back to article Need a change? Well, the Euro Patent Office needs a new president...

The European Patent Office has formally advertised for a new president, marking a cut-off date for its controversial president Benoit Battistelli. The news comes as bittersweet relief to staff at the EPO, who have gone on strike twice in the past week over the latest set of reform efforts pushed by Battistelli and approved by …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    WOT! You mean he hasn't done a Mugabi

    and made himself president for life? He certainly seems to be slipping up.

    Those staff that remain will certainly cheer when he leaves office. But where will he go then? What other bunch of unlucky Eurocrats will he wreak havoc on next? President of the Commission perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WOT! You mean he hasn't done a Mugabi

      Luckily enough, the EPO not being related to the EU, we can be reasonably sure they'll refrain from hiring him now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WOT! You mean he hasn't done a Mugabi

      He has done what they hired him for and sorted out the staff and unions - and seems to have done a great job.

      We need to get him over here with a similar remit to sort out our tube and train drivers...

  2. wyatt

    If these sort of changes are passed it shows that it isn't just the top that is rotten. What a toxic place to have to work at..

    1. I am the liquor

      Given that the administrative council appears to be solidly backing Battistelli, it does seem that he is not the only problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Given that the national representatives are clearly listed on EPO site, and I'm sure there are commentards from each European nation represented in EPO - it's not really that difficult to send an email to your national EPO rep and ask what the hell is going on!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "it does seem that he is not the only problem."

        The problem was the work ethic and the unions. That's why he was hired....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the penthouse suite....

    Is it included as a benefit?

  4. cs94njw

    If they can't even fire a dictator in a European-run company, how the heck are we supposed to deal with dictators of countries??

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > a European-run company

    Which one?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His Days Are Numbered

    Yes, I keep reading that every week or so.

    Numbered as the sands on the shore, perhaps?

  7. phuzz Silver badge

    I know he's claiming that as it's an international organisation, they're immune from local laws, but that's bollocks right? Surely any organisation has to adhere to the labour laws of the country they're employing people in?

    I suppose they can just refuse to pay up even if an employment tribunal finds them guilty of (eg) withholding pay.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Not really

      The EPO is a bit of a weird one in that all countries participating agreed that it would remain outside the jurisdiction of one specific country, lest it give the country the EPO settled in some form of legislative control over the organisation, possibly forcing it to rule in it's favour. This means the EPO staff does not fall under Dutch labour laws. This has already been tested in court.

      Given the support Batistelli seems to have in the higher levels of management (these latest approved "reforms" are again a blatant power grab and method to silence critics) I doubt things will improve with a new president. The only way they are ever going to fix this is for the new president to immediately throw out all this bullshit Batistelli put in place and put some proper independent oversight comittees in place. Otherwise they'll just be swapping "Great Leader" for "Dear Leader".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "any organisation has to adhere to the labour laws . . ."

      It would be nice to think so, but the European Institutions have effective and legal immunity from such mundane things as local laws.

      In Luxembourg, there are many EU Institutions and many, many eurocrats working in them. I will not go into listing the various advantages these people have (special tax-free supermarkets, no income tax, . . .), but a few years ago there was a review of hiring policy and now EU Institutions in Luxembourg are offering new entry-level positions at less than than the Luxembourg Minimum Wage index.

      Nothing can be done against that by the Luxembourg government.

      Anon for obvious reasons.

      1. mesaka

        Re: "any organisation has to adhere to the labour laws . . ."

        I'm not going to defend the European Institutions laws / staff rules - I will remark though that all of these Institutions mandates are created and approved by each of the Member States Governments - its therefore also a national responsibility to correct things if they are not fit for purpose! In the case of ridding the IPO, which is not an EU Institution, of its leader it seems the same is true. With the exception of a few honorable exceptions the responsible administrations are not living up what I would expect their electorates to demand from them.

        Also its incorrect to say that EU bureaucrats don't pay tax - they don't pay tax in the Member State they work in but they do pay an EU income tax - However, in the case of the IPO which is not an EU entity, it may be that no income tax is paid.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "any organisation has to adhere to the labour laws . . ."

          It's like FIFA. There are a large number of member states which can be (and were) bribed and threatened into compliance with the President's agenda. Yes, a few member states may have objected but they are vastly outnumbered by the others. FIFA wrongdoing was eventually exposed because football is interesting to the press. International civil servants are not, and are often caricatured as "privileged". Yes, they are well paid, but many politicians, academics, consultant physicians, business people, lawyers, etc etc are paid even better (even after tax), can live in their home countries and enjoy the protection of their laws and of human rights treaties to which their country is a signatory. No-one would suggest that at a certain level of pay they have been bought out of the protection of the law, would they? But this is implicit in many comments about the plight of employees of the EPO and other IOs.

  8. Curtis

    I will apply and stress my intentions to implement a US style patent system. It works for the US and the rest of the modern world should accede to our ways.

    Oh, did I miss the [sarcasm] tag?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where do I apply?

    Sounds like a great job - good salary/benefits and almost unlimited power so I can't be fired if I don't actually do any work so instead of working I can regularly berate people for no reason.

    Trump has the above job in the US until 2020, but the EPO job opens up sooner, has fewer checks and balances than the US President and probably pays more too! As a bonus instead of fighting the NYT and CNN I'd only have to worry about El Reg.

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