01.26.21

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EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe’s second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there’s clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses

THE staff representatives of the EPO have circulated this 50-page document [PDF] about a recent ‘meeting’ with António Campinos (online chat, so not a meeting per se). The concluding words say that they don’t sense of feel like anything has changed since Benoît Battistelli except attitudinal aspects (the tone). Staff continues to suffer, examiners are besieged by growing workloads and declining benefits/compensation, and the general consensus among managers is that staff has no role in decision-making processes, not even a place in such panels.

“Less than a third of the EPO ‘products’ are associated with the EU, so it’s not even clear whether it deserves “European” in its title.”Now that the EPO is run by almost no scientists at all there’s a worrisome embrace of mindless buzzwords and political language is being weaponised to lie to everybody. Promises are being broken, a pandemic is being leveraged to wage a war on dissent, pensioners at risk are being robbed, and the money piled up in EPOnia gets diverted into an illegal gambling scheme from which only EPO managers stand to gain. To make matters worse, the EPO still lacks any sort of oversight, either at pan-European/EU level or national level. This basically means that the people who do all this are unaccountable and accordingly arrogant.

The Central Staff Committee summarised this report as follows:

Report on the GCC meetings of 26 November and 10 December 2020

In the November GCC meeting, no real dialogue took place: the President was not prepared to move an inch from his initial proposals. He claimed that he would not re-open the discussion on the SAP.

In the December GCC meeting, two Circulars (Nos. 364 and 367) were on the agenda for consultation. Both Circulars were amended as the result of litigation by staff (as regards recognition of PhDs and abolition of house arrest, respectively). The changes are positive but the Circulars as a whole are far from being satisfactory.

Both GCC meetings are examples of how not to conduct a social dialogue: there is no genuine debate. Our arguments are ignored when they don’t suit the Administration. Even if there are indeed some mini-steps in the right direction, the President and his Administration remain unwilling to acknowledge the deep-rooted, structural faults of many of the reforms that have been forced on staff in recent years.

It’s hard to understand why a continent like Europe allows this abuse to persist. It just carries on and on for a decade or longer. It is perfectly clear that the EPO breaks multiples laws, yet nobody has ever been convicted or prosecuted for it. What’s more, it’s very clear that many EPO policies aren’t geared towards advancing Europe but rather to enrich a bunch of law firms and multinationals based outside Europe. Less than a third of the EPO ‘products’ are associated with the EU, so it’s not even clear whether it deserves “European” in its title. The staff is European, but the objectives are not. We certainly hope that media across Europe will pay closer attention, but as I pointed out in the video the “Mafia” (what EPO insiders call management) is bribing and blackmailing publishers/bloggers, especially those who dare investigate the EPO. Or produce/share evidence

Because the media says I'm a nice manThroughout the video (multimedia is faster to do than text) I spend some time assessing the character of the current EPO President, based on hundreds of hours of reading (since 2016 when we first mentioned him). As the meme on the right says, there’s a tendency to focus not on substance but on attitudes or a shallow perception of empathy; “Because the media says I’m a nice man…”

The media in the pockets of patent litigation lawyers spent a lot of time (and space) selling this idea that Campinos is a very nice man, despite lack of actual evidence of substance. The EPO workers are strongly encouraged not to fall for those tricks. Campinos is definitely not there to protect staff but to protect Battistelli, a fellow Frenchman who arranged this job for him. Nothing is going to change as long as Campinos remains President.

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