05.18.21

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António Campinos is Already Worse Than Benoît Battistelli and Maybe More Aggressive as Well

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Hell in Cayman Islands
Don’t fall for the false narratives (some of them paid-for) in the media

Summary: The evil strategy of António Campinos, still surrounded by Team Battistelli (Bergot et al), is assured to destroy any future attempts to recruit top talent; the EPO has adopted a “scorched Earth” approach

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has become more vocal, seeing that it has another Benoît Battistelli in its hands. António Campinos is hardly any better than Battistelli in any meaningful sense other than subtle and shallow attitudinal aspects. Judge a person by what he or she does to you behind the scenes or behind your back, not to your face. Putting aside the lobbying by Campinos for illegal European software patents (aided by his kangaroo courts), he’s actively attacking the staff while telling the public (or national delegates) some ridiculous stuff about dialogue. He speaks to neither the union nor the elected staff representatives; he just listens, sort of, and then ignores them. No wonder at the end of last year they prepared us for a year of conflict ahead (around the time the staff went on strike).

“Judge a person by what he or she does to you behind the scenes or behind your back, not to your face.”Yesterday (Monday, start of the week) the CSC circulated a document along with another (we published a video about it this morning) and this one warned colleagues that Campinos employs an “army of litigators instead of social dialogue,” just like Battistelli did. In fact, Campinos does that a lot faster in his term than Battistelli did. In that regard, Campinos might be even worse (or worst ever).

“Money runs like water at the EPO, as long as it helps crush justice and undermine the very staff doing all the work.”“Mr Campinos was initially mandated by the Administrative Council to restore social dialogue in the Office,” the CSC told staff. “However, early February 2021, Mr Campinos issued rejection decisions on appeals against two highly controversial reforms of his predecessor: the New Career System and the Abolition of the Invalidity Lump Sum. Now, Mr Campinos has decided to lawyer up against staff by tabling in the coming meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) a document (CA/F 11/21) awarding an unprecedented amount of €5.85m to two law firms Lenz & Staehelin and de Guillenchmidt to represent the Office for the coming complaints in front of the Tribunal.”

SecuriCamThe CSC continued: ““Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” said Nelson Mandela. Instead, Mr Campinos has decided to reduce the overall budget for Education and Childcare by -4.8% and to invest €5.85m in an army of litigators against EPO staff. Mr Campinos reveals again one facet of his mandate: to pursue the deterioration of the conditions of employment of staff, and this at any cost.”

Money runs like water at the EPO, as long as it helps crush justice and undermine the very staff doing all the work. Astounding, isn’t it? Where are the regulators? Better to ask, who are the regulators? Nobody can answer that question…

We’ve decided to reproduce the full document below, in the form of simplified HTML:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel

Munich 17.05.2021
sc21059cp -0.2.1/1.3.2/5.1

An army of litigators instead of social dialogue

Mr Campinos was initially mandated by the Administrative Council to restore social dialogue in the Office. However, early February 2021, Mr Campinos issued rejection decisions on appeals against two highly controversial reforms of his predecessor: the New Career System and the Abolition of the Invalidity Lump Sum. Now, Mr Campinos has decided to lawyer up against staff by tabling in the coming meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) a document (CA/F 11/21) awarding an unprecedented amount of €5.85m to two law firms Lenz & Staehelin and de Guillenchmidt to represent the Office for the coming complaints in front of the Tribunal.

Introduction
CA/F 11/21 recalls that: “ILOAT cases follow internal Appeals Committee (ApC) proceedings, thus whilst the ApC actively reduces its backlog which utilises mainly internal resources, it also creates a number of challengeable final decisions, which in turn trigger a higher number of complaints as ILOAT filings.” (§9) The attentive reader will understand the implicit reference made to the mass complaints recently filed by EPO staff against the New Career System and the abolition of the Invalidity Lump Sum.

Like any party, the Office has to pay for its own legal representation. These costs are funded under budget Article 3521 – External experts and studies (105)1 and were until now budgeted for 2021 at €880.000. Legal representation of the Office may be either performed by in-house specialists of the Employment Law Department or outsourced to external law firms. In the latter case, an additional award of contract may be necessary.

Mr Campinos is now proposing an unprecedented increase of the budget for legal representation: “The proposed contracts have maximum values during the 36 month fixed term of €4.2m with Lenz & Staehelin and €1.65m with de Guillenchmidt.” (§14) On a yearly basis, this corresponds to a tripling of the initial budget for 2021.

Lenz & Staehelin and de Guillenchmidt

Back in 2015, the Geneva-based law firm Lenz & Staehelin was already awarded a one-year contract of €780.4302. Now, Mr Campinos proposes to double the yearly amount and to extend it over three years. According to its website, Lenz & Staehelin employs around 200 lawyers and covers a large range of practices and sectors, one of them being investigations, e.g. corporate crime, but emphasises above all its ability to adapt to Switzerland’s legal and regulatory environment to attract many of the world’s leading companies as well as private individuals. This choice of law firm might seems unfortunate for an organisation like the EPO which aims for the best standards in terms of transparency.

_____
1 CA/D 1/20, page 68
2 CA/F 6/16, page 33/34


The Paris-based law firm de Guillenchmidt was created in 2009 by Michel de Guillenchmidt. Its range of expertise seems more limited, including criminal, public, and corporate law, especially regularly pleading for public companies that have become private or for international employer organisations.

Less money for staff, more money against staff
In 2020, Mr Campinos made a historical -€83.2m of savings3 on the backs of staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and after the disastrous salary adjustment. Such results will make it easier for him to convince the delegations in the BFC to invest now an additional €5.85m in law firms.

CA/F 11/21 recalls that: “[c]urrently, as a quality indicator of incumbent provider support, around 90% of cases are being rejected before the ILOAT.” (§8). Money plays no role when the Office wants to excel in litigation. Examiners and users can only dream of a similar quality indicator for the core products of the Office.

It also shows where Mr Campinos sets the priorities: “The EPO requires the best possible legal advice and representation before ILOAT in Geneva” (page 1) in stark contrast with the unjustified prudent approach adopted for the Education and Childcare reform: “The new [Education and Childcare] scheme is also designed to ensure greater financial predictability”4.

Conclusion
“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” said Nelson Mandela. Instead, Mr Campinos has decided to reduce the overall budget for Education and Childcare by -4.8% 5 and to invest €5.85m in an army of litigators against EPO staff.

Mr Campinos reveals again one facet of his mandate: to pursue the deterioration of the
conditions of employment of staff, and this at any cost.

Your Central Staff Committee
_____
3 CA/10/21, page 36/80
4 CA/7/21, page 11
5 CA/7/21, §59

Long story short, expect more litigation and attempts to beat staff by exhausting if not bankrupting them with legal fees. If that’s not an abuse of stakeholders’ money, what is? Is this what a patent office was intended to do? Is this what composers of the EPC had in mind?

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