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EPO: All Together in “One Office” or All Together in “One Prison”?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ea7924bac16b09980d7540a65e022d46
EPO as Solitary Confinement
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The latest blunder (among so many) at the EPO is top-level management insinuating that staff should work non-stop, all around the clock, even in direct violation of the law and in defiance of the basic rules of the Office

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO is circulating an open letter which I’ve discussed in the video above, having already joked about the issue 19 days ago (there’s even this meme about it).

In a letter entitled “Working day and night or just showing up?” (alluding to tactless words from Ms Nellie Simon, a longtime friend of António Campinos), the CSC feels the urge to explain to her — and to staff of course — that this is illegal. Even prisoners who are arrested for murder aren’t subjected to such expectations or treatment.

“Dear colleagues,” the CSC said. “In this open letter to Ms Nellie Simon (VP4), we express the disappointment, disgust and sorrow caused by her choice of words in the last “DG4 All Together” event to describe how she perceives (BIT) staff. We hope that she (and other managers) are fully aware of the duty of care the Office has for its staff. For this reason, we would like to provide her with a chance to elaborate and explain her statements openly to all (BIT) staff, and to answer their questions.”

She’s likely to ignore the letter and never apologise, either. People like Benoît Battistelli and the people he brought to the Office are overtly sociopathic — people who lack empathy and cannot grasp very fundamental social skills. Battistelli, according to eyewintnesses, hid from his own staff and didn’t want to make any eye contact. He seemed like a leper, aloof and disconnected from the real world.

To patent maximalists Battistelli became a reputation problem, so his friend Campinos continued where he had left off. Same agenda, different face.

“With the talent pool running dry and the skills of managers being a race to the bottom (or to the top along the nepotism spectrum) it’s hard to see/foresee a turnaround.”The video above discusses Nellie Simon’s behaviour and explains why the EPO doesn’t have a future; it simply cannot recruit the necessary staff anymore and it hopes that granting loads of invalid (bogus) European Patents — including European software patents — will somehow secure its existence. Based on figures we see and what informed people say, it’s not unthinkable and not unreasonable to assert that about 40% of European Patents granted in the past decade would not withstand legal scrutiny. In other words, almost half of those European Patents that the Office brag about are likely ‘fakes’.

With the talent pool running dry and the skills of managers being a race to the bottom (or to the top along the nepotism spectrum) it’s hard to see/foresee a turnaround. In so-called ‘business’ ‘schools’ they teach so-called ‘managers’ how to complete a “successful bankruptcy” (as if becoming insolvent is the goal and a “success”) and then give “MBA” rubber-stamps to people who parrot such inane screed.

Currently, the people who run the EPO behave like they run a high-risk bank and gambling operations ‘on the side’ (with the EPO’s money; this EPOTIF “scheme” is clearly illegal) because they’ve managed to convince themselves that like Big Banks they’re just “too big to fail”. But guess what… national patent offices (NPOs) are still there and what the EPO does imperils the legitimacy and the future of the EU as a concept. The UPC cannot start (if it ever did, it would quickly be stopped) and all it can do is cause more *exits from the EU.

“The UPC cannot start (if it ever did, it would quickly be stopped) and all it can do is cause more *exits from the EU.”It’s worth noting that Nellie Simon comes from the EUIPO, part of the European Union. Her behaviour in the EPO stains the EU’s reputation and the nepotism has a ‘cross-pollination’ element to it (the corruption transcends and passed through the EPO, reaching and stretching all the way to EUIPO).

Reproduced below is the letter to Nellie Simon. It is dated 12 days ago.

European Patent Office
80298 Munich

Central Staff Committee
Comité central du personnel
Zentraler Personalausschuss


Reference: sc22046cl

Date: 14/04/2022

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Ms Nellie Simon
Vice-President DG 4

By email


Working day and night or just showing up?

Dear Ms Simon,

It is difficult to start this letter, it is difficult to find the right words to express the disappointment, disgust and sorrow caused by your choice of words in the last “DG4 All Together” event to describe how you perceive (BIT) staff. Apparently, you consider that (BIT) staff fall into two mutually exclusive categories1:

1. The “high-performance team”: “the ones that 24/7 worked day and night”
2. The rest: “everybody just showing up”

Staff Representation does not wish to elaborate on this and prefers to let our colleagues form their own opinion. However, we feel obliged to raise several questions about these statements:

1. How can we, staff and management, as “One Office”, build a healthy and long-term sustainable working environment if you celebrate, encourage and reward staff who have been forced to follow unhealthy working patterns while you label “the rest” as people who just “show up”? This hardly promotes diversity and inclusion among (BIT) staff and fits badly with the SP2023 Goal 1 programme to “Foster Professional Mobility and Work-Life Balance”.

1 “the high performance team, the ones that 24/7 worked day and night. Those are the guys that will get the pensionable reward or the cash bonus. Not everybody just for showing up.” Video recording @01:23:30

2. Why is it required that some staff members must work 24/7? Isn’t it potentially dangerous to incite (BIT) staff to work around-the-clock as the best way to be eligible for rewards and recognition in this Office? Is it necessary that staff members must risk their health to prove that they are not “just showing up”? Is this the way manager understand their duty of care?

3. (BIT) colleagues who, for various reasons (health, age, family obligations, allocation of projects, etc.), did not work “24/7” in 2021 are apparently not eligible for any rewards. Should we expect the same approach in 2023 for the rewards exercise 2022?

The need to request or expectation for (BIT) staff to work overtime is often a consequence of incidents caused by low-quality deliveries, lack of proper planning and mediocre governance2. Shouldn’t we better focus on rewarding deliverables rather than working patterns? Concentration on high-quality deliverables will probably help us to achieve better results and healthier working patterns complying with the Service Regulations3.

We hope that you are fully aware of the duty of care the Office has for its staff. For this reason, we would like to provide you with a chance to elaborate and explain your statements openly to all (BIT) staff, and to answer their questions.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont

Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

2See in particular the publication BIT & the mystery of the spaghetti structure
3 Article 3 ServRegs – Working time framework: “(4) An employee shall not work more than 48 hours per week, including overtime”
Article 57 ServRegs – Overtime: “(1) An employee may not be required to work overtime except in cases of urgency or exceptional pressure of work…
(9) Overtime shall be of temporary nature and may not become part of normal working patterns.”

Sleep deficit lowers concentration levels and the nature of patent examiners’ job requires very high concentration levels. So staff is basically being pressured to do the job sloppily, poorly, irresponsibly, and inadequately, not properly following protocols. Remember that in the EPO managers are never being held accountable, not even when they demonstrably break their own rules. We demonstrated this many times in past years [1, 2].

Work in my farmland; sleep in my barn
Coming soon: EPO to provide mattresses to all staff (to work and sleep in the Office for maximal productivity and efficiency, “24/7″)

Knew it was illegal; Said it anyway
No explanation needed. We heard it right the first time. Face-saving afterthoughts are only optics/PR/’damage control’.

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