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    EPO Staff To Get Disputed €28M Bonus, Despite Protest

    Published on 10 January 2013 @ 4:00 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The European Patent Office Administrative Council in December agreed to award a controversial bonus of tens of millions of euros to EPO staff at the end of 2012, with 24 positive votes and 8 negative votes. Several stakeholders had protested the proposal and encouraged contracting states in the Administrative Council to vote against the measure.

    The proposal by EPO President Benoìt Batistelli to pay a bonus to EPO staff in view of the positive operating result at the organisation had stirred concerns from several stakeholders, such as the Berne Declaration, the Corporate Europe Observatory, the Development Fund from Norway, the Center for Intellectual Property Rights from Belgium, and the Third World Network (IPW, Patent Policy, 13 November 2012).

    On 11 December, the vote reached the necessary three-quarters majority, according to an EPO spokesperson, with 24 positive votes and 8 negative votes. However, according to those opposing the decision, 6 countries chose abstention. According to the EPO, those votes are considered as neutral.

    The bonus springs from the result obtained by the EPO in 2011 and comes into effect at the end of 2012, the spokesperson said.

    According to a source from opponents of the measure, Austria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden voted against the decision, and Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Poland and Portugal chose abstention. This information has not been confirmed by the EPO.

    In a confidential document [pdf], Battistelli proposed that €27,656,000 euros be paid out as a collective reward to staff who were in active service in 2011, and that another € 27,656,000 be transferred to the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS). This financial flow comes from a 2011 operating result of €89,231,639.

    Critics of the bonus circulated an open letter in December, to the representatives of the 38 EPO contracting states in the Administration Council, engaging them to vote against the decision. The open letter is reproduced here [doc].

    In the letter, they said the decision would amount to paying each EPO employee a €4,000 bonus, accounting for 31 percent of the 2011 operating result. The bonus, according to them, “contributes to adverse incentive structures and conflicts of interest for the employees of the EPO. In linking the staff’s wallet to the Office’s surplus, it undermines the efforts to raise the bar in patent examination and fosters a mentality to increase fee revenues for the EPO by granting applications of low quality.”

    “Temporary surpluses of the EPO should be used for socio-economic impact assessment of the EPO’s granting practices, for third party involvement both pre-grant and in opposition, and for EPO’s engagement with civil society,” the letter said.

    A source indicated that there were reasons to believe that the EPO’s surplus in 2012 may be larger than the 2011 one. Some observers have also remarked on the comfortable salaries enjoyed by the EPO staff.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. EPO Staff To Get Disputed €28M Bonus, Despite Protest – Intellectual Property Watch | Legal Planet says:

      [...] Link: CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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