The EPO’s War on Justice and Assault on the Law — Part 11: The Rapporteur Who Once Was Vice-President

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previously in this series:

Wim van der Eijk profile
Wim van der Eijk – the rapporteur in case no. G 1/21.

Summary: EPO‘s former Vice-President of DG3 will be the person to decide on the EPO’s (mis)conduct

The rapporteur in case no. G 1/21 is the Dutchman Wim van der Eijk.

As previously explained, the rapporteur is the member of the Board tasked with analysing the underlying factual and legal issues and presenting a preliminary internal assessment of the case to the other members. At the conclusion of a hearing, the rapporteur is generally responsible for summarising the status of the debate and making a recommendation on the decision to be taken.

“At the conclusion of a hearing, the rapporteur is generally responsible for summarising the status of the debate and making a recommendation on the decision to be taken.”According to his LinkedIn profile [PDF] (original here albeit subjected to heavy spying on readers), van der Eijk is a legally qualified member of the Boards of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board and he has held this position since December 2016.

But there is a curious omission in this profile. It is completely silent about the fact that between December 2011 and December 2016 [PDF], van der Eijk occupied the position of Vice-President of DG3 (warning: epo.org link) in charge of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal.

Van der Eijk was appointed to this position as the successor of Peter Messerli of Switzerland who had been Vice-President of DG3 for 15 years at the time of his retirement in 2011.

During his tenure as Vice-President of DG3, van der Eijk was a regular VIP guest of honour at various events on the global IP legal circuit, including the annual European Patent Judges’ Symposium. (Warning: epo.org link)

Wim van der Eijk as EPO vice-president
Vice-President van der Eijk with Kai Härmand of the Estonian Justice Ministry at the 17th European Judges’ Symposium in Tallinn in September 2014.

“On the Internet as in real life, people often try to embellish their CVs as much as possible so this kind of false modesty seems rather unusual.”Van der Eijk’s LinkedIn profile gives the distinct impression that he is now trying to hide the fact that he was once the top dog at the EPO’s Boards of Appeal.

On the Internet as in real life, people often try to embellish their CVs as much as possible so this kind of false modesty seems rather unusual.

In van der Eijk’s case, there may be good reasons for such reticence about the former highpoint of his career because it seems that his stint as Vice-President of DG3 was not a particularly happy one.

EPO VP3 Wim van der Eijk
Wim van der Eijk’s tenure as Vice-President of DG3 was not a happy one.

As a matter of fact his term of Office as Vice-President was severely blighted by his “failure” to deliver the results demanded of him by his despotic overlord, Benoît Battistelli.

Most notably, van der Eijk was unable to persuade his colleagues on the Enlarged Board of Appeal to agree to the removal from office of the Board member targeted by Battistelli.

In October 2015 it was reported that van der Eijk had gone on unlimited sick leave and he was said to be suffering from some kind of “burnout”.

By a curious coincidence this was just about the same time as Battistelli was busy implementing his plans to use the Dutch daily newspaper Financieele Daagblad to launch “a disgusting smear campaign” against the suspended Board member.

According to well informed insiders, Battistelli’s original battle plan had been to send van der Eijk on a special duty mission to his home country, the Netherlands, for the purpose of “briefing” the journalists from the Financieele Daagblad. SUEPO strongly condemned this. [PDF]

However, it seems that the Dutchman had qualms about allowing himself to be used in this manner and so he conveniently went on sick leave to avoid the ignominy of becoming an accessory to Battistelli’s Machiavellian intrigues.

“According to well informed insiders, Battistelli’s original battle plan had been to send van der Eijk on a special duty mission to his home country, the Netherlands, for the purpose of “briefing” the journalists from the Financieele Daagblad.”In the end, Battistelli had to rely on another of his Vice-Presidents – his Belgian bulldog, Willy Minnoye – to do the dirty work with the journalists from the Financieele Daagblad.

As is generally known, Minnoye – dubbed the "uncouth Belgian peasant" by disgruntled EPO staff – had absolutely no sense of shame or self-respect so he was clearly the ideal man for the job.

As van der Eijk’s tenure as Vice-President of DG3 was drawing to a close in 2016, Battistelli made it clear to him that he was most certainly not in the running for the new position of the “President of the Boards of Appeal”.

However, in October 2016 van der Eijk was granted a “consolation prize” by the Administrative Council in the form of an appointment which allowed him to continue in service as a common or garden “legal member” of the Boards of Appeal as of 1 December 2016.

And so Wim van der Eijk’s term of office as Vice-President of DG3 ended rather unceremoniously, with more of a whimper than a bang.

“However, in October 2016 van der Eijk was granted a “consolation prize” by the Administrative Council in the form of an appointment which allowed him to continue in service as a common or garden “legal member” of the Boards of Appeal as of 1 December 2016.”From a professional perspective his new assignment amounted to a “downgrading” and was tantamount to a disciplinary sanction.

But van der Eijk obviously decided that he needed the money and so he swallowed his pride and took the best deal on offer.

The background to his current appointment as a legal member of the Boards of Appeal might explain why he is so keen to gloss over the preceding chapter of his career as Vice-President of DG3.

We shall return to van der Eijk in due course in connection with the mysterious affair of the “missing signatures” in December 2014.

But before examining that episode in more detail we will make the acquaintance of the remaining internal members of the Enlarged Board in case G 1/21.

11 - VP3 Submission G2310-15

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