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Monday, 9 March 2015

REVEALED: EPO Boards of Appeal reform plan Part III - Merpel's comments

Lack of transparency can lead
to some pretty scary consequences ...
Merpel understands that, on Tuesday 10 March [or, to put it another way, tomorrow], the Boards of Appeal (unclear exactly who, but perhaps the members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the Association of Members of the Boards of Appeal) will meet with the President of the EPO and the Chairman of the Administrative Council to discuss these proposals (presumably any members having Oral Proceedings on that day being excluded).  According to the Calendar of the EPO there is a meeting of Board 28 on the same day. This does not seem to give much time to consider such far-reaching proposals.  Indeed, the whole procedure is characterised by lack of consultation, or transparency.  The whole thing seems completely rushed, since the Administrative Council seems to be supposed to approve the principles of the proposal in its meeting on 25/26 March 2015, according to the Timeline in Annex 1.

On the face of it the proposals go some way to addressing the problems of lack of autonomy that have caused so much uproar recently.  For example, making the President of the Boards of Appeal (new position) who is also the Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, responsible for much of the management of the Boards (see para 15) is to be welcomed.  It is in accordance with R19/12 that this person is not a Vice President of the EPO.  It is also to be welcomed that the President of the Boards of Appeal will assume from the President of the EPO the right to propose appointment of BoA members and propose reappointment (to the Administrative Council) (see para 19).

But on thinking further and digging deeper (not that there has been much time to do either), Merpel has the following concerns:

(1) There is a conflation of autonomy and efficiency.  These are entirely separate issues and it is not advisable to lump them together.

(2) There is a plain desire to avoid any amendment of the EPC.  However, such an amendment would give proper opportunity for debate, consideration and consultation.  Avoiding any amendment gives the impression of a botched job done for convenience.

(3) The proposal goes a considerable way to separate the Boards of Appeal from the rest of the management structure of the EPO.  However, it replaces this with a new President and a new Committee, which is not composed of members of the Boards themselves.  On the face of it, this does not actually look very autonomous.

(4) The budget for the Boards of Appeal is submitted to the President of the EPO (para 21).  There is clearly a danger that the budget will be used as an means of indirect control, since the Boards clearly cannot be self-financing through appeal fees (just as the EPO is not self-financing through procedural fees but is reliant on renewal fees).

The perception
of independence?
(5) There is too much emphasis on "perception of independence" (the expression is used six times) whereas the proposal should be concerned with actual independence.

(6) Related to the perception is the completely unnecessary proposal that Boards should move to a new premises.  This is folly.  If they move to Berlin there is a danger that a substantial number of members will not move, and the already highly depleted cadre will fall so low in members that quality will suffer, backlogs will increase, and in recruiting new members the institutional abilities will be forgotten.  Another premises in Munich is an unnecessary waste of money.  there is already sufficient physical separation with the Boards in Bob-van-Benthem-Platz, where first instance divisions do not operate.

There is much criticism of the Boards for the current number of pending cases and time taken to a decision.  This is a bit rich, given that, as reported by Merpel here, the EPO President has been systematically reducing the manpower of the Boards by refusing to recruit new members to replace retired members, and renominate existing members on expiry of their five-year term until the very end of that term is in sight.  On the topic of efficiency, a kind reader conducted an analysis of the statistics quoted in Annex 2 to the proposals, and, since Merpel cannot find fault with the reasoning, takes the liberty of reproducing it.
First, some figures are provided on the number of cases handled by the BOA and their duration. This bit isn't too problematic.
But the latter part is a misleading comparison is made with the CJEU and the Bundespatentgericht, which is naturally extremely unfavourable to the BOA.
It is first stated that the two branches of the CJEU each have 28 judges which respectively dealt with 719 and 814 cases. One would naturally divide one number into the other, and be impressed by the 29 cases handled by each member of the tribunal, and find the BOA truly appalling.
What the authors of the proposal neglect to say is that each and every judge or AG at the CJEU are entitled to at least three, and most frequently four, law clerks ("conseillers référendaires") that do the the legwork (analysing the case, researching the law, drafting the decisions). If you have nearly 5 times as many people, the comparison suddenly reverses.
Skipping to the BPatG, the figure of 2,320 cases handled by merely 117 judges also makes the BOA look bad. But if one bothers to look up the 2013 report, the truth jumps out again.
The largest contingent of cases handled by the BPatG is for trade marks (not a valid comparison basis with the BOA), with 1188 cases by 7 senates each composed of 3 legally qualified members.
Contrary to the EPO, the patent senates at the BPatG are specialised. Nullity proceedings are handled with either 3 or 5 members, with respectively one or two legally qualified members. These are first instance proceedings.
The Technical senates are responsible for appeals of DPMA decisions, and are much more comparable to the BOA, with the exception that 90% of their work concerns examination appeals and only 10% opposition. These senates have three technical members together with one legally qualified one -- one more technical member than a standard EPO TBoA.
This is a more adequate basis for a comparison, and it gives 722 cases were concluded by 13 senates. That would make 13 cases per member, in what are mostly ex parte proceedings. The BOA does not look bad any more, especially considering that 50% of the appeals at the EPO concern more complex inter partes opposition proceedings.
The mean duration of proceedings before the technical senates was about 51 months in 2013, down from 55 in the previous year. The 34 months average at he EPO doesn't look bad either.
The differences between the technical and nullity senates can probably be explained by staffing levels and priorities, and so do the delays at the BOA. Should the president of the BOA decide that more members are required, and that "incentivization" (positive or negative) doesn't work, will he get his wish?
Returning to the CJEU, IP cases there mostly trade marks, which doesn't require scientific or technical expertise. If the data from the BPatG trade mark senates is any indication, the low backlog is rather unsurprising.
There is a reference (footnote 2 to Annex 2) to a CJEU press release dated barely three days before the proposal. Is Annex 2 an ex post facto justification?
Paragraph 7 of the proposal mentions a benchmarking of other systems. Where can it be seen? Is it as valid as Annex 2? German judges are acutely opposed to performance related pay, notable for constitutional reasons. And it is proposed for the BOA?
Well, Merpel has had her say, aided by a kind reader.  No doubt the IPKat's other readers will have their own views. The IPKat and Merpel welcome comments.

Finally, Merpel begs to remind readers of the following:
Henceforth, in respect of all EPO-related blogposts, no comment will be posted if it is merely ascribed to "Anonymous".  Any reader wishing to conceal his or her identity must adopt a pseudonym (which should not be obscene and should not be the name, or the mis-spelling of the name, of a real person).  The pseudonym need not be an actual login name, as long as it is stated clearly at the beginning and/or end of the comment itself. This way, it will be easier for people who post later comments to identify and remember the earlier comment-poster and to recall the discussion string.  Where, as has already happened on occasion, a string carries over from one blogpost to a later one on the same or a related subject, readers will be encouraged to use the same pseudonym for the sake of continuity.

51 comments:

Jeremy Nicholls said...

I particularly like the helpful diagram in Annex 3, which shows the new hierarchy. In this New Order, the President of the EPO appears well below the President of the BoA, and there are strong double arrows showing how both Presidents will be independently answerable directly to the AC.

Then there's a teensy-weensy, faint (or should it be feint?) dotted line showing the budgetary dependence of the BoA on the President of the EPO. Nothing to be worried about - just an administrative convenience, I'm sure.

Board Out of My Mind said...

"It is also to be welcomed that the President of the Boards of Appeal will assume from the President of the EPO the right to propose appointment of BoA members and propose reappointment (to the Administrative Council) (see para 19)"

IMO this is all very deceptive.
The document states that the President of the EPO "intends to delegate" various powers to the person holding the newly established office of "President of the BOA".

It should be immediately apparent that "(intended) delegation" of a power is not a full and permanent transfer of that power.

The office of President of the EPO and his appointment by the AC are clearly defined in the EPC.
Where will the new function of "President of the BoA" be defined and how will he be appointed ?

What is to prevent the "President of the BoA" from ultimately being a "patsy" of the real President.

In fact evil tongues might be inclined to suggest that the current VP3 is already de facto fits the description of the new "President of the BOA" as he no longer appears to be an acting VP ... :-)

The whole thing seems to be intended to set up an improved facade of "independence" with enough hidden strings to allow behind the scenes manipulation.

It will be interesting to see whether the BOA will swallow it without protest.

MaxDrei said...

Instant comment on how wrong-headed is the notion that BoA relocation to another city in Europe is a good thing.

Recall how US politics became so dysfunctional, when Newt Gingrich ordered his Republican Party troops to cease socialising with any Democrats. Until that moment, families of pols from the two parties, Democrats and Republicans, would socialise together, with their respective children playing together. This helped a degree of consensus to survive and made it harder to be irrationally confrontational. I think we need to hold on to consensus also in Europe. Moving every BoA family away to Warsaw or Riga or Berlin is not only expensive but is an accelerator to the breakdown of orderly progress of the patent law of Europe. At the dawn of the UPC, we need to retain in DG3 as much stability, wisdom and experience as we can, and we need it where it can be of strongest influence on other patent practitioners, namely in the Munich cluster.

Stehpinkler said...

Both the current situation, and the proposal, assume that the President of the EPO and the AC are rational actors, acting in the public interest. In the hypothetical situation that this were not the case, what difference does redrawing the boxes on an Org chart make?

Captain Kirk's Underpants said...

How do the President's proposals match up to CIPA's?

http://www.cipa.org.uk/pages/journal/article?23C88DD0-4B31-4F5F-8CCD-058A9D57ACBD

Robespierre said...

Robespierre says.

Relocation somewhat drastic
EPO judges unenthusiastic
Forget the carrot of a bonus scheme
Output and efficiency a recurring theme
Remuneration will be difficult to martial
Money matters,most members are partial

Garfield said...

Jeremy

Passing the budget via the EPO President is unavoidable. See Article 46(1) EPC. Changing the EPC took about 10 years last time.

I hope the intention is that the EPO President will just be a postbox?

Anonymous said...

The technically creative world owes IPKat a huge ‘thank you’ for the very hard work to format this until now presumably unpublished text, and even to comment it, including the faulty/fraudulent statistics used in the “proposal”.

We have here a de-facto hearing, but nobody except the wind to respond to, and with a hearing period that is actually very similar to what is presently afforded in Danish legislature.

The timeline reminds me of military development projects during WWII, where there was a true need for swiftness. The fundamental problem here is unnecessary haste, unless there are arguments that we do not know about. We have had endless innuendos that the present General Manager of the EPO will receive an unearthly bonus, if he performs on time, but the only other deadline on the horizon is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that the US wants finalised fast. It is also sometimes called the “Trojan Horse agreement”.

But even if there were a public hearing, with proper time to respond, why should any comments be heeded? The way the EPO is organised at present and the AC is composed, there is no reason to expect anything than what we read in detail in this “proposal”. It is completely incomprehensible that 50 years ago, when the EPC was taking shape, there were no specialists in constitutional law involved. The diplomatic conference that is so urgently required must unconditionally take this aspect into consideration if we are to have an international organisation that displays respectability.

There is no ‘higher being’ that can help us out.

Kind regards,


George Brock-Nannestad

Anonymous said...

Have we not learnt that the EPC must be amended to provide actual independence of BOA.

Or else power over BOA is concentrated (as now) in one person.

It may take a while to do, but the commitment to amend EPC should be part of these proposals

from Pseudononimouse

Anonymous said...

Pseudononimouse here again

I agree with George,

Diplomatic conference is necessity, to provide careful considered amendment to EPC, and to address independence, immunity (how far does it go), staff conditions.

Fafnir said...

i find it strange that in the proposals no mention is made of the presidium of the boards. I want to direct attention in particular at R12 EPC.
"R12(1) EPC Presidium of the Boards of Appeal
(1) The autonomous authority within the organisational unit comprising the Boards of Appeal (the "Presidium of the Boards of Appeal") shall consist of the Vice-President in charge of the Boards of Appeal, who shall act as chairman, and twelve members of the Boards of Appeal, six being Chairmen and six being other members.
.....
R12(3) EPC(3)
The Presidium shall adopt the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal and the Rules of Procedure for the election and desig-nation of its members. The Presidium shall fur-ther advise the Vice-President in charge of the Boards of Appeal with regard to matters con-cerning the functioning of the Boards of Appeal in general.
....."
which, until I am proved wrong, leads me to believe fhatthe whole scheme is intended to lead, as Merpel put it, to greater "perceived independance", while actually strengthening the control of the administration over the boards.

Anonymous said...

The Thing is, the members of the boars better start leaving now. Even if they are not banned to the end of the world, they will not be able to leave and work as patent attornies, or similar, later. This is going to be a ded end job, even wors than that of patent examiner.
And if they leave en mass now, they will be replaced by new ones without the clout to call peaple like Sir Jacob to screem trouble.
People in ded end Jobs are not likely to oppose those who control the Budget that pays them.

If the AC would wish they could say that as a matter of rule the president delegates the responsibility for submitting the Budget of the Boards, as a supplementary Budget directly to the boards, or similar.
But somehow I do not think that the AC would want that.

Barbi

Fafnir said...

Could Barbie kindly explain why former board members are unable to work as patent attorneys? If not, I have to conclude that her comment just aims to throw sand into the gears of this discussion.
As far as I know, board members have to wait a while after retiring from the boards, but thereafter - is it two years or three - they are free to practice as patent attorneys or any other profession, provided always they have the qualifications required to do so.

Darren Smyth said...

Fafnir I think that you may find that Barbi may be considering para 41 and imagining what "Special Regulations" are to be promulgated. A reasonable reading is that they will be further to any existing ones.

Interested party said...

I fear we have a wonderful example here of solving problems you didn't have until they were created. Over 40 years the EPO has developed into a relatively reliable and predictable indicator for a high presumption of validity and most in the European IP system could deal with the results. This stability has been made unstable, and you can't help but get the feeling that now an excessive counter signal is being rushed through - a perfect example of an unstable feedback loop.

Sir Grantsalot said...

It's just lipstick on a pig.

Robespierre said...

Dear Barbi,

Since the 50's broads of appeal like Jayne Mansfield have felt safe in Gotham City with Battman and Robin.
Cheques and balances in place.
A cul de sac job and The Joker pulling the strings in Berlin?
We would be better off in Washington on a highway to hell under the AC in DC.

Regards to Ken

A3 no more steps said...

The efficiency of the BOA can be improved at minimum cost by filling the open positions.

50 new members would cost only their salaries. For those among them recruited from DG1, where there are redundancies in at least 4 joint clusters, the cost would be only in moderate average increase from A4 to A5. Worst case scenario: we are talking about yearly budget increase below 1-2% compared to the overall EPO budget.

The AC must only define the budget it is willing to channel into BOA and exercise its supervisory function.

Anonymous said...

Point 44 of the proposal reads as follows.
"A typical situation of foreseeable conflicts of interest is when a former BOA member works as a professional representative before the EPO soon after the end of his term of service on the BOA. Rules on conflicts of interest are to be designed in a way that avoids not only real conflicts but also any perception or appearance of risk for the impartiality of the judiciary. For instance, the Burgh House Principles (see paragraph 7) give examples of possible situations of conflict of interest."


Barbi

interested party said...

Higher up this blog anonymous George Brock-Nannestad referred to the TTIP. It is easy to be seduced into thinking that we are indeed being caught up in this, since I don't get the impression that a stable EPO system suits the multinationals at all. If this is so, then it would be better if folk actually openly said so, but also if this is so, then you can give up all hopes of help from higher diplomatic intervention, 'cause if this is indeed so, then what we are in fact seeing is exactly higher diplomatic intervention. Someone(s) above administrative council level do seem to be pulling the strings, since there is no apparent logic in any actions being rushed through in this way. OK, perhaps UK and DE are fishing for more work, but not 38 countries surely? The few judges jobs around Europe don't justify such steps. So what are those deciding actually fishing for? and why are the others so gullible?

Anonymous said...

I think that it is all about money and power.
The president gets power and delivers mone. Well he also gets a bit of Money, but what is a few milions that he gets in comparison with the many hundrids of milions that he generates in profits from the EPO for the member states.

Barbi

IpPanda said...

An IPPanda loved the reference to "justice delayed is justice denied", at items 8 and 9 of the Arguments - background section, at post 1/3.

Anonymous said...

Big companies certainly are interested in the UPC, be it only because the complexity of the procedure and the risk for the loosing party to have to pay for it might deter smaller competitors from defending their rights. So when they will have understood that the whole institutional, judicial and social mess at the EPO actually jeopardizes introduction of the Unitary Patent they will speak out.
Observer

Anonymous said...

EndOfCareer@age46 says:

What an excellent piece of Machiavelli writing:

increase productivity by sending 50% of the remaining stubborn judges to exile in Berlin (the clever ones slide into early pension in order to be able to continue practicing law), replace the rest with young, hard working ones (that do not carry the baggage of experience).

No mention of the 300 staff in Berlin, that have to go.

Financial implications to be finalized after the decision is taken! Incredible!

And the best: there are some goodies in it for the AC as well: three more well paid posts for heads of delegation

This proposal will not find much resistance..... Bye bye EPO

LL said...

Now minister Opstelten is resigned who said court decision against EPO will not be enforce, is situation different for the president?

Anonymous said...

Please, everybody out there, let us stop this madness. The EPO has worked very well over the past years. Let us kick this dictator out, and then reforms, wherever necessary or appropriate, can be done. In a decent, civilised way.

TheBeamInMyEyes said...

I would recommend one additional paragraph in the proposal under section 2, with a heading "Members of the AC", and reading: "Special regulations concerning possible conflicts of interest for members of the Administrative Council will be necessary. Any activities which could give rise to a suspicion of conflict of interest should be prohibited."

Yummy Bananas said...

In the banana republic, Big Monkey gives bananas to the AC monkeys.
The AC monkeys like bananas. With bananas, their national office can buy expensive cars, luxury offices, brand new computers, first class ticket plane. AC monkeys enjoy driving with expensive car, flying in first class, having a luxury office.
To get all those things, it´s very easy, the AC monkeys have to say always “yes” to Big Monkey.
But if one day, they say “no”… no bananas anymore. That would be catastrophic!
One day, Big Monkey suggests that the BoA kingdom must be independent. All the very little monkeys were happy. Freedom, freedom, freedom.
But, as usual in banana republic, the new elected BoA president is one of the best friends of Big Monkey. The AC monkeys couldn´t vote “no”. The bananas are so yummy.

Big Monkey doesn´t worry.
BoA president will never make shadow. He will always remain a small (very tiny) monkey. Why ?
Because the BoA president has only peanuts to give to the AC monkeys.
The AC monkeys will never listen (and vote) for peanuts.
Big Monkey has bananas to give to the AC monkeys. Bananas are better than peanuts.
Big Monkey is happy. He is the king of the monkeys forever.

New at this... said...

I don't have much to add to Merpel's analysis (with which I agree 100%), but I would like to point out that the two major complaints about the reform, i.e. "the whole procedure is characterised by lack of consultation, or transparency. The whole thing seems completely rushed," etc. and the general dichotomy between the guiding principles of the reform and its actual contents are just the standard way things have been done at the EPO for some years now.

A "reform" (big or small in scope, it does not matter) is planned somewhere, details are ironed out by the President together with his inner circle, and then it is pushed out and hammered through the management, (what's left of) the consultation bodies, and the Administrative Council itself with no regard for general principles of law, for any constructive feedback and, sometimes, for reality itself.

A couple years ago, EPO users had a small yet instructive preview of this state of affairs when the EPO decided all of a sudden to enforce strictly Rule 49 EPC and not allow handwritten amendments anymore. Pratictioners were informed of the change effective from January 1st at the beginning of December; examiners (who generally do not read the OJ) were told the day before the EPO closed for Christmas. Chaos predictably ensued for those who had Oral Proceedings on January and February, because many attorneys were caught by surprise and most divisions had to figure out how to work in practice with this new directive. The situation became normal again only after additional explanations and FAQs were prepared a couple month later in order to provide practical guidance. What's rich, however, is that this change was supposedly motivated by the introduction of a new IT tool that allowed applications to be processed in electronic form; well, that tool was so full of bugs that at the time it was practically unusable, and even now it is not used for all applications because there are still instances where it breaks down. External observers might have assumed that this fiasco had been, erm, let's call it an isolated mistake in a normally functioning system, but this was not the case.

I will skip the various "reforms" which have been implemented since then but affected, at least on their face, EPO staff only, and fast forward to the last "reform", that Merpel righly calls "one of the most important issues facing the IP world in Europe at the moment". No matter the importance, however, the modus operandi is going to be the same: it has now been decided that the reform will be operative by 2016, and this means that the AC will be pushed to approve it by December this year, come hell or high water, and no amount of protests or intelligent counterproposals will change anything of substance of the document which has been mande public yesterday. The parts of the document referring to the premises of the BoA are emblematic: in no sane organization a proposal which is going to be a pure waste of money and human resources with absolutely zero operational benefits would be put forward with such a preposterous aim such as to improve the perception of the independence of the Boards. Still, this is what the President will get, because he will not settle for anything less and there is no political will to remove him.

KentzeNeke said...

The last comment is absolutely spot on.
Have a look at this:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31806086

Are you surprised? I am not.

Millipede said...

Indeed, I also agree with New at this.
It seems that making speed is a characteristic ofmodern times, in which everything has to go much faster and swifter. The legislation that has come out of the European Union (at least in the IP field) shows signs of sloppy preparation and last-minute amendments driven by political forces. As a result, this legislation is sloppy and needs to be repaired, whcih is the task of teh courts (either the EUCJ in case of the SPC regulations and the trademark directives) or in the future the UPC (in the case of the provisions on the UPC and UP).

Sometimes I admire the legislative work of 5o years ago when it was possible to set up a complete system (the EPC) that got functional immediately and barely needed adaptations.
Thus, although it may be old-fashioned, I endorse the critic by Merpel and many of the commentators that there should be more consultation and maybe even a diplomatic conference.

DoesThisCount? said...

"in no sane organization a proposal which is going to be a pure waste of money and human resources with absolutely zero operational benefits would be put forward with such a preposterous aim such as to improve the perception of the independence of the Boards"

Replacing the House of Lords with the Supreme Court required an Act of Parliament, a new building, and no doubt a lot of money basically to improve the perception of independence. It's hard (probably impossible) to objectively measure but I think it has basically succeeded in its aim. You may disagree, but the point is that the idea of physical separation is not without precedent, and I'm surprised to see it so universally criticised in this context.

Certainly I agree with many of the criticisms. In particular, actual independence is important as well as perceived independence. But perceived independence *is* very important, possibly *as* important.

New building in Munich would seem the best proposal to avoid the possible concerns about members choosing to retire rather than move city.

Dutch Courage said...

That is only a clever manoeuvre on the part of Battistelli.

Opstelten is lined up to become the new "President of the Boards of Appeal".

He favours annual performance assessment for judges:
http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/02/03/judges-poor-performance-fire/

Funny how nobody has ever tried to bring in performance assessment for Ministers.

A travel agent said...

Of course the Boards of Appeal should have their own building. I hear there's a good one in Munich, at Bob-van-Benthem-Platz, which already has suitable facilities such as hearing rooms etc.

Of course, any other occupant would have to move out to one of the other cities mentioned in the proposals. I can offer a very good deal on air fares between Paris and Riga.

A travel agent

A fly on the wall said...

Today's meeting between DG3 and le Président went extremely badly.

CA/16/15 is non-negotiable, FULL STOP.

Old man of EPO said...

Dear Fly on the wall,
Sorry. But of course not unexpected. I have never known a person displaying so little respect for their staff. His plans are all that matter. I suspect a crunch is coming. The proposed extensive ability to block staff from taking outside employment in the ip field may be the final straw.

New at this... said...

@DoesThisCount?

I don't think that the comparison with the UK Supreme Court holds water. In my book there is a big difference between an Act passed by a democratically elected body and a proposal drafted by a handful of bureaucrats that are neither accountable to the general public nor interested in gathering the feedback of the users of the patent system.

Furthermore, I don't think that any of the politicians supporting the creation of the UK Supreme Court was ever rumored to push for a change of building specifically in order to punish the members of the Court (which, as far as I am concerned is not a rumor at all, as I had it confirmed by a source which I consider absolutely reliable).

You can't assess a measure for increasing the perception of independence without taking into consideration the overall context. In the present circumstances, a change of venue for the BoA (be it Berlin, or a charming location in the outskrts of Munich) would undermine rather than strengthen the perception of independence for many (if not most) users of the system.

Anonymous said...

concerned attorney:

From what I hear EPO staff in Berlin have still not been officially told that the president possibly intends to "dedicate" the Berlin building to DG3, except of the CA document published by Merpel having been posted without further comment on some obscure corner of the intranet.

The contempt of EPO management for the staff which they are supposed to support is simply breathtaking.

Old man of EPO said...

Fly on the wall. ..,
I saw a reference to Burgh House Principles. Any thoughts on 4.2 with regard to possibly moving to Berlin:
"No adverse changes shall be introduced with regard to judges’ remuneration and other essential conditions of service during their terms of office."
I would have thought moving judges' place of employment may well come under the term of 'conditions' and would at least be part of the spirit of the BHP with regard to not interfering with judges.

Aliens in underpants said...

Nothing to worry about its all ISO9001 compliant.
BB and his inner circle are seriously out of control and the AC will not lift a finger.

Anonymous said...

One essential point of the proposed changes is that the presidium - a body elected by the members of the boards - shall loose its main prerogatives, namely the drafting of the Rules of Procedure of the boards and of the yearly business distribution scheme, both of which will be taken over by the BOAC.
Observer

Fafnir said...

Remember George Orwell's "Animal Farm" - no further explanation is needed.

Why? said...

To think that only a short while ago there were many who loudly proclaimed that this dispute was just about spoilt employees of the EPO being unhappy with having some of their privileges curtailed. What we actually see now is the mindless destruction of everything the founding fathers set up over 40 years ago. Only pure and unadulterated hatred seems capable of wreaking this this degree of destruction of the Office, its employees and the European Patent System as a whole.

Kentze neke said...

Have a look at the following news; I think this is indirect evidence (in the sense of T 1110/03 ;-)) that the BoA's will be moved to Riga (news published today in the EPO Intranet) :-). I wonder what the contents of the bilateral co-operation plan between the EPO and Latvia are...

High-level IP Conference in Riga10.03.2015

VP2 presented the central role of the EPO in the European patent system


On 3-4 March VP 2, Alberto Casado, attended the IP conference "Intellectual Property and Beyond", where he gave a presentation on the role of the EPO in the European patent system.

The conference was a key event within the context of Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The broad range of high-level speakers ensured that each participant left the conference with new information and techniques relevant to their daily work.

The conference was attended by over 150 representatives from the field of intellectual property - patent attorneys, university professors, delegates from governmental organisations, embassies, law enforcement institutions, NGOs, and representatives of intellectual property offices.

Following the welcome address by Sandris Laganovskis, Director of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia, Dzintars Rasnačs, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Latvia, gave the opening speech. Other high-level speakers included Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, Kerstin Jorna, DG Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Christian Archambeau, Vice President of OHIM.

The topics covered emphasised how intellectual property affects every part of our daily life, and its importance in the development of our modern economy. Presentations covered trademark and industrial design protection, development of the European patent system, the impact of innovation protection on economic growth, and IPR enforcement.

Sandris Laganovskis thanked Alberto Casado for the strong co-operation between the two offices and looked forward to implementing the projects defined in the Bilateral Co-operation Plan signed by himself and President Battistelli last December.

Fafnir said...

Is there a link somewhere?
(From forbes.com
http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/ )
It is not the image we like to have when we think of business leaders. But troubling research indicates that in the ranks of senior management, psychopathic behavior may be more common than we think – more prevalent in fact than the amount such seriously aberrant behavior occurs in the general population.
At first blush this may seem counterintuitive, even outrageous. We tend to think of psychopathy as the province of criminals, with leadership qualities that may land someone atop a fringe religious cult, say – not in a boardroom. But before discussing the research, let’s consider for a moment why this possibility is actually less bizarre than it may initially seem.
The hallmarks of the psychopathic personality involve egocentric, grandiose behavior, completely lacking empathy and conscience. Additionally, psychopaths may be charismatic, charming, and adept at manipulating one-on-one interactions. In a corporation, one’s ability to advance is determined in large measure by a person’s ability to favorably impress his or her direct manager. Unfortunately, certain of these psychopathic qualities – in particular charm, charisma, grandiosity (which can be mistaken for vision or confidence) and the ability to “perform” convincingly in one-on-one settings – are also qualities that can help one get ahead in the business world.

Kentze neke said...

Any suspicion that the BoA's will be moved to Riga seems to be well justified: look at this... :-)

High-level IP Conference in Riga

10.03.2015


VP2 presented the central role of the EPO in the European patent system


On 3-4 March VP 2, Alberto Casado, attended the IP conference "Intellectual Property and Beyond", where he gave a presentation on the role of the EPO in the European patent system.

The conference was a key event within the context of Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The broad range of high-level speakers ensured that each participant left the conference with new information and techniques relevant to their daily work.

The conference was attended by over 150 representatives from the field of intellectual property - patent attorneys, university professors, delegates from governmental organisations, embassies, law enforcement institutions, NGOs, and representatives of intellectual property offices.

Following the welcome address by Sandris Laganovskis, Director of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia, Dzintars Rasnačs, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Latvia, gave the opening speech. Other high-level speakers included Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, Kerstin Jorna, DG Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Christian Archambeau, Vice President of OHIM.

The topics covered emphasised how intellectual property affects every part of our daily life, and its importance in the development of our modern economy. Presentations covered trademark and industrial design protection, development of the European patent system, the impact of innovation protection on economic growth, and IPR enforcement.

Sandris Laganovskis thanked Alberto Casado for the strong co-operation between the two offices and looked forward to implementing the projects defined in the Bilateral Co-operation Plan signed by himself and President Battistelli last December.


Clearly, BB has been buying support from the Contracting States by distributing bananas (as another commenter already noted).

In February there was another ludicrous conference at the Danish PTO. Just read the press release (note the reference to "story-telling"):

Seminar: IP outreach and communications

10.02.2015

Communications experts from the national patent offices met in Denmark


Last week (4 -6 February) 50 communications experts from the national patent offices of 28 of our member states gathered at the Danish Patent & Trademark Office near Copenhagen. They met to share their experiences in reaching audiences with positive IP messages.

This European Patent Academy seminar, organised jointly with OHIM and the Danish PTO, was introduced by Jesper Kongstad, Director General and CEO of the Danish PTO, who insisted on the leading role of national patent offices in communicating about IP matters, as they are closest to the businesses in greatest need.

The many speakers coming from the NPOs, EPO and specialist agencies, considered such diverse issues as market segmenting, different approaches to clients and user groups (websites, seminars, exhibitions and press), and the dedicated tools and services provided by NPOs for connecting with their public and user groups, namely IP information services, pre-diagnosis and training of multipliers.

The best way to build communication plans for IP offices was intensively discussed, including the use of story-telling for outreach purposes, in particular via the internet and social media.

Participants agreed to take these points further in the framework of the European Patent Network.

All this is being paid by users...




Dilbert said...

"The best way to build communication plans for IP offices was intensively discussed, including the use of story-telling (emphasis added) for outreach purposes, in particular via the internet and social media."
(See: Kentze neke, above, Seminar on IP outreach)
They are actually admitting that they are telling stories!

Catbert said...

Even more nuanced: they are admitting they are using social media mechanisms (which include blogs...?) in their story-telling.

Sign me: Catbert

A fly on the wall said...

My Johnston's organ tells me that the subject of the removal to another site wasn't even broached.

In view of the overall picture it hardly mattered.

Forget the Burgh House principles. I'm afraid that at the present stage, Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is more to the point.

Old man of EPO said...

But that only applies in times of war.

Oh.

Anonymous said...

JFK said....

interesting to hear that there is still a recruitment stop in Berlin...because of the plans to move BoA that are still not decided finally.

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