11.29.20

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.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last year’s ‘naughty list’

A letter to Santa

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

ALMOST exactly a year ago the Central Staff Committee of the EPO circulated the following letter, citing the abuses of Benoît Battistelli (ironically occupying a law school now) and the dubious claims from António Campinos (regarding the financial situation of the Office). Today we reproduce the letter in full:

Munich, 19.11.2019
sc19165cp – 0.2.1/1.3.1/1.3.2

The President’s “Phase II Team Feedback” exercise

Thank you for speaking and standing up, for your staunch support, for your solidarity and for your scarce time

Dear colleagues,

The President had requested team managers to ask staff to voice preference amongst “measures 1 to 10” proposed in Phase II of the Financial Study. The Central Staff Committee, the local Staff Committees and individual Committee members received a flood of e-mails in which you copied the replies you sent to your Team Managers or Directors – or the managers and directors sent to senior management.

The overwhelming feedback you gave followed our earlier publications, the general assemblies across the sites and the demos in Munich and The Hague. The e-mails differed in form and size, some with a brief and direct message, others quite elaborate with sound analysis and alternative proposals, and made for interesting reading. You, too, concluded that the measures were political.

Most of the e-mails claimed for discussing the issue with elected staff representatives as the legitimate port of call, a very large proportion clearly doubted that there was a funding-gap and many of you complained that you were bothered with a fake consultation exercise in the situation of having to meet the highest production demands ever. The vast majority of those of you who copied us in did not choose between evil and worse, whilst some still voiced preferences for particular measures. Others were explicitly outspoken against some measures. Many claimed a fairer distribution of any potential burden also over e.g. member states and applicants. Some stressed that savings could be made also from sources other than those covered in the 17 measures, namely not engaging in a comprehensive building investment programme, 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.

Before the Battistelli reforms, which are still a millstone around staff’s neck today, staff representation always discussed and managed to convince management to drop not so good ideas and limit detrimental impact for staff. It is time to return to the consultation our Codex foresees, so that we can add value again to the Office’s decision making process.

If you are still undecided whether the 17 measures are necessary, useful or good, please take some of the very limited time at your disposal to read up on what can make or break your future. Check out our recent publications Gathering the views of staff, Transcripts of the TH general assemblies – includes many links to other documents, Reply to the interviews with 4 TM’s, Feedback from the Pensioners Association, SUEPO Munich – A divisive Exercise and Staff Committees’ 1st views on the 17 measures.

The deadline for the President’s Phase II Team Feedback has passed. We appreciate your involvement and input, so please keep the e-mails coming to centralstcom@epo.org if you want to share your thoughts with the Staff Committees. We are preparing for the discussions with the management team on Wednesday, studying the dossier and having people who know about finances, know about career, know about pensions, and have a long experience in discussing with management. Watch this space for more news after the first meeting on Wednesday!

Thank you

Your staff representatives

The patent office needs to go back to basics; no silly festivals, gambling and union-busting activities. No censorship either. Why would a patent office block a site like ours? Are they employing kids or grown-ups?

“They [EPO examiners] claim that the organisation is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents as possible to gain financially from fees generated.” —Expatica

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