05.24.19

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EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can it ask for bailout like a private bank?

@schestowitz You‘re gonna love this: the EPO has a WiFi network here that is named EPO-CORPORATE. See screenshot. More in this morning’s tweet (with replies)

EPO corporate WiFi

Summary: The corporate ‘logic’ at the EPO follows the “shareholders’ value” propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public

READERS are (mostly) aware that António Campinos is a former banker — a scandalous, notorious bank we might add (we did a series about it a couple of years ago). What is his plan for the European Patent Office (EPO)? Granting loads of rubbish patents like software patents in violation of the EPC? Is that actually a legitimate plan? What else can be done in the name of so-called ‘efficiency’? Recall his last act as chief of the EUIPO. It’s just incredible.

Will Campinos lie to his own staff like his predecessor? Well, he already did. Manufacturing or faking a crisis for nefarious purposes and toxic agenda? Surely a possibility.

It’s not like the EPO will be bankrupt/insolvent because it’s not a private company, or is it?

Battistelli’s gambling with EPO money has already cost 100 million Euros in just one year, but don’t expect the person whom he gave the presidency to ever hold him accountable. Brimelow warned about it, seeing or claiming there were financial difficulties over the horizon. Does this justify breaking the law, attacking judges, refusing to obey court orders and so on? Of course not. Moreover, it is self-discrediting and merely serves to devalue European Patents as a whole.

For some time now we’ve been hearing about the EPO’s internal report regarding finances. This morning an anonymous person (Märpel) blogged about it, citing a document from the Central Staff Committee (CSC). As it turns out, based on the blogger, the CSC “has just published a document titled “The Financial Study: Yet another hoax”.” (with Donald Trump proximity, via Mercer, so one can expect sheer dishonesty)

Can someone send us the full document (from CSC and the report they allude to)? Here’s a portion from the blogger:

Dear colleagues,

In the EPO, financial studies tend to be a prelude to cuts in staff benefits. The latest study is no exception. The present publication explains one of the tricks used to make the Office look poor. More publications will follow.

The recently published financial study (CA/46/19) by Mercer and Oliver Wyman seems to indicate that more bad news is to come.

The studies’ conclusions …

The key message of the financial study (p 34) is:

“The EPO faces a structural operational gap, with costs increasing faster than revenues, leading in the future to significantly decreasing cash flows.

The EPO has greater control of cost levers than revenue levers which presents an opportunity to better meet its future obligations through careful cost management.”

In other words: the Office must be reducing costs – staff costs.

… and how they came about

The EPO’s main income is from fees. The Financial Study includes this 4% fee increase for 2020 but assumes that there will be no further fee increases from then on till 2038. On the other hand Staff salaries and pensions follow the normal increase. For any organisation – as rich as it may be – such an approach will lead in the end to budgetary gaps. According to our first calculations the alleged gaps could be offset by merely continuing the biennial 5% fee adjustments in place.

Märpel added that he or she “is no accountant but checked the study and it seems that the Central Staff Committee is indeed right and that the document was drafted on unreasonable assumptions chosen to make the financial situation appear catastrophic. In contrast, the proven historical records show that the EPO has a yearly surplus of over 350 millions Euros. It seems that President Campinos has decided to prepare for a new conflict. What other reasons could there be to publish such a blatant lie? A staff strike is planned for the next meeting of the Council.” A lot of things are happening quite fast this week, but the media is in general unresponsive; it’s writing nothing but puff pieces about a ‘study’ sponsored/commissioned by EPO/EUIPO and that stupid EIA (we’re going to just ignore these pieces as they’re little beyond PR).

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