06.05.17

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EPO Workers May be About to Go on Strike Again

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Infographic from the last EPO strike

7 reasons to strike at the European Patent Office left

7 reasons to strike at the European Patent Office right

Summary: A call for another strike at the European Patent Office is circulating among staff, which sees the writings on the wall and hopes to save the European Patent Office if it’s not too late

THE strike last year was massive. EPO was half empty and Battistelli escaped overseas with his bodyguards.

“If any examiners out there are reading this, please seriously consider signing the petition.”We recently learned that another strike is in the making. “The CSC [Central Staff Committee] has been made aware that a petition to the Administrative Council is circulating among EPO examiners,” one person quotes to us from internal sources. Here is the text of the petition: “We, examiners of the European Patent Office, are submitted to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the Search and Examination divisions. We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the Examiner’s Guidelines, or issuing “products” as our hierarchy demands. We feel that timeliness and number of “products” should not be the only criteria to assess the Office and examiners performance, but that attention should be paid to providing a high level of presumption of validity to the patents we grant.”

If any examiners out there are reading this, please seriously consider signing the petition. In the coming days we shall show many new reasons to do so. Not too long ago the Central Staff Committee sent the following letter to Battistelli:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr Benoît Battistelli
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

Call for strike – “RESPECT STAFF”

Date: 22 May 2017

Dear Mr President,

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) and the Local Staff Committees (LSC) of all sites call for a strike – “RESPECT STAFF” around the next Administrative Council.

Reasons for strike

Three years after the inception of “social democracy” and two and half years after the introduction of the “new career system” the situation in the Office is more toxic than ever. There are many reasons for discontent, but these are the most prominent and urgent:

• Lack of respect for the Rule of law and fundamental rights of staff;

• Disastrous consequences of the reforms and new practices for:
◦ the health of staff,
◦ the quality of the service rendered by the EPO to Europe,
◦ the reputation of the Office.

• Staff representation resources and prerogatives are reduced even further as of 1.7.2017, to a level that makes the effective representation of staff interests impossible.

• The President’s persistence in wanting to increase his arbitrary powers, which is an affront not only to Staff but also to the Council and its legislative intent as expressed in CA/26/16 and CA/32/17.

These issues must be solved urgently to avoid irreparable damage. This requires a change not only in certain regulations, but also in the attitude of the Administration towards staff. We reiterate our proposal to involve an external professional mediator to facilitate productive discussions with the Office administration.

Yours sincerely,

The Staff Representation

For the Central Staff Committee

We confirm that this letter was legitimately decided and produced by the Central Staff Committee 1 .

____
1 Pursuant to Article 35(3) ServRegs, the Central Staff Committee shall consist of ten full and ten alternate members.

The CSC presently consists of 8 full and 7 alternate members, because two have resigned in December 2014, one has been dismissed in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee), one resigned as of October 2016, one has been further dismissed in November 2016 and one refused replacement of a full member since November 2016 and a further one since December 2014 against Article 7(3) of Circular 355.

Furthermore, one member of a LSC has been dismissed and a further full member of the CSC has been downgraded in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee). In fact, the Office has launched investigations and disciplinary procedures against several other Staff representatives as well, affecting negatively their health.

That footnote is very important because it reveals the degree of courage now required for one to become (or remain) in the Central Staff Committee. The EPO is nothing like a “social democracy” but rather a totalitarian den of corruption and nepotism. It’s a total embarrassment to the whole of Europe and it won’t survive unless something radically changes very soon.

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A Single Comment

  1. john said,

    June 9, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Gravatar

    Don’t forget that strikes need to be approved by Battistelli to be proposed to the personal and that he refused it a few times already.
    As to staff committee members: 3 of them have already been dismissed, for two of them already a year and a half ago with no solution in sight. The reality of the situation is that Battistelli can do just what he wants with total impunity.

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