Entering ‘bunker mode’ (or paranoid mentality)
Summary: Battistelli has essentially turned the European Patent Office (EPO) into a barracks, where he continues to enjoy immunity from the rule of law and discourages those who wish to challenge this immunity
THERE IS a new NRC article about Battistelli’s EPO today. It helps reveal just how far the EPO’s “lines of defense” would go to protect the ‘King’, who has been busy defaming a truth-telling judge and breaking many of his own rules in the process.
“At the European Patent Office,” says yesterday’s article from French media, “the French boss ferments anti-Union culture” (that’s what the headline says, albeit a proper translation is needed). The article should say he’s against the rule of law, not just unions. The man has gone totally off the rails and he now wastes a fortune on personal bodyguards. Instead he should resign, sparing these costs and giving the EPO a chance at long-term survival. “Unfortunately,” told us one person about the French article, it is “not fully complete (no indication of the firing of staff representatives) but at least a bit of coverage” (there’s more coming in English for sure).
“It helps reveal just how far the EPO’s “lines of defense” would go to protect the ‘King’, who has been busy defaming a truth-telling judge and breaking many of his own rules in the process.”This morning, for a number of hours in fact, quite a few people told us about this article. It was published earlier this morning and Petra Kramer, a Dutch speaker, has said “it’s the same story again.”
“There is a juicy bit about the office gestapo,” she added. “A bailiff who came to deliver a subpoena was escorted out by 5 guards.”
Here is Kramer’s translation with highlights in yellow:
Union wants to repeal Battistelli’s immunity
EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE. SUEPO, the union representing EPO staff, subpoenaed the patent office. The union calls on Member States to take action against President Battistelli.
June 29, 2016
The immunity of President Benoît Battistelli of the European Patent Office should be repealed. SUEPO requested the 38 Member States of the Agency to do so through lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld on Tuesday.
The reason for the call is the further escalation of the labour dispute between the union and Frenchman Battistelli. The union, which represents half of the 7,000 workers, has now taken the patent office to court because of sanctions against trade unionists.
The agency grants European patents and has offices in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium. As an international organization, the patent office does not fall under national labour law and enjoys immunity. The Hague Court contested the immunity, but Battistelli has ignored that ruling. The case is now before the Supreme Court.
The administrative crisis will take center stage as the management board, meets the highest body with representatives from the 38 Member States, Wednesday and Thursday in Munich. The patent office does not want to speculate on the agenda of the management board, says a spokesman.
The management board instructed Batistelli to normalize the relation with the union in March. Instead SUEPO-Secretary Laurent Prunier was recently suspended for alleged misconduct. There are “disciplinary inquiries” for seven union officials, more than a third of the total SUEPO officials, says lawyer Zegveld. The procedures could result in dismissal or reduction in salary or pension.
The union has filed a lawsuit in the Hague court to let the judge investigate the disciplinary measures independently. The bailiff who came to deliver the subpoena was escorted off the property by five security guards. They even refused to tell him where the mailbox is.
A number of important countries, such as Germany, France and Switzerland, are very critical of Battistelli. Their irritation was recently enlarged by Batistelli who personally exercised pressure in dismissal proceedings against an Irish patent judge. Battistelli demanded in a letter that the judge would not be granted a public hearing by a Board of Appeal. The Board of Appeal stated that its independence was at stake and did not accept the dismissal.
The patent office does not respond to individual cases, said the EPO spokesman.
The EPO’s PR team is too blindly loyal to Battistelli and this isn’t too amusing. Its cowardly behaviour inadvertently reinforces/maintains the perception of secrecy at the EPO, which helps it not at all. As for half a dozen bodyguards escorting one single person, we cannot help evoking the video below again. █
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Lobbyists are preying on public indifference
Summary: The policies over which Indians and Europeans have kept guard are being ‘stolen’ by vested interests
Typically, when patent lawyers say they offer an analysis on something it means they try to sell something. This applies to lawyers in many areas and patent lawyers are no exception. So-called (derogatory label) ‘grease monkey’ garage workers are a suitable analogy here, as there’s a reputation among them for leaving things poorly repaired at times, in order to have returning clients and more expensive products (or services) sold.
The patent lawyers in India still lobby on software patents in the country, as usual. Seeing their list of clients helps explain why. This new ‘analysis’ titled “Aspects of Patentability of Software Programmes in India” talks about software patents in India and it is basically more of the same.
“Software patents are not entirely dead in Europe.”“Alignment with the position in US,” notes the author, as if the two system are connected somehow (except perhaps for wishful thinkers).
People need to recognise that the interests of patent lawyers are rarely the same as people’s (at large) interests. This is especially true in India and to a lesser degree in Europe, where at least many of the applicants are in fact European. Pay attention to this EPO tweets from yesterday (one among several such tweets as of late). It is almost as though they allude to software by another name now, “ICT” (not just telecommunications), and they reach out to the USPTO (as if there are foreseeable unification plans, not mere technical collaborations). Battistelli’s EPO would love to expand patent scope and unless people work hard (tirelessly every year) to prevent this, it might actually happen at the end. Software patents are not entirely dead in Europe. There’s work to be done. █
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Click for full view
Summary: A glimpse at what Benoît Battistelli will shortly attempt to do to the EPO, in order to cement his power in the face of growing opposition from many directions
“The proposed regulations in CA/52/16,” we have learned, “on “standards of conduct” and investigations – would give even more power to the Investigative Unit. These regulations would also impose on staff the obligation to denounce their colleagues for any behaviour that is not in line with ill-defined “standards of conduct” or a long list of possible misconducts. Significantly, this obligation does not apply to “documents, deeds, reports, notes or information covered by specific requirements of confidentiality under the legal framework of the Organisation”, i.e. to misconduct by the Investigative Unit or other parts of the administration. Previous references to data protection regulations have disappeared. The list of possible misconducts does not form part of the service regulations themselves but of revised Circular 342, the “Investigation Guidelines”, which the EPO president can change himself at any time, without approval of the Council. The non-exhaustive ‘list of possible misconducts’ is in Article 2 of the president’s proposal for a revised Circular 342 – Investigation Guidelines” (shown above, click to focus). █
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The antidemocratic villains that attack Europe’s interests are not only politicians but private firms like patent lawyers’ firms (the patent microcosm)
Summary: A look at who’s trying to work around the latest barriers to the widely-unwanted (by the public) Unitary Patent regime and what is being planned behind the scenes, or behind closed doors (by and for those who stand to profit from the Unitary Patent regime)
THE EPO‘s management is on fire, albeit it remains to be seen if Battistelli gets fired, resigns, or just jumps out the window to avoid the embarrassment (too much personal pride).
The UPC, which Battistelli has promoted for many years (before it was even called “UPC” or anything “unitary”), might never become a reality, unless it’s renamed again or some truly dirty tricks are used in a desperate effort to salvage it. Over at Juve today, Battistelli’s dire situation is explained (translations welcome), again courtesy of Mathieu Klos with his good knowledge of the EPO scandals/situation (along with his colleague, Christina Schulze).
Earlier today an anonymous article was published by The Register (using a Kat-themed pseudonym). It says UPC “could be derailed”, but “could” is an understatement. To quote the article (comments mostly focus on the EU, not the UPC or EPC, so these are quite worthless):
Europe’s UK-backed Unified Patent Court ‘could be derailed’
Europe’s multi-million-pound Unified Patent Court could be derailed entirely following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
The court was planned to open in 2017 and was intended to hear cases regarding infringements of European patents across EU member states.
Only full membership of the EU allows countries to participate in the system, designed to simplify the application of patents across the continent.
However, now the UK will no longer be part of the European Union, fears are growing that the entire programme will cease to be an attractive proposition to patentees.
One insider remarked: “The entire system is reliant on the UK being part of the project. All parties are currently working to rescue the UPC.”
France, Germany and UK were due to ratify the agreement, with those three states having covered all of the programme’s set-up costs. The overall cost to the UK alone is thought to have run into millions of pounds, with investment in technology, hiring policy folk, and a newly-opened dedicated UPC court in central London.
Some have already pointed out that the court will be in limbo and that the entire system will almost certainly be delayed as the UK is one of three key countries needed to ratify the project.
As one might expect, the UPC cabal won’t give up without a fight. One separate thread in IP Kat said: “Nice to see that the EPO president found time to post about Brexit, although it is an EU issue and concerns only the EU patent, but has not made a comment on the EBA matter concerning interference or not with the highest legal body of the EPO. Symbolic? Politics over legal?”
It’s no secret that patent lawyers are drooling over and longing for the UPC. They want more ‘damages’, lawsuits, injunctions/embargoes and so on. The other day Mari Korsten of NLO wrote about “patent rights enforcement in Europe through a single action” and said “Unitary patent opens up easier way to implement customs seizures” (to whose benefit?).
“…the other side will have rewritten the UPC deal in 6 days time.”
–Benjamin HenrionThe UPC may never become a reality after 'Brexit' and UPC proponents seem to be upset at Battistelli at the moment. Bristows, the loudest UPC propagandists and conspirators (recall what "expert teams" are in the context of UPC) worry about Brexit because of their investment in the passage of this antidemocratic package. IBM’s Manny Schecter (software patents proponent) asked himself: “Is Brexit the historic beginning of the end of the EU? Will others follow? Is true Euro patent system unification dead or just delayed?”
A patent lawyer wrote: “Looks like: (1) delay of Unified Patent Court; and (2) reduced harmonization of IP. Not good for IP owners.”
Nonsense. It might not be good for patent lawyers, but science and technology need no such package. Will this package change its name and marketing again? Back to “EU” or “Community”? Maybe EPLA? Will EU membership no longer be a prerequisite all of a sudden? Will the whole dependence on the UK be suddenly hidden under a rug? As Bejnamin Henrion put it the other day, “the other side will have rewritten the UPC deal in 6 days time.”
Henrion works closely with some UPC experts, so maybe he knows something that most people do not. A politician from Iceland (and famous Wikileaks contributor) Jónsdóttir, whom we mentioned here before in relation to software patents or other topics, said “Brexit is a wake up call. Changes need to happen. This crisis is a chance for real change within the EU. Ppl want to be heard & empowered.”
“Patent hackers are already busy trying to fast-track UPC ratification by the UK…”
–Benjamin HenrionUPC is one example of democracy being stomped on and Henrion said “rumours are already saying the ministries are already preparing amendments to the Unitary Patent Court.”
Team Battistelli and Team UPC might already be working around the rules to impose their will on everyone, undemocratically of course. “Philips Leo Steenbeck (EPLA proponent),” wrote Henrion, says that “UPC patch can be done at next Council meeting” (very soon). “The comment is very interesting and apparently comes from Philips,” Francisco Moreno added (he too knows quite a bit about the UPC). Well, apparently they decided what’s “better” for Europe (i.e. for multinational billionaires), so they’ll shape the law accordingly. As Henrion put it: “Patent hackers are already busy trying to fast-track UPC ratification by the UK” (it may take a while before Article 50 is invoked).
Here is one of the UPC pushers heralding this new article titled “scenario discussed to save the Unitary Patent system” (in light of ‘Brexit’):
How to save the Unitary Patent project? As soon as the outcome of the UK referendum on a Brexit was known, discussions started behind the scenes about ways to adapt the Unitary Patent system so the UK can stay in.
According to Wouter Pors of Bird & Bird, a new scenario has come up to enable the UK to participate in the Unified Patent Court and even in the Unitary Patent. If the UK ratifies the UPC Agreement, they can continue to be a participant even if they leave the EU. This only requires a small change of the Agreement by the Administrative Committee to open up accession for former EU Member States, being the UK.
The obligation to apply Union law, which is in the Agreement, needs to be met by the Court, but is not imposed on a non-EU Member State. The UK wants to participate in some kind of European Economic Area Agreement anyway, and in that case the CJEU would also have jurisdiction over legal issues relating to the internal market, so this is not much different. Besides, during the first 14 years the UK Courts would of course have jurisdiction over traditional European patents anyway, next to the UPC.
“The later the UK triggers Article 50,” Henrion wrote, “the better. At least the EU sausage machine of producing EU laws will slow down for a while.”
“At least the EU sausage machine of producing EU laws will slow down for a while.”
–Benjamin HenrionRed Hat’s Jan Wildeboer, who has campaigned against software patents in Europe for a long time, said that “Brexit Task Force and Article 50 Task Force created in Brussels. Article in German.”
“Not triggering Article 50,” he added, “is the UK elite showing The Finger against their own people and the rest of the EU.”
“Brexit Task Force and Article 50 Task Force created in Brussels.”
–Jan WildeboerThere is somewhat of a dilemma here actually. Article 50 being triggered would possibly help the UPC (a matter of un/certainty) and whether a package like UPC, which is inherently antidemocratic, becomes a reality is another matter worth pursuing in light of all these discussion about ‘democracy’ (whether British democracy or EU democracy).
“Italy to replace the UK as the third biggest UPC nation needed to enter into force,” Henrion wrote. “We will need to reform a coalition there.”
“Milan could get UPC Court,” one person wrote this week, “after Brexit” (Italy actually antagonised the UPC for a long time).
Watch what IAM wrote a short while ago, citing Bristows (the above-mentioned UPC conspirators). “Today,” it says, “the Eerste Kamer approved the bill to enable the Netherlands to ratify the UPC Agreement” (fast-tracking in a panic much?). Here is the cited paragraph. Bristows is hardly even trying to hide its villainous role in this whole terrible deal.
We might soon work towards an EU-wide campaign against the UPC. It needs to be buried once and for all (along with incarnations and predecessors). Not even EPO staff seems to want it (layoffs assured). █
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