Gemini version available ♊︎

The EPO is Cruel to Patent Examiners Because Corporations, Not Even European Ones, Always Come First

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sickness interferes with corporate profits! STOP GETTING SICK AND GO BACK TO WORK!

Video download link | md5sum 04336bf5d084c5b630f63884b4a8a367
EPO is a Sick Employer
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Sickness-related rights of staff are being weakened or abolished and staff representatives caution national representatives to prevent that from exacerbating even further

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has circulated this recent letter with many annexes added underneath. [PDF] (No metadata in it that contains names)

The document (letter and a lot more, even E-mails) concerns sickness/illness. In times of pandemic not only do many people get ill; some suffer long-lasting agony (e.g. “long COVID”) and deserve sympathy from their employer. Myself and my wife worked (a combined) 21 years for the same employer without ever taking any sick leave, yet the employer treated us very badly. Imagine how much worse if would be if we asked for a day off due to bad health.

In the EPO, the situation is further complicated because when rights of staff are weakened that necessarily translates into an inability to recruit high-calibre people who can properly judge patent applications. As the video above notes, everyone in Europe will suffer from that as corporations will receive more fake patents (some large stakeholders already complain out in the open about the collapse of patent quality at the EPO).

Here’s a communication to staff, dated yesterday, about the document above:

Letter to AC delegations: Detrimental adjustment to the health services (CA/85/22)

Dear colleagues,

The President tabled a reform of the health services (CA/85/22) for the meeting of the Administrative Council on 13-14 December 2022, which will further restrict the rights of sick staff.

In this open letter, we explain to the heads of delegation how the upcoming reform will supplement the 2015 reform and further harm the most vulnerable category of staff, sick staff, and urge them not to adopt document CA/85/22.

The key part is the letter, not the annexes, so we’re reproducing it below as HTML, GemText, and plain text:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Heads of Delegation
in the Administrative Council
By email


Reference: sc22147cl
Date: 09/12/2022

Detrimental adjustment to the health services (CA/85/22)

Dear Heads of Delegation,

The President has tabled a reform of the health services (CA/85/22) for the upcoming meeting of the Administrative Council which will further restrict the rights of sick staff.

The 2015 reform of sick leave and invalidity had already negatively affected staff and is currently under legal challenge:

− the computation of sick leave, where any part-time absence on a working day is counted as a full day of sick leave, is prejudicial to staff entering or in extended sick leave or (partial) incapacity because it resulted in them suffering salary deductions, unlike other staff (e.g. in the case of Covid-19 infections).

− the abolition of the invalidity lump sum insurance has violated the legitimate expectations of EPO staff who had been contributing to the insurance for many years. The Office did not follow the unanimous opinion of the Appeals Committee in favour of staff, leaving them no other option than to challenge the decision before the Tribunal right in the middle of the pandemic.

− the abolition of a medical committee, which previously had a balanced composition, paved the way for an unbalanced procedure fully empowering the medical practitioner (medical advisor) chosen by the President of the Office alone for the purpose of issuing medical opinions on incapacity.

The Health Services should not be merged

The Health Services are currently organised in two separate teams:

1) an Occupational Health Service (OHS) responsible for staff on sick leave (less than 125 days in 18 consecutive months) and providing advice and support to staff members,

2) a Medical Advisory Unit (MAU) responsible for staff on sick leave for more than 125 days in 18 consecutive months and issuing opinions for the President for the purpose of taking potentially adverse administrative decisions (e.g. salary deductions, forced return to work…).

The proposed reform pretends to introduce “a seamless sick leave process” by merging the two teams. In our view, a sick staff member cannot build trust with the practitioner supposed to support them if this same practitioner is also actively involved in making potentially adverse decisions. Moreover, independence is at risk as the practitioner will find himself in an inherent conflict of interest. Such a reform would even be illegal in our major host country, Germany, as confirmed by the Mercer Marsh Benefits report.

Data protection issues

As a consequence of the reform, the two separate medical case management systems of OHS and MAU would be merged. It was an inherent strength of the system that medical data was accessed by different persons for different purposes: one to support staff, the other one (only if required) to be involved in making adverse decisions. The merge would increase the number of “health professionals” and administrative support staff who have access to the medical data of all staff, without asking the staff member for their consent.

In addition, the Staff Committee was never informed about how the Data Protection Officer has been involved.

Amendments in the Service Regulations outside the scope of the Working Group and not discussed

The document presents amendments to the Service Regulations allegedly to support implementation of “a seamless sick leave process”. None of the amendments were necessary for this purpose. Nor were they within the scope of the Working Group set up to discuss the reorganisation of the health services and were not discussed.

In particular:

− allowing the EPO medical practitioner to contact the employee’s doctor without their consent is a violation of the employee’s right to privacy and a blank check for violation of medical secrecy,

- the use of personal medical data for other purposes without the employee’s consent breaches data protection,

- the employee’s right to access medical data is now restricted,

- the establishment of new conditions for disregarding evidence voluntarily submitted by the employee deprives them of the possibility of handling their own medical situation in front of the employer,

- the employee’s access to the arbitration procedure in case of disagreement with a medical opinion is now restricted.

More details can be found in our opinion in the General Consultative Committee of 22 November 2022, which is annexed to this letter.


The proposed reform is detrimental to staff, endangers the independence of the “health professionals”, endangers medical secrecy and risks creating an atmosphere of mistrust. It would be illegal in our major host country, Germany. Furthermore, the reform introduces, after the 2015 reform, further restrictions on the rights of sick staff, raising the question of whether the health and well-being of staff is the priority for the EPO.

For the sake of sick staff, we urge the Council not to approve document CA/85/22.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

Annex: Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 27/2022: Adjustments to health services (CA/85/22)

Based on constitutions and international conventions (on human rights), some staff protections are not negotiable. But the EPO believes that because it is in “no-man’s land” it is free to violate people’s fundamental rights as if there’s no consequence to be feared.

Patent examiners at the EPO are besieged by corrupt management, appointed and supported by rogue law firms and monopolies. Many of these aren’t even European, so they actively work to undermine Europe’s interests and the triumph of scientific advancement (they want profit, not progress). This imperils the world, not only Europe.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Links 31/05/2023: Inkscape’s 1.3 Plans and New ARM Cortex-A55-Based Linux Chip

    Links for the day

  2. Gemini Links 31/05/2023: Personality of Software Engineers

    Links for the day

  3. Links 31/05/2023: Armbian 23.05 Release and Illegal UPC

    Links for the day

  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 30, 2023

  5. Gemini Protocol About to Turn 4 and It's Still Growing

    In the month of May we had zero downtime (no updates to the system or outages in the network), which means Lupa did not detect any errors such as timeouts and we’re on top of the list (the page was fixed a day or so after we wrote about it); Gemini continues to grow (chart by Botond) as we’re approaching the 4th anniversary of the protocol

  6. Links 31/05/2023: Librem Server v2, curl 8.1.2, and Kali Linux 2023.2 Release

    Links for the day

  7. Gemini Links 31/05/2023: Bayes Filter and Programming Wordle

    Links for the day

  8. [Meme] Makes No Sense for EPO (Now Connected to the EU) and Staff Pensions to be Tied to the UK After Brexit

    It seems like EPO staff is starting to have doubts about the safety of EPO pensions after Benoît Battistelli sent money to reckless gambling (EPOTIF) — a plot that’s 100% supported by António Campinos and his enablers in the Council, not to mention the European Union

  9. Working Conditions at EPO Deteriorate and Staff Inquires About Pension Rights

    Work is becoming a lot worse (not even compliant with the law!) and promises are constantly being broken, so staff is starting to chase management for answers and assurances pertaining to finances

  10. Links 30/05/2023: Orc 0.4.34 and Another Rust Crisis

    Links for the day

  11. Links 30/05/2023: Nitrux 2.8.1 and HypoPG 1.4.0

    Links for the day

  12. Gemini Links 30/05/2023: Bubble Version 3.0

    Links for the day

  13. Links 30/05/2023: LibreOffice 7.6 in Review and More Digital Restrictions (DRM) From HP

    Links for the day

  14. Gemini Links 30/05/2023: Curl Still Missing the Point?

    Links for the day

  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 29, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, May 29, 2023

  16. MS (Mark Shuttleworth) as a Microsoft Salesperson

    Canonical isn’t working for GNU/Linux or for Ubuntu; it’s working for “business partners” (WSL was all along about promoting Windows)

  17. First Speaker in Event for GNU at 40 Called for Resignation/Removal of GNU's Founder

    It’s good that the FSF prepares an event to celebrate GNU’s 40th anniversary, but readers told us that the speakers list is unsavoury, especially the first one (a key participant in the relentless campaign of defamation against the person who started both GNU and the FSF; the "FSFE" isn't even permitted to use that name)

  18. When Jokes Became 'Rude' (or Disingenuously Misinterpreted by the 'Cancel Mob')

    A new and more detailed explanation of what the wordplay around "pleasure card" actually meant

  19. Site Updates and Plans Ahead

    A quick look at or a roundup of what we've been up to, what we plan to publish in the future, what topics we shall focus on very soon, and progress moving to Alpine Linux

  20. Links 29/05/2023: Snap and PipeWire Plans as Vendor Lock-in

    Links for the day

  21. Gemini Links 29/05/2023: GNU/Linux Pains and More

    Links for the day

  22. Links 29/05/2023: Election in Fedora, Unifont 15.0.04

    Links for the day

  23. Gemini Links 29/05/2023: Rosy Crow 1.1.1 and Smolver 1.2.1 Released

    Links for the day

  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 28, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 28, 2023

  25. Daniel Stenberg Knows Almost Nothing About Gemini and He's Likely Just Protecting His Turf (HTTP/S)

    The man behind Curl, Daniel Stenberg, criticises Gemini; but it's not clear if he even bothered trying it (except very briefly) or just read some inaccurate, one-sided blurbs about it

  26. Links 29/05/2023: Videos Catchup and Gemini FUD

    Links for the day

  27. Links 28/05/2023: Linux 6.4 RC4 and MX Linux 23 Beta

    Links for the day

  28. Gemini Links 28/05/2023: Itanium Day, GNUnet DHT, and More

    Links for the day

  29. Links 28/05/2023: eGates System Collapses, More High TCO Stories (Microsoft Windows)

    Links for the day

  30. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 27, 2023

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts