back to article Fresh Euro Patent Office drama: King Battistelli fires union boss

President of the European Patent Office Benoit Battistelli has fired a key member of his organization's staff union despite being explicitly told not to by the EPO's Administrative Council. Laurent Prunier was secretary of SUEPO (Staff Union of the European Patent Office) and a member of its central staff committee, and is one …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Concrete Decision

    Pity this union can't take a leaf out of one of the old style American unions.

    By now Batistelli would have a supporting role in a motorway bridge.

    I am amazed that the Administative Council haven't fired the sod and had him escorted from the premises.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Concrete Decision

      It should read: He would have been a cornerstone of the organization...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Concrete Decision

      I am amazed that the Administative Council haven't fired the sod and had him escorted from the premises.

      Welcome to democracy, EU-style.

      1. Paul Hampson 1

        Re: Concrete Decision

        The EPO is not an EU organisation, nor are its Headquarters in Brussels.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

    He's acting with impunity. Sounds like he has immunity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

      Yes, that's what I was wondering.

      That said, their HQ is in Brussels, which is as far as I know a hive of corruption only rivalled by some lesser known dictatorial African states - it wouldn't exactly be a surprise if he had dirt on someone.

      The problem is that such dirt only works up to a point - as far as I can tell, the point of no return has well been passed with this guy so now you get the questions. From what I've seen reported, the guy's conduct is so beyond appalling that you would now be right to ask why they don't throw him out on his ear. There's also the question if kicking out a union rep is not a violation of local law, but I have no idea if they're even under local law. As far as I know, people like him are ultra keen to crawl under the blanket of diplomatic status, also because it reduces their tax burden to zero..

      1. Uberseehandel

        Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

        You are full of it - you don't even know where the EPO is.

      2. Paul Hampson 1

        Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

        That said, the EPO HQ is in Brussels

        No, its not, EPO HQ is in Munich and the administrative board has no separate HQ.

        The EPO is not an EU body and represents a number of non-EU countries including Switzerland and Turkey.

    2. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

      Well, he does have immunity, since EPO is quasi-sovereign organization. Only an agreement of all EU member states could depose him.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

        Only an agreement of all EU member states could depose him.

        The EPO predates the EU by almost 20 years, and has 38 members, EU members + many others.

        1. Bronek Kozicki

          Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

          @Phil Ah yes, thanks for the correction

    3. P. Lee

      Re: Exactly what does he know about the members of the Admin Council?

      >He's acting with impunity. Sounds like he has immunity.

      Or he was brought in to do a hatchet job no-one else was willing to do.

      Often someone is brought in to do an unpleasant job and then they leave too. The idea is that hopefully, much of the ill-will they bring from doing the job leaves with them.

  3. Notas Badoff

    Basta!, buster and board alike

    It sounds like 'disrepute' is accumulating on the EPO to the degree that the Administrative Council should fire Battistelli for that cause, shortly before they all resign for the same cause. They have all lost face.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unofficial but still

    Long live the European project!

  5. isogen74

    You have to wonder ...

    ... what skeletons he knows about, given that he's lost all ability to influence the staff he is supposed to be leading, especially given that this has been rumbling on for years ...

  6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Re: King Battistelli

    Make that 'Duce'.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: King Battistelli

      Make that 'Duce'.

      Historically (do we like to admit it or not) fascist governments have had public support in their countries. Let's face it - populist ideas like "kick all foreigners out", "work only for locals", "this judge dared to apply the law, let's lynch him" have much stronger appeal than democracy, rule of law and/or fundamental freedoms. Anyone who disagrees with this statement can have a look at the front pages of the Volkischer Beobachter, Express and Sun this week.

      So from that perspective, I do not see the likelihood between the Duce (which like most fascists had significant public support for decades in his country) and Batistelli whose public support in EPO is somewhere around 0.

      1. PNGuinn
        Pint

        Re: King Battistelli

        There is a fundamental difference, Voland:

        In fascist / socialist states the only ones who can safely spout against things are the ruling elite or their pet parrots, and that is usually followed by repression.

        What we saw in the UK this week was a series of angry comments / rants from various sources, many of whom could hardly be called part of the "Establishment", AGAINST part of the "Establishment".

        And those sections of the media are still freely publishing.

        Personally, I would have preferred more serious and considered analysis of the legal options, rather than vitriol. There are serious legal issues at issue, these need to be carefully examined and discussed.

        Unfortunately, the nation is not being served well by journalism these days. Possibly it's got the press it wants and deserves. If so that's frightening - A strong, independent, honest press is vital to help safeguard our freedoms.

        It would appear that the root cause of the current fracas is the inability of Davie Mcshiny and his administration to pass clear legislation. Whether deliberately or through incompetence is left as an exercise for the reader ...

        Unfortunately, the nation is not being served well it's politicians these days. Possibly it's got the "leaders" it wants and deserves. If so that's frightening ...

        In a free society is right and necessary that court decisions should be open to examination and comment, but it behoves everyone to do this in a way which is both critical and respectful.

        In our society we have a long history of usually peaceful critical analysis and protest, which has bought us the freedoms we hold today. How dearly do we really hold them? Inevitably the line between that and anarchy and subversion is not always clearly drawn and It behoves us all to be always vigilant - including trying to analyse the motives behind deeply held views, including our own.

        The situation in the EPO is what occurs when, for whatever reason, someone or some organisation or government is able to set themselves above the law and become unaccountable.

        Which situation is far to common in the EU, and is, I suggest, why so many people, in spite of rather than because of the propaganda from both sides during the referendum, seeing no realistic chance of reform, voted to leave.

        Which may be why passions run so high.

        >> You'll need one after parsing the penultimate sentence above >>

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: King Battistelli

          There is a fundamental difference, Voland:

          That is yet to be seen.

          It took 2 years during which the media was still freely publishing and before the Reichstag act in Germany.

          It took 4 years and two elections before Mussolini had sufficient power to restrict the freedom of the press.

          It took nearly 10 years, two coups and several elections until Kimon Georgiev added the restrictions on the press to the Law of the protection of the state.

          I do not grok Hungarian to look that one up, but I bet that was the case there too.

          Fascism does not rise in a day and "the nation not being served by journalism" is the first step there. It took 10 years for the Volkischer Beobachter to swing the public opinion to a point where Hitler could win the elections. Daily Mail tried to do that too once already too - it has history and form in being a fascist rag. It failed that time. I personally hope it fails again, but with the country prime minister quoting from the Mein Kampf and supporting the newspapers which call to lynch anyone opposing her this does not seem likely.

  7. GrapeBunch

    Not funny, outside of a small circle of friends

    The skit would have a board member say: "I don't want to lose fass". That's an understandable mispronunciation of "I don't want to lose face" for somebody whose main knowledge of English is through the written word. O Patent Office. The possible humour lies in the confusion with: "You bloody well *should* want to lose farce", as well as "loose fascist". It should end in a fass plant.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For Info - EPO is not an EU institution

    It services Europe as a geographical entity - this is why its membership extends beyond the EU (e.g. Turkey). Read comments above in light of this.

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