12.10.15

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Tightening Media Control: European Patent Office (EPO) Silences Blogs of Critics by Intimidation, Lawsuits

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Erdoğan and EPO
Original photo: Minister-president Rutte from Nederland

Summary: How the EPO continues to chill the media around Europe and even outside Europe, in addition to legally abusing staff representatives in an effort to scare the media

THE EPO is a lying organisation. But it gets worse. It now adopts Erdoğanian methods. It pretends to respect the freedom of the press when in practice, contrary to such jaw-dropping statements (shamelessly made to the media upon inquiry), it overzealous attacks the freedom of the press like no other institution in Europe.

I used to find important leaks in IP Kat (whose most prominent person has just retired) and sometimes I found interesting pointers in IP Kat comments. Increasingly, however, I find little more than jokes, speculations, and what sometimes looks like EPO AstroTurfing. Since the most recent attacks on free speech and a PR contract with FTI Consulting we’re just not seeing the same kind of journalistic atmosphere online. The EPO is now considered “scary”, or a dangerous territory to explore and write about.

“The EPO is now considered “scary”, or a dangerous territory to explore and write about.”The EPO’s threats against me clearly had the intended effect. A lot of EPO-hostile sites are now afraid or reluctant to criticise EPO (or do so very gently, almost tip-toeing). Some sites like these have known about the legal threats against me for nearly 2 months (because I informed them). Today one commenter at IP Kat wrote: “The AC [the EPO's potential Nemesis, the Administrative Council] can order the third party to come and resolve the problem.”

Well, whenever the EPO uses the term “investigation” it should be read as union busting and the term “productivity” or “efficiency” means lax granting of patents. People or businesses who apply for a patent at EPO should think long term. Given declining patent quality and ever-increasing fees, are they getting their money’s worth? The EPO is a lunatic institution whose eventual state of affairs will likely be horrible, unless the employees manage to rescue it from Team Battistelli (before it’s too late).

Florian Müller, who has also just found out about being targeted by the EPO (because I showed him), wrote this widely-cited article this morning and stated: “The EPO leadership is just paranoid about bloggers who criticize what’s wrong with the way that organization is run. But those EPO folks don’t appear to understand that they’re only making things worse by the day. They threatened legal action on at least four occasions against TechRights author Dr. Roy Schestowitz, who is still the most prolific writer on the EPO labor dispute. Now they blame a staff representative for my commentary without a factual basis.”

People in the media — including the BBC — ought to be aware of the EPO’s chilling of the media. Almost a million dollar for a 1-year media manipulation campaign sure goes a long way.

“Now they blame a staff representative for my commentary without a factual basis.”
      –Florian Müller
What we deal with here is not an ordinary institution but an out-of-control nut house, run by a cabal of people drunk on power. Recall the threats to take away Christmas vacation (contrary to what EPO publicly states) and (nearly) threats to people who are ill, whose basic rights are stomped on, especially when they fall ill (depression weakens the immune system) and are thus incapable of working. In the future we’ll show how the EPO even takes advantage of cancer in the family. People’s jaws should drop to the floor; this isn’t even close to being compatible with European human rights standards. Even China is probably better.

SUEPO alludes to the Politico article “Labor relations turn toxic in the European Patent Office”, which says a lot about suicides and even calls for an investigation into the cause of such an irregular frequency of suicides. “The political journalism organization Politico,” SUEPO wrote today, “comments here (article of 08 December 2015) on the labor relations at the European Patent Office, in particular on the spike of suicides and staff unhappiness.”

The EPO’s management is trying to simply ignore all the bad publicity. The EPO’s Web site and Twitter feed say nothing about it (lies by omission). Well, just watch the EPO’s Twitter feed this week, it’s a never-ending PR campaign. WIPR too falls for the ‘green’-themed campaign from the EPO (just a senseless greenwashing campaign).

The EPO’s management started an information war. Unless writers are brave enough to challenge these thugs, it’s possible that the thugs will prevail, which means that the EPO will collapse (jeopardizing the jobs of all EPO employees, not just the thugs).

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