03.08.20

António Campinos is Just as Corrupt as Benoît Battistelli, Top Jobs Offered as ‘Endowments’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Immunity of the European Patent Office (EPO) won’t last much longer if this level of corruption persists

Campinos on running the EPO
Screenshot of Campinos on running the EPO (from the new interview with IAM)

Summary: Management indebted to the President shows a cult-like formation inside Europe’s sole (monopolised) patent office — a dangerous situation which also greatly discredits the EU (the EUIPO is an EU institution)

“Inclusion at the EPO?”

“Surely you jest,” I told the EPO’s V-P Stephen Rowan, “the EPO is not inclusive at all!”

“The opposite is true,” I continued. “People are hired based on nepotism. Now you just hijack and exploit popular causes.”

Even Rowan Atkinson wouldn’t resort to such sad comedy/satire. These people are cynical for many reasons, ranging from nationality to gender. EPO staff has not lost sight of these discriminatory patterns. And having voted for a strike at the end of last year, it’s clear that the unrest persists, even if quietly (out of fear mostly).

“EPO staff has not lost sight of these discriminatory patterns.”EPO’s V-P Rowan pushed this EPO “jobs” tweet a couple of days ago (basically retweeted it; he’s barely active there otherwise, except occasional sports fluff). It said: “This week and next are ‘Inclusion Weeks’ at the EPO. All staff, across all sites will be taking part in a wide range of events such as “lunch & learn” sessions or reflection groups to identify EPO-specific, inclusive behaviours that will further strengthen our working culture.”

This is the EPO riding today’s wave, which is centered around feminism. The cause of feminism is good, there’s nothing wrong with it, but surely the EPO and Rowan are aware of the guilt; he knows about this problem, of which he might be a part. People aren’t really hired for diversity, as the “flier team” explained following some ridiculous prose from António Campinos. It’s not a campaign of diversification but a cabal-building exercise no better than that of Benoît Battistelli. It used to be corrupt INPI and now it’s EUIPO; we covered this entryism last year and it has since then gotten more severe. It has gotten a lot worse since we last checked.

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) put it like this:

EUIPO and EPO

To better fit our narrow layout we’ve rearranged this a bit as follows:

EUIPO and EPO - narrow

Remember that this is an EU institution, so the EP/EC/EU officials must get involved and express their concerns. This becomes a potential rationaliser for more ‘Brexits’.

Here’s the accompanying text, which is exceedingly polite for diplomatic reasons (the facts and the charts speak for themselves though):

02 March 2020

The talent pipeline from EUIPO

In 2018, the Administration Council allowed Mr Battistelli to exclude staff representatives from selection boards when “modernising” the employment framework. Since the beginning of his presidency, Mr Campinos has maintained this policy of his predecessor and laid a wide talent pipeline directly from the EUIPO in Alicante to the Office.

Before he took office in 2010, Mr Campinos’ predecessor, Mr Battistelli, indicated that he would bring with him three persons for whom he needed posts: François-Régis Hannart, Gilles Requena (his right-hand men) and Elodie Bergot, the wife of the latter. Mr Battistelli was told that there was no possibility to create or reserve posts for specific persons. Some half a year after Mr Battistelli started all three had nevertheless been recruited at the Office.

At the time, staff representatives challenged several of what seemed to be irregular appointments through internal appeals. Taking issue with the incorrect composition of the Internal Appeals Committee – ordered by Mr Battistelli – the ILO-AT sent more than two hundred cases back to the EPO. These include most, if not all, of the dubious appointments. As a consequence thus far none has resulted in a judgment, and no judgments on the substance are expected anytime soon. This is very convenient for Mr Battistelli and the favourites that he appointed.

Apparently annoyed nevertheless with the opposition, Mr Battistelli decided to change the rules. In 2018 he proposed to the Administrative Council a change in the Staff Regulations that de facto excluded the staff representation from recruitment procedures. The Administrative Council complied. In recent years the ILO-AT has become more and more staff unfriendly. The Tribunal is, in particular, rapidly becoming more and more restrictive on receivability1, 2. It is therefore to be expected that future complaints about recruitment will be summarily dismissed as irreceivable.

Our current President, Mr Campinos, did not come with a wish-list of appointees. Maybe that was not necessary since some of his close collaborators like Telmo Vilela already slipped into the Office during Mr Battistelli’s presidency. But since then we have seen a significant influx of EUIPO staff, starting with Ms Nellie Simon (VP4) and last but not least PD Cooperation. In particular in the IT area ex-EUIPO staff is well represented – see below. Also the nationality distribution – again – raises concern.

Being excluded from the recruitment procedures makes it impossible for the staff representation to form an opinion on the quality of the new recruits, on their grading and/or the fairness of the recruitment procedures. And we do not wish to condemn the new colleagues without giving them a chance to prove themselves. Maybe Mr Campinos has an excellent hand in choosing his experts. But if so: why not involve the staff representation in the recruitment procedure? If Mr Campinos’ choices are really the best, staff representation nominees would no doubt confirm this.

SUEPO Munich & The Hague

______
1 ILO-AT Judgments 3785
2 ILO-AT Judgments 3515, 3557, 3615 and 4194

Also cited by SUEPO yesterday or on Friday was the latest article from Dr. Bausch. Notice the first comment there. It says, under the name “Frequent flier, grounded” (game of words about the “flier”; at one point last year their site was almost literally 'grounded'):

The flier plays with buzzwords the president uses in his internal communiqués.
All the while while he drains EUIPO’s management, by hiring Alicante management staff.
It’s a referral to an internal trade union publication, listing newly created gigh level management posts, and the person filling the post.

With the amount of competence the EPO president has hired (if I were to believe his communiqués), EPO’s management is so competent, that external consultants were needed to tell them what to do as managers…

I wonder where the fault lies? With the external consultants who proposed the hiring of these highly competent people, or the hired managers who are unable to do what they’ve been hired for and consult consultants who have no idea about inner workings of international organisations and the rules they are bound to?

Either way, the office has more money than it knows what to do with it, but the consultants have ideas… Which would require expensive follow-up contracts of course…

PS: ask around in Alicante what the “brain drain” causes there, as EU-rules make it difficult for EUIPO to hire replacements (as the team of managers has the right to return for a few years).

we assume that’s American-style scare quotes in “brain drain” (British isn’t the same convention); we judged the professional background of several of these people; it’s a bit horrifying to see how little experience some of them have for the job at hand. Shocking even! But it’s not about what you know but who you know. Welcome to the age of “inclusion”; job applications may not be assessed based on underlying skills but intuition and sometimes corruption (the latter has been true for almost a decade at the EPO’s upper echelons). Immunity? Impunity? Sure. That’s EPO. Immunity breeds corruption. Inaction (or indifference) by European authorities merely harms the EU and its very credibility.

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