so we must rely on another model of sovereignty over code and compiled code (binaries)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 18, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, October 18, 2019



  28. 26,000 Posts

    We want to thank those who help spread the word; it gives us moral support and morale.



  29. The Myth of 'Analysts'

    People with exaggerated roles (exaggerated by corporate media and corporations that control them) distort public perceptions about their clients; they're in effect just elevated marketing or Public Relations (PR) operatives



  30. The FSF Has Two Acting Presidents Now

    Alexandre Oliva, who acted as a sort of deputy of Richard Stallman in recent weeks, sheds some much-needed light on the current situation


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts