11.09.20

Inside the EPO During Corona: The Management of the European Patent Office Was (Fore)Warned About Exploiting a Public Health Crisis

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:22 pm by Guest Editorial Team

It’s a matter of public record now

Health pills

Summary: An “OPEN LETTER” (not open to the public but to EPO staff) correctly asserts — in a much-needed statement for the record — that “postponement of reforms is necessary” because EPO staff is already under great and growing stress due to the pandemic (this was in March when lock-downs were extended to countries other than Italy)

“Coronavirus pandemic: postponement of reforms [sic] is necessary” was an open letter from the Central Staff Committee, issued to António Campinos back in March. Like Benoît Battistelli before him, Campinos knew how to exploit crises outside the EPO (e.g. terror attacks) to implement repressive new measures.

Here’s the full letter as it was circulated almost 8 months ago (remember that at the time of this letter lock-downs were just days away in the UK and travel between countries was getting difficult for these examiners who work away from their home country).

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Reference: sc20048cl-0.3.1/4.2.2
Date: 19.03.2020

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO
Room 1081 – ISAR

OPEN LETTER

Coronavirus pandemic: postponement of reforms is necessary

Dear Mr President,

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, governments in Europe are now concentrating their efforts on ensuring that their citizens are safe and to limit the number of casualties. Some also delay discussions on (important) reforms which are not a priority.

The pandemic severely affects the Office, too, where many colleagues are now staying at home, trying to reconcile work and family obligations, such as caring for (young) children whose schools are closed. The first priority of the Office must be the health of staff and their families. Anything else should be put on the back burner. The specific situation of an International Organisation like the EPO, which acts as an employer but also in many respect takes over responsibilities of a sovereign state, imposes a reinforced duty of care.

For us to perform our duties as staff representatives in accordance with Article 34 ServRegs1 we will need to stay in close contact with staff to exchanges information, sentiments and opinions. Your persistent refusal to permit free e-mail traffic with all staff has already significantly hampered us in efficiently and effectively representing staff. With the COVID-19-induced restrictions on contacts and a de facto shut-down of the Office we now, on top, also cannot gather staff in General Assemblies to inform them and get their feedback. The most important element of consultation, namely the possibility for the elected interlocutors to be able to consult the group they represent, is missing. We therefore currently have the greatest difficulties representing staff in consultations that concern the employment package.

In addition, the pandemic also affects the good functioning of the Administrative Council (AC) and its bodies, notably the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC).

In such an unfavourable context, the far-reaching reforms which you were intending to put on the agendas of the May BFC meeting and the June AC meeting should simply be postponed until halfway normal conditions are restored, especially as there is no urgency to implement a new salary adjustment procedure (SAP) in view of Article 10 of the current SAP (automatic reconduction for one year).

Continuing to rush important reforms in the current circumstances would be rightly perceived as taking advantage of an exceptional crisis and displaying a profound disregard for staff, further eroding the trust in the Organisation. It would also bear the serious risk of making those reforms illegal.

We urge you to postpone your plans for reforming the SAP until the Coronavirus pandemic is contained so as to allow normal functioning of staff representation, the Office and its supervising bodies. Meanwhile we can continue to exchange (in writing or by video conference) and hopefully make progress towards an acceptable compromise on a new SAP.

Yours sincerely,
Alain Dumont
Acting Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc.: AC delegations
Ms Nellie Simon; Vice-President DG4

____________
1 “[The Staff Committee] shall contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion by the staff”.

It is already known by now (it has been a long time) that the advice in this letter was disregarded; the Office plans layoffs and it is going ahead with its illegal plans, often under the convenient cover of a public health crisis. Later in the series we’ll highlight representatives’ response to that.

With decreasing work security (hard to find alternative employment when so many people out there are unemployed) it’s cruel for an Office with billions in the bank to crush its sole asset: the staff. But when the Office is run by incompetent autocrats and their longtime friends what else can be expected?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2020/11/09/health-crisis-exploited-to-harm-health/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  2. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  3. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021



  5. Tolerating the Intolerant and Lacking Tolerance for Opposing Views

    The person who shouted...



  6. Letter of Support for Richard Stallman - Doing Better in Community

    "How do you support someone you’ve known for years who is unfairly attacked and publicly maligned?"



  7. Richard Stallman on Rejecting Workplace Bureaucracy in the 1970s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters



  8. Renata Avila: Trying to Understand the Lynching of Stallman

    Reproduced from the original



  9. Breaking News: EDPS Admits That It is Powerless to Investigate Claims of GDPR Non-compliance at the EPO

    Nobody is truly in charge at the EDPS (and in Europe at large); they say EPO is "company" and all one can do is kindly ask the EPO itself to obey the law and stop outsourcing European data to American military contractors



  10. Links 17/4/2021: Linux 5.13 in Sight, Holland Warming up to Free Software

    Links for the day



  11. Richard Stallman Vilified by Those Who Don't Know Him, Says Sylvia Paull

    Republished "In Support of Richard Stallman"



  12. [Meme] Linux Foundation Can't Use Linux

    Two examples from yesterday, highlighting what a bunch of hypocrites run the marketing operation now disguised as ‘research’; Jason Perlow from Microsoft signed/published this newsletter highlight from the failing “Linux” Foundation — a foundation that calls itself “Linux” while its newsletter is still hosted by Microsoft Windows+proprietary IIS and this latest report is made with proprietary software on a Mac



  13. [Meme] Haters Gonna Hate, Don't Apologise to a Libelling Mob

    As was already pointed out before, you cannot appease a mob by talking back to it, certainly not by issuing an apology (putting oneself in a position of weakness)



  14. What the EPO Has 'Normalised' in Europe...

    Under the cover of 'new normal', Europe's second-largest institution crushes the law and crushes its own staff



  15. Lots of Information in Sight, But Minimal Distraction

    How I keep focused on reading and writing whilst at the same time keeping an eye on important incidents, such as DDOS attacks and urgent messages coming in



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 16, 2021



  17. Hate Letter Against FSF (Concern Trolls): 1415 Committers, Letter in Support of FSF (With Its Founder Back): 5116

    Taking into account people who asked for their names to be removed from the defamatory hate letter (inciting people, based on falsehoods), it's not impossible that the support letter really triples or quadruples it in terms of number of signatures



  18. Richard Stallman: Sharing is Good... We Need to Legalise It

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains his take on copyright and the artificial restriction being used against sharing



  19. Nadine Strossen and Hannah Wolfman-Jones Rebut Accusations Against Stallman and Choose Him as Coauthor

    "Here are her thoughts and the response she received from Nadine, extracted verbatim with their permission from the original article"



  20. Links 17/4/2021: GNOME 40 in Tumbleweed, Devuan 4.0 Alpha, Kate Editor Makes a Leap

    Links for the day



  21. EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO 'to Court' (the ILO's Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

    The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them



  22. The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

    A fake "GNU" (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name "GNU") is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it's an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)



  23. Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

    Links for the day



  24. The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

    Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion



  25. Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

    What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media



  26. Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

    A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 15, 2021



  28. [Meme] Laundering Bribes as 'Cooperation Money'

    Germany has financial interest in ensuring that EPO abuses carry on and nobody holds the EPO accountable



  29. Articles in Support of Richard Stallman

    Reproduced with permission



  30. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 20: Taking Stock

    Benoît Battistelli's legacy at the EPO is a legacy of corruption and cover-up; we take stock of how illegality was defended and persists to this day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts