03.05.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Forget Staff Union-busting ‘Strike Ballots’, How About Ballots on Presidential Matters?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Democracy at the EPO or at least a vote of confidence (in a confidential voting setting) would show lackluster support for Battistelli and help highlight his much more capable successors

A vote of confidence

Summary: A vote of confidence — a vote on President or something along those lines — may be sorely needed in order to establish or restore the perception of adherence to the rule of law and mutual respect (top-down) at the European Patent Office, which is clearly at a boiling point under the Battistelli regime

WHEN the EPO‘s President treats delegates like children and only stops short of outright smacking them in public you know you’re not dealing with an ordinary manager (or President) but with someone who probably needs an early(ier) retirement. This isn’t a behaviour suitable for any modern (21st century/present era) leader, only for a monarch (way back in the days when monarchy presided/sat on top of a parliamentary system, if any existed at all). Illegally suspending judges outside one's authority? Come on, who are we kidding here? It’s a textbook example of gross overreach. Comparing one's opposition to Nazis and criminals (Godwin's Law notwithstanding) doesn’t magically change the Office rules or the rule of law.

Battistelli and his confidants currently use so-called ‘ballots’ to suppress participation in strikes [1, 2]. As we previously showed, non-participation in the process would be falsely interpreted by this regime as lack of interest in a strike, and there’s no assurance of confidentiality in the process. That’s the ideal recipe for a bogus, rigged voting session.

By no means do we suggest that the strikes shouldn’t be taken seriously; it’s just the ballot that’s a mockery, and it’s induced ad hoc (rules be damned! Or made up on the spot). Here is a drafted agreement on strikes (Section J as of 2015 — a draft proposal for a “framework agreement” (“accord cadre”) that would regulate interactions between SUEPO and Management). This is what SUEPO did not get the EPO to agree on:

J. INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS

1. The EPO recognizes that employees have the right to participate in industrial actions without fear of retribution or sanctions. The EPO may make reasonable deduction of emoluments corresponding to any labour withheld in the course of a strike.

2. The Union is entitled to call for and organize general or local industrial actions, including but not limited to strikes. Industrial actions shall be undertaken only after a positive ballot by the Union respective members. The Union is required to ensure that ballot is witnessed by an independent observer who will prepare a report on the ballot. The EPO is to be provided with a copy of this report. Industrial actions shall be considered approved, if a quorum of at least 30% of the Union members cast a vote, and a simple majority of the votes cast are in favour of industrial action. The organisation and modalities of the ballot are at the discretion of the Union.

3. Paragraph J(2) applies mutatis mutandis to the local sections of the Union, whereby, any industrial actions so organised are limited to the site represented by that local section.

4. The Union, or local section, shall inform the President of any industrial action so planned. Barring force majeure or other serious cause, the Union shall inform the President in advance of a strike, with a period of notice of no less than 5 days.

5. The President may requisition personnel, but not more than absolutely necessary for:

- ensuring the security of the EPO premises or persons;
- guaranteeing the minimum maintenance of facilities and equipment, so that work can resume immediately after the strike has ended;
- providing essential services to the EPO’s customers, to secure rights that would otherwise be lost (incoming patent applications).

6. For SUEPO and its members, this agreement, in particular paragraphs J(1) and (2), supersedes any other general provision regulating the right to organise and participate in industrial actions. This agreement does not invalidate or otherwise affect those provisions in so far as SUEPO and its members are not concerned.

After the strikes/s (long in the planning), assuming that Battistelli will be pushed further away to the end of the plank/cliff (the Council is not on his side but overwhelmingly against him based on our sources), succession needs to be considered.

Who is suitable to lead the European Patent Office? Who would prove popular among staff, charismatic among European politicians (not abusing them while drunk on power), willing to listen to critics, and not too focused on just profit/gains in terms of number of patents granted (lowering of quality or patent dilution)? Who can restore the pride of the European Patent Office, to make both its staff pleased and European citizens receptive?

“I hope that the heat increases till the bad crew has to leave,” wrote to us a person who is a FOSS figure, nothing whatsoever to do with the EPO or even patents. “But that will not be the whole fight, the choice of replacement is just as important.”

“And in the long run,” added this person, “the work with the EPO material is by far the most important to my eyes because it is a factor in determining software patents in Europe or not. Sadly, there are some traps in the TTIP to get them in the back door.”

We will mention some of that in future posts. Benjamin Henrion of the FFII wrote about it and spoke about this a lot as of late.

Reform at the EPO will definitely take time (not the Battistelli regime’s ‘reform’, but the detoxification after a Battistelli-led era), so let’s consider this one step at the time. The VPs, who are blindly (or out of fear) loyal to the President, are already hated by their staff, who leak documents that embarrass them. The staff (at least the technical people) wants change.

I am increasingly getting ‘clever’ questions such as this one. Managing IP asked: “If Battistelli goes, who would you like to replace him, Roy?”

The decision should be staff’s, and if there is democracy at the EPO, then the staff will at least have a say (like veto powers or ballots). That’s just common sense. If Eponia acts like an independent country, then it needs to start acting like one.

I began researching potential replacements for Battistelli a while back when some people wrote about the subject. In FOSS circles, in which I find my ‘comfort zone’ (I’m primarily a FOSS person, also by trade), it was suggested that I soon write names of people who might be suitable reformists who are tolerant of criticism and antagonists. Most importantly, software patents should be off the agenda in Europe, in the spirit of the EPC. If any our readers know of anyone who openly opposes software patents and has the qualification to run for Office leadership, please let me know soon as it might be the right time to show which better people exist for the job — people who will listen to staff and appease critics over overpatenting (or patent maximalism, which basically leads to patents on life, algorithms and so on), in spite of economics that consistently prove it detrimental to entire fields as a whole.

Among the defenders (or apologists) of Battistelli, one can expect the usual tactics which follow the logic of, nothing would change if Battistelli left, so let him stay…

The EPO, said this recent remark, “like institutions have always homegrown zealous servants aplenty. They’d offer their zeal to anyone being bossy enough, I guess.”

One can go further and say that those who are still afraid of Battistelli (because they think he is going to stay) will remain on the defensive, not the offensive (riskier). The Council needs courage right now. So does the staff at the Office.

“Among the defenders (or apologists) of Battistelli, one can expect the usual tactics which follow the logic of, nothing would change if Battistelli left, so let him stay…”We still have plenty of embarrassing things to show. With recent illnesses at the house (lasted a week and a half almost) and too little sleep, it just wasn’t the best time to tackle these issues, but expect a lot of coverage in the coming week. Battistelli cannot survive. He got himself glued to a corner. Maybe when we debate the successor of Battistelli (a subject of a future bunch of articles, to come in large volume after several other items that keep our drafts ‘backlog’ clogged up) more people who work at the EPO will recognise the inevitable and act accordingly. It’s Battistelli and those who still stand behind him who should be on the defensive now.

Based on an automated translation of an article which adds little or no new information except this last part, Battistelli’s days are numbered. To quote this automated translation (if someone can translate this entire article for us, that would help): “Indeed already circulating on the name of a possible successor to the official tip of the German board member Christoph Ernst from the Federal Ministry of Justice.”

Christoph Ernst is no stranger to us. Over a year ago he received a letter from Tilman Müller-Stoy (former Microsoft and Amazon employee, mentioned here before in [1, 2, 3], not to be confused for Winfried Tilmann, who has a past rife with UPC scandals) about the lack of judicial independence at the European Patent Office.

As Dugie Standeford of IP Watch recalls: “The suspension, and Battistelli’s plan for performance-based remuneration, prompted a letter from Bardehle Pagenberg (Munich) attorney Tilman Müller-Stoy to Christoph Ernst, ministerial director in Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice and the country’s representative to the AC (linked to in an IPKat 9 December posting). In it, Müller-Stoy voiced deep concern “about the judicial independence at the EPO and about the EPO’s worldwide reputation.””

This shows that Christoph Ernst cannot be a stranger to Battistelli’s abuses and probably hasn’t had enough of that Kool-Aid from Battistelli’s fountains.

As a reminder, last year we wrote an article after a reader had told us that — along with Heiko Maas — the German Ministry of Justice (its growing biased on UPC notwithstanding) is “responsible for oversight of the EPO through its national delegate on the EPO’s Administrative Council, Dr. Christoph Ernst.”

Ernst is listed in this list of AC representatives (warning: epo.org link) and this recent short CV [PDF] says:

DR. CHRISTOPH ERNST, Head of Directorate (Ministerialdirigent), Federal Ministry of Justice, DE

Christoph, born in 1954 in Bremen – Initially worked as an attorney in Bremen, focusing on commercial and economic law as well as tax law; in 1989 obtained the additional qualification of “specialist lawyer in tax law”. – Joined the Federal Ministry of Justice in the Directorate General for Commercial and Economic Law. – Since May 2010: Head of Directorate in the Federal Ministry of Justice, focusing mainly on general economic law, new technologies and intellectual property. – Head of the German delegation in the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) and member of the Board of the Administrative Council. – Germany’s representative in the European preparatory bodies on the EU patent (Select Committee at the EPO and Preparatory Committee for the European Patent Jurisdiction). – Head of the German delegation in the Administrative Council of the EU Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM). – Furthermore, German representative at the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Can Ernst steer the Office in a positive direction after all the damage caused by Battistelli and his circle? Here are our thoughts.

Upsides: as an economist (ish) in the sense of economic law background, he might be able to assess the economic impact of overpatenting — a subject many renowned and award-winning economists often speak of. This old page from the Patent Office of Latvia describes him as “Deputy Director General, Division of Commercial and Economic Law, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection” (Justice and Consumer Protection sound better than benign).

Downsides: not a scientist (at least not academically or by education), played a role in the UPC (back when it was referred to as “EU patent”), represented Germany in the now-disgraced WIPO (though it needn’t be held against him in a guilt-by-association fashion).

Are any other candidates being discussed in the context of Battistelli handing over (or forced to hand over) the baton?

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. Links 19/10/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.5 and Ubuntu 22.04 Now Developed

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] [Teaser] Thrown Under the Bus

    Tomorrow we shall look at Danish enablers of unlawful EPO regulations, Jesper Kongstad and Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen



  3. 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



  4. 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



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

    Links for the day



  6. [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



  7. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  9. [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



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  11. 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)



  12. 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



  13. [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’



  14. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  18. [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



  19. 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



  20. 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



  21. [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



  22. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  24. “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



  25. [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



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

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  27. 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



  28. [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



  29. 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



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021


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