EPO is Trademark-Bullying Its Critics, Trying Repeatedly to Remove Bad Publicity With Help From Menacing Legal Threats (SLAPP)
One of many ugly stories that the EPO would never want the public to see
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) likes not only to silence but also to bully (repeatedly threatening) its critics, as a new revelation about an old story serves to demonstrate
THE EPO wants to be publicly viewed as a professional European establishment that fosters innovation and creativity. It wants to attract businesses (it now refers to applicants as customers or clients, some of which it likes more than others). In reality, the EPO is a malicious organisation where Chinese standards for human rights and free speech hold true (and are actively enforced quite aggressively). The EPO is very fearful that the European public will find out the truth and then spread the truth. In other to hide the truth it is even eager to attack, intimidate, and impose mental stress on educated/informed members of the public. This makes the EPO an inherently nasty organisation residing at the very heart of Europe with total impunity; it’s on par with the Mafia, at least in some senses, and politicians are too afraid to intervene. Law enforcement is hardly even interested. The EPO is ruled by an elite and guarded by mega-corporations whom this elite obediently serves. This is institutional corruption.
“The EPO is ruled by an elite and guarded by mega-corporations whom this elite obediently serves. This is institutional corruption.”Gérald Sédrati-Dinet contacted Techrights in order to notify us of the abuse which he had suffered from the EPO. He kept rather quite about it until now. They were SLAPPing, or at least threatening to SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) him. The EPO even cataloged it, much like the notorious Investigative Unit (I.U.) at the EPO does. They gave this a case reference, “LogNo 2011/0338″. It makes one wonder just how many people they bullied in 2011. If this is case number 338 in June of 2011 alone, does that mean that they bully around 700 Web sites or so every year? And if so, has it gotten any worse since? That was just shortly after Battistelli, who comes from the “Right to be Forgotten” country (censorship to guard bad people’s reputation), had joined the EPO and gradually decimated oversight, ousting anything which he perceived as a threat to his absolute tyranny.
There seems to be a lot of bullying going on behind the scenes. A lot of people are severely harmed by this, so lower-level employees of the EPO must learn about this and spread the messenger internally. Also see the reference number in the I.U. case against Elizabeth Hardon. It makes one wonder if, under explicit gag orders, they are actually ‘disciplining’ (bullying) about a thousand people per year. It is a full-time job for an entire team. They need to justify their salary by creating ‘demand’, i.e. finding who to bully next (we have learned that they nitpick on very petty things in the workplace). It’s a reign of terror. The only such stories I’ve ever heard of are from my wife (when she worked in Taiwan). We call for the attention of European politicians. This cannot go on like this. The EPO led by Battistelli has already led to a tenfold increase in the number of suicides, according to one recent estimate.
“Unauthorised Use of EPO Logo on the website www.unitary-patent.eu,” is what they claimed. Yes, you heard that right. Using a small (even tiny) logo of the EPO somewhere in a Web site critical of the EPO (and the Unitary Patents which the EPO loves to lobby for so much) leads to bullying. Look at the image above or access the site directly. It’s not even the logo per se (sheared or tapered with a flag superimposed). This isn’t about trademarks but about silencing people who live in Europe and exercise their democratic rights.
“Anything (or anyone) which speaks against the managers is automatically treated like treason, irrespective of the merit of claims.”We strongly urge all readers to learn what happened, examine the evidence, and study the case below. There may be many more like it (hundreds or maybe thousands, but we just don’t know about them because it all happens behind closed doors). That’s how immoral and thuggish the EPO can get so easily. The EPO has already blocked Techrights, so this effort to suppress other Web sites hardly surprises us. These people (the ones running the EPO) act like Chinese ministers, or maybe like Russian ministers. Freedom of speech is not tolerated there. Anything (or anyone) which speaks against the managers is automatically treated like treason, irrespective of the merit of claims. This will be the subject of the next few articles about the EPO and its pertinent units. These are thugs, hired by other thugs. It creates a toxic environment in which good behaviour leads to punishment and/or dismissal while sociopaths get hired and gradually promoted. It is a form of entryism, the hallmark of organised crime within an institution. Recall last year’s explosive story from the large British newspaper, The Independent (“Total corruption: Organised crime infiltrated and compromised UK courts, police, HMRC, Crown Prosecution Service, prisons, and juries”).
“While you are focusing on EPO,” wrote to us Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, an activist against software patents in Europe (which means he is also against the Unitary Patent, as it’s a Trojan horse for software patents), “maybe you’ll be interested by this exchange of emails dating from 2011 when I’ve build the website www.unitary-patent.eu.”
“The first mail is sent by EPO (Sergio De Gregori and Caroline Godeau-Jobmann),” he wrote, “to my hidden contact address provided by Gandi, asking me to stop using EPO Logo on this website. Then, in the second mail, my lawyer, Olivier Hugo, kindly replied to EPO that I will not defer to EPO’s request. The EPO insisted in a third mail. And my lawyer refused once again in a fourth email. Then no news and my website has never changed its banner.”
Gérald Sédrati-Dinet must have suffered pain, including financial injury (having to pay this lawyer for the time), so this kind of bullying from the EPO, which clearly had too little or no merit (as they withdrew), must not be tolerated.
This doesn’t entirely shock us given the EPO’s known (and well-documented) record of censorship and threats, not just against EPO staff but also against external entities. Gérald Sédrati-Dinet asked, “don’t you find interesting to see the pressure put by EPO on any criticism?”
“You can use these emails as you want,” he added, providing the originals as follows:
-------- Mail 1 -------- *De :*firstname.lastname@example.org mailto:email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] * Envoyé :* mercredi 8 juin 2011 14:37* À :* xxxxx* Objet :* Use of EPO Logo on your website Unitary Patent Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, It has been brought to our attention that Unitary Patent is using the EPO logo on its website http://www.unitary-patent.eu. A copy of the respective web page is attached. As you are no doubt aware, the EPO logo, as an emblem of an intergovernmental organisation, is protected under Article 6ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property against, inter alia, unauthorised use by third parties. The EPO uses its logo for its official activities and has a strong interest in ensuring that it does not lose its value as an identifying symbol. We therefore ask you to refrain from using the EPO logo and to *confirm in writing by 23 June 2011* that you have done so. If you fail to comply with this request, we will unfortunately be obliged to pass this matter on to our solicitors in order to take the necessary legal steps against you. Yours sincerely, Sergio De Gregori Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincères salutations Caroline Godeau-Jobmann Legal Administration Officer Contract matters & general legal issues | Dir. 18.104.22.168 European Patent Office Landsberger Str. 187 | 80687 Munich | Germany Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 5317_ email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org_ _http://www.epo.org http://www.epo.org/
The language used therein is not yet highly threatening, but wait until they threaten not only with legal action but also with heavy legal costs, despite the law not being on their side. At this stage, Gérald Sédrati-Dinet already reached out to a lawyer (we assume at significant expense to him). Here is the lawyer replying:
-------- Mail 2 -------- From: Olivier Hugot To: "email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: "xxxxx" Date: 09-06-2011 20:10 Subject: RE: Use of EPO Logo on your website Unitary Patent Dear Mr. De Gregori, I am the attorney of Mr. Sedrati Dinet who operates the website http://www.unitary-patent.eu. I am, to say the least, extremely doubtful regarding the legal basis of your request. As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Sedrati Dinet’s fundamental rights, which includes the right of Free Expression, at the heart of which you will find political speech, are protected by various national, European and international constitutions or conventions (for instance article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights). As such, I am afraid my client will not defer to your request. Of course, I am available to further discuss this matter with your solicitor should you deem it necessary. Best regards, Olivier Hugot *HUGOTAVOCATS* 4, place André Malraux 75001 Paris Tél. : + 33.(0)22.214.171.124.83 Fax : + 33.(0)126.96.36.199.84 www.hugot.fr http://www.hugot.fr/
Well, if Sergio De Gregori and Caroline Godeau-Jobmann already receive a salary and enjoy immunity from the law, then why not keep themselves occupied by acting like a bunch of spoiled brats and threatening a young man who has a point of view and a concern about the likes ofthe EPO? Watch what happens next:
-------- Mail 3 -------- *De :*email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] *Envoyé :* vendredi 17 juin 2011 09:25 *À :* Olivier Hugot *Cc :* Frank Hafner; Anna Juda; Sophie Gayout; Claire Lucas; Caroline Godeau-Jobmann *Objet :* LogNo 2011/0338 -- Unauthorised Use of EPO Logo on the website www.unitary-patent.eu Dear Mr. Hugot, I tried to call you for the last few days but could not reach you, this is why I now send you this e-mail. Maybe you misunderstood our e-mail or there was some kind of clerical mistake, but our request was to *refrain from the unauthorised use of the EPO's logo*, which is -- I am sure, as a lawyer, you are aware -- protected by the Paris Convention against inter alia unauthorised use by third parties. We do not understand how our request could interfere with your client's fundamental rights, which the EPO, as an international organisation, of course respects. Kindly explain, or have your client refrain from using the EPO's logo. As already stated, if your client fails to comply with this request, we will unfortunately be obliged to pass this matter on to our solicitors in order to take the necessary legal steps against him at his expense. Kind regards Sergio De Gregori Lawyer Dept. 188.8.131.52 -- General Law and Contract Law European Patent Office Landsberger Str. 187 | 80687 Munich | Germany Tel. +49 89 2399 5025 email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.epo.org
Yes, they threaten with legal action. This is clearly a threat. To quote: “if your client fails to comply with this request, we will unfortunately be obliged to pass this matter on to our solicitors in order to take the necessary legal steps against him at his expense.”
Classic SLAPP threats. In the US it would be against the law to do so (in many states).
Here is the followup:
-------- Mail 4 -------- *De :*Olivier Hugot *Envoyé :* vendredi 24 juin 2011 13:58 *À :* 'Logbook' *Cc :* Frank Hafner; Anna Juda; Sophie Gayout; Claire Lucas; Caroline Godeau-Jobmann *Objet :* RE: LogNo 2011/0338 -- Unauthorised Use of EPO Logo on the website www.unitary-patent.eu Dear M. De Gregori, My client operates a website expressing a political opinion with a tag line “For a Democratic Innovation Policy in Europe”. One of his means of expression is the use of the EPO logo with the EU flag piercing it, illustrating his political opinions. The use of the logo and the text of the website are, thus, protected expression. You may well disagree with the statements and opinion thereby expressed, but my client is entitled to express them as an exercise of his fundamental rights. Interestingly enough, your reaction to the use of your logo demonstrates the policy criticized by my client. We had similar cases in France, with large international companies, trying to use trademark protection to infringe upon free speech, yet the supreme court protected such expression. For those reasons, my client will not defer to your demands as he considers his actions to be well within the boundaries of the law. With kind regards, Olivier Hugot
We like this sentence, which demonstrates how disgusting lawyers find the EPO’s attitude. “Interestingly enough,” he wrote. “your reaction to the use of your logo demonstrates the policy criticized by my client.”
It’s only then, after making repeated threats (the chilling effect) that the bullies went away without a word. It’s really looking and it easily seems like the abuser here is the EPO, which does what some might call (or coin) trademark-trolling. This blogger is no longer blogging and we can’t help but feel like this bitter experience could only have contributed to this. It’s a chilling thing to go though.
“Even the media is now being bribed by the EPO, in exchange for corrupt coverage.”Do not ever be fooled by the EPO’s misleading branding and public image charade, such as paid-for, self-glamourising events that put in a positive light (for a payment) the President and his repressive regime. Even the media is now being bribed by the EPO, in exchange for corrupt coverage. The EPO euphemistically calls this “media partners”.
These attacks on free speech will carry on not just inside the EPO but also outside the EPO. The EPO’s management is engaging in a war on the non-consenting European public, so it’s basically a regime of occupation. EPOnia, which views itself as exempt from European laws, is exploiting and even misusing European laws (as seen above) in a coordinated effort to muzzle voices it does not like.
We invite people who have had similar experiences to come forth to us. We need to shed light on this misbehaviour in order to suppress repetition thereof and also to make politicians better aware of what really happens inside the EPO, usually behind closed doors (or under DNA/gag orders). █
“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”