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03.17.15

Rikard Frgačić Explains Željko Topić’s Behaviour and the Lufthansa Case

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Rikard Frgačić submits his comments regarding the misdeeds of SIPO, the Croatian intellectual monopolies offices which was headed by Željko Topić

We very recently published a video segment (extracted from a programme of one Croatian TV network) about a man called Rikard Frgačić, whose case against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić we had previously covered in the following three posts:

  1. The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch: Part XVI
  2. Just in: Fresh Call From Croatia to Arrest EPO Vice-President Željko Topić
  3. Željko Topić’s History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

Today we wish to expand and to explain what the case is about. We have been in contact with the plaintiff and interviewed him over the telephone. We also received additional documents that help explain his case. The following additional programme segment helps explain it primarily from the Lufthansa angle.


Mr. Frgačić kindly provided us with detailed information about his case and in particular, especially towards the end, the special role of Željko Topić. Below is his explanation, unaltered so as to preserve his narrative.


In accordance with the article entitled “The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch”, posted on the Internet portal http://techrights.org on 15th February 2015, under the programme section “Europe/Patents”, and with an aim of providing objective and thorough information to the international public, I kindly ask you to publish my comment on the article as follows:

Air Plus vs. Lufthansa_photo

My legal dispute with the subsidiary of the big German corporation Lufthansa AG – Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten G.m.b.H. is not benign at all. All the more so when one lives in a banana republic called Croatia, very similar by its judicial system and public administration system to some underdeveloped African countries in terms of the level of corruption.

One of the reasons why I mention this hides in the fact of the name of a person holding a master’s degree title – Mister Željko Topić involved with the former State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the Republic of Croatia. As a citizen, I could accept the fact of being conned by an individual, but unfortunately, I cannot accept it being done by the state system. Nevertheless, given the involvement in corruption of the above-mentioned airline company registered in an EU Member State, since recently this case has also been tackled by the EU institutions based in Brussels, entrusted with its in-depth monitoring.

But, let us start from the very beginning. With reference to the facts written in your article, which are accurate: Lufthansa did offer me a value of the second-hand mountain bike to buy ownership over my internationally protected brand Air Plus. What is extremely important to highlight here is the fact that Lufthansa’s offer would not have been given had there not been any abuse of my trademark/brand. A proof of my international ownership over the Air Plus brand was issued by the OMPI/WIPO in Geneva.

Air Plus WIPO certifikat

Why do I mention this? On my return flight with a four-member family from a business and tourist trip in the USA, that is, from New York to Zagreb in 2007, at the JFK Airport Lufthansa gave us a flyer with an interesting offer to postpone our flight for a couple of hours and receive EUR 700.00 compensation per person. In other words, EUR 2,800.00 for the four of us to delay our flight to Europe for a couple of hours. Lufthansa’s offer was rejected, and the return flight from New York to Zagreb was partially made by another airline company. My guess is that due to malfunctioning IT booking system and ongoing overbooking, as well as due to a fear of potential claims, Lufthansa provides interesting compensation to the passengers stalking them at airport counters prior to their flights and offering them cash vouchers. In the attachment, you can find the proof of such farce taking place at the JFK Airport in New York, the original Lufthansa flyer.

Lufthansa,overbooking,N.York-small

[Click to enlarge]

Based on the above-mentioned, I think any further comment is superfluous.

Under such circumstances and failed negotiations between me and Lufthansa, which have been carried out by my attorney in Munich (the letter is a PDF) to date, in 2010 the court proceedings were initiated for indemnification at the Commercial Court in Zagreb under number P-710/2010.

Simultaneously, the German Stock Exchange, German Patent Office in Munich, the President of the Lufthansa Supervisory Board and Assembly were notified accordingly. The document enclosed (2 pages below), and which document was submitted to the German Patent Office in Munich, indicates a very high value of the dispute amounting to EUR 30 million.

DPUM_1

DPUM_2

Unfortunately, the Attorneys-at-Law who represented me initially in Zagreb represent me no longer as it turned out that at the same time they also represented Mister Željko Topić, former SIPO Director General, current EPO Vice-President in Munich. The proof (power of attorney of Željko Topić) of the above-mentioned allegations is also enclosed in the attachment. For the time being I have not brought any action for indemnification and criminal action against the Attorneys-at-Law who knowingly found themselves in the conflict of interest.

Power of attorney-Topic_Hraste

In the forthcoming period the instigation of court proceedings against Lufthansa in Germany is expected (due to the statute of limitation the deadline for the claim in Germany is May 2016), after completion of the case with the SIPO in Zagreb initiated based on fictitious charges of Lufthansa claiming that my Air Plus brand had not been in use, which, naturally, was not true. The charade at the SIPO of the Republic of Croatia was organised by Lufthansa Attorney in the Republic of Croatia and above-mentioned corrupt Željko Topić, former SIPO Director General who used a well-established scheme to settle the Lufthansa’s charges within a record time of a single day. Of course, in favour of Lufthansa. The criminal charges were pressed against both actors with the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH in Croatian), which were subsequently taken over by the Croatian Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK in Croatian) on account of severe qualifications of a criminal offence. On its own initiative, the SIPO, then headed by Željko Topić, without any legal grounds made a reassignment of my protected brand in the official registry and posted such reassignment on its official website, which is one of the reasons for criminal charges as it has nothing to do with violation of my personal rights, but violation of Croatian law and international law and violation of the principle of trust in credible records in a public registry. After my appeal and media coverage of the entire case, the SIPO quashed its first instance decision and pronounced Lufthansa’s charges as unfounded. However, six years after such event, which was settled for Lufthansa within a remarkable single day, I still have not received the final decision of Topić’s ex-SIPO with the accompanying documentation. My total legal costs of the dispute with Lufthansa exceed EUR 50.000.-. At the moment there are five attorneys representing me in the proceedings against Lufthansa. One in each of the respective cities: Munich, Ljubljana and Paris and two attorneys in Zagreb specialised in commercial law and intellectual property law. It should be highlighted here that the letter of Lufthansa’s representatives of 24th July 2009 addressed at my attorney in Munich evidently shows the outcome of the proceedings with the SIPO in Zagreb a couple of months in advance. This letter is crucial evidence which takes Mister Željko Topić, and Lufthansa’s representative in Croatia and all others involved in this case directly to prison with a request for precise answers regarding operation of the “high-level corrupt octopus” in practice.

The project under the Air Plus trademark was a big tourist vision as shown in the letter for the Airbus consortium in France way back in 1998 with the graphical design of the Air Plus brand on the Airbus plane model A-319, also below.

Letter_Airbus

airplus photo

Throughout the last couple of years I gave a number of interviews laying stress on the issue of intellectual property in the case with Lufthansa, but also more broadly speaking. In particular, I would like to single out two TV shows for the Croatian public broadcasting company (HRT), also shown above as video-clips with English subtitles.
According to some unofficial information there is a closed circle of indications that Lufthansa is a secret owner of the Croatian airline company Croatia Airlines, and thus my case crosses the borders of judiciary and becomes a political “burning issue” in the currently unresolved relations between Germany and Croatia. That was the basic reason why I addressed Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, Madam Angela Merkel (the letter is below).

Frau Merkel

By leaving the Croatian SIPO and coming to the EPO, whether by accident or not, Master of Science Željko Topić appointed Ms. Ljiljana Kuterovac, allegedly his longtime mistress, as the SIPO Director General in Zagreb. But he did not stop there as can be seen from a bizarre detail that very soon he also brought the foregoing lady that is his mistress to the EPO in Munich (information here) and turned this reputable international institution into a Balkan tavern equal to the one he had in a coffee bar “Valeatis” in Zagreb, close to his official office in the SIPO, and which is very precisely described and documented in a website article “A wrong man sitting at the EPO?”. To use the police investigation lingo, a very simple and logical question is raised here – Who made it all possible to him?

VV_pass

I would also like to emphasise that the corrupt network in this case surpasses Željko Topić and his current EPO position and assumes bigger proportions, including the WIPO in Geneva and leaning onto segments of the Croatian diplomacy. More specifically, after publication of the newspaper article “Vesna Vuković welcomes Topić in Geneva whom she ardently reported to DORH and USKOK” (see this) the foregoing lady fearing political retaliation apologised to “Master of Science” Željko Topić by phone from the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Geneva. This interesting telephone conversation on the Geneva – Munich line was intercepted by the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA in Croatian) of the Republic of Croatia. Specifically, Ambassador Vuković (diplomatic passport is above) was not appointed to go to Geneva on behalf of the Republic of Croatia for diplomacy but as an extended hand of the former President of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Josipović with the WIPO, since Geneva is an international bureau for the protection of author’s rights but also any other intellectual property rights (information here). It is no secret that the former President of the Republic of Croatia – Josipović is a covert owner that is the most influential person of the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS/ZAMP in Croatian) with non-transparent parafiscal levies on account of which he probably lost the last presidential elections in the Republic of Croatia less than a month ago. Miss Vesna Vuković, together with corrupt Željko Topić, is a part of the systematically built “network” of former President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipović. Finally, former Minister of Science of the Republic of Croatia, Željko Jovanović, himself publicly admitted to a DW journalist the pressure of President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović in case of protection of Željko Topić against criminal prosecution, which was published in her article entitled “Croatian Patent for Author’s Rights” (see this).

According to the latest news from the Croatian independent media, the DORH system also constitutes a part of this sophisticated corrupt network, the head of which, the first man of that institution, Mladen Bajić, was recently removed from office. After Bajić’s deposition, the first attorney – Željka Pokupec of the County State Attorney’s Office (ŽDO in Croatian) based in the capital of the Republic of Croatia was removed from office and sacked. The Croatian public is anxious to see further clarification of matters in this state institution in the upcoming days. The role of the DORH in this fascinatingly built corrupt network at the high political level was regular collection of fees for Josipović’s HDS/ZAMP. In other words, the use of public resources of the Republic of Croatia for private purposes, as well as a potential cover-up of criminal offences of Željko Topić and obstruction of investigations by the very same persons at the top of the pyramid of the Republic of Croatia over former Chief State Attorney Mladen Bajić and his right hand Željka Pokupec, and over former President of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Josipović. However, the way things are at the moment it seems that the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Sanader convicted on account of crimes of corruption as a high ranking politician will soon get some company in the most famous prison in Croatia. Publicly pronounced word is said to be stronger than a baton, but this history folk saying is yet to be verified in this specific case.

In Zagreb, 20th February 2015

Written by: Rikard Frgacic, M.Sc. Geo.


It should be in the interest of EPO staff to know this, irrespective of the relevance of this trademark case to the patent system.

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