Remember that the EPO under Battistelli spends over a million Euros per year just manipulating the media
“[Microsoft's] Gates is trying to make sure that he has a proprietary position in controlling the tools that allow you and me to access information. And that’s profitable by definition. How would you like to own the printing press?”
–PaineWebber Media Analyst Christopher Dixon
Summary: Our observations regarding the apparent media disinterest in EPO scandals, especially at the very core of the EPO (principal host country)
LAST year, this year [1, 2, 3], and to some lesser degree even 2+ years ago we explained why German media barely covers EPO scandals (which happen right next door), being connected to beneficiaries of this whole arrangement in Munich and Berlin. Last week we also noted that the media in tiny Luxembourg wrote more articles about EPO scandals (in German!) than the German media itself. This is not acceptable. It’s almost as though it has got to be intentional. There is no lack of interest among the public, maybe cautiousness among media owners. Based on threats we received from the EPO (with wrong name in one of the letters), the EPO bullies other publications critical of the EPO (German-sounding names in the recipient’s template). We have more evidence that serves to reinforce a SLAPP culture under Battistelli, whose Vice-President has a history (proven track record) doing this for years in Croatia. Baseless legal threats induce self-censorship. Don’t forget that the contract with FTI Consulting targets Germany in particular. “Battistell & Clique must be stopped,” one reader told us, “and brought before court (like Volkswagen and other gangsters. Mafia).”
The EPO was covered quite widely in Dutch media this past week, and it’s not good news for Battistelli. But where was any of the German media?
Here is one new article from NRC. To quote the Dutch text: “De bedrijfscultuur bij het Europees Octrooi Bureau (EPO), gevestigd in Rijswijk, is nauwelijks verbeterd. Dat blijkt uit een brief van staatssecretaris Martijn van Dam (Economische Zaken, PvdA) aan de Tweede kamer. „Er is sprake van een wij-zij cultuur, gebrek aan wederzijds vertrouwen tussen management en personeel en een gebrek aan gedeelde waarden”, schrijft Van Dam. De kritiek van vakbond SUEPO, die de helft van het personeel vertegenwoordigt, is dat de Franse EPO-president Benoît Battistelli een autoritair bewind voert. In strijd met een resolutie van de raad van bestuur is in Rijswijk onlangs opnieuw een vakbondsbestuurder ontslagen, bevestigt Van Dam. De Hoge Raad besluit in januari of het EPO als internationale organisatie „immuun” is voor het Nederlandse arbeidsrecht.”
“Same story as this but shorter,” Petra Kramer told us about it. “Van Dam wrote a letter about EPO to the House.” We have already published Kramer's translation of the longer story.
Another large news site in Dutch covered these events a few days ago. To quote: “De hervormingen bij het Europees Octrooibureau (EOB) moeten worden voortgezet. Er zijn goede vorderingen gemaakt, maar er is nog te veel niet goed geregeld bij de instelling.”
And here is yet another new article in Dutch. We welcome translations.
Even some IP Kat comments mention the Dutch, e.g.:
It is tale telling that Ms Esther Ouwehand from the Dutch Animal Party has to take up the cause of the endangered species – the officials of the EPO. They are beyond hope, like the elephants
“The EPO was found guilty of infringing Human Rights by a second instance Dutch court,” a provocateur is being told in another comment:
The EPO was found guilty of infringing Human Rights by a second instance Dutch court. The case is now pending at the highest court.
You mention money, working conditions, etc. Do you really believe this entitles the EPO to infringe on Human Rights?
You somehow missed the point that moving the Boards is pointless.
Increased appeal fees will render the European Route very unattractive and pave the way for abuse from the part of the EPO/the examiners. The future of the UPC is uncertain, and certain EP member states are not and will probably never be members of the UPC (e.g. Switzerland, Turkey).
Please, cool down your emotions and consider carefully what you intend to post.
Regarding the UPC, we have a lot more to say about it. A petition against it may be on its way very soon.
The following new comment mentions the “Dutch Press”:
An AC storm is brewing! …
It is becoming more apparent to the outsider that we see in the EPO a more systematic use of staff rep dismissals instead of an isolated incident or coincidence as stated by the VP1 earlier in the year and in the Dutch Press. This is a clear indication for a toxic management style at work and EXTREMELY WORRYING!. Additionally the working methods of the Investigation Unit and the need for excessive security measures has been unprecedented and its financing for 2016 unexplained.
Where’s the German media? Pretending nothing happens? Even though the latest ‘action’ is centered at The Hague, certainly it’s of relevance to Germany. Heck, even the British press covers it (more and more regularly).
Frustration among Germans about this media blackout sometimes relates to or gets compared to “political correctness” censorship (on racial/religious themes) in the German media, but this one is purely financial, not fear of offence.
“I kindly ask you now to contact the GERMAN leading magazine DER SPIEGEL,” one reader told us. It’s pretty amazing that these large publications rarely if ever mention the EPO, especially amid all this turmoil. “DER SPIEGEL has not yet covered this story of fraud, abuse of power, arrogance of power, arrogance and abuse of diplomatic immunity,” our reader added. “I want however to bring this specific management policies to the SPIEGEL, and to the courts: They (The EPO) are operating in a (in my view, illegal but apparently casted-into-imperfect-contracts) vacuum, and current world issues (refugees crisis, Turkey crisis, #Trumpgate, #dieselgate ….) are playing in favour of Battistelli & clique……….”
Why no coverage about the EPO?
We therefore ask readers, especially German-speaking readers, to contact their press, including Der Spiegel. Get them interested in the story. Coverage of this is long overdue. There are no valid excuses.
“The most suited lawyer would be WOLFGANG KALECK (Berlin),” our reader told us, “by incident, his office is very close to the Berlin Suboffice of the EPO!!! KALECK is also Snowden’s lawyer in Germany, in the CITIZENFOUR movie a short sequence is shot with Ben Wizner (ACLU attorney) in his office close to the EPO suboffice in Berlin…”
Here is how to securely contact Der Spiegel (“USE ENCRYPTION,” our reader stressed, “PGP key via this page“).
We have already contacted Der Spiegel (in English), but have received no reply. Perhaps if more people do the same (pressuring editors) they’ll actually start caring and maybe even ending this appalling media blackout.
Suffice to say, Battistelli’s unprecedented campaign of manipulating and muzzling the media is itself a massive scandal. The BBC was going to cover it but eventually spiked the story, perhaps proving the very point it was going to write about. █
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Reference: Haar, Bavaria
Summary: Revisiting Battistelli’s effort to chop off the appeal boards that are necessary for ensuring patent quality at the EPO
THE EPO has this new announcement today (warning:
epo.org link): “In its order for decision G1/15, related to the question of partial priorities and so-called toxic divisionals, the Enlarged Board of the EPO held that a generic claim encompassing alternative subject matter may not be refused partial priority, provided the alternative subject matter has been directly, at least implicitly, and unambiguously disclosed in the priority document. The reasoned decision will follow.”
This was actually covered earlier this week at IP Kat, under “BREAKING: Antidote found for poisonous priorities” and to quote:
The Enlarged Board of Appeal at the EPO has issued its order in case G 1/15, but not yet its decision. From the order, it appears that poisonous priorities have been neutralised.
The thing about the Enlarged Board of Appeal, an essential collective of judges and specialists, is that Battistelli wants them eliminated (but cannot because of the EPC).
Based on this week’s exceptional ILO decisions on EPO cases, which turned out to confirm that the EPO offers no justice, anything involving ‘justice’ against the judge from the Boards of Appeal should immediately be disregarded. While we haven’t really touched this subject in a while, there were some discussions about it at IP Kat and these are worth bringing to light (because many of the comments are Internet trolls and people feeding the trolls, which makes it hard to find the “signal” in the “noise”).
Responding to one of the parts (a two-part series from Merpel), one person wrote the following:
The question is: if it is necessary to separate physically the premises of the BoA from those used by the upper management of the EPO, why not relocating the latter to Haar instead? It would be far less inconvenient to all parties external to the EPO, Monsieur le Président would no longer need bodyguards to watch over his bicycle, and if the premises in Haar turned to lack space to accomodate the increasing amount of people working in said upper management, I’m sure that a nice white, padded room could be found for him in the nearby hospital…
The move to Haar — or the suggestion of Vienna beforehand — was always ludicrous. It seems like a clear punishment. It’s not about geography but the symbolism. One person focuses on logistics alone:
I can’t see the issue myself. Haar is only a few stops away on the S4 from the Ostbahnhof, so would be easy to get to from the centre or from the Airport. The proposed building is only a short walk away from the station. Obviously there will be grumbles about room layout and space, but there will surely be some reorganising to do anyway. Perhaps there is such a level of animosity that any suggestion, however, sensible, will always be objected to?
As the following put it, this was “primarily symbolic and designed to be irritating.”
How many parties go straight from the airport to a BoA hearing?
In any case, it is primarily symbolic and designed to be irritating. Oral proceedings before DG1 in the city, before DG3 in the suburbs. I’d be curious about how many legal bodies meet in areas outside cities. Isn’t the UPC court in London to be in Aldgate rather than Hounslow (next to Heathrow for non-local readers)?
We have heard that the intention might be to actually rent out the vacant space in the Isar Building and pay for some space in Haar, which (if true) would be absolutely ridiculous! Here is a long and somewhat informative comment:
So, the President will take over the Isar Building while DG3 is shunted off to the building out on the edge of town next to its hospital for the mentally sick.
I wonder now, how many international visitors to the EPO turn up, every working day of the year, to visit the EPO President?
And how many come to Munich for a Hearing before one of the Boards of Appeal, their professional interest and reason for visiting Munich being to find out whether a patent survives or falls, in one fell swoop, in anything up to 38 Member States and 600+ million consumers.
The justice which the EPO dispenses, at DG3 level, is of pan-European shareholder interest to all the world’s Global Titans. Yet, in a fit of vindictive pique, the EPO’s increasingly out of control President runs it out of town, making it sit like a vagrant on the edge of town, next to the hospital for the town’s mentally sick.
Given the amount of schmoozing BB does, in Davos and other places, with the World’s Top People, you would think the EPO’s current President would want for DG3 (the jewel in his crown) a smart and efficient place of business right in the heart of impressive Munich, where pan-European justice is dispensed efficiently and expeditiously.
Unless, that is, a majority of AC members want to see the EPO decline. If this attitude is representative of the mainland Europe of today, no wonder the UK wants out!
One person notes, pointing to the actual document, that this is likely irreversible at this stage (technically it is not):
I think it has already been approved. See CA/88/16 (23.09.2016)
Then returns the debate about Haar’s reputation for its hospital/s for the mentally-troubled:
Mental health is a serious disease. Sufferers are know to throw themselves out of buildings, including those of the EPO.
Don’t trivialize it with puerile, insensitive comments.
This led to a somewhat distracting long debate about sensitivities, but still, some people insist it relates to the symbolism of this whole move:
Indeed, mental health problems should not be trivialized but it nevertheless remains that to a resident of Munich, the phrase “nach Haar schicken” does have the meaning of having someone detained in the mental health hospital there.
And in response to the above:
That’s ok then. As long as such comments are acceptable in Germany, it must be ok to make jokes at the expense of the mentally ill.
A UK equivalent for those who are less familiar with German culture and history:
I’m not sure that a joke was intended or made. If the UKIPO was transferred to Broadmoor, I think every Brit would recognise the location’s notoriety and would explain the cultural significance to any non-Brit.
Since you object , I will leave it to readers to work out for themselves what Broadmoor is famous for.
Quoting the Web site broadmoor.com, another person writes: “The Broadmoor is a AAA Five-Diamond resort in Colorado Springs, CO featuring an award winning spa, championship golf, meeting facilities, and much more.”
Another person adds: “Have ye never heard of St. Cadoc’s in Newport?”
“If BB was a Scotsman he’d send them all off to Carstairs,” says another person.
“As the local saying goes,” one person notes, “Lieber ein Haar in der Suppe als Suppe im Haar”.
Glad to see that Tufty is at one with the president on this. Well done. And with all your appeals not to denigrate Haar, in Munich (and probably the rest of Bavaria, “sending someone to Haar” has the meaning desrcibed above – and you can’t change that! Just nice to see that the EPAs like you will also be sent to Haar in future
A more quote-worthy comment:
By the way, I find the denigrating of Haar due to it being the location of a mental hospital somewhat disturbing and in poor taste. If it was any other type of hospital I am sure it wouldn’t even be mentioned.
Some blame it on Merpel:
Tut tut IPKat, you are not doing yourselves any favours by the tone you are using in this report. The downward slide of the quality of writing on IPKat continues.
Your comment that: “Haar is a municipality on the outskirts of Munich, most famous (not that it is famous at all) for housing the largest mental hospital in Germany” is ill-advised, and you should retract it.
Besides, there’s nothing wrong with Haar. It’s going to be a lot easier getting to Haar from Munich airport than to anywhere in the centre of the City.
Putting aside this discussion about what the name Haar brings to people’s minds, Tufty the Cat got mentioned as follows:
Tufty the Cat presents the workaday, utilitarian view. It is a fallacy.
An Appeal Court on an industrial estate – how modern. Lunch at the kebab van. Taxi to and from the Airport Hotel. Nothing to see here, and it should get the expense bill down too. That’ll wash well at the next IPO conference in the US. Trebles all round.
If you look a little more deeply, the change should worry all EPAs.
The BoA will lose intangibles like the proximity to cultural venues, nice Restaurants, proximity to academic and judicial communities like the Max Planck IP law Institute, the LMU / TUM, the Munich courts. If you think that these points of Judicial sociology are details, don’t forget that 17th century judges mixed in London with people like John Locke, and perhaps that helped them to realize that the idea of a sovereign monopoly might just be put to good use in defence of the product of human minds. So the location of the Judges is important.
For Attorneys, what about the nice Restaurants and Hotels? many American clients love the chance to see Munich on their visits to BoA hearings…). Is a stay at the Airport Hotel and a taxi rise to and from quite the same thing? A Price cannot be put on such intangibles, and the EPO/AC Management only have the blunt managerial Tools of timeliness, total Appeals filed, total Appeals disposed. The intangibles don’t matter to them.
But what is explicitly happening, by design of the senior management, is a demotion of the BoA in the European legal order. In ten years, will the best minds apply to work there? Will seats in the BoA increasingly be filled by people who at one time wouldn’t have stood a chance? Will the BoA just become a glorified second examination instance in an industrial estate?
Once this happens, it will filter down to affect the reputation of EPAs. Our solicitor colleagues get to advocate in the nice city centre venue. EPAs will be left with a tin shed in a windy car park, and not forgetting the kebab van.
What would be the point in bothering anymore? Just file nationally.
And this is by design. BB is thinking 6 steps ahead of everybody else – you have to hand it to him.
It’s tempting to follow Tufty’s utilitarian approach, but the way that a society publically treats its judges illustrates the importance that society places on them. That is why, in the UK, they are so well paid. They cannot return to the free profession afterwards.
We need to view the move from the Isar building to Haar as a demotion of the calling of all IP professionals.
It then got the discussion more or less back on track, with comments including the following:
The new building in Haar is farer (you must take the S6 in addition to the S8) and there are no hotels close to it.
It is clearly a punishment for the BoAs, which affects also all EPAs. Fewer and smaller rooms for OPs too.
Anyway Haar is still nicer than Rijswijk.
The German AC delegation will perk its ears again when the Berlin EPO staff will be moved to Munich, this following the removal of the BoA to Haar. Why has this option not been mentioned in the AC document, bit of money saving…?
The EPO is moving in a very strange way. The root is, is my opinion, that the AC is not able to supervise the EPO, let alone decide what the AC wants and how this aim should be reached. A political question.
The Boards of Appeal move is, excuse the expression, simply insane. The only proper way is a change to the EPC. The documents were worked out back in the ’90, but never implemented. In the “recent” revision 1999, the Boards were not taken up, likely because the location of the Boards would not have been sorted out. A political question.
Now, the EPO has a President not respecting any orders. That should not have come as a surprise, considering the track record. The President very early publicly stated that getting elected is very difficult, but getting thrown out would require an earthquake “un tremblement de terre”. Wise words indeed.
Whether the facilities in Haar are suitable – they are not – is irrelevant for the discussion. The President threatened the Boards, intervened in their functioning and exerted such pressure as to infringe their judicial independence. A strong signal, as Merpel says, would be needed to put the President back in his place. The AC will not send such signal, and if the AC did, the President would ignore it. A political question.
Considering all facts, it is evident that the Boards shall be punished by moving them out of the Isar building. Cost, usability, impact on representatives/applicants, etc.: this is not relevant. It is a demonstration of power, period. The fact that Haar is known for its mental asylum fits quite nicely.
I would be very surprised if the move to Haar were stopped.
“They would have reason to be more cooperative before the first instance or simply renounce to thrash applications which are the vast majority,” writes the following person. “The boards are really redundant.” Well, Battisetlli tries to make it so with the UPC.
Well, they are lucky. There are less sexy addresses close to Munich, or would you want to have Dachau printed on your business card? The hearing room situation will be alleviated by bringing the appeal fees to a reasonable level,with drastically dropping numbers in appeals. The present rate is far too low. With the insane jurisprudence of the Boas to allow very late amendments and auxiliary requests and remitting them to the first instance, the appeal fee is a boon. For a thousand or so bucks you buy some 5 – 10 years in which you keep the applicafion alive without having to reply to pertinent but burdensome letters from examiners which might find their way into parallel proceedings in really important patent jurisdictions like the US. An appeal is much cheaper than a divisional und you may still file a divisional throughout the appeal even if it goes wrong, another BOA absurdity.
Once the fees are increased the appeals stemming from examination will dwindle. This would also increase the quality of granted patents when applicants could not be sure to get a second chance, despite the high fees. They would have reason to be more cooperative before the first instance or simply renounce to thrash applications which are the vast majority,
The boards are really redundant. There is no reason to provide a second level administrative review . With the UPC the European Patent Courts should not only deal with infringement and nullity but also appeal on examination and opposition. The higher cost would avoid abuse in either case. A “court” which is not even able to publish their own verdicts other than on Wikipedia and ipkat does not deserve a more prestiguous location. Afterall Karlsruhe, a rather modest place, is good enough for Germany’s constitutional court and a dreary place like Brussels good enough for the EU.
“Well of course there will be the shiny new UPC to send our revocation work,” writes this person. To quote:
Tufty thinks that “any suggestion, however, sensible, will always be objected to” but I wonder what exactly is sensible about moving the boards from a properly-appointed well-functioning building to one which is less well-appointed and downright inconvenient for all. This is not to mention the disruption to the boards and their staff.
There is nothing sensible about any of this and it has nothing to do with independence since only the wilfully blind would think that geographical distance = judicial independence. No, instead it (relocation and the freeze on new hires) has everything to do with (a) punishment and (b) deliberate downgrading of the boards, as Bottom Feeder has suggested above.
What will happen in future years – with oppositions dumbed-down (sorry “expedited” – but why by the way, since it won’t decrease the number of pending applications?) and the boards seriously weakened and seen as second rate, out in the sticks? Well of course there will be the shiny new UPC to send our revocation work – no need to bother with the quick-and-dirty expedited opposition and the appeal which will take 5 years. No sir – straight to the UPC. Is this one possible endgame?
We find it rather interesting that when people bring up mental health issues in relation to Haar (and the EPO) people say it’s insensitive. Like Battistelli himself. Sure, it does no favour to the place, but then again, the stigma is now somewhat of a cultural issue.
To finish it all, here is a little poem someone wrote about this whole situation:
B oards of Appeal bit the hand that feeded
A Haar of the dog now urgently needed
N ot only exiled out to the sticks
I t’s a ramshackle,depleted unit,a bit short of chicks
S uch wanton destruction at one man’s whim
H is cup runneth over,it’s looking grim
E benezer Scrooge said’What the Dickens?’ Giving a shrug
D oubtless Batters retorted with ‘Bah,Humbug!’
The fate of the boards doesn’t look too promising and it may also depend on the UPC — a subject we’ll revisit this weekend. █
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Summary: Further analysis of the latest rulings from the ILO — decisions that were long expected
THE EPO does not quite respect the principles of the Rule of Law and justice. It’s a mirage or an illusion. We covered it on Thursday, based on the latest ILO decisions.
The “ILO sends European Patent Office Director Battistelli flying,” EPSU which has been involved recently writes about this judgment (in Twitter earlier this evening), as it “Validates complaints [of] staff…”
This links to an article that a handful of EPO insiders told us about. One person said ““every single internal appeal” handled by the Appeals Committee in its current composition from Oct 14 to today legally flawed…”
William New from IP Watch wrote:
The judgments are “remarkable” for several reasons, said the source who wished to remain anonymous.
First, they show that the ILO is trying to clarify formal errors that upset procedures and cause major problems, said the source. In addition, both express criticism of the current EPO president, the source said.
Judgment No 3796 clarifies that “every single internal appeal” handled by the Appeals Committee in its current composition – from October 2014 to today – is legally flawed, the source said. That means that many cases will have to be dealt with again, after a new internal appeals system is created, the source said. To fix the flaw, the president will have to ask the CSC to nominate members for the committee, but because two members of the Appeals Committee have been demoted after disciplinary procedures were launched against them by the administration, the CSC has refused to act. “The ILO judgment puts pressure on” Battistelli to make concessions to the CSC, the source added.
In addition, under Judgment No. 3785, complaints by several hundred staff members against the new career system will have to be revisited, and those judgments will be delayed. Both decisions will likely figure into the 14-15 December AC meeting “since they show that employees’ justice is currently denied at the Office,” the source noted.
All of this is “bad for the reputation and credibility” of the European patent system, said the source. It’s also bad for the image of responsible governments such as France, the Netherlands and Germany, so “there will be a lot of pressure on the delegations to finally fix some issues.”
The latest fictional diary from the EPO is based on the above. Many people are likely to speak about this for quite some time to come. █
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Summary: This is part 5 of a fictional diary from the EPO
November 2016 was looking so good right up to the end. And then came those stupid, stupid judgments from the ILO.
A man of my greatness doesn’t deserve such humiliations. I’ve had a fabulous year. A few morons in the Administrative Council thought they would stand up to me. Well, they soon realised how hopeless their efforts were when all my friends stood shoulder to shoulder with me and pressed the right buttons when it came to the vote. When I say “friends”, I mean it in the political sense, of course. It’s not as though they had any choice. I made it quite clear to them what would happen to their “co-operation” money if they pressed the wrong button.
Once I’d taken care of those hopeless revolutionaries in the Council, I was free to get back to my favourite pastime – bullying staff reps. I’ve made it so easy for myself with all the changes I’ve introduced, almost too easy. It’s like a cat playing with a half-dead mouse. But hey, it’s still fun watching them suffer. I just loved signing that decision to fire Prunier. Not only did I feel a great surge of satisfaction at his pain, but I was also sticking up my middle finger to the clowns in the Council. It was wonderful.
Being unfair to others is part of my nature. It’s a real pleasure to me. Of course, there is nothing like a bit of competition to add some spice and some extra motivation to my evilness. And that is why I like Frankie Boy in Geneva so much. We have a private bet on who can get away with the biggest and most obvious crimes and violations of the rights of others, without getting fired or ending up in jail.
It is not really the challenge, though, that I would like it to be. Firstly, because Frankie foolishly agreed that Lutz the Klutz could be the judge deciding who wins. Secondly, because I am well ahead in the race. Sure, I never ordered to take DNA samples to identify a wrongdoer, and I am a bit jealous that I didn’t think of it first. But, let’s face it, I don’t need scientific gimmicks to catch the scum I want to get rid of. I know myself who’s guilty: the people I dislike. I simply give Elodie their names, she tells the Investigation Unit what they have to do, and they do it. Any kind of garbage is enough, since I am the judge anyway. And – thanks to my immunity – I am clearly a truly independent judge. That gives me the moral authority to explain to the public why the accused is guilty as sin. The public then sees me as a benevolent, loving leader, and admires my leniency in the softness of the punishment I impose.
If it weren’t for Frankie Boy, I’d like to call my system the EPO Kangaroo Court but that would almost sound like I was honouring him and his silly upside-down nationality. Anyhow, whatever you call my clever legal system, thanks to the fact that I can determine myself whether and how to apply the ECHR, all legal requirements are met. That’s at least what I tell my buddy Joff and the Council. They believe everything.
It sometimes happens that Elodie adds a few more names to the list. As in the case of Weaver and Brumme. And that’s good since it leads to persecutions where nobody can understand how I pick my victims. That intensifies the climate of fear in the Office. The higher the level of fear, the higher the production – that’s the secret of my success. The delegations love increasing production numbers since they are addicted to the cash.
Ah, I was having so much fun all month, right up to the end. And then, on the very last day came that idiotic judgment. I must get Klutzy to make an appointment for me with those idiotic judges in Geneva. I bet Frankie Boy has been bribing them to be mean to me. I need to get over there and offer them more than he is paying. Or maybe I’ll take my hunky body guards with me and explain what they can do if they get upset by people being mean to me. I could send them round to Frankie while we’re there. Oh, revenge will be sweet.
So, they think, those scumbag judges, that they have just rendered our Internal Appeal Committee retroactively null and void from the beginning of 2015. Hahahaha. Haven’t they heard of immunity, those fools? What are they going to do if I just ignore them, eh? Oh, this is going to be such fun. I can exploit the situation to my own advantage. After all, they’ve just dramatically increased our appeals backlog, haven’t they? So, I shall just have to be the decisive leader again and put measures in place to reduce the backlog. I shall call it “Early Certainty from Internal Appeals”. The only certainty will be that I refuse ALL of them. HAHAHA – je m’en fous – this is going to be so much fun. I shall prepare a Council document tomorrow, explaining how all internal appeals will be deemed refused. In fact, I shall make them retroactively refused so that the deadline has already expired for taking them to Geneva. I am such a genius. And all the staff can go on suffering.
Being president is so much fun. Je m’en fous. █
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The famous report where ILO complained about EPO-induced workload
Summary: Years later (as justice is too slow, partly because of the EPO, being the principal culprit that clogs up the ILO’s tribunal system) there is a couple of new judgments about EPO abuses against staff
THE DECISIONS we wrote about 2 days ago were released exactly 24 hours ago. For those who haven’t been keeping track, here are the cases in question:
- Case No. 3785: Fritz No. 2 v. EPO
- Case No. 3796: Vermeulen v. EPO
“In many ways, the EPO will struggle in months to come because the ‘Battistelli era’ EPO cases are reaching to the front of the queue (or top of the pile).”Our initial reaction to the summaries was that it’s just too disappointing to even write much about. But upon further inspection, that’s not entirely the case. One reader told us, “you definitely misinterpreted the ILO-AT 3785 case outcome… [as the] 3785 judgememnt is very positive for the staff. [...] Regarding the 3796, it’s too early to give an opinion. Be patient, and wait for the experts evaluating the judgement/s.”
The initial interpretation was that the latest cases got sent back to the kangaroo court of Battistelli and his goons, following a rather disappointing pattern which we also wrote about 2 days ago (separate case and article). We welcome feedback from within the EPO or outside of it. As we noted earlier this week, we rely on people who are very familiar with these cases to explain their ramifications to us.
“The EPO reminds us of and has a lot in common with SCO.”In many ways, the EPO will struggle in months to come because the ‘Battistelli era’ EPO cases are reaching to the front of the queue (or top of the pile). The EPO reminds us of and has a lot in common with SCO. Instead of dropping a failed strategy (acknowledging that becoming a “bad boy” is bad for business), the management takes itself and the entire organisation into the ground, leading to bankruptcy at the end (after spending all the time and resources in the courtroom, not actually producing anything or attracting any clients, who growingly boycott the organisation because of its tasteless actions). █
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Summary: Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this
THE European Patent Office (EPO) has already come under scrutiny from many politicians, but they are unable to do much because of the EPO’s insanely-granted (in retrospect highly irrational) immunity/impunity. Could EPO management get away with robbery, rape and murder as well? Hard to tell unless or until this happens… after 5 suicides the EPO’s management continues to deny authorities access to EPO sites (in order to properly investigate this). For all we know, EPO management can cover anything up, defame the accuser/s, and insist that it is the victim of a “campaign of defamation”. Watch in disgust and recall its appalling response to Bavarian TV coverage about one of the suicides.
Philip Cordery, a French politician who is sympathetic towards EPO staff, has just written in his blog again. To quote the French: “J’ai interrogé ce mercredi 30 novembre, lors de la traditionnelle séance de questions au gouvernement, le secrétaire d’Etat chargé de l’industrie, Christophe Sirugue, sur la situation sociale à l’Office européen des brevets.”
“Could EPO management get away with robbery, rape and murder as well?”We hope that a French-speaking reader can provide us with a reliable translation. Well, perhaps SUEPO will supply translations at some stage, but it doesn’t always happen. More French officials now speak out against the EPO’s management, including Richard Yung, who is also no beginner to this controversy. To quote Yung’s blog post: “M. Richard Yung attire l’attention de M. le ministre de l’économie et des finances sur la dégradation du climat social au sein de l’Office européen des brevets (OEB).”
This one too we could use a complete translation of. Accuracy is important as we strive to maintain a good record and poor translations have betrayed us at least once in the past.
Petra Kramer, our Dutch EPO ‘expert’ (she cares about the EPO’s situation although she does not have any connections to it), translated this new NOS article (like BBC of the Netherlands) for us. Here is a complete translation:
Van Dam: social situation European Patent Office should be better
State Secretary Van Dam wants the European Patent Office (EPO) to take concrete steps to improve the social situation. In a letter to the Lower House, he writes that a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) contains concrete leads to achieve this.
The agency has offices in several cities in Europe, including in Rijswijk. At the institute there are long-lived concerns about the working conditions and the social situation. Staff Office in Rijswijk’s took to the streets to protest several times, even last week. Even the House and the Cabinet have expressed their concerns.
Lack of trust
The EPO has called for the study partly at the insistence of the government. PWC states, several important reforms which have already been implemented, which are successful in part. Named for example, are a sharp drop in sick leave and the introduction of part-time jobs and working from home.
But the researchers are also critical about several issues. They questioned the reforms in the areas of participation and the implementation of the right to strike. They signal an “us-versus-them culture and lack of mutual trust between management and staff.”
Finger on sore spot
According to Van Dam the report puts the finger on the sore spot. The State Secretary is more concerned about the lack of internal trust and will continue to address that issue with the President of the Office.
At the EPO union members have repeatedly been fired, even recently. Van Dam writes that he can not speak about that last particular case, but he believes it is “not a healthy breeding ground for the restoration of social relations.”
Recently, the results of the PWC study were presented to 350 people involved in the EPO. Van Dam states it’s telling that the largest trade union was not invited to that meeting.
“The news is in the last sentence,” Petra Kramer noted. “SUEPO [was] not involved in PWC-study of EPO.”
“Diplomatical approach is certainly not bad,” told us an EPO insider, “however in this case totally useless. Van Dam is a way too subservient!”
Thankfully, the British press (Britain’s leading site in the area of technology) is covering the EPO scandals these days. This is the second time this week (the first one being about the UPC). Kieren McCarthy used the same game of words that we had used, revolving around the word “conCERN”. Here is the latest from McCarthy about Battisetlli’s McCarthyism and the response to it:
CERN concern: Particle boffins join backlash against Euro Patent Office’s King Battistelli
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, has joined the list of organizations and media outlets calling for action against the president of the European Patent Office (EPO).
In its weekly staff bulletin, the particle physicists’ take issue with Benoit Battistelli for targeting and firing staff. “Over the past three years this organization has been under the rule of a president who imposes productivity targets which hinders the quality of the work done by the intellectual property specialists,” the bulletin notes.
It then accuses him of “degrading” the EPO with behavior “worthy of the 19th century” and endangering both the EPO itself and the European economy.
CERN is not the only organization to use such strong language. The European Public Service Union (EPSU), which represents more than eight million workers in Europe, has written [PDF] to a number of leading French, Dutch and German politicians this week asking them to “re-establish the rule of law” at the EPO citing “continuous threats to union representatives” by Battistelli, and violation of workers’ rights.
If things continue to be this bad, it’s not clear if there is any future at all for the EPO. Some believe that this plays into the hands of UPC proponents, perhaps connected to an attempt to make the EPO a more EU-connected institution, a bit like EUIPO. And speaking of EUIPO, watch the EPO sucking up to it this week [1, 2]; we remind readers that some EPO insiders believe these two institutions will one day be merged. █
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