12.05.21

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The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I'm like an actor
António’s lapdog?

António and SteveSummary: A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)

FOLLOWING the previous post about lessening examination time to ‘produce’ (grant) worse European Patents, the time seems right to also divulge a letter to EPO management. IAM seems so eager to produce "quality" propaganda, so let’s examine what actual examiners said this year.

The following is a publication “on behalf of the Munich Staff Representatives (LSCMN)”, which said that “[s]ince the entry into service of Mr Rowan (VP1), the promised bottom-up planning in DG1 never really materialized. This year is no exception [...]. The number of colleagues faced with unreachable objectives and who have contacted Munich staff representation has this year reached unprecedented levels, especially amongst those in the ICT cluster. In particular, timeliness objectives are turning into a covert means to increase productivity targets.”

Read “ICT” as software patents; it’s one of the weasel words/acronyms.

“In this open letter to Mr Rowan,” they said, “we demand an urgent meeting together with the COOs, as well as full transparency on the objectives for the year 2021 compared with those of the year 2020.”

OPEN LETTER

Target setting in DG1 for the year 2021 – Demand for urgent meeting

Dear Mr. Rowan,

Since your entry into service, the promised bottom-up planning in DG1 never really materialized. This year is no exception1. The number of colleagues faced with unreachable objectives and who have contacted Munich staff representation has this year reached unprecedented levels, especially amongst those in the ICT cluster. There is a trend which shows that we are not dealing with isolated personal cases but that there is a general problem in DG1.

In particular, we note that:

- productivity targets have been increased by at least 5%, 10% or even 20% without any explanation whatsoever being given and in utter disregard of any change in personal circumstances caused by the pandemic, which is a major diversity & inclusion issue,

- some line managers are refusing to take into account the 4 or 5 days of leave offered by the President when calculating work capacity and are even suggesting that updating the cumbersome SuccessFactors tool would be too much work for them,

- timeliness objectives go as far as demanding that examiners have no late priority 2 or 3 files by the end of the year regardless of whether that is meaningful or realistic when considering actual stock levels and examiners’ capacity– this requirement then turns into a covert means to increase productivity targets.

- The examiners and formalities still have defective tools (e.g. 2-day outage of the viewer this week).

Yet again, staff in DG1 is experiencing a total discrepancy between your commitment that nobody should be put under pressure (SMART objectives?), and what line management in DG1 is actually implementing. Staff Representation demands an urgent meeting with you and your COOs to correct the situation as soon as possible. In order to prepare for the meeting and in line with the Office’s call for transparency, we request anonymized data per Directorate and per Team comparing the objectives for the year 2021 with those of the year 2020.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Alex Kemény
Chairman of the Local Staff Committee

____
1 “Target setting in DG1 for 2021 – Even more business than usual during a pandemic” CSC paper of 22 January 2021 (sc21004cp)

The Local Staff Committee Munich (LSCMN) would later note: “Following our paper on the target setting exercise for 2021 and our (still unanswered) letter to Mr Rowan (VP1), we now question in this paper how a system with ever-higher production targets, and ever-more “unproductive” but mandatory goals, can be reconciled with the quality target the EPO has set for itself.”

The EPO’s management did not even bother defending its own actions. Because it cannot.

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