05.01.21

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The EPO Can Never and Will Never Recover If It Fails to Communicate With People Who Actually Understand the Job of a Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO isn’t a cash register, it’s supposed to function like a patent office (with only legitimate European Patents)

EPO Rating Cartoon
Image creator unknown. Contributed by a reader 2 years ago.

Summary: Months after the Office (Europe’s largest patent office) cut off communications with the union of staff it informally does the same with internal staff representatives; there seems to be no person with real understanding of patents participating in decision-making processes

PRESIDENT António Campinos (or ‘RESIDENT EVIL’) is no longer trying to impress anyone. Why would he? Staff is well aware that it’s another flavour (or colour) of Benoît Battistelli — moreover one who was shoehorned into this presidency by Battistelli himself.

“The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has been doing spectacular work.”The only remaining question is, what’s staff going to do about it?

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has been doing spectacular work. So has SUEPO, which of course supports the CSC (and vice versa, unlike the yellow union nobody hears about anymore).

The other day the CSC wrote and then disseminated among staff the latest letter about the notorious ‘New Normal’, which basically strives to normalise abnormality and illegality [1, 2]. That’s not to say that normalcy/normality is possible after the pandemic, but at the same time crushing the rule of law is universally unacceptable.

“That’s not to say that normalcy/normality is possible after the pandemic, but at the same time crushing the rule of law is universally unacceptable.”“No consultation in sight on the orientation paper,” the CSC moaned, basically repeating what the staff became accustomed to hearing. The gist of it is, Campinos fakes dialogue, hardly even simulating or emulating any. The president’s pretence is revealing. He’s an “empty suit”… he himself knows it. “No more Mr. Nice Guy…”

“Mr Campinos rightly points out that “Towards a New Normal” is an orientation document addressing issues that stand to affect a vast majority of our colleagues considerably,” the CSC told staff. “It is all the more surprising that the only “consultation” he considers necessary is to give the “opportunity to give further input” to “stakeholders”, which will be assessed for inclusion in the final draft of the document.”

What “inclusion”? Nowadays when the EPO speaks of inclusion it means a bunch of fluff that helps distract from the corruption of the EPO’s management. Either way, as the letter below puts it: “You mention that 900 colleagues have followed your invitation to submit input and have contributed. We have no intention of following the invitation of your Principal Director Communication and making the 901st written contribution.”

“…back in February (or thereabouts) the Office cut off communications — except informal — with the union, SUEPO, but now it informally does the same with the Central Staff Committee (not union but internal staff representation).”Guess where Principal Director Communication comes from…

“Proper good-faith statutory consultation must allow a reasonable amount of time for the consulted body to discuss the issue, have its principal questions answered and provide reasoned advice or recommendations,” the CSC continued. “The proposed exercise, i.e. merely sending “further input” to an email address, lacks essential features of a genuine consultation. External stakeholders have also long understood that such a call for input is more of a communication exercise than a consultation.”

It’s all PR, a face-saving exercise of an autocracy advised by Principal Director Communication, an Iberian Joseph Goebbels of sorts.

“The final draft will be submitted to the Administrative Council (AC) in June and gives a basis for making further proposals in the future,” the CSC said, but “Mr Campinos apparently intends to continue the bad habit of the past, which is to get a favourable opinion from the Member States on a vague orientation and use it to confront staff and their representation later with faits accomplis, arguing that the AC has agreed on the orientation anyway.”

This is similar to what they said in the open letter, which is available herein as simplified HTML.

Reference: sc21053cl-0.3.1/
Date: 28.04.2021

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

OPEN LETTER

No consultation on New Normal orientation paper

Dear Mr President,

Thank you for your letter of 22 April!

You rightly point out that “Towards a New Normal” is an orientation document addressing issues that stand to affect a vast majority of our colleagues considerably. It is all the more surprising that the only “consultation” you consider necessary is to give the “opportunity to give further input” to “stakeholders”, which will be assessed for inclusion in the final draft of the document.

You mention that 900 colleagues have followed your invitation to submit input and have contributed. We have no intention of following the invitation of your Principal Director Communication and making the 901st written contribution.

In plain language, consultation should be the process of discussing something with someone in order to get their advice or opinion about it1. In legalese, proper good-faith statutory consultation must allow a reasonable amount of time for the consulted body to discuss the issue, have its principal questions answered and provide reasoned advice or recommendations2. Your proposed exercise lacked essential features of a genuine consultation. External stakeholders have also long understood that such a call for input is more of a communication exercise than a consultation3.

____
1 See Cambridge Dictionary
2 See e.g. ILOAT Judgment No. 4230
3 See the Article “Will the EPO still be normal under the „New Normal“?” in Kluwer Patent Blog: “…The language used throughout this document is woolly at best, occasionally suspiciously close to the language used in the infamous communications of the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984…”


You mention that the final draft will be submitted to the Administrative Council (AC) in June and give a basis for making further proposals in the future. From this we infer that you intend to continue the bad habit of the past, which is to get a favourable opinion from the Member States on a vague orientation and use it to confront staff and their representation with faits accomplis, arguing that the AC has agreed on the orientation anyway. This paves the way for far-reaching reforms that will undoubtedly affect the conditions of employment and the working conditions of staff, on the basis of a document that has bypassed meaningful consultation.

We have stressed the need for consultation in numerous papers and letters4. We regret that you are making less and less effort to maintain a semblance of social dialogue, particularly on the issue of “New Normal”.

This notwithstanding, we make here a final call for consultation.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

____
4 See e.g.
• “New Normal” An opportunity to focus on EPO staff;
• Workplace concept – Need for a strong “business” case;
• “Towards a New Normal” orientation document – The Staff Representation is ready for dialogue…

As we pointed out before, back in February (or thereabouts) the Office cut off communications — except informal — with the union, SUEPO, but now it informally does the same with the Central Staff Committee (not union but internal staff representation). The Chairman isn’t amused and the change of tone is glaringly obvious, e.g. “we make here a final call for consultation.” (Sounds like an ultimatum of sorts)

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