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Lowered Quality and Standards at the EPO, Not Only Departure from the European Patent Convention (EPC)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 57447fd14d855d49c1159506a0c108ff
GCC Documents
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO’s management is planting the seeds for the EPO’s (and EPC’s) destruction, misusing COVID-19 and diversity as pretexts for outsourcing and crushing of salaries, rights, and so on

AS we noted here yesterday, António Campinos is as arrogant as Benoît Battistelli. He thinks he can violate the EPC and later change the EPC to justify the violations. What’s the purpose of constitutions if this gets done? Team UPC thinks similarly [1, 2].

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has just released this “[r]eport on the GCC meeting of 1 March 2022,” circulating it among members of staff. To quote:

There were three items on the agenda that are of foremost importance to all of us, in the short term, the medium term and the long term:

  • On rewards: already in the summer, the result of the proposed rewards exercise will be noticeable: no more than 60% of eligible staff will get a pensionable reward, the lowest percentage since the introduction of the new career system.
  • On New Ways of Working: the impact, including its disadvantages, will only become apparent over time. But this is still a minor problem compared to the unclear regulations regarding accidents at work in home offices and occupational diseases.
  • On professional mobility: the ideas on so-called professional mobility cause great concern for the long-term future of the EPO: decentralisation.

From the the full publication [PDF] I’ve isolated the part about the Pan-European Seal Programme, which seems like scabs and poses a risk to the very premise of the EPO as an institution. As noted above in the video, “diversity” is now being flaunted as a convenient pretext by which to discard language skills, knowing that nobody would wish to be seen as opposing diversity. But here’s the part about the Pan-European Seal Programme:

Young Professionals

The President intends to expand the Pan-European Seal Programme to a system where people will be seconded abroad for a maximum of two years after a one-year traineeship at the EPO. Secondment seems to mean that they will then return to the Office.

The future administrative status of these people is unclear. The President has orally announced a new category of EPO staff. The document is silent on this point. In the first place, the procedures and criteria for selecting them are not transparent. After their traineeship (and subsequent secondment), they will have a competitive advantage when competing with other applicants for a position at the EPO. It appears that the programme is currently already serving as a stepping stone to employment as an EPO staff member.

We presently have in the Office permanent staff and staff on fixed-term contracts. Services are increasingly outsourced to external providers. Creating yet another category of staff would be difficult to reconcile with the declared aim of fostering “One Office”.

With an impending strike and weeks of industrial action already in place it certainly seems like the Office intends to crush more and more of the EPC, wrongly assuming that courts will allow such abuses to stay intact (these delaying tactics, relying on “justice delayed” or deliberate procrastination are also utilised by Team UPC). The reasons for the strikes and the demands were covered here before.

Why isn’t the media covering these scandals? For three days already the front page of SUEPO The Hague’s Web site has mentioned the strike. Not a single publisher has even mentioned this.

SUEPO Union Industrial Action Announcement - Day of Strike on Tuesday, March 22, 2022!
Eight days from now

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