After a quiet summer, Merpel gets the feeling that the impending meeting of the EPO Administrative Council* (AC) on 14-15 October is causing a flurry of activity, which is giving rise to several rumours in relation to the Boards of Appeal.
House Ban update
Regular readers of this blog may recall that, 10 months ago, a member of the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) was escorted from the premises of the Office on the instructions of the President. It was alleged that this Member was guilty of defamation, and in the rush for pitchforks Mr Battistelli apparently forgot that he had no power to discipline a Board Member.
Among the items listed on the Agenda for the forthcoming AC meeting is this disciplinary case. The AC will review the allegations, then review the defence and response submitted by the person involved, and will then apparently review the decision of the Enlarged Board in this matter before coming to a decision.
This could mean what is says, i.e. that the AC will come to a disciplinary decision this month. However, watch this space, as Merpel has reason to suspect that the story will not come to a neat close, or at least not this month.
|If Vienna's too close,|
what about Columbia ...?
Unless the necessary appointments are made, Merpel understands that no fewer than seven chairperson positions will be vacant at the beginning of 2016, along with seven legal positions and thirteen technical positions.
* Just making sure that you see the footnotes before you close the email or the page. As you were.
** Merpel's kidding, it's not uncharacteristic at all. For example, staff representative posts, which bizarrely depend on Mr Battistelli's imprimatur, have remained unfilled for months at a time even though substitutes had already been elected prior to a position opening. Those substitutes were standing by to attend crucial meetings, but were turned away from the door as not being properly accredited (by Mr. Battistelli, that is). Helpfully, Vice-President Topic who chaired the meetings, steamrolled any objections and carried on regardless, leaving staff in a minority when a vote on downgrading their health package was put to a committee designed to be balanced but engineered to give management an advantage. The absence of a staff rep from the crucial vote allowed Mr Battistelli to present his health reform to the AC as having been "properly approved" when in fact the vote lacked credibility. Fortunately the AC proved to be a vigilant watchdog, scrupulously looking out for the interests of the staff under its care ***.
*** Merpel's kidding again. Despite having been informed of the flawed vote, the AC nodded it through, like always. In fairness, at recent meetings the level of dissent has increased and some delegations have shown some backbone. Time will tell if this is a trend that will grow sufficiently to restore the AC's independence and credibility as a governing body.