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07.02.15

Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More political fire targeting the EPO’s management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now

DAYS ago we wrote about an intervention by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, who had already intervened before regarding EPO abuses. He has since then uploaded his short speech to YouTube and SUEPO has a translation. “Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’,” it said, “a French Member of Parliament, made an intervention at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 25 June 2015.

“Mr Le Borgn’ explained the rollback of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office (EPO) and referred to the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights from Mr José María Beneyto, Accountability of international organizations for human rights violations [...] The intervention is available on YouTube. A transcript is available here.”

We have made it available below as HTML in English, for future reference and permanent record.

Intervention by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (PS)

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg on 25 June 2015

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69s1vXjEo5M

“Thank you Mr. President. My question relates to the suppression of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office.

International organizations are most often accorded immunity from judicial intervention by virtue of the agreements and conventions which brought them into existence, or by headquarters agreements. This immunity allows them not to be arraigned before the courts of the state or states in which they are established. This is understandable and is good policy in particular with regard to the independence of the organization.

But immunity from judicial intervention does not mean creating a place not subject to the rule of law, or of lesser law and lesser right. Accordingly, a person working for an international organization, and there are tens of thousands of them on our continent, starting here at the Council of Europe, cannot be deprived of the right of being heard before a court, in accordance with Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Again, but this time by virtue of Article 11 of the Convention, the right to collective action must be guaranteed. This includes the right of a staff union organization representing the employees of the organization likewise to be heard by a court or tribunal, where defence can be provided both individually and collectively. Thus it is that the Court of Appeal at The Hague summoned the European Patent Office on 17 February this year, suspending its immunity, which rarely occurs, is almost unprecedented, and in any case a rare thing, in order to protect the collective rights of some 7000 staff members concerned.

There can in fact be no doubt that policies which are at odds with the fundamental rights consecrated in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter are developing under the cover of immunity from court intervention. Restriction on the right of association, reduction of the right to strike, impeding the right of collective negotiation, depriving an organization of any recourse to the courts, and failing to implement a court decision, which unfortunately is the case with regard to the judgment of 17 February, are profoundly unacceptable developments. I would therefore like to take the opportunity of this free debate to set before our Assembly, naturally, but also before the Committee of Ministers on which our 47 Member States are represented, 38 of which are also members of the European Patent Office. Two years ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved the report by our colleague José Maria Beneyto on the obligations of international organizations to answer for their actions in the event of violations of Human Rights. In the extension of the Beneyto report, this matter of the respecting of social rights, both individual as well as collective, of the staff of international organizations was deemed worthy of being extended, investigated, and, above all, strengthened.

I know the European Patent Office. I esteem all the added value which it provides for the European economy, and I appreciate the excellent work of its staff. But I am also aware of the climate which prevails within it: Management by fear, the impeding of collective action, failure to recognize warning signs, and absence of any independent mechanism of supervision and internal monitoring. I make appeal to the Member States, from whom the European Patent holds its legitimacy, to act, because now is the time to act.”

According to Florian Müller, there is more to it; he has found more questions from politicians. The EPO’s management is under more fire from many more politicians, “17 Members of the European Parliament” by Müller’s count. Here is the one with more names on it. Bear in mind this one is just one of several:

Kostadinka Kuneva (GUE/NGL), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL), Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), Pablo Iglesias (GUE/NGL), Lola Sánchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL), Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL), Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL), Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL), Fabio De Masi (GUE/NGL), Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL), Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL), Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL) and Miloslav Ransdorf (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Violation of labour and trade union rights in the European Patent Organisation (EPO)

The Dutch appeal court recently ruled (case number 200.141.812 / 01 / 17-2-2015) that the European Patent Organisation (EPO) violated workers’ labour rights deriving from the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Consequently the Dutch court, exceptionally, has not accepted the immunity EPO enjoys as an international organisation, since this immunity cannot allow for human rights violations. Nevertheless EPO declared it would ignore the ruling pleading execution immunity.

There is definitely strong momentum being built. Regarding DDOS attacks against this site, we are going to visit attorneys tomorrow regarding legal action against Amazon (which refuses to say who used its AWS facilities to repeatedly attack this site).

07.01.15

Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Münchner Merkur

Summary: Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office

According to the SUEPO Web site, political pressure grows following pressure from the media. Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ takes his action against the EPO‘s management further. “In his blog [in French],” writes SUEPO, “Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ announces his intention to subject the deficient governance of the EPO to a review by the Venice Commission (The European Commission for Democracy through Law) which could make suitable recommendations to find a solution.”

Things are heating up right now and there are more press articles about it [PDF], complete with an opportunity for rebuttal from the EPO’s management. The Münchner Merkur published the following piece on the 26th of June, 2015. Here is the English translation of it:

Münchner Merkur, Nr. 144, Friday 26 June 2015

European Patent Office

“His Domination has got to Stop”

The fight goes into the next round: The staff at the European Patent Office are demanding that Office President Benoît Battistelli be forced to quit. He can’t see how badly he’s performing.

BY THOMAS MAGENHEIM-HÖRMANN

Munich – They’re demonstrating again. For one and a half years, it’s been the same, every month. The regularity of the protests by the staff at the European Patent Office brings back memories of the Leipzig Monday demonstrations in the days of East Germany, and, like them, this is a matter of basic rights. Large sections of the 7000 employees accuse their most senior executive, Office President Benoît Battistelli, of continuing abuse of power and of using East German methods – accusations he strenuously denies.

When it comes to legal matters, the European Patent Office paints a complex picture. The Office is supported by 38 European states, not all of which belong to the EU. This means that the Office is not an EU authority. And as an inter-state organization, it is also not subject to the law of its host country, Germany, even though German citizens count for a quarter of the personnel.

The placards being waived by the several hundred demonstrators in front of the Office headquarters in Munich speak for themselves. Security cameras zoom in on them. “We’re being watched”, is how the first speaker accounts for the demonstration. It needs to be made clear to the management that spying on social partners is not the way to restoring social peace and tranquility, says the Patent Office staff union, SUEPO. That requires some explanation.

For weeks, a publicly accessible computer in the Office has been hacked, and monitored with a camera. The Office itself makes no comment, but several sources, among them the Federal Ministry of Justice, have confirmed this. The aim is said to be to spy on the staff, whom the managers at the Patent Office accuse of defamation. The possibility is that patent attorneys and Administrative Council members may also have got caught in the net of the Office’s internal sweep, prompting Bavaria’s Data Protection Executive Thomas Petri to call for an external data protection officer to be assigned to the Office.

All this is now high on the agenda of the Administrative Council, who are convening at the time of the demonstration. The Council is the controlling body of the Office, made up of representatives from 38 contracting states. The Federal Ministry of Justice is there on behalf of Germany, and they have made it very clear that the issue of internal data protection at the Patent Office is high on the political agenda too.

The snooping is not an isolated incident. Among other things, Battistelli has banned a demonstration and claimed the right to determine the nature and length of labour disputes. A Dutch court has ruled that the Office is in breach of employment legislation as well as basic rights. The President is not bothering to contest the issue. He is in the process of reforming the institution, and all he is doing in the process is carrying out the instructions of the management.

But some of his reforms, and particularly the methods used, are causing unease. According to SUEPO, the Office has engaged the outside investigation company Control Risks to spy on members of the staff representation body. A dozen or so union members are said to be the focus of attention for the outside investigators. The Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” has just recently disclosed that the Office has also arranged for staff to be scrutinised by a detective agency. This has left its mark on the workforce. Even the personnel who are demonstrating dare not talk to journalists. “There are people from the Office here, and I don’t want to be seen with you”, said one, and turned away. Another simply tapped a button he was wearing: “BB is watching you”. The Office itself is stonewalling. Disciplinary matters are strictly confidential, and that means strictly no comment as to whether and how monitoring is currently being carried out. Insiders have reason to believe that a new guideline regarding video surveillance is in the making.

Staff representatives maintain that Battistelli’s talk of open dialogue with the staff is pure window dressing. Word has it that he is no longer able to control the chaos he has created, let alone restore some kind of order. “His domination has got to stop”, demands one SUEPO speaker on the demonstration, and wins loud applause.

Battistelli has been at the top of the Office since 2010, and has been elected to remain until 2018. Up to now, the Administrative Council has shown no inclination to see him go. SUEPO has announced that it will be calling demonstrations until the Patent Office is “back on track”. Something has gone off the rails.

Staff of the European Patent Office demonstrate regularly in front of the headquarters in Munich

Things are getting worse for Benoît Battistelli, not better. The longer this goes on for, the bigger and broader the scandals become. Battistelli is in a downward spiral; the question is, will he take the EPO down with him or can the EPO repel and expel him and his cronies (whom he added to protect himself)? The latter would of course be preferable. Britain has had similar issues; tackling them is imperative.

National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Ben Brother

Big Ben

Summary: British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy’s systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal

ONLY months after Microsoft blackmailed British MPs [1, 2, 3] we learn that “Microsoft disrupted British MPs’ parliamentary email system”. According to Linux Veda, “a third of MPs in the UK lost access to their email, hosted by Microsoft. The downtime occurred between Monday and Wednesday last week.” Why on Earth has our government put sensitive mails about the public and from the public in Microsoft’s hands? Are we giving up our digital sovereignty altogether? This is an espionage heaven as Microsoft works very closely with espionage agencies that even blackmail politicians (just like Microsoft does). Some folks have pointed this out to us as there is more coverage of this right now in the British press. Will they finally dump Microsoft and securely self-host their E-mail using Free/libre software, as any technically-proficient person would? Who decides on IT for Parliament anyway? Microsoft lobbyists? Moles? Bribed staff? We previously named such people who were deep in Microsoft’s pocket. These decisions are usually political rather than technical.

“These decisions are usually political rather than technical.”In the US, the nuclear arsenal and those who can physically access it are still using Microsoft's Swiss cheese OS, Windows XP. This shocked a lot of people and hacked.com wrote: “Windows XP was notoriously insecure even when it was in normal usage, but now that it’s ancient, the details on how to hack into an XP network are easy to get. Worse, the Navy insists on keeping this system even as this is public knowledge. It would take time and money, but an upgrade to either a newer version of Windows or to some Linux or other open-source option would make things vastly more secure for the sections of the Navy that are subjected to this policy.

“Now, there will always be those who argue that it’s mostly the behavior of users that influences the security of a given network. This could be true, but there are exploits on XP systems which just aren’t possible on newer systems, or on Linux.”

Anything other than Free/libre software should be assumed not secure. It cannot be proven otherwise.

Speculations About the EPO’s Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Readers’ views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it’s on the ‘targets’ list of the EPO

YESTERDAY we mentioned EPO spying on this site and the day before that we wrote about DDOS attacks against this site. We are still eager to get to the bottom of who’s behind the very latest attacks (different from previous attacks) and some people wrote to us with additional information.

“You should perhaps take your case with US authorities,” one person said, “i.e. the FBI, as the AWS server is located in the US, according to ping timings and traceroute performed [...] The EPO uses AWS on Amazon’s servers in Ireland to host their Open Patent Services, so they would have the technical knowledge to write a stupid stunt like that.

“But it would be amazingly daft to launch an attack from an account clearly connected to the EPO. I would imagine some shady operation running on stolen or prepaid credit cards, so you might not get very far anyway. The code needn’t be very sophisticated, and wouldn’t cost much to run.

“The FBI has acted in such cases in the past: http://www.securityfocus.com/news/9411

“but their own reputation isn’t quite sterling: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/ddos-for-hire-service-works-with-blessing-of-fbi-operator-says/

Others have pointed out that, despite the patterns of attacks showing no signs of it, scrapers of the EPO or the external spies it hired could play a role. “Concerning the monitoring of IRC logs,” said one person, I “have reason to inspect that “bots” have been employed for monitoring the IRC channels which might go some way to explaining those DDOS attacks that you reported some time ago.”

The problem is, it wasn’t IRC pages that were being hammered. I “don’t have any detailed technical information about this,” the person continues, “or who exactly was involved (i.e. whether it was EPO internal or some outside “agents”). [...] just passing on what I have heard so that you are aware that you are somehow “under observation” (or at least your IRC logs are)” (we have strong evidence of that, but it is definitely not the cause of the server stress).

We are going to continue pressuring Amazon for the identity of the attacker (Amazon is still stonewalling) and maybe report abuse to the EPO’s network administrators some time quite soon.

06.30.15

Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Control Risks

Summary: Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law

SEVERAL months ago, before the whole EPO surveillance scandal even began (it’s now standard practice at the EPO, signed off even by a bogus ‘data protection’ officer), we got an important headsup. Our sources informed us that the UK-based “independent global risk consultancy” (i.e. private security company) Control Risks had been “engaged by the EPO to carry out an investigation into EPO Staff Representatives.”

We previously wrote about Control Risks in the following important posts which add some background:

This had significant impact because it meant that the EPO was officially on a fishing expedition, trying to find sources and thus targeting reporters. It was always without doubt that we had been put on Control Risks’ “targets” list. If we were not, it would just mean that Control Risks may be utterly incompetent. These people don’t try to uphold the law but rather to protect those who break the law, by breaking the law themselves (privacy violations and cracking). At a later date we will provide additional details about the EPO’s shameful (and potentially illegal) practices.

Our claims, as above, are based not purely on hearsay. We found out about this before the press even talked about it and before EPO staff knew about it. At a later date we had a source tell us that Control Risks’ involvement “may also indicate that Control Risks will be involved in “investigating” Techrights (due to the fact that EPO managements is highly concerned about negative publicity from that channel).

“According to information, the EPO or its agents are involved in monitoring Techrights IRC channels and the logs of these channels to try and identify who is feeding information to Techrights.”

Look what the EPO has turned into. It’s something to be expected from an authoritarian regime.

Investigation Unit

06.28.15

After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will Europe tolerate corruption again?

“[A]mazing that corruption is [accepted] by the entire developed world. stunning that it has met with resistance only with some developing nations and maybe the european union.”

Ashok Pai

European flags

Summary: The abuses of the EPO’s management summarised in a 9-page document, which includes many references to media coverage in Europe

THE coming weeks or months promise potentially big changes, similar to the ones at FIFA (with Blatter in Battistelli’s shoes). Like glorified tyrant Lee Kuan Yew, Battistelli exercises authoritarian control in pursuit of profit (at all costs, even by expanding patent scope beyond what is legal), including corruption of the media, corruption of what was supposed to resemble separation of powers, and self-indulgence in massive inequality, even embezzlement of public money and misuse thereof for human rights violations. Some large businesses may genuinely like Battistelli, but not the citizens (of Europe) or the workers (of EPO); they are just afraid to say it. It’s a reign of terror. It’s tyranny.

The Council of Europe's complaint (with over 80 high-profile signatures) sure put a lot of pressure on the EPO‘s management. Here is the direct link corresponding to the Council of Europe’s official statement in its Web site. The French version is here.

Some time on Sunday SUEPO wrote in its public site:

The social conflict at the European Patent Office continues. The working climate has become toxic for both individual staff in the EPO and for the broader functioning of this European institution as a whole.

An overview of the latest events and an analysis of the current situation can be found in this publication.

Since this is a PDF-only publication, we decided to reproduce it as HTML, potentially broadening its reach:

26.06.2015

su15271cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2/5.3

Situation of European Patent Office (EPO)

JUNE 2015

Governments, politicians, representatives of Europe’s industry, NGOs and other interested critical observers, all should be concerned about the situation at the European Patent Office.

The officials of the EPO are entrusted with carrying out the European patent granting process, which includes taking responsibility for an independent review of European patent applications and for the application of law in this area of intellectual property.

However, governance over the current EPO procedure lacks fundamental checks and balances, there is no democratic control, and the staff themselves have in many cases no effective access to an independent, impartial judicial review when contesting a decision.

Yet checks and balances with access to a fair trial are fundamental components of the rule of law enjoyed in the democracies of our founding States, since they belong to their “community of values”. But apparently these are not applied in the EPO, which is fast becoming an island of lawlessness in the very heart of Europe.

For EPO staff, this governance problem is compounded by the now notoriously authoritarian administration style of the President of the EPO, Benoit Battistelli, such that the problem is now acute. Under his regime, the EPO has become a police state operating with impunity. Opposition is not tolerated and any staff perceived as being “obstructive” are removed by way of disciplinary procedures, penalties or other means, sometimes of dubious legality. Staff – in particular Union officials – are investigated and interrogated, in some cases by an external security agency, without any personal safeguards.

The events described in this document illustrate the dramatic downward trend in social dialog over the last four years. This drift, which is now increasingly visible to the public, finds its roots in an EPO management style characterized by its authoritarian leadership. The working climate is toxic for both individual staff in the EPO and for the broader functioning of this European institution as a whole. Functional immunity granted to the EPO has been conceived as blanket immunity, thereby exposing staff to the unlawful exertion of internal influence.

Not only the Administrative Council of the EPO, but also the European authorities and the public at large, all should beware the undesirable consequences when such abusive powers are left to operate effectively with total impunity.

UPDATED PRESS COVERAGE AND LETTERS FROM SUEPO
CAN BE FOUND HERE:

http://www.suepo.org/public/news

1


The EPO as a battlefield?1

1. Reforms

The European Patent Convention is now over 40 years old. The EPO is set up according to principles of the international civil service, many of which date back to the early 20th century. As early as 2007, the Administrative Council mandated a succession of EPO Presidents to develop and then introduce a number of reforms. The need for reform is understandable; it should strive to maintain the organisation’s compatibility with the needs and values of the public it professes to serve. However until now, most of the reforms have concerned human resources management and changing working conditions. None have addressed the issues of transparent governance with management accountability.
The working conditions laid down in the Service Regulations are not published; once the Administrative Council adopts new working conditions, they are implemented without any possibility for an independent instance or for the public to verify their compatibility with fundamental rights or with the generally accepted principles of law. A combination of claimed total immunity and, at the behest of the President, the abolition of external audit has led to this grave situation. Far from being of simply academic concern, the issue of control over governance and enforcement of fundamental rights is a very concrete issue. Although EPO staff members are civil servants, they do not enjoy the same “safety net” as
their counterparts in national administrations. In the event of termination of contract, EPO staff have no claim to support from a national health insurance, nor will they receive any unemployment benefits. In addition, their pension rights are not always secured.

2. Democratic deficit

All citizens of any democratic country retain, at least indirectly through their elected representatives, a certain degree of influence over the rules and legislation that will apply to them. They can always take part through internal procedures of political parties in the elaboration of proposals, they can participate in public debates, and ultimately they can vote legislators out of office at the next election. This is not the case in the EPO. Binding rules are enacted by the Administrative Council (which consists of non-elected civil servants from member states) on the recommendations of the President of the EPO. Lack of meaningful consultation or collaboration means staff has virtually no say and judicial control is limited.
Many of the changes introduced are perceived as being nonsensical, disruptive and later deemed inconsistent with subsequent changes. This has caused widespread discontent.

3. Repression of dissent: An uncontrolled police state

Even though the outcome was often less than satisfactory, the EPO management must be given credit for trying, at least between 2007 and 2010, to allay the concerns of staff by engaging in meaningful dialogue with elected staff representatives, including the staff union. All this has changed dramatically under the current President. Instead of engaging in dialogue, he has chosen the path of systematically repressing the slightest expression of dissent and/or opposition.
To silence any dissenting voice, the President has unilaterally introduced a raft of reforms including: changing the rules for challenging decisions; introducing new “investigation

____________________
1 IPKat provides an interesting overview of the events at the EPO since 1 January 2015.

2


guidelines“; introducing new strike rules; banning SUEPO from EPO premises; applying disciplinary measures to Staff Representatives; banning Staff Representatives from sending emails to more than 50 Staff members; investigating Staff representatives using the Investigating Unit who use sometimes dubious methods and external2 contractors.
Both the international press and the internet are replete with negative reports concerning the management style of Benoît Battistelli. These include:

  • Censorship over deteriorating working conditions;
  • Disciplinary measures and threats against those individuals who raise the issue of four suicides in 3 years. Threats of reprisals against those who intend to join a peaceful demonstration duly authorized by the city authorities;
  • Suspension of and disciplinary measures against two Staff Committee nominees in the Appeal Committee, allegedly for daring to resist management manipulation;
  • Suspension of a “patent judge”, a Board of Appeal member, by the EPO President under the guise of a “house ban”, which has now endured for more than 6 months)3;
  • Installation of secret spying equipment (including key-loggers) on computers in the semi-public areas of the EPO: such computers were made available to members of the Administrative Council (during AC meetings) and visiting patent attorneys while prosecuting patents for their clients;
  • Approval – albeit retroactively4 – of such spying by the Data Protection Officer;
  • While ostensibly trying to repair its image by endeavouring to re-open dialogue with the Unions5, the Administration has concurrently launched investigations against the majority (if not all) of the Staff representatives and Union Officials. Many of these investigations have been sub-contracted to an external company, Control Risks, who have a somewhat
    controversial reputation. Their techniques involve interrogation without any safeguards, all this at the initiative of the investigation unit, itself under the direct authority of the President of the Office.

4. No effective access to justice

Staff is particularly aggrieved because it has no reasonable way to seek relief through judicial review:

  • The internal dispute resolution process (the Internal Appeals Committee) and the subsequent external instance (the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation) are reserved for individual grievances that can be instigated once the alleged

____________________
2 A comprehensive list can be found in the following SUEPO publication.
3 This action has generated enormous disquiet, not only among bloggers, attorneys and EPO union officials, but also within the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The Administrative Council endorsed this decision in its December session. Up to date (June 2015), disciplinary proceedings are on-going and the BoA member is still suspended until a further decision, probably the next AC session.
4 It has become apparent from a document (archive) available on internet (FOSS Patents) that the covert surveillance of publicly accessible computers in the Munich ISAR building by the Investigation Unit has been signed by the Data Protection Officer of the European Patent Office. A blogger, Florian Mueller, comments as follows: “There is now
conclusive evidence that the EPO has violated basic human rights not only of its staff but even of unsuspecting visitors of one of the EPO’s Munich facilities. [...] [T]he request that the “data protection officer” (who is more than 25 years late to serve as a Stasi official) authorized merely refers to freedom-of-speech issues: “a sustained campaign of defamatory and insulting communications against [the EPO's Jack Warner] Vice President Zejlko Topic, other senior managers of the Office and possibly Administrative Council Delegates, in the form of normal post and electronic mail.”
In the mean time, neither the EPO nor the AC representatives have commented upon these events, let alone taken steps to suspend the investigations. See References [6]-[11] below.
5 In an attempt to limit the damage in the public eye, and to counter the criticism within the Administrative Council, the Chair of the Council Jesper Kongstad and the President of the EPO Benoit Battistelli called for “a renewed social dialogue”: They “consider in particular that the formal recognition of the trade unions within the EPO’s legal framework could create the conditions to re-launch the process and to overcome some longstanding issues5.” This led the way to “trilateral meetings” with representatives of the unions, of the Administrative Council and the President. However, it has become quite clear that any “recognition” has to remain toothless.

3


  • damage has occurred. Only in very exceptionally circumstances can a general decision, such as a decision modifying working conditions, be challenged perhaps collectively before it has been implemented.
  • An appeal against dismissal or other disciplinary action can only be sought in front of the “Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation” (ILOAT) in Geneva, who cannot grant injunctive relief. The situation can only be corrected once the damage has occurred: such relief may take many years. This and the lack of any emergency procedure,
    makes EPO staff particularly vulnerable to succumbing to the threats inherent in the present management style.
  • The staff union has no access to either the Internal Appeals Committee or to the ATILO. As a corporate body established under national law, the Union may have access to the domestic courts of the host countries, but the EPO shields itself behind its functional immunity from any and all jurisdiction and execution.
  • Even when staff members have access to the statutory dispute resolution process, it takes on average 3-5 years for a grievance to be assessed by the Internal Appeals Committee. If the grievance then proceeds to the ATILO, the claimant can count on a minimum of another 3-4 years before the grievance is heard. All in all, with the current increasing backlog in the
    Internal Appeals Committee and at the ATILO, it is expected that grievances lodged after 2011 will not be adjudicated before at least a decade.
  • Staff repeatedly complain that the Appeals Committee is both highly dysfunctional and lacking in impartiality. Things were so bad that in October 2014, the Central Staff Committee refused to appoint representatives to the Appeals Committee until these issues were resolved. Instead of addressing them, the President simply ordered his appointees to proceed without staff representatives6.
  • On behalf of the AC, the Board of Auditors of the European Patent Organisation reviewed the Internal Appeals procedure in June 2015 (CA/20/15). They have confirmed that the President does not follow recommendations of his own Appeals Committee insofar as he (almost) systematically rules against staff. The ILO-AT itself judged that it “is ill equipped to act as a trial court” (J.3291). For SUEPO, there can be no social peace without unrestricted access to impartial justice.
  • Moreover, if one takes the figures provided by the auditors for 2013 – 20 Nov 2014 in A/20/15 and compares them to the figures provided by the President in his social report (CA/55/15), one realizes that between 20 Nov. and 23 Dec. 2014, the Committee apparently managed to produce over 150 opinions in a single month! One could be tempted to conclude that when the clash exploded and the Appeals Committee was directed to continue its work without staff representatives, the remainder of the Committee either accelerated to an incredible speed or found a short-cut to the procedures: in a couple of sessions and within a few days, it took care and to provide opinions on the equivalent of the past year’s “production”.

5. Conflict

The management style that currently prevails in the EPO may well be both detrimental to its proper functioning and undermine the EPO’s reputation on the international stage. This has generated a considerable number of articles in the mainstream press or well-respected blogs on intellectual property. Questions have even been raised in several European parliaments. Despite this unrest, the organization fails to adhere to European values.

To try and ease the situation, the staff representation has repeatedly proposed to Mr. Battistelli to use an external mediator; this suggestion has always been rejected. The Union has proposed a

____________________
6 Staff Committee views can be found here [1].

4


framework agreement to regulate relations between itself and management; the proposal has also been ignored. Recently, the German court in Munich also suggested mediation as a means to
facilitate resolution of a dispute with the union; Mr Battistelli flatly rejected the Court’s recommendation.

Eventually, the Union has had to bring the matter before a national court where they claimed that the EPO was infringing SUEPO’s right to operate and to engage in collective bargaining. The Dutch Court of Appeal, in its February judgment, ruled in favour of SUEPO vs EPO. To quote from an article in the Nederlands Juristenblad, a Dutch legal magazine:

“The Court of Appeal in The Hague has created an international precedent in the case against EPO by rejecting the immunity of an international organisation in a collective labour law case, and also awarding the claims on their merits, based on the fact that the organisation in question violated fundamental human rights. This decision is important because it further institutionalises the accountability of international organisations. Unfortunately the Netherlands also showed itself at its most narrow-minded: the Minister instructed the bailiff to not enforce the judgement because the organisation enjoys immunity from enforcement under international law. This instruction not only erodes the separation of powers stipulated by the Constitution, it isn’t an obligation under international law either: as is the case for immunity from jurisdiction, immunity from enforcement can only be granted if the organisation adequately protects fundamental rights.”

In the meantime, the Dutch government has now apparently joined the EPO in an attempt to overturn the judgment in the next instance (“cassation”)7.

6. An unhealthy concentration of Power.

Like many international organisations, the EPO and its (high) officials enjoy a degree of immunity that borders on impunity. There are virtually no checks and balances left to counter any abuse. Of perhaps greatest concern is the lack of checks and balances in respect of the highest “judicial instance” of the EPO, the Board of Appeals. Even the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO took up this issue in early 2014 through a remarkable decision >[16].

President Battistelli has engaged in a series of reforms for the Boards of Appeal8:

  • Perceived independence: a new proposal (CA/16/15) states its goals as “to increase the organisational and managerial autonomy of the BOA, the perception of their independence (enshrined in Article 23 EPC) and also their efficiency, in order to respect the principle of effective legal protection within the legal framework of the current EPC”.
    In a position paper, the association of the members of the BoA (AMBA) criticised the proposal: in their opinion, it “mixes up the roles of a supervisory committee and a council of the judiciary without being either” and without solving “the problems noted in R 19/12”. Furthermore, “making re-appointment dependent on performance appraisals, including quality aspects, [goes] against the security of tenure.“ uncertainty of permanent status“ which in turn is not “helpful in recruiting experienced external candidates”. Finally, the proposed “move to Berlin would have serious consequences on manpower”.
  • New career proposal: AMBA and the Presidium of the BoA equally criticised the new proposal for implementing a new career system noting that it “takes no account of the special situation of the boards of appeal, and even removes existing derogations”.

____________________

7 See references [3]-[5] below.
8 See references [12]-[15].

5


These proposals are under discussion and are receiving great public attention. AMBA concludes that these proposals are “in contrast to a clear separation of powers which is a basic principle in all European countries and which is of utmost importance for the acceptance of the European patent system.”

7. The interest of the European public

There is a serious problem of governance in the EPO. The opacity of its decision-making processes and the lack of accountability, which the EPO justifies on the basis of “its immunity”, is anachronistic in both Europe and in the 21st century: we live in a time where states require from their institutions (and from each other) both financial transparency and accountability. While the EPO may still be “competitive” as an employer in terms of remuneration benefits, its internal human resources policies, in particular with regards to interpersonal relationships, are both antiquated and brutal.

Generally speaking, European society should not tolerate that some of its citizens are deprived of their fundamental rights simply because they are employed by an intergovernmental organisation, or because they are well paid. This is surely particularly pertinent when the EPO member states are, in their overwhelming majority, also member states of the European Union. Yet this is exactly what now happens at the EPO.

The Administrative Council of the EPO, and thereby vicariously the member states, are being at best complacent, at worst grossly negligent of their responsibilities. The Council largely gives the President carte blanche, without asking what the consequences might be or considering how he could use his powers. Structurally, the President of the EPO acts as accuser, investigator, judge and final arbiter on all matters; there is no separation of power guaranteeing a healthy system of checks and balances for his actions. The nearly absolute power the current President enjoys and the manner in which he uses it continues to be a source of particular concern and dismay. Staff and their unions consider the limitations on the freedom of expression and freedom of association (embodied in the strike regulations) without effective access to justice as breaches of their fundamental rights as Europeans.

Furthermore, beyond the fact that European citizens are deprived of the fundamental rights, this working environment is highly toxic for both the individual staff in the EPO and for the normal functioning of this European institution as a whole. An authoritarian leadership without effective judicial protection makes individual staff members particularly vulnerable to suffering under the present management style: not only does their health suffer, but their capacity as officials entrusted with the European patent granting process is impaired. Under these conditions, how can one expect EPO agents to fulfil their responsibilities and undertake an independent review of European patent applications and apply the law dictated by the EPC? If the EPO is tasked with granting patent rights to inventors and European industry, how credible are those rights if delivered by an institution that is ostensibly unable to comply with the rule of law in its own internal affairs?

Functional immunity granted to the EPO has been conceived by management as blanket immunity, thereby exposing staff to the use of abusive powers with total impunity.

It is high time that the competent authorities take a keener interest in what is happening at the EPO and insist that the house be put in order. This should be done by introducing proper policies through consultation and negotiation, not through repression and intimidation.

6


REFERENCES

[1] “EPO Justice: Analysis of Board of Auditors Review (CA/20/15)” , by the Central Staff Committee, 02.06.2105

https://www.suepo.org/rights/public/archive/sc15220cp.pdf

“Report – EPO Internal Justice System”, SUEPO, 18.12.2013

http://www.suepo.org/public/su13201cp.pdf

“Trias Politica” – Beyond the problems, the way out: “Feuille de Route” for Social Democracy“, by SUEPO, 18.12.2013

http://www.suepo.org/public/su13202cp.pdf

[2] “SOCIAL CONFLICT AT THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE”, by SUEPO, 27.11.2014

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14294cp.pdf

[3] Judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal in SUEPO v EPO
The judgment of the Dutch Court of Appeal is available in English, French and German.

http://www.suepo.org/archive/su15088cpe.pdf

Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Recht haben und recht bekommen”, 27.02.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15092cp.pdf (with translations)

Nederlands Juristenblad, “Fundamentele arbeidsrechten en immuniteit”, 08.05.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15222cp.pdf (with translations)

[4] Communiqué 69 from the President of the EPO (Annex)

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/02/the-epo-privileged-and-immune-says_24.html

[5] Notification from the Dutch Government (Annex)

http://www.suepo.org/public/su15090cp.pdf

[6] “The so-called data protection officer of the EPO signed off on keylogging, hidden
cameras”, FOSS Patents, 14.06.2015

http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/06/the-so-called-data-protection-officer.html

“Forderung nach externem Datenschützer”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10.06.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15250cp.pdf (with translations)

[7] “Wie bei der FIFA oder in China – Europäisches Patentamt: Beschäftigte bespitzelt”, Münchner Merkur, 12.06.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15244cp.pdf

[8] “MPs call for tough action on rogue investigators”, 06.06.2012

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/120706-pi-rpt-published/

“The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens”, Spiegel Online,
“Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist”, Spiegel Online
“Watching the detectives”, The Guardian
“From guard dogs and fences to business intelligence”, Financial Times

7


[9] “Sturm im Glashaus”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 31.05.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15214cp.pdf (with translations)

“Krisenfachleute spähen im Europäischen Patentamt”, FAZ, 02.06.2015
http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15219cp.pdf (with translations)

[10] “Un si bon office”, Le Monde, 06.04.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15152cp.pdf

[11] Demonstration in front of the British consulate in Munich planned for the 25.02.15 and
cancelled on 23.03.2015. What does EPO staff want?

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14286cp.pdf

“Präsident droht protestwilligen Mitarbeitern”, Münchner Merkur, 25.02.2015

http://www.suepo.org/public/ex15070cp.pdf

[12] Letter of Sir Robin Jacob addressed to Mr Jesper Kongstad, Chairman of the AC of the EPO.

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/01/judicial-independence-europes-ip-judges.html

[13] Communiqué on decisions taken by the Administrative Council at its 142nd meeting concerning the suspension of the member of the Board of Appeal, 12.12.2014

http://www.epo.org/about-us/organisation/communiques.html#a10

For all matter concerning the Board of Appeals please refer to the Association of the
Board Members:

http://www.amba-epo.org/

[14] The further public condemnations:

Letter from Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy at Bardehele PagenBerg to the German representative of the AC, 08.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/the-chorus-swells-another-entreaty-to.html

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/top-notch-patent-litigator-sees.html

Letter from the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the representatives of the AC, 08.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/breaking-news-enlarged-board-appeals.html

Letter from two external members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the representatives of the AC;

http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/leading-european-ip-judges-join-chorus.html

Six further external members of the Enlarged Board agree, 11.12.2014

http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-more-judges-criticise-battistellis.html

[15] Letter from the EP Lawyers Association to the AC representatives, 29.12.2014

[16] Concerns from Law Associations about the new BoA Career proposal (CA/16/15)

8


In the framework of the user consultation, the following raised concerns about the
proposal in CA/16/15:

Letter from Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), 15.05.2015

http://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/NTCdocument/1__Letter_independen1_1432041035.pdf

Letter from EPLAW, 04.06.2015
http://www.eplawpatentblog.com/2015/June/20150604 Letter to Mr. Battistelli.pdf

[17] Decision R 19/12:

The Enlarged Board decides that the Vice President of DG3 is to be recused from a petition for review case on suspicion of partiality because of his continuing connection with the EPO management.

https://register.epo.org/application?documentId=EV0ZJBW50569684&number=EP99947419&lng=en&npl=false

Further Press reports

[18] “Streit beim Europäischen Patentamt”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.03.2014
http://www.suepo.org/public/Streit_eskaliert_de_en_nl.pdf (with translations)

[19] “Umstritten und Souverän”, Die Zeit, Ausgabe Nr.13 20.03.2014

http://www.zeit.de/2014/13/benoit-battistelli-epa-europaeisches-patentamt

[20] Brief vom französischen Abgeordneten Philip Cordery an die französischen Minister Arnaud Montebourg und Fleur Pellerin.
http://www.suepo.org/public/CorderyLetterFr-En-De.pdf (with translations)

[21] Offener Brief vom französischen Abgeordneten Pierre-Yves Le Borgn‘

http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2014/04/interrogations-sur-la-gouvernance-de-loffice-europeen-des-brevets/

[22] “Eine kleine Minderheit schürt Ängste”, Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.03.2014

http://www.suepo.org/public/su14078cp.pdf

[23] “Ärger im Europäischen Patentamt – Aufstand gegen den Sonnenkönig”, Berliner Zeitung vom 30.03.2014

http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/wirtschaft/aerger-im-europaeischen-patentamt-aufstand-gegen-den-sonnenkoenig,10808230,26698776.html

[24] “A l’Office européen des brevets, ambiance délétère et président contesté”, AFP & Libération.fr, 30.03.2014

http://www.liberation.fr/economie/2014/03/30/a-l-office-europeen-des-brevets-ambiance-deletere-et-president-conteste_991434

9

If “Mister President” and “Sun King” (his common nickname), also known as Benoît Battistelli, ends up announcing his resignation (hopefully forced, albeit silently) some time soon, it won’t surprise us. He won’t allow himself to publicly accept defeat (get fired), he has already threatened to resign (fall on his sword under great pressure with suicidal tendencies), much to the expectation of Wouter Pors, an IP practitioner widely known around Europe. It would also be somewhat poetic a justice given the number of suicides Battistelli et al. are claimed to have caused.

06.26.15

The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An emergency

Summary: Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians — many of whom from Battistelli’s home country — become better informed of the EPO’s management fiasco, abuses, and scandals

We have just been sent a copy [PDF] of the written declaration sponsored by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (mentioned here before) and signed by 82 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Rollbacks of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office are clearly not being tolerated. Here is the declaration as HTML:

Doc. 13836

25 June 2015

Rollback of fundamental rights at the European Patent Office

Written declaration No. 596

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it On 17 February 2015, the Hague Court of Appeal condemned the European Patent Office (EPO), arguing that its internal dispute settlement system led to a rollback of fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Social Charter. The Court considered that the EPO could not invoke its immunity when a trade union is deprived of any means to challenge violations of the personnel’s rights, for want of any legal remedy before the International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal or via any other internal procedure.

An international organisation cannot become a place of lesser law, sheltered by its jurisdictional immunity. Restraining the right of association, reducing the right to go on strike, preventing the personnel from being entitled to collective bargaining, depriving all organisations from any effective remedy and failing to carry out a court decision are all unacceptable developments. We call on the 38 member States of the EPO, all members of the Council of Europe, to bring this situation to an end and urge the EPO’s management to comply with the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal.

Signed (see overleaf)


Doc. 13836 Written declaration

Signed1:

LE BORGN’ Pierre-Yves, France, SOC
AGRAMUNT Pedro, Spain, EPP/CD
ALAVEZ RUIZ Aleida, Mexico
ALLAIN Brigitte, France, SOC
ANDERSON Donald, United Kingdom, SOC
ANDREOLI Paride, San Marino, SOC
BARILARO Christian, Monaco, ALDE
BENTON Joe, United Kingdom, SOC
BIES Philippe, France, SOC
BİLGEHAN Gülsün, Turkey, SOC
BLONDIN Maryvonne, France, SOC
BOCKEL Jean-Marie, France, EPP/CD
BONET PEROT Sílvia Eloïsa, Andorra, SOC
CANTU SEGOVIA Eloy, Mexico
CHAOUKI Khalid, Italy, SOC
CHRISTOFFERSEN Lise, Norway, SOC
CILEVIČS Boriss, Latvia, SOC
CORSINI Paolo, Italy, SOC
CROZON Pascale, France, SOC
DAVIES Geraint, United Kingdom, SOC
DÍAZ TEJERA Arcadio, Spain, SOC
DOKLE Namik, Albania, SOC
DURRIEU Josette, France, SOC
FLEGO Gvozden Srećko, Croatia, SOC
FLYNN Paul, United Kingdom, SOC
FOURNIER Bernard, France, EPP/CD
FRESKO-ROLFO Béatrice, Monaco, EPP/CD
GABÁNIOVÁ Darina, Slovak Republic, SOC
GIOVAGNOLI Gerardo, San Marino, SOC
GOSSELIN-FLEURY Geneviève, France, SOC
GROSS Andreas, Switzerland, SOC
GUNNARSSON Jonas, Sweden, SOC
GUTIÉRREZ Antonio, Spain, SOC
GUZENINA Maria, Finland, SOC
HAGEBAKKEN Tore, Norway, SOC
HAIDER Monica, Sweden, SOC
HARANGOZÓ Gábor, Hungary, SOC
HEINRICH Gabriela, Germany, SOC
IORDACHE Florin, Romania, SOC
IWIŃSKI Tadeusz, Poland, SOC
JANSSON Eva-Lena, Sweden, SOC
JURATOVIC Josip, Germany, SOC
KARLSSON Niklas, Sweden, SOC
KOX Tiny, Netherlands, UEL
LE DÉAUT Jean-Yves, France, SOC
LESKAJ Valentina, Albania, SOC
LONCLE François, France, SOC
LUND Jacob, Denmark, SOC
MAHOUX Philippe, Belgium, SOC
MAIJ Marit, Netherlands, SOC
MARKOVIĆ Milica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC
MARTINEL Martine, France, SOC

_________
1.
SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EC: European Conservatives Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: Representatives not belonging to a Political Group


Doc. 13836 Written declaration

MAURY PASQUIER Liliane, Switzerland, SOC
MEALE Alan, United Kingdom, SOC
MESTERHÁZY Attila, Hungary, SOC
MULIĆ Melita, Croatia, SOC
NACHTMANNOVÁ Oľga, Slovak Republic, SOC
NEGUTA Andrei, Republic of Moldova, SOC
NICOLETTI Michele, Italy, SOC
OBRADOVIĆ Žarko, Serbia, SOC
OHLSSON Carina, Sweden, SOC
PÂSLARU Florin Costin, Romania, SOC
PETRÁK Ľubomir, Slovak Republic, SOC
QUÉRÉ Catherine, France, SOC
RAWERT Mechthild, Germany, SOC
ROCHEBLOINE François, France, EPP/CD
RODRÍGUEZ Soraya, Spain, SOC
ROSEIRA Maria de Belém, Portugal, SOC
ROUQUET René, France, SOC
SÁEZ Àlex, Spain, SOC
SCHENNACH Stefan, Austria, SOC
SCHMIDT Frithjof, Germany, SOC
SCHWABE Frank, Germany, SOC
SEKULIĆ Predrag, Montenegro, SOC
SIMENSEN Kåre, Norway, SOC
STRIK Tineke, Netherlands, SOC
SUTTER Petra, De, Belgium, SOC
TAKTAKISHVILI Chiora, Georgia, ALDE
TOMLINSON John E., United Kingdom, SOC
VĖSAITĖ Birutė, Lithuania, SOC
VORUZ Eric, Switzerland, SOC
VRIES Klaas, de, Netherlands, SOC
VUČKOVIĆ Nataša, Serbia, SOC
XUCLÀ Jordi, Spain, ALDE

_____________________________
Total = 82

The latest item on IP Kat beat us to it. Merpel writes: “Altogether more than 100 parliamentarians from 32 countries have now expressed their anxieties and concerns regarding the persistent erosion of fundamental rights experienced by EPO staff over the past year and a half at the hands of the current regime, which presumably still enjoys the substantial support of the Administrative Council which has notional control of the organisation.”

Merpel also found this political intervention in the European Parliament:

The European Patent Office (EPO) was set up forty years ago. It currently employs about seven thousand highly qualified people, most of whom work at its offices in Germany (Munich) and the Netherlands (Ryswick). In 2014 alone, it received 274 000 patent applications from companies all over the world. Its budget of EUR 2 000 million makes it the second largest European institution after the Commission.

There have been a huge number of complaints about the EPO. Cases of staff suffering from depression (including four suicides since 2012), a climate of intimidation caused by the creation of an internal investigation unit, and restrictions on the right to strike have been reported by the trade union, SUEPO, which is now banned from EPO premises. Among other things, the union is complaining about management’s plan to lower the cost of registering patents at the price of employees’ health.

Is the Commission aware of this situation and what is being done to investigate it? Also, what are the grounds for the immunity granted to the European Patent Office, which allegedly derives from the fact that it is extraterritorial, thus making it impossible for any legal action to be taken to protect workers’ rights?

Over at IP Kat there are some interesting comments from what appears to be EPO staff. The first:

During this time in a Galaxy far away ….

The Administrative Council just extended for 3 years VP5 (Raimund Lutz) the man who finds everything perfectly legal (when national courts and parliamentaries don’t)…

AND

VP1 (who will be 70 at the end of his mandate whereas max. pension age at EPO is 67….

AND

Battistelli starts his new mandate with secret salarial conditions …

AND

the AC did not bother to comment on the on-going spying on staff reps/unionists nor on public spying

All is fine in Eponia !!

Second comment speaks of betrayal:

Many years ago I gave a promise to the Office, and with it to the general public of Europe, that I would examine patents and only grant those with a high probability of validity as far as I could establish. In return for this the office made a promise to look after me. We had an agreement, which I considered to be binding. I have kept my promise so far and I intend to keep my promise. Unfortunately this is not made easier by the fact the some people in the Office have decided to withdraw the promise made by the office to me by changing the whole substance of my working conditions without my agreement. If I am to keep my promise, this must be tolerated, however, since there is no functioning legal system which will tell them to stop, so I have no defence. None the less, I intend to keep my promise, since I believe, and all the evidence I’ve seen confirms, that valid patents are important for the general public and the whole patent system.
It would be really nice if someone could persuade the office to revert to keeping it’s promise. I do hope these initiatives are a step along the way.

There are many more anonymous comments in there. The management of the EPO seems to have become besieged by an increasingly informed workforce, Parliament, and public. This can’t end well for Battistelli. His time is running out.

The EPO’s Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations now run the European Patent Office (EPO)

Ray of light

Summary: The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO’s technical staff (scientists and examiners)

THE EPO scandals continue and there is no denying that there is trouble when a huge proportion of the staff goes out to demonstrate right in front of the employer. Only a shameless liar would try to blame some “disgruntled employee” or “defamation”. The EPO, more so these days than ever before, is not a public service. It just sucks in public money. It is essentially a corporate entity masquerading as a public institution because it provides benefits like legal immunity, welfare (“too big to fail”), etc.

The EPO Administrative Council (AC), which has become Benoît Battistelli’s number one fan after some entryism, is trying to destroy the European industry with more patent monopolies and fees. According to patent lawyers’ media, Mr Kongstad’s office is at the forefront of this atrocious move:

The Select Committee of the EPO Administrative Council, which represents the 25 EU states expected to be covered by the Unitary Patent, adopted the so-called true top 4 proposal by a three-quarter majority yesterday.

One of the selling points of the planned Unitary Patent is that a single annual renewal fee payable to the EPO will maintain the right in the participating EU member states, meaning that national fees will no longer have to be paid.

The above says that the AC “represents the 25 EU states”, but in reality it seems to represent Battistelli and his rich friends, who want to become even richer.

The AC’s Kongstad is finding himself under fire again, this time from his own staff. SUEPO’s Web site says that “Ms Bergot, Principal Director of Human Resources of the EPO, has scheduled new meetings of the working group on “union recognition” between the administration and union officials. However, Mr Kongstad (Chairman of the Administrative Council) has still not reacted to the letter sent by SUEPO Central concerning the investigation of staff representatives and/or union executives during trilateral talks.

“Pending Mr Kongstad’s written answer, as also reiteratered in the Council meeting of 24/25 June 2015, SUEPO regrets it must decline the invitation at present. Of course, SUEPO is looking forward to developments making the resumption of meaningful discussions possible.”

SUEPO has this PDF reply letter, sent to Ms Bergot:

Dear Ms Bergot,

You have scheduled new meetings of the working group on “unions recognition” between the administration and union officials.

You must be aware of the letter sent by SUEPO Central to the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Mr Kongstad, which was made public on 10 June 2015 (*).

Pending Mr Kongstad’s written answer to our requests, as also reiteratered in the Council, we regret we must decline your invitation at present. Of course, we look forward to developments making the resumption of meaningful discussions possible.

Recall that Gilles Requena, the EPO’s Administrator (Presidential Office), is the spouse of Ms Bergot [PDF]. Bergot, the Principal Director of Human Resources, is clearly there because of connections, not skills. She’s far from the only such instance. Battistelli has quickly turned the EPO into an international laughing stock. It’s time to reclaim the EPO or reboot it.

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