Bonum Certa Men Certa

Up Next: The Tricky Relationship Between the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and the European Patent Organisation (EPO)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Mar 03, 2024

We've moved from presidents who run a republic by consent to corrupt, unqualified, dictatorial officials who bribe for the seat (buying the votes), literally refer to themselves as "the f**cking President" (the EU has much to answer for! Putin's dictatorship is mimicked by the EUIPO and EPO), and who appoint judges to serve their personal interests (like so-called "Trump Judges" in the United States).

Warren G Harding, Twenty-Ninth President of the USA

THE next few days will likely be spent revisiting the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and its relationship with the understaffed EPO. According to the General Assembly (weeks ago), conditions for workers continue to deteriorate under the censorious regime of António Campinos, Benoît Battistelli's close friend.

Does the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO (ILOAT) provide relief for staff? Hardly. Usually very belatedly too (even a decade late). Is justice delayed justice denied? Justice hurried isn't good either, but the EPO relies on delays, procrastination etc. except when it comes to granting loads of patent monopolies, including European software patents.

Before we proceed to a 'mini series' about the ILOAT (a subject we've covered for nearly a decade already), consider this past summer's publication from the EPO's union in The Netherlands:

SUEPO TH midsummer 2023 digest

Dear members, dear colleagues,

Please find below the SUEPO Midsummer 2023 digest:
 
EMPLOYMENT LAW

A gentle reminder for the colleagues who have filed the Request for Review on the salary adjustment procedure that the last day (10.08 or 3 months from having received the reviewed decision from the EPO) is coming up to file the corresponding internal appeal. SUEPO members should have received an email including templates on the 24th of July, please check your spam folder or call us immediately if you haven’t received it.

The ILOAT delivered 3 judgments dismissing complaints against the EPO career system. Senior management who tested the limits of Employment Law may be satisfied with the Tribunal’s ruling. However, the EPO career system has shown to negatively affect the engagement of staff and the quality of our work – and thereby the EPO’s only task to grant legally sound patents. It remains the worst career system among International Organisations. The Tribunal apparently intends to limit its review to the implementation of the EPO career system for specific individual cases. Read the full paper here.
 
If you have a complaint pending in front of the ILOAT regarding the career system and have received an email from the Tribunal asking you to let them know by 15.09 whether you wish to withdraw it, we advise all complainants NOT to reply to the email from the Tribunal yet as we are assessing the situation together with our legal counsels. More details here.
 

The Judges of the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO met with “stakeholders” of all organizations within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. Representatives and lawyers of SUEPO took part in this meeting . Some important changes to the Tribunals rules were announced such as  limitation of the number of pages for all submissions and the changed time limit for filing an application to intervene. Find out more here.
We advise all colleagues who considered filing an application to intervene to do so before 20 August 2023, and call on all complainants, who consider their case to be relevant for other staff, to immediately get in touch with us.

QUALITY :

Applicants are increasingly vocal about the deterioration of EPO patent quality, see press articles here. This doesn’t come as a surprise to most EPO examiners who are dealing with 30% more workload per person than in 2012. Already in February, staff representation offered its insight and cooperation in order to respond constructively to these criticisms, but will the EPO actually listen and act? To be continued…
 
ALLOWANCES

Colleagues who incur educational costs below 500€ for their child(ren) and wish to challenge the non-reimbursement under the education allowance provisions should request reimbursement of the school fees via the portal. More details here

Home leave expenses reimbursement can be requested either as a lump sum or the reimbursement of actual travel expenses – find out more here.
 
COMMITTEES

The Local Staff Committee The Hague has been constituted according to Articles 30 and 31 of the election rules that were approved by staff in a General Assembly in March. More details here.

ON OUR RADAR:

Kind regards,
Your SUEPO TH committee

Some of the links from the above text are omitted, but the key parts we want to illuminate are under "EMPLOYMENT LAW" (3 subsections as shown above).

What we'd like to show some time soon is how poorly the EPO treats not only scientists (or Europe in general) but even scientists who are on the EPO's payroll, typically working as patent examiners. ILOAT, being mostly a bunch of judges and suits (no technical background), is hardly helping. They get paid to make and digest papers, not to create or evaluate scientific products, discoveries etc.

Shown at the top is Warren G. Harding, a US President who started in journalism before the century of lawyers as "politicians". Sort of like Campinos...

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