10.10.21

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The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia

UKIPO
The delegates from the UKIPO certainly didn’t make life better for EPO staff.

Summary: Enablers of Benoît Battistelli and current enablers of António Campinos are explained based on their track record in the UK, Ireland, and Europe

As we have already seen, the delegations from the EPO’s main host states, Germany and the Netherlands, voted in favour of the controversial “Strike Regulations” in June 2013.

In this part we will take a look at the UK delegation which at the time in question was headed by UKIPO Director John Alty accompanied by his deputy, Sean Dennehey.

John Alty and Sean Dennehey
The UK delegation: John Alty and his deputy Sean Dennehey.

It’s worth recalling that the UK Patent and Trademark Office – as the UKIPO was previously known – was one of the first of Margaret Thatcher’s Next Steps agencies.

“As high-level mandarins in the post-Thatcherite UK civil service, Alty and Dennehey are likely to have been in sympathy with Battistelli’s plans to crush the EPO’s staff union.”Back in the day, proposals to fully privatise the Patent Office were discussed but ultimately rejected. The end result was an “executive agency” housed within the department of Trade and Industry, but with some degree of financial independence and a daunting array of “performance goals”.

Thus, the UKIPO was set up, complete with its own citizen charter, a well-paid chief executive officer, and most importantly, a license to operate outside of British civil service and other administrative rules.

As high-level mandarins in the post-Thatcherite UK civil service, Alty and Dennehey are likely to have been in sympathy with Battistelli’s plans to crush the EPO’s staff union.

After all, long before Battistelli, Thatcher’s policy advisors were referring to trade unions as “a politicised mafia” and were scheming to “erode trade union membership”. The Thatcherite era in the UK saw the introduction of some of the most constrictive trade union laws in the world.

It is known that the UK delegates met with UK staff at the EPO on the margins of the quarterly Administrative Council meetings and were fully briefed about the excesses of the Battistelli régime. But rumour has it that Battistelli managed to “soften up” the UK delegates with the promise of some kind of “bilateral cooperation activities”.

“For some time afterwards, Dennehey continued as Deputy Chief Executive of the UKIPO and in March 2018 he accompanied his new boss Tim Moss on a visit to Team Battistelli in Munich…”Alty left the UKIPO in July 2016 to become Director General of Trade Policy at the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) where he is now Interim Permanent Secretary.

Dennehey succeeded Alty as head of the UKIPO on an ad interim basis between July 2016 and May 2017 before the current incumbent Tim Moss took over.

For some time afterwards, Dennehey continued as Deputy Chief Executive of the UKIPO and in March 2018 he accompanied his new boss Tim Moss on a visit to Team Battistelli in Munich “to discuss recent developments in patents and co-operation between the two offices”. (warning: epo.org link)

Battistelli with Sean Dennehey
Requena, Lutz, UKIPO CEO Tim Moss, Battistelli and UKIPO Deputy CEO Sean Dennehey in Munich (March 2018)

Dennehey seems to be rather publicity shy and it’s almost impossible to find a photo of him on the UKIPO website.

“Whatever about his “services to intellectual property”, it’s clear that Dennehey didn’t earn any awards for trying to protect the fundamental rights of EPO staff.”But luckily the website of the National Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China (NCAC) provides some nice photos of him on a junket to the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Copyright Expo held in Guangzhou in December 2016.

Like Battistelli and Lutz, Dennehey seems to have been more at home rubbing shoulders with Chinese mandarins and their Communist overlords than complying with his duty of care towards EPO staff and his obligation to respect and uphold the rule of law in an international organisation like the EPO.

Dennehey retired from the UKIPO at the end of March 2018.

Earlier that year in January it was announced [PDF] that he had made it to the New Year’s Honours list where he had been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for “services to intellectual property”.

Sean Dennehey CBE
Sean Dennehey – awarded a CBE for “services to intellectual property” in January 2018.

Whatever about his “services to intellectual property”, it’s clear that Dennehey didn’t earn any awards for trying to protect the fundamental rights of EPO staff.

“Some time later in March 2018, Barrett was elected to the Board of the Administrative Council, the exclusive “inner circle” which carries out the preparatory work for Council meetings. Presumably this little sinecure was intended as recognition of his earlier support for “le système Battistelli”.”Before wrapping up, it’s worth mentioning the delegation representing the Republic of Ireland which joined the EPO somewhat later than the UK in 1992.

The Irish delegation generally tends to align itself with the UK delegation and this occasion was no exception.

Like his British counterparts, the head of the Irish delegation, Gerard Barrett acted in a typically pusillanimous manner by giving his assent to Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

Ireland's Gerard Barret
Following the lead of his British counterparts, the head of the Irish delegation, Gerard Barret, voted in favour of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

Some time later in March 2018, Barrett was elected to the Board of the Administrative Council, the exclusive “inner circle” which carries out the preparatory work for Council meetings. Presumably this little sinecure was intended as recognition of his earlier support for “le système Battistelli”.

In the next part, we will turn our attention to the delegation representing another founding state which has traditionally played quite a significant role in EPO affairs, the Swiss Confederation.

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