The 'cushy' lifestyle of EPO employees

108 posts in this topic

 

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The European Patent Office, known as the EPO for short, has its headquarters in Munich.

 

Being an international organisation, many of the employees are native English-speakers and thus also members/readers of TT.

 

If you go to Google Maps and do a search for EPO, Munich, the first result that comes up reads as follows:

 

"EPO employees are known for their cushy lifestyle. They get a generous holiday allowance (30 days like any other german company), pay no tax (there is taxation, just not the german income tax), and enjoy other benefits too. So if you're ever out on the lash with an EPO employee, make sure it's them who gets the extra round of beers in."

 

It's not clear how Google came to index this text. Although Google labels the text as "User-generated content" it doesn't link back to the original source.

 

We know, however, that the text is taken directly from the EPO wiki page on TT. It was first written in July 2005, although it's been edited slightly a number of times since.

 

Anyway, apparently higher management are "rather concerned" about this description. Two separate employees have independently written to me about it. Although I'm not sure why the concern exactly. The text is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and fair.

 

The attached photo is the EPO headquarters building in Munich, taken from Wikipedia - European Patent Office. See also the official EPO website as well as further TT topics discussing the EPO.

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BIG can of worms this one!

 

Plenty of full time EPO employees are aware of their relatively privileged position and have their eyes open to the issues of those that aren't.

 

Eg: Sometimes you get a post on here about schools along the lines of: "Just send your kids to the International School" and they realise that isn't an option for the majority of people.

 

There are PLENTY of people who work at the EPO, multilingual, experienced and qualified, who are there through Zeitarbeit and taking home not much more than EUR 1500 a month.

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Haha, those are the ones allowed to stand near the cake but they can't have it and they absolutely may not eat it.

 

Anyone whinging about the perks that the EPO lot get is either jealous, or, in the case of the upper management mentioned above, seriously lacking in something useful to do. Oh nosers, the public might find out that we is making a mint for doing nothing. Public outcry will cause the gravy train to be derailed and smack into Hackerbrücke. Yikes, more people might start applying for the positions that we advertise on our website and the HR department might have to cancel their afternoon massages and do a little work. "Eeks! It must be stopped, distaster must be averted, eh, we are rather concerned. Miss Fluffington, have my tee-off time pushed back to 4pm will you? I have to address this confounded Toytown issue. Some pesky blighter seems to have outed us."

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I work with a lot of people that work there.

 

Their work is so so important to them that they can only manage an appointment after work hours! Thus forcing me to work late!

 

I would hate to have a job where I make someone late home! <_<

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My German neighbour works for the EPO about 80% and her 3 kids go to their associated school/kindergarten. I see no evidence of a cushy lifestyle though as I imagine she is just a "local" employee with the much valued fringe benefit of the schools?

 

I have also been told, but not heard personally, about ex-pat EPO employees boasting about their tax free status and spending power in front of others less well heeled. Of course, that could create jealousy and resentment... it's only human.

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Haha, am visualising certain EPO employees standing in the queue at McDonalds and hurling a bit of hoorah Henry abuse at young Adnan behind the counter. Tis no wonder higher management are "rather concerned". They'll be expecting the peasants to revolt and hordes of lower paid peoples to show up at HQ with flaming torches (patent pending) and pitchforks (pat: 342347GSF/127).

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The EPO is a very important organisation and run very efficiently. As a regular patent filer of course I can always complain about the costs. Reading Examination Reports highlights just how hard it must be to examine state-of-the-art works where the Examiner only has a general background. As for speaking, reading and writing three languages fluently, well, let's just say that this lingually-challenged Cockney wouldn't know where to begin. I'll stick to the easy bit of inventing, thanks.

 

Now seriously, this isn't a dig at the USA at all, but the USPTO is in a right mess at this time. Long delays and backlogs, examiners who only seem to have a bare-minimum of computer literacy (they granted a US Patent on a beamexpander, for Pete's sake!!! They'll be granting patents on mud next), and as far as I can work out (EPO employees may like to confirm), deteriorating conditions for the staff... explaining the spiral downwards.

 

If any senior EPO staff are reading this, guys, five PCT apps last year alone and I'm a self-employed struggler. An invite to one of the office parties would be nice. Thanks. :)

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Anyone jealous of the conditions there could just apply to work there, no? If all one does there is file nails, well anyone can do that, right?

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Well, if there is that much work on then maybe they could start a shift system, 4 hours on and 4 hours off.

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There are PLENTY of people who work at the EPO, multilingual, experienced and qualified, who are there through Zeitarbeit and taking home not much more than EUR 1500 a month.

at present there are few permanent administrative postitions at the EPO and temporary staff are informed their positions are only temporary and likely to remain so at least for the immediate future.

 

examination staff, especially native English speakers, are needed at the moment if anyone suitable wants to apply (here)! :)

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What about sub-contract Examination for say, opto-mechanical and laser systems? Knowledge of the patent process, excellent. Knowledge of languages, pants.

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Sin, laser dood, you're not even able to read the ad for the job. I'd let this one slide if I were you.

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for examiner positions, if the applicant´s technical knowledge is impressive enough, the EPO may still hire them so it´s definitely worth a try. in-house language courses can then be offered later on.

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Readin', wassat then? :unsure:

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My technical knowledge is impressive in my field, Treacle. It's just the in-house language courses offered later on that scare me.

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can not even the ´cushy lifestyle´ rumour tempt you?

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Have you ever been on the answering end of an Examination Report? That's difficult enough. Now imagine being on the originating end. It's not what I would call "cushy".

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and the new recycled-paper flimsy ones are just rotten I bet.

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apparently higher management are "rather concerned" about this description

If they are concerned they should maybe look at their PR opportunities to counter this image.

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I don't know if it is accurate to insinuate that an EPO employee earns more than any other TTer and thus should be buying everyone drinks.

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