08.24.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Expecting the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation to Actually Follow the Law…

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4449a20ad1a87e19292b30bd9031f5f5

Summary: The representatives of staff of the EPO, the Central Staff Committee (CSC), are approaching the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation along with their Chairman; they’re politely asking for better safeguards against systematic abuses of the law, including abolition of workers’ basic rights

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has distributed a letter, an open letter, and readers of Techrights typically ensure that we too can see a copy. This letter only partly concerns the unlawful regulations of Benoît Battistelli — regulations which António Campinos continued to exploit while keeping 100% silent on the court’s outcome (he doesn’t seem to care what tribunals say unless those tribunals are controlled by him).

“The intent is to raise awareness and garner sympathy from the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (mostly a bunch of legal hacks rather than scientists).”The letter from the CSC mostly concerns the internal Appeals Committee, which was mentioned earlier this year and several times last year. The intent is to raise awareness and garner sympathy from the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (mostly a bunch of legal hacks rather than scientists).

“On 7 July 2021,” the CSC said, “the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) delivered several important Judgments on the rules governing the exercise of the right to strike at the EPO. The ILOAT found that virtually every single one of the strike rules blatantly and obviously violated the fundamental right to strike, that the President exceeded his competence when drawing up Circular No. 347 in 2013 and that the Circular is therefore unlawful in its entirety and is set aside. Already in 2015 a national court in The Hague, the so-called Gerechtshof, found that the EPO violated fundamental European rights. In view of the long list of violations of the fundamental right to strike identified by the ILOAT, the question can be raised of why a majority in the internal Appeals Committee (ApC) reached a completely opposite opinion, based on the same facts and arguments.”

Then they spoke of the internal Appeals Committee (ApC). “The members of the ApC are laypersons. However, the Chair and Vice-Chairs are expected to possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be lawyers with experience in the area of employment law acquired at national or international level (see Article 111(3) ServRegs). A reasonably objective and informed person might question whether they would at times give up their independence and impartiality.

“The damage caused by the ApC’s massively wrong assessment of the strike rules and their application is considerable, both for the Organisation and for its staff.

  • The Organisation is now stigmatised in the public eye as an employer that has been violating fundamental rights of its staff for over eight years and has been depriving them of an important tool for collective bargaining.
  • Staff have also definitively lost confidence in the internal means of settling disputes.

Much of the rest of the publication is included in letter form, as shown in the video above, and we’ve decided to replicate it as HTML so that it makes it into IPFS and Gemini space.

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Reference: sc21102cl – 0.3.1/1.3.1
Date: 13/08/2021

To the Chairman and
the Heads of Delegation of the
Administrative Council of the
European Patent Organisation

OPEN LETTER

System for the settlement of disputes – Proposals for strengthening the Appeals Committee

Dear Mr Chairman,
Dear Heads of Delegation,

On 7 July 2021, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) delivered several important Judgments on the rules governing the exercise of the right to strike at the European Patent Office1, introduced in 2013 with decision CA/D 5/13 and Circular No. 347, as well as on subsequent implementing decisions. ILOAT found that virtually every single one of the strike rules blatantly and obviously violated the fundamental right to strike, that the President exceeded his competence when drawing up Circular No. 347 and that the Circular is therefore unlawful in its entirety and is set aside2. The ILOAT furthermore ruled that a salary deduction for absence due to strike participation of 1/20th of the monthly remuneration per day of absence instead of 1/30th as for all other unpaid lawful absences was punitive3 and that the President had abused his power when applying the strike rules and through his interpretation of Circular No. 347, of which he was the author4, justifying high moral damages.

Already in 2015 a national court in The Hague, the so-called Gerechtshof, found that the EPO violated fundamental European rights5.

____
1 Judgments Nos. 4430 to 4435
2 Judgment No. 4430, consideration 16 and decision
3 Judgment No. 4435
4 Judgments Nos. 4432 to 4434
5 The decision of the Gerechtshof was later on set aside by the Dutch Supreme Court, the Hoge Raad, only on the ground that the Organisation could invoke its immunity from national jurisdiction and that the Dutch courts therefore have no jurisdiction (see Judgement of the Gerechtshof Den Haag).


Based on the same facts and arguments the internal Appeals Committee (ApC), by a majority, concluded in the underlying internal appeal procedures that the new strike rules as well as the salary deductions were lawful, that the President did not act ultra vires when laying down the strike rules in Circular No. 347 and that he did not abuse his powers in applying them6. The ILOAT found that the ApC had erred in all these points. In view of the long list of violations of the fundamental right to strike identified by the ILOAT7, this is remarkable and raises the question of why a majority in the ApC reached such an opposite opinion. The members of the ApC are laypersons. However, the Chair and Vice-Chairs are expected to possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be lawyers with experience in the area of employment law acquired at national or international level, pursuant to Article 111(3) ServRegs. A reasonably objective and informed person might question whether they would at times give up their independence and impartiality, codified in Article 112 ServRegs.

The Staff Representation has already pointed out several times8 that the unilateral selection and appointment of the Chair and the Vice-Chairs by the President (Article 111(2)(a) ServRegs) does not ensure the required balance in the ApC and does not promote confidence in its opinions. The Staff Representation has therefore repeatedly requested to be involved in their selection and that the GCC be consulted on the appointments, to no avail9.

Internal appeals are procedure where a Committee is composed with an equal number of members appointed by the President and by the Staff Representation, however with the Chair taking alone all procedural decisions (Article 111a(1) ServRegs), leading the debate and making sometimes the difference in the opinions. Therefore, a mutual agreement on their appointment is key for arriving at balanced opinions accepted by staff and for preventing from overloading ILOAT with complaints which could have easily been settled internally. This was the reason why the GAC10 had to be consulted on the appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chairs since the founding of the European Patent Organisation11 until 2013. However, with decisions CA/D 8/12 and 9/12 this consultation process was abolished and the Chair and Vice-Chairs have since then been unilaterally appointed by the President.

____
6 Only in the internal appeals procedure underlying Judgment No. 4432 the ApC concluded that a postponement of a strike ballot had been unlawful, but despite the blatant abuse of power no moral damage was awarded.
7 See, in particular, Judgment Nos. 4430, cons.16 and 4435, cons.15 to 17
8 See for example the letter to the Administrative Council of 31 January 2020
9 Although Staff Representation has been granted an observer status in the last selection procedure for a new chair, this cannot be a substitute for being able to appoint members to the selection board and for the required consultation of staff representation in the GCC.
10 Replaced by the GCC with decision CA/D 2/14
11 Article 110(4) ServRegs, version 1977 (CA/D 9/77)


The damage caused by the ApC’s massively wrong assessment of the strike rules and their application is considerable, both for the Organisation and for its staff.

The Organisation is now stigmatised in the public eye as an employer that has been violating fundamental rights of its staff for over eight years and has been depriving staff of an important tool for collective bargaining, as their right to strike has been severely obstructed at a time when many fundamental reforms were pushed through (inter alia “social democracy”, the new career system, the new salary adjustment procedure, the new rules for the education allowance, …).

Staff have also definitively lost confidence in the internal means of settling disputes and will, in most cases, eventually file a complaint with the ILOAT for protecting their rights. In addition, there is a high risk that many other decisions in appeal cases were also based on opinions where the ApC erred in law.

In view of the fundamental importance of legal certainty and legal peace and in order to restore staff’s confidence in the opinions of the ApC as soon as possible, and to prevent that disputes have to be settled outside the Organisation, we urge you that the Administrative Council takes steps to ensure that:

• Staff Representation is allowed to appoint members to the selection board for the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the ApC,
• the GCC is consulted prior to appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chairs,
• no Chair or vice-Chair may be appointed who does not find consensus in the GCC.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc.: President of the EPO
Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization

In short, there seems to be a tendency to enshrine unlawful rules as “the law”; moreover, “there is a high risk that many other decisions in appeal cases were also based on opinions where the ApC erred in law.”

This is by design; in the past we saw EPO dictators intervening when the ApC got it right; so, as usual, there’s not even any regard/respect to those appointed to assess legality within the EPO.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  2. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  5. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  6. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  7. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  8. Linux Foundation Almost Never uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  9. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  10. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  11. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  12. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  13. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  14. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  16. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  17. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  18. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  19. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  20. Jim Zemlin: Chief Revenue Officer in 'Linux' Seat-Selling Foundation

    Board seats in the Linux Foundation are basically a product on sale, based internal documents



  21. Reminder: Linux Foundation's Last IRS Filing is Very Old (Same Year the CFO Left)

    People really need to ask the Linux Foundation, directly, why its filings are years behind; this seems like a sensitive subject



  22. Linux Foundation Does Not Speak for GNU/Linux Users

    There's a serious problem in the "Linux" world as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation claims to speak for us (the GNU/Linux community) while in fact speaking against us (on the payroll of those looking to extinguish us)



  23. IBM's Lennart Poettering on Breaking Software for Pseudo Novelty

    Recently-uploaded ELCE 2011 clip shows a panel with Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas Gleixner, Paul McKenney, and Lennart Poettering (relevant to novelty or perceived novelty that mostly degrades the experience of longtime users, e.g. Wayland and systemd)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 15, 2022



  25. Links 15/05/2022: Linux 5.18 RC7 and Calls for More Mass Surveillance

    Links for the day



  26. Audio: Mark Shuttleworth Marketed to Young Males, With Sexy Pictures

    The Web is rotting away, old links become broken links within months or years, so I’ve decided to encode a 3-minute segment of the whole as Ogg



  27. What a Difference Half a Decade Makes (When Linux Foundation is 'Having Fun')

    Media shaming campaigns may have taken their toll on the founder of Linux, who is now bossed by someone who rejects Linux and is married to a Microsoft booster. Like Richard Stallman under FSF guidance (and conditions for return, mostly for fear of further media assaults and attack dogs), he has become a more publicity-shy and private person. The Linux Foundation has in effect reduced the founder of what it’s called after (Linux) into a weekly release manager and mascot, whose brand it is gradually diluting/cheapening.



  28. Links 15/05/2022: GNU libiconv 1.17

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) Cannot Be Reconciled With the Law

    Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC)? Impossible. But Team UPC counts on an endless torrent of fake news managing to convince you (and more importantly politicians) otherwise.



  30. Even Team Battistelli is Sometimes Admitting -- Out in Public! -- That Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Neither Legal Nor Desirable

    Daniel X. Thomas and other people who are “too old to punish” (consequences to their career profoundly minimised owing to seniority) are among those who push back against the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC); any sane person — not a career-climbing litigation zealot — can identify the pertinent facts and realise that what’s going on here is an injustice of unprecedented proportions in the patent discipline


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts