06.17.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

More Political Interventions in EPO Abuse Cases

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: EPO abuses are attracting more political attention, leading to complaints and concrete steps/actions. Articles continue to come, highlighting more of them.

A YEAR ago staff of the EPO complained, but the media did not and politicians certainly did not. The landscape is profoundly different right now because any European politician who follows the press must know about the EPO scandals and utter lack of oversight. Here is a very detailed and helpful summary from Merpel, reporting on what has happened this year (so far). “The social reform programme is being pushed through,” she wrote, “just as Mr Battistelli announced at the end of 2014. However, given that Mr Battistelli has refused to authorise a full complement of staff representatives on the committee that oversees such proposals, it’s hardly surprising that the 10 loyal managers voted his proposals through over the heads of the 9 staff members and an empty seat.”

Battistelli continues to run an authoritarian and oppressive regime. Anyone who does not agree with him will likely find his or her way out and anyone who dares to speak about Battistelli and his cronies negatively behind their back will most likely be accused of “defamation” (that’s what Battistelli calls facts). We have covered some of the facts for nearly a year now and we cataloged everything chronologically. There will shortly be another summary from us, it’s just that things are moving too fast at the moment (this month has been the busiest, with the highest volume of posts on this subject). It’s too dynamic to be worth documenting or summarising just yet.

“In a well attended General Assembly,” writes SUEPO, “staff of the EPO adopted a resolution to be sent to Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection. The letter informs Heiko Maas of the investigation of staff representatives and/or union executives by the company Control Risks during the trilateral talks on union recognition.” (source: “Letter to Heiko Maas, Resolution adopted by staff of the European Patent Office” at suepo.org)

Here is the letter [PDF] in German. Translations would help expand the scope/reach of this letter, so we invite readers to help.

“Letter to EU commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska,” says SUEPO, was also sent. It was sent to the “JURI committee and the Members of the Policy Department C (Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs) of the EU Parliament.”

Here is the letter [PDF] as HTML, excepting the annexes and other material which was published here before:

To,

the Commissioner ElZbieta Biefikowska,

the JURI Committee, via Pavel SVOBODA
(Chair) and,

the Members of the Policy Department C (Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs) of the European Parliament, DG Internal Policy, via Dr Udo BUX (Department administrator)

All by e-mail

Amsterdam, 12 June 2015
Our ref. –
Your ref. –

Direct tel.nr: (020) 344 62 15
Direct faxnr: (020) 344 62 01

Re: “The European Patent Office State of Play — In depth analysis for the JURI Committee”

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

As counsel of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO), we would like to ask your attention for the following.

SUEPO has read the above-mentioned document with interest. Please allow us, however, to complete the picture portrayed in the report with the following considerations.

While the EPO is undoubtedly capable of providing the EU with valuable services in respect of the Unitary Patent, there are serious concerns that its internal structure does not meet the standards of transparency and labour

____________

1 http:/www.europarl.europa.eu/RepDat2/etudes/IDAN/2015/519208/IPOL IDA(2015)519208_EN. pdf


12 June 2015, page 2

conditions which the EU institution expect of themselves. This project will be in jeopardy if it relies on a system in violation of fundamental human rights and on deficient labor conditions, and if staff performing quasi-judicial work does not enjoy internationally acceptable and agreed legal standards. Let us explain this.

1.On 17 February 2015, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague2 found that the EPO is in breach of fundamental rights, relating to the staff union’s freedom to operate and bargain. The EPO has however refused to remedy the situation. While formally claiming immunity from execution, the President of the EPO has suggested that the Judges of the Dutch Court of Appeal are ignorant and incompetent. In line with this attitude, the EPO has systematically turned down requests for professional mediation to restore social peace. All of this should be seen as an alarm signal about the way the Rule of Law is perceived by the top management and the Administrative Council of the EPO.

2.Another example of deficient labor conditions and the EPO’s far reaching use of powers, is the organisation ́s commissioning of an external company, Control Risks, to carry out investigations and interrogations on elected staff representatives and union officials who voice criticism of the management policies of President Battistelli (Annex 2).

3.Furthermore, according to a recent press report (Annex 3), the EPO has installed machinery to hack the communications from a number of PCs installed in the public areas of the EPO’s premises. Please be also be aware that data protection in the EPO appears to be woefully inadequate (Annex 1).

4. The EPO has drastically weakened the position of vulnerable staff, in particular sick staff. Such staff members are put under increased pressure bordering on systematic harassment. Their freedom of movement as European citizens is severely curtailed. Measures to safeguard medical confidentiality have been weakened. The EPO has gone as far as abolishing the notion of occupational diseases and accidents.

5. Independent sources have found that there is currently no effective mechanism in place to resolve legal disputes. The dispute resolution system is dysfunctional and burdened by huge backlog that de facto leads to such delays as to deny justice for staff. The Administrative Council of the EPO, at the behest of the President and without any democratic control from the Member States, enacts rules and decisions that are not subject to any independent legal or political check other than financial considerations.

____________
2 http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2014:420
Translation in English: http://www.suepo.org/public/su15088cpe.pdf


[...]

EPO data protection is not in line with EU institutions

1.The President of the EPO recently (with effect from 1 April 2014) adopted new guidelines for data protection at the EPO. He did so without informing, let alone consulting the national delegations of the Administrative Council, the body supervising the EPO. The new guidelines have drastically enlarged the scope of the data protection guidelines previously in force: the new guidelines now also concern external users of the EPO, e.g. patent applicants. It is questionable whether European Patent Convention gives the President of the EPO such a competence, cf. Articles 10(2)c) and 33 of European Patent Convention.

2.The new data protection guidelines are not in line with general regulations on data protection applicable to EU institutions and EU public on the territory of the EU (cf. Regulation EC 45/2001 & Directive 95/46/EC). They do not provide the necessary safeguards for the persons or entities affected both inside the EPO, e.g. staff or contractors, and outside, e.g. patent applicants or companies. They do not provide the required independence and authority of the data protection Officer. They miss a function equivalent to the Data Protection Supervisor that exists in all EU institutions. The way the data protection guidelines are currently implemented at the EPO would not be considered as adequate in any EU institution.

3.The reference to fundamental rights, present in both the Directive 95/46/EC and in Regulation (EC) 45/2001, and that was present in the previous EPO data protection guidelines has are been removed from the new EPO guidelines on data protection.

4.Whereas in the EU institutions, data can only be processed for purposes other than those for which they have been collected under very strict conditions, at the EPO, the President is able to decide on a change of purpose, without anybody being able to oppose it.

5.The new data protection guidelines have been drafted to remove any obstacle to the implementation of the controversial – and legally challenged – EPO investigation guidelines. For instance, the EPO guidelines give the EPO investigation Unit the right to operate without any control from the Data Protection Officer.

6.In view of the above, a check by the appropriate EU body seems appropriate before entrusting the EPO with the granting of the Unitary Patent.

[18 more pages in the original PDF, includes news clippings]

SUEPO writes in reference to this article which we covered last week: “The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that Thomas Petri, the Bavarian Data Protection Commissioner wants to have an external data protection supervisor deployed at the European Patent Office. It has become a matter of public knowledge that publicly accessible computers at the EPO were placed under observation using surveillance technology after the receipt of letters containing [allegedly] defamatory remarks against the Management.

“Data Protection Commissioner Petri previously investigated the data protection arrangements at the EPO in the Spring of 2014 following a complaint and he came to the conclusion that they were deficient. “It emerged that nobody was really in charge”, told Petri.”

Privacy violations are only few among many bigger violations. Members of the French Parliament slam the EPO, perhaps owing to media coverage that keeps them abreast. “The Huffington Post,” wrote SUEPO about this article, “a website partly owned by Le Monde, published a tribune signed by Members of the French Parliament, the French Senate and the European Parliament.

“The signatories regret that the success story of the European Patent Office is “now endangered since 2012 by authoritarian social policies which do not respect the fundamental rights of staff”.”

If any of our French-speaking readers can provide a translation, that would help a lot.

Articles about the EPO’s abuses (at management level) would discourage potential staff and harm recruitment of talent. Who would want to work for an institution that ignores EU law, defies court orders, uses keyloggers against staff, and has the reputation which increasingly mirrors FIFA’s?

The EPO quickly became synonymous with a corrupt “ogre”, much like FIFA. As IP Kat put it yesterday,: “If you thought that the European Patent Office (EPO) was the only international intellectual property administration that was coming under the scrutiny of an increasingly critical world for behaviour that ill befits its status, think again: the African Intellectual Property Organization — better known by its French acronym OAPI — seems to be suffering from the same malaise.”

So EPO has become a yardstick for abuse. There’s clearly an urgent need for a reset. The problem is not the examiners but those at the top who rally them to expand scope and pursue quantity, not quality, while squashing their ability to antagonise.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. The World Needs to Know What Many Austrians Already Know About Rude Liar, the Notorious 'Double-Dipper'

    Today we publish many translations (from German) about the Austrian double-dipper, who already became the subject of unfavourable press coverage in his home country; he’s partly responsible for crushing fundamental rights at the EPO under Benoît Battistelli‘s regime



  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

    Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal



  3. Links 18/10/2021: Porteus Kiosk 5.3 and Ventoy 1.0.55

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] [Teaser] More to Life Than Patents

    Greedy sociopaths oughtn’t be put in charge of patent offices; this is what’s dooming the EPO in recent years (all they think about is money



  5. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

    Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)



  6. Links 18/10/2021: Linux 5.15 RC6 and 7 New Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  7. [Meme] The Austrian School of Friedrich Rude Liar

    With reference to the Austrian School, let’s consider the fact that Friedrich Rude Liar might in fact be standing to personally gain by plundering the EPO‘s staff by demonising them while helping Benoît Battistelli crush them



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  9. How (Simple Technical Steps) to Convince Yourself That DuckDuckGo is Just Spyware Connected to Microsoft, Falsely Advertised as 'Privacy'

    In recent days we published or republished some bits and pieces about what DuckDuckGo really is; the above reader dropped by to enlighten us and demonstrate just how easy it is to see what DuckDuckGo does even at the client side (with JavaScript); more people need to confront DuckDuckGo over this and warn colleagues/friends/family (there’s more here)



  10. Austria's Right-Wing Politicians Displaying Their Arrogance to EPO Examiners

    The EPO‘s current regime seems to be serving a money-hungry lobby of corrupt officials and pathological liars; tonight we focus on Austria



  11. [Meme] Friedrich Rödler's Increasingly Incomprehensible Debt Quagmire, Years Before EPO Money Was Trafficked Into the Stock Market

    As it turns out, numerous members of the Administrative Council of the EPO are abundantly corrupt and greedy; They falsely claim or selfishly pretend there’s a financial crisis and then moan about a "gap" that does not exist (unless one counts the illegal gambling, notably EPOTIF, which they approved), in turn recruiting or resorting to scabs that help improve ‘profit margins’



  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

    Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler



  13. Links 17/10/2021: Blender 2.93.5, Microsoft Bailouts

    Links for the day



  14. Links 17/10/2021: GhostBSD 21.10.16 and Mattermost 6.0

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  16. [Meme] First Illegally Banning Strikes, Then Illegally Taking Over Courts

    The vision of Team Battistelli/Campinos is a hostile takeover of the entire patent system, not just patent offices like the EPO; they’d stop at nothing to get there



  17. Portuguese Network of Enablers

    Instead of serving Portuguese people or serving thousands of EPO workers (including many who are Portuguese) the delegation from Portugal served the network of Campinos



  18. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  19. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  21. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  22. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  23. [Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

    Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law



  24. EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. The Reign in Spain

    Discussion about the role of Spain in the EPO‘s autocratic regime which violates the rights of EPO staff, including Spanish workers



  26. [Meme] Spanish Inquisition

    Let it be widely known that Spain played a role in crushing the basic rights of all EPO workers, including hundreds of Spaniards



  27. Why You Shouldn’t Use SteamOS, a Really Incompetent GNU/Linux Distribution With Security Pitfalls (Lutris is a Great Alternative)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  28. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021



  29. Links 16/10/2021: Xubuntu 21.10 and DearPyGui 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  30. DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts