Breaking News: Enlarged Board appeals - direct to the Administrative Council

The suspension of a Board of Appeal member by the EPO President, under the guise of a "house ban", reported here, has generated enormous disquiet, not only among bloggers, attorneys and EPO union officials, but now also within the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

Merpel has been provided with a letter which is unprecedented in the 40 year history of the European Patent Organisation.This post has been edited in response to a request to remove a link to the letter itself.

The Enlarged Board’s letter strongly argues that the suspension was not validly imposed: the authors don't suggest that Board members are above disciplinary procedures ("independence does not imply immunity"), but they do say that neither the President nor his Investigations Unit have the required authority to suspend a Board member. They also note that the computer belonging to the Board member was confiscated, thereby giving office staff access to possibly confidential information about ongoing cases.

The Enlarged Board members express their concerns about the turn of events, saying:
The actions of the investigation unit on the orders of the President also appear to be a clear challenge to the judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal.
 They urge the Administrative Council to take action and bring Mr Battistelli into line, stating that:
What is needed is a clear limitation on the executive power, as far as the Boards of Appeal are concerned, in situations like the present, so as to avoid any impression of undue influence on their judicial work, contrary to the independence requirements of Article 6 of the European Convention on human rights.
Merpel cannot remember any such internal EPO dispute spilling out into the public domain with such vehemence. The letter from the Enlarged Board should dispel any preconceptions that the current troubles at the EPO and the complaints about Mr Battistelli are confined to a few disgruntled examiners looking to protect their cushy jobs (a view she has heard from several quarters).

Merpel wishes to note in passing that she has also been provided with a translation of a letter from Dr. Tilman Mueller-Stoy, a Partner in the renowned Bardehle firm, addressed to Christoph Ernst, the main representative of the German delegation to the Administrative Council. To do that letter justice she will return to it in the morning, but notes in the meantime that Florian Mueller's FOSS Patent blog has posted a copy with his comments here.
Breaking News: Enlarged Board appeals - direct to the Administrative Council Breaking News: Enlarged Board appeals - direct to the Administrative Council Reviewed by Merpel on Monday, December 08, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. The important thing is getting parliament oversight for the EPO. The EPO contracting states should negotiate with Martin Schulz a solution to this end.

  2. Imagine being in the situation of an examiner losing his "cushy" job and facing the harsh reality of being in a foreign country without any unemployment support, having the responsibility of a family. Wouldn't you be "disgruntled?" The employees of the EPO lack the most essential protection that every "national" employee takes for granted. Amongst which the possibility to have a judge looking at his case. Not such a good job, after all!

  3. Martin Schulz, really...
    action starts at 2:25

    @Anon 22:48: that is why they are being paid so very well. And they pay tax nor contribution to unemployment benefits, so they save money themselves.

    But such discussions merely distract us from what this is really about: The presidential powers being - allegedly - abused.

    Fortunately, the Administrative Council appears not to have dozed off, so I expect them to investigate in the alleged misconduct of the president and take corrective action, in case required.

    The EPO does not need a Kind Sun or a product of the "pantouflisme" culture. The EPO needs a manager with vision and knowledge and preferably also experience from the patent profession - from all sides of the cube: administration, private practice and industry.

    Suggestions, anyone? Just in case the Administrative Council finds the allegations to be justified and decides to impeach the president.

    We will see.

  4. Na, endlich!

    If the hyper-président isn't out to scupper the organisation, I don't quite know what he's up to.

    He is said to been outraged by R19/12, and a witch hunt atmosphere has since then befallen DG3.

    If I understand correctly, in this matter the génie des Yvelines would be the "complainant". He controls the appointment of a so-called "investigation committee". He is also the "judge", who applies a "law" he himself concocted. (BTW, did anyone notice that the latest edition of the EPC carries for the first time a "preface", thus personally associating His Lord's name Ubustelli with the sacred scriptures?) His "court" is of the marsupial persuasion, without any effective possibility of appeal. Anyone who dares speak up in the name of the condemned, sorry, accused, risks personal retribution, as attests the other recent staff suspensions.

    Why doesn't he go all the way, and also endorse the rôle of executioner? I do mean this in the most literal way in order to provoke.

    Monsieur B. does enjoy after all diplomatic immunity according to Article 13(1) of the PPI, and he also holds the view that that any national, European, or even elementary principle of law stops at the door of the office, as far as the petit personnel is concerned (the fundamental corporate rights of applicants are another matter altogether). My suggestion merely involves pursuing the argument to its logical but absurd conclusion.

    But hopefully the immunity enjoyed by Monsieur B. isn't absolute. There is at least the precedent (if only in US law) of his countryman DSK.

  5. Epo employees do pay tax. It is deducted from their salary which they get paid net. The taxes go, or so I have understood, to the countries of which they are nationals. That, of course, is nice because they don't have the yearly struggle with the tax forms of national employees, on the other hand it is not possible to deduct anything such as house loan interests or looking after sick old parents. A further disadcpvatage being a highly educated spouse not finding a job on the level of the one in the home country. Already now, the salaries are not of a level to attract Swiss, English, Scandinavian employees. So, as with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages

  6. E uropean Song Contest and FIFA cross
    P atent Office mocked under this boss
    O ne solution is to impeach
    N ow that would him a lesson teach
    I s lack of successor a tricky matter
    A n obvious improvement would be Sepp Blatter

  7. Talking about money.... Nobody knows how much mr. Batistelli receives. I heard 6 million a year, but I don't know how reliable that is. However it seems that the president of the administrative council is the only one who knows the contract with mr. Batistelli. If that is so, what kind of administrative council is it that would accept such a situation?

  8. Do have a look at the letter of the enlarged board and compare the signatures with the business distribution scheme. Apart from, probably for obvious reasons, the external members, at least two signatures are glaringly missing. I do not see the signature of the chairman of the enlarged board, nor that of the enlarged board member who took part decision R19/12. So far for independence, or did I overlook something?

  9. Two members that participated in drafting R19/12 (R.M. and B.G.) retired in the meanwhile: that's why their signatures are not present.

  10. I must say, I find all of this very sad news. For what appears to be the overwhelming majority of members of the enlarged board to feel the need to sign such a letter is simply depressing, tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the president.

  11. "facing the harsh reality of being in a foreign country without any unemployment support, having the responsibility of a family."

    "The employees of the EPO lack the most essential protection that every "national" employee takes for granted"

    What planet does this anon live on? Does said anon believe only EPO employees have families to support? Does said anon believe there is employment security outside of the EPO, or for that matter better security than the EPO? How many redundancies have their been each year since the EPO was created?

    What "national" support does said anon believe the rest of us are taking for granted?

    Pray tell, anon. Or, am I missing the sarcasm in your comment?

    1. Job safety is unknown in most parts of modern Europe and certainly in private practice. However, citizens have at least recourse to unemployment benefits and in some cases subsistence allowances if they are fired. No such thing exists for EPO employees. If they are fired they have no unemployment benefits nor even health insurance coverage. They are left to themselves. Hence the fear on their part.

  12. I see that SUEPO have reported that a demonstration will take place in Munich on Wednesday 10 December at 12h in front of the Isar building. Maybe it is now time for representatives at the EPO express their opinion? I for one will be attending the demonstration.


  13. So, only Jesper Kongstad, the President of the AC knows Battistelli's what Battistelli's contract contains?
    I do remember vaguely how at the time of his election, Battistelli proudly announced that he and Kongstad were working together very closely. Perhaps it is now time to start taking a closer interest in Mr. Kongstad's role - after al, what can the AC do if its President is hand-in-glove with the President of the EPO, who the AC should be supervising?

  14. The comment of Anon at 09:16:00 is a perfect example of the braying, attenuated, weltanschauung sadly present in some corners of the profession.

    The employees of the EPO are a special case. To enable the granting of European patents, a body of people trained and experienced in such matters is required, in a fixed number of locations in Europe. The employees must move their lives from all over Europe, though.

    After ten or fifteen years of examining patents, an Examiner, after having moved their life across Europe, might have built up fewer transferable skills or a position in a profession, than might have been the case had they done something else in that time.

    So, although the Examiners must not take the system for a ride, there is certainly an argument for being careful about staff relations. Why else would people join the EPO? And how can a consistent body of examining practice be built up with a high turnover of people? Can people with rock-bottom morale do good work?

    Such concerns ultimately feed back to EP practitioners, because lack of confidence, on the part of applicants, in the EPO will lead to applicants seeking other channels for IP protection.

  15. The extent of independence of the members of the board set out in A.23 would make a good EQE question. But I imagine the President has decided to write the questions himself for 2015.

  16. The letter of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, a great and courageous step (bravo! Members), is not signed by VP3, a servant of Battistelli, and by the Chairwoman Ritzka as they are both afraid of the retaliation of mad Battistelli.
    Shame on both of them!

  17. 0948 Indeed I seem to remember reports at the time (2009)that JK was asked about the package by delegates and he told them that it was, to paraphrase, the normal for that role. Note that Alison Brimelow did tell staff what her salary and benefits were. How times change! It is therefore doubtful that BB was brought in with the knowledge of the AC to, e.g., get a x% bonus for cutting y million off the budget. Anything like that is his and JK's planning. It is more likely that BB's reticence relates to tax issues as he wants to stay resident in France for political reasons while maintaining EPO ex-pat benefits. The Isar building now has a penthouse flat (the architects showed this on their web-site for a while but it then was totally removed from their list of completed projects). Maybe somebody kept a screenshot?

  18. I see El Presidente is now blagging about the "Quality" of the EPO service.
    The quality measure seems to be how quickly they answer the telephone rather than meaningful objectives such as the reliability of the receiving section. Over the past year, we have had four different cases where a notice of loss of rights was received due to an error at the EPO, with documents being lost or mis-dated. Quality? You must be joking.

  19. 1030
    Indeed to be applauded. But what happens if The AC Chairman (supporting Battistelli) simply rides over it? He could state that he was consulted by B and gave approval and that the matter will be dealt with according to the 'appropriate procedure'. Will the delegates push the matter? If not, the signatories have a problem. Or at least a decision. The BoA members may well back them and, effectively, strike. Will the rest of the EPO back them - DG3 has not supported strikes before because of their. Independence - or will BB just shrug and say 'who needs them'?

    High Noon beckons!

  20. 0952 and 0954
    Times change and so may the roles of examiners. The USPTO does not have long-term tenure and, while I think that is not a good system, I it must always be seen as an option.
    Where I do strongly agree with you is that if there is a change from one to the other it should an open plan - the benefits of which can be discussed with all stakeholders. It may well be that applicants/attorneys/users have a strong opinion, one way or the other. What should not happen is that one man can strong-arm his policy (whatever it is!) and inflict unaccountable damage to individuals in the meantime against which they are deprived of any practical means of recourse. That Battistelli has banned all strikes if he doesn't agree with them is a clear sign of his over-reaching power.
    I wish you well.

  21. To Anon at 10:30

    Ritzka was one of the EBA members responsible for R19/12.

    What I've not seen is any identification of the board member who was escorted out of the Office, allegedly for libellous comments.

    Is it libellous to suggest (as R19/12 does - see the Orientierungssatz) that the Chairman of the EBA might be suspected of partiality because, as VP3, he is also involved in the management of the Office?

  22. As an outsider looking in, this much fuss means something is going on.

    I wish you well in figuring it out and taking appropriate action, whatever that means.

  23. "The comment of Anon at 09:16:00 is a perfect example of the braying, attenuated, weltanschauung sadly present in some corners of the profession."

    Such comments simply persuade me that if the President of the EPO is royally p***ing off EPO employees, then there is a reasonable prospect that he is doing the users and payers of the EPO a service.

    Such special ones you are.

  24. "However, citizens have at least recourse to unemployment benefits and in some cases subsistence allowances if they are fired."


    1. To anon 11:32 Really, see for yourself: Every single EPC contracting state offers them to their citizens if they are fired from their jobs in one way or the other. However, EPO employees have no access to them. Your comment seems cynical at least as these benefits have been around for a while in Europe.

  25. Re. 1121
    Under EPO rules of investigation, the suspended person must not disclose the issue, even to their superior - to do so would be a disciplinary issue itself. VP4 has previously raised the issue of a third-party identifying someone subject to disciplinary procedures. Either the subject has revealed themselves - not allowed! - or the third-party has acted without their knowledge - also not allowed. Catch-22 and VP4 demanded to know who he should discipline!
    Thus, in the present case, nobody will openly name the name (I don't know it in any case) since if the rebellion by the EBA is defeated, you can be sure that there is the fear that there will be retribution.

  26. There is an interested hypocritical side issue. There are now a few cases pending where the applicant is attempting to have independently-made decisions of the EPO Appeal Boards set aside on the dubious grounds of suspected impartiality. Such applicants who are so in favor of impartiality are busy lobbying national bodies and governments to put pressure on the EPO to change their ways. For the good of justice? Or, for simple self-interest?

  27. @Anon 11:30: Have you considered the possibility is doing himself and the AC members a favour - rather than the users and payers of the EPO a favour, as you presume? Do you really think that offering the AC members reimbursement for medical expenses "incurred" during the periods over which Ac meets is in the interest of the EPO users and payers? To me this sounds like bribery, and it is paid by the users and payers of the EPO - only, for the wrong purpose.

  28. I obviously meant: He,the President, is doing himself and the AC members a favour.

  29. At 1233 (who I think was actually replying to 1131?),
    In fairness, the health provision is for 'emergency' treatment and does apply to any experts attending meetings. While the timing is not great and the cynicism is high, there is a reason to introduce this. Attending meetings in certain countries can be expensive if you fall ill and covering the risk is not unreasonable. Policing any abuse is another issue...

  30. Breaking news - EPO Board of Appeal members do something quickly.

  31. It is really quite astonishing as well as deeply worrying that in 21st century Europe, proud of its social and human rights credentials, there are apparently, still plenty of people who think others can do without rights they themselves enjoy.
    As C.P. Snow said so memorably: Civilization is hideously fragile... there’s not much between us and the Horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish..

  32. @Anon 12:38: at least as far as the representatives of my Country are concerned, they are covered by the health insurance provided by the National Health Service to any citizen, also when they are abroad; I can assure you that this insurance covers emergency treatments (I know what I am talking about, as a family member of mine needed such an emergency treatment here in Germany - not exactly a cheap place, when it comes to medical treatment - and simply had to use his standard NHS insurance card to get proper treatment without the need to cover expenses himself (I am not from the UK, in case you are wondering). I am not aware of how other Countries regulate this, but I strongly doubt that AC members of these Countries would really need to avail themselves of a special insurance. I would have expected this measure to have been introduced a long time ago, if there really had been the need for it. AC's have been taking place for 40 years and no one ever felt it necessary. Makes me think.

  33. Anon1320
    Agree that it is not always necessary, but the EPO was agreeing to cover costs not borne by own insurance. Thus person x from country y may not be covered for costs in Germany where costs may be relatively frightening. People do still buy travel insurance for medical emergencies as health companies do not cover all costs so NHS reciprocity (within EU?) is not the complete picture.

  34. Not too bad that the European Patent Office with such a dysfunctional governance managed to do so well for over 40 years. Only since the AC decided to appoint one of their own as president, things go haywire. First came Brimelow introducing an unsuitable accounting system like IFRS for book keeping, thus allowing to sketch a dodgy financial situation and calling for measures to contain perceived liabilities. And then Battistelli, who does not care if the service regulations (i.e. rules governing working conditions of staff) do not conform to any national law as long as they suit the organisation. This president even manages to take important implementing provisions out of these service regulations so he can change them by decree without oversight from the AC. And the number of staff facing disciplinary measures under this presidency is unheard of and finds no equal in the past 40 years. Is this enough for the AC to act? Tomorrow that should become clear, but the future looks grim.

  35. Why should the EPO make any contribution to the costs of the members of the AC? They are sent to meetings by their own governments who should bear the costs.

  36. I think there's a single commenter who has big chip on his shoulder regarding EPO staff and their benefits. Anyway, since he obviously thinks they should get "on their bikes" and seek employment elsewhere, why doesn't he propose that, in the interest of increasing staff turnover, the EPO starts granting direct access to the attorney profession to former examiners, as it's done in some other countries like Japan? Just a "modest proposal" (and one which, I must add, as former EPO examiner who went through the EQE gauntlet to become professional representative, is hardly in my own self-interest...)

    Quite frankly, this sort of "class envy" is hardly useful in addressing the current issue of an EPO president (with a small "p") whose ego has obviously grown far too large.

  37. 1416
    In reality some of the offices can't afford to cover all the costs. The coverage is only if they can't pay for the costs which, sadly for some delegates of small offices, may be the case. In practice it should be rare, hence my comment that it will have to be policed well. But when the EPO organises training for Eurasian countries et al (WIPO duty) their ability to cover costs will be minimal.

    Incidentally, I gather that EPO staff going to the U.S. are themselves not fully covered by the health insurer of the EPO due to limits on the policy. The staff aren't covered by German health care in that respect, so they too have to be covered by the EPO for work travel (as rare as that is at less illustrious levels).

  38. "chip", "class envy", "get on your bike"

    Try: "read the comment and don't put words in my mouth".

    As for direct access to the attorney profession, feel free provided you have passed the appropriate European and/or national qualifications.

    Feel free, also, to explain to your new clients how your competence in advising them comes from being an examiner, and the fact of never having drafted or prosecuted and application, have never experienced prosecution/examination in other jurisdictions, have never even considered making an assessment of infringement, let alone performed a clearance search, provided related opinions, or explained many other things to a "client", does not detract from your competence.

    Your inability to understand my criticisms suggests your skills are limited, such as they are transferable.

    An EPO employee who returns to the UK with their family having been fired would be in a significantly better position than any other person in the UK who has just been fired from their job. You would be provided immediately with accommodation for a start, whereas the UK resident would be expected to build up unpaid debts prior to losing their home through default on their mortgage. The former EPO employee would receive immediate social security benefits, whereas the UK resident would be penalised for having been fired thereby being responsible for making themselves unemployed. the EPO employee would receive highly expensive emergency NHS treatment on demand even though they haven't paid towards the service.

    I don't have a chip on either of my shoulders. I don't envy the financial benefits received by EPO employees or the other fringe benefits. I have worked abroad for many years while my family have had to stay at home, so I am not crying over the harsh life referred to above for such highly qualified individuals. I also find the scientific knowledge of current examiners to be pathetic and their English language skills low.

  39. Can someone please give a hint or link to the letter of the
    Enlarged Board of Appeal to the AC.

    Fosspatent ( says that IPKat has published it - but where?

  40. The letter itself has been taken down from the IPKat site - see paragraph 2 above

  41. Can we be told who asked for the link to the letter to be removed?

  42. To Anon 17:06

    Wow, what a (pathetic) rant. Thankfully you don't represent the the opinion of the patent profession. I suppose you are a proud supporter of UKIP who can't wait to leave the EU and get rid of these despicable EU migrants who are flooding your beloved Britannia.

    The comment you allude was written by another patent attorney yet you assume it was written by an examiner. Interesting...

    I do not know how the safety net works in the UK but I do know that people who have not contributed through their taxes six months before getting unemployed in FR, PL, DE, ES, IT or CH have no right to unemployment benefits. To assume that all EPO employees want to emigrate to the UK is a bit anglocentric.

    Your reference to the scientific knowledge of patent examiners is interesting but not backed by facts. It is certainly not backed by the overwhelming perception the profession has from the EPO, as shown in all recent comparisons between patent offices.

    And lastly, English is just one of the three official languages examiners need to speak, read and write. Apart of their native language, that is. Are you expecting all of them to have native speaker level? How many languages besides English do you speak?

  43. Whew, I am glad I snagged a copy of the letter while I had the chance.

    I am curious though, why exactly would the letter be removed "upon request"....?

    Whose request?
    Why was the request granted?

  44. "pathetic rant"? rant = no, simply a response. pathetic = would put me in good company.

    Reference to UKIP = typical response from anti-British Europeans even those who are British. Is that the best you can do? Bit weak from someone who likes facts.

    The poster said they were a former examiner, therefore they were an examiner. I trust people to tell the truth.

    Anglocentric? Maybe I was just speaking about the system in the country I am experienced with. I always like to stick to my competences and my regulator expects me to do as well. Still, gave you another opportunity to make another un-founded comment.

    Your knowledge about the position in other countries is to be congratulated. Saves me the trouble of navigating over to wikipedia myself. Your comment, however, supports my argument that there isn't a cushy world for non-EPO employees who lose their jobs, contrary to popular belief amongst the sheep, sorry commentators, on this blog posting.

    The fact that EPO examiners have more scientific knowledge than those of other patent offices does not prove me wrong. As for facts, well I am highly qualified to judge in the area of my specialist subject, and can assure anyone that EPO examiner, particular those I have dealt with over recent years are not competent to deal with the subject matter they are handling. This voew is actually supported by a commentator not long ago who explained the reasons for this. So I am not alone in my view.

    Finally, when I need to flip patties for a living, I'll learn to flip patties. In the meantime I shall refrain from purporting to be competent at flipping patties. unlike current EPO examiners.

  45. To Anon 19:22

    So much contempt in so few lines. I am really surprised at the vehemence of your attacks.

    The previous poster, who appears to be a former examiner turned patent attorney, has just pointed out the risks of high turnover patent offices. And similarly highlighted the perverse incentive methods some of them employ, such as direct access to the patent attorney profession. This solution is certainly a bad one as explicitly said by the poster.

    Nobody is saying there is a cushy world in Europe in which everything is nice and safe. The problem has been pointed out that, whereas after 20 years working in any of the countries mentioned before, a fired employee would be covered by unemployment benefits, this does not apply to EPO employees.

    You seem to be THE qualified patent attorney who knows his specialist area better than anyone. Good for you. I for one doubt your incomparable knwoledge. I am tired of explaining basic physical concepts to British patent attorneys during Oral Proceedings. However, I won't generalise and assume that all patent attorneys lack the knowledge as you have implied with EPO examiners.

    And concerning the flipping of patties, well, the EPO works in three official languages. Get over it. Patent applications are filed in all three of them and examiners must treat all of them with the same care. So, if you expect perfect mother tongue communications, file at the IPO and lobby your government to opt out of the EPC.

  46. On Friday, one of our Company managers was walked off site and she was merely a victim of internal politics.

    Shit happens!

    Get over it people.

  47. to anon 19.13: If you are so good, why don't you go work at the EPO and teach those incompetent examiners how to do the job?

  48. Today, all most all members of appeal boards - not those signing letter of enlarge appeal board - a letter to administrating council. This is short letter which is reference to Article 23. Some meetings with administrating council members were unhappy. Fail to see any problem with president trying intimidating judges. One even say he vote for what president propose even when not knowing details because president gives not details. Said he has to vote so vote for president. Is scandal that administrating council do not insist seeing what is voting? Is not sure now that administrating council will get letter because president stopping it.

  49. sorry I meant anon 19.22, not 19.13

  50. Dear fellow examiners,
    Can you please stop being nasty to the attorneys, at the moment they are actually the only ones who seem to care about what is happening.
    Dear attorneys,
    Please understand that when you see within two month time first a staff rep being removed from his office by Men in Black, then a second staff rep being suspended and then a BoA member being escorted out by Men in Black, it scares you witless. Most of us came to the office with the intention to stay. Many of us are married to people of the host countries or to someone from work but with other nationalities.
    The idea to get kicked out and having to sort where the hell to go plus
    having to explain to your kids that they have to leave their friends and move to a country they hardly know is not fun.
    We tend to forget that there are lots of people in exactly the same situation and going through all this with the difference of earning less and having no savings.
    I have friends who have been discriminated at their work because of their ethnic origin or because they choose to have kids. They theoretically could have gone to court but choose not to, there was no realistic chance to win.
    It is certainly true when you say that we are spoiled and that this is the way the world is.
    But I also think that it is or right to protest when accepted principles of laws are broken and power is abused.
    I thank all of you who have shown that they support our protest and who have written letters to the delgates, because the delegates do not listen to us.
    And thank you IP-cat and all other bloggers who care about what is happening to this office, if things ever get back to normal then it is because of you.
    A cat loving examiner

  51. Not subject to the laws of the country where it is situated, and allegedly unconcerned by human rights?


    That is the nature of the allegations.

    For the sake of the EPO the AC needs to get to the bottom of this.

    And while thinking about human rights, note Article 17(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. We need examiners examining.

  52. Anon 2150
    Here, here! As an examiner I have witnessed my colleagues suffering unfairly. I've seen managers lose the ability or will to manage. I've seen people who have never been on strike for a day be driven to express their fear the only way the president allows. That more than anything upsets me. There is a plan, I presume. But that plan requires fear. There is no attempt to achieve consensus. No attempt to face a common goal. The only motivation is fear of 'will I be next?'. But now the staff have been pushed to a point where fear is no longer good enough and now the fear has to be matched with actions. Fire one to frighten 1000.
    In the end it will fail. A lack of human empathy will lead to mistakes. The Enlarged Board has spoken out about at least one. Others may follow. It may not solve the problem in the short term, but the cat is out of the bag.

  53. Why ipkat is not publish my informations from appeal boards? Is publish many comments more bad about president. Why not? Ipkat explain please.

  54. On what basis can one person doubt the competence of another if they have never had professional dealings with them?

    In what sense is it wrong for a person to claim to be knowledgeable about a subject?

    I am reminded of recent BoA decisions where the Board members claimed to be technical experts and rejected the patentees' requests for their expert witnesses to speak.

    The behaviour of el Presidente is typical of the behavior of certain Appeal Boards. The problems are endemic within the organisation.

  55. @Anonymous ranter 19:22 and 17:06

    I am the "previous commenter" whose response seems to have inflamed your anger.

    I don't know where you got your qualifications, but they don't seem to have tested your reading comprehension much, since I made it clear in my original comment that I actually have the European qualification (cf. "EQE gauntlet"). I am also qualified at the national level in not just one but two different countries. And I have been working in private practice for quite a few years now, with considerable success.

    Anyway, you don't seem to have appreciated my "modest proposal" much, yet this is how access to the profession is regulated in e.g. Japan, which is not what I would call a nonentity in the patent world.

    Given your temper and lack of attention to written detail, I absolutely look forward to facing you some day in Oral Proceedings: I believe that both me and the Opposition Division/Board of Appeal involved would enjoy the moment.

  56. Can someone please tell which of the legal members of the EBA signed the letter?

    Background: We have a case of alleged partiality against VP3 pending at EBA, and the indication is that the legal member of the EBA is of the opinion that R19/12 is a unitary - and wrong - decision, and that the VP3 is not "partial due to office collision".

  57. Anon 15:11:

    According to the "techrights" blog (where the letter can still be seen: see for details) the letter was signed by the following EBoA members:

    Gabriele Alt
    Graham Ashley
    Gianni Assi
    Ingo Beckedorf
    Fritz Blumer
    Tamas Bokor
    Brnhard Czech
    Albert de Vires
    Eugene Dufrasne
    Franz Edilinger
    Gunnar Eiasson
    Kevin Garnett
    Pascal Gryozka
    Andre Klein
    Thomas Kriner
    Albert Linder
    Hugo Meinders
    Rainer Moufang
    Ulrich Oswald
    Michael Poock
    Giovanni Pricolo
    Gaston Raths
    Joseph Riolo
    Marco Ruggiu
    Werner Sieber
    Fred van der Voort
    Bianca ter Laan
    Claude Vallet
    Martin Vogel
    Gerard Weiss
    Stefan Wibergh
    Manfred Wieser
    Michael Harrison
    Marie-Bernadette Tardo-Dino
    Wolfgang Seretaruk

  58. Have a look here.

    Move quickly before it is "taken down on request" ... :-)

  59. Forgot to insert the link:

  60. Wots comprehension o great one?

    Are superiority complexes a pre-requisite for becoming an examiner, or where you so superior you felt the need to move on?

    All hail the self-righteous.

  61. "All hail the self-righteous."

    Hey Mr. President, you shouldn't be posting here on this blog!

  62. Let see if this time ipkat accept my comment.

    In addition to letter of enlarge appeal board, lord justice Floyd of GB appeal court and general advocate Van Peursem of Netherland supreme court wrote to administrating council. These are also members of appeal boards. Same letter is to all other members of appeal boards who are not in EPA to get signed.

  63. I have to post here. It is the only place I can find my employees.

  64. The EBoA letter to the AC of 8 December 2014 has indeed been taken down now from techrights-site mentioned in post of 10 December 2014 at 16:26:00 and is no longer available there.

    What is going on?

  65. >The EBoA letter to the AC of 8 December 2014 has indeed been taken down now from techrights-site mentioned in post of 10 December 2014 at 16:26:00 and is no longer available there.

    No it hasn't and yes it is.

  66. The letters may have been taken down as they are considered rare and valuable. Like a Banksy, it is on the wall one minute, and the next thing you know the wall has gone. Luckily the whole IPKat was not taken with it.

  67. The EBA members who wrote the letters clearly intended them to be confidential, so it may them who requested that they be taken down.

    An interesting question would be who leaked them in the first place. It has to be a member of the EBA, the AC or the external judges, or their respective staff. Or someone in the President's office.

    1. Intended to be confidential ... Let's do the numbers and see how realistic that intention could have been:

      35 internal EBA
      20 external judges
      38 AC delegations with 2 reps each
      BB copied on the letter

      That's 132 actual writers/addressees. Give each external judge or AC rep just one secretary/assistant/clerk and pretend it went no further in the EPO or civil service of each country. We're up to 228 people who'd have been expected to see the letter, even before sharing with their colleagues, ministers, staff, etc. I'd be amazed if Merkel didn't get several leaks .

  68. You think it was Angela Merkel? :-)

    The EBA Registrar's email with the latest judges' letters was timed at 9:12 this morning. If I read the filename correctly, it seems to have been uploaded to EPLAW just over two hours later, at 11:34. That's a pretty fast leak!

  69. Referring to the EBA letter of 8 December 2014:

    It is said that this letter was marked "confidential".

    Can anyone see a reason for this classification?

    There isn't any information in that letter that should be confidential.

    Moreover, this letter should be publically available in order to achieve some effect. It is an important statement from an important institution.


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