Bitch be crazy
Or trying to emulate Trump
Undeterred by staff cutting his brakes, president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoit Battistelli, has now enraged his organization's Boards of Appeal. In a letter [PDF] leaked to The Register, the boards – which act as the EPO's judicial body – make a series of severe criticisms of Battistelli's proposed structural …
Mr. Batistelli was re-elected by a majority of the 38 member states of the European Patent Convention for another term of three years to 2018.
"So, get your mates to set you up in Office, then turn it into a fiefdom."
A fiefdom which (unlike FIFA, EUFA, IOC) gets him diplomatic immunity.
That's the fundamental problem here, else he'd have been arrested and charged with breaching labour laws some time back.
"So who has the power to fire this guy?"
And more importantly, who has the power to fire the guy who has the power to fire this guy, because he clearly hasn't been doing his job by not firing this guy, so he's undeniably either dirty or incompetent, and needs to go along with Mr. Kingie. I'd rather not wait until the guy who has the power to fire the guy who has the power to fire this guy needs firing too for the same offence...
The administrative council (AC) of the EPO have the right to fire the president Article 11 EPC (http://xepc.eu/node/ar11).
The AC comprises members appointed by the contracting states to the EPC Article 26 EPC (http://xepc.eu/node/ar26).
Rumour has it (http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/battistelli-falls-out-with-board-28.html) that the AC is starting to get fed up with Battistelli (but that was some time ago, and I don't recall anything further since then).
Pretty scary stuff this. The EPO agents should have complete autonomy, otherwise the President basically becomes a version of Robert Mugabe (without all the evil things Mugabe has done).
If I had a vote, I'd vote El Presidente out immediately and call for form. Oh, but wait: the EU isn't a democracy ;-)
.. of highlighting all the flaws in the current appointment and employment process.
The only thing left is to test the forced exit procedure, and from what I can read, he's hard at work to ensure he gets to test that too. I just hope he able to sample the exit-in-disgrace process in full instead of forcing a test of business continuity process that should kick in if he's run over by a bus due to failing bike brakes.
Sarcasm aside, I would like to know of the moron who ever approved an operating model like that. It must have been someone who saw this as a nice cushy retirement job. The only flaw in the plan must have been Battistelli not leaving.
Sometimes, a system needs a very strong leader in order to achieve change. The EPO has not been regarded as a pillar of efficiency (either operational or economically) for many years - it was ripe for serious change. The employees were largely regarded as taking the piss since they couldn't effectively be fired, or made to do what they are paid to do - partly because of the very strong union, and partly because of the necessary independence the EPO has been granted (without it, whichever country it was based in would have significant power over the body relative to other countries). Battistelli was appointed with the intention to significantly improve the way the body works - and it was known that he would have a very difficult job on his hands right from the start, since hell hath no fury like a civil servant who is being told to change their working practices.
What is interesting is that the union and employees have won the publicity battle, to the extent that criminal damage that could (unlikely, but possible) have led to death or injury is being commented on with approval - at least on some of the threads here on El Reg. I know that we tend, as a group, to be a little bit anti-establishment, but the surely the wrong establishment is being supported - the staff trying to protect their inefficient working-practices are the bad ones, not the guy who is trying to change things through centralising the decision-making process.
No doubt some things did need changing...... to a certain extent. However, the sheer scale of changes that BB has introduced, and at the speed that they have been implemented, is plain ridiculous. Not to mention illegal; may things introduced are illegal under European/National law, but not under EPO law. House arrest because you are ill; check. Illicit investigation and spurious prosecution of Union reps; check. Suppression of the right to strike; check. Disregard national court decisions which go against you; check. Increase production targets by a stupid amount whilst forcing examiners to use woefully poor, highly inefficient and ineffective, and badly implemented software; check. Ruin the career to such an extent that we can't recruit new examiners; check.
Not quite sure how you came to the conclusion that "The employees were largely regarded as taking the piss since they couldn't effectively be fired, or made to do what they are paid to do". That is both inaccurate and insulting, and based on no "evidence". In my experience, the vast majority of the staff (myself included) take the job very seriously, and spend a lot of time trying to come to the right decision about an application. Unfortunately, there's a strong feeling that higher management doesn't want us to do that; it's all about us earning "points", and the quicker the better... That does not serve applicants, or the public.
Although the EPO have not been the fastest at getting examination reports out, they are generally very good at what they do: I still hold them as the gold standard of patent examination worldwide (source :I am a patent attorney who regularly deals with US, JP, CN, EP and UK patent offices).
It is very easy to be fast if you are willing to let standards slip - i.e. grant invalid patents.
There is always the option to accelerate (under PACE) when they are slow.
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