Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO is Being Destroyed and There's Nothing Left to Replace It Except National Patent Offices

A bonfire of what was supposed to be promising, lifelong careers (justifying relocation of entire families -- children included -- to a foreign country). Where's ILO when one needs it?

International Labour Organization
Reference: International Labour Organization



Summary: It looks like Battistelli is setting up the European Patent Office (EPO) for mass layoffs; in fact, it looks as though he is so certain that the UPC will materialise that he obsesses over "validation" for mass litigation worldwide, departing from a "model office" that used to lead the world in terms of patent quality and workers' welfare/conditions

THE goal of EPO management seems to be the destruction of the EPO and driving away its most valuable assets: the examiners. National Patent Offices (NPOs) are the only fallback (except USPTO and other 'IP5' offices), for the UPC is falling flat on its face and patent applications at the EPO decline in number. In fact, applications impending examination too are running out (maybe will have run out by this year's end).

EPO workers are very smart people. They know what's going on. The impending mass layoffs (possibly the new job of the ex-banker, Campinos) aren't hard to envision.

"EPO wants in a soon future to be able to get rid of staff as it see fit," Anonymous said this afternoon, linking to a new article about a letter which we published yesterday. SUEPO too has cited this article (some time around the afternoon). To quote bits from it:

The latest version of a proposal to scrap permanent employment contracts at the European Patent Office (EPO) for the “modernisation” of its employment framework has come under fire.

According to a letter from the EPO’s Central Staff Committee (CSC), addressed to members and heads of the office’s administrative council, the new version of the framework “does not answer nor address any of the demands and objections of the CSC concerning the previous [version]”.

The original proposal for the removal of permanent employment contracts for all new staff in favour of renewable five-year fixed-term contracts was revealed in November last year.

The change was aimed at the “modernisation of the employment framework of the EPO” and would ensure the office’s “long-term sustainability” and allow for a more “flexible management of the EPO’s workforce”


Put two and two together. It's not hard to see what's happening. I don't want to say it out loud too often, but SUEPO habitually says it anyway... there's plenty of layoffs on the way (e.g. termination of employment contract by virtue of it not being renewed/extended). It's a modus operandi ILO has publications about. Are German politicians OK with that? Are they thoroughly intoxicated by the UPC, which is unconstitutional and not happening anyway? Earlier today SUEPO posted this PDF (in German). Is Bavaria/Germany getting its act together? It might already be too late. The value of European Patents (EPs) is in a freefall. So is the quality of EPs. The EPO just retweets buzzwords such as this one from today (as Battistelli and IAM recently admitted, it is just a mask for software patents and those patents are clearly against the rules and thus likely invalid).

"In 2016 alone," it said, "there were more than 5,000 patent applications for autonomous related inventions!! #Industry40 #IoT #AI" (that's 4 buzzwords for software patents in just one tweet!)

Suffice to say, most "autonomous" things just mean software. I know, having come from that area of research and developed some programs for several domains (autonomous car navigation, medical analysis etc.).

French Connection?



Betting on a French UPC President (Battistelli is alleged to be after this job, which is said to be reserved for a French person)? How about today's EPO puff piece, published in a former French colony with no EPs? From a human rights perspective, Battistelli might fit in just fine over there (see what HRW has just published). When reading this remember that Cambodia has no EPs: "Cambodia will soon become a validation state in the European patent system, allowing the 38 members of the European Patent Organisation to apply to validate their patents within the Kingdom. According to an agreement struck between the EPO and Cambodian Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts last month, EPO members will be able to validate their patents in Cambodia beginning March 1."

Wow. What an accomplishment for Battistelli. Unfortunately for him, his career may be over because having spoken to some IP lawyers, it seems like nothing happened in the UK today. What does Bristows say? Nothing. France already ratified, so obsessing over UPC in relation to France (as Bristows did today, shifting focus away from the UK) is a lousy little decoy. IAM is meanwhile crossposting UPC stuff (pressuring Germany over the complaint) for increased reach because that's where the main question lies. From what we heard today (again, from IP lawyers), some of them now embrace a baseless conspiracy theory that someone is secretly funding the complaint and the complainant. Evidence for that? None. But then again, what can be expected from people who label UPC opponents "idiots" and "trolls"?

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