Bonum Certa Men Certa

Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Feb 23, 2024

Letter

THE Central Staff Committee of the understaffed EPO wrote to the so-called 'boss' (more like partner in crime) of António Campinos.

It is a 10-page publication that includes 3 annexes, all of which covered here before (Annex 1, Annex 2, Annex 3; some coincide with the General Assembly and one is a decade old!).

We shall focus on the new bits, dated earlier this week.

The Central Staff Committee wrote this message to staff:

Putting back quality on the agenda of the EPO: Open letter to the Administrative Council

Dear Colleagues,

Staff of the European Patent Office gathered in hybrid General Assemblies in Munich on 24 January, in Berlin on 31 January and in The Hague on 6 February 2024.

A resolution on objective setting and quality was put to a vote and supported by an overwhelming majority: among the 1523 attendees, 1088 voted in favour, 31 against and 66 abstained. The outcome confirms the view that EPO management instrumentalizes the career and performance system to put pressure on staff to produce quantity at the expense of quality of the final products. Such policies result in low level of staff engagement, high incidence of psychosocial risks and mounting criticism from the industry on patent quality (IPQC).

Following the adoption of the resolution, Mr Beat Weibel, Chief IP counsel at Siemens and founder of the IPQC, told Managing IP (PDF article): “We feel now there is an informal coalition between the users of the [EPO] system and those executing the system.” Mr Jorge Thomaier, Head of IP at Bayer, noted that “This message is loud and clear for the EPO management – they should first talk to their staff and then take our (industry members’) help to improve targets, incentivisation, and in the end, the quality of the patents.”

In this letter to the Administrative Council, we urge the Member States to exercise their supervisory role and instruct EPO management to enter into dialogue with the staff representation and to put in place the measures supported by staff in the resolution.

Sincerely yours,

The Central Staff Committee - CSC

The new part of the letter tells the Administrative Council something it already knows but chooses to ignore because Campinos bribes for complicity, as noted here in 2022 and in 2023. It's a huge pile of corruption, more fitting for Russia than for Europe.

Here is the body of the letter in full:

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

Central Staff Committee
Comité central du personnel
Zentraler Personalausschuss

centralSTCOM@epo.org

Tel. +49 -89- 2399 - 2120

Reference: sc24013cl

Date: 19.02.2024

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

To the Chairman and
The Head of Delegations
of the Administrative Council
of the European Patent Organisation
Mr Josef Kratochvíl

By email

OPEN LETTER

Putting back quality on the agenda of the EPO

Dear Members of the Administrative Council,

Staff of the European Patent Office gathered in hybrid General Assemblies in Munich on 24 January, in Berlin on 31 January and in The Hague on 6 February 2024.

A resolution on objective setting and quality (Annex 1) was put to a vote and supported by an overwhelming majority: among the 1 523 attendees, 1 088 voted in favour, 31 against and 66 abstained. The outcome confirms the view that EPO management instrumentalizes the career and performance system to put pressure on staff to produce quantity at the expense of quality of the final products. Such policies result in low level of staff engagement, high incidence of psychosocial risks and mounting criticism from the industry on patent quality (IPQC).

Back in 2015, the EPO had initiated a project “Closer contacts with major applicants” to foster a better “esprit de service” (Annex 2). Among the companies selected at the time were companies which have now become members of the Industry Patent Quality Charter (IPQC) and are among the top proprietors of Unitary Patents1. Since 2022, these companies express their concerns on the decrease in substantive quality of EPO granted patents. They bring arguments, data and propose working groups to improve our patent system.

_____________

1 “Statistics and trend centre: Requests for unitary effect”, EPO website


However, this time, EPO management closes its door and denies any quality issue without justification (see overview of events2 in Annex 3).

Following the adoption of the resolution, Mr Beat Weibel, Chief IP counsel at Siemens and founder of the IPQC, told Managing IP3: “We feel now there is an informal coalition between the users of the [EPO] system and those executing the system.” Mr Jorge Thomaier, Head of IP at Bayer, noted that “This message is loud and clear for the EPO management – they should first talk to their staff and then take our (industry members’) help to improve targets, incentivisation, and in the end, the quality of the patents.”

We can only urge the Administrative Council to exercise its supervisory role and instruct EPO management to enter into dialogue with the staff representation and to put in place the measures supported by staff in the resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Derek Kelly
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

List of annexes:
Annex 1 Resolution adopted on objective setting
Annex 2 “Closer contacts with major applicants”, DG1 Note of 16.02.2015
Annex 3 “50 years EPC: The EPO ignoring the skilled person”, CSC paper of 19.01.2024

cc.: Mr A. Campinos; President of the EPO

____

2 “50 years EPC: The EPO ignoring the skilled person”, CSC paper (sc24001cp), 19- 01-2024 [ANNEX 2]

3 “EPO staff vote through resolution urging quality control”, Managing IP, 08-02- 2024

Our expectation is that they won't even bother to respond but now that it's on the record that they were duly informed they cannot say some time later, "oh, we didn't know..."

Board 28 E-meeting

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