11.20.20

Inside the EPO During Corona: The EPO is Violating Workers’/Stakeholders’ Privacy and Breaking Data Protection Law (Again)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Organised crime with a boardroom table is still a crime. Why does the EPO enjoy immunity and why does it exercise/conduct illegal behaviour with complete impunity?

Meeting Room

Summary: There’s no respect for the law or for the dignity/privacy of EPO staff; whenever the subject is being brought up there’s nothing but stonewalling and the Data Protection Officer is a friend of the offender, who would be reluctant to oversee anything

WE HAVE already covered countless privacy abuses at the EPO (more than we can recall and enumerate, but the wiki has a whole category/colour scheme for illegal surveillance at the EPO). Nobody was ever prosecuted for any of these abuses. Benoît Battistelli, had he enjoyed no diplomatic immunity, would even face a prison sentence for some of these abuses, which were severe at times. António Campinos is repeatedly being reminded by staff that some of the practices adopted during lockdown are downright and outright illegal; he consequently appointed as a data ‘something’ officer an old friend or colleague of his (also indebted for getting that high-paying job), so it’s obviously just face-saving cover-up, not a genuine effort at respecting privacy laws.

“Later they wonder why people get angry and vote to leave the EU…”This is so typical at the EPO. They commit crimes, then they appoint friends of theirs to look the other way or to somehow justify that. The longer it goes on for, the worse it’ll get. They have the equivalent of crime/accountability ‘debt’; they’re amassing endless abuses and they even bribe large publishers to not write about those things. Later they wonder why people get angry and vote to leave the EU…

Grant Philpott E-mail regarding MicrosoftA couple of months ago the Central Staff Committee wrote: “Trust and openness in the exchanges among the members of the Divisions are essential for the good quality of the work in examination and opposition proceedings. Sometimes, individual team managers or directors misuse information that examiners exchange confidentially during their deliberations, e.g. for reporting purposes. In this open letter to the President, we suggest that the Office should take all necessary steps to ensure that the software is configured In such a way that only the members of the Divisions have access to the written information they exchange during their deliberations. We also have doubts whether the software complies with our EPO data protection guidelines.”

Here’s that letter in full:

Reference: sc20141cl-0.3.1/1.2.2
Date: 25.09.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

OPEN LETTER

Patent Workbench: confidentiality of deliberations

Dear Mr President,

Trust and openness in the exchanges among the members of the Examination and Opposition Divisions are essential for the good quality of the processing of patent applications and oppositions and the results of the examination and opposition proceedings1.

At present personal consultations in the Divisions are made considerably more difficult due to the currently increasing use of teleworking and the paperless processing of files. To a large extent the necessary exchanges therefore take place with electronic means. The current official software (Patent Workbench, (q/pwb or q/tasklists)) electronically implementing the workflow of the decision-making process in the Divisions provides the feature that each Division member can store in the respective electronic file a text comment visible to all members. In particular, a member can communicate his doubts or objections against a proposal for the grant of a patent in the comment field provided for this purpose.

In principle, there would be no objection to such a form of communication within the competent Division, provided that the confidentiality of the deliberations is guaranteed in all cases (see also Decision of the Board of Appeal, T305/01, reason 5.3)2.

____
1 For example the Enhancing Collaboration (ECo) Project under SP2023, Goal 3, aims to build up an enhanced collaboration system along the Patent Granting Process, promoting a culture of continual improvement and contributing to improving the quality of our products (see Project Description in the Project Brief 3.2.1.04 Enhancing Collaboration).
2 In T305/01, reason 5.3 the Board held that “third parties including a (prospective) opponent have no right to know the reasoning which led the examining division to grant the patent, such right being also in conflict with confidentiality of deliberation.”


Unfortunately, the text comments are not only accessible to the members of the Divisions but also at least to the team managers and directors. Sometimes, individual team managers, being aware of the text comments, have interfered in the debate within the Division and in the decision-making process and have expressed their judgment, for example on the quality of the work of individual Division members. They thus greatly disturbed the atmosphere of trust and cooperation between the members of the Division.

We are therefore concerned that the current software does not seem to meet the prescribed requirement of confidentiality of the deliberations within the Divisions, and that good and trustful cooperation among the members of the Divisions is thus at stake. We believe that this could impair the ability of the Divisions to work and fulfil their tasks properly and also deteriorate the examiners’ confidence in their team manager and/or director. Also line managers could be tempted to take the comments into account for reporting purposes. We also doubt that the software meets our own EPO data protection requirements.

We would therefore kindly ask you to take immediately all steps to ensure that the software is configured so that only the Division members can access the comments and that any third parties, including team managers, directors and others, are denied access. In addition, the software should be amended such that the text comments are deleted immediately after the decision has been made.

Furthermore, we would like to ask you to have the software checked by the Data Protection Officer to ensure that it complies with data protection requirements.

We would appreciate being informed as soon as possible of the steps and recommendations taken, if any. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

To be continued…

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

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

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. Censored EPO Publication: Staff Representatives Cannot Comment on the Survey Conducted by the Office's Management

    EPO management tried to muzzle EPO staff after the Office-wide staff survey turned out to be “nothing short of a disaster.”



  2. Censorship at the EPO is Counterproductive, Rendering the Censored Publications More Seductive and Censored People More Disgruntled

    The efforts to gag Techrights or to intimidate us have all been unfruitful; in a sense, they encouraged us to focus on EPO scandals even more and arguably invoked the 'Streisand Effect' at the EPO (most workers read this site, no matter what their bosses say)



  3. EPO Management Has No Plans Other Than Granting Loads of Invalid Patents (e.g. Software Patents) to Pocket Fees and Then Grift/Gamble With the Money

    The EPO does not know what the hell it’s doing; it’s more of that magical festival-like thinking, as if running a patent office is Eurovision



  4. Links 1/12/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20.4, GNU Octave 6.1, OpenZFS 2.0, and PinePhone KDE Community Edition

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] Public Servants Who Only Serve Themselves and Their Predecessors (Who Gave Them the Job)

    The Benoît Battistelli-appointed António Campinos (an old friend of his) isn’t just covering up the EPO‘s financial scams but contributes to these; when will this house of cards (arse-covering) fall and will that take a special (independent) investigator?



  6. Censored EPO Publication: Battistelli Can Have His Multi-Billion Euro EPO Scam, So Why Can't Campinos Too?

    Mr. Campinos, seeing what Mr. Battistelli has managed to get away with (the Commission approves, having been infiltrated by friends of the ringleaders), piggybacks or follows the steps of his appointer by blasting almost a billion euros on a worthless project with no real purpose and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) warns it has "very high risk of mismanagement and fraud"



  7. Staff Representation of the EPO Explains to EPO Management That It's Breaking the Law, Robbing the Staff, and Lying to Staff

    Human rights, basic dignity and labour protections of EPO staff are routinely violated and the staff is also being robbed based on false pretenses; the staff representatives write to refute "[t]he Office’s report [which] has been made available on the Intranet"



  8. European Commission's Thierry Breton Covers Up EPO Corruption For His Friend Benoît Battistelli

    Thierry Breton is the sort of official who causes people to vote for Brexit (or similar exits from the EU); he’s enthusiastically defending EPO corruption and he also calls for constitutional violations in many member states — all in the name of patent maximalism (Team UPC’s coup attempt)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, November 30, 2020



  10. Links 30/11/2020: GhostBSD 20.11.28, Nitrux 1.3.5, Linux 5.10 RC6, GNOME Circle, Microsoft Collapses Again in Web Server Share

    Links for the day



  11. Alternatives to the World Wide Web, to HTML, to HTTP/S, and to the Internet

    Looking around the Web (yes, the Web) for alternatives to the Web (and the stack underneath the Web), we're finding that IPFS is mature and robust enough for our needs



  12. Management of the EPO Dragged to the International Labour Organisation Over Its Assault on the Right to Strike

    Opinion on strikes challenged by the Central Staff Committee of Europe's second-largest organisation; if strike rights are almost abolished there, what hope is there for the rest of Europe?



  13. [Meme] Management of the EPO Cannot Let the Staff Breathe or Smell Freedom

    Working for the EPO means giving up on one’s human rights; that’s the sort of conclusion many workers have reached



  14. “ViCo” is Nothing New (Not Even the Acronym), Done on 9/11 Last Year, Been Possible as Long as the EPO Has Existed

    Contrary to what many people are led to believe, the EPO isn't embracing innovation, it's just embracing COVID-19 and leveraging lock-downs (de facto house arrest to some) to impose an illegal practice on EPO staff and EPO stakeholders



  15. Release: Early Letters and Documents About Financial Hoax Disguised as EPO 'Study'

    It was over a year ago that staff representation at the EPO expressed concerns about what would later enrage workers — seeing that based on unscientific fabrications the EPO would take away what had been promised to them



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 29, 2020



  17. Managing IP: Puff Pieces Galore for the EPO's Dictatorship (Complete With Buzzwords and PR Stunts)

    By giving a platform to notorious patent trolls and ‘engaging’ with the EPO‘s dictator (whom only 3% of EPO staff trusts) Managing IP is sort of giving away its real agenda, which isn’t journalism but conducting or assisting misinformation campaigns



  18. Links 29/11/2020: Genode OS Framework 20.11, Linux 5.11 Kernel Changes, and Latest in KDE Itinerary

    Links for the day



  19. Sincere Thoughts About Outreachy

    Outreachy's role in the Free software community and inclusion in the FSF's High Priority Projects, as seen from the eyes of a female coder from a minority group; she used to work for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and she expresses concerns about what Outreachy has become



  20. Free Software Under Tyranny of Codes of Conduct as the Western Equivalent of Blasphemy Law (Corporations as the New Religion/Sponsors as Deities)

    The free speech crisis in Free software communities has enabled expulsion of opinionated people whose opinions truly matter; in their place we now have companies that bomb people, sometimes even kidnapping children and sterilising women because nothing says “Ethics” like naked fascism and corporate domination everywhere



  21. Release: 4 More Documents and Letters About the Financial Siege at Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    Documents disputing the accuracy of the "hoax" from António Campinos and the Mercers



  22. One Year Ago: The Last EPO Demonstration Before COVID-19

    About a year ago staff of the EPO apparently had its last protest (in front of the Isar building) before staff got ‘herded’ into homes, where workers became more isolated and even illegally spied on



  23. [Meme] Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is an Attack on Europe and the European Businesses That Don't Do Litigation

    Litigation lawyers and patent zealots want to set Europe ablaze with legislation that they themselves crafted; thankfully, however, they face constitutional obstacles, no matter how many politicians they bamboozle and buy



  24. Reasons EPO Staff Decided to Go on Strike This Year (Before or Until Coronavirus Prevented It)

    An year-old letter from the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) to the President of the EPO; 7 reasons for going on strike are enumerated



  25. EPO Can Save Money by “Dropping Events Like the Inventor of the Year, Reducing the Number of Managers, Throwing Less Money at Consultants or Bringing the Boards of Appeal Back into Office Buildings.”

    Constructive suggestions from EPO staff, made just over a year ago and assembled into a letter to their EPO colleagues



  26. The Real Fate of the UPC 'Stunt' in Germany Will be Known Next Month (or Next Year) and There Are Substantial Constitutional Barriers in the Way

    Contrary to what Team UPC wants people to think, UPC(A) isn’t a “done deal” in Germany; they never actually addressed the substance of complaints and with help from Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in the Commission they’re just attempting a blatant coup



  27. Microsoft Removes Free Software From GitHub Again, This Time for Motion Picture Association (MPA)

    GitHub is proving to be more of a censorship site than a code-sharing site; with the GitHub takeover Microsoft became a 'censorship police' or force of occupation against its ideological competition; just weeks after the YouTube-DL debacle and further take-downs seeking to 'protect' broken DRM schemes (by banning code) we can see that Microsoft isn't defending developers at all; it's just protecting the interests of MPA, RIAA and other Biden circles from the interests of the general population, which sometimes circumvents perfectly circumventable 'DRM' schemes



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 28, 2020



  29. Help Make Techrights (and Other Technology-Centric Sites) More Robust to Censorship by Setting Up More IPFS Nodes

    We’re trying to improve the site’s availability (ensuring it can never be offline) and make it more censorship-resistant; people who adopt IPFS can make that happen while tackling the “bloated Web” and “centralised Internet” issues — all at the same time



  30. Microsoft Loves Linux and Android Apps Running on Windows Instead of GNU/Linux and Android Devices

    Microsoft loves Linux, they say; but as Microsoft's former VP James Allchin put it: "If you're going to kill someone there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the trigger [...] We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger."


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