11.30.21

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The EPO’s Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It’s Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum daa6c4b14f45f1292dcf04348028c109

Summary: The phony president who has the audacity to claim there’s a budget gap (see above) is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: “Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation.”

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has sent António Campinos a copy of a letter about the same sort of thing we saw in the Benoît Battistelli days. The abusers take all the money, gamble with cash reserves illegally, and then give themselves bonuses for these illegal acts.

Talking about spitting in your staff’s face…

The letter to the Chairman (of the Administrative Council) and heads of national delegations is dated 4 days ago. EPO staff has been notified that “[t]he Central Staff Committee (CSC) has sent this letter to the AC secretariat, with a request to distribute it to the Heads of Delegations. Since 2015, the budget envelope for functional allowances has inflated from 400.000€ to 2.370.000€.”

Remember similar things happened half a decade ago under Battistelli. We covered that at the time. Campinos continues to prove he’s no better than Battistelli and since both of them bribe and defang the media we no longer see these issues aired in the media.

“The EPO is basically being robbed, exploiting the immunity by which managers plunder everybody else with impunity.”The CSC continues: “While the number of team managers and heads of department has increased in recent years, their functional allowance remains frozen since 2018 at 360€ per month regardless of grade. At the same time, from 2014 to 2021, the number of managers in the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) increased from 8 to 30, and such members are eligible for a functional allowance of up to two months’ salary per year at the discretion of the President.”

“In addition to the financial aspects, functional allowances can also have a deleterious effect on the functioning of the MAC and thus on the governance of the Organisation. The MAC is the President’s advisory body and it advises him on strategic or other important decisions. Most of its members (27 out of 30) are however under the direct authority of the President and functional allowances have accounted for a significant part of their remuneration since 2017. These circumstances can weaken the MAC as an advisory body, which is expected to provide high-quality and objective advice in these areas of strategic importance.

“Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation.”

So there’s no lack of money, it’s just badly allocated. The EPO is wasting money on stock market gambling (losing as much as 100 million euros per year in past years) while insisting it cannot pay staff — i.e. people who do all the work — as it did all along and as EPC standards generally demand (for talent attraction and retention).

We’re reproducing the whole letter below as HTML:

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

Central Staff Committee
Comité central du personnel
Zentraler Personalausschuss

centralSTCOM@epo.org

Reference: sc21140cl

Date: 26/11/2021

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

OPEN LETTER

Functional allowances at the EPO

Dear Mr Chairman,
Dear Heads of Delegation,

After seven years of implementation, the New Career System (CA/D 10/14) is still a concern in terms of transparency for staff and proper consultation is still lacking. This year, for the first time, the budget for functional allowances was not even submitted to the General Consultative Committee (GCC) and the budget envelope was simply disclosed in an announcement published on the Intranet on 15 October 2021. The details concerning the distribution and entitlement remain undisclosed. The Office also carried out a harmonisation reform without discussing it with the staff representation and without providing any details or basis for it. From the limited data available, the Central Staff Committee observes a trend towards less transparency and a continuous increase in the budget envelope.

Back in 2014 when functional allowances were introduced, they were limited to a maximum of two steps1 per month of the relevant grade and applicable to employees in job groups 4, 5 and 6 called upon to perform additional duties or involving specific demands (Article 12(2) ServRegs)2. At the time, the Office explained3 that they would be used for rewarding managerial responsibilities not otherwise rewarded (e.g. heads of

_________________
1In 2014, the functional allowance of team leaders (e.g. for examiners) was set at 1,5 step in their grade per month, and thus below the maximum.
2 CA/84/14, page 20/40, “New Career System”
3 CA/84/14, par. 30


department, team leaders), temporary extension of duties and specific constraints. Delegations expressed4 concerns about the lack of certainty on the entitlement5 and that a functional allowance would be difficult to withdraw even if the responsibilities end. They also saw a risk of inflation of the budget envelope. From 2015 to 2016, the budget envelope increased from 400.0006 € to 900.000 €7.

In 2017, the Office proposed8 to extend functional allowances to job groups 1, 2 and 3 in order to open entitlement to managers9 and to increase the ceiling in view of a manager’s salary to two monthly basic salaries per year (namely around a 6-fold increase for higher grades). Delegations expressed10 concerns that this extension corresponds to 17% of yearly salary i.e. up to 35.000 € – 40.000 € for the higher job groups. The staff representation warned that a beneficiary could earn in practice a salary of an employee in a higher job group, i.e. one Principal Director becoming a Vice-President in terms of salary, under the exclusive authority and discretion of the President and without involvement of the Council.11 From 2017 to 2021, the budget envelope continued to increase from 1.400.000 €12 to 2.370.000 €13.

While the number of team managers and heads of department has increased in recent years, their functional allowance remains frozen since 2018 at 360€ per month regardless of grade. At the same time, from 2014 to 2021, the number of managers holding the specific function of advising the President in the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) increased from 8 to 30, and such members are eligible for a functional allowance of up to two months’ salary per year at the discretion of the President.

_____________
4 CA/89/14 e, par. 17 & 22, “Draft minutes of the 110th meeting of the BFC” (20 November 2014)
5 CA/96/14 e, par. 73, “Draft minutes of the 110th meeting of the BFC” (10/11 December 2014)
6 GCC/DOC 12/2015
7 GCC/DOC 16/2017
8 CA/24/17 e, “Periodical review of the Service Regulations”
9 CA/36/17 e, par. 102, “Draft minutes of the 151st meeting of the AC” (15/16 March 2017)
10 CA/36/17 e, par. 103 and 105
11 CA/36/17, par. 114
12 GCC/DOC 16/2017
13 Intranet announcement of 15 October 2021


From a governance point of view, functional allowances can also have a deleterious effect on the functioning of the MAC. The President is assisted by the three Vice-Presidents14, who are appointed by the Administrative Council. On the other hand, the MAC is the President’s advisory body and it advises him on strategic or other important decisions15. Most of its members (27) are however under the direct authority of the President and functional allowances have accounted for a significant part of their remuneration since 2017. These circumstances can weaken the MAC as an advisory body, which is expected to provide high-quality and objective advice in these areas of strategic importance.

Events show that the delegations’ concerns on functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation.

The Central Staff Committee calls on the delegations to exercise their supervisory role over the Office to bring it to the proper standards of consultation and transparency.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc.: President of the EPO
_____________

14Article 10(3) EPC
15 See the Terms of Reference of the MAC

Maybe we’ll follow up on this soon, maybe as a video tomorrow. Either way, it seems clear nothing is changing for the better. The EPO is basically being robbed, exploiting the immunity by which managers plunder everybody else with impunity.

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