02.02.15

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Benoît Battistelli and Jesper Kongstad Continue to Blame Everything on SUEPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trying the bogeyman theory again

Jesper Kongstad
Jesper Kongstad. Photo from the Nordic Patent Institute.

Summary: A protest over perceived Battistelli-Kongstad collusion against staff rights and against oversight culminates in press coverage

Following the Techrights articles about an EPO protest in front of the Danish Consulate in Munich we would like to share a news report about the protest.

“Kongstad from Denmark must have become somewhat of a liability (embarrassment) not just for European authorities but also for Danish diplomats in Germany.”Kongstad from Denmark must have become somewhat of a liability (embarrassment) not just for European authorities but also for Danish diplomats in Germany. See photos from the protest and also our coverage of this protest. Our earliest coverage about Kongstad supplies some context and serves as background for those who don’t yet know what is wrong about Kongstad.

In trying to bypassing the paywall, we have managed to get the full text in Danish. We decided to use an automated translation tool and work around the results in order to avoid copyright-related issues and to improve the English, too.

Notice the statements from Benoît Battistelli and Jesper Kongstad at the bottom. Here is the article:

The powerful European organisation European Patent Office (EPO) is plagued by a poisonous dispute between employees and their management.

Employees have repeatedly carried out strike over changes to working conditions and on Wednesday SUEPO demonstrated in front of the Danish Consulate in Munich, the city where the EPO has its headquarters.

The reason for the Danish role is that the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office in Denmark, Jesper Kongstad, is President of the EPO Board.

The flyers attacked the chairman for failing to ensure adequate monitoring of the EPO’s French President, Benoît Battistelli.

___________
Benoît Battistelli is President of the European Patent Office (EPO); Photo: EPO
___________

The Frenchman is viewed by the disgruntled employees as the real problem.

He is accused of driving “management by fear” and of overriding fundamental employee rights, including the right to organise and the right to strike.

Conversely, Management maintains that there is a need to reform conditions by bringing them more in line with the general European labour market.

“We are dealing with an organisation where employees have been running the show for many years, and where the union has provided effective management. It hurts them when it is changed, and then so they are screaming, but we must move on,” says Jesper Kongstad.

___________
Jesper Kongstad is the director of the Patent and Trademark Office Photo: Mikkel Berg Pedersen
___________

Among the new initiatives are, among other things, options that employees should stay at home for a certain period of time if they are off sick, so that EPO can choose to send a doctor to visit. Another new rule is for when employees can conduct strikes.

The relationship between the President and the disgruntled employees has been bad for several years, and already, last year, SUEPO declared that people no longer trust Battistelli.

Facts

Benoît Battistelli says in an email to [us] that he has always been in favour of respectful dialogue, but that SUEPO systematically opposes the organisation. He also noted that the reforms have had a significant positive impact on the organisation’s effectiveness.

We have not managed to get a comment from the employees’ union, SUEPO.

Of course they try to blame it all on SUEPO or “disgruntled employees”. It’s the same old storyline and it is often proving to be effective because journalists are reluctant to make a story out of “rotten apples” (even if a third of EPO, i.e. thousands of insiders, walk out to revolt). Never mind if judges, stakeholders and many others are complaining.

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