01.04.16

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Shedding Light on the Secretive Mock Trial of Elizabeth Hardon and Others (EPO Union Busting)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s management metaphorically sets up the firing line right now

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words: it is war minus the shooting.”

George Orwell

SUEPO reps

Summary: The despicable union-busting actions by the EPO’s management are advancing to their next stage while no journalists and probably not even EPO staff (having just returned from holiday) pay attention

FOR THOSE WHO do not know this yet, union busting at the European Patent Office (EPO) is now being dressed up as an "investigation", with harassment against staff representatives and incredible accusations (see this original J’accuse) that we wrote about before on numerous occasions. The first in the firing line is Elizabeth Hardon, possibly because of her popularity and exceptionally long service at the EPO (the higher the profile of the scapegoat, the greater the deterrence, as per decapitation strategy or decapitation strike). Elizabeth Hardon knows that this is unjust (a lot of guilt by association and personal attacks based on very old events) and we previously published her lawyers' response. We also shared other related documents to help convince our readers that Hardon is merely a scapegoat. The guilt by association is established (see the original J’accuse) by associating Hardon with another person who is likely innocent, whose only ‘offense’ as far as we can tell is that he anonymously (for his own protection) contacted delegates to warn them about serious abuse at the EPO’s management (a very just and defensible claim, based on very extensive and ever-broadening evidence).

“The first in the firing line is Elizabeth Hardon, possibly because of her popularity and exceptionally long service at the EPO (the higher the profile of the scapegoat, the greater the deterrence, as per decapitation strategy or decapitation strike).”I too have written to delegates. I wrote to them about the EPO's attacks on yours truly. Yes, the EPO isn’t just attacking inwards (e.g. staff representatives and judges) but also outwards. They’ve got some nerve! This is not consistent with European standards on anything. The EPO is now just a rogue entity, whose closest institutions (in terms of ethical parity) are probably entities like GCHQ or the CIA, with many notorious undercover operations. This is what we now have at the very heart of Europe, so everyone in Europe should be up in arms over it.

Several delegates from several countries have been in touch with yours truly, a European citizen. I attempted to explain to them the severity of the situation (impacting me personally but also others). One delegate said to me this morning, “I would like to assure you that we are currently paying increased attention to all the issues related to EPO governance. Your complaint has been forwarded to the Chairman of the AC EPO.”

“The problem isn’t SUEPO; the problem is the EPO’s management. Patent lawyers and inventors all agree on that. Unless we haven’t spoken to enough of them.”Despite public optimism, and increased/improved awareness of the situation among delegations, the EPO management wants to toss out SUEPO representatives in less than two weeks. This isn’t justice, it’s just akin to Martial Law. The EPO declares a crisis and then tries to blame and eventually literally attack those whom it views as a destabilising force (irrespective of the legitimacy of the claims of this force). We have been contacted by European inventors and patent lawyers over the past week and they too are worried by the situation. Not only patent examiners (and other EPO staff) fear the consequences to the reputation and function of European patents. The problem isn’t SUEPO; the problem is the EPO’s management. Patent lawyers and inventors all agree on that. Unless we haven’t spoken to enough of them. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that SUEPO speaks truth to power, hence it suffers retribution.

I shall continue to exercise my right as a European citizen to communicate with delegations. “Remember that the AC is full of non-politicians,” one person reminded me, but that can be seen as a good thing, except many are (patent) lawyers from their national patent offices (this in itself isn’t a big issue).

Now that the staff representatives are under attack (the New Year has brought no reprieve, only silence that serves the silent accuser) we encourage everyone in Europe to contact local delegates (all the contact details are here). Time is crucial as later today Elizabeth Hardon will be filing her response to the EPO’s J’accuse. “This is the deadline for her response,” someone reliable told us. “She is planning to share it with staff on the 12th/13th of January and a final decision from the EPO on her job is due out on the January 17th.”

Since the papers are to be dealt with and decided on by the accuser (judge and executioner too), what kind of a trial is this? It’s a mock trial, theatre, show trial, or whatever. No wonder it’s kept under the wraps, so closely guarded as though transparency of the court would in itself be some kind of heinous crime.

“I shall continue to exercise my right as a European citizen to communicate with delegations.”The EPO’s management will try to paint this “investigation” or “justice”. This would be a colossal injustice however. It would be a shame to Europe; an embarrassment! It could be one among more to come as there are interestingly and increasingly absurd cases involving the other two staff representatives (photographs of them are shown at the top). The firing line has a line not only of shooters (Bergot et al) but also a line of people to be metaphorically shot. Don’t forget the judge whom the EPO has nothing substantial against (except some potentially fabricated allegations, put on a USB stick that they claim to be his). So who’s the “sniper”, Bergot? Who’s acting like an armed “Nazis” now? Which party is acting violent? So desperate to guard an unspeakable career hop [1, 2, 3, 4] rather than resign? The hypocrisy needs to stop the the unjust suspensions need to be dropped, not extended. If in order for these suspensions to be dropped Team Battistelli needs to be sacked in bulk, then so be it. It would be “good riddance” and a positive signal from the EPO, whose public view now rightly competes with FIFA’s (among those who are sufficiently well-informed, not just regarding football).

Just released by the EPO’s Web site team is what Mr. Kongstad (AC Chairman) had done [PDF], elongating suspensions. This is Battistelli’s wishlist, changing rules to suit his agenda as he goes along. Welcome to North Korea. Here it is as text:

CA/D 18/15

DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL
of 17 December 2015
amending Articles 2 and 95 of the Service
Regulations for permanent employees of the
European Patent Office

THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION,

Having regard to the European Patent Convention, and in particular Articles 10(2)(c), 11 and 33(2)(b) thereof,

Having regard to the Service Regulations for permanent employees of the European Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as “the Service Regulations”), and in particular Articles 2 and 95 thereof,

On a proposal from the President of the European Patent Office, submitted after consulting the General Consultative Committee,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

Article 2(6) of the Service Regulations shall read as follows:

“The President may extend the terms of office of all members of the bodies under paragraph 1(b), (c), (d), (f) and (g) beyond the duration defined in the applicable provisions of these Service Regulations, within the limits of the terms of office of the Staff Committee members.”


Article 2

Article 95 of the Service Regulations shall read as follows:

“Article 95

Suspension

(1) (unchanged)

(2) (unchanged)

(3) A final decision in the proceedings shall be given within the following period, as from the date of the decision to withhold remuneration:

(a) 4 months for those employees whose appointing authority is the President;

(b) 24 months for those employees whose appointing authority is the Administrative Council. This period may be extended in exceptional cases by decision of the Administrative Council. If no decision has been given by the end of the period specified under (a) or (b), the employee shall again receive his full remuneration.

(4) (unchanged)

(5) (unchanged)”


Article 3

This decision shall enter into force on 17 December 2015. It shall have immediate effect. This immediate effect shall include suspensions decided under Article 95 of the Service Regulations and which are ongoing on the date of entry into force.

Done at Munich, 17 December 2015

For the Administrative Council
The Chairman

Jesper KONGSTAD

Suspension has therefore been formally extended to “24 months”, as we pointed out before. It serves to further weaken supervisory departments or functions. As one comment put it the other day:

At the recent EPO Caselaw Conference in Munich I was surprised how many of the audience were from locations outside Europe, and from courts and Patent Offices rather than patent attorneys in private and company practice.

In the USA, as we know, the post-issue inter-partes proceedings at the USPTO feature very limited scope to amend. At the EPO, the Boards of Appeal are increasingly strict about admitting claim amendments to the proceedings. Even when they do, the only claims given any attention are the independent claims. If one of those is bad, the whole patent goes down.

I suspect that judges in other jurisdictions are influenced by what is discussed at Conferences such as the one in Munich at the end of last year, without necessarily grasping that in a self-sufficient jurisdiction, every element of the procedure (like “Auxiliary Requests” at the EPO) interacts with every other element. You can’t fairly “Pick and Mix” but these days I fear that there is far too much picking and mixing going on.

Jurisdictions try in good faith to keep on trend and reach international standards, but understanding well enough how the law is made in several foreign jurisdictions, both civil and English law, is beyond human capability.

But as of now, declining to look at dependent claims is “Flavour of the Month”, isn’t it?

Worth noting, as per the above, that conferences about the EPO were full of “audience [...] from locations outside Europe, and from courts and Patent Offices rather than patent attorneys in private and company practice.”

“It serves to further weaken supervisory departments or functions.”It’s quite revealing, isn’t it? The EPO does not quite prioritise Europe’s interests and it shows. Remember who’s excited about the UPC. There are legitimate concerns here. Earlier today we found this newly-published press release that relates to controversial cancer patents in the EPO. Cantargia, the grantee, is a Swedish company whose main bragging right at the moment (see their homepage) is a patent they got. There are no products mentioned in the site and the press release says “a European protection exists until 2032 and covers Cantargia’s method to utilize IL1RAP as a target molecule for treatment and diagnostics of solid tumors.”

We have already written about the EPO’s cancer kerfuffle (and compared its management to a tumour inside Europe). Thankfully, this long ongoing series, titled “Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management”, is far from over and will most likely resume later this month. It has a lot to do with cancer.

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