From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Firings will continue until morale improves - Merpel revisits the EPO

Merpel was extremely disappointed and dismayed to hear that Laurent Prunier, the Secretary of SUEPO The Hague and a member of the EPO's Central Staff Committee, has been fired by the EPO President, Benoit Battistelli.


Readers will recall that in January, Mr Battistelli dismissed the Union's chair and a former chair, and downgraded its treasurer. In March, responding to the extreme unrest and disquiet over his heavy-handed and seemingly vindictive disciplinary approach, an unprecedented communique was issued by the Administrative Council -- the body to which Mr Battistelli is nominally answerable, but which more frequently plays the role of a rather supine dog being wagged by a highly bellicose tail. 

The Communique is worth reading in the light of the most recent dismissal (it's appended to the Minutes of the March AC meeting). In it the AC emphasised its authority as the ultimate supervisory organ, repeated its concerns about the social unrest and that it had repeatedly urged the President and unions to reach a consensus, and noted "that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against staff or trade union representatives have, among other reasons, made it more difficult to reach such a consensus". It then requested Mr Battistelli:

- to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation 
- pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions;
Merpel does not believe that any external review, arbitration or mediation was considered in the most recent dismissal. Without breaking confidences she cannot comment on the details of the reasons advanced for dismissal, but suffice to say that Mr Battistelli probably had very good reasons not to expose the procedure to external and independent scrutiny. SUEPO, organising a demonstration in protest today, has told its members that the dismissal is based on an allegation of harassment. As with the dismissal of Ms. Hardon in January, the alleged victim of harassment does not appear to have filed a complaint, but rather Mr Battistelli's closest associates have made the complaint on behalf of a staff member.

Long experience suggests that whatever concerns AC members might have about this latest development, they will not actually do anything concrete to take control over the ever-worsening situation in an organisation they purport to oversee. There is a very straightforward step that the AC could take if they in fact wished to restore confidence in the Office and themselves. Quite simply, they should invite a review and inspection from the national regulatory authorities in the countries in which the main Office sites are located, i.e. the German and Dutch labour ministries. If those bodies are satisfied that the Office is being run according to recognised basic norms of HR practice, then that would be enough to assure themselves that staff are being managed fairly. The management of the Office would resist and cry "diplomatic immunity", but the answer to this is simple: Article 20 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities states:

Article 20
(1) The Organisation shall co-operate at all times with the competent authorities of the Contracting States in order to facilitate the proper administration of justice, to ensure the observance of police regulations and regulations concerning public health, labour inspection or other similar national legislation, and to prevent any abuse of the privileges, immunities and facilities provided for in this Protocol. 
The mandatory language used in this Article, which is an integral part of the law under which the AC operates and the EPO exists, requires that there be co-operation, apart altogether from the moral imperative of the AC's responsibilities to the 6,000+ staff members (as balanced against the one employee they seem unable to manage).

It is worth recalling that, in a recent independent study commissioned by SUEPO in which about 40% of EPO staff participated, 98% of respondents rated their confidence in Mr Battistelli as either "low" (6%) or "very low" (92%).  Currently, Mr Battistelli is running a Social Conference to address the concerns of the AC. Merpel can save readers the bother of waiting for the inevitable press release at the conclusion of this process. In an atmosphere where dissenting voices have been silenced, and only the foolhardy or very brave would risk their careers by speaking up for the 98% who have lost any confidence in Mr Battistelli, the Social Conference will be hailed as a resounding example of constructive, open dialogue. All it's missing is the leaders of the staff union who are being eliminated, one by one.

Of course this presents a shining opportunity for ambitious, concerned members of staff to take up the banner and step forward into leadership roles in the staff union. Those without dependent families and who are financially independent would be best suited to take on this career-ending role.

168 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you IPKat for keeping the wider (concerned) community informed. If Article 20 requires mandatory co-operation with the German and Dutch Authorities, what is to stop a independent investigation from said national authorities under national labour laws without consent of the senior EPO management etc? Do the national authorities have the power to independently inspect an establishment to determine that workers rights are being respected? If not, they should do.

Headache said...

I seem to recall that after a staff member jumped out of a window of the office in The Hague, the Dutch labour inspection was not even allowed to enter the premises. So far for cooperation. I have not heard of any action by the Dutch government or the AC concerning this blatant violation of Art.20.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous in Munich Office (all others are already at the Demo) says:

Thanks Merpel. Welcome back to the EPO...

Laurent Prunier said...

Dear Merpel,

Being the person concerned, I would like to thank you for your message, which I would like to endorse, and for the concerns you voice.

I can confirm that no "external review, arbitration or mediation was considered”. If I were allowed to make my file public, any person with even the most rudimentary legal training would be horrified by the kafkaesque procedure. But I cannot make it public without facing immediate retaliation by Mr Battistelli and his associates, who in the meantime feel entitled to caterwaul to the world their righteousness, and my sinfulness (which I categorically denied and deny).

Mr Battistelli pronounced my dismissal in spite of an unambiguous “request” (read: instruction) of the Administrative Council not to do it. The reality is that he and his gang are completely unable to take “no” for an answer. When the Administrative Council tries to draw a line and impose some healthy boundaries against his wishes, Mr Battistelli throws a hissy fit worthy of a spoiled toddler in a candy shop. And, most of the time, he gets his way. Parenting may not be one of the Council’s strong points.

It is really disheartening to see the EPO, once one of Europe’s institutional crown jewels, being brought to its knees by a clique of questionable integrity. Fortunately, each day that passes is a day closer to Mr Battistelli's departure - and with him, hopefully, also the more toxic elements of his crew. I wish the EPO wisdom and strength in its recovery phase, which will be long and difficult.

Needless to say: i will of course challenge this decision.

With feline admiration,

Laurent Prunier

Anonymous said...

Bringbackalib. says

Plum position falls foul of a one man gang
Representative Prunier dried out to hang
Unless the Muppets wake up fast
No functional office can this last
EPO on a highway to hell
Does the AC need some DC as well?

Anonymous said...

Why pick Germany and the Netherlands to review the cases? What about a UK review, for example? May one be more likely to exonerate El Presidente, I wonder.

Headache said...

@anonymous 12:55
How many Epo staff work in the U.K.? Or do you propose to apply U.K. Law in NL, DE?

Millipede said...

@Anonymous 12:55

Do not forget that the delegate from the Netherlands was (is) one of the few AC members that dares to withstand the President. The Netherlands was one of the few countries that voted against the reorganisation of the BoA.

L'Angelo Misterioso said...

I think all we can say is that so far the AC has shown itself to be about as much use as the proverbial one-legged man in the arse-kicking competition. Kicking arse is certainly not their forte so far.

As far as Laurent goes, I've known him for a long time: he's a fiery character with strongly-held opinions who isn't averse to voicing them. Unfortunately, some seem to think that to do so within the context of a heated discussion amounts to harassment. If that's true, I have certainly been guilty of harassment in the past. I personally don't believe that the Laurent I know is guilty of harassment. Harassment is about bullying and spite. He may be guilty of expressing himself too forcefully or of intemperate language, but the Laurent I know is not a bully. Unfortunately, of course, neither I nor anyone outside a certain charmed circle know exactly what he is accused of which is said to amount to harassment. So who knows?

That's why, in proper judicial procedures, rather than the banana republic/kangaroo courts we have here, evidence is tested in open court in public (unless there is a good reason why not) and weighed by an independent arbiter who considers only the law. Here, as in the (still-unresolved) case of the DG3 judge, we have a bunch of vague rumours and innuendos put out by Batistelli in his latest communiqué to justify his partial and self-serving adjudication.

In Laurent's case, justice is neither done nor seen to be done. Nevertheless, I have already heard colleagues who should know better opining that they 'haven't much sympathy' with his position, which seems to be another way of saying: ?I didn't like him much and therefore he had it coming'.

Is this where we are now? Trial by prejudice?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Headache said...
@anonymous 12:55
How many Epo staff work in the U.K.? Or do you propose to apply U.K. Law in NL, DE?"

errrrmmmm - none, but then no EPO staff actually work under NL or DE law either.

Anonymous said...

French review!!!! And thanks for BB France!!!

Quo Usque Tandem said...

The following recent contribution refers to the situation at the EPO and mentions the lack of independence of the boards of appeal:
http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2016/11/07/rule-law-rechtsstaat-endangered-needs-defended/
In this respect the evident lack of support by the members of the boards of appeal for their colleague who has been maintained in limbo for almost 2 years now in violation of all principles of due process sadly confirms the damage done to the whole institution.
Looking forward to reading the upcoming decisions of the German Bundesverfassungsgericht on the constitutionality of an european patent system lacking a truly independent higher instance.

Old man of EPO said...

Merpel,
Thanks for picking this up. Was beginning to wonder if you had been gagged.

With regard to your final witty comment "Of course this presents a shining opportunity for ambitious, concerned members of staff to take up the banner and step forward into leadership roles in the staff union. Those without dependent families and who are financially independent would be best suited to take on this career-ending role.", I don't remember if you previously noted that:

A. Standing for staff representation is at the president's agreement and there is a ban on those at the end of their career. Staff don't simply get to choose their represenatives. Being close to retirement and likely to say what the heck, as you joke, is a good reason to prevent you from being a position to do so.
B. Being a representative means being moved administratively into a separate department run by his well-known HR Director. She must approve all your 'work' and its related travel etc. And sign off your holidays, sick leave etc. All a bit strange that staff are deliberately moved under the control of the person with whom they should negotiate/interact. Certainly one way to stifle the 'awkward squad' and, if all else fails, you can accuse them of harassment of each other and get them sacked (I don't refer to Laurent's case since that is secret).
C. And the threat to cut your pension at the presidents whim could take a column and a half to deal with as a final blunting instrument.

Anonymous said...

A Fine Social Balance says...

BoA: "Madness is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results."

SR: "Messing with madness is one thing, when madness is messing back, it is time to call the whole Social Conference off"

The Great Ba Di Di, Prince of Toilets said...

Kluwer Patent Blog has a post titled The Rule of Law (Rechtsstaat) is Endangered and Needs to be Defended!

It refers to the case of the suspended member of the Boa - but I quote:

"I am afraid (and very sorry) to say that even among the EPO’s top officials, the principle of the Rule of Law does not seem to be respected very much. Where are you, Administrative Council?"

Et sinon je reprendrais bien des croquettes said...

Was beginning to wonder if you had been gagged.

A cat - the IPKat - gagged?

Really?

Don't you know that cats a fiercely independent creatures?

Anonymous said...

The Edge says...

Has the alleged victim of LP's harassment not been recently promoted?... consequently should a victim of BB's harassment not be compensated as well?...WHERE IS THE JUDGE??

Anonymous said...


another report on the topic : http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/11/07/union-calls-flash-demo-epo-fires-another-union-representative/

Hoi polloi said...

IP-Watch also reports that the Union Calls “Flash Demo” After EPO Fires Another Union Representative.

Btw, it was the first day of snow in Munich today.

Repentance said...

Jofff Wild of IAM writes:

EPO users and staff need the Administrative Council to get a grip on current events

I have always given the EPO’s senior management the benefit of the doubt, but increasingly it looks like I may have been wrong to do so. With the same things happening over and over again, what other conclusion can I reach – especially when I have met many SUEPO members and know them not to be agitating obstructionists, but people who genuinely want what is best for the office and those who use it.

Anonymous said...


@ The Edge says...

Bingo!

and guess what they did it clever to cover up the reward. Technically this was no promotion but, after a selection procedure to a position designed for a very specific profile matching precisely the domain of competence of the individual concerned, he was appointed to a position higher graded.

And the "funny" thing is that Battistelli in his address email to staff (read smear campaign) on intranet about this sad story dared to complaint that Laurent did not presented excuses!

Well to whom should he do this: to the alleged victim who is not the one who filed the complaint since he is no victim or to the top manager close to Battistelli who filed the complaint and is a true harasser (everyone knows it by now)?

The EPO is becoming sick by the day

Old sad observer said...

It cannot continue this way and at this pace.

It is high time for the AC to make clear to the president and all the yes men and women around him that immunity does not mean impunity.

How can they indulge in the EPO being driven in the wall, and forced in expenses which do not have any other aim than to satisfy the president's wish for retaliation against the boards of appeal. After all he started by disregarding the separation of powers.

When one looks at the vote in the BFC, it appears that the states which barely contribute to the filings have decided in favour of sending the boards to the outskirts of Munich. That this implies unnecessary extra costs for the users did not seem to have played a role.

That any organism which does not change dies, this is valid as well for the EPO. Any reasonable person will agree that changes had to be carried out at the EPO. But did it have to be in such a ruthless manner?

If the social climate would be as rosy as tooted out by the higher management of the EPO, why did the president not organise Christmas gatherings with staff for many years? This alone is revealing and says a lot.

Old man of EPO said...

OSO,
Indeed all organisms must change. And that applies to top management as well. And the AC. Maybe time for that 5-yearly conference to address failings at the top to deal with issues?

Gilman Grundy said...

Can't we simply vote to leave the EPC? It would make things so much easier . . .

Anonymous said...



Battistelli is the Trump of the IP world.

Be careful IPpussyKat.



Early Uncertainty

Anonymous said...

In December, the AC will let BB do what he wants. They'll back down, like they've always done since they unanimously reelected him. They know what they're doing. They want him to stay there (as well as his VPs) to introduce the pension reform that he promised to deliver next year and which ALL delegates and their ministers want dearly, especially the "big" member states. When they tell BB to calm down, it's just for the show, or maybe, for some, because they're a bit annoyed by the bad press. When they say that they want it to look like there is justice, that's exactly what they mean: it has to LOOK all right, nothing more. Because when it does not, some ministers get some embarrassing phone calls from journalists and that must stop. What is really going on, nobody gives a damn. If you want to predict what they will do, just ask yourself: what is the easiest thing to do ?

You're on your own. Close ranks and hang on...

Questions said...

So what happens next? Maybe that is the question that should be asked?

What happens if the Council decides to put some pressure on the President (for example by requesting cooperation under Article 20 ppi as suggested here)? Wouldn't the President continue business as usual? He has an history of simply ignoring the Council requests, hasn't he? It is quite naive from Merpel to believe that Article 20 would have any effect. Why would Battistelli care?

What happens if the Council does nothing? Battistelli simply continues till the end of his period and the member States simply stay with their arms crossed doing nothing because of immunity?

I am afraid, the most likely future is that Battistelli will simply carry on for the next 2 years, firing whomever he does not like every other month, continue to give well paid administrative posts to whomever he wants and spend money on buildings and computer system without any real control.

Anonymous said...

If the EPO re-starts examining applications properly, i.e. to a high standard, including those I prosecute, I may be more supportive of anti-PB sentiment. However, improvements need to be made, whether or not PB is attempting to imprive anythig.

On an individual level, I am fully supportive of protecting people from unfair treatment I get a lot of myself.

Dubious said...

Anon 2046,
Chicken and egg. As long as BB dictates, examiners cannot change their standards back. He is trying and succeeding in spending less on examination while claiming that can be done with improved quality.
Your call. Can it for you?

wee wullie wollass said...

Eponians, wha hae wi' Prunier bled,
Eponians, wham SUEPO has aften led,
Welcome tae your gory bed,
Or tae Victorie!

Noo's the day, and noo's the hour:
See the front o' battle lour,
See approach proud Benoît's power -
Zeljko and Elodie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Laat him turn and flee!

Wha, for Eponia's rule o' law,
Freedom's sword will strangly draw,
Freeman stand, or Freeman fa',
Laat him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your staff reps in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow! -
Laat us doe or dee!'

EP2 700 769 B1 said...

@Anon 2048:
You know what the Management of the EPO has been publishing.
We improved our quality.
Out union published data saying we feel less confident about our product quality.

If you feel the quality has declined, it is your job to defend your applicant's rights by complaining to the EPO management that the quality you have received has declined.

There is no need to refer to the actual product, but examples can help.

And do it publicly, preferably not anonymously.

Only then will the public pick up on this problem, and media may gain attention.
And only then will there be a pressure on the AC members to actually change anything.

If you won't do anything for you, we will not risk our job being proactive for you, as we will get problems when we do anything without being prompted to do so.

ex-examiner (UKIPO) said...

As I see it, applicants who get dodgy patents granted because of the present examination process which discourages examiners from raising objections, are unlikely to complain. It is only those who have to defend themselves against dodgy patents in the courts who would complain. It will take some time for these patents to reach the litigation stage, by which M. BB will be long gone. Only a small proportion of patents get litigated anyway.

Don't expect to get much support from the UK IPO: since the move to Wales, the upper echelons have been increasingly populated by Civil Service generalists rather than ex-examiners who had risen through the ranks and actually understood from personal experience what it is all about. Compared with the 1980's the status and working conditions of examiners has been much reduced, reflected in the various public consultations which have included proposals to stop examining the description (allegedly following an embryonic EPO proposal) and to move some of the examiners' work to clerical staff, ostensibly to save money that ought to have resulted in fee reductions but which in practice gets creamed off as special dividends to the BIS.

O.V. said...

Dear Merpel,

You suggest that the AC members should invite a review and inspection from the national regulatory authorities in the countries in which the main Office sites are located, i.e. the German and Dutch labour ministries.

The idea is good. An honest man would not be afraid of an independent inspection. The problem comes when the man is not really honest and has things to hide.

The situation at the EPO is catastrophic. Far away from human rights, good governance and European standard. The dismissal of staff representatives and the no respect of the rules of law are the tip of the Iceberg.

Battistelli is all but stupid. He knows that an independent investigation at the EPO means the disclosure of a tyranny. The only inspection he will accept are the ones done by friendly auditors paid by himself (with the EPO money) which will repeat his rosy point of view.
The AC members know the situation at the EPO. They are afraid of the scandal that an independent inspection will pop up.
Because immediately questions will rise: Why did they let the situation go so far without control? Why the AC approved regulations that violate human rights and violate the rules of law? Which personal advantages did the AC members received from the EPO president to vote “yes” during years?

Anonymous said...

Psst.., it’s oh so quiet! says...

Many illegal loop holes remain to be plugged
EPO system is facing criticism and it is wholly bugged
Justice is sold as revealed with emergence of new facts
it is cleverly wrapped in BB’s words with simple tact

Under official ret act, nothing can be made public or revealed
Under the oath of secrecy it is cleverly concealed
Eponians can’t dream for getting immediate relief
Loosing faith and trust as mark of disbelief

Innocents are sometimes punished for nothing
Trial summary drags on for years to prove something
BB and his goons rule the scene
it has been made laughing stock which is never witnessed or seen

Let sacred principles of justice be upheld
Let innocents be not prosecuted and held
It may or can have legitimate delay
This may send the message across and relay

Declaration of Rijswijk 2016 said...

"For so long as there shall but one hundred of us remain alive we will never give consent to subject ourselves to the dominion of the tyrant. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honours, but it is liberty alone that we fight and contend for, which no honest man will lose but with his life."

Anonymous said...

To Dubious, I agree re quality.

To EP No.
"If you feel the quality has declined, it is your job to defend your applicant's rights by complaining to the EPO management that the quality you have received has declined.

There is no need to refer to the actual product, but examples can help.

And do it publicly, preferably not anonymously."

That's a silly suggestion. My role is to represent my clients' interests, not to destroy them for political purposes.

"If you won't do anything for you, we will not risk our job being proactive for you, as we will get problems when we do anything without being prompted to do so."

Difference is, it is your job to apply the EPC diligently. You have responsibilities the wrong way round.

Anon, Tue @ 20:46

Dubious said...

Anon 20:46,
And who decided what is diligently? I think we both know that it is not the examiners. Effectively in this case the judge is pressurising the key to decide within an ever shorter time. The judge thinks he could do it without delay so everyone else should. If the jury spends too long - no matter how complicated the issues are or are made by the parties, the judge will apply sanctions for not meeting his target.
So who has the biggest interest in the jury's diligence??

EP2 700 769 B1 said...

@Anon Tue 20:46

Well, I'm not killing my career for political purposes.
I am diligently applying the PC, as far as I am given time to work on the dossier.

And please tell my bosses, that they are here to apply the EPC. (I agree, that's not your job, and there you could have your career killed. But complaining about our product quality is your right, and likely even your obligation. The arrow would be pointed differently, as in the first case the repercussion arrow would go against the one telling the boss he did it wrong, and in the second case you point the boss's arrow against the examiner taking shortcuts and producing things you do not want to pay our high fees for.)

If you, as outsider, are not willing to stand up, where the possibilities of repercussion are difficult to obtain by our politicians, how do you expect me to stand up, when my career, my job, my pension, my health insurance depends on it? And when I lose my job, I do not access to unemployment benefits. So I'll loose my house/home too. And the impact on my family?

Sorry for your client(s), they deserve better. But with current management, which chose a very bad system to measure our quality, and considers quantity a major element of our work quality, I fear we are on an even steeper slippery road than last year.

Cynic said...

An alternative view:
http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=06449c9d-8f6e-40ac-b39e-75ff5c414bab
No comment.

Anonymous said...

Every patent attorney is the same bound by the EPC as every examiner! If a patent attorney argues agains an examiner than he must do it in goof faith and vice versa.


Barbi.

Anonymous said...

Diligently = a far higher standard than is frequently applied today. Time is important, but only to the extent you are on the right track initially.

Searching for and analysing prior art is a time-consuming task, agreed. A diligent search is at least more than cursory. However, it is not this aspect I am challenging regarding quality. Today, simple misapplication of the law, or to be more precise, a complete lack of application of the law to the case in hand is all too common.

Polymorph patents are granted for merely being novel. Frequently, no benefit is even described, let a lone an arguably unexpected benefit. The EPO no longer even attempt to apply their own guidelines. See the EPO presentations by Dr Sofia Papathoma and others. This is not a time-consuming examination task.

Chemical compound patents are granted with no described industrial utility. I recently read a very detailed IPRP written by an EPO examiner that did the inventors job for them, explaining the utility and inventiveness of the compounds. I had thought that the IPRP must have been repeating the applicant's arguments from their written opinion response, but no, it was the examiner's own work. They would certainly make a good patent attorney with their arguments, because the case ultimately granted. Unfortunately, the patent drafter, possibly a non-chemist scientist, hadn't performed their role competently. Luckily they had the examiner batting for them. The examiner didn't rush this task, however, they simply failed in their duty to make the most basic of objections.

It is most unfortunate that many of today's examiners operate to a far lower professional standard than in previous decades.

Rosinenfurzer said...

It is most unfortunate that many of today's examiners operate to a far lower professional standard than in previous decades.

Shouldn't that be redrafted ???

For example:
"It is most unfortunate that today's EPO management has created conditions in which examiners operate to a far lower professional standard than in previous decades."

Don't be so quick to blame the examiners.
Start by looking at Article 10 EPC.
http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/2016/e/ar10.html

Rule of Law said...

Every patent attorney is the same bound by the EPC as every examiner! If a patent attorney argues agains an examiner than he must do it in goof faith and vice versa.

Well said Barbi !

I'm glad that you didn't add "The President and the Admin Council are also bound by the EPC! If they argue against staff then they must do it in good faith."

Let's all focus on examiner-bashing.
Nobody else could possible be to blame for this mess.

Just like in the old Soviet system:
THE MANAGEMENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT!

Anonymous said...

"Shouldn't that be redrafted ???"

No. Unless you are saying that PB has ordered the hiring of incompetent staff.

Questions said...

Is it at all possible for the Council to force the President to do anything?

As recent history has shown several times this year, when the Council gives instructions to the President, the President simply ignores them and does as he wishes. In the present case, the Council explicitly asked the President to refrain from dismissals, we see what the President did. I gather that Merpel's proposal to use Article 20 PPI would have the same effect.

What can the Council do?

Correct me if I am wrong, I am not a specialist of the EPC. I understand from Article 11.1 of the EPC that the Council can nominate a new President. But first, I am not really sure they can do so before the end of his term (can they or not?) and second, they need a majority of 3/4 of the votes for doing so (Article 35). There are 38 member states, so the votes of 28 are needed. Conversely, if Battistelli gets the votes or the abstentions of 10 countries, he can stay forever. Any 10 countries.

Is there anything else that the Council can do?

There is Article 19 of the PPI: the Council can waive the immunity of the President. This has never been tried and I have no idea how many votes would be necessary. Even the Article is not clear as the German, English and French texts are actually different (English: "waive immunity", German and French "waive one of the immunities"). Besides, this would be very slow.

There is Article 11.4 EPC: the Council shall exercise disciplinary authority over the President. Apparently, only a simple majority is needed under Article 35.1 in that case, so 19 countries. But this has never been tried and I don't know under which conditions that "disciplinary authority" can be exercised or what sanctions they can impose on the President, whether the President can appeal (which would add delays), etc... Can they actually dismiss him? That seems to be in contradiction with the number of votes needed to elect a new President. Can they impeach him? If yes, he would then be automatically replaced by one of the vice-presidents (Article 10.3 EPC), which may not be very useful if that vice-president is Minnoye, Topic, etc...

Last, there is Article 172: the Convention can be revised (for example to include more checks and balances to the President powers). Here again, 3/4 of the votes are necessary.

Did I forget something?

Article 4a said...

Did I forget something?

Yes. You forgot Article 4a. Call a ministerial conference to discuss the situation.
It is long overdue. Supposed to be held once every five years.
But so far none held.

Also there is no problem with them opening disciplinary proceedings against the President. The disciplinary committee would then issue an opinion and the Admin Council would then vote on this opinion. Of course it's not going to happen. The ship will sail on. Just like the Titanic.

Anonymous said...

@Article 4a: the article calls for a meeting on IP matters, not a conference...
All the UPC meetings can be counted under Art. 4aEPC...

Article 4a[ 4 ]
Conference of ministers of the Contracting States
Art. 4
A conference of ministers of the Contracting States responsible for patent matters shall meet at least every five years to discuss issues pertaining to the Organisation and to the European patent system.

Article 4a said...

All the UPC meetings can be counted under Art. 4aEPC.

What do you mean by "UPC meetings"?

The Unitary Patent is an agreement of certain member states (28 EU states) under Article 142 EPC.
http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/2016/e/ar142.html

Article 4a foresees a conference of the ministers of all 38 contracting states.

Anonymous said...

There is no requirement that all EPC members need to be present, just a conference on patent matters and/or the organisation....

28 out of 38 is even a majority.....

Pangur Bán said...

Is article 4a enforceable in any way? Against whom and by whom? Who is responsible for calling such a conference? It does seem the only way that a semblance of democratic oversight might be possible by this means. Do the member states want to move from a system favoring small and medium enterprises, which benefits the economy and stimulates employment, to a registration system which favors big enterprises with deep pockets, as Battistelli clearly intends. This should be a political decision, taken by elected representatives, not by one man.

And to enter the discussion about whether patent attorneys an or should complain, they are the servants of their masters, who fall into two groups: those who benefit for a high examination standard, and those who do not. It is futile to expect that as a group they can come to the rescue.

Battistelli's presidency has revealed the fatal flaws in the EPC, which provides no practical mechanism for democratic oversight of the workings of the EPO.

Anonymous said...

Bringbackalib. Says

Liechtenstein hasn't attended the AC for years.They have perfect teeth.

BS detector said...

There is no requirement that all EPC members need to be present, just a conference on patent matters and/or the organisation....
28 out of 38 is even a majority.....


What exactly are you blethering on about ?
Article 4a reads:
"A conference of ministers of the Contracting States responsible for patent matters shall meet at least every five years to discuss issues pertaining to the Organisation and to the European patent system."

If you are aware of such a conference having taken place then please provide the details. Time to put up or shut up ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Merpel,

This is now my third post, the previous two were apparently not negative enough about the EPO.
All we can read now is a defending of Mr Prunier and blaming of EPO management.
That's fun, but not correct.
There is indeed a clique of questionable integrity at the EPO. It's the group of SUEPO elected officials who are also elected staff representatives. They use the time the EPO makes available to them to represent ALL staff, but spend it to represent the SUEPO members.
Previous independent staffreps gave up because of that, and (almost) 3 years ago again an independent staffrep was elected. He did not blindly agree with the SUEPO staffreps, so he had to go. That's what Prunier took care off.
He was judged in the disciplinary consisting of two management representatives and two staff representatives (so his own staffreps) and was found guilty. They even proposed to reduce his pension. His own colleague staffreps!
So where is the problem? I don't see it.
Please also allow non-EPO negative comments!

Questions said...

I don't see how a Conference of ministers of the Contracting States could be useful. Battistelli can just ignore its results just as he ignored what the Council requested (twice).

Sorry to ask the same question again: but what can the Council really do, in practice, if Battistelli simply ignores what they ask? He can simply do as he wants and ignore anything the Council pushes at him, can't he? I mean: he already did.

Sure, the Council can open disciplinary proceedings (in theory, I don't think the form these proceedings are supposed to take has been planed in the texts). Sure, the Council can refuse to vote the budget. But the Council cannot stop Battistelli dismantling the European Patent Office if that is his plan. He can continue as long as he gets votes from 10 countries. Even for a second or third term, as far as I can tell.

All he needs are the votes from 10 countries.

Now the question is: why would these 10 countries do that, considering the scandal? The answer is that there are probably 10 countries among the 38 which have little or no patents and few industries to protect, so they don't care. These countries may even see it as an advantage to annoy the big users of the patent system. Maybe they believe that if, e.g., the German small and medium industry cannot use the patent system as effectively as they do, they could develop small and medium industries of their own? Who knows?

Did I understood correctly or are there any Articles I did not consider in the EPC or in other treaties?

I swear, it's the truth! said...

"He did not blindly agree with the SUEPO staffreps, so he had to go. That's what Prunier took care off."

What a pity that under the current rules of the EPO, the public at large - but also SUEPO members and all the staff - conveniently cannot hear the version of Prunier and the other dismissed representatives and make up their mind, while the President and you, dear anonymous, are free to provide their own.

Anonymous said...

Surely the issue of whether or not Mr Prunier should be fired are pretty much irrelevant. The two big issues are:

i) There is a clear lack of due process when the President of the EPO and others can publicly provide comment on the case (including unsubstantiated allegations that cast the EPO in a bad light and are detrimental to its reputation) but the person fired cannot provide any public comment lest he be further punished by losing his pension.

ii) The AC explicitly told the President not to take any further disciplinary action against SUEPO leaders before ensuring that the disciplinary proceedings are fair and seen to be fair. This has not been done so the action to fire Mr Prunier are in direct violation of the AC's instructions to the President. This casts further bad light on the EPO and is detrimental to its reputation.

To my mind the President of the EPO is undertaking actions that are clearly detrimental to the reputation of the EPO. This is something he has been very strict on in relation to his employees and, in the order to be fair, he should be subject to comparable disciplinary proceedings.

Anon E. Mouse said...

There is indeed a clique of questionable integrity at the EPO.

Undoubtedly. I would even go so far as to say:
"There is indeed a clique of questionable integrity at the very top of the EPO."

It's the group of SUEPO elected officials who are also elected staff representatives. They use the time the EPO makes available to them to represent ALL staff, but spend it to represent the SUEPO members.

Not so sure about that part.
Could you give some concrete examples as to how these people have spent their time to represent SUEPO members to the detriment of ALL staff?
I can't think of any myself. Any time I have ever contacted staff representation with a problem I was never asked whether I was a member of SUEPO.

Anonymous said...

Remembrance Day” says...

This year again approx. 50 warning letters will be issued in DG1, making sure the HR Conflict Resolution department has enough clientele for the coming year. A “Danse Obscure” all over again summoning all Staff Representatives to dance along into EPO’s obscure misery, affecting the AC, BoA, President, Management and staff. Strangely enough it unites us all!

Cynic said...

Anon 0730 Sunday,
You may indeed be correct about the correctness of the result of the disciplinary procedure. Or you may not. We cannot know and, according to the rules, shouldn't know in order to protect, in particular, the perceived victim. That is, however, not the issue. As the delegations to the AC have already pointed out, justice must be seen to be done. Procedural violations and/or lack of due process cannot be written off because the final decision was 'right' (if it was...).
In the current case the guilty man still cannot reveal his crime or his defence because the system won't allow it. Meanwhile the judge can make statements about it which cannot be challenged publicly by the guilty party. A man loses his employment and future employment must be significantly limited given his dismissal. And yet he is not allowed to publicly defend himself??
I would be interested to hear whether you think the procedure and system in place is suitable. That is the question being raised here. The judgement on Laurent must wait for a fair system.
I note in passing that you are revealing facts of the case, whether known to you privately or based on the president's communication to staff. In either case, you appear to be stating more than Laurent can. Doesn't it worry you that tomorrow there may be a knock on your door from the investigation unit?

EP 2 700 769 B1 - granted: a window!? said...

@Anymous Sun 7:30 GMT:

SUEPO represents more than half of the EPO workstaff. Staff Representatives are therefore representing a majority.
Also, the union cannot send mails to all staff members anymore. That actually was the best thing anyone in the EPO ever did for the union, as man union-template appeals have been filed by jon-members, who do jot have access to the appeal-templates anymore, and therefore finally joined the EPI....
Also, I've never heard of non-SUEPO members having been turned down by Staff Representatives.
Just like Anon E. Mouse I do not even know anybody having been asked if they're members of SUEPO when seeking help from Staff Representatives.

Last thing to comment on your post: the "staff representatives" in the Disciplinary Committee (non capital letters hee, as SR does not appoint Staff Representatives to the disciplinary committe anymore, but BB appoints "staff representatives" the administration "selects"). The SR ones resigned after ALL of them have been downgraded and/or warned for not having proposed harsh sanctions in previous procedures.
The new "staff representatives" have even less protection than elected Staff Representatives (less visibility), and are therefore under immense pressure by the head of personal department. ILOAT already was negative about the constitution of the Disciplinary Committee.... Also, do not trust them to be "your" "staff representatives".

Please read the communique again, more carefully. There is a lot between the lines which looks absolutely bad to anyone above "director level".
Alas, I see the management style trickling down to directors already, destroying the atmosphere.
Now the EPO administration pushes for the possibilities that the first or chair can sign for the second member.... Which DG3 (now BoA) considers to be a procedural violation. Fun times.

(Q: the EPC (Article 10(3) EPC) provides that the president shall be assisted by a number of Vice-Presidents. How does a "President of the Boards of Appeal" fit this paragraph of Article 10 EPC?)

Questions said...

"Anonymous" from Saturday, 12 November 2016 is trying to change the subject, isn't he/she? The facts are quite simple: Battistelli got instructions from the Council not to fire staff members before new regulations are passed and did just the opposite.

That is the real problem here.

Battistelli is not doing what the Council wants. I asked what the Council can do and apparently the Council cannot do much because of the 3/4 of the votes clause. I said Battistelli just needs 10 countries to stay forever and follow his plans and nobody raised a credible objection. I don't see how a ministerial conference could solve that problem.

So let us imagine that Battistelli stays another few years to continue his plans. The Council cannot do much because of this blocking minority. What would the effect be? What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?

Anonymous said...

As the person directly concerned, I am responding to anonymous who posted on Sunday, 13 November 2016 at 07:30:00 GMT

1) I deny having ever harassed or defamed anyone (nor have my other fellow staff reps or SUEPO officials unfairly sanctioned or to be sanctioned, since several are still targeted).

2) The alleged victim did NOT file a complaint against me. The person who filed it was a very close associate (and protégée) of Mr Battistelli.

3) The staff representatives in the Disciplinary Committee have not found that I was guilty of harassment. That finding was 3:2, only by management side.

It is therefore quite inappropriate for you to hide behind anonymity to give credit to Battistelli’s smear campaign without being in possession of any relevant information.

The easiest solution for the public to assess the truth vs. story-telling, is for Mr Battistelli to lift the confidentiality he imposes on me and I will gladly publish all the documents.

legal pedant said...

How does a "President of the Boards of Appeal" fit this paragraph of Article 10 EPC?

Uneasily I would say.

The fact is that the position of the "President of the Boards of Appeal" doesn't exist under the terms of the primary law of the EPC.

It has been created under secondary legislation at the level of the Implementing Regulations.

In CA/D 6/16 the Admin Council decreed that Rule 12 should be replaced by the following new Rules 12a, b, c and d:
Rule 12a - Organisation and management of the Boards of Appeal Unit and President of the Boards of Appeal
Rule 12b - Presidium of the Boards of Appeal and business distribution scheme for the Boards of Appeal
Rule 12c - Boards of Appeal Committee and procedure for adoption of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board of Appeal
Rule 12d - Appointment and re-appointment of the members, including the Chairmen, of the Boards of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board of Appeal

These new Rules entered into force on 1 July 2016.
They still don't appear to have been published in the official online version of the Implementing Regulations.

But who cares about such fine points of detail nowadays ... ????


stalemate said...

"Battistelli is not doing what the Council wants. I asked what the Council can do and apparently the Council cannot do much because of the 3/4 of the votes clause. I said Battistelli just needs 10 countries to stay forever and follow his plans and nobody raised a credible objection. ...
So let us imagine that Battistelli stays another few years to continue his plans. The Council cannot do much because of this blocking minority. What would the effect be? What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?"


Not so simple.

Without a 3/4 majority Batty cannot be replaced and can sit tight.

However, as shown in October a simple majority (i.e. 50%+) would suffice to prevent him from "following his plans".
Thus, if a simple majority of the states decided to oppose him they could block any further action on his part.

Such a scenario would result in a stalemate situation rather than BB simply continuing his plans.

He would continue to sit on his throne but wouldn't be able to enact any further "reforms".

Not sure if we are heading in that direction but it is one possibility.

The Great Ba Di Di, Prince of Toilets said...

"He would continue to sit on his throne but wouldn't be able to enact any further "reforms".

No further "reforms" certainly, but he still would be able to fire people at will to put the AC under pressure and in an embarrassing situation - as it did with Prunier when the AC denied him the last "reforms" he had submitted.

It's absolutely incomprehensible that no single European minister responsible for IP is intervening in a situation like this when the president of an international organization that is supposed to be under their control is totally going rogue ...

I guess that the money the the European Patent Office funnels into the National Patent Offices is enough a reason to keep the ministers shut ...

Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Ba Di Di,
While I share your pain, the system is of course designed so that a single person or country cannot interfere. The alternative would be unworkable if any one country could effectively fire a president. There are of course ways and means but that is like a policy of mutual destruction whereby no agreement or diplomatic post would be respected (head of the EPO is, I think, a diplomatic passport post). Countries are rightly wary of interfering in what are tacit reciprocal agreements of respect. The ability of a non-office country I.e. not NL, DE, BE to intervene is very limited in any case.

Anonymous said...

An AC storm is brewing! ...

It is becoming more apparent to the outsider that we see in the EPO a more systematic use of staff rep dismissals instead of an isolated incident or coincidence as stated by the VP1 earlier in the year and in the Dutch Press. This is a clear indication for a toxic management style at work and EXTREMELY WORRYING!. Additionally the working methods of the Investigation Unit and the need for excessive security measures has been unprecedented and its financing for 2016 unexplained.

Anonymous said...


Mr Prunier's post on IAM blog : http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=2141acfb-0254-48ab-a380-31fee0da7f97

Pangur Bán said...

No, Anon, a single country cannot interfere, but what about the EU acting as a bloc? It would theoretically be possible for it to command a decisive majority. Indeed it would be very much in its interest in view of the importance to it of the Unitary Patent.

Is this going to happen? Of course not.

Any more than the prescribed ministerial conference is going to happen. When I mentioned the latter in my last post it was because I thought it might at least put some identifiable politicians in front of their responsibilities. But the fact that no-one is responsible for for carrying out this obligation means that it is just a purely theoretical possibility, meant to confer the mere appearance of democratic accountability on the doings of the EPO.

So there is no political entity, country or individual that can intervene. The President has carte blanche and is using it to defeat his only serious opposition - SUEPO.

Battistelli droit dans ses bottes said...



http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2016/11/19/debate-in-dutch-parliament-about-deteriorating-social-climate-at-european-patent-office/

Mme la Marquise said...



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/22/dutch_government_digs_into_epo_meltdown/

Anonymous said...

“Of course God will forgive me; that's His job.” said...

In the AC the British and Danish, Chairman and delegates may propose, and this based on their state religions, to house the Investigation Unit in a chapel with some confession boxes where they can hear the SR’s confessions and offer in silence forgiveness. BB rather prefers to continue to use the Inquisition! ...the accused in the Inquisition was never allowed to see the face of his accuser, or of the witnesses against him, but every method is taken by threats and tortures, to oblige him to accuse himself, and by that means corroborate their evidence.

Meeting his targets? said...

In March the Council requested the President:
1)to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation
2)pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions;
3)to submit to the AC a draft revision of the Staff Regulations which incorporates investigation guidelines (including the investigation unit) and disciplinary procedures which have been reviewed and amended;
4)to achieve, within the framework of the tripartite negotiations, an MOU simultaneously with both trade unions, which would have no pre-conditions or exclude any topics from future discussions;
5)to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for immediate implementation of the structural reform of the BOA, on the lines of the 5 points agreed by the AC at its December 2015 meeting and of the legal advice given by Prof. Sarooshi, and taking into account comments from the Presidium of the BOA;
6)to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for reinforcement of the AC secretariat and a clarification of its position in terms of governance.

Nine months afterwards he managed point 5 only with great help from the Council and with a widely criticized text, which the Council accepted only because they desperately needed some kind of reform.

In points 1,2,3,4,6 he completely failed.

Is it time to look for a President with the skills and will to carry out his mandate?

Missed all by a wide margin. said...

@Meeting his Targets?: Point 5 has been missed too. He did submit a proposal, but he did not do this along the lines of the five points: he ignored the legal advice by Prof. Saroshi, and he ignored the input by AMBA, the presidium of the boards, EPI, ...

Old man of EPO said...

Meanwhile, mes amis,
http://philipcordery.fr/2016/11/question-gouvernement-situation-sociale-a-loffice-europeen-brevets/
So the reply from the secretary for industry reveals he has even contacted BB to express his discontent.
How long...

Anonymous said...

‘Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo felice nella miseria’ said...

It is chilly in the EPO. It is the chill of a fanaticism that has enveloped itself in a harness of principles. Tragedy hangs in the air, further dismissals ring out. A political statement, the scandal of which reverberated far into Europe. BB’s response sounds hollow and hypocritical, ‘No one can escape his duty!’

Anonymous said...

Scouser says


Very chilly indeed. Even examiner team managers are showing opposition to the regime: they ignore duties when it comes to completing their examining/oppo duties within the official timescales. The ILO is now pointing at total meltdown. Europe and its innovators deserve much better than this clapped out Enarquien despot. Clean sweep, please.

This is the future said...

@ Old man of the EPO

Phillips Cordery was present at the latest demonstration in The Hague. He gave some details in his speech. Christophe Sirugue (Minister for Industry) indeed talked to Battistelli about the social situation. Battistelli answered that he did not care about his opinion.
I could not believe my hears in that demo: there was a MP, talking in public, and announcing that the President of the EPO simply insults the Minister for Industry (responsible for patents in France). But ask anyone present and they will tell you.

What is even more worrying is that Battistelli is probably right. He IS indeed more powerful than a French Minister (or a German, English, Swiss... etc). He has immunity and nobody can do a thing against him.

Iposter said...

@ This is the future said...


according to my info Battistelli also left the office of the German Minister Heiko Mass, with a "connard" (loud enough to be heard by the Minister Maas who speaks FR) - he also clashed with the NL state secretary, with the head of USIPO and JPIPO. to be continued

Hey bro' who's the boss in da EPO ?

Curiosity killed the kat said...

I have a question:
How was the situation to begin with? The csc had legally chosen representatives in the appeal committee. Is that correct? Then BB suspended/dismissed those members. Is that correct? But they still remain the legally chosen representatives, wouldn't they? So when management refuses them to take part in the appeal committee, who is blocking the procedure? Please, can someone explain to me if this is the actual situation? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

@Curiosity:

The president warned (and possibly downgraded) the CSC appointed members. Because they did not vote as instructed by the lawyers of the EPO.
The CSC therefore decided, that they cannot appoint new members without a guarantee that they would not be punished for their work.

Formally, the CSC is therefore the blocking party.
Morally, the president.
Any newly appointed members would be tainted and cannot decide freely since those cases.

Anonymous said...

eligible staff member said:

New rule to be decided by the Council next week:

“if the Central Staff Committee, despite an invitation to do so, fails to make appointments to these bodies, the President shall take appropriate steps to ensure and make the necessary appointments, such as calling for volunteers or drawing lots from among eligible staff members.”

Attention: "from among eligible staff members" and not "from elected staff representatives". Deliberately. A very interesting phrase.

an epo prisoner said...

@Curiosity: FACTS

the two staff reps nominees resigned during autumn 2014 (since they could not perform their work as they should have, due to several defficiencies reported to Battistelli and left uncorrected on purpose). Following their resignation they have been publically defamed by VP4 and VP5 and then abusively disciplined (both downgraded).

Facing such appaling situation the CSC did not want to nominate anyone anew before the reported defficencies had been corredted and insurance had been given that the new nominees would not be again pressurized and sanctioned.

As you may imagine Battistelli did nothing to redress the internal appeal system he and his associates had broken. Instead Battistelli "invited" all CSC nominees (read threathened them of disciplinary santions) and the weakest "volunteered".

So much for independent judicial system at EPO

see here : http://techrights.org/2016/12/05/bunk-justice-at-epo/

Gattaca said...


@eligible staff member said:

Battistelli wants by all means to circumvent the staff representatives whom he truly hates since they do not wish to bend and praise his glory.

Battistelli's problem is simple: he is enarque functioning with a software dating back last century. He thinks he knows better only he does not - see the mess he created and he has proven incapable solving?

The accolytes he recruited are no better. They too think they know better but the world outside is laughing at the EPO which they see sinking for the past 3 years.

The new "solution" is likely (once more) not to fly at the ILO-AT. Let's see next week if the Administrative Council will approve that new pack of low quality legal work produced under the supervision of a German Vice President and a German Principal Directorate.

All this costs money and reputation. This "mis"management team should all be fired.




curiosity killed the kat said...

Thank you for your answers. Probably, now the usual EPO policy of changing the law when the judges interpret it in a way you do not like, will be carried out.

Curiosity killed the kat said...

Further questions: Would it be possible for the staff reps who stepped down to come back? Though some have been dismissed, they are still legally elected staff reps appointed by the scs, aren't they? How is the legal situation on that? If a staff rep gets dismissed, does he automatically cease to be staff rep? But that would necessitate new elections, wouldn't it? Have those taken place? I do not think so. Anybody?

Professional Incompetence said...

Sadly it would appear that Article 52 of the EPO Service Regulations does not appear to apply to the President, the Vice-Presidents or to the Legal Services Department of the EPO.

Section 2 - Dismissal by the appointing authority

Article 52 - Professional incompetence


(1) Subject to Article 23 of the Convention, a permanent employee who proves
incompetent in the performance of his duties may be dismissed.
The appointing authority may, however, offer to classify the employee concerned in a lower grade and to assign him to a post corresponding to this new grade.

(2) Any proposal for the dismissal of a permanent employee shall set out the reasons on which it is based and shall be communicated to the employee concerned. He shall be entitled to make any comments thereon which he considers relevant.
The appointing authority shall take a reasoned decision, after following the procedure laid down in regard to disciplinary matters.

(3) Subject to Article 13, a permanent employee shall not be dismissed without notice. The notice shall be calculated on the basis of one month for each year of actual service; it shall not, however, be less than three months, nor greater than nine. The period of notice shall commence on the first day of the month following the date of notification of the decision to dismiss the employee. The period of notice shall be increased by one month for a permanent employee having his home as defined in Article 60, paragraph 2, in a country other than that in which he is employed.

The Press said...

WIPR:

UN agency sets aside two EPO decisions, criticises Administrative Council

Battistelli asks to nominate EPO appeals committee members

The Press said...

The Register:

Guess King Battistelli's plan to fix the Euro Patent Office. Yep, give himself more power

Christmas Cracker Alert said...

What are the odds that WIPR will get by a DDOS attack soon ...

The horror! The horror! said...

Whoa. I quote from the Register:

Benoit Battistelli is no longer acting in the interests of the organization he is supposed to oversee. Even if you take the most generous possible view of his reform proposals, the end result is that he is slowly dismantling the European Patent Office's institutional structures toward a single goal: his own personal victory.

If Battistelli succeeds in his goal thanks to the failure of the EPO's Administrative Council to act, he will end up standing at the top of a pile of organizational rubble.


Memorandum of Ignorance said...

Having read that monsieur le President wishes to amend the ServReg once again, I wonder whether he has consulted the FFPE-EPO as per their beloved Memorandum of Understanding....
This all beimg so short term, I suppose not.
Has FFPE said anything yet?

Will they draw conclusions from this, or will they once again underline how important it is to sit at a table?

Anonymous said...

Simply scouser says

Examiners were worthy of high salaries to prevent/ avoid corruption from applicants ( patents are after all serious business). Now they are being bought off by threats and Battistelli bonusses. The EPO has become an experiment for wanna be fascists......

Cynic said...

MoI,
And where do you think the volunteers from staff members for this may come? I suspect even if not consulted, there may be a retrospective approval once they can get a bit more power. And more of a chance of a bonus?

Speaking of which, BB had announced his intention to give a'collective bonus' for 2016 - but only to about 70% of staff. Particularly to those who 'contributed significantly to the success of major office wide projects'. Mmm.

Honi soit said...

Having read that monsieur le President wishes to amend the ServReg once again, I wonder whether he has consulted the FFPE-EPO as per their beloved Memorandum of Understanding....
This all being so short term, I suppose not.
Has FFPE said anything yet?

Will they draw conclusions from this, or will they once again underline how important it is to sit at a table?


They are probably licking their lips at the prospect of being appointed by the President to the committees where they can sit in judgment on the appeals of their SUEPO colleagues ...

Anonymous said...

Chestnut Banquet says...

Surprise , surprise...change of HR tactics , SR's getting suddenly salary increases and promotions. Will the sacrificed SR's be forgotten soon or...

Old man said...

Administrative council meets in 2 days. An attempt to head off any opposition within the AC as BB shows how fair he is? I'm pretty certain there would also be a divide and rule about this as have all the members of the staff reps been awarded something? The ones I know will not be bought.

Anonymous said...

Read http://www.ilostaffunion.org/?p=2185 and http://ipso.de/page.php?c=3

Broad support and crowdfunding for our dismissed colleages is what we need. When all labour organisations participate it is a strong weapon. Batistelli and his criminal crew has to be stopped NOW. A neutral and independent investigation should start within the EPO as soon as possible.


Headache said...

@Anonymous:
As far as I interpret the results and feedback given, at least LP is well funded for now by his colleagues.
Yes, a more formal and possibly obligatory scheme would be preferred, but those schemes have the drawback of attracting the eyes of the financial authorities, and the need to pay taxes (income taxes/gift taxes) when certain amounts of support are exceeded.
I do not know how well the system works for IB.
Nor have I heard anything about EH's financial situation.

I also agree with your latest sentence, but having it "within the EPO" will always mean, that Mr. Battistelli has the final word on any result.

Friend to IB and LP said...


@ Headache said...

to be clear : IL and LP both NEED to be funded over a long period of time since they are both affected (eg their health condition suffered and they cannot seek for work in their situation) plus they have to organise their defense which will last for years whilst keeping them busy with the EPO, before to perhaps (or not) see their dismissal revoqued and get back at their EPO desk.

According to my information they both welcome small (one-off or monthly) donations which secure their future needs and give them also what they lost : a feeling of stability and material security.

Anonymous said...

Surfer in the VP1 wash, says...

The VP1 is leaving the EPO in June 2017 following the New Main topping-out ceremony, no surprise at all as a site manager he knows that his production figures will be down at the moment the staff removals start. His legacy will be that of a greedy manager and a mad hatter when it comes to justice, he should leave the EPO with his head down in shame.

Headache said...

@Friend: I know. I supported IB with a one-off, and subsequently supported and will support LP with monthly donations for the next years to come. But I only get feedback from LP, as I am not in the mailing lists for Munich...

They both risked a lot for us, and for that I would be more than ungrateful if I would not spend a bit...
I hope they continue their fight, and see the money as a kind of salary to invest their time for the union and the fight against the way the rules have been implemented.

But life is frustrating, and I do understand that they may need some time to take a step backwards.
Especially LP with what happened in his private life recently.

Anonymous said...

@ Surfer in the VP1 wash, says...

After having served the soup to his master loyaly during 5 years, having endured all kinds of vexatious statements from Battistelli who is known to behave like a spoiled child, having worked 24/7 (even with broken rips!!!) to please his Chef at all costs, Private Minnoye ends his professional career in disgrace.


Sent home some would say kicked out almost like a SUEPO official, "for private reasons" the official story telling has it. However little birds have it that VP1 would have lost his position after numerous failures among which those below for which "a head at to roll" and preferably not that of the Grand Battistelli of course:


- Minnoye would have embarassed himself (no worries: he did not notice it) and the EPO when he gave his amazing interview to the Dutch TV (remember when he stated one day before the Cassatie hearing that the EPO would not respect the decision of the Cassatie should it be against the EPO, or that all investigations against SUEPO officials were a mere 'toefal');

- Minnoye would not have been able to manover via his usual 'free masons' network and avoid the public debate soon to be organised in the Dutch parliament (about despicable social situation at EPO);

- Minnoye would also pay for the work quality which is going down the drain as never before (major applicants in particular in NL and DE would have complained at the highest political levels);

- A culprit had to be found for the miserable failure of the IT Roadmap (above and over 100 Mio EUR of EPO money (actually applicants' money) were wasted in a few years by a handful of utterly incompetent actors). Here Battistelli decided to preserve his personal friend (René Kraft (FR) whom he recruited and bombarded at the head of IM with all freiraum to do what he wanted and who so far pathetically failed to deliver a single IT program worth 1/10th of the price paid). The solution was a no-brainer for Battistelli: protect his friend Kraft and get rid the old flemmish Private Minnoye;

- Finally the EPO 'Trump-like bling tower' in construction in TH (by a FR star architect) is late on schedule. This is likely to have a little (read A LOT OF) impact financially with costs sky rocketing soon. Thereto Minnoye is said to have failed (as site manager for The Hague to keep this on tracks).

Remember ABBA's lyrics ?

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world

Anonymous said...

‘Gravity's Rainbow’ said...

@ Anonymus; Monday, 19 December 2016 at 23:28:00 GMT

Let VP1 never forget that life and the world are what we make them by our social character; by our adaptation or want of adaptation to the social conditions, relationships, and pursuits of the world.

To the selfish, the cold, and the insensible, to the haughty and presuming, to the proud, who demand more than they are likely to receive, to the jealous, ever afraid they shall not receive enough, to those who are unreasonably sensitive about the good or ill opinions of others, to all violators of the social laws, the rude, the violent, the dishonest, and the sensual, to all these, the social condition, from its very nature, will present annoyances, disappointments, and pains, appropriate to their several characters.
The benevolent affections will not revolve around selfishness; the cold-hearted must expect to meet coldness; the proud, haughtiness; the passionate, anger; and the violent, rudeness.

Those who forget the rights of others, must not be surprised if their own are forgotten; and those who stoop to the lowest embraces of sense must not wonder, if others are not concerned to find their prostrate honour, and lift it up to the remembrance and respect of the world.

Anonymous said...


Also heard another interesting development so far remained rather unoticed but which shows that there are big cracks in Battistelli's galaxy:

The FR ex Lieutnant-colonel from intelligence services (don't laugh) who had been recruited at administrator's level by PD HR to officially deal with "social dialogue and communication" (actually she worked at preparing files to charge SUEPO officials to get them fired) and then bombarded within no time at director's level (after another fake selection procedure), would now be back to square one (see the phone book).

Game over, exit the "social dialogue" work with PD HR.

Apparently a sudden and rather unexpected change of both dept and function (now she is simple Private "head of service" position in charge of security). At first glance this position would suit better her profile but when one remembers the shamble around the dismissals...one may worry for "security at EPO".

In any case something big must have happened between the two ladies who once were the best pales in town. Trusting PD HR is a risky bet: the later acts exactly as her mentor (Battistelli) does: find one to blame with her wrongdoings.

Loyalty is really overrated



Anonymous said...

'Absolute power corrupts absolutely' says...

@ Anonymus 21 December 2016 at 10:10:00GMT

Yes, PDHR has the highest staff turnover ever... only her body guards seem to survive! ...this comes of course with a price tag of approx. 1 Million EUR a year on expenses, rumour also says that these individuals are not even registered in a company. Surprisingly the IU also appears to be too busy with harassing the SR's instead of catching the big fishy HR stuff..

Anonymous said...


wrt bodyguards the rumour has it that first they (Battistelli et al) expected them to carry their weapons IN the EPO before lawyers and infrastructures eventually convince them that this was perhaps a little overstrecht

The EPO is becoming a madhouse by the day. If you loved 2016 watch for 2017 since this is not yet the end of the circus

Anonymous said...

Bringbackalib.Says...

R ogues Gallery corridor on the first floor
O ne former AC chairman doesn't appear there anymore
L eft side former presidents do hang
A nd opposite AC chairmen,what a gang!
N ow we all know Batters takes no dis
D id he remove that eminent Swiss?

You just got trumped said...


more insight into VP1's "resignation for personal reasons": according to a very well informant within principal directors in The Hague (a young man who cannot hold his mouth and shares privileged info with some), here is how it would have actually happened:

during the Admin. Council, Battistelli called VP1 in his luxury suite overlooking Munich's city on floor 10 of the Isar building, to tell him that he was very happy with the production figures and that VP1 did an excellent job before to eventually tender him a letter of resignation ready to sign on the spot.

Indeed the Admin. Council was heavily complaining (in confidential sessions) about the lack of progress of the IT roadmap for which TONS of applicants'money has so far been wasted for no tangible results. Enough! Someone's head had to roll

Since the principal director in charge of IT is a personal friend of Battistelli (who recruited him at this position where money flows like the Seine in Neuilly) he had to protect him and instead to find another culprit. Battistelli considered that old VP1's one would do the trick.

Since then old VP1 is down, deeply affected (we actually ignored he was such a delicate soul...) and finds he was brutally abused by the man he served so faithfully during all these years. Indeed to end ones long career like an old pair of knickers thrown in the bin must be hard.




Old man of EPO said...

You got trumped,
Indeed VP1 was always a relatively simple soul who didn't get where he is other than by following the leader rather than having a particular affinity for his DG. His lack of any examination experience (he was working only as a search examiner) helped him drive for numbers without any understanding of the eventualities. So he's been stabbed in the back? I suppose he thought that meeting the numbers was all that mattered for keeping him in his position. Brutal.
At least I'm happy to hear it isn't a cover for a serious health issue.

French Fries said...

What a pity VP1 lacked examination experience.
Otherwise he could have continued service in the ranks of the examiners.

Just like VP3 who following his departure as Vice-President is now a common or garden legal member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal ...
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/171AFEDA714D60A2C125807C004D801E/$File/Enlarged_Board_of_Appeal_BDS_01_01_2017.pdf

French Fries said...

Sorry to hear about VP1. He hasn't been as fortunate as the former VP3 who apparently continues in service as a normal legal member of the Boards of Appeal.

French Fries said...

Apparently the Kat is intent on censoring my comments referring to the fact that the a former Vice_President remains in service as a legal member of the Boards of Appeal.

1984 said...


Article today in Le Canard Enchainé with a very pertinent cartoon !

French Fries said...

I take it all back.
The Kat has apparently managed to extract my previous comments from its fluffball spam-filter ...

Old man of EPO said...

French Fries,
It means that he is a (legal) member (but not chairman!) of the Enlarged Board of Appeal rather than of a simple Board of Appeal.

French Fries said...

No old man.
Not just the Enlarged Board of Appeal.
He is a member of the Legal Board.
Check the business distribution for the Technical Boards.
https://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/business-distribution.html
He is assigned as a legal member to Boards 3.2.04 and 3.4.03.

Tulips from Amsterdam said...

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands delivers its long-awaited judgement on the EPO's immunity and not a peep out of IPKat.
How disappointing ...

Anonymous said...

The latest rumor about Minnoye is that he will not be replaced after he leaves. There will just be a vice-president "at interim", meaning somebody who is chosen by BB and reports directly to him. There are quite a few of these "at interim" positions for managers lately.

Signed: Another cat.

Welcome to NL said...

@ Tulips from Amsterdam

The judgement of the Supreme court of the Netherlands is obviously a good news.
After the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, French diplomats feared that it would be impossible to violate human rights abroad anymore.
Hope comes back.
Obviously they have to avoid the USA but the Netherlands is the new dreamland.
The Supreme court of the Netherlands gives full immunity/impunity.
Psychopaths with diplomatic status are allowed to violate human rights, to harass individuals, to push their victims to suicide.
Dutch police covers his ears. The Dutch government covers his eyes. The Dutch Supreme court covers his mouth. (don’t hear, don’t see and don’t speak)
The victims suicide. The psychopath is laughing.
Welcome to the Netherlands.

Stuck in a Rutte said...

"Weeks before Dutch voters go to the polls, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said that anyone who rejects the country's values should leave.

"Act normal, or go away," he says, in a message seen as taking on the anti-immigration Freedom party currently running high in the opinion polls.

The Dutch felt increasingly uncomfortable with people who abused the very freedom they came in search of, Mr Rutte argued."


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38718286

Pangur Bán said...

"Act normal, go away, or be an international organization" is the message.

Anonymous said...

Today the The Hague Local Staff Committee informed the staff that the Disciplinary Committee was not properly constituted in 2015 and 2016.
Sanctions (including dismissals) were inflicted by the president after consultation of a defective committee.

La famiglia said...


Good news ! at last hard workers are finally rewarded at EPO :

- the principal director Chairman of the disciplinary committee
- the director of the investigation unit
- the right hand of the president and husband of PD HR
- the director of personnel right hand of PD HR

ALL PROMOTED !!!!!

Who said that talents aren't rewarded at EPO ?

Kilroy was here... said...

JUVE PATENT POLL
Clear order

A clear order2017 is to start the new patent system of the European Union. After considerable disputes over the European Patent Office (EPO) and the planned Unified Patent Court (UPC), the path is now free. But the industry remains worried and formulated clear expectations in the JUVE Patent Survey 2016 to the responsible persons. She wants a functioning and uniform court system and a different style of leadership at the EPO - without his acting President Benoît Battistelli.

Kilroy was here said...

The complete text of the JUVE PATENT POLL in the german language can be seen here:http://www.juve.de/nachrichten/namenundnachrichten/2017/01/industrie-umfrage-zum-europaeischen-patentamt-mehrheit-fuer-ruecktritt-von-amtschef-battistelli .
With the Google translater you can get very good understandable translations in french dutch and english. Some small things like: The ¨Verwaltungsrat¨(AC) is translated as ¨board of directors¨ It is clear that the EPO clients do not like to continue with Battistelli. I am afraid that Battistelli will say, just like President Trump, that these are all lies and JUVE is a dishonest press. Battistelli has much better information and all the examiners love him. Everything is okee in EPONIA and with King Benoit.

Yeah, sure ... said...

"It is clear that the EPO clients do not like to continue with Battistelli


Oh, is it? And maybe now they will finally vote with their feet and go somewhere else where they can get European Patents which are not taint by Human rights' abuses, don't they?

Kilroy was here said...

Dear Yeah, sure,
There is no good and economic alternative for the EPO. From the JUVE PATENT POLL is clear what the EPO clients like and not like from the EPO under Benoit Battistelli. They not like less quality and a from Battistelli dependent board of appeal. Not only JUVE but many many other articles and reactions say Benoit Battistelli has to go. The Human rights' abuses and violation of the EPC have to stop now.

Depressed said...

Kilroy,
I suspect the real response will be to ignore it. Or to shout at a minion to get an investigation about who these traitors are so that they can be taught where they are not understanding right.

Rule of the law is for the little people said...

The Human rights' abuses and violation of the EPC have to stop now.

Well, of course the abuses will stop just after the Dutch High Court has given free hand to Mr. Battistelli to continue do as he pleases him by upholding the "immunity" of the Office - and it appears that Mr. Battistelli got the message clear and loud, as reported by The Register:

King Battistelli tries again to break Euro Patent Office union

Anonymous said...

Regarding alternatives to European Patent Office,

In case you look from the customer perspective, German patent office is as good as European patent office. There are only very few products, which you can develop economically, in case you are excluded from German market. We have unified market in European Union and if such product cannot be sold in Germany, typically such product is not economically feasible. Think about cars, semiconductors, industrial equipments, trucks,...

Proof of the pudding said...

Flabbergasted and hugely disappointed (but, on reflection, not that surprised) by the Dutch decision.

What puzzles me, however, is the reasoning for dismissing SUEPO's case:
"Insofar as VEOB et al. have based their claims in these proceedings on the right of collective negotiation, these fail because VEOB et al. – considering the reasoned challenge to these by EPOrg, partly on the basis of the legal precedents of ILOAT as cited in the court documents – have been unable to argue sufficiently that the staff representatives have inadequate possibilities to challenge that right with ILOAT".

It is clear that the Dutch court has (conveniently!) overlooked ILO-AT's judgement 1542, which stated that:
a complaint is receivable only if it is about an individual official’s status as an employee of the organisation, not about the collective interests of trade unionists".

This leaves a huge gap between the rights that should be afforded under Art. 11 ECHR and those that can properly be the subject of a complaint to ILO-AT. The Dutch court's attempts to gloss over this point are particularly unconvincing... but not surprising given the interests of the Netherlands in not "rocking the boat" for the many international organisations that are located in that territory.

Next stop Strasbourg!

Rumpole said...

It is clear that the Dutch court has (conveniently!) overlooked ILO-AT's judgement 1542, which stated that:
“a complaint is receivable only if it is about an individual official’s status as an employee of the organisation, not about the collective interests of trade unionists".


Maybe the Dutch Supreme Court ignored ILOAT 1542 because it wasn't brought to their attention by the lawyers pleading the case?

Anonymous said...

'Thou shalt not ration justice.' says...

Just as you should never confuse the law with common justice, intelligence should not be confused with common sense. Some of the brightest people in the world have no idea how to cross the road!

Proof of the pudding said...

@Rumpole

The Appeal Court of the Hague certainly understood the point. Quoting directly from a translation of their decision:

"The circumstance that individual employees of EPOrg can at EPOrg and subsequently at ILOAT indeed contest any restriction of their right to strike, namely against any measures that might have been taken against them due to violation of the rules on strikes, is in this connection not decisive. Indeed, Art. 11 ECHR guarantees the right of collective action and of collective bargaining. It would be in contravention of the collective nature of these rights if only individual employees could afterwards contest the impairment of these rights. Such a judicial process cannot be considered as an effective legal remedy to enforce the collective rights that are at issue in this case. With regard to the right of collective bargaining it can be far less understood how this could be put up for discussion at ILOAT in the judicial process of an individual employee, or which other judicial process VEOB et al. could follow".

Given that they will have read the lower court's decision, the Supreme Court clearly was aware of this point. Also, it is hard to believe that SUEPO would not have raised the very same point in their arguments before the Supreme Court. However, the thing that I find hardest to believe is that the Supreme Court would gloss over this point by using one of the most unconvincing excuses I have ever seen.

slartibartfast said...

So what happens now? Having exhausted all available routes under national law in the Netherlands, can SUEPO take an alternative route and sue the EPO and/or the Dutch government in the European Court of Human Rights?

Proof of the pudding said...

@slartibartfast

Yes, I would imagine that a case against the Netherlands at the ECtHR would be the most obvious next step... hence the reference to Strasbourg in my earlier comment.

The case law of the ECtHR (including Matthews v. The United Kingdom) would seem to be in SUEPO's favour. Also, the Supreme Court's judgement, combined with ILO-AT's judgement 1542, would appear to make it possible for SUEPO to ask the ECtHR for a ruling.

It should now be obvious to all that the EPC lacks the checks and balances that might enable a (single) Council of Europe Member State to ensure that it meets its obligations under the ECHR (with regard to the EPO employees in its territory). In theory, this could lead to liability (at least for EPO host states) for entering into an international agreement that contravenes the ECHR.

Indeed, I believe that it is very important that the ECtHR provides a ruling on this point... otherwise it will establish a precedent whereby Council of Europe Member States can escape their obligations under the ECHR merely by setting up international organisations (and providing them with immunities) for the purpose of conducting activities that would otherwise be illegal within the territories of those Member States.

Rumpole said...

Given that they will have read the lower court's decision, the Supreme Court clearly was aware of this point. Also, it is hard to believe that SUEPO would not have raised the very same point in their arguments before the Supreme Court. However, the thing that I find hardest to believe is that the Supreme Court would gloss over this point by using one of the most unconvincing excuses I have ever seen.

Never let the legal niceties get in the way of a politically loaded judgment ...

Reign of Terror said...

Yes, I would imagine that a case against the Netherlands at the ECtHR would be the most obvious next step... hence the reference to Strasbourg in my earlier comment.

Dream on. As reported on Techrights Battestelli's IU goons are on the prowl in the The Hague. Do you seriously think that anyone will risk taking such a court action under these circumstances?

slartibartfast said...

@Reign of Terror

The trouble with Techrights is that its language is constantly so hyperbolic and apocalyptic that it is difficult to know how much to believe. Some of the information reported there is genuinely useful, credible, and goes beyond what is reported elsewhere, but lots of it is wild-eyed ranting, accusations of various sources of being in thrall to the UPC purely for providing factual updates, misdirected re-reporting of completely irrelevant details (e.g. G 1/15 somehow being seen as evidence of a great conspiracy by the EPO) or mere copy-and-pasting of comments from the IPKat.

It would be useful to have independent verification of at least some of the Techrights stories pertaining to SUEPO.

That aside, I agree with Proof of the Pudding that an ECtHR ruling on this issue would be important. There surely has to be a limit on the power of international organisations to behave in ways that would be transparently illegal in most or all of their member states (including their host nations).

Proof of the pudding said...

@Reign of Terror

Are you suggesting that Monsieur le President is taking action that is deliberately designed to stop SUEPO (or intimidate SUEPO against) initiating new legal actions? If so, then that is a very serious allegation indeed.

Taking advantage of overly-broad privileges and immunities granted to you is one thing. Going beyond that, by taking action specifically designed to deny individuals (or a union) access to justice in respect of rights enshrined in the ECHR would be something quite different... almost verging on the criminal.

SUEPO insider said...



wrt ECHR: guys let them breathe. They have to held elections in MUC and TH and there is 6 months from the date of the High Court jugement to lodge the complaint there.

Trust them : good things come at the right time

Reign of Terror said...

Are you suggesting that Monsieur le President is taking action that is deliberately designed to stop SUEPO (or intimidate SUEPO against) initiating new legal actions? If so, then that is a very serious allegation indeed.

Yes that is exactly what I am suggesting.

Taking advantage of overly-broad privileges and immunities granted to you is one thing. Going beyond that, by taking action specifically designed to deny individuals (or a union) access to justice in respect of rights enshrined in the ECHR would be something quite different... almost verging on the criminal.

And what are you going to do about it?
Call the cops ?

Anonymous said...

Proof and Slartibartfast,
Indeed there is hyperbole and there is Hyperbole! I'm not sure what the IU rumours are but I've not heard anything untoward recently. Of course, investigations are by mgt decree secret and to reveal is to offend but there is one generally known case currently which does not appear to be controversial from what has leaked out. To extrapolate to campaigns of terrorising is a large step. The real problems should not be diluted by a misguided (or perhaps worried) reaction.

Proof of the pudding said...

@Anon

Indeed. Hence why I questioned the information. However, the point still remains that actions aimed at denying access to justice - should the EPO management ever stoop that low - might enable counter (legal) actions on new grounds.

The Shape of Things to come said...

Indeed. Hence why I questioned the information. However, the point still remains that actions aimed at denying access to justice - should the EPO management ever stoop that low - might enable counter (legal) actions on new grounds.

And who, pray tell, will take those counter-actions when there is no longer any SUEPO?
Will YOU step forward to put YOUR head on the block?

Proof of the pudding said...

@The Shape of Things to come

Such cynicism. I can't really blame you, but I won't respond other than to say that I will certainly be doing what I can.

The Shape of Things to come said...

You call it "cynicism". I call it realism.
But at least we now know thanks to Techrights that "the methods used by the EPO’s Investigative Unit compare favourably with Congo-standards."

DSM-5 said...

"Right now the friends of my friends are being ‘disappeared’
Soon it will be my friends’ turn
And then mine (…) " (text from Professor Salman Haider)

At the EPO, several colleagues around me disappeared (suspended and/or dismissed).
We survive with the stress that the next day it could be our turn.
Most of us experience trouble sleeping. I take antidepressants medication.
Last week I saw a colleague crying alone in his office. Another colleague speaks often about suicide. Maybe soon or later he will jump out the window.
The EPO does not recognise psychological stress anymore. The persons who dare to declare themselves in depression or in job burnout are immediatly investigated.
It is a little bit like in the Khmer Rouge prison Camp, the prisoners who dare to complain to be sick were immediatly killed.
At the EPO, of course the investigation unit does not kill a depressed colleague. The investigation officers harass him, threat him of dismissal, do not pay his salary (as it was done to Laurent Prunier).
That is the best way to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Nobody dare to declare a psychological stress anymore.
For the depressed staff member, the best way to survive is to hide that he is depressed to avoid to be harassed by the investigation unit.
I come to work. My doctor advised me to stay home because with the antidepressants medication I take, I'm not able to work. It is true. I can hardly read a document and understand its content.
But do we really need to read and understand? The only point important is to keep a high production to avoid an investigation.
Soon the EPO will look like a psychiatric hospital with a lot of people in great psychological distress granting patents for Europe.
Just missing the doctors to help.

Kilroy was here said...

President Trump has big problems because he seems to have never heard of the separation of powers- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers .
Also President Benoit Battistelli thinks that separation of powers is superfluous. Mr Maas in Germany and Mr Rutte in The Netherlands, but also
the Administrative Council under charman Chinchilla are doing nothing. The are all complicit in the injustices committed by Battistelli and his goons resulting in
depression and suicides of EPO workers.

http://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoon/37155

Anonymous said...

"But at least we now know thanks to Techrights..."

Do you? At least that recurring, disgusting + tasteless (especially towards the victims of that regime) mention of Third Reich atrocities removes all traces of credibility.

@DSM-5: If you're that unhappy, then why do you not resign your job? Or is the cushy remuneration keeping you there? Go on, do tell...

Pain at EPO said...


at DSM-5 said...

Dear colleague,

thanks for your terrible feedback which unfortunately is shared by many EPO staff for the past 36 months. Indeed sick staff (even some under critical chronical sicknesses) are declared fit for work either by administrative staff from DG4 (who have no compentency in OHS) or by external GPs hired at high costs by the EPO and who act unethically (in TH the one acting as external medical advisor is not even registered in the NL to exercise medicine).

Please should you, yourself be in such situation, speak to your staff reps and/or union officials. Have your GP documenting all pressure since the current management methods are nothing else but criminal.

Keep your head up


The Shape of Things to Come said...

"But at least we now know thanks to Techrights..."
Do you? At least that recurring, disgusting + tasteless (especially towards the victims of that regime) mention of Third Reich atrocities removes all traces of credibility.


Well fancy that ...
And there was stupid me thinking that it was the head honcho at the EPO who was the guy who first started throwing around the Nazi smears like confetti at a wedding.

Maybe you didn't catch his "star performance" in front of a committee of the French parliament last March ?
There's a video here:
http://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/autres-commissions/commission-des-affaires-europeennes/secretariat/a-la-une/audition-de-m.-benoit-battistelli-president-de-l-office-europeen-des-brevets

It's all nicely documented under compte rendu 261:
http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/europe/c-rendus/c0261.asp

And what do we hear there:
Mr. Battistelli slandering staff representatives by falsely accusing them of being involved in the distribution of messages with "Nazi symbols and slogans".

Lie to your national parliament?
Use your position to publicly slander your subordinates who you are about to dismiss?
Well why not if you happen to have diplomatic immunity?
Isn't that what it is there for?

And then there was the judge who Battistelli accused of being a Nazi.

It seems to be one of his favorite memes.
Godwin eat your heart out!

I wonder who exactly is lacking all traces of credibility here.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 18:29
What kind of a twisted, cynical and merciless person are you?
Do tell!

@DSM-5
Never give up!

EPOstooge

Anonymous said...

Concerned for DSM-5

@DSM-5

As a Patent Attorney I am shocked and saddened to hear how stressful life is for you and how it is impacting on your health. I am sure that everyone on this blog would agree that your health is more important than anything that is going on at the EPO.

Take care of yourself, and try not to let what is going on around you give you a negative opinion of your own abilities and of yourself. I am glad that you are getting help - but do remember that life and your health is more important than a job.

I do hope things improve.

Mr Blobby said...

I do hope things improve.

Oh don't we all.

However things are unlikely to improve until such time as the invertebrate blobs which seem to populate the Administrative Council these days develop something resembling a backbone and grow a pair and finally manage to stand up to the Bully-Boy-in-chief.

Maybe some day it will finally dawn on them that they appointed him and not the other way around.

But excuse me if I don't hold my breath on that ...

Kilroy was here... said...

Pain at EPO said: (in TH the one acting as external medical advisor is not even registered in the NL to exercise medicine).
This is a crime.A not registered medical advisor is illegal and may be prosecuted.
Here the immunity of the EPO does not help because the medical advisor is wrong.

Inspecteur said...

I read: ¨In TH the one acting as external medical advisor is not even registered in the NL
to exercise medicine.¨ This is a crime. See for example: http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/2941531/man-werkt-jaren-illegaal-als-arts.html
RIJSWIJK - A man who for years has been active as a doctor, was arrested last week by the Health
Inspectorate.After a report on the inspection found that he was not registered in the BIG register,
the compulsory registration system for health professionals with a protected medical title.
Beginning in 2013, he must appear at the criminal court.

sadness said...

I am saddened to read DSM 5 comment, but surprised I am not. We hear such stories and feel this toxic environment everyday we are going at work. Some escape by working more from home (part time home working) others pretend not to care until their friends are affected "and to work as requested to avoid any trouble" as if it would make you immune from investigation unit or the management!
One of the results of the staff survey was that 11% was in psychological distress - that number is growing by the month probably. The EPO is simply blind and deaf to all this. They pretend we are in a comfortable position and better off than elsewhere and the council just does not matter too much. Or they try but the small countries who signed deals with the EPO are happy to vote in favour of new measures.

Kant said...

I see that the EPO considers the Isar building to be at a higher risk than elsewhere

http://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2017/20170214.html

Could this be due to BB having his flat there?

Cynic said...

Kant,
So maybe The Boards are being sent to Haar for their own safety?? How considerate...

Anonymous said...

It took a while to make something out of the bits and pieces of information coming from all parties. I believe that by now I can make a wise guess about the whole picture. It doesn’t look pleasant for the EPO employees.
The EPO is over—recruiting. There’s no work in some departments and yet the directors are “forced” to recruit, as they also have targets to achieve. Strange enough recruited examiners must come from the outside, so internal transfers don’t count for the recruitment target. Old examiners without work and possibility of transfer soon will be hit with warning letters and become under-performers. The most senior examiners must produce more than 100% of the “reference examiner”, whereas the new-comers should produce 80% . It is clear who will go down first. The question was how to get the old guys out of the payroll but this is also taken care for, as there is the “Reserve status” in the Service Regulations. A permanent employee shall be assigned the reserve status if he has became supranumerary.

I would like to question the Administrative Council if they agree with this policy. I would like to ask the Administrative Council if they are willing to deny this and reassure the EPO workers that a major Lay-off is not on the way. I would like to make sure that they know what we foresee and take responsability for their acts and omissions. I would like to tell the Administrative Council that we will always , no matter when or where we are, remind them of what they have agreed to do or by their own volition have done to the EPO and to its’ workers.

Rasputini

Cynic said...

Dear Merpel,
No doubt, given your interest stated above, you will be following the proceedings revealed in http://techrights.org/2017/02/15/claude-rouiller-ilo-and-epo/
Commentary aside, the documents provided show the continued harassment of the staff representatives with, presumably, the threat of disciplinary measures to follow.
For those who have not read the documents or do not know the background, the internal EPO Appeals committee (dealing with staff appeals against EPO decisions) has been held by the ILO-AT as incorrectly formed for a period of years. The response of the AC was to accept a new rule from the President that, in summary, if staff reps did not volunteer to be members, then lots would be drawn. Staff reps, already undermanned, pointed out the infeasibility of this as, by nature of being staff reps, they were usually advising staff filing appeals. To also be on the appeals com (ApC) would of course be a multi conflict of interest since they have client confidentiality and also secrecy involved in the proceedings of the ApC. Nevertheless the President has ignored explicit requests from them not to be part of the ballot and has drawn lots.
We await the outcome but those chosen are in an impossible position and the ILO will almost certainly hear more. What this means for those staff reps is a more pressing concern for us all.

Proof of the pudding said...

Amazing. Monsieur le President finds ever more inventive ways to blame his victims... thereby providing him with a pretext for victimising them even further. I am beginning to think that even Mr Putin could learn a few tricks from this monster.

And to think that the AC does nothing to stop what is going on under their nose. Shameful!

Deja vu all over again said...

Interesting new article over on the Register.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/17/epo_president_ignores_another_formal_rebuke/

I like the comments.

For example:


Re: A question of (lack of) trust?

-- Just to clarify - it's not actually a European organisation.
-- It is not funded by the EU at all

I very carefully didn't mention the EU at all, because I am well aware that it isn't an EU organisation. It is, however, a European one (the clue is in the name: European Patent Organisation) and while it may be funded by the patent applications, the Administrative Council that oversees it, and about which I was commenting, is made up of "representatives of the contracting states" who are most assuredly financed by their respective taxpayers.



Anonymous said...

@ Rasputini
Again and again the rumours abour over recruitment appear.....
Yes there are a few directorates where the stocks are decreasing, but there are many more where the stocks are still increasing.
Overall in the EPO the stocks are very very slowly going down.
With more than one hundred examiners retiring and leaving this year, without recruitment the stocks would increase again next year.
Why is this so hard to understand?
We were shown a simulation which predicts exactly this for our directorate, so also we have to recruit.
It made sense, and shows that there is enough work overall.
It doesn't make me happy that the new examiners do searches while I do much more examination, but it's fair since I have enough!

Anonymous said...

@Rasputini @Techrights
I see my comment has attracted the attention of Dr Roy from Techrights.
The hundred examiners leaving is not a sign of brain drain nor has it anything to do with the current management.
It is simply a result of an aging population and the recruitment policies 30 years ago.
I'll try to explain so that even Dr Roy can follow, should he have a mind willing to understand:
1) we have about 4200 examiners
2) examiners start on average when they are about 30 years old at the EPO
3) the average (pre-) retirement age is currently about 60 years old
4) on average examiners therefore work during 30 years at the EPO
5) on average, 4200/30=140 examiners will therefore retire per year
The 100 current retirements is lower than average since 30 years ago we recruited less. The number will even drop a bit in the next 5 years, then rise up to 200-250.
No magic, no brain drain, no terror management driving people away. Just demography.
And with 200-250 yearly retirements in the near future, no risk of overcapacity at all, quite the contrary I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

30 years ago, the EPO had less than 2000 employees, some of them having been there since the time of the IIB. Normally 1 out of 30 or 40 would reach the retirement age which sums up to a natural turnover lower than 67 per year, all staff included. The actual number of staff leaving is more than twice this number. Statistically speaking, a brain drain at the EPO cannot be denied.

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