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12.09.18

EPO ‘Untapped Potential’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MoU signed by Bergot

Summary: “Campinos is diligently looking for ways to further increase the Office’s output without increasing the number of examiners,” says the EPO-FLIER team

FLIER Number 44 (humour) was published two days ago. It’s written by European Patent Office insiders, who still use the old FLIER acronym (staff representatives used it when still trying to correct things in very diplomatic ways, at times using “IFLRE” and “LIFER”). See what we published last Christmas [1, 2].

The following mentions EPO President António Campinos and is mostly sarcastic (although the underlying facts are serious).

LIFER
7 December 2018
IFLRE

EPO FLIER No. 44

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Untapped potential

During his last years in Office Mr Battistelli claims to have increased the production in the examining area by 36%1. We hear that our new President, Mr Campinos is diligently looking for ways to further increase the Office’s output without increasing the number of examiners2. Since putting even more pressure on the examiners didn’t seem the right thing to do, we decided to look for some hitherto untapped potential, and we found it, in the form of … directors!

Directors are normally selected from amongst the highest producers. Until recently we had about 150 directors in DG1. Mr Battistelli reduced their number to about 60. Some of the now directorate-less directors have left the Office. But many are still there. Some have been parked on jobs for which they have no particular skills, and the usefulness of which might be seen as doubtful. This is an enormous waste of their potential. We therefore propose that these directors are reassigned to work as “senior experts” in directorates that are short of staff.

And the directors who still have a directorate could also be asked to make a contribution. Mr Campinos insists that elected staff representatives not be freed 100% for their staff representation but have to do (currently) 50% of other work so that they will remain in touch with the staff they represent. The same logic applies to directors. It will give them a better understanding of the tools examiners use and of the obstacles they face.

The same applies to the managers in patent administration, where the tools are notoriously bad. We are convinced that if formalities managers were obliged to work with those tools and cover the broad range of procedures that formalities staff are expected to cover, they would soon demand improvements.

And while we are at it: why shouldn’t Principal Directors and COOs be asked to show solidarity and do a “fair contribution” in the form of one or two files a week?

We recognize that this will not have a major impact on the overall production, but it would certainly be more motivating for staff than the present “do as I say and not as I do” exhortations for higher production. And, why shouldn’t a few randomly selected patent searches and grants done by Principal Directors and COOs undergo a quality check? It would give them an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to their subordinates that the quality of their ‘products’ is not compromised at the level of production they demand from their staff.
______
1 « Modernising the EPO for excellence and sustainability » pages 50-51.
2 Report on the 121st meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee (CSC, 31.10.2018)

www.epostaff4rights.org

We are going to focus on EPO affairs the rest of the day, then move on to covering some affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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