12.09.20

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It Looks Like the EPO is Spreading a Bunch of Spammy ‘News’ (More of the Usual) to Distract From Major Strike Being Organised (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) released a letter today, enumerating the reasons to join the strike

Chat

Summary: It certainly looks like the corrupt EPO management is issuing lots of fluff and ‘webchat’ spam to distract from the fact that its popularity is collapsing, with a general strike (first-ever work-from-home strike) planned for next week across all sites

THE Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) has just shared the following “[a]nnouncement of a strike,” as one might expect. As we shall show in a moment, the EPO issued two — not just one — spammy so-called ‘news’ items some hours ago; two of them on Wednesday afternoon/evening, 6 days or less before the strike. We typically see this volume of noise from EPO management when they try to hide or distract from something, e.g. the 'Haar question' (there was non-stop noise — not news — that week).

“The strike will take place on December 15th,” SUEPO says. “We expect you to participate in large numbers.”

The more people participate, the less capable management will be of ‘revenge’ or disciplinary action (or telling the Council that the strikes were just a “loud minority” or something along those lines).

Here’s the full letter:

8 November 2019
su19043cl

To Mr Campinos, President of the EPO

Call for strike

Dear Mr Campinos,

SUEPO Central calls for a strike in all EPO sites in accordance with Circular 347.

Reasons for strike

Sixteen months after your arrival as President of the EPO, we note with regret that none of the root causes of the many issues that trouble our organisation have been addressed satisfactorily. Genuine social dialogue is simply non-existing. The Battistelli administration and its anti-staff policies are still in place. The situation in the Office is more toxic than ever, as also shown by the recent disastrous staff survey results and the worsening of staff health. There are many reasons for discontent. Therefore we claim:

1. Fair settlement for all SUEPO Officials/Staff representatives abusively sanctioned by the Battistelli administration;
2. Review by independent experts of the financial situation of the Office; no unnecessary measures based on the heavily biased Financial Study (also criticised by the EPO Pensioners Association), its ensuing phase II (CA/83/19) and management’s comments (CA/84/19);
3. Using the “seventeen measures for staff and the EPO” published by SUEPO on 2 October 2019 (su19040cp) as guidance to solve the issues listed above and below;
4. Fair career progression for everyone, no managerial arbitrariness;
5. Respect for staff; decrease of work pressure and production demands;
6. Fair reporting, no artificial underrating of colleagues and threats of incompetence procedures;
7. People-oriented management, instead of management by fear.

These issues must be solved to avoid irreparable damage to our organisation and its staff, and to restore respect and trust. This requires a change not only of certain regulations, but also in the attitude of the administration towards staff.

Yours sincerely,
SUEPO Central

Now, regarding the EPO noise, which is only hours old…

It looks like classic smoke and mirrors or smokescreens that won’t really distract Europe or EPO staff from the corruption; the level of noise isn’t as much of a problem as the media blackmail and bribery which keep citizens in the dark. Nobody in the media talks about those strikes (it’s not so hard to find out about these; Kluwer Patent Blog mentioned it at least once last year).

The first of the two junk pieces (warning: epo.org link) is basically non-news; António Campinos had a webchat with some representative from a country that has almost no European Patents (possibly none at all) and there’s a photo-op, along the lines of the Battistelli modus operandi. The supposed ‘news’? “Stepping up co-operation” which basically means “co-operation” merely continues; nothing gets signed. Campinos is shown and it says “Campinos paid tribute”; wow! Some news!

Co-operation between the EPO and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) was on the agenda yesterday at the 60th session of OAPI’s Administrative Council, held in Lomé, Togo and also virtually.

In a video message to the meeting, EPO President António Campinos paid tribute to the close co-operation between the EPO and OAPI going back many years, and underlined that during the pandemic co-operation is proving more important than ever to support innovators, and ensure the patent system is a tool for economic growth, employment and trade for our regions.

Can anyone explain why/how this belongs in the “news” section? So the ‘king’ of EPOnia had a webchat! Big deal!

The next one (warning: epo.org link) is a non-meeting (another webchat), which the EPO nonetheless called “meeting” (3 times in the opening paragraph:

“The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), known as the Trilateral offices, held their 38th annual meeting on 8 December 2020, hosted by the EPO. At the meeting, held for the first time via video conference, EPO President António Campinos, JPO Commissioner Toshihide Kasutani, and USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, discussed the outcome of their recent meeting with the Trilateral industry associations, consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and possible joint responses by their offices, as well as future directions of the Trilateral co-operation. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also participated in the meeting in an observer capacity, with Ken Natsume, Senior Director, PCT Legal and International Affairs Department, in attendance.”

Chatting ducksSo the ‘news’ boils down to, son of a famous politician who died 27 years ago had a webchat with a bunch of people to “confirm their commitment to co-operation” and nothing got signed or anything; just pure fluff! Chatting ducks… exchanging buzzwords like “HEY HI” (AI)…

This is how distractions from something can be artificially manufactured on the cheap. In the upcoming meeting Campinos will ‘charm’ the delegates; “my staff HATES MY GUTS! But hey, look over there, I have some nice press releases in our Web site with that photo of me smiling coyly as it makes me look very gentle and popular, worldwide…”

We certainly hope Mr. Campinos put on his mask on the way to the Office, for a change. He never shows up with any face covering and he does not socially-distance himself from other vulnerable people. Maybe he thinks he’s invincible; he certainly doesn’t understand the science.

Update: And… only minutes after we had published this post Kluwer followed with:

The Central Staff Committee of the European Patent Office and the trade union SUEPO have called for a strike on Tuesday 15 December 2020 during the meeting of the Administrative Council. SUEPO has announced the strike will be the start of a year of social conflict to defend the future of the Staff and their families.

In a letter to EPO personnel today, the CSC called upon colleagues to join the strike: “Regrettably, we can only report a continued erosion of our work package, an erosion that has even accelerated during these times of pandemic.

All the while, our President maintains that the staff he meets are happy, that social dialogue is working at full speed and that all is going well in EPO-land (our production has not suffered, even today). This is in stark contrast to the emails, phone calls and messages we keep receiving by many colleagues who are increasingly suffering from the unabated production pressure and management by spreadsheet, topped up by the social isolation due to the pandemic.”

Is the rest of the media paying attention?

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