09.17.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

European Patent Office Expands Censorship and Intimidation Against Staff as Pressure Mounts

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chinese labour and Internet standards in Europe

Manchester

Summary: The management of the European Patent Office (EPO) continues to increase its repressive assaults on EPO staff, essentially blocking access to additional sites which explain what the EPO is really doing and why this is wrong

COINCIDING with staff protests/demonstrations (but not strikes) that took place on Tuesday, the muzzling of Florian Müller gets reported. “EPO leadership pressured SUEPO to remove link to my blog from its homepage,” he told me earlier this week, shortly after writing that “In July it became known that the EPO blocked examiners’ access to TechRights” (source), correctly adding that it merely invokes more backlash. The “recommended reading for whomever at the EPO [...] prohibit links to this blog: the Streisand effect.”

The EPO is possibly trying to block (censor) evidence of the censorship itself. That’s how pathetic they’re becoming now. Are they really willing to go down this rabbit hole?

“Document temporarily removed due to threats of reprisals from EPO management,” says SUEPO’s public page in numerous places (with slight variations). “SUEPO is taking appropriate action to counter the threats.”

Well, welcome to the European Union’s most corrupt organisation, where censorship is part of the plan to hide evidence of the corruption, and sites that cover the censorship are themselves being censored, too. China or Russia are where one might expect such behaviour, not the European Union.

So, the EPO is now censoring/filtering/blocking yet another blog, and for what? It’s not as though the staff cannot access these sites from their mobile devices or their homes. Not many staff would be ‘brave’ enough to access sites critical of the EPO from within the premises of the EPO anyway, especially now that widespread surveillance (including cameras and keyloggers) is common knowledge among staff.

It seems likely that Müller became a target of censorship and suppression after he had posted a letter or a bunch of letters which the EPO’s management does not want to be public, for it proves bad behaviour. It actually started in Techrights and as Müller put it on Tuesday: “Last week, the TechRights blog published a letter by the head of the EPO’s investigative unit to Elizabeth Hardon, the chairwoman of the Munich chapter of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO), summoning her to a hearing last Thursday. I also blogged about this development because it shows that the promise of “union recognition” is just a carrot the EPO leadership has been dangling to staff without any genuine desire to improve the internal climate.

“Mrs. Hardon has probably never been at a greater risk of being fired, and the EPO is now not only talking about that scenario but additionally threatening “to take any other legal measures against [her]” over the alleged disclosure of the letter that was published last week.”

Any letter with threats in it is likely to spread sooner or later (at Techrights we never know the identity of our sources), so the EPO’s management must have been foolish to assume that it’ll never be leaked or sent out to a reporter at some stage. It merely proves that this management is incompetent. It believes that silencing opposition will work rather than continuously backfire and this is why after a relatively calm summer the management comes under fire again. Last week the Dutch media reported on the subject and we now have article translations [PDF]. These were published by SUEPO, which added: “Translations in English, French and German are available by scrolling through the document. The article was also published in the paper version of 10 September 2015.”

Here is the article’s text in English:

EPO President Benoit Battistelli. © ANP

Alarm about reign of terror at the European Patent Office after fifth suicide

The union Suepo has raised the alarm about the suicide of an employee at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk. According to Suepo, poisoned working conditions may have contributed to the fifth suicide in three years at the Patent Office.

By: Anneke Stoffelen, 10 September 2015, 02:26

The European Patent Office employs around 7000 staff, spread over five offices in different countries, who evaluate patents for 38 affiliated member countries.

Staff representatives have previously raised the alarm about the reign of terror apparently being conducted by French EPO President Benoît Battistelli. According to Suepo, the work pressure has increased enormously under his leadership and changes to working conditions have been forced through by Battistelli unilaterally. Anyone who expresses criticism can expect reprisals.

Together with a number of other member countries, the Netherlands has expressed its concerns about the entrenched social climate within the EPO. In a letter to the Lower House in July, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Dijksma wrote: ‘Partly as a result of these signals a ‘social dialogue’ has been launched between management and staff representatives’.

A 42 year old employee in Rijswijk committed suicide in August, on the last day of his holidays.

However, the situation has not improved since then. In a letter to the 38 representatives of the EPO countries that supervise the organisation, the union has now raised the alarm about the death of the 42 year old employee at the Rijswijk office. He committed suicide in August, on the last day of his holidays.

It is the fifth time in just over three years that an EPO employee has committed suicide. In 2013 an employee jumped from the seventh floor of the office building in Rijswijk during working hours. The other three cases of suicide related to staff at the EPO head office in Munich.

France Telecom

In its letter, the union Suepo draws a comparison with the situation at France Telecom, which in 2008 and 2009 was afflicted with a wave of suicides amongst staff. The union wants the management of the EPO to assist with an independent investigation into the working conditions at the Patent Office.

On 26 August the union wrote a letter to Battistelli requesting a meeting about the potential measures for improving the work situation, however, so far the EPO President has refused to grant such a meeting.

“It is tragic that Suepo is once again abusing a personal tragedy and inciting controversy”, President Battistelli in a letter to the union.

‘It is tragic that Suepo is once again abusing a personal tragedy and inciting controversy, when condolences should be in order’, wrote Battistelli to the union. ‘The link that you appear to be drawing between the death of a colleague and recent reorganisations and the working atmosphere in general, seems totally inappropriate.’

Suepo says that a direct link between the suicide and the working conditions has not been demonstrated but that the Labour Inspectorate should be given the opportunity of
investigating this tragedy.

However, the EPO is not obliged to assist with such an investigation because as an international organisation it enjoys legal immunity. Consequently, the EPO management can also disregard a ruling by The Hague Court of Appeal with impunity. In February, the Court of Appeal ruled that the EPO was in breach of human rights by obstructing the activities of the union.

For other translations see the original PDF.

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. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 27, 2022



  2. Links 28/1/2022: GNU Poke 2.0 and OPNsense 22.1 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Links 27/1/2022: Archinstall 2.3.1 and Nix 2.6.0

    Links for the day



  4. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  5. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  8. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  9. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  10. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  11. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  12. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  13. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  14. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  15. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  16. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  18. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  19. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  20. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  21. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  22. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  23. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  24. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  25. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  27. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  29. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  30. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)


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