Summary: A Novethic article translated into English, highlighting some of the core issues with legal immunity at international organisations, and at the European Patent Office (EPO) in particular
THE EPO saga, once it’s over (it seems close to it, hence the high frequency of articles), may serve as a living warning to future presidents and a tribute to the power of EPO unions. The whole thing will leave the EPO better off, a lot stronger, and probably in compliance with the EPC, not just the law of the land in Europe.
“The whole thing will leave the EPO better off, a lot stronger, and probably in compliance with the EPC, not just the law of the land in Europe.”With English subtitles, at long last, there is this video of a Dutch politician fighting for justice at the EPO. SUEPO has just published it. There is also a bunch of SUEPO translations into English, German and Dutch, based on this recent article in French (“Mal-être des salariés dans les institutions européennes”). We have made this copy of the translation
[PDF] for long-term preservation purposes and put it in HTML form. Highlighted below in yellow are bits of increased importance (new information or phrases that deserve more attention):
Published 22 February 2016
Misery and loathing among the staff in the European institutions
Suicides, burn-out, discrimination, and sacking of union officials at the European Patent Office (EPO) and at the European Central Bank (ECB) … Staff unions and elected political figures alike are sounding alarm bells over the misery and distress of staff members within the European institutions. One issue in particular is the judicial impunity of these institutions: They do not answer to any national legislation, are not subject to any outside control, and institute their own rules and regulations. Figure that out….
New headquarters of the ECB in Frankfurt, Germany.
It all started three years ago with anonymous letters. “They were coming from citizens living in my region of responsibility, alerting me to the serious problems with the management within the European Patent Office (EPO), based in Munich. They asked me not to divulge their names,” we were told discreetly by Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, Deputy for French Citizens Abroad for the Region of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe.
In response to the calls, the Deputy established contact with the people concerned, and, so far as was feasible, met up with them “very early in the morning, and kilometres away from EPO headquarters.” They all made it clear to him the risk they were running by talking to him; “they immediately begged me not to reveal their identity for fear of disciplinary sanctions being taken against them.”
At the EPO, the atmosphere is getting worse, and conflict is raging with the management
The institution, which issues the patents for 38 European countries, maintains a presence in Munich, Berlin, Brussels, The Hague, and Vienna. It employs 7000 highly qualified professionals, engineers who speak at least three languages, who dissect the latest inventions in all kinds of sectors. But, ever since 2010, the management and the staff union SUEPO have been in conflict; a date which coincides with the arrival of Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, and his policy of reforms, at the head of the EPO.
So exactly what are the employees upset about? An atmosphere at work tainted with fear and suspicion (“we have got to the stage where we don’t even trust the telephones provided in our offices” says one of the letters sent to the Deputy), the right to strike drastically limited, being kept under intrusive surveillance amounting to abusive intrusion, disciplinary measures, and the sacking of union representatives. And then there are the investigations and interrogations of staff members within the framework of the EPO “investigation unit”. The list of recriminations is as long as it is worrying. And the distress is made worse by the five suicides of staff members which have occurred at the EPO in the last three years.
When contacted by Novethic, the Office proved unwilling to answer our questions. But in a letter sent to Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ and made public, Benoît Battistelli refers to “an intense campaign of defamation waged by certain employees of the Office” against the management of the institution. He maintains that the “procedures being pursued are due to serious incidents which have occurred within the staff representation organization, and to which any responsible employer would necessarily have to react“, such as the harassment of an elected member of the central committee who was opposed to the position adopted by SUEPO.
“I’ve never seen a conflict like it,” exclaims the Deputy, who is a lawyer by training and who practiced in the private sector for some twenty years before taking up his political office. In his view, what is happening amounts to “management by fear,” all the more serious for prevailing “within a system which is not subject to any outside control.”
The European institutions: Places without the rule of law?
This is the heart of the problem. Being an organization which owes its existence to the European Patent Convention, the EPO has its own legislation when it comes to regulating the working conditions of its personnel. There is talk of judicial immunity, of a legal structure which gives the management a free hand when it comes to fashioning its own laws. For example, a Dutch or German labour inspector cannot set foot in the EPO offices unless Benoît Battistelli gives his authorization.
The Patent Office is not an isolated case. 400 kilometres away, in Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, is the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB). Carlos Bowles, president of the staff representative committee, does not mince his words: “These two immense glass towers are invitations to suicide.”
Two surveys conducted among staff members of the Bank in 2014 and 2015 revealed real distress and misery. According to the evaluation known as the MBI (Maslach Burnout Inventory), carried out by an agency commissioned by the staff committee, a third of the 903 employees questioned, of the 2344 who work at the institution, presented a risk of overstrain; another third showed signs of exhaustion. And 4.5% indicated that they had thoughts of suicide. The root cause was the overburden of work and chronic understaffing due to the massive increase in the tasks involved since the financial crisis in 2007. Added to this are the fixed-term contracts which keep being repeated and the climate of “nepotism” resented by some of the staff. But, here again, the ECB did not choose to respond to our requests to give its version of the situation.
As far as Carlos Bowles is concerned, this wretched situation is further amplified by the judicial impunity enjoyed by the ECB. As with other European or international institutions (NATO, UNO, etc.), it is not the law of the country where the personnel work which actually applies.
“Due to the independence conferred on the ECB by the various treaties involved, German labour law is not applicable within the ECB, even though it’s located in Frankfurt “, the staff representative explains. And Carlos Bowles adds that “as far as the staff are concerned, the European Central Bank is not only an employer, it also takes on the role of legislator”.
The law which applies to the staff of the ECB is a specific law, which is drawn up in a unilateral fashion by the Governing Council and the General Council, who are essentially attributed powers of a legislative nature, even though their members are not elected and their deliberations in these matters are shrouded in secrecy.
Confrontation for the ECB and the EPO
Silence about working conditions within the European institutions has been maintained for a long time, due to the high salaries and the many advantages which go with the jobs (financing of schools for the children, minimal rates of tax, etc.). But cracks are beginning to show. Little by little, these matters are coming to the attention of the legal powers that be.
Last December, the European Union Civil Service Tribunal (CST) severely censured the ECB for its discriminatory practices in its human resources policy. It was excluding staff representatives from one of the routes of access to promotions, due simply to their union activities. On 17 February 2015, the Court of Justice of The Hague (where one of the EPO branches is based) ruled that the Office was violating fundamental rights of its employees by causing obstructions to the activities of the in-house staff union. The EPO is lodging an appeal (see the arguments by Vice-President Willy Minnoye of the EPO).
Behind all these issues, one key issue remains to be resolved: What is the social impact of the judicial immunity which these international organizations enjoy?
Claire Stam, Frankfurt correspondent
I once received a bunch of legal documents from a victim of UN/US witch-hunts (more precisely, the US intimidating UN staff). I never got around to publishing anything about it (lack of clarity and documents primarily written in French), but this too showed the problems associated with immunity at international organisations. This led to extreme deterioration in health and then allegations of suicidal risk (induced by these witch-hunts). How about WIPO (UN-tied)? There too there were suicides, unlike say… in FIFA (which receives all the media attention right now because it’s football). █
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Summary: Another new article about the European Patent Office (EPO), which is almost certainly about to undergo a major overhaul
THE EPO has been receiving unwanted attention (e.g. media inquiries) from central European media because Battistelli, the EPO’s President, is almost certainly on his way out. The Dutch media has done a good job, just as it did a year ago when the EPO refused to accept a court’s ruling.
“The Dutch media has done a good job, just as it did a year ago when the EPO refused to accept a court’s ruling.”Petra Kramer has just given us the next translation in line. Having published her previous translations from Dutch [1, 2], we now turn to the next one. It’s from NRC.
In the text below, highlighted in yellow are some bits which we think merit more attention, as some of them are quite unique (compared to other press articles).
Patent Office wants to investigate leadership style president
The authoritarian management style of the President, according to the unions led to tensions and even some suicides among employees.
The ongoing crisis at the European Patent Office (EPO) seems to be turning against its criticized President, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli. The highest body of the Agency, the Management Board representing the 38 Member States, wants an external investigation into the punitive measures Battistelli (65) has taken against union members.
It is a surprising twist in the battle between the agency, which grants European patents and, among others is based in Rijswijk, and the unions. The authoritarian management style of Battistelli and the heavy workload have led to tensions and even to suicides among employees, say the unions.
Battistelli in his turn does not recognize the unions, because the agency as an international organization would not be bound by national legislation. But according to the President the unions are trying to sabotage his reforms. Some prominent trade unionists have been suspended and will possibly be fired, including the chairman of the Dutch branch, Elizabeth Hardon.
Serious concerns about performance
The disciplinary actions led to “very serious concerns” about the “proper functioning” of the agency the chairman of the management board writes, the Dane Jesper Kongstad writes in a letter. The supervisors have unfortunately not been able to hold “any meaningful dialogue” with Battistelli about these issues.
Despite protests from the President, the council wants the sanctions to be investigated and suspended. The Member States will vote next month on that proposal. The letter is notable because Battistelli was reappointed by the management board last year to remain in function until 2018.
Battistelli has invited the unions yesterday for an interview on “any topic” surrounding working conditions. The Supreme Court called the office and the unions to engage in mediation last month.
Well, judging by what we learned privately from some sources (not suitable for sharing out in the open), there is no mediation at all. It’s still nothing but hogwash; the “any topic” propaganda line (see above) comes from EPO PR; it’s a form of ‘damage control’ and the current media strategy. █
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Summary: Another new article translation from this week’s Dutch newspapers
Having just published a translation of this article about Dutch EPO protests, we also got another translation from Petra Kramer. It’s this Dutch article (just republished in the Belgian media).
Here is the full text:
Member states are turning against “tyrannical” chief of European Patent Office
The days of the controversial president of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, appear to be numbered. Employees have been complaining for some time that Battistelli behaves like a tyrant and a Sun King. But now for the first the Member States are against the Frenchman.
The European Patent Office (EPO) gives patents to all kinds of conceivable inventions, ranging from thermos bottle to computer chip. Rijswijk is one of the five offices, where 2,700 people work. The 38 participating countries act as principals and supervisors of the EPO.
Thus far they still supported the rule of President Battistelli who took office in 2010. He is very controversial among the staff because he deteriorated all kinds of working conditions and he took harsh reprisals against trade union representatives who express criticism. Meanwhile two union directors have been laid off at its headquarters in Munich. Two union representatives at the Rijswijk office are on sick leave after they were subjected to what they call intimidating integrity investigations. Colleagues set up a ‘bread’ fund last month to provide one of them of income, because management has suspended his salary.
According to the top of the EPO, it’s pure coincidence that the punished staff are all trade unionists. Member States up until now have let Battistelli plot his course. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back, according to a letter from Jesper Kongstad, the Danish president of the Administrative Council, a sort of supervisory board in which the 38 countries participating in EPO are represented.
Kongstad asks Battistelli to examine all disciplinary measures taken against members of the union by an independent external committee. The layoffs and other sanctions should be suspended until the results of this examination are made public.
“Unfortunately we can not hold any significant conversation with the president,” Kongstad writes in his letter. Battistelli has immediately rejected the proposal and questioned the legal basis of it. “There is no legal obstacle for the council to make requests to the EPO president,” Kongstad writes however. “It is up to the president to respond positively to such requests.”
Kongstad’s flip-flopping is remarkable, because he was regarded as one of the ‘friends’ of Battistelli. Their personal connection, according to trade union Suepo, caused the festering of the conflicts within the organization.
At the next meeting of the Administrative Council on March 16, delegates from the 38 participating countries will officially cast their votes on the proposal of Kongstad. Battistelli now lobbies with Member States to move them to shoot down the independent investigation. According to a letter from Battistelli, his organization “healthier than ever”.
It is not very likely that the supervisory countries will vote against the proposals of their own president Kongstad. That will leave Battistelli with two options: resign or accept to have his controversial actions examined by an independent commission. “It’s not so much the question whether Battistelli will have to resign, but how many millions he will receive as a severage package, claims lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld representing the trade union Suepo.
She booked last year’s success at the Hague Court of Appeal, which concluded that the EPO violates human rights because it hinders the work of the union. A remarkable verdict, because the EPO as an international organization enjoys legal immunity. The court ruled that human rights in this case outweigh those legal immunity. EPO nevertheless rejected the verdict and got support from the Dutch government in doing so. At present, the case is in the Supreme Court.
Endless gratitude goes out to Petra Kramer for her work on this translation. █
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Summary: Information from “meeting of DG1direct” (if true) serves to reinforce hopes that even Battistelli’s high-level ‘inferiors’ won’t support him under pressure
THE EPO “meltdown” matters aren’t being properly covered by the media (this will be the subject of another future post), so we try hard to keep our readers abreast of what is known/speculated/happening.
Based on this new comment (only a day old), there’s more of a mutiny — if it can be called that — against Battistelli, in spite (or because) of the pressure put on managers to pretend to support him. As this anonymous reader, who has no track record in this site, put it:
Information provided by someone who was present at yesterday’s meeting of DG1direct, i.e. the association of the examiners’ directors:
It was collectively decided at the meeting that with regard to the support letter, DG1 directors should act according to their conscience, i.e. they should not give in to pressure from higher EPO management. In practice it will mean that DG1 directors will not sign the letter (which their principal directors had instructed them to do by Monday).
If true, next week promises to be interesting. Later on it looks as though there will be a rather major strike, but if Battistelli et al step down and the dismissals of staff representatives get suspended (pending external investigation, and perhaps several more that are sorely needed), then maybe it can be prevented. █
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Summary: A somewhat belated translation of Dutch media coverage of the EPO staff protest in Rijswijk last month
THE EPO is alienating many people in Holland. All that these people have to do is switch on the television, pick up a newspaper, or read some blogs/news sites online. Petra Kramer has thankfully offered help with translation of Dutch articles about the EPO. One of these articles is a month old, but we never got a translation of it before, so here it goes:
EPO Employees are tired of tyranny and take to the streets
Report: Employees European Patent Office to the streets
Five suicides in three years, colleagues collapse: employees of the European Patent Organisation, tired of the tyrannical leadership – “They have no compassion – take to the streets.
“Elisabeth, Ion, Malika, Laurent, Jésus.” A British employee of the European Patent Office in Rijswijk has written the names of five suspended or be it sacked colleagues on his T-shirt. With several hundred colleagues, he demonstrates in front of the Hague Peace Palace on a Thursday afternoon. “My name does not matter, it’s too dangerous to mention.”
For some time a high rising conflict has been festering between the staff and the top of the European Patent Office, the international organization with seven thousand employees which assesses the patent requests for 38 European countries. Their boss, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, imposed the deterioration of working conditions from his office in Munich so claims the accusation.
The specific reason for the demonstration was the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third party in Munich. One of those affected is the department chair of the Suepo union in Munich, the Dutch Elizabeth Hardon. Last week, all 1,300 employees in Munich took to the streets yesterday 900 of the 2,700 workers from Rijswijk demonstrated in the Hague embassy district.
“I want my rights back,” it says on a banner. On a T-shirt that says “I support my suspended colleague” ‘suspended’ is crossed out with pencil and replaced by” fired !!! “.
“It’s a vendetta between top management and the unions,” a protester analyses during the protest march of the French to the German embassy and back. “There are dismissed colleagues and some of their pension will be retained.” Those who are critical of or working for the federal expect reprisals. Last year we found that executives of the union are monitored by investigators of the controversial British research firm Control Risks.
The otherwise quiet embassy district is overwhelmed by whistle-blowing protestors. Many protesters wear earplugs. A German ambassador is there to receive the petition. A German worker: “Because of the the international status we do not know where to file our complaint. Should we do it at the House of Representatives? At minister Ascher? At the European Parliament? There is an external procedure for labour disputes but it takes eight years.”
The last three years there were five suicides among staff, two of them in Rijswijk. An employee took his own life on the last day of his summer vacation. Before that another employee jumped of the seventh floor. Labour inspection was not allowed to investigate.
“As an international organization we are outside the legal framework,” the British patent expert explains. “We may indeed refuse access to any inspection because we have immunity, but that does nnot mean we have to do it course.”
Among the staff in Rijswijk turmoil has grown after a critical colleague succumbed to the pressure on Friday. “He collapsed in the cafeteria and had to be transported by ambulance. But the next week he had to immediately explain himself, “says an Italian. “They have no compassion.”
Next week, CEO Battistelli will visit the Netherlands. He wants to talk with a delegation of the staff, so say several protesters, but no one dares. “Now his department is appointing volunteers,” sneers a Spaniard. “Call it anything but voluntary.”
The German worker, who works in Rijswijk for years, pointing to him: ‘Surely three-quarters of these people have a doctorate, but we are afraid to go on the street. That’s ridiculous. It’s like North Korea. ”
After a half an hour the buses return to the office in Rijswijk. Hundreds of colleagues who did not dare to demonstrate are waiting for them. “There is a lot of fatalism. Many colleagues say that we have already lost the battle, “says a Frenchman. “They are afraid to put their head on the chopping block.”
Petra Kramer‘s note on the above, due to the stubborn paywall, was this: “Human corrected machine translation of http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/medewerkers-europese-octrooi-organisatie-zijn-tirannie-beu-en-gaan-de-straat-op~a4234211/ Paywalled, but if you don’t have any cookies from that site it should be accessible for free.” █
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The EPO’s management is trying to eliminate ideas, but it arguably legitimises them instead
Chile, 1973. Burning Marxist literature.
Summary: The latest news regarding acts of censorship against Techrights, which the EPO’s high-level managers view as more dangerous than any other site on the Web (even pornography/nudity)
THE EPO is apparently so afraid of my typing on a keyboard that it not only blocked my site but also sent me several threatening letters. Is this site so Not Safe For Work (NSFW)? Knowing how many people the EPO threatens (even people outside the EPO, including spouses and human rights lawyers), it oughtn’t be so shocking anymore.
“Random Dutch people in Twitter — people who are fed up with the EPO (even though they have nothing whatsoever to do with the EPO) — have decided to help our cause.”“Just saw your tweet about EPO traffic to techrights.org,” wrote to us one reader. “Last time I was at the EPO in The Hague,” this reader added, “techrights.org was accessible from the PCs in the patent attorney offices, so if there is a block, it doesn’t apply to the whole EPO network.”
This reader should remember that he or she may still be spied on, even as a guest at the EPO. 2 months ago I complained to the EPO’s network administrators (several of them) that some IP addresses of theirs were flooding techrights.org. Well, they never replied, but these floods apparently stopped. Did they switch off or just reconfigure their censorship equipment? We now know which appliance they use for filtering and one day we may publicly share some truly explosive details about it. Maybe after Battistelli and his clique are out…
Earlier today SUEPO linked a couple of times to techrights.org (apparently not so afraid of Battistelli with threats intended to sanitise SUEPO's homepage anymore) and said: “Regarding the matter of this article, Mr Battistelli has apparently started a misinformation campaign. We will react as soon as possible but for now we can confirm the judgment of Techrights (not accessible within the EPO), Repurposed Misinformation Campaign: The EPO’s PR Team is Lying to The Register in Order to Help Battistelli Save Face”, 25 February 2016). [...] A first translation in English is available on techrights.org (i.e. not accessible within the EPO).”
We have many more translations coming. Random Dutch people in Twitter — people who are fed up with the EPO (even though they have nothing whatsoever to do with the EPO) — have decided to help our cause. Because of Battistelli — far more so than anyone before him — the EPO became not just a source of great shame to Europe but also the subject of much hate. █
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Summary: It looks highly probable and increasingly like a certainty that Battistelli will soon leave the Office, leaving the EPO some leeway to recuperate after his historic (in a bad sense) term
TECHRIGHTS is optimistic about the EPO, which is probably about to change for the better because the President (Battistelli) lives on borrowed time. Next week we’ll start debating succession.
Earlier today we found rather interesting a bunch of tweets from EPO-funded media, which rather than repeat the latest lie from the EPO’s PR bunnies actually acknowledges that Battistelli is deep — very deep — in trouble. When even an EPO-funded Web site admits there’s a serious problem (the PR department is still denying it as it’s paid to do this) one has to acknowledge that the situation is looking very grim. To quote IAM: “If Benoit Battistelli really is in conflict with the EPO Administrative Council, as now rumoured, that is not a sustainable situation.”
“When even an EPO-funded Web site admits there’s a serious problem (the PR department is still denying it as it’s paid to do this) one has to acknowledge that the situation is looking very grim.”There is no point denying it anymore (the conflict). The authenticity of the documents and accuracy of the information have already been verified.
“It is hard to see Battistelli agreeing to back down,” IAM added, “he is much more likely to walk away.” He reportedly threatened to do it last year, but new reports suggest it’s down to money right now. We urgently require a translation of this new article (in Dutch) titled “Franse despoot wil 18 miljoen bij vertrek”. FTI Consulting has clearly failed Team Battistelli. It didn’t manage to salvage the EPO’s reputation, meaning that Battistelli already flushed close to $1,000,000 (dark budget/PR money) down the toilet. Does he want over 20 million dollars now? After all the damage he has done? We now know Battistelli’s salary and may reveal it at a later date (it’s not so urgent a topic). Battistelli — reportedly — basically wants 30-40 years of presidential salary. Not so bad a ‘welfare’ plan for a man who is already approaching age 70…
IAM then brought up some Battistelli talking point, stating that “Battistelli will believe – with some justification – he has done what the Admin Council wanted him to do: increase production & revenue.”
“Battistelli — reportedly — basically wants 30-40 years of presidential salary. Not so bad a ‘welfare’ plan for a man who is already approaching age 70…”Over in the US, based on this new chart of “Patent Grants 2016″ (nice work from Patently-O by the way), patent numbers (and thus revenue, which is proportional) nearly doubled because of declining quality, which is indicative of a problem; it’s not a yardstick of success (does not take externalities into account).
Bragging about growth in the number of granted patents — as Battistelli often does (remember the “Meet the President” charade earlier this month) — is misleading at best and a lot of it is based on a lie, too. They’re cooking the books. They are extremely craftful with statistics and they hope to successfully mislead the media, as they so often do already, exploiting gullibility of non-technical journalists with a university degree in a language.
“To clarify again, we do support the EPO in principle (there is no intention to destroy the EPO), but the EPO needs to go back to the EPC.”Earlier today I joked that Battistelli should soon apply for a job at SIPO (China), where there is almost zero quality control and almost zero human rights (it’s probably negative, i.e. lower than zero, at the EPO right now).
To clarify again, we do support the EPO in principle (there is no intention to destroy the EPO), but the EPO needs to go back to the EPC. Watch how the EPO is trying to ‘massage’ the “Guidelines for Examination” in various events, some of which were announced or re-announced even hours ago. The EPO asks: “What’s the impact of the amendments in the new Guidelines for Examination? Discuss with experts in Oslo on 7 April…”
What are the changes/amendments based on? Definitely not the EPC, which definitely and unambiguously forbade software patents (be these “as such” or not).
Asked for a comment on the EPO’s latest teaser ahead of upcoming propaganda (bogus patent numbers to be shared next week), a reader told us: “OK, it’s only that stupid applicant hit parade PR exercise again. They’ve been doing this for a few years, I can’t say when it began (before or after Battistelli), but Battistelli already ran a similar show when he was at the French patent office. I thought it could be something else, I should really learn not to overestimate them.”
Going back to IAM, in its Twitter account it said: “It is clear, though, that recent headlines over union official dismissals and the Enlarged Board of Appeal have spooked some on the AC.”
“What it all means,” IAM added, “is that something has now got to give at the EPO. When that happens, it will not be pretty.”
“Battistelli cannot tolerate transparency (he can only write/author blog posts titled “transparency”) because transparency would reveal gross abuses like keyloggers, hidden cameras (targeting guests who come to the EPO), and worse — all sorts of serious criminal charges in Croatia.”IAM then said that the “EPO is in crisis this evening. Its governance structure is clearly not fit for purpose. It is time for full transparency.” As I explained to IAM, not (lack of) “transparency” is the problem. It’s what the secrecy has served to hide… so far. Battistelli cannot tolerate transparency (he can only write/author blog posts titled “transparency”) because transparency would reveal gross abuses like keyloggers, hidden cameras (targeting guests who come to the EPO), and worse — all sorts of serious criminal charges in Croatia.
The bottom line is this: when even people whom Battistelli pays recognise that he might be leaving it really means something.
A final (second) reminder: We urgently need a translation of the article “Franse despoot wil 18 miljoen bij vertrek” (link above) as it seemingly serves to further confirm that Battistelli will be out soon (and that it’s just matter of money now). When choosing to prepare a translation please state the intent to us so that we can ensure there’s no duplication of effort (two or more people working on a translation at the same time). Someone is already working on a translation of “Problemas de gobernanza en organizaciones internacionales: la EPO” and today we received 3 translations of 3 articles in Dutch, so stay tuned for more… █
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Summary: A newly-released PDF sheds light on the grave injustice planned for the Unitary Patent Court, Europe’s secretive and highly damaging new system, whose architects are mostly patent lawyers and other patent profiteers that serve large international corporations
More evidence, ironically from the UPC’s biggest boosters, starts to surface, unveiling the truth or the ugly face of the EPO’s ‘baby’, the UPC (the EPO spends a lot of money promoting this). There is a very dark side to the UPC in Germany, where patent lawyers even interfere with the legal system in an effort to wheel in the UPC Trojan horse [1, 2]. This is a coup d’état which European citizens are unaware of.
According to this new comment on a new IP Kat article, the Battistelli-led EPO is so eager to ‘improve’ numbers that it grants bogus patents, not just extending/expanding the scope/boundaries of patents (UPC would probably usher in software patents, as high-profile people repeatedly warn). As the commenter put it, “I see the corresponding EP patent has just been granted after the examiner raised an objection relating to the priority claim and cited a PhD thesis. The priority filing looks questionable as to whether it discloses the “same invention” as per EPO-speak. The inevitable opposition should be interesting.”
“11K for a declaration of non-infringement seems a bit prohibitive. Hardly encouraging/enabling a ‘clear-the-way’ attitude.”
–AnonymousCommenting on this new article from UPC booster Annsley Merelle Ward (also IP Kat, not just pro-UPC propaganda sites), one person says “11K for a declaration of non-infringement seems a bit prohibitive. Hardly encouraging/enabling a ‘clear-the-way’ attitude. Good for patentees when infringers are small fry.”
The UPC, as it stands at the moment, has one major barrier. It’s not countries that won’t sign it (Spain, UK in case of Brexit etc.) but an actual democratic debate (the UPC is antidemocratic). Right now this whole process is taking place behind closed doors. It’s like some kind of secret trade deal. Courts are being set up in London before there is even a British referendum, in order to make the exit barrier (exiting UPC) incredibly high.
“UPC action to revoke a patent will cost 20.000 EUR. Infringement actions at least 11.000 EUR. Lawyers not included!”
–Kristof NeefsThe UPC is — by most indications (in spite of the international secrecy) — indeed what we warned about all along. It would be an SME killer if it ever became a reality. As another person (Kristof Neefs, who says he is an IP, media and technology lawyer) put it: “UPC action to revoke a patent will cost 20.000 EUR. Infringement actions at least 11.000 EUR. Lawyers not included!”
Why would you need to revoke a patent? See the second paragraph above. The Battistelli-led EPO is a joke when it comes to examination (often if not increasingly rushed) and Battistelli is totally clueless about it, or maybe just in denial, i.e. willfully ignorant.
Managing Intellectual Property (MIP), a proponent of the UPC (like most patent lawyers out there), pretends that the UPC is already here (but it’s not inevitable).
What needs to be done right now is dissemination of information about the UPC, which the European public (more than 95% of it) knows nothing about. Currently, the UPC is being promoted by the very same people who would benefit from it, whilst everybody else has no voice. It would be good news for patent parasites and patent lawyers (look who’s excited about it) and we know at whose expense. Everybody would be harmed. Recall our recent article titled "UPC: To Understand Who Would Benefit From It Just Look at Who’s Promoting It (Like TPP)".
“This is like Koch Industries celebrating passage of ISDS.”CIPA too is promoting the UPC right now. Remember what CIPA stands for. It’s just a big bunch of patent lawyers lobbying for their interests at the very heart of Europe, trying to tax everyone while nobody (whom they tax) is paying attention. As CIPA put it: “The #UPC Preparatory Committee confirms there will be no opt-out fee. Big vote of confidence in the new system!” The UPC boosters (like Jane Lambert in this case) only care about EU membership because of patents!
This is like Koch Industries celebrating passage of ISDS. Anything like ISDS would give such a malicious corporation the power to pollute without government interference (because interference might harm Koch Industries’ shareholders). We need to stop these people before it’s too late. The UPC is a huge danger to Europe, which is an SME-based economy. █
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