09.25.15

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Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli’s EPO in Germany

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Summary: The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO’s cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

ONE of the papers that most frequently cover the EPO scandals is Süddeutsche Zeitung (recall for example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). There is a new article there and it explains that the EPO’s serious privacy infringements are going to come under federal scrutiny, with findings to soon be revealed and probably entail yet more media negative coverage. Using classic diversion techniques, the EPO is still trying to defect and mislead journalists; among the tricks we see fallacies of definition (e.g. “investigation”, “monitoring”, and “filtering” for abusive interrogation that can lead to suicides, mass surveillance and censorship, respectively), circular reasoning, victim-blaming (painting staff protests as the core issue, or characterising these protests as motivated by greed), misuse of the "racism" label (or personification of very broad issues) regarding 'poor' Željko Topić, and construction of one abuse in an effort to cover up previous abuses (recursive, as it leads to an endless chain of abuses that never end). This sort of comedy of errors is guaranteed to end with serious consequences, not just staff suicides but probably high-level staff resignations (saving face before layoffs/firings and/or criminal charges).

“The Süddeutsche Zeitung comments on the lack of supervision of data protection a the European Patent Office,” SUEPO explains, quoting: “The Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Andrea Vosshoff, is seriously concerned about data protection at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, and has made her views known to the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Bundestag. At the end of September the Federal Government will be issuing a report in committee. This has been prompted by a specific case: In June it became known that spyware had been installed on a computer in an area which was accessible to visitors.”

“Translations in English, French, and Dutch are available by scrolling through the document,” SUEPO added, enclosing this document of which we have made a local copy [PDF], just in case the EPO decides to once again intimidate SUEPO into self-censorship. Here is the English translation of the article:

English translation

European Patent Office Data Protection Commissioner calls for Supervision for Patent Office

17 September 2015, 18:47 hours

European Patent Office Data Protection Commissioner calls for Supervision for Patent Office

By Katja RIEDEL

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Andrea Vosshoff, is seriously concerned about data protection at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, and has made her views known to the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Bundestag. At the end of September the Federal Government will be issuing a report in committee. This has been prompted by a specific case: In June it became known that spyware had been installed on a computer in an area which was accessible to visitors. The background is the deep division between the management of the Office and parts of the staff body, with the involvement of their representative organization, the Suepo Union.

Persons unknown have been distributing communications attacking the President Benoît Battistelli and other high-ranking EPO representatives, and the purpose of the software is supposed to help identify the perpetrators. One patent judge was banned from his post immediately, and critics have viewed this as an impermissible intrusion and exceeding of authority. The incident aroused anger, just as the putative spying campaign did. Critics make the point that the risk of parties not involved at all – staff members, patent judges, or members of the Administrative Council – all have reason to be concerned about the security of their data.

The Bavarian Data Protection Commissioner, Thomas Petri, also sees the need for action. He has called for an independent external data protection supervisory body to be established for the Office. This is an issue involving sensitive and economically valuable data, and intellectual property. Petri has approached the Federal Commissioner Vosshoff. The problem is that the European Patent Organization is a state within a state, with its own laws, and the President has far-reaching rights and powers. The only legal supervisory body to which he has to answer is the Administrative Council, on which the 38 Member States sit. Critics complain that basic rules which apply in Germany cannot be imposed on the EPO. Data Protection Commissioner Vosshoff is demanding that the legal basis of the Patent Organization, the Patent Convention, should be supplemented by an external supervisory arrangement. She has made this proposal to the Ministry of Justice in the letter to the Committee on Legal Affairs, which is in the possession of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. So far, however, the Ministry has rejected the idea on the grounds that the Convention cannot be supplemented without the agreement of all the Member States.

Meanwhile, there is still no peace at the Patent Office. Last week EPO staff were again on the march in Munich, this time to the Labour Inspectorate. The reconciliation procedure which was ordered in the early part of the year, and which began with discussions, appears to have stalled in the interim. The Munich-based Chair of the Union is currently fearful of severe disciplinary measures. Without the approval of the Office management, she made it publicly known in an Internet blog that she was being informed on, internally; this is apparently being viewed as contravention of her obligation to maintain confidentiality. Up to Thursday afternoon, the EPO was making no comment.

There has been a reckless accusation and a shallow presumption about the source of the leak. If people pass things around among colleagues or external entities other than media (sometimes out of necessity, e.g. in the case of lawyers, legal advisers, family and so on), it is possible for the leaker to become someone other than the original recipient of some piece of information. The very fact that the EPO’s management is bullying a person under false pretenses or totally made-up assumptions (reinforced through ferocious repetition in Battistelli's and Bergot's echo chamber) just serves to show the utterly poor investigative skills, even with the addition of ‘British Blackwater’ (CRG) to the team, owing to Battistelli’s signing of the CRG deal, at taxpayers’ expense. The naked emperor has done a good job proving the Streisand Effect and he shows no signs of stopping.

The EPO (meaning its management) is a very rogue, revengeful, misguided body that is willing to even bully innocent people rather than interrogate members of the management, who are themselves facilitators of serious crimes, thankfully (for them) managing to break and/or dodge European laws at nearly every turn.

We do need an investigative unit. It needs to investigate EPO management and it must be completely external/independent from the EPO, which has been systematically subverted from the inside as if the EPO is a private company with just one shareholder, Mr. Battistelli.

“That’s why I am president!”Benoît Battistelli arrogantly exclaimed

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