This is the last post of my series on the EPO’s vision and the current reality, this time dealing with the issue of EPO and “trust”, including trust-building measures such as transparency, fairness and respect. Let’s begin by recalling the yardstick by which the EPO wants to be measured, its “vision”:
Our vision – what we want to be
With expert, well-supported staff, motivated to set worldwide standards in quality and efficiency, we will continue to contribute to innovation across Europe, and play a leading role in developing an effective global patent system. All our relationships – within our Office and with partners around the world – will prosper through trust, transparency, fairness and mutual respect.
The last sentence, which I have highlighted in bold, sets the bar high. And I dare say, albeit with much regret, that the management under President Battistelli and the EPO’s Administrative Council have spectacularly failed in this category more than in any other.
“Trust” begins and ends with how you treat other people. Every time I enter the EPO premises these days and am subjected to the Office’s “security” control, I think to myself: Does a patent office, in which public hearings are regularly held, really need this? If so, why were such controls not introduced in 1981 when the EPO opened, but only in 2016 or 2017? Why does the EPO think it needs to screen an EPO representative’s suitcase and jacket, after they have checked his/her identity? Does the EPO management really think that EPO representatives or parties to oral proceedings pose a threat to anyone in the office? If not, why are we then subjected to such controls?
Don’t tell me this is all to protect the EPO against terrorists – it is a laughable proposition that the current “security checks” might intimidate, let alone stop a bunch of terrorists with machine guns or explosive belts.
Note that I am certainly not advocating here that there should be no security anywhere in the EPO and everybody should have free access to every office. But I have to say that I liked the policy of past EPO presidents much better, who allowed a (semi)-public space without body controls for identified parties to oral proceedings, such as EPO representatives and their clients.
Furthermore, if trust is supposed to be the EPO’s vision, why does the EPO President apparently believe the EPO needs an “investigative unit” (aka as “Stasi” in examiners’ speech)? Because he trusts his employees and just wants to confirm what a great job they all do and how high quality their products are one year after another? If www.jungewelt.de is to be believed, the motivation is a different one.
And if all of the EPO’s relationships are to prosper through trust, why did the President’s investigative unit consider it appropriate to install a keylogger on the public computers in the EPO’s Patent Attorney rooms in the Isar building? The justification seems to be that allegedly defamatory material against the President was said to be sent from these computers. Yet this raises at least three questions: Firstly, who decides what is “defamatory”? Remember that defamation, by definition, is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person. Have demonstrably false statements been spread from this computer? And even if they have, does the purpose of identifying the offender justify this significant intrusion into the private and confidential professional sphere of European Patent Attorneys? And how can all of this be reconciled with the EPO’s vision of trust?
Trust on the other side, i.e. from examiners towards their President, is not better, I am afraid to say. According to Wirtschaftswoche (in German), they internally call him “Putin”. The latest EPO FLIER No. 36 bears the laconic title:
Trust is broken & quality in decline
EPO staff have lost trust in their employer
Not too much trust left, it seems.
Nonetheless, let me be very clear here that a mutual lack of trust does not justify acts like sending anonymous emails personally threatening the EPO President or any other EPO employee or even cutting the brakes of anyone’s bicycle. I strongly condemn such actions, which only serve to further escalate the situation and destroy mutual trust. Such actions may partly be responsible for the current EPO President feeling that he should always be accompanied by at least one of his body guards, who – rumours have it – are even armed within the EPO premises. How low have we sunk that it came to this?
Is there at least some more trust between the President and the Boards of Appeal? Well… What immediately springs to mind again in this context is the plea letter by the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the Administrative Council and its subsequent decision to refuse making a proposal to remove Mr. Corcoran from the office on which I reported here. In this decision, which you will probably not find anywhere on the EPO’s website although the Enlarged Board even provided it for publication in the Official Journal of the EPO, the Enlarged Board stated this about the Administrative Council (“the Petitioner”) and the Office President in the catchword:
For the Enlarged Board to be able to continue with these proceedings the position of the Petitioner would have to be that it did not agree with the Office President and acknowledge that, from an institutional point of view, the pressure exercised by the Office President in the present case was incompatible with the judicial independence of the Enlarged Board guaranteed by the EPC. As the Petitioner did not clearly distance itself from the Office President’s position, there is a threat of disciplinary measures against the members of the Enlarged Board. It is then the Enlarged Board’s judicial independence in deciding on this case which is fundamentally denied.
Hmmm, does not exactly sound like there is a lot of trust here. It is then fitting that the Office President did not come to the inauguration of the new building of the Boards of Appeal in Haar, but instead sent his VP Mr. Lutz. Maybe he was not even invited. Here is the beginning of the EPO’s Press Release about this event:
The new building for the Boards of Appeal Unit of the EPO in Haar, Munich, was officially inaugurated yesterday. The ceremony was attended by EPO Vice President for International and Legal Affairs Raimund Lutz, Boards of Appeal President Carl Josefsson, the Chair of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, Christoph Ernst, and Gabriele Müller, the Mayor of Haar, as well as by members of the Boards of Appeal and delegations from the Administrative Council.
“Enhancing the perception of the independence of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO has been a long-standing project of our organisation. Today’s inauguration marks an important step in the reform of the Boards. We wish Carl Josefsson and all his staff a very successful start to this new chapter in the Boards’ operations,” Raimund Lutz said.
Well and good, Mr. Lutz. I would have a few ideas how to enhance not only the perception of the independence of the Boards of Appeal, but actually their very independence for a start, but I will not repeat myself here.
How then about trust in the EPO and its current management by industry? Well, to be honest, I am not from industry and thus probably not the right person to ask. It would be great if some of my readers from industry chime in here and let us know their views directly. What I have read in JuVe about a year ago does not sound very enthusiastic in this regard (my translation):
87 percent are of the opinion that the EPO President is not doing a good job. The main reason: the tough conflict between Battistelli and parts of the staff. The dispute with the main union SUEPO alerts the industry representatives. 79 percent of companies are concerned about this.
They view Battistelli as the main cause of the misery. An overwhelming majority of 96 percent think that the EPO president should be less confrontational with the unions. The president’s efficiency strategy is no longer very popular: 71 percent of companies do not think it makes sense, 4 percent support it and the rest abstain from an evaluation.
If this poll is representative of industry’s view, I dare say that trust in the EPO President from this side is limited as well.
Only the Administrative Council seems to love the President. Sometimes I wonder why.
I am not completely naïve: it is plainly obvious that Member States like it if they receive more money from the EPO in renewal fees after grant. Thus, a “production increase” by the EPO might be in their (short-term) interest. But there are a few buts: Firstly, the current production increase will not be sustainable for years to come; at best it is a straw fire. The EPO cannot grant more applications than are filed. Secondly, patents of mediocre quality will generate additional economic costs, because they unlawfully limit free competition and may impose an additional significant burden on the courts of the member states. Thirdly and importantly, the money the EPO gives to its Member States has to be taken from somebody; in the end EPO official fees are nothing but a sort of tax for those who want to file patent applications and those who want to (or have to) fight against patents that they think have been unfairly granted to their competitors. Normally, patent costs are seen as a tax-deductible investment. Therefore, what the member states earn in official fees, they will typically lose in corporate or income taxes. I concede that this is only approximately correct, since non-EPO applicants are not paying taxes in the EPO member states, and it may also be true that some smaller states having very little own patent activity just profit from the EPO’s revenue stream, all things being considered. Nonetheless, it would be a delusion to believe that official fees just pour in ad libitum from a generous universe.
Taking one more step back, I would like to caution against choosing profits or money as the new “golden calf” of a patent office. It is NOT the EPO’s vision or mission to make profits – the EPO is an office designed to fairly reward inventors, whose inventions satisfy the requirements of the EPC, with a monopoly right (i.e. a patent). It is hoped and expected that this system will promote technological progress, no more no less. Official fees are absolutely secondary in this respect and should only serve to keep the patent office liquid and operational (of course allowing for accruals to secure staff pensions). If the EPO makes more profit than necessary for sustainably running the office, it should in my opinion lower its fees.
The EPO has considerable leeway to do this. It literally sits on a heap of money; so much money that the President has written to the AC’s Budget and Finance Committee, asking them to liberalize the Investment Guidelines, so that the EPO can start investing in more exciting financial instruments such as currencies, derivative instruments, asset-backed securities (ABS), mortgage-backed securities (MBS), Credit Default Swaps (CDS) or in summary: “a diversified portfolio managed by external experts”. I highly recommend everyone to study this document in full, which has already been critically discussed on this blog. I share this criticism and just note that the experiences of Harvard University and others in 2008/2009 should be a lesson to all of us. In any case, the status quo is this: Even after deduction of 650 million EUR to fund the pension scheme, there is still a “treasury” of the Office amounting to 2.300.000.000 EUR:
The treasury of the Office has grown steadily over the last two decades and particularly during recent years under the Efficiency and Quality strategy applied since 2011: 400 m€ in 2006, 1.700 m€ in 2014, 2.200 m€ in 2016. Part of the operational surplus was used to fund the RFPSS (650 m€ during the last five years) in addition to the normal contributions of the Office and the staff. The remaining part of the treasury (currently 2.300 m€) is managed under the constraints of the investments guidelines defined in the 1990s and marginally updated from time to time (1998, 2006, 2015), focussing on short/mid-term asset classes.
What should the EPO do with this incredible amount of money, taken away from applicants?
In my opinion, the best option would be to lower the official fees significantly so as to melt down this surplus and to give applicants (partly) back what is theirs. The second-best option would be to pay this money out to the contracting states to reduce their considerable national debt. A positive side effect of both options might be that nobody in a responsible position at the EPO would be brought to bad ideas. And if and when the EPO needs more money again (according to the above document, this will not be before 2036), the official fees may well be raised again according to the office’s needs. In the meantime, I see no justification for the EPO hiring (expensive) external experts to manage a (risky) portfolio of assets. This is not the EPO’s job, mission or vision.
First and foremost, however, we (the public) need to trust that the EPO will deal with this money responsibly.
Unfortunately, I must confess that I am currently lacking this confidence. To begin with, the EPO’s financial reports are not accessible to the public in any meaningful detail, which makes any objective evaluation impossible. However, what I and others have observed, for example, is that millions of Euro are being spent on lavish “inventor of the year” ceremonies every year. I am not against rewarding and praising inventors in general, but does one have to make a costly “event” out of that? And even worse, I suspect that further millions of Euros of “official” fees have been spent (or should I say, wasted?) to convert the office space of the 10th floor of the EPO’s main building on the Isar river into the President’s own private penthouse. You think this figure must surely be exaggerated? Okay, judge by yourself. Here are pictures of the stylish architecture of this penthouse. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned, but I think this is simply incredible.
I do not think I exaggerate much by voicing the opinion that the EPO and its Administrative Council have set “worldwide standards” in pampering its Office President, rather than in trust and/or public accountability. I would be extremely surprised to learn of any other patent office in the world where its President privately lives in a lavish penthouse on top of “his” office.
Which raises the six-hundred-thousand Euro question: Why did the Administrative Council allow this?
I would really like to know that – and much more – from the Administrative Council, but I am afraid I, and the public, will never receive an answer. I find it hard to imagine even in my wildest dreams that this penthouse in the 10th floor was necessary for the well-being or proper functioning of the European Patent Office. The President is entitled to a housing allowance of 3000 EUR per month according to the Service Regulations, which I find generous but still reasonable even though it comes on top of a basic salary that is higher than the one of the German Federal Chancellor. Be that as it may, at least in my opinion, the EPO President is not entitled to a full-fledged penthouse built for his private use at the expense of the EPO.
In my humble opinion, there is no reason to treat the EPO management and its Administrative Council any differently from a point of view of public accountability than a company listed on a public stock exchange. Allbusiness.com explains the following principles for SEC-listed companies:
You can find information on the compensation of officers of public companies in the company’s filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Public companies that list on an exchange or NASDAQ must file quarterly and annual reports with the SEC. Among other things, these reports include information on company officers, directors, and certain shareholders including salary and various fringe benefits, and transactions between the company and management.
I wonder where to find accurate information about salaries and fringe benefits of the EPO’s upper management and the Administrative Council in the EPO’s reports. I am afraid nowhere, but I would be perfectly happy if I were corrected. The Specimen Contract for the EPO President (CA/186/09), which is part of the EPO’s Service Regulations, just includes the following obscure statement about the possibility of yet further additional boni:
The Council considered it desirable to take up in due course, after an in-depth technical evaluation, any future proposals with regard to extending to the President the procedure for performance appraisal introduced progressively for all top managers. The adoption of any such procedure would call for a detailed analysis; moreover no reference is made to it in the vacancy notice. It cannot therefore be reasonably included in the contract resulting from the present selection exercise.
And in regard to the Administrative Council, similar questions arise, as I am afraid to say. My trust in this institution would be very much enhanced, if there is complete transparency on (i) the compensation and fringe benefits of each member, (ii) any fringe benefits awarded by the EPO to the staff and family members of each member, and (iii) any payments and benefits awarded by the EPO to national patent offices, other national organisations (parties, campaigns) or individuals by way of cooperation programs and the like. I have heard and read wild rumours, which I refuse to believe and spread further here. Yet I do think it would massively help to silence such rumours and build trust in a proper governance of the EPO, if the AC showed maximum transparency in this regard.
Speaking about transparency, let me finish this critique with something positive, i.e. a confirmation of news on which I reported earlier and for which I have been waiting for years. The following announcement was recently made by the President of the Boards of Appeal:
BoA appointments and re-appointments
Appointments and re-appointments by the 155th Administrative Council
At its 155th meeting, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has just appointed Jean-Michel Schwaller (FR, for board 3.3.06) and Paul Scriven (GB, for board 3.4.01) as chairmen of technical boards of appeal and technically qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, both with effect from dates to be agreed upon between the candidates and the President of the BoA.
It has also appointed Silke Albrecht (BE, for board 3.3.07) and Juan José de Acha González (ES, for board 3.2.01) currently examiners in DG 1 as technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal, with effect from 1.5.2018. It has also appointed Corinne Barel-Faucheux (FR, for board 3.5.07), Fabian Giesen (DE, for board 3.5.02), Christian Kallinger (DE, for board 3.4.02) and Claudia Denise Vassoille (DE, for board 3.5.02) currently examiners in DG 1 as technically qualified member of the Boards of Appeal, with effect from 1.6.2018 as well as Eric Duval (FR, for board 3.3.07) currently also examiner in DG 1 as technically qualified member of the Boards of Appeal, with effect from 1.9.2018.
Rainer Moufang (DE) has been reappointed as a chairman of a technical board and legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal with effect from 1.11.2018.
The following colleagues have been reappointed as technically qualified members of the boards:
– Gabriele de Crignis (DE) with effect from 1.10.2018
– Armin Madenach (DE) with effect from 1.10.2018
– Klaus Schenkel (ES) with effect from 1.10.2018
– Gudrun Seufert (DE) with effect from 1.10.2018
– Maria Rosario Vega Laso (ES) with effect from 1.10.2018
– Ronald de Man (NL) with effect from 1.11.2018
– Andreas Haderlein (AT) with effect from 1.11.2018
– Paula San-Bento Furtado (PT) with effect from 1.11.2018 and
– Ambrogio Usuelli (IT) with effect from 1.11.2018.
I congratulate all concerned on their appointments and reappointments, both personally and on behalf of the Council.
The Administrative Council also decided on the promotion and non-promotion of members to grade G 15, step 1, in accordance with my recommendations and the proposals by the Chairman of the Administrative Council.
President of the Boards of Appeal
Congratulations also to you, Mr. Josefsson and AC! This is finally and clearly a step in the right direction, and I am even more delighted that the EPO website seems to show additional vacancies for further BoA posts. My euphoria would be even greater, had I been able to find an official link to this circular on the EPO’s website. But after 2 hours of searching I had to give up and just hope this is no hoax from the EPO. Anyway, I do not think this news is (or should be) secret. On the contrary, I am only too happy if I have an opportunity to praise the EPO and tell my clients that at least a first credible step has finally been made to end the unbearable backlog at the Boards of Appeal.
Easter is a time of hope. Let me thus conclude this long series of observations on the “EPO’s vision” with my best wishes and thanks to all readers, particularly to those who engage in the discussion by providing their own comments, and with an expression of hope for the resurrection of a European Patent Office that will again fulfil its ambitious vision in the not too distant future.
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Thorsten thanks. The louder EPO management shouts out about how much it values “trust”, the more I find myself thinking, with rising feelings of disgust, not about trust but about betrayal of trust.
In particular, I am reminded of that famous old quotation about the possibility of theft of silver spoons, by a guest invited for the week-end in an English country house. It originated with Johnson (definitely not Boris though) and was modernised by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It goes like this:
“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted the spoons.”
Sadly, at the EPO though, it’s not just one shameless thief acting alone though, is it? Rather, it seems to be a wilfully blind AC quietly trousering the proceeds of management venality and treachery. Quite frankly, the less the EPO boasts about trust, the less queasy and embarrassed we will all feel.
These days, nobody should be surprised when an International Organisation, enjoying immunity from the Rule Of Law, and therefore acting with impunity, degenerates to institutional kleptocracy, whenever the opportunity arises. Who can hold the Organisation to account? Only the bulk users, the key customers, by which I mean the sociopathic, itinerant, global titan corporate giants.
These giants insist on paying no tax. They play one country off against another, threatening to pull out of any country that dares to tax them. What’s the alternative to taxing them then? System Battistelli of course. BB pulls in the cash, then dispenses it as dividends to those EPO Member States he likes most. At least for those favoured countries, Plan BB does at least deliver much-needed cash, that cannot be gathered otherwise, because any attempt to tax the corporations will be futile or, even worse, self-destructive.
No wonder the AC is so good at covering the President’s back. What else can one reasonably expect?
Grandeur et décadence at EPO and this thanks to the active support of Dr C. Ernst (the rumour has it he will soon go after VP5’s position. Faites vos jeux).
What you describe Mr Bausch could be the tip of the iceberg.
With such level of transparency (read opacity), with amazing budgets of cash available at the hands of Battistelli’s trusted clique (http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/epo-people.pdf) and during eight years, this in the absence of any credible financial audit nor any check-and-balances, just try one sec. to figure out how much EPO money (read applicants’ fees) could have vanished on questionable actions totally remote from the public interest or that of the IP world.
Indeed according to information of well-placed EPO insiders, yes the luxury top-floor suite of the Isar 10th floor (Battistelli presidential suite) has cost several Mio EUR (not only due to architectural costs, expensive choice of exquisite materials and plenty of designer furniture and top-of-the-range high-tech features, but also due to the removal of three complete floors (with hundreds of staff to be removed) as a result of the decision of one narcissistic man.
In The Hague a prestige building by Pritzker priced architect Jean Nouvel will soon be inaugurated (few days before Battistelli’s departure end of June). During an interview on FR TV few years ago, Nouvel dared to declare that he cheats every tender to get it (and then the total costs explode afterwards).
This building is worth a modest amount of SEVERAL HUNDREDS of Mio EUR (of course without the Mio EUR needed for furniture, removals for over 1700 staff etc). But no worries: as you may expect all is clean with this real estate deal (since we are at EPO), deal next to which the “european inventor of the year” events are for beginners.
As US journalists famously put it: “follow the money”.
Corruption is like cancer: if you search for it, you may soon find it. As an example, few years ago by the Deutsche Bahn, the German state went after corruption: first it identified all money decision-makers (not that many in fact). Then it checked their living standards, that of their families and closest associates, and guess what : BINGO.
At EPO major contracts (worth several Mio EUR) are easy to earmark: real estate, IT, consultancies and international cooperation. Those who have the power to involve EPO funds are not even two handfuls.
But dear readers of Kluwer Patent Blog all RELAX: EPO is blessed by Gods. It is not only immune to justice, it is also immune to corruption. And remember as Battistelli always proudly puts it during Administrative Council delegations who seem to love to be fooled: “we have improved transparency”.
Enjoy the reading of a good old post by Foss Patents : http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/06/striking-structural-parallels-between.html
In gratitude for the distinguished services rendered to the EPO, the Napoleon of the 10th floor will receive the golden whip with diamonds as well as the medal of the empty file shelf at the ceremony of the vaste of money held in its castle of St Germain en Laye in June 2018!
He has shown that the trust put in him when taking over a well functioning EPO, and bringing it to where it is now,was fully justified. If it existed he should as well receive the title of bully of the decade. Nevertheless a lump sum commensurate with his merits in the matter has been guaranteed to him!
What a wonderful patent world we live in!
The dog wagged by the tail
On (in)security at EPO
– the price of one bodyguard over a year is said to be at around that of a patent examiner. It is reported that Battistelli would employ three of them (at some point even five) and Bergot one (at some point three).
Since this mad circus is lasting for years, imagine the amount of patent applicants’ fees “invested” on that account alone.
– if it is VERY hard to believe that an EPO staff member (never heard of any physical aggression at EPO over the past decades) would have taken the risk to get caught cutting brakes of a presidential bike (it is also reported that the bike was stored in a corner which was under video surveillance), but it is even HARDER to figure out Battistelli on a bike (all the more since Battistelli is said to be living 300 m away from the Isar building and loves to be driven around in his fat long-chassis A8 with all options). This bike story smells storytelling by Battistelli’s com team (in the public eye a bike means Battistelli is not a monster but a human being like you (if he can bike) and cutting his breaks means someone wants to attack a human being, poor him). This one is really hard to buy in.
– placing keyloggers on computers in semi-public areas is BAD but the massive surveillance organised from within towards EPO staff, targetting potentially all identified suspects (and under PD HR Bergot there are many also at managerial level where trust is thin as ice can be. Also in particular staff representatives and SUEPO officials among them), is currently organised at an unprecedented industrial scale at EPO (it is reported that (some) phones would be tapped, (some) emails accounts would be controlled, that some spy videos cameras would have been installed in several dpts including Occupational Health Services areas, DG4 also in some targetted offices, that external IT companies would have been hired to target external websites reporting about what happens at EPO (to identify their sources) and that targetted private email accounts (and social media accounts) would have been hacked etc)
– not only is it as you rightly point, totally unnecessary and vexatious for patent attorneys and their clients to submit to abusive security checks at the entrance but imagine for spouse of EPO staff and their children, or EPO pensioners, who are equally treated as potential terrorists
The madness at the EPO workplace is unprecedented: no one dares any longer to speak on the phone (be it office landline or office mobile) with colleagues or by email about the EPO. Everybody is suspicious about his/her colleagues and afraid to be denounced of whatever non existing wrongdoing. The scale of anonymous denunciations is said to have sky rocketed. It is reported that PD HR Bergot invites herself to newcomers academy to present them with the investigative procedure, how to report misconduct(s) observed around, how to fill in the form correctly. Newcomers are appalled obviously since they never worked before in a company where the HR boss explains you how to report your colleagues to an investigative unit.
Mr Campinos arriving at EPO next July will be faced with REAL challenges. What will he do:
– keep the mad system running as-is (the poisonous organisation of work has become the norm at EPO with middle-management following nonsensical orders blindly),
– or will Campinos want to reverse it (in which case due to the huge surveillance system in place, he first needs to identify all what has been done wrong to then be able to redress it and this takes both time and probably new staff members at key positions).
No doubt that Campinos will use nice friendly words for the public but do you sincerely think this will suffice to calm down the wounds after 8 years of a brutal HR regime and a production pressure which keeps increasing also when there are no more files to deal with ?
Concrete actions by Campinos will have to follow sweet words very soon or he will not be taken seriously and this fire back on him (and on the EPO) in no time.
Happy Easter and thanks Mr Bausch for the outstanding work once more
Thanks Thorsten for, once again, such a well written paper. It put the finger on the sour points.
Trust, transparency, fairness and mutual respect: all those nice words are no more than empty shells, when spoken out by the tenant of the 10th floor. It is even an insult to these notions when they are taken in the mouth by somebody like him. Every action of his was the exact opposite of what he claims.
In order to trust others you have first to believe in and trust yourself. What if the arrogance put to light by this despicable person is nothing more than the sign of a deep insecurity about himself? The behaviour has reached pathologic levels. In French one would say: “un pauvre type”. But he has done so much damage. And it will take a while to get, if at all possible, read of his trail of damages!
He has not even been a good manager, as he has brought the EPO on the brink of fallacy, as the examiners have been degraded to simply make accountable products=points rather than being educated in making reasonable decisions. But once the patent is granted, it is off the shelf and what happens after it is irrelevant.
It seems that the upper management is considering that the money given to staff comes from their own purses, which inclines it to keep the purse strings tight for others, but not for itself. This explain also why it is coming up with social policies which would not be dreamed for nowadays by employers in the private sector. Even Maggie did not dare to go as far as those people!
The Napoleon of the 10th floor has been anything but a leader trying to gain trust from its staff and giving them a true vision of their future. This future could have been bright. It is now becoming more and more clouded, due to his gross social incompetence and that of his minions.
I can only agree with you about the searches carried out at the EPO entrance. I could understand that at the Spanish office they had to be on their guard in times of ETA bombings, but at the EPO it is simply ridiculous to consider anybody entering the office as a potential criminal. That the ID of entrants is controlled is quite normal, but to use X-ray machines is not. And the price for all this crap is costing a bomb to the fee payers.
As far as the investigation unit is concerned, it has clearly been misused by Napoleon and his goons to go create a climate of fear so that the mere chance of being scrutinised may retain people to do anything but keep its head down.
If trust would have been given to staff, then a whistle blower scheme should have been introduced at the same time. The problem would be that first the head of the office and his minions would have been whistle blown, and in order to curb any attempt to reveal any of this wrong doing, an investigative unit had to be put in place.
The money which has been wasted by those people is quite amazing. Do we need extension to exotic countries like Moldavia or Cambodia, or even around the around the Mediterranean area? But the Miles and More account or whatever it is called is filling up quite nicely. Has every duty trip carried out by the inner circle of minions always been justified by the necessity of service? I have strong doubts about it, and it is for instance nice to get a duty mission in sun bathed member states in the summer.
Did the EPO need a long term lease of a building for the boards of appeal at the outskirts of Munich, simply to enhance the perception of the independence of the boards? As long as the budget allocated to the boards will be under the control of the president of the EPO they will never be independent. As long as the separation of powers will be disregarded by the management of the office, the boards will not be independent.
That a few new members of the boards have been nominated recently is a good thing. But this will not help to reduce the backlog of 8 400 cases on 31.12.2016 (last figures available)! Between 2015 and 2016 the backlog at the boards has increased by 500 cases! Nearly 4000 cases are pending for over 2 years on 31.12.2016.
As the autocrat from the 10th floor has not had a Christmas party for staff for at least the last 5-6 years, it is no surprise that he did not show up at the inauguration of the Haar building. He knew in advance of the boycott he would face going there. But he will tell you it was for the benefit of the perception of independence that he did not turn up. More hypocrisy is hard to beat!!
And why is the backlog on the rise: simply because the idiot of the 10th floor decided that the boards were not working hard enough for his liking, and hence he refused to propose new members or the replacement of members retiring!
What makes you want to puke is that this mismanagement is honoured by a special grant. Stop taking the users of the system, who after all pay for this, for a ride.
Trust and confidence is broken, may be not only with staff, but also with users of the system. And this is not a bright future to which the new tenant of the 10th floor is coming to.
To blame is not only on the actual tenant of the 10th floor but also on the whole Administrative Council which accepted to be degraded to what it has become now: a rubber stamping group, letting go through more or less anything having been borne in the sick minds of the nut-case and its minions.
The problem is that there is no democratic control by a parliament or any other organ which could stop such nonsense. To make things worse those meant to give a voice to the users and to the group of qualified representatives has been strangely silent. Besides organising nice trips in all the member states, epi has shown to be quite useless. This has also to be said.
In order for trust and confidence to be restored full transparency is a must for the future. It might however remain a wish.
Techrights: FINGERS OFF!
No one cut the brakes of the president’s bike. It is all made up! He needed a reason before the Budget and Finance Committee that day, for his half million contract of hiring 4 bodyguards.
An internal communiqué complained of “vandalism” (not sabotage). The press were told the sabotage story. Please don’t repeat this awful lie any more.
I cannot tell whether it is true or not that the brakes of the President‘s bike were cut; it was so reported. But even if it only was vandalism, not sabotage, and even if there is a difference between the two in this context, I condemn it. This has nothing to do with the moral of the owner of the bike.
My point is: There was no sabotage either. The only sources of information about that (non-)incident are:
– an internal communiqué by a vice president.
– an article from The Registrar.
Internal communiqués are pure doublespeak. You need to believe the contrary of what senior management claims.
There have been false leaks to press by senior management before (remember the armed nazi defamations targeting a suspended BoA member).
The bicycle story is so ridiculous, had it really happend, it would probably have been hushed up.
But it occurred conveniently the day before the BFC meeting, for the discussion of bodygurad contracts.
Thank you for the articles. However, I miss an article about ILO-AT, which appears to be instrumental in letting the EPO get away with dismissal of union representatives and staff who voice criticism. In recent years, ILO-AT rejected all EPO cases but a few for which they had no choice. The latest example is the DG3 member, who was reinstated as anything less would have caused a scandal. But he was reinstated when his contract was one week close to its end.
If you look the decisions of ILO-AT, the difference between the EPO and the ones of the other organizations is striking. It is another authority which cannot be trusted, I think…
EPO is dead and Resurrection only happened once. I am looking for a job. Very difficult at 43 with 13 yrs useless experience in a place which next year will cease to exist as we know it.
My hope is that the frenchman and his followers will pay for what they have done.
Maybe I am too naive or too much of a believer in the good, but I do not think that the EPO is dead and that nothing can be done to improve it. I am saddened by your cynicism though; you must have made very frustrating experiences.
À propos bodyguards: the hyper-inflated egomaniac of the 10th floor had requested authorisation from the Bavarian authorities for his bodyguards to keep their arms outside the EPO. The reply was a clear cut NO, and even repeated requests were answered the same negative way.
The position of the authorities was the following: if he thinks fit for his bodyguards to wear arms on the EPO premises, he is free to do so as nothing can be said against this, cf. immunity, but outside the EPO there is no reason whatsoever to allow arms. What they did not say in so many words: the President of the EPO is not an important enough person warranting such privileged treatment. What a blow…
This tells a lot about the person. I wonder if he will request from the EPO to keep bodyguards after July 1st. It would not surprise me if the AC would be stupid enough to grant this request.
À propos surveillance: any look at a web page which is not directly required for work is reported to the line manager. Even if it is harmless. It is thus perfectly thinkable that any mail entering or leaving the EPO is looked at. Communication between people working at the EPO or with people outside is done via private e-mail accounts outside the EPO IT system. One wonders why? But trust and mutual respect are our favourite words!
When you visit EPO staff in their offices you can see in lot of offices the camera sitting on top of the screens having either a piece of paper blocking the lens or being turned the other way. Here again, one wonders why? But trust and mutual respect are our favourite words!
If Mr Campinos wants to change things he should take a look at the following:
Bonne lecture Mr le futur Président!
You should, after reading those short texts, know what is to be done to restore trust, not only in your future staff but also in the users of the system.
And get read as soon as practicable of all the bunch of parasites sitting in the top and middle management of the EPO hanging on the present tenant of the 10th floor. By doing so, you will be able to show that you care of not only the institution you are meant to lead, but also to show care of its most valuable asset: the people working there.
What the EPO needs is not a boss or a manager. It is a leader! Is the message received loud and clear?
Techrights: FINGERS OFF!!
Thank you! I agree that leading by example is what the EPO (and any other organization or state) needs. Your additional comments on armed/unarmed bodyguards – assuming they are factually correct – are saddening.
Another option which could explain the armed bodyguards (besides mental sickness obviously) :
What if Battistelli would have messed up with money and/or contracts big time and had got involved into dirty deals from which he cannot escape ?
I don’t think such „what if“ questions help us further. Please stay factual, objective and ad rem.
(never heard of any physical aggression at EPO over the past decades)
You seem to forget the assault by the then-president on a staff representative, which happened less than three decades ago. OK, it wasn’t “at” the EPO, but on its doorstep, where German law is suppose to begin.
(I thought it was a mere scuffle, but an eyewitness recently put me right).
Indeed you are right: The Great Braendli
At EPO it is staff which needs protection!
All these years when I read about the EPO’s virtues of transparency trust and fairness I thought of Minna von Barnhelm written by Lessing, where Franziska says: “People seldom talk of the virtue they possess, and all the more often of that which they do not possess.“ For me, this hits the nail on the head.
A president of the European Patent Office does not need body guards. Period. A president who thinks he needs bodyguards should never have been hired by the council, because these sorts of people tend to ask for more and more security, investigative units, key loggers and surveillance. About the attack on the president’s bicycle: Vandalism in the bicycle sheds has happened before in the Office and probably every director of a school can tell stories about it.
To Benoît Escobar,
The job of an examiner is not to be inventive himself, but to be in position to judge inventions made by others. To be in position to do so he should keep cool.
Coming up with stories a la Benoît Escobar, shows a vivid imagination, but care should be exercised in order not fall to the level of another Benoît, to be clear not the Pope with the same name.
Exaggerating à la Techrights might not be helpful for the cause you mean to help. It is enough for paranoia to stay on the 10th Floor.
Please think twice before coming up with such nonsense. There is enough real material to show how crooked Benoît of the 10th floor is. Keep your imagination for designing an after Benoît for the EPO.
Techrights: FINGERS OFF!!
@ But trust and mutual respect are our favourite words!
How can you be so assertive? (I only raise a point which has its merits like own your speculation.)
See the post above relating to searching corruption (ref to DB):
Do you think someone is genuinely searching for corruption at EPO ? You bet! The three “independent” auditors (one of whom is an ex-employee of Battistelli at INPI)? Very drole Minister!
Do you think that EPO is immune to corruption when you see the yearly budget of 2 billion EUR and absolutely ZERO safeguards plus a legal immunity?
What do you do of the recent declaration by the German Delegation (during the administrative council session at which a vote was proposed to deal with 2.3 billion EUR which are on the accounts of the EPO that) that after consultation of the Federal Court of Finances the position of Germany is clearly NEGATIVE since Battistelli’s proposal is too dangerous and lacks sufficient details (said in extremely diplomatic terms) ?
Battistelli is elected deputy mayor of the city of St Germain en Laye (precisely where the 2018 European inventor event will be organised). For your information Battistelli was elected under the flag of a political party (UMP) which sees numerous of its officials involved in courts in the highest number of corruption cases of the past 2 decades (including ex-president Sarkozy and many of his minions).
I simply pose the question why one in an administrative office does not need ARMED bodyguards and submit a proposal which you may reject like I reject yours.
Actually, this exchange proves the very point of Mr Bausch namely that there is NO TRUST, NO TRANSPARENCY at EPO.
It could prove enlightening to have EPO finances independently audited (eg by Germany Federal Court) and see what comes out.
Do you think that if the staff representatives or the union would request such audit, the administrative council would vote for it ? (do not forget that Battistelli blocked the from staff representation requested independent investigations by competent (hence independent) local authorities in relation to six cases of suicides earmarked by the staff representatives as having potential links to the working conditions of the individuals deceased, this although the PPI and its art. 20 foresee such cooperation.)
And this was “only” in relation to suicides of staff. So now if you take a yearly budget of 2 billion EUR dealt with during 8 years with no supervision: of course that there is no corruption my dear friend!
Welcome back are on planet Earth. it is 2018.
@ Benoit Escobar
I am neither naïve nor subdued by the messages delivered by the upper management of the EPO. I am well on Earth in 2018.
I have never claimed that corruption has never happened or is not possible at EPO. But there are limits to what can be suspected.
That it is a disgrace that the inventor of the year shindig takes place, what a coincidence in St Germain en Laye, is manifest. This is money thrown out of the window. But this does not warrant the confusion made between the deputy mayor of this city and other dignitaries of the same political party.
By saying so, you are going down to the level of this person, who has never hidden his disdain for his own staff: they are unduly privileged, lazy and need a kick somewhere. It is not a person who is attacked, but a group. In German you call this Sippenhaft. If you do not want to suffer from it, then do not do the same.
That EPO’s money is not to be gambled with, is another statement I fully support. And it was good for the German delegation to query the action. I simply wish the German delegation also to be active when it is not just a question of money.
The President of the EPO does not need armed bodyguards, be it within or outside the EPO. The same applies for a PD in DG4. To employ a whole bunch of people checking any entrant like in an airport is simply ridiculous, and costs a lot of money which is simply wasted. In my professional life I visited lots of plants, chemical or not, and nowhere the security checks are comparable with those now at every entrance of the EPO. A mere ID card is sufficient. Why does the EPO need more? That at the Spanish office they used to have X-ray machines, is understandable in view of past terrorists threats.
All this measures are simply there to improve the perception of importance given by himself to the head of the EPO. How ridiculous.
There are statutory auditors acting for the Administrative Council, cf. Art 49EPC. So there are safeguards in place.
What you do not seem to realise, is that the chap at the head is quite clever. Everything he does is apparently legal. Whether it is moral is different story. And he does not care.
This is exactly what he has done with respect of the colleagues having committed suicide at their workplace. Legally he is not obliged to accept any inquiry. So he did not. But this was not right from a moral point of view.
I can certainly agree with you that there is no trust between the upper management of the EPO and its staff, and this for a long time. What is tragic and saddening is that this lack of trust is slowly but surely diffusing and has apparently reached staff itself.
What I regret is the paranoia which is apparently spreading now as well within staff. By coming up with such ludicrous statements as your original one, I maintain that you are not helping the cause you want to support.
By becoming excessive any critic annihilates itself. That is the problem. And you are the best example for it. Another example is Techrights. This is why I do not want him to use any statement I make. And I am not the only one.
Success for the future will only be obtained with reasonable behaviour, and not with irrational statements. I can understand your frustration, but cannot approve excessive accusations as you uttered them. Even Dr Bausch asked you for more caution.
I am not sure which one of us needs to come back to Earth in 2018, but I may claim to be the wrong addressee for this message.
Whatever happens, I hope that after July, the EPO can come back in less troubled water. But it will be a long time before the situation will evolve in a positive way. What a waste of energy and money the last 8 years were…. This is saddening to say the least.
Techrights: FINGERS OFF!!
Regarding the bodyguards et al, I am reminded that at the time the problem was not the bike but the terror attacks at the time on French territory and threats to soft targets. As much as I am not a fan of B.B., I would have to admit he would fall into that category, particularly with his links to politics and Sarkozy’s party. Whether that applies to him I can’t judge but is perhaps a circumstance to bear in mind.
@ “But trust and mutual respect are our favourite words!”
You have some harsh words for Benoit Escobar. Perhaps deservedly so.
But in fairness his comments have been inspired by the severe lack of transparency at the EPO.
In this respect at least he has remained on-topic.
You tell us that “there are statutory auditors acting for the Administrative Council, cf. Art 49EPC. So there are safeguards in place.”
But you may also recall that these safeguards were augmented in 2009 by the establishment of an independent Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee was set up by CA/D 9/09: “DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL of 23 June 2009 establishing an Audit Committee of the Administrative Council”
The Chairman of the Administrative Council at this point in time was none other than Monsieur Benoit Battistelli!
One of the stated aims in establishing an independent Audit Committee under the control of the AC was “to ensure that the supervision of Internal Audit does not rely entirely on the President” (CA/140/08).
But lo and behold, soon after Monsieur Battistelli became President of the EPO he started campaigning for the disbanding of the Audit Committee. These efforts came to fruition with CA/D 4/11: DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL of 30 June 2011 on the Audit Committee:
“Decision CA/D 9/09 establishing an Audit Committee of the Administrative Council is hereby repealed, and the appointments of the committee’s members are therefore terminated.”
The story is recounted in more detail (including copies of the relevant documents) by that favorite target of your scorn TechRights: http://techrights.org/2014/10/31/brimelow-and-battistelli/
The important detail here is that the disbanding of the Audit Committee could not have been achieved without collusion between the AC and the EPO President. Battistelli cannot be blamed for this action.
He only proposed the disbanding of the Audit Committee.
THE DECISION TO ABOLISH THE AUDIT COMMITTEE WAS AN ACT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF JESPER KONGSTAD.
@ Mr. Bean Counter
I am fully aware of the disbanding of the Audit Committee pushed through by the present tenant of the 10th floor. But there is still a control, and it is active. The Audit Committee should not have been disbanded, and it is to be hoped that the new entrant will re-establish this committee. This would also be a sign that he really wants to improve the situation.
The problem at the EPO is that the tail has been wagging the dog for much too long. It is the role of the AC to control the management of the Office, and not the other way round. This has not happened under the presidency of Mr Kongstadt. He has accepted that the roles were reversed, for whatever reason. I refuse to speculate on this.
I would like to believe that the present chairman of the AC will be more active in regaining the role of controlling body.
The absence of transparency has taken proportions which are not any longer acceptable, the more so since there is no democratic control by a parliament, like in the EU. It is thus the more important to insure a full transparency. I cannot agree more with this stance. Absence of transparency is for me directly linked to a lack of trust.
This transparency should be requested by putting pressure on the delegates at the AC through their governments and by the users of the system. From the side of epi the silence is deafening. As the EPO is financed by the users, why are they so silent? After all, the money thrown out of the window is theirs. The absence of any reaction from this side is thus barely understandable.
Whatever the gripes one can have, I am convinced that it is not helpful to become excessive when arguing. By becoming excessive the value of the argument is tending towards nil and at the end any credibility is lost. This is also the problem of Techrights. Some of the information disclosed there is highly interesting and useful, and the role of whistle-blower it plays sometimes is to be acknowledged. However all those positive aspects are then too often lost in some conspirational theories which make one cringe. Hence my refusal to contribute to it.
I think, I made clear what I think, and my message seems to have been well received. It is therefore time to stop. I will thus not answer any further comment, unless I consider it as attempting to my dignity and integrity.
Techrights: FINGERS OFF!! .
@ But trust and mutual respect are our favourite words!
you write “my message seems to have been well received”
IMPRESSIVE! I confirm that your self-confidence is okay.
Only I beg to differ when I read your attributions about my previous posts : I NEVER accused Battistelli of anything (YOU are projecting on what I wrote and attribute much more than what is written).
I simply raised a question which you are free to consider not to your taste (I note that Dr Bausch did publish it, even if he commented on it). My question deserves at least the same level of respect to my dignity/integrity that you claim to deserve from others towards your posts/yourself.
Finally when you write : “I would like to believe that the present chairman of the AC will be more active in regaining the role of controlling body. “, do you really mean the very same person (Dr Ernst) who :
– voted ALL reforms of Battistelli during all these years,
– sees no problem with current “quality” level delivered by squeezed EPO examiners (see his recent intervention before the Fraunhofer Institute)
– never requested (much less acted) that Germany, host country of the EPO HQ, starts independent enquiries (as foreseen by EPO PPI art 20) into several suicides having occurred on German soil (those earmarked by the staff representatives as having a possible link to the working conditions at EPO), to refresh you memory here what wrote Politico.europe (not really a pro-union media : https://www.politico.eu/article/labor-relations-turn-toxic-in-the-european-patent-office/)
– did not lift a finger when several staff representatives and union officials were unduly sanctioned (dismissed, downgraded etc) in Germany (since end of WW II union officials seemed protected in Germany only not at EPO),
– many insiders say, will run for the position of VP5 which will soon be vacant?
You must be joking!
Dear @Benoit Escobar, you seem to get a bit entangled in a discussion with @But trust that has sometimes turned a bit personal.
I think both of you have now made your respective points clearly enough. You seem to agree on many points but disagree on a few. Fair enough. And you are both very opinionated, which I always appreciate if and to the extent your opinions are based on facts or at least on plausible and fact-based arguments.
For procedural fairness, let’s do it as is common practice in EPO inter partes proceedings. Two full rounds of arguments, and one brief final opportunity to add something that is to the point and has not been said before. In the spirit of this, you have now had your third go and @But trust will be given a final opportunity to add his/her comments to this response, if he/she so chooses (though I would not encourage her/him doing so). Then this sub-debate will be closed. I hope for everybody’s understanding. Further comments by you on other aspects of this topic are of course welcome.
Regarding the AC delegates – they have a very personal incentive to be obedient.
During the Octobre 2015 council meeting, the following point came up:
” 12.1 Any other business
45. The Vice-President DG 4 informed on newly introduced medical insurance for delegates. Urgent medical treatment and dental treatment would be covered for delegates, deputies or experts when attending meetings of the Coucil and its sub-bodies or any event upon invitation by the Office. The insurance would cover all costs not taken over by the delegates’ insurance.
46. The Council noted this information on new medial insurance for delegates. ”
This is an authentic excerpt from the official internal minutes. Any staff member can access it.
It is outrageous. This is pure bribery! Obedient delegates can have a dental treatment done by an expensive Munich dentist, each time the AC or one of its sub-committees meets in Munich, paid for by the EPOffice, worth several times the delegate’s monthly salary! The president decides whether the delegate’s treatment was urgent enough to be covered by the EPO staff’s medical insurance.
I’m afraid we will never know which delegates profited to what account.
Thanks, Girl on Fire, for that last comment, about dental treatment in Munich for those who travel to Munich to represent their governments on the Administrative Council of the EPO (its governing body).
Now readers, many patent attorney readers will be inclined to dismiss as trivial this mention of dental treatment paid for (in secret) by the EPO President out of the fees paid by Applicants.
But it isn’t trivial. Of that I’m sure.
Based on my own experience of dental treatment in Munich, as one switching residence in mid-career, from England to Munich, the sky is the limit, when it comes to dental treatment. Seriously, it is world-class in Munich, and bang up to date with all the latest (rapidly evolving)technology (which by the way is the subject of huge patent battles at the EPO, between rival dental technology companies). It’s brilliant. And it puts England’s NHS to shame.
When it comes to their own health, people are ready and willing to part with huge sums of money. Privately insured, I have myself benefitted greatly, admittedly at eye-watering cost. Crowns, implants, cosmetic augmentation; you name it, I can speak about it. I am delighted to recommend Munich, in the highest terms, for anybody in need of any sort of dental treatment. And of course, whenever you have toothache, it’s ALWAYS Top Urgent, and can’t wait another day, right?
It is therefore no surprise to me at all, that AC members greatly appreciate this opportunity, when in Munich to “get their teeth done”, with the comfort of knowing that there is no chance at all, that anybody (not even fellow AC Members) will find out that it was paid for out of a fund at the EPO.
Unless President Battistelli, for whatever reason, one day chooses to make available to the public the books of account for that EPO fund, or simply leak. For an example of how powerful a tiny little leak can be, consider the drama that can be whipped up with just a suggestion that there has been a leak of brake fluid from the President’s bicycle.
But meanwhile, the recipients of those funds are in debt to President Battistelli, they know who they are. And they will surely show their appreciation, when in Munich, by voting on AC Resolutions the way the President would like. With a big wide smile, of course! That’s the least they can do, eh, to express their gratitude. As it is said here in Germany “One hand washes the other”. The English say it better “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”.
I will finish by reminding you of Thorsten’s quotation above, taken from the EPO’s Manifesto:
“All our relationships – within our Office and with partners around the world – will prosper through trust, transparency, fairness and mutual respect.”
In one way, the EPO is like an English Pub. Will the pub attract as customers the salt of the Earth or will it end up as a refuge for the dregs of society? The person in charge (variously called tenant, or landlord, or licensee) sets the tone. The precious reputation of the Organisation all hangs on the morals of its CEO.
MaxDrei and Girl on Fire,
Regarding para 45, could I suggest extending the coverage to attorneys called to oral proceedings? The principle is that there is an obligation for the office to cover unintended expenses if someone is taken ill and is forced to receive expensive treatment at an event where the office requires their attendance. I see no reason why that would not apply to attorneys who may worry that an illness or accident in Munich could be ruinous. For reasons of equity, it would be unfair for those attorneys from countries with no reciprocal health coverage to be dissuaded from coming for OP?
Yes, I’m slightly joking, but surely that was the reason to extend it to some members of the AC et al nd there could be a similar logic for attorneys?
Some comments were made about corruption. Let me remind that Jesper Kongstad was pushed to resign from his job at the Danish patent office. That is a fact which was published in the register and techrights.
What was never published is the reason why he resigned. But it is hardly a secret in the Isar building that he accepted funds which he should not have and that the Danish tax office found the tax-free status of these funds highly dubious. That is how the Danish government found out, via the tax office.
If you want the proofs, they are in the Isar building and in Denmark. Maybe the latter has less immunity, it is worth a try.
Why limit the discussion to dental treatment ?
Munich is also in the upper league in other forms of medical treatment.
If memory serves correctly during his farewell speech to the AC in October 2016 the departing head of Slovak delegation apologized for missing a number of sittings due to being busy with other important matters and he referred to a “knee operation”.
The person in question was Lubos Knoth who was dismissed as head of the Slovak IPO in October 2016.
It goes without saying that I have no knowledge whatsoever of the details of Mr. Knoth’s knee operation or how it was paid for. But I assume that all other things being equal a knee operation could be made to qualify as an “urgent medical necessity” …
All completely speculative I agree and I simply mention the matter here en passant because it seems to be relevant to the question of medical expenses.
You want a laugh? in the Academy for new comers foreseen in EPO branch TH there was – ONE – applicant planned for April and guess what: at the end he/she did not come!
So much for the current attractiveness (hence TRUST) of the EPO as employer in 2018
The nation of shopkeepers may SAY IT better.
But nobody DOES IT better than the supreme master of “la politique du donnant donnant” !!!
@ Sophie S.
Your comments about the previous chairman of the AC are interesting.
But do not forget that there are two parties (at least) to an act of “corruption”.
On the one hand there is the recipient and on the other there is the donor.
In this case it seems that although the recipient was investigated there was no fall-out for the donor ?
But surely if funds were paid as you claim then these would have shown up in the accounts and should have been noticed by the EPO auditors.
A previous poster has argued that adequate auditing safeguards are in place at the EPO but if your claims are true then this does not appear to be the case.
Comments are closed.