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07.31.18

SUEPO Seems to be Disappointed by António Campinos as His First Month in Office Comes to an End

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) continues its ride into a wall; Campinos shows no interest whatsoever in changing course and he’s not even meeting staff representatives (breaking a promise he made months ago)

WE DID not expect the change of a single person to undo the EPO scandals, especially as that person was chosen by Battistelli. Well, António Campinos turns out to be just another Battistelli. As expected, he does absolutely nothing differently from Battistelli; he’s just a lot quieter, that’s all. He keeps a lower profile and visibility.

Hours ago we saw further evidence of what we wrote about last night. There’s not much hope among staff. Not even the staff union and those close to it. To quote:

New European Patent Office (EPO) president, António Campinos, was “very impressed” with production increases over the last few years, according to an email sent to all line managers at the office.

Despite mounting dissent from the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) and ”great concern” from four German law firms over the work targets, Campinos said that each of the three Directorates-General are “progressing with ambitious production targets this year”.

He said that the office’s Early Certainty Initiative has “helped achieve further reductions in our stock” and that this is “acknowledged throughout the patent community, earning the EPO and its staff great respect”.

Campinos became president of the EPO on 1 July, taking over from controversial past-president Benoît Battistelli.

[...]

However, a source close to SUEPO said that while Campinos was picked “for his good social record” in his previous job at the EU Intellectual Property Office, and that SUEPO expected him to “meet first thing with elected staff representatives soon after his arrival”, it had taken him “17 days since he chose to act as his predecessor did, namely, ‘meeting the staff directly’ (read circumventing the statutory staff reps) instead of meeting with those selected by their peers to defend their rights”.

The source also mentioned that Campinos had yet to meet with SUEPO, the largest union representing half of the entire EPO workforce.

The source said: “This after the EPO suffered until recently several (never officially investigated) suicides of staff members, hundreds of depressions, burnouts, resignations, numerous abusive disciplinary sanctions targeting staff and their representatives—even SUEPO officials (one is still dismissed his case pending at ATILO in Geneva).”

The source added: “It is a very negative signal that Mr Campinos chose to send, and maintaining the top managers responsible for the social mess at their positions is not sending a positive signal to staff that things will change.”

SUEPO has not been saying anything for quite some time. The EPO must be enjoying this silence as work runs out (gradually) and recruitment has halted while many leave. Remember what Campinos did months before he left EUIPO; he destroyed a lot of jobs. With a smile? Maybe. That’s just his style. What a gentleman! Unlike Battistelli…

He then gagged his critics. “Like a boss…”

Much of the above reaffirms our belief, based upon underlying evidence, that Campinos would not change a thing when it comes to patent quality. In fact, he further accelerates examination while human ‘resources’ decline. So he is, in some sense, worse than Battistelli.

Hours ago this new press release was published; it’s entitled “European Patent Office to Grant ToolGen, Inc. a patent on CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome editing” and it shows that after the EPO’s Oppositions folks said no to CRISPR patents (monopolies on life itself) the persistence from Korea may be paying off. Is the Campinos-led Office changing this? This happened only days ago:

ToolGen, Inc. (KONEX 199800) announced today that on July 26, 2018 the European Patent Office (EPO) issued a Decision to Grant to ToolGen a European patent covering a CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system adapted for mammalian cells.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a cutting-edge tool for genome editing in human cells, animals, and plants, widely used in biomedical research and biotechnology. CRISPR technology enables targeted genetic modifications in cells and whole organisms, which can lead to development of novel therapies and value-added crops and livestock.

It’s just a race to the bottom of patent quality. Campinos is fine with it. Team UPC is also fine with it. Earlier today Robert Burrows of Bristows, recognising that they have been silent on Unitary Patent for nearly a month (no progress), returned to his blurbs about Bulgaria which is irrelevant to the UPC (barely any EPs).

There are even worse things to be said about Campinos (than his disregard for patent quality). He continues to defy court orders. It has been over a month now. There is still no transparency either; if anything, Campinos has been even more secretive than Battistelli, which is a negative, not a positive (harder to hold the management accountable).

One reader of ours heard that the EPO is now publishing disciplinary decisions, but nobody is able to verify this. Is there anything at all that Campinos does better than Battistelli?

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