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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Publicado en Europa, Patentes, Rumour at 6:32 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Manterse ocupado en laOficina frente al Consejo Administrativo, el cual no ha sido infiltrado en el mismo grado (algunos dicen que allí sucede lo mismo)
Sumario: El ‘cabezilla’ de la EPO, Sr. Battistelli, esta tratándo de mantener a sus confidentes alegadamente (parte de la familial cabal, comoel Sr. Minnoye y Željko Topić) juntos por varios años más, incluso desafíando reglas acerca de la edad de retiro
El “molino de rumores de la EPO,” nos dice una fuente, esta resonando con especulaciónes y murmuros acerca de lo que podría pasar en Junio cuándo el Consejo Administrativo se reuna de nuevo y tenga oportunidad de despedir a Battistelli. Battistelli debería haberse retirado hace rato, y sigue recibiéndo un salario astronómico (lo mismo se puede decir del Sr. Minnoye, quien tuvo un momento anciano en TV cuando se olvidó que las leyes necesitan ser obedecidas).
“El contrato normal para Vice-Presidente de la EPO es por 5 años así que su nombramiénto caduca en Mazo/Abril del 2017.”
Ahora que Battistelli de quien se rumorea que ‘compra’ votos para garantizar que no sea despedido (a pesar de no cumplir con alguna de las peticiones del Consejo de Administración) tenemos nueva información informal, o más bien, los rumores no verificados.
“Las últimas noticias del molino de rumores de la EPO,” nuestra fuente nos dice, envuelve a ambos Battistelli y su chacal de confíanza Željko Topić, quien enfrenta graves cargos en su contra en su país natal.
“Topić,” nos dicen, “fue nombrado como VP 4 de la EPO en Marzo del 2012 asumió su cargo en Munich en Abril del 2012. El contrato normal para Vice-Presidente de la EPO es por 5 años así que su nombramiénto caduca en Mazo/Abril del 2017.
“El caradura de Battistelli debe permanecer como Presidente de la EPO hasta Junio del 2018 y ahora desvergonzadamente parece querer mantener a Topić por otro año. No puede vivir sin él.
“Hay 38 estados miémbros en total, y una mayoríá de tres cuartos es necesario para remover al Presidente.”
“Las últimas noticias del molino de rumores de la EPO es que Battistelli tiene la intención de proponer una prórroga de la designación del tema para el Consejo de Administración durante la próxima reunión de los días 29 y 30 de junio. Según fuentes confiables hay una gran cantidad de oposición a la prórroga propuesta entre muchas delegaciones por lo que será interesante ver si esto conducirá a otro enfrentamiento entre Battistelli y el Consejo”. Esperemos que sea así y se deshagan de este desgraciado.
¿No sería escandaloso si Topic, quien enfrenta a muchos cargos criminales, reciba un respaldo de los jefes de las oficinas nacionales (Consejo de Administración)? Esto serviría para desacreditar, por extensión/asociación, un montón de todo este sistema (la Organización), lo que demuestra que la EPO es trastornada e incapaz de auto-regulación.
“Battistelli ha perdido ahora el apoyo mayoritario del Consejo Administrativo,” nuestra fuente añadió, “pero de acuerdo a fuentes dentro todavía hay un bloque de alrededor de 12 países que continúan apoyándolo. Hay 38 estados miembros en total, y se necesitaría una mayoría de tres cuartas partes de remover al Presidente. Mientras que aún tiene el apoyo de 12 países residual que podría ser difícil para el Consejo de despedirlo”.
Ya que todos los países, grandes y pequeños, tienen la misma voz, envío de dinero de su manera de asegurar su apoyo a Battistelli no debería ser demasiado difícil. Lo explicamos la semana pasada.
“Mientras el todavía tenga apoyo de esos 12 países a los que rompió la mano, puede ser díficil para que el Consejo Administrativo lo despida.”
“Sin embargo,” nuestra fuente concluyó, “no es fácil de hacer predicciones fiables sobre esto porque de acuerdo a las reglas de votación de EPO las abstenciones no cuentan como votos. Así que si algunas delegaciones decidieron abstenerse, esto reduciría la mayoría necesaria para tomar una decisión. La “mayoría de tres cuartos” se basa en el número exacto de votos emitidos sin incluir las abstenciones”.
Para aquellos que deseen contactar a sus delegados nacionales, aquí están los detalles de contacto. Ellos merecen tener acceso a la información que Battistelli y sus chácales suprimen, por amenazas a bloggers y a los representantes, censura descarada y directa (de bloggers y representantes sitios/E-mail), auto censura por medio de monitoring/vigilancia (usando BlueCoat) y lo demás.
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Maintaining the occupation of the Office in the face of the Administrative Council, which has not been infiltrated to the same degree (some say that it happens there too)
Summary: The EPO’s ‘ringleader’, Mr. Battistelli, is allegedly trying to keep his confidants (part of the family cabal, like Mr. Minnoye and Željko Topić) together for several more years to come, even defying rules regarding retirement age
THE “EPO rumour mill,” told us a source, is abuzz with information or speculations about what’s about to happen in June when the Administrative Council meets again and has an opportunity to sack Battistelli. Battistelli should be retired by now, not receiving an astronomical salary (the same is true for Mr Minnoye, who had a senior moment on TV when he forgot that law needs to be obeyed).
“The normal EPO Vice-President contract is for 5 years so his appointment will expire in March/April 2017.”
–AnonymousNow that Battistelli is rumoured to be 'buying' votes so as to ensure he does not get sacked (in spite of failing to fulfill any of the requests from the Administrative Council) we have some new informal information, or rather, unverified rumours.
“Latest news from the EPO rumour mill,” our source told us, involves both Battistelli and his right-hand man Željko Topić, who faces serious issues in his home country.
“Topić,” we are told, “was appointed as VP 4 of the EPO in March 2012 and took up his duties in Munich in April 2012. The normal EPO Vice-President contract is for 5 years so his appointment will expire in March/April 2017.
“Battistelli is due to remain as EPO President until June 2018 and it now seems that he wants to keep Topić for another year.
“There are 38 member states in total, and a three-quarters majority would be needed to remove the President.”
–Anonymous“The latest news from the EPO rumour mill is that Battistelli is planning to propose an extension of Topić’s appointment to the Administrative Council during the upcoming meeting on the 29th and 30th of June. According to reliable sources there is a lot of opposition to the proposed extension among many delegations so it will interesting to see if this will lead to another stand-off between Battistelli and the Council.”
Would it not be outrageous if Topić, who faces many criminal charges, received an endorsement from heads of national offices (Administrative Council)? That would serve to discredit, by extension/association, a lot of this whole system (the Organisation), demonstrating that the EPO is unhinged and incapable of self-regulation.
“Battistelli has now lost majority support in the Administrative Council,” our source added, “but according to inside sources there is still a block of around 12 countries which continue support him. There are 38 member states in total, and a three-quarters majority would be needed to remove the President. As long as he still has residual support from 12 countries it could be difficult for the Council to dismiss him.”
Since all countries, both large and small, have an equal voice, sending money their way to secure their support for Battistelli should not be too hard. We explained this last week.
“As long as he still has residual support from 12 countries it could be difficult for the Council to dismiss him.”
–Anonymous“However,” our source concluded, “it’s not easy to make reliable predictions about this because according to EPO voting rules abstentions do not count as votes. So if some delegations decided to abstain, this would reduce the majority required for a decision. The “three-quarters majority” is based on the actual number of votes cast not including abstentions.”
For those wishing to contact their national delegates, here are the contact details. They deserve to have access to information that Battistelli and his goons suppress, either by threats to bloggers and to representatives, outright censorship (of bloggers and representatives’ sites/E-mail), self censorship by mass surveillance (with BlueCoat) and so on. █
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The best vote/ballot money can buy or just an incredible coincidence?
Summary: Several sources suggest that rather than appease the Administrative Council by taking corrective action Battistelli and his notorious ‘circle’ now work hard to remove opposition from the Administrative Council, especially where this is easier a task to accomplish (politically or economically)
THE EPO is an institution like no other institution. Even FIFA/UEFA pale in comparison to the abuses at the EPO, but since more people understand football (than complex subjects like patents) media attention has been grossly disproportionate. The media in Europe has been mostly uncooperative, apathetic and unwilling to give thought/iota/space to EPO staff’s complaints. We already wrote many hypotheses or theories about why this may be, ranging from national interests of Germany, the “better good” of the European Union, the corporate ties of large media operations, and so forth.
“Even FIFA/UEFA pale in comparison to the abuses at the EPO, but since more people understand football (than complex subjects like patents) media attention has been grossly disproportionate.”Whatever one knows about the EPO, in reality it’s probably a lot worse. I have written more than 700 articles about the EPO specifically (not just as a side issue) and the lack of intervention/involvement from authorities is truly jaw-dropping. I have never come across anything like this (having run this site for a decade).
Continuing a string of anonymous comments (as anonymous as they can be over at Google’s Blogspot), one person wrote about sanctions against EPO staff that already left the Office:
Still, imposing restrictions upon someone who is no longer an employee of the EPO is a significant step further than everything that has gone before – even the retroactive extension of the period by which an employee may be suspended before a final decision is taken on their case (or, if we are speaking bluntly, extension of the period by which an employee might be “detained without trial”!).
As I understand it, the deal that every EPO employee signed up to was that the EPO would have no claim to infringe or limit the liberty of the employee after they left the employ of the EPO. It would therefore simply be impossible for any court of an EU Member State to validate a “condition of employment” that was unilaterally imposed (i.e. without consent of the employee, or even any form of additional compensation) and that purported to limit the liberty of an individual beyond the term of the contract of employment.
I know that we are operating in Eponia here, and not the EU. Nevertheless, the fact that the above is such a blatantly unarguable point means that, even if the AC erred in rubber-stamping previous proposals, they would really have no excuse for making the same mistake on this occasion.
As another person put it, citing/highlighting the amazing behaviour of Mr. Minnoye (on public television, nothing less!):
Very true. They would have no excuse.
But if they made the mistake, who would call them to account?
Remember, they enjoy “immunity” for their actions.
Some court or tribunal might at some far distant date find the measure to be unlawful.
But even that is my no mean certain.
Do you think they will loose any sleep over such trivia?
Remember Wille Minnoye’s famous words on Netherlands television.
We have been hearing for a while, from 4 sources by now (including this from today), that Team Battistelli — seeking to protect itself from justice (people like Minnoye included) — sought to stack panels and warp the vote in the same way that DNC does it in the United States (e.g. in Nevada more recently).
Here is, once again, a claim that Battistelli “is literally buying the votes of the small countries.” We wrote about this two days ago and here it is again:
The idea that some restrictions were applicable to employees after they left the EPO has always been in the service regulations. It makes sense: the EPO is dealing with confidential matter (unpublished applications), the employees are bound to confidentiality even after they left.
All these have always existed and have always been a potential problem: confidentiality, lack of independent justice, internal sickness insurance, lack of control on spending, etc… But it has never been an acute problem because it was never systematically abused (although some limited abuse was already there). The EPO has functioned quite well for the last 30+ years.
The problem today is that someone is systematically (ab)using the regulations and even strengthening them. That is why the EPO is suddenly in the Press.
Quite frankly, I don’t see any way out. Battistelli will manage to get the council at his side, because he is literally buying the votes of the small countries. Countries with the most economic weight: Germany, France, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Swiss, etc… want him out but will be outvoted by a coalition formed by, maybe, Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, Romania…
Whether the rumour mill is wrong or not, one sure thing is that we are hearing this from more and more separate sources, so there’s probably some level of truth to it. Recall Battistelli signing a deal with Lithuania just around the same time as the Administrative Council's meeting. Very suspicious timing, no?
“Will the delegations let the president weakening the council secretariat? Will they act upon what may be interpreted by the outside observers as basically a “power-play”?”
–AnonymousOne source recently noted: “Last B28 [Board 28 meeting] seems to have only tackle with [sic] DG3 matters and nothing has transpired about the social situation. Only rumours concern some changes proposed by the President – this is one of his ample prerogative- in the Council secretariat. Shortly after having stated in the March resolution that a reinforcement of the Secretariat capacity and independence was a top priority, it will be an interesting to observe the next session of the AC: Will the delegations let the president weakening the council secretariat? Will they act upon what may be interpreted by the outside observers as basically a “power-play”?
Well, that would not be the first from Battistelli. Also regarding the B28 we have learned that “since January the situation of Ion and Malika [staff representation] has remained unchanged! It seems that we were left with the wrong impression that the president was in dire need of their personal Request for Review to show its benevolence. Presumably this was just a “teaser”: Today, one month after filling the “long awaited” Request for Review, NO decision has been taken yet. Presumably, one can expect a more “PR-effective” date of “release” around the next B28 or Budget and Finance Committee (24-25.05)” (that’s this coming week).
It’s easy to see the cause for angst. The angst is totally just and Battistelli’s regime is — to use a understatement — unjust. Writing in IP Kat anonymously, some people have gone poetic. One writes:
Eponia boss Battistelli
Tried moving the Boards to New Delhi
But later that evening
He went through the ceiling
When they criticised him on the telly.
Another poetic one reads:
A judge once wrote a decision
The president saw with derision.
He was removed from his post,
And given at most
A pension that no one could live on.
The poetry continued with this comment that said: “The EPO enlarges itself, becomes methodised and refined and the whole, though it takes long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statute that I can present to the AC at a glance” (there are some bogus ‘studies’ in the pipelines, as we noted before).
On a more serious note, one person notes:
I know some colleagues who have installed on their smartphone a backwards counter to monitor the leaving date of BB.
About two years from now.
In the mean time the work goes on. We try to survive in the mess created by this ill advised management. With shame and disgust.
Because the heart of the EPO is (still) good. Made of multi cultural, competent and very patient people. For these people, my friends, we have to maintain hope and try to save what can be saved of the working life and atmosphere at the EPO.
Unfortunately this top management is only interested in short term benefits and neither in the staff wellbeing nor the european people interest. This is sad, unwise and without any issue. But these people will not last forever. Time to rebuild will come, time for justice and intelligence.
La bêtise, l’énorme bêtise à front de taureau, will go back home forever and for a well deserved and extremely quiet, rest.
“AC creativity may cause spark,” one person noted today. “It can be excruciating when they’re rubbing two rocks together and getting again nothing. Maybe one day sitting at my desk, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, yet through the silence something throbs and gleams…a flame catches and a new era of hope sweeps through the IP world.”
“Most examiners, who are academically trained, wish to the right thing.”In our next post we shall try a more optimistic tone. We invite EPO staff to help our push for tighter EPO patent scope (no software patents), which probably also means blocking the UPC. A lot of the current so-called ‘reforms’ are due to the UPC, which tilts the whole system in favour of the rich and the powerful, and it’s obvious at whose expense and at what cost. The EPO became a battleground (or battle scene) and it’s not the fault of examiners, whose moves are largely reactionary. Most examiners, who are academically trained, wish to the right thing. █
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