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08.30.18

António Campinos Already Implements a ‘Shadow’ Layoffs Method at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not a novel trick

Microsoft’s contractor crackdown: ‘Shadow layoff’ could force big cultural changes inside company

Summary: Battistelli’s French successor, whom he chose (António Campinos has long known Battistelli), carries on with the destruction of the EPO — a destruction which was triggered by Battistelli’s awful policies and incredibly bad strategy

THE INEVITABLE has begun; we saw that coming, as did SUEPO, the EPO‘s staff union. It wasn't even hard to see it coming, knowing that the Office is now run/governed/crushed under António Campinos, who long enjoyed if not exploited immunity; he quite likely breaks EU law when he fires many workers (even in his EU-IPO days).

“This means that the process of actual examination isn’t valued/cherished anymore.”Today’s EPO does not value patent quality, only the speed (and volume) of granting. This means that the process of actual examination isn’t valued/cherished anymore. As we have been pointing out many times since July, under António Campinos the EPO constantly promotes software patents (about 2-3 times per day!) — a lot more than under Battistelli. Is this what the EPO foresees as its future? Granting a lot of bogus monopolies? Courts would not honour these. Watch what Jacobacci & Partners has just published; They’re just calling software “AI” — as the EPO now encourages (about twice a day, sometimes even more!) — to patent code/algorithms.

“As we have been pointing out many times since July, under António Campinos the EPO constantly promotes software patents (about 2-3 times per day!) — a lot more than under Battistelli.”Citing this recent post, earlier this week I responded to the German FCC after it had posted a link to this new press release titled “Effective protection of fundamental rights must be guaranteed where sovereign powers are transferred to supranational organisations”.

“The abuses associated with UPC have destroyed the EPO in Munich,” I told them politely. “The EPO is not compatible with anything in the Western world,” I said in relation to this remark from Benjamin Henrion (FFII): “EPO maladministration cannot be brought in front of a court, EPO has legal immunity “It guarantees the basic right to challenge measures of public authority before a court.””

To quote the FCC itself:

Laws that transfer sovereign powers to international organisations (Art. 24(1) of the Basic Law, Grundgesetz – GG) are, as acts of German state authority, bound by the fundamental rights. The core content (Wesensgehalt) of fundamental rights must be guaranteed also with regard to supranational powers. Where sovereign powers are transferred to international organisations, the legislature is obliged to ensure the minimum protection of fundamental rights required under the Basic Law. In addition, within the scope of their competences, all constitutional organs are obliged to take steps towards upholding the minimum standard of fundamental rights protection required under the Basic Law. This obligation applies to the establishment of an international organisation as well as its entire existence. The minimum standard of fundamental rights protection required under the Basic Law includes the guarantee of effective and comprehensive legal protection.

In an order published today, the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court dismissed as inadmissible a constitutional complaint because violations of these requirements were not sufficiently substantiated. The constitutional complaint was directed against judgments of the Frankfurt am Main Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) and the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), which held that there was no domestic legal protection against a decision of the Board of Governors of the European Schools, an international organisation, to increase school fees.

[...]

The complainants’ challenge of the German Act of Approval to the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools does not satisfy the requirements to state reasons. They did not sufficiently substantiate why the Act might be essential or unconstitutional. It cannot be inferred from the complainants’ submission that the Act has become unconstitutional over time because the Board of Governors did not ensure effective legal protection, which led to structural shortcomings regarding implementation. In particular, the complainants did not set out that the report including reasons of the Chairman of the Complaints Board of 8 November 2004, in which he declared that the Complaints Board is not competent for the review of school fee increases, was not just an error of judgment in the individual case.

It is worrying to see that Germany’s relative apathy towards EPO abuses now dooms the Office. As an insider explained a few hours ago, the EPO is in effect laying off a lot of workers:

But Märpel could find an excel program called “Early Certainty Timeliness Simulator”. Do not ask for a download: it only works within the EPO intranet. It was not designed that way for security: more simply it keeps itself up to date on statistics by downloading new ones from the internal databases: new patents filed, patents already searched, grants and withdrawals, etc…

The “Early Certainty Timeliness Simulator” computes future workload per directorate, draws a set of nice curves, etc… Märpel took some time to play with it. In most directorates, stock will reach zero within one or 2 years.

Märpel can only hope for a serious bug in that software. But if the software is right, Märpel knows why President Campinos is not too worried about difficulties in recruiting. And he is not: projections distributed to managers show no recruitment until 2024: 6 years!

How many people will have left by then? Maybe a thousand of so (people are being pushed out). So that’s their way of implementing gradual layoffs. They hope nobody will notice.

“There are even more pressing issues to discuss because the leadership of the EPO now puts at risk/peril Europe’s patent regime.”As mentioned by some Twitter accounts and by SUEPO, the “EPO staff committees reveal three pillars for dialogue with Campinos”. It’s about an article from yesterday which said:

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Local Staff Committees of Munich and Berlin have outlined three key pillars as a starting point for dialogue with new EPO president António Campinos.

In a post by the committees, three pillars, covering work, social, and legal issues were discussed, with a view to bring “further topics” in the future.

On the first pillar, work, the committees said that “challenging people” represents one of the main strategies of the EPO management to increase productivity and motivate staff, but that this strategy “incited EPO managers to develop a broadly negative perception of their staff and vice-versa”.

“It contributed to a strong production increase at the cost of open collaboration, discussion culture, trust and patent quality.”

The committees said that current production targets were the “wrong incentives” and threaten patent quality.

There are even more pressing issues to discuss because the leadership of the EPO now puts at risk/peril Europe’s patent regime. It’s still Battistelli’s and Michel Barnier‘s UPC strategy, which failed pretty badly because the FCC likely dealt the final blow to the UPC, which is simply unconstitutional and definitely fails to address the needs of Europe; it’s about the needs of some law firms and their multinational clients, including patent trolls. We’ll say more about the UPC in our next post.

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