01.25.18

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The EPO is Already in Violation of ILO Rulings on Judge Corcoran

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Under normal circumstances, executives or presidents can be arrested for refusing to obey court orders

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The incredible situation at the EPO, where court orders from several countries (and international tribunals) are simply being disregarded, staff is being bullied, and corrupt officials get away with punishing people who speak about the corruption (while they themselves enjoy immunity)

THIS MORNING we mentioned ILOAT’s latest decisions (dozens of EPO ones). We don’t wish to comment on any of them without prior consultation, primarily because without context there’s room for misinterpretation. We did look at a few decisions.

“The ILO actually arranged an “exceptional” delivery of several Corcoran decisions, perhaps realising it would be essential to guard Corcoran’s job (his contract/term would have expired before the “normal” delivery). “Last month we read that Patrick Corcoran would likely be mentioned (again) in some of this latest batch, possibly along with staff representatives. The ILO actually arranged an “exceptional” delivery of several Corcoran decisions, perhaps realising it would be essential to guard Corcoran’s job (his contract/term would have expired before the “normal” delivery).

Over the past month Corcoran’s life (and career) was chaotic in spite of ILO’s intervention. He may have worked in 3 places and offices (Haar, Munich, and The Hague) in just about a month. We don’t know if he is already at The Hague or not. Harassing him (even outside the courtroom) and making it impossible for him to adapt makes dismissal for ‘incompetence’ easier, or simply gives him the incentive to walk away and give up. It is absolutely despicable and we keep trying to bring this to the attention of ILO (and Guy Ryder personally).

“It’s Mr. Battistelli who ought to be sent to The Hague, preferably in handcuffs (they have the ICC there).”We have already heard from multiple sources [1, 2] that Mr. Corcoran and his wife will be pushed to a different country, further away from courtrooms that they would likely need to attend anyway (costing more in travel expenses). It’s Mr. Battistelli who ought to be sent to The Hague, preferably in handcuffs (they have the ICC there). There are so many EPO abuses that are attributed to him; he quickly became a textbook example of what’s wrong with diplomatic immunity. Minutes ago SUEPO published links in “[Council of Europe] Final report on: Jurisdictional immunity of international organisations and rights of their staff” (not entirely new a revelation [PDF], albeit relevant right now and the paper itself is new). The EPO is mentioned, as noted by SUEPO:

4. It is no secret that the signatories of the original motion for a resolution had the situation at the European Patent Office (EPO) in mind when tabling this motion. The EPO – like other international organisations – is not exactly a paragon of transparency when it comes to its internal workings, but the situation has deteriorated so badly over the last few years that there has even been some media attention. From this media coverage it appears that the President of the EPO installed in 2010 has waged a campaign against staff who oppose his reform efforts (with staff representatives members of the trade union SUEPO being in the first line of fire): by 2016, three elected staff representatives had been dismissed, others had been demoted and/or had seen their salaries or pensions cut. Staff complain about a campaign of intimidation, harassment and discrimination, resulting in burn-out and other sickness, and even suicides: Over the past four years, five EPO staff members have committed suicide, two of them at their place of work.

[...]

9. I would personally conclude that, first of all, international organisations should endeavour to respect the rights of their staff – all their fundamental human rights, including social rights enshrined in the European Social Charter, thus the Amendment A. Quite frankly, if the “success” of an international organisation such as the EPO is built on campaigns of harassment and intimidation which drive staff members to suicide, then the price of this success is too high. This should be obvious to the governing body of the international organisations in question, and thus, ideally, in case of such abuses, the governing body would ensure that the international organisation’s management stops the abuse and goes back to respecting staff rights. If this is not the case, then the internal remedy system of the international organisations should be able to put things right again. This is why I fully support the proposals made by Mr Ullrich and the Committee on Legal Affairs to ensure that all international organisations introduce appropriate mechanisms to protect the rights of staff, along with procedures for lodging appeals.

According to this new comment, even though Corcoran still works for the EPO the ILO’s ruling is not being obeyed:

Another ILO-AT ruling about “Mr P.C.” has just issued. It concludes that he “shall be immediately reinstated in his former post“.

Given that he’s apparently been downgraded and – reportedly – reassigned to the Hague, this is going to be interesting.

http://www.ilo.org/dyn/triblex/triblexmain.fullText?p_lang=en&p_judgment_no=3960&p_language_code=EN

And here’s more from Francesca:

http://www.ilo.org/dyn/triblex/triblexmain.fullText?p_lang=en&p_judgment_no=3958&p_language_code=EN

Mr. P. C. is also reinstated in decision 3958 (as his first suspension was not according to the rules). In 3960, therefore any consequent prolonging of the suspension is therefore also inffective.
Alas, in 3960 AT-ILO refuses to consider the legality of amending rules during the procedure, and applying the new rules retroactively. (consideration 9)

The other three cases were dismissed (3985, 3959, and 3961 (premature, irreceivable)), as the EPO’s request to consider the amount of appeals as vexatious, and the corresponding order to bear the office’s costs.

So, since the December AT-ILO decision was formally done by the EPO-AC, and then the contract not prolonged, now we have a different situation.
Will the PBoA finnaly stand up for his employee?

We are guessing that SUEPO will have more to say once the latest decisions are properly studied. In the meantime, SUEPO says almost nothing at all. SUEPO has just linked to this research (mentioned here earlier this month) which helps demonstrate decline in patent quality at the EPO. When staff suffers the entire institution is thrown into a state of disarray.

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