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09.07.18

Election of New Vice-Presidents at EPO Seems Rigged, Say Insiders and Former Insiders

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Election of António Campinos himself was highly controversial, too

EPO replacing VPs

Summary: Christoph Ernst, Nelly Simon and more controversial associates are being put around António Campinos — a move that has the hallmark of Battistelli’s notorious 8-year regime

A COUPLE of months ago we learned that Vice-Presidents at the EPO were being replaced. But with the mask of António Campinos slipping this week (first week after the summer vacation) we’re not at all surprised to have just received the following message:

Honorable members of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office,

The Battistelli presidency will undoubtedly be considered as the darkest times in EPO’s history. Hidden behind self-proclaimed success – justified and protected by fictitious results; manipulated numbers; and the illusion of incredible achievements solely attained at the cost of quality, organizational balance and public service orientation – manipulation, nepotism. favoritism, intimidation, harassment, corruption and management by fear have reigned, slowly destroying the soul and very purpose of the Organization. Rivalry and individualism have replaced cooperation and collective effort. Obsession for financial benefits has replaced sense of public service. Self-interest has replaced interest of Europe. Loyalty to “ambitious people with an agenda” has replaced loyalty to the Organization. The list of damages on both corporate culture and professional practices is endless. Specialized blogs and internet sites such as Techright, IAM media, IPkat or Kluwer already give an idea of the nature of the problem. But what you will find there is only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is far more disturbing. For eight years, secured by the convenient indifference of the member states and protected by its diplomatic status, the EPO has simply been a dictatorship in the heart of Europe, destroying all founding values that were the cornerstones of its success and corrupting the very principle of public service that was (and still is) its reason to exist. There is no doubt that the magnitude of the damaging effects on the organization itself and on the European innovation’s economy, will soon become obvious.

Since July 1st 2018 a new President is leading the organization. In a few weeks he has brought a new wind of hope. By simply listening and talking to people, he has awakened a sense of optimism that long had deserted the Office. And we are very pleased about it.

The Battistelli disaster should however not be forgotten. One of the main reason that made this madness possible was the simple fact that no counter-power was available within the organization. The dictator was free to manipulate numbers, processes, results and people as he wished. And this is where the responsibility of the Administrative Council is engaged. The five elective posts of Vice presidents should be a natural counter power. That’s precisely why these posts are elective and not simply positions to be fulfilled as regards to skills and technical achievements. VPs should, before all, be strong personalities with outstanding sense of ethics and international public service able to strongly react if things go wrong. Unfortunately this most important aspect of the role and values of the VPs has eroded in time. And nowadays they seem to be considered (and to consider themselves) as “common” executive managers (That’s probably why one of the VP positions has disappeared in the framework of a reorganization and that no plan seems to be made to have it back). We see great danger here. And the Battistelli’s nightmare should remind us the reality of this threat. If the VPs are chosen to fit in the plan of the President, even a decent President; if they are directly or indirectly chosen by him for operational comfort; if the selection done by the member states is a bargain around “nationality issues” and networking games rather than a pre-selection based on demonstrated dedication to public service and proven multilateral experience; the whole system is endangered. It is the responsibility of the Administrative Council to prevent this.

It seems that, while candidates can still apply until September 5th 2018, names of the people who are going to “win” are already known. Mr. Christoph Ernst, current President of the AC, would become VP5. Ms. Nelly Simon, a very close associate of Mr. Campinos at EU IPO – and chosen by him in the framework of this selection procedure – would become VP4. And the French candidate – whose name we don’t know yet but who is described as a “Bercy candidate” close to Battistelli (ENA?) – would become VP1. If this is the case, it means that the legal democratic rules have again not been respected; that the EPO rules – meant to guaranty them – have again been bypassed and/or fictitiously applied; and that the very same dysfunctions that made the Battistelli’s dictatorship possible are again striking. And this is not be acceptable.

Therefore, in the name of the European citizens who deserve to be properly represented in an organization at their service, in the name of the European economy and the European industry which deserve the highest level of public service, and in the name of our colleagues who deserve to serve a “well-balanced public service oriented international organization” we ask you to:

- Select vice Presidents primarily as regards to their potential to play their role of internal counter-power rather than for their proximity with the new or previous President, their network, their networking skills, or their professional experience exclusively.

- Reintroduce the 5th vice President – for example by separating IM and Human resources into two different areas that could be “Resource Management” and “Information” each one having a VP – in order to re-establish the original balance within the internal leadership.

- Make sure that rules and regulations related to VPs selection are indeed framed to guaranty this balance.

Hoping that you will give to this letter the attention it deserves,

Kind regards

The Georg Elser group.

PS: For the sake of democratic transparency multiple newspapers of the member states have been put in cc. and cci of this email.

The Greorg Elser Group is a group of retired and active staff members of the EPO who decided, after the dictatorial presidency of Battistelli, to play the role of early whistleblower in case of abuse. This is our first public paper.

We will have a lot more to say pretty soon. Some of the above names are familiar and their new positions confirm rumours we have been hearing for weeks.

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