Merpel posted a piece last week, entitled "7,000 EPO employees in DE, NL, AT & BE ... plus one in FR?" on the disquiet felt by many members of the patent community concerning the circumstances surrounding the reappointment of Mr Battistelli as President of the EPO.
In her closing remarks Merpel was critical of the silence from the EPO, suggesting that the lack of information from that quarter contributed to everyone's curiosity. She was therefore suitably (and pleasantly) surprised to receive a reply for publication, from the EPO's Principal Director Communications, Oswald Schroeder. This is what he writes, in full:
Normally, at this point, Merpel would give her guest contributor a katpat, but somehow it doesn't seem appropriate when the katpatee is a Principal Director of the EPO. She therefore thanks Oswald for his contribution and looks forward to readers' comments. Adds the IPKat, let's hope that this heralds a new era of fruitful communication between the EPO and the rest of the IP world.The facts about its President are quite simple.At its June meeting, the Administrative Council extended Mr Battistelli's mandate for three years. This reflects the widespread support in the Council and elsewhere for policies aimed at making the EPO and its staff work more efficiently and provide better service. The terms of the President's contract were discussed by the Administrative Council in 2009, before Mr Battistelli's appointment. The attached document setting them out (CA/186/09) was made available at the time to the Administrative Council, to all observer delegations and to all EPO staff. At that time the Council could not publish the document more widely to the general public, because it only adopted a policy on publication of its documents in 2012 - following a proposal from Mr Battistelli to increase transparency.Nevertheless, it was clearly set out in 2009 that the future President's contract would be based on practice for previous incumbents and would contain no bonus, no salary progression and no pension. Equally, there were no provisions for accommodation outside Munich. It was thus within a strictly limited framework that a contract was finalised following Mr Battistelli's election in 2010. The same process was followed this year for his re-election.All in all, the President's total remuneration corresponds to the double of the average examiner wages (page 32 of the recently published Social Report for the year 2013, CA/55/14), a ratio which could certainly stand the comparison with many public institutions or international organizations, let alone the private sector.It is perhaps worth mentioning that Mr Battistelli's political office in St. Germain is a voluntary unpaid non-executive function. It is a matter of public record and predates his candidacy as President of the EPO, a fact well-known to Council members. It is fair to say that his severest critics have never accused him of spending insufficient time and energy on the EPO.Unfortunately, making the EPO work more efficiently and provide better service is not entirely popular with some sections of the staff. And as some of the commentators on your blog have pointed out, the EPO is not a State. It is simply an organisation with a specific public mission. Its policies are directed to and should be judged against fulfilling that mission and not maximising benefits for staff.Should you wish to cross check facts in the future, feel free to contact me. I wish everybody a good summer break.Oswald Schroeder - EPO Spokesperson