Early Certainty from ILO (serving Battistelli the news)
Summary: Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin’s ‘branch’ of the EPO will be folded onto Munich’s
EARLIER THIS year, at around the beginning of September, we repeatedly wrote about claims that Battistelli’s union-busting actions (with bogus accusations and fake trials) had struck Berlin, not just Munich (and thereafter The Hague). It ought to be pretty clear by now, based on the ruling from judges as well, that ‘justice’ does not exist at the EPO; it’s about as legitimate as Turkish courts in 2016 (after a lot of perfectly-legitimate judges were toppled). We’ve carefully read again all the articles about the latest two ILO-AT decisions (it probably takes a lawyer otherwise, in order to understand the ramification for other cases) and we have just noticed that WIPR wrote an article about this almost a week later, following The Register, IP Watch, and Techrights (which was first to report on this).
To quote the article’s first few paragraphs:
The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization, a UN agency, has set aside two decisions made by the European Patent Office (EPO) and criticised the Administrative Council in the process.
On Wednesday, November 30, the tribunal dismissed the rulings, which had rejected employee challenges to internal rules.
The first decision, judgment number 3785, stemmed from a practice and procedure notice, which concerned the documents that make up European patent applications, issued by the EPO in 2013.
Now that Battistelli shuffles people around in alleged attempts to retaliate (collective punishment), e.g. moving the boards to Vienna, then Haar (not absolutely confirmed yet, except the budget), one should recall what we wrote about Berlin on the first of September, in light of this rumour which says “heard from the Isar building last week that this is exactly what Battistelli has in mind once the “haar-cut” is done: Berlin should be (des)integrated into Munich.”
Can someone confirm? On the right by the way is a photo of EPO staff in Berlin protesting in support of the dismissed staff representatives from Munich, urging Maas to offer support (he never did).
“Officially (usual lullabies) this is to increase efficiency (in reality this is to retaliate on the Berlin sub-office which has refused to submit since the beginning),” the same comment continues.
As we noted here several times before, such relocations can discourage people from staying in their job; some of them have spouses and kids in some job and/or school/kindergarten, respectively. It would be a convenient way to get rid of highly-paid staff without announcing any layoffs. See what happened in the now-understaffed boards. █
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Being above the law, even at The Hague, helps the autocracy of Battistelli and his praetorian guard
Summary: The unaccountable, unregulated Patent Office continues its union-busting activities and is expected — some believe — to decapitate even SUEPO The Hague (representing perhaps a thousand members of staff)
THE EPO‘s management continues to behave as though it’s above the law (any country’s law and even international law). The President, for instance, is allowed to break even his own rules. That’s classic autocracy, contrary to the principles of the Rule of Law.
“The problem is, the Administrative Council has become a lapdog, not a watchdog, and we’re rather pessimistic about it. It’s now complicit.”Recently, judging by the Dutch media, EPO management found an ‘ally’ in the Advocate General, Mr. Vlas, who is similar to an Attorney General (AG) in other countries. This may depend on who’s translating and how. The management of the EPO must be happy as it means that the high court’s decisions in January will quite likely be against SUEPO, not on grounds of legitimacy of their complaint but based on technical grounds or legitimacy of enforcement, i.e. the EPO being above the law and exempt from Dutch law (even though it resides on Dutch soil).
Someone has passed us some thoughts on the matter of this legal case in the Netherlands, stating:
The Attorney General of the Netherlands has issued his opinion on the immunity of the EPO in the context of the EPO’s breaches of fundamental rights. The AG did not in the least contest the findings of the violations, and went as far as stating that “honouring the claim to immunity of jurisdiction from the national judge does not in the least mean that violations of material rights are permitted”. However, in the specific case of SUEPO’s claims, he adopted the position that as long as individual EPO employees can have recourse to the ATILO, the route to the Dutch judge is barred. SUEPO does not understand this point; SUEPO cannot see how the ATILO can enforce a union’s right to collective bargain through individual complaints about violations of individual rights. SUEPO’s lawyers are studying the matter and will consider submitting a supplementary brief. The Court will hand down its decision (which may or may not follow the opinion of the AG) on 20 January 2017.
The above suggests that this is far from over. In the mean time, a source told us that witch-hunting in The Hague continues — something which we already knew about and wrote about. “The Attorney General’s opinion comes at an unusual juncture,” we learned, “and (in spite of its conservative stance) may well push the EPO and its Administrative Council to do something about the respect of fundamental rights.”
The problem is, the Administrative Council has become a lapdog, not a watchdog, and we’re rather pessimistic about it. It’s now complicit.
“This in its own right should be cause for massive demonstrations at The Hague next week.”We learned from our source that things have escalated even further. One “should remember,” to quote, “that the council has adopted resolution CA/26/16, which the President has completely ignored. Since then, as anyone can read from the minutes of the Board 28, there are “three current investigations/ disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague”. Clearly, the witch-hunt of SUEPO officials is going on, this time in The Hague. One of the targets is Laurent Prunier (Secretary of SUEPO The Hague, and member of the CSC), who has been suspended since 27.06.2016, and whose disciplinary hearing towards dismissal (and more) has just taken place on 28 and 29 September. No comment can be provided without risking compromising Laurent’s defence.”
Some people have in fact been informed that “his name has been expunged from the internal phone book even before the proceedings are closed.”
They “thus fear for the worst.”
This in its own right should be cause for massive demonstrations at The Hague next week. In Prunier's own words, these are “demonstrably fabricated accusations.”
We saw that before, did we not? █
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Summary: Successor of Benoît Battistelli at the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, is rumoured to be hiding something from tax authorities, but lack of transparency in “Eponia” prevents actual verification
THE EPO is no stranger to controversy and scandals. There is virtually no oversight there, no transparency, no accountability. This breeds distrust and often abuse as well. The USPTO is an angel in comparison as it doesn’t enjoy exemptions from European or US laws. There is no “USponia”, only “Eponia”.
“We just read your article with the title "Rumours About Secret EPO Salary of Benoît Battistelli",” some readers told us. “We’re surprised that you didn’t give any mention to the “Rumours About Secret EPO Salary of Jesper Kongstad”…
“If these rumours were true, then as a Danish civil servant he could be in serious trouble if the Danish tax authorities ever happened to investigate the matter.”
–Anonymous“At the end of an interview published by MIP in March of this year Kongstad was quoted as claiming that he does not receive any remuneration for his work at the EPO: “I am now spending about half of my time on EPO-related work, but I do not receive any remuneration for that.”
“In the MIP interview Kongstad was emphatic about the “pro bono” nature of his work for the EPO but not everybody is prepared to buy that storyline.”
Recall this embarrassing recent story. The readers continue: “In fact for some time now there have been persistent rumours circulating that he is somehow “on the payroll” at the EPO although nobody seems to know the precise details about this. Evil tongues have even been heard to say that he does not disclose this additional remuneration for tax purposes in Denmark. If these rumours were true, then as a Danish civil servant he could be in serious trouble if the Danish tax authorities ever happened to investigate the matter.
“It is important to emphasise that these are just rumours.”
–Anonymous“According to this report from 2010, under Danish law intentional and systematic tax evasion can lead to 8 years imprisonment and penalties of twice the unpaid tax liability. However, given the lack of effective oversight at the EPO it’s unlikely that Kongstad has anything to fear. Even if there was an investigation he would probably be whitewashed by the Internal Audit department which operates the EPO’s Investigative Unit and only answers to Battistelli. We are unlikely to see a truly independent audit of Kongstad’s financial relationship with the EPO any time soon.
“It is important to emphasise that these are just rumours. The close symbiosis between Kongstad and Battistelli and the fact that Kongstad is one of the few people privy to the details of Battistelli’s contract lends a certain amount of plausibility to the rumours. But in the absence of an independent audit nobody can say for certain how much substance there is to them. The fact that Kongstad went on record in March to specifically deny that he receives any remuneration for his EPO activities might be an indication that he felt a need to say something in public to counteract these rumours.” █
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Summary: Willy/Guillaume Minnoye (VP1) was at one point rumoured to be on his way out, so maybe that is still the case
THE EPO is probably Europe’s most notorious institution these days (worse than FIFA). This isn’t the fault of patent examiners but of top-level management which decided to treat examiners like an enemy and impose unreasonable demands.
“For a person his age, it would not count as early retirement but as late retirement (he was never supposed to have this post in the first place).”Working for Battistelli is difficult enough as an examiner, but even for those working for him at top-level management it has become hard and stressful. Recently, as we wrote earlier this summer, Ciaran McGinley resigned (set to retire early). As Principal Director of Patent Administration, his departure is a very big deal, but he’s not alone. Many people are leaving the Office and there are ways for retrieving some statistics; there are staff changes published every month and anyone in the office can read them. Based on these, one can easily see the increase in retirements over the last couple of years (we don’t know if anybody has already done that) and some people told us that it is indeed the case. Several sources told us the same thing and some people wrote anonymous comments about it online.
Earlier this year we learned that Principal Directors were starting to scrabble around with an eye on the VP1 post (that would be Minnoye’s post, around the time he embarrassed himself on Dutch TV). It was premature at the time to circulate rumours that Minnoye might be leaving and in fact he did not leave*. Given his age (past retirement age), maybe it’s just a matter of time. For a person his age, it would not count as early retirement but as late retirement (he was never supposed to have this post in the first place). █
* “Mrs Elodie Bergot has apparentlly [sic] resigned,” one person claimed at the time, but it turned out to be false. We never published this rumour; we refuted it.
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No transparency, no accountability (more greed and lawlessness)
Summary: Rumours about the amount of money Benoît Battistelli gets paid to ruin the European Patent Office (EPO), which has become more secretive and accordingly reckless
FOR a number of years now (not just months) people have wondered how much money Battistelli gets paid (money extracted from EPO budget without any proper oversight). Staff of the EPO does not trust Battistelli at all. Asking for transparency/details of Presidential salary should not be out of the ordinary as previous Presidents, a la Alison Brimelow (Battistelli’s predecessor at the Office), openly stated their salary and there was no confrontation about it. Battistelli is different because some say that Bergot, his friend’s wife (Elodie Bergot), increased his salary and/or bonus. We want to catch him in a lie right now, not because we have something against him personally but because the secrecy he brought to the EPO (definitely worse than in Brimelow’s days) hurts the credibility of the Office and damages — by extension — Europe’s reputation for accountability and relatively low corruption rates.
“Someone anonymous got told (a while back) that the salary was actually €42,000 a month (i.e. just over half a million Euros, a lot more than even national Presidents and EU heads receive), but that came through a friend via another friend, thus lacking any documentary evidence for it.”It is worth noting that Mr. Kongstad, Battistelli’s successor in the Council, knows Battistelli’s salary but cooperates in keeping the salary secret (as well as the contract which may include other forms of benefit/compensation). We are not going to go after Kongstad, however, because his role in this secrecy is at best intended to appease Battistelli’s will. Earlier this year we heard that Elodie Bergot gave Battistelli a raise (not years but months ago), so we assume her department too knows the salary but keeps quiet about it. Quite a few people out there know how much Battistelli gets paid, so why does he keep so quiet about it? Maybe because it contradicts what he said to the Dutch press?
Rumours about Battistelli’s salary/ies (contracts change over time) are out there in the wild. EPO workers speak about it, but few have actually seen a document confirming the hard facts. Someone anonymous got told (a while back) that the salary was actually €42,000 a month (i.e. just over half a million Euros, a lot more than even national Presidents and EU heads receive), but that came though a friend via another friend, thus lacking any documentary evidence for it. “The problem I have found,” told us this anonymous source, “is that almost everything I find out that I don’t actually see in a document has the risk of being false. That is what happens, I guess, when there is no transparency and people have to rely of rumors (very USSR). The most reliable rumors come from getting the IT people drunk in the EPO bar. They have access to everything.”
Half a million Euros annually (gross) contradicts other rumours we have come across, including some which say €1,000,000, €1.2m, or close to €1.5m.
What is the real salary? We may never know unless or until the contracts get leaked or Battistelli comes clean like his predecessor, Alison Brimelow. █
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Wouldn’t that be metaphorical given Battistelli's plan (all along) for the boards and mistreatment of ill staff?
Reference: The Killing of Psychiatric Patients in Nazi-Germany between 1939 – 1945
Summary: Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas
SUEPO (the only dominant EPO trade/staff union) leaders must be busy with their legal cases against EPO management (one to start/resume upon appeal later this year in the Supreme Court at The Hague, the other one having just started exactly a week ago), so it is not saying much about the monumental injustices at the EPO, at least not publicly. Having said that, anonymous voices continue to appear at IP Kat‘s comments, in spite of lack of coverage there about the EPO’s situation (nothing for weeks now).
A few comments there are floating new rumours about the fate of the appeal boards after they got punished for disloyalty (to Battistelli, not to the Office or the Organisation). Much of this began with a discussion about the UPC, which all along threatened to make the appeal boards obsolete, in due time. The UPC was first brought up in light of the decline/demise of justice at patent courts, as we noted a couple of hours ago (tackling patent examination justice). To quote the whole comment:
What good will it be to them to have good patents if their competitors can shut them down with vague and broad patents at the UPC?
A very important fact has been forgotten in Merpel’s article: the president of the council did not distanciate himself from the interference from Battistelli. Look at the text of the decision. Basically, what this means is that both the council and Battistelli view the enlarged board of appeal as subordinate to them and not as independent. The council did not object in their latest session.
In plain words: the enlarged board of appeal was expected to simply rubber-stamp a decision already taken. Even if the investigation was fraught with problems as some of the earliest comments in this thread noted.
These are the standards of justice of Battistelli and, we now understand, from the council. That is basically what the decision says.
Now, the all new UPC is created behind closed doors by the very same persons. How high do you expect the judicial standards of the new court to be?
Bonus question: how do you expect your clients to protect themselves against future decisions of the UPC?
There is a direct response to the above concerns about the UPC. “The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent,” the following comment notes, reminding us of what happens in the USPTO and US courts, especially the ones in Texas:
Not sure I follow the logic here. I’m not saying that the national route produces stronger patents. I’m saying that, whereas the EPO previously provided a useful due diligence service (search and examination), this has now been diluted to the point where the national offices offer a competitive and lower-risk alternative.
Crap patents are fine, just as long as everyone recognises that they’re crap. The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent.
An anonymous response to this said:
Crap patents are not fine, even the USPTO is getting convinced. And if the UPC independence is of the same kind as the enlarged board of appeal indepence, that is not fine either.
The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.
In response to that, once again, the Turkey analogies came up:
The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.
Apart from Turkey where a constitutional crisis triggers an interference with the independence of justice …
“The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence,” noted the following commenter, correctly insinuating that this ‘exile’ (not as far as Vienna as feared last year) is a sort of punishment:
The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence. Following the approval by the Administrative Council of the reform proposed by Mr Battistelli, they will firstly be exiled to a corner of the Munich area, viz. Haar, which is very well known for its psychiatric hospital, possibly a humorous touch introduced by the president.
Secondly, renewal of the members’ appointment every five years, which used to be the default (in fact, it has never happened that a member was not re-appointed) is now subject to, among other, a performance evaluation. Coupled with another element of the proposal, i.e. to increase the cost coverage for appeals from 6,3% to 20-25%, firstly by increasing the members’ productivity, there will now be a high pressure on members to focus on production if they don’t want to lose their job. And if they lose their job, taking up another job will now only be possible after approval by the Administrative Council.
Finally, Board of Appeal members will be excluded from “step advancements”, which are open to all other staff at the EPO, i.e. the members’ salaries will be frozen.
It was already known that if Mr Battistelli doesn’t like you, he will hit hard. He has proven this again with the reform package for the Boards of Appeal.
Here is more about the Haar rumour:
Do you have good reason for believing that the BoA will be moved to Haar?
EPO – CA-43-16 Rev. 1:
“As a main precondition, criteria like good traffic links and appropriate accommodation standards were taken into account”.
Although I do not know much about it, I doubt that Haar would satisfy this main precondition. For a start, there appear to be very limited hotel and restaurant facilities in the immediate vicinity of the S-Bahn stop, which is itself a significantly longer journey (by S-Bahn) to / from the airport.
Also, is there not going to be any consultation with users about this? If the decision is Haar, then I can envisage the users getting hopping mad about this – especially as they would be paying significantly more in appeal fees for the “privilege” of having an additional journey out of Munich centre to stay in hotels that may be unappealing to some. And all to address what the users have consistently argued was a non-issue, whilst no real progress (in fact, quite the opposite) has been made in addressing the substantive issues relating to the independence of the BoAs.
I know that a proposal for a new BoA location has to be put to the Budget and Finance Committee, but am unsure if the AC needs to take a formal decision upon that proposal. If so, then it looks like users will need to engage in intensive lobbying of AC representatives if the proposal really is for somewhere outside of Munich centre.
And responding to the above one person wrote:
Like someone wrote above, GET REAL.
What consultations were there in the first place regarding the so-called “reform” of the BoA? What was the public’s input in that hastily load of garbage pompously called a “plan”?
Were the outcries of the public, judges, etc. heeded when a BoA member was given the virtual sack for what was apparently a crime of lèse-majesté?
The latest comment was posted this morning and said:
If the rumours are true, it looks EPO will be gaining an office that is outside of Munich city centre and that (compared to the Isar building) is more difficult for visitors to Munich to reach and is by far less well supplied with hotel accommodation, restaurants and other facilities that such visitors will need.
If the EPO management were being truly practical about this, then they would decide that such an office really ought to be occupied by the department(s) of the EPO that receive the fewest visitors. Given that pretty much everything that the Boards of Appeal do involves summoning visitors to Munich, I am certain that it makes no sense whatsoever to move them to Haar.
With this in mind, if the EPO president really is determined to physically separate the two current residents of the Isar building, then logic dictates that it really ought to be the other resident (that is, the president himself) who moves to Haar. Anyone up for lobbying the representatives to the AC to vote for this alternative?
Well, “lobbying the representatives to the AC,” as the above put it, might be an exercise in futility given their demonstration of (almost) blind loyalty to Battistelli in the last AC meeting. One person earlier on wrote:
The Enlarged Board of appeal did not rubber-stamped the decision that the president and the council asked them.
Probably for this reason they are going to be moved, although several suitable buildings are available in Munich, to Haar, a village outside Munich mostly known for its lunatic asylum.
Next time they will think twice before taking a decision that does not please BB or the council.
So much for the judicial independence.
There is no judicial independence and there is no justice at the EPO anymore. To make matters worse, as one commenter put it:
It seems that some applicants have their offices in the same building complex.
The board members will improve their perceived independence by discussing the inventions directly with the inventors at lunch.
Yes, exactly. What a horrible move that would be. Instead of sending the boards to Haar maybe it’s time to send Battistelli to Haar. As one of the above comments noted, Haar “is very well known for its psychiatric hospital,” which sounds like something Battistelli could use. They can give him some toys to break rather than let him break people (and lives or even families as per the recent survey) at the EPO. █
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Benoît Battistelli has a lot to fear if people actually get such protections
Whistleblower ist weder Datendieb noch Erpresser
Summary: EPO scandals are not publicly accessible or known to many people and not many such scandals are known at all because people are afraid of Battistelli’s Fabius Maximus strategies
THINGS at the EPO may seem to have calmed down (there are court proceedings for representatives to focus on, having prepared for a while), but there are many stories that still ought to be told. Some cannot be told. Some cannot be told just yet. Some just need further corroborating evidence. Publishing these in the form of rumours and presenting them as such is clearly permissible.
“Publishing these in the form of rumours and presenting them as such is clearly permissible.”Some time ago we learned from a reliable source (with track record of accuracy) about fraud at the EPO. We are talking about financial fraud here (like payment orders), but people are afraid to speak about it directly to the public, to the authorities, or to journalists. Having witnessed how Battistelli and his circle treat even the gentlest of critics, who can blame them? Battistelli engages in managerial terrorism. He created an atmosphere of so much fear that even people who have truly credible arguments and evidence to back it up with dare not speak to anyone about it.
In the case of fraud, there is a criminal nature to it and one’s ability (or courage) to step forward would typically depend the severity of the fraud and certainty of prosecution (vindicating the messenger). Under Battistelli’s terrifying regime it takes a lot of courage to speak out about such things. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Typically, whistleblowers are protected by the law itself, but in Eponia lawlessness prevails (Battistelli and his minion even brag about it!). These whistleblowers should not really need any protection from the employer but from anticorruption entities (the EPO's press spokesperson came from one, effectively defecting); but what anticorruption entities are there inside Eponia? None. It’s just absurd. The EPO conveniently ignores national laws but at the same time it enforces employment embargo/sanctions on EPO staff after their departure from Eponia. It also legally threatens people outside Eponia, myself included.
We are pretty certain that there is fraud going on, but at this stage we have to classify this “rumour” (however strong) and revisit the claim if or when this becomes public knowledge. █
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Summary: Dr. Christoph Ernst is claimed to be the successor (interim or permanent) of the notorious Battistelli, but these claims have little or no evidence to support them
THE EPO‘s President should get sacked this week, but he attacks anyone who gets close to even suggesting so. For quite some time now people have hypothesised that Christoph Ernst would replace Battistelli and Tilman Müller-Stoy’s letter to Ernst a few days ago brought these hypotheses back to life.
Some rumours today (coinciding with the meeting of the Administrative Council and the protest in Munich) suggest that Battistelli effectively got fired. We heard those rumours and there is even a comment about it. As it is just a rumour for now we have said nothing about it and fast-checked instead. “Latest rumour from the EPO,” as one person put it, is that in order “to avoid any further harm to the institution the CA envisages to discharge BB [Battistelli] of his duties in respect of the boards, with immediate effect. M. Ernst the German representative will act ad interim. Too smart to be true?”
“Some rumours today (coinciding with the meeting of the Administrative Council and the protest in Munich) suggest that Battistelli effectively got fired.”It would be smart, yes, but it sounds unlikely to be true and all the responses to this comment are jokes, e.g. one about Battistelli being interim replacement for Ernst and this one which says: “An ad libitum [Latin for “at one’s pleasure”] President replaced by an ad interim President?”
Another said “You mean: A partial dismissal? (Is that like a partial pregnancy?) A president for the EPO, and a separate president for the BoA? The separation achieved by a mere vote of the AC?”
That can never happen of course. Here is a hypothetical humorous scenario:
Too smart to be true? Really?
[Enter two delegates of the AC]
[First delegate] Let’s stop the kid from entering the glass department – he can still play wrecking ball in the other departments …
[Second delegate] You are right, this way we don’t have to deal with his temper tantrums …
Whatever happened today at the meeting will probably become public knowledge pretty soon. The rumour about Battistelli getting (in effect) fired may be baseless, based on private sources and also this comment which not too long ago said: “According to discreet contacts, the rumour is now that the above rumour on stripping BB of his powers over the BoA is nothing but a canard.”
“Well, with one day remaining for the meetings/sessions there is still time to contact the national delegates (they can read E-mail whilst away) and tell them why dismissal of Battistelli is crucial for saving the entire Organisation.”Rather than celebrate something that has not happened (at least not yet) let us look at new reports like this one (“Russian IP Industry At Center Of Massive Scandal” from IP Watch). This sounds eerily similar to things we heard about DZIV and SIPO under leadership of the EPO Vice-President who now faces many criminal charges in Croatia. The article is behind a paywall, so it’s hard to say what exactly the similarities may be…
As another scandal du jour, it seems apparent that some commenters at IP Kat read Techrights and one of them made a joke about the Dutch press report, which we translated before noon. “What a nice image of the European Patent Office,” said the commenter, “the Bailiff, a public official of the Netherlands, escorted off the premises of the Office by five guards without even being told where the mailbox is…
“But hey! if it is all fine with the Dutch delegation in the AC, why should everybody else complain, right?”
Well, with one day remaining for the meetings/sessions there is still time to contact the national delegates (they can read E-mail whilst away) and tell them why dismissal of Battistelli is crucial for saving the entire Organisation. Not only the survival of the Office is at stake and delegates certainly don’t want to be left out of their job. Some of them would have to — gasp — start paying dentists. █
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