01.01.21

New Leak: Today’s EPO Breaks Its Contract With Former Staff of the EPO, Not Just Existing Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UK Pensioners Referendum; Work a lifetime for the EPO; Only to be lied to (about its financial state)

Summary: António Campinos, the EPO‘s current president, robs old people who had made the EPO what it was before rogue management grabbed its reputation and started milking it to death (for personal gain of that rogue management)

“SAP” is the name of a large German company. But SAP is also a deliberately misleading acronym that’s (mis)used to take money from EPO staff, including past staff. Pensioners, who already enjoy their EPO pension (which they deserve; this is what they signed up for), are badly affected, but almost nobody bothers mentioning them. EPO scandals are, in general, scarcely and rarely mentioned in the media (here and elsewhere). What a tragedy. Not only for the EPO but also for media, which tragically supports the oppressors.

“The requirements have long been steep, including fluency in at least 3 languages and extensive scientific background (for examiners).”We occasionally hear from people who are dissatisfied to see where the EPO is headed. Existing EPO workers barely or rarely sense like they can rely on their promised pensions, seeing that the employer is circling down the drain or going right into an ashtray of history.

Man's best friend“Per definition,” a source reminds us this week, “pensioners have contributed their whole life to the success and wealth of the EPO.”

Some people have worked for the EPO for as long as 4 decades (sometimes slightly more). The EPO is literally their entire professional life and legacy.

Our source asks aloud: “How does the model of an international organisation reward them?”

We examined this before in the context of letters issued and signed by Chairman of the EPO Pensioners’ Association, Curt Edfjäll.

The pensioners aren’t being greedy. They’re entitled, contractually, to what they receive.

As Ryan has just put it in our IRC channel, “the rich like to say “entitlements” as a slur. Like, “These people think they’re entitled to something”…”

“Actually,” our source notes, “they couldn’t complain so far as they received very decent pensions benefits, health insurance etc…”

Hey, it’s not like anybody can apply and then work for the EPO. The requirements have long been steep, including fluency in at least 3 languages and extensive scientific background (for examiners). Of course this has not been the case for years, as few bother applying for an institution which barely hires anybody and few wish to work for anyway.

Regarding benefits to EPO pensioners, remember there’s an obligation inside contracts. Nothing can take that away. “That is the package they agreed upon when entering the office some 20, 30 or 40 years ago,” our source reminds us. “Well, what do they get now with the SAP? Does it have consequences on pensions? Yes, it does indeed and there is no reason to rejoice: they get less, even if the SAP is unacceptable to active staff, pensioners get lesser than less.”

The pension ageIt’s often said that inflation is a form of hidden tax and the EPO needs to take that into account when calculating compensation rates, including pensions. A thousand euros (or Francs) 30 years ago isn’t the same as what it is today (the currencies have changed and cumulative interest rates did too).

“The Pensioners association sent a letter to the EPO administration,” our source notes, “and received an answer from Nellie Simon (what a sweet name). Her answer adds insult to injure. Do we have now a second Elodie Bergot?”

“Here the letter from the pensioners’ association,” our source shows. It’s not vastly different from its letter which was shared last year by EPO staff representatives and even circulated among delegates (the Administrative Council).

It is reproduced below in full:

Subject: Comments by the Association of EPO Pensioners on CA/66/20,
“Adjustment with effect from 1 January 2021 of salaries… and of pensions paid by the Office.”

With CA/D4/20 the Administrative Council approved the new methodology for adjustment of salaries and pensions. Article 10 of CA/D4/20 reads: ”Any positive adjustment resulting from the application of Article 9 and carried forward after three annual salary adjustments will be paid out to employees as a lump sum in proportion to the basic salaries and allowances they received over the three-year period.”

With document CA/66/20 the Office is now presenting the results of the implementation of the methodology from the decision of CA/D4/20. The Association has only recently been made aware of the existence of CA/66/20 and of the negative and unequal effects it will have on pensioners in comparison to active staff.

In point 24 of CA/66/20, the Office presents the excess adjustment not applied in January 2021 for the four countries in which the Office employs staff. CA/66/20 does not specify which excess adjustments have not been applied in countries where EPO pensioners use the salary scale of the country in which they are resident. CA/66/20 states that the remaining balance is carried forward to a redistribution pool which will be used in next year’s adjustment and for a potential one-off payment after 3 years of application of the salary methodology.

The Association has on several occasions asked the Office for explanations as to how the redistribution pool works for pensioners. Only by mail to the Chairman of the Association dated 7 December 2020 did the Office clarify that although the mechanism of excess adjustment is applied to pensioners, the lump sum will not be paid out to pensioners at the end of the 3-year period. I quote from the mail from VP4: “Any remainder of the carried forward adjustment will be paid as a lump sum only to employees in return for their active contribution to the Office’s success in these difficult times.” I wish to recall that today’s pensioners have all also contributed to the success of the EPO and should therefore not be treated unequally to active staff.

VP4 further states: “the principle of equal treatment has been respected.” It is evident that this is not correct. By not according any payment from the redistribution pool to pensioners, there is no equal treatment.

It is thus clear from the Office’s statement above that the Office intends to use the redistribution pool as a kind of bonus payment for active staff, which was certainly not the intention behind the new methodology. However, any money in the redistribution pool resulting from the excess adjustment applied to pension payments will not paid out to pensioners although this money has been taken from their pension payments.

EPC Article 33(2)c states: “The Administrative Council shall be competent to adopt or amend the Pensions Scheme Regulations and any appropriate increases in existing pensions to correspond to increase in salaries.”

The proposal to implement the new methodology so that pensioners do not benefit from the payment of a lump sum at the end of the 3-year period is thus in contradiction to the EPC itself and constitutes an unequal treatment of pensioners compared to active staff.

The Association assumes that the Administrative Council was also not aware of the way the Office intends to apply Article 10 of CA/D4/20 and its negative effects on pensioners.

The Association therefore respectfully requests the Administrative Council to instruct the Office to apply EPC Article 33(2)c correctly so that also pensioners will be given treatment equal to that applied to active staff such that the pensioners will also benefit from a lump sum payment.

Curt Edfjäll
Chairman of the EPO Pensioners’ Association

Click to see CA/66/20 and to see CA/D_4/20

“Sweet Nellie,” says the source, had the audacity to issue some self-serving waffle. “Here’s the answer from the administration,” the source notes:

The reply below was received from the Office on 7 December 2020.
To see the message sent by the Association on 2 December 2020 click here.

Dear Mr Edfjäll

Thank you for your message.

In June 2020, the Administrative Council has adopted a series of measures to address the coverage gap identified in the financial study 2019. The new salary adjustment procedure is one of these measures. It was designed to curb the evolution of the Office’s expenses while ensuring a fair and transparent approach distributing the effort evenly between all stakeholders, including pensioners.

As you correctly pointed out, the new salary adjustment procedure foresees that both employees and pensioners will benefit from the yearly adjustments of the scales generated by the new method. In that respect, the Office would like to emphasise that the scales will be as much as possible adjusted up to the applicable ceiling using any previous adjustment carried forward from the previous years. Indeed, it is expected that the effect of the new sustainability clause (article 9) will be to smooth the inherent volatility of the underlying methodology. However any remainder of the carried forward adjustment after 3 years will be paid out as a lump sum only to employees in return for their active contribution to the Office’s success in these difficult times.

It follows that pensioners will receive what is rightfully owed to them, i.e. pensions adjusted on the basis of the new adjustment method adopted unanimously by the Council. It is also worth emphasising that pensioners, like active staff, receive full benefit from the nominal guarantee clause: a clause which guarantees an “over-payment” when compared to the results of the procedure. In fact, more than 30 pensioners in Switzerland have been benefitting from this measure for 10 years now.

The exceptional events of this year show that the chosen scenario, at first criticised for being too conservative, is fit for purpose, i.e. to the Office’s needs and environment.

In brief, the Council adopted a suitable method that shall be implemented as it stands and the principle of equal treatment has been respected [given the obvious factual and legal differences between employees and pensioners].

In any event, the overall impact of the new method will be assessed as well as the financial situation of the Office with the possibility to adjust the method for the next cycle, if needed.

Best regards

Nellie Simon

Vice-President Corporate Services

“The exceptional events of this year,” Nellie Simon says.

Here’s why nobody should buy that excuse (or pretext) of Simon. The key reason: This whole “SAP” scam predates the pandemic, but that pandemic is now retroactively being used (exploited) to justify a robbery while gambling money away, spending that money in a fashion now proven to be vastly worse than risky (economies collapsing, homes foreclosed etc.). This is far from the only instance where “COVID” is used to justify EPO illegalities of all sorts.

They literally rob pensioners to feed a gambling habit in which workers shoulder the losses/risks while a few criminals who abducted the EPO’s treasury pocket all the benefits, shielded by the Commission through Benoît Battistelli‘s friend.

Given that the EPO has responded (no good excuse for ripping off old people in a time of crisis), the response deserves scrutiny. Speaking of the Commission’s cover-up, a German reader wanted to pass along some information regarding Thierry Breton’s “misguided protectionism and lobbyism” and to quote:

The part about the EU Commission, under French pressure (which must have involved Breton for sure, as he’s the French commissioner), being responsible for many people dying now as they haven’t procured enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines, is really bad stuff.

Der Spiegel and Focus are the two leading newsweeklies in Germany. Spiegel is center-left/liberal; Focus is center-right/libertarian. If they agree, it means something. And especially Spiegel is typically very much pro-EU.

The current French administration is really a disaster for the EU. If Breton protected the French automotive industry, that would help against those Nordic patent trolls. Instead, he helps his long-standing friends in the telecoms sector. But when it came to COVID-19 vaccine procurement, he apparently blocked the purchase of hundreds of millions of more doses from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

People will die, and the economic damage will dwarf whatever could go wrong in the automotive patent context…

Trust me I don’t give a damn that BioNTech is a German company; Pfizer and Moderna are American companies, and BioNTech was founded by Turkish immigrants, so it’s not a matter of national pride. Even if a good vaccine came from Japan or Chile, I’d say “let’s buy it”.

The whole patent situation seems to nowadays be warped in favour of favours made to champions of Europe favouritism. Policies are shaped not by a common, unified goal of Europe but personal interests of various officials. This is apparently as true in the Commission as it is in EPO management. This erodes or diminishes public confidence in Europe’s largest and second-largest institutions. It’s no longer about economic gain/advantage of Europeans but of few corrupt officials.

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