back to article Euro Patent Office ignores ruling and refuses entry to vindicated judge

Despite having conclusively won two tribunals and been publicly supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) demanding his immediate reinstatement, on Thursday patent judge Patrick Corcoran was refused entry to the European Patent Office's (EPO) headquarters. At an extraordinary public meeting in Geneva yesterday, …

  1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sanctions?

    What are the sanctions going to be?

    If the ILO have no power to impose sanctions then they are pissing in the wind.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions?

      From a quick google search, it would appear that the proceedure is thus:-

      Article 33

      Failure to carry out recommendations of Commission of Inquiry or ICJ

      1. In the event of any Member failing to carry out within the time specified the recommendations, if any, contained in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, or in the decision of the International Court of Justice, as the case may be, the Governing Body may recommend to the Conference such action as it may deem wise and expedient to secure compliance therewith.

      In the case of forced labour in Myanmar they suspended Myanmar's participation so they couldn't come to ILO meetings anymore and wrote lots of memo's asking member nations to review their relations with said country.

      . . . I'm not convinced that this is going to have much effect on the EPO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctions?

        "In the event of any Member"

        The EPO isn't a member. Or part of a member state!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sanctions?

      Told you so yesterday. The EPO is not a member of the ILO and is judicially independent from any member state. The unionised German jobs worths here are not going to get anything.

      1. mine'saHalf

        Re: Sanctions?

        "Told you so yesterday. The EPO is not a member of the ILO and is judicially independent from any member state. The unionised German jobs worths here are not going to get anything."

        Told us what precisely? Oh yes, that you know nothing, and understand even less. What an idiot!!

  2. veti Silver badge

    Sources?

    It seems to me that El Reg's reporting on this topic has been a mite one-sided. That's not to say it's wrong, just that it leaves a lot of questions...

    Speaking from a position of total ignorance, I'm wondering why (a) I haven't seen any other coverage in any other forum, and (b) there is no mention of soliciting comment from the EPO hierarchy. What it looks like is that either Mr Corcoran or one of his friends has been passing the story directly to El Reg, which is then reporting it as objective, unvarnished fact - from, for some reason, its US office.

    I'm thinking that a quality news outlet would, by now, have revealed its sources, or at least explained why it wasn't doing so. And don't try to pretend that you stumbled across the story while routinely monitoring the proceedings of the ILO, because I won't believe you.

    1. Schultz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Speaking from a position of total ignorance ...

      you might want to read up on the background of the story before making ignorant comments. Otherwise what is your point? Are you disappointed that 'a quality news outlet' doesn't share your ignorance?

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Sources?

      Thanks for your aggressive queries.

      I had three separate sources confirming what happened earlier today.

      I don't know whether you've been following events at the EPO, but for several years its management has been aggressively investigating and disciplining staff that criticize its president or his reform plans. As a result, people aren't all that keen on having their names published.

      As for the ILO decisions, the organisation put out a news alert and a special announcement that it would be revealing the results of 8 cases a month earlier and in pubic. It said 5 of those 8 were about the EPO. It also live streamed the meeting on YouTube.

      I found out about both these events because I am a journalist and that is what I do for a living.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sources?

        @kierenmccarthy

        "a month earlier and in pubic."

        Teeheehee.

    3. WatAWorld

      Re: Sources?

      "I'm thinking that a quality news outlet would, by now, have revealed its sources, "

      Quality news outlets do not reveal sources.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sources?

      You have heard of the internet, right? It can be a great place to LOOK THINGS UP!

    5. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Sources?

      "I'm thinking that a quality news outlet would, by now, have revealed its sources, or at least explained why it wasn't doing so."

      His name's Deep Throat. Good enough for you?

    6. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Sources?

      You're Benoit Battistelli and I claim my £5!

    7. anothercynic Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Sources?

      @veti, a *quality* news organisation is *UNDER NO OBLIGATION* to reveal its sources. END OF.

      You may want to read up on how journalism works. And don't try to pretend that you know how journalism works, because I (and others) won't believe you*.

      I'll downvote myself on your behalf.

      * said as someone who works in media

    8. Bakker

      Re: Sources?

      Internal EPO rules compel the accused not to be identified - even by himself. Any statement by the accused would itself be a disciplinary offence by him (or her, since we weren’t allowed to know). In fact, it was only statements by EPO top mgt which made any of this even known to his colleagues - he wasn’t allowed to tell his colleagues (which makes gathering evidence for the defence somewhat difficult). To discuss or identify him would not have helped him. Mgt meanwhile published their allegations as fact. Hence, you didn’t hear anything because it was basically under order not to make it known.

  3. ratfox Silver badge

    The EU needs to have some way of forcing its institutions to behave. This is ridiculous. From what I understand, there's even a committee that does have the power to remove Battistelli, and they're doing nothing, probably because they want to preserve the independence of the patent office. I guess they're just going to wait until his ten is over...

    Thankfully, there's little chance that the next guy will be quite as bad as this one. Knock on wood.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure this has been covered many times before, but the European Patent Organisation is not an EU body but is a separate legal entity. It was established under the European Patent Convention of 1973, and while all EU members are signed up to it there are a number of non-EU members as well among the 38 in total.

      1. WatAWorld

        "I'm thinking that a quality news outlet would, by now, have revealed its sources,"

        Good, because the ILO is not an EU body either. The ILO is the UN body delegated by the UN to deal with labour disputes.

        "The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The EU needs to have some way of forcing its institutions to behave."

      The EU hired this guy to sort the place out. The are likely ecstatic at the results.

      "From what I understand, there's even a committee that does have the power to remove Battistelli, and they're doing nothing, probably because they want to preserve the independence of the patent office."

      No, because he is doing rather well exactly what they hired him to do.

      1. BoldMan

        Lets all play "Spot the Battistelli shill"... oh there you are, I claim my £5!!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          > Lets all play "Spot the Battistelli shill"

          Whilst the schill is fairly transparent there's no disagreement that the EPO did need some cleanup, which is what he was hired to do.

          What he _ACTUALLY_ did was create his own personal fiefdom, ejecting all objectors and along the way severely damaging the EPO's reputation for impartiality and ability to reject prior art.

          1. Alistair
            Windows

            @Alan Brown:

            You have one of my rare upvotes. I'm almost inclined to create a dozen temporary ElReg accounts to add some more upvotes.

        2. Alistair
          Windows

          @ BoldMan:

          "Lets all play "Spot the Battistelli shill"... oh there you are, I claim my £5!!"

          allow me to be a tad bolder:

          "Lets all play "Spot the Battistelli shill"... oh there you are, I claim my £5!!

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        The EU didn't hire him. The Administrative Council, which is comprised of ministers of representative countries (including EU members), did.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Thankfully, there's little chance that the next guy will be quite as bad as this one. "

      Unfortunately, taking that attitude could result in him being much worse.

      It happens with management and with systems (which is how oracle manage to get their fucking unusable financial crap in to replace systems that are merely difficult to use)

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      @ratfox, the EPO is not an EU body. Just like CERN is not. The difference with CERN though is that it has scientists as management who believe in cooperation and who, for the sake of expediency, comply with French and Swiss laws when it comes to much of their physical manifestations (like buildings, and the regulations that apply to them).

    5. Graham 25

      The guy should turn up with a couple of friendly policemen in tow and the minute he is refused access, the police should arrest and handcuff anyone who stops the guy.

      Start with the security oik and when he says he has been told to do it, go arrest the person who issued the instruction. Cart them off to a holding cell and remind them that if they repeat it, then they will be arrested again.

      Proceed ad finitum until the cops run out of handcuffs and the organisation gets the hnt.

      1. Bakker

        Except... the EPO buildings are inviolable so any police raid would lead to a call from the EPO to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for back-up. Could lead to a stand-off. And don’t forget BB has personal bodyguards.

    6. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      > Thankfully, there's little chance that the next guy will be quite as bad as this one.

      Robert Mugabe is available...

  4. WatAWorld

    Does the ILO's court have the ability to hand out contempt of court rulings and fines?

    Does the ILO's court have the ability to hand out contempt of court rulings, fines and to jail those individual persons who ignore or unduly delay enacting its rulings? You know, like real courts can do.

    If so, then now is the time it is the time for the ILO's court to start putting individual people in jail until the obey its rulings.

    Benoit Battistelli

    Benoit Battistelli's blindly obedient servant, the head of the EPO's security*

    And if that doesn't do it, then next week the EPO's executive committee

    * Since when did, "I'm just doing what my boss told me to do" justify refusing to obey a court order?

    1. Bakker

      Re: Does the ILO's court have the ability to hand out contempt of court rulings and fines?

      I thought the procedure was that the recipient of the decision could go to the national court to enforce it. In that case the immunity of the organisation would not apply. I could be wrong. Of course the EPO has won a case before the Dutch Supreme Court which was partly based on the EPO’s recognition of the ILO as being a legitimate source of justice for the staff (contrary to the staff’s assertion to the practical application of the right). Failure to apply the ILO decision could well bring that decision back to the table, particularly as the staff Union is currently appealing it to the higher European court for human rights. Ultimately it may rely on the national government (Germany, country of the EPO Chairman) taking steps with regard to the immunity. A ridiculous diplomatic conflict may ensue?

      For the want of a nail...

    2. John G Imrie

      I'm just doing what my boss told me to do

      aka 'I was only following orders'

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    New challenge

    Battistelli is probably holding out for a new challenge. The UN could appoint him to bring peace and harmony to the Middle East.

    With him there, the warring factions will naturally join forces and there will be some sort of peace

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: New challenge

      The UN could appoint him to bring peace and harmony to the Middle East.

      They could crown him King of Jerusalem, that should go down well with all parties.

      1. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: New challenge

        @Alister:

        "They could crown him King of Jerusalem, that should go down well with all parties."

        I rather suspect that DT is hoping for that title, however I suspect that he will be equally disappointed.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          King of Jerusalem

          I rather suspect that DT is hoping for that title

          You do not understand Donald Trump at all.

          He intends to create a position named "Trump of Trumprulsalem", and be anointed that.

  6. Slx

    Ireland has to have a referendum on this patent court and granting if jurisdiction as it clashes with our constitution.

    I'll be thinking long ana hard about what I'll be voting for, that's for sure.

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