* Posts by Bakker

24 posts • joined 23 Nov 2016

Now Europe's largest trade union squeezes Euro Patent Office's pips




You may have overlooked the "2018" decisions which were published early in December 2017 because they wgere of great importance. The session in January was only Part 2 of the session which was from 2017. Needless to say those other decisions were in favour of staff and in a significant way with regard to the unfair practices.

With regard to comparing tribunals, it would seem strange that any tribunal would not be 50-50 in decisions if they are limited to difficult or unclear cases in basically fair internal systems. 75% success is rather disturbing.

With regard to ILO, this had to be s seen in the light of the Council of Europe investigation which has identified problems. The ILO is purely an administrative tribunal which acts to check procedures rather than equity. Dismissals are often as a result of procedural interpretations e.g. the cases you mention include dismissing requests for a company to return private property as the request cannot be heard until the company has completely finished all disciplinary dteps (which have now been ongoing for years). In that case the appellant had no other means to make a request (civil law in the country concerned is not applicable).

With a little deeper analysis, you may appreciate that threeILO is a weak justice system which cannot equate to national law. Unfortunately.

Euro Patent Office ignores ruling and refuses entry to vindicated judge


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.


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.


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...

Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'



There seems to be a couple of misunderstandings here.

BB has not just become deputy mayor, he has been for a long time. Indeed I think he is not councillor/deputy mayor for the district but is also elected at the next level up.

However, EPO staff are allowed to take up representative positions (whether this applies to contracted and senior staff I do not know) but in my day if elected a staff member could ask for (unpaid?) leave to perform elected duties.

Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein


Sense of proportion

Point of order. She wasn’t blocked from tweeting because of her slamming of W, but (according to your article) because of the actual content of her tweet(s). While Twitter’s info to her initially was less than useful in identifying the problem (other articles thought that it was a separate tweet of hers which told someone to F off in a more complete form of that profanity) it’s difficult to see that she was being silenced in order to somehow protect W which is the implication here.

European Patent Office's document churning snatches Germany's attention: 'We are concerned about quality'


The EPA did have (still does?) a quality audit department which were independent examiners who controlled the actual output for quality - should it really have been granted etc. The figures e're only for internal use and were disputed and massaged. But they weren't good. BB never talks about them.

European Patent Office staff rep blames prez for 'slipping quality'


Re: why don't you fight to acquire some new rights ?

Lucky you. At the EPO there are no rights allowed - everything is at management diktat cos of immunity from local courts.


Should be interesting when the UPC means hearings for you before national courts/judges who may have differing levels of competence/experience/approach. Not sure what the interpreting rules will be.


Not this rubbish again? The EPO is self-funded from fees for its work. The member states pay nothing at all. In fact they receive a share of renewal fees and various services from the EPO for free.

German court reveals reason for Europe-wide patent system freeze


Re: Truth, good story etc...

Yes and no. Under Battistelli the EPO has been a driving force and is, for example, training the judges who will be patent courts in each member state. While it is an EU patent, the EU has little or no in-house knowledge. Without the EPO the system would be a non-starter.

Yet more reform efforts at the Euro Patent Office, and you'll never guess what...


Re: As someone who voted Remain

In fact there is a required 5-yearly inter-governmental conference, the requirement having been introduced in the 2000 EPC reform which came into effect in 2007. The administrative council, led by Battistelli's Danish friend, has however deemed such a conference unnecessary and the members have failed to enforce their own law.

Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes


Re: "seize private property" ?

Wrong. The contract we signed has been unilaterally changed. And as we don't like it, we appeal to him. Who refers it to himself for a second opinion. You can guess what happens. We appeal to the ILO and they say he has followed his rules (which he has set) so that's OK. The ILO is an admistrative tribunal - it only decides if the rules have been correctly applied. He gets the AC to change the rules by applying the correct procedure (usually) so that's ok.


Re: Just say no?

He would make an example of some. He has already fired union reps, against the AC's instructions, so that if I strike I will effectively be getting a colleague who represents me the sack but not myself. You don't have to punish me to cause me to not strike


Re: "seize private property" ?

He can authorise his staff to seize property e.g. laptops and is entitled to ask/demand local authorities to assist, according to the seat agreement. You may wish to check WIPO Gurry and Swiss authorities for the application of thus.

In any case, failure to comply with such a request from him would be a disciplinary offence on its own and thus liable to sanctions decided by guess who??

Euro Patent Office reforms hit another stumbling block: Reality



Minor correction about your comment on quality metrics - there are 2 metrics at EPO which give different figures. The "99%" is the the new one which is self-reckoned. The "85-88" figure comes from an internal auditing sample and is still being done in parallel. Neither are revealed externally or officially.

The 99% system had problems, as you say, with some departments having 100% quality (despite the 85-88 finding still existing) which made VP1 point out that it wasn't possible (in his opinion). Solution? Departments now aim to report an acceptable level of failure. Too little is suspicious, too much is bad. Simple. Set the target figure you want and staff will give you that figure. Because the 85-88 figure (and that is a generous figure I understand) is produced by semi-independent people it's less easy to game the system. Hence the difference in numbers. But both run in parallel

PS And maybe both figures are wrong??

Effort to fire Euro Patent Office president beaten back – again


Re: Not taken for granted

Number of applications is a dodgy statistic which includes some formal applications in China which never proceed due to no fee being paid. You need the lower figure of applications which ever come to the EPO. Granting more doesn't mean better performance. The Americans used to grant almost all and that was criticised (rightly) for being too easy. There is a balance between rejecting some and granting some based on whether they meet the criteria. The danger is to too easily drop standards to grant more.

Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe


Re: Answer

Out of interest. Didn't Facebook solicit these photos to be sent to them? After they had been told of the content??

Congratulations IBM for 'inventing' out-of-office email. You win Stupid Patent of the Month



Sorry to spoil your fun, but did anyone actually read the patent rather than start a rant? In fact the patent doesn't protect "out off office emails". What it protects is a system which notes when a user says they will be away - start date, end date and a message. This is normally activated by the user in advance. Between that time and the start time, the system will send a message attached to any email giving this data. In fact the process is that the computer checks whether the current time is between activation time and absence start time (and not after start time!) and that the recipient had not already received such a message and then send out a message to say in advance that the writer will be absent in the future from x to y.

Out of office systems normally work while the first person is away. This is an automated advance warning system which attached the message to an email i. e. by the way the writer is going to be away for these days - useful if you plan to reply later rather than directly.

Euro Patent Office staff plead for third time to get rid of Battistelli


OK. And:

7. Staff are concerned that a suicide on-site could not be investigated by Dutch authorities (immunity!).

8. A member of the Boards of Appeal (a judge so to speak) has been suspended for 2 years (s/he is not allowed to say why but the top management have made particular negative statements to the press concerning the person which are not part of the case, it seems). Internal bodies have not supported the President's actions but the member is still suspended on reduced pay.

9. The Administrative Council have urged and "stressed" that the President should involve them or independent judges in disciplinary cases involving elected staff representatives. He has still dismissed one since that, without informing the AC in advance.

10. Public computers at the EPO were discovered to be being monitored by software, seemingly contrary to Bavarian law.

11. Staff's contracts of employment (and future pensions) have been unilaterally altered with no consultation.

12. In all disciplinary matters the committee recommends but the President decides irrespective. Under the committee formed by the EPO, judged deficient by the ILO, the proportion of successful appeals by staff has hit rock bottom.


Re: Where's the beef?

Where to begin...

1. Staff elected representatives. The EPO decided a new system was better and organis ed it's own vote half way through the year, with different rules. The same people were elected basically but now they are under the direct control of the head of HR.

2. Three elected members have since been dismissed. Another has been demoted. We don't know why. It is a disciplinary offence to reveal why or even that you are subject to disciplinary proceedings. Others are rumoured to be also threatened.

3. The EPO recognises a union with about 50 members (out of ca. 6900 staff). The union of ca. 3000 members is not.

4. The staff must ask the EPO if it (the EPO) will agree to organise a strike ballot. The EPO has said no on occasions but the ballot is organised according to the EPO's rules - no communication to staff is allowed. The staff still voted overwhelmingly for a strike.

5. The Dutch High Court declared that the staff did not have the rights according to the UNHRC. The EPO declared immunity and ignored it (but also appealed - to a court it will ignore...).

6. The ILO-AT has just decided that the current appeals system at the EPO is not legal (since 2014). All decisions should be re- done as the EPO chose the staff representatives themselves. The EPO had demoted the two previous representatives for their attempt to have a fair syste.

... will I go on....

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



Minor correction - he isn't planning to limit his selection to staff committee members, he actually states that it will be from all eligible staff members (you seem to quote from an old document). So his scope for finding 'the right sort' is broader and almost limitless. No need to pick someone with general staff support.

Euro Patent office staff call again for King Battistelli regicide



The requirement of silence is not part of a contract of employment. It arises from disciplinary rules introduced by the EPO somewhat recently. It is designed to prevent alleged victims being identified and eventually subsequently mobbed or harassed. The accused is very limited in what he or she can reveal - in practise nothing. Thus fellow staff members will no nothing of any ongoing disciplinary procedures.


Frank ly,

Mr Prunier will be appealing so has to follow the rules. Additionally, the EPO will be paying a pension which can still be reduced based on disciplinary matters such as revealing details of his own case.


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