12.12.15

The EPO’s Failed (Dismissed) Attempt to Dismiss a Judge Alleged to Have Communicated About EPO Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO decision as HTML (warning: utilises remote files from epo.org)

The EPO's decision

Summary: The infamous decision (G2301/15) regarding a suspended judge is resurrected here in Techrights, for permanent record and for public scrutiny

AFTER an act of self-censorship the EPO ought to have known that the public would get even more interested in what the EPO was attempting to hide (a perceived cover-up effort). They just don’t seem to ‘get’ the Streisand Effect after all this time.

The decision above (or below, corresponding to the official PDF) suggests that the EPO is indeed reducing salaries of the accused, which limits their ability to pay legal fees and properly defend themselves from a heavy-pocketed institution with a vendetta.

The document is long, but we have read it from start to finish and also downloaded a snapshot of the page, as HTML (warning: utilises remote files from epo.org), before it was taken down. Our HTML version that can be found below is basically very similar; it is based on the PDF and includes pagination.

There are comments relevant to this in IP Kat. One comment says: “Don’t worry about the G2301/15 being taken down. Publishing the decision is contravening the service regulations of the EPO employees, especially Art 14 because it’s not in the interests of the Office. CRG and IU have taken care of this and the person responsible will be suspended soon. It’s business as usual… The President will inform the AC that everything is fine and …there will be plenty of Xmas gifts.”

They might as well bring it back online. g230115.pdf and its text are already circulating online (IP Kat was the first to publicise it) and people have already downloaded the information, hence they can upload it at any time. Some of the ‘evidence’ in the case has been redacted, but nonetheless it is readable:

Internal distribution code:
(A) [ ] Publication in OJ
(B) [X] To chairmen and members
(C) [ ] To chairmen
(D) [ ] No distribution

Datasheet for the decision
of 17 September 2015

Case number: Art. 23 1/15

Language of the proceedings: EN

Petitioner:
Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

Respondent:

Headword:
Request for a proposal of removal from office

Relevant legal provisions:
EPC Art. 22, 23(1), 24(3), (4), 113(1), 117(1)
EPC R. 13
RPEBA Art. 2(5), 12a, 13, 14(2), (4), 18(3)
BDS/EBA Art. 1, 2, 10
ServRegs Art. 14(1), 20(1), (2), 93, 102(3)
Rules of procedure of the Administrative Council Art. 4

EPO Form 3030
C10474.D

This datasheet is not part of the decision.
It can be changed at any time and without notice.


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Keyword:
“Request from the Administrative Council for a proposal that a
member of the boards of appeal be removed from office under
Article 23(1) EPC”
“Composition of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in proceedings
under Article 23(1) EPC”
“Requirements in terms of reasons and substantiation to be
fulfilled by a request under Article 12a(5) RPEBA”
“Reimbursement of all the respondent’s procedural costs
proposed”

Decisions cited
G 0006/95

Headnote:

1. The law-making bodies have so shaped the proceedings for a
decision for a proposal under Article 23(1) EPC that they
take proper judicial form. The arrangements laid down in
Articles 2(5) RPEBA and Article 10 BDS/EBA for the
composition of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in proceedings
under Article 23(1) EPC are compatible with the European
Patent Convention and general principles of law.

2. Article 12a(5) RPEBA requires that the request under
Article 12a(1) RPEBA specify individual incidents and the
evidence for them, and give reasons why they constitute a
serious ground within the meaning of Article 23(1) EPC.


Case number: Art. 23 1/15

D E C I S I O N
of the Enlarged Board of Appeal
of 17 September 2015

Petitioner: Administrative Council of the
European Patent Organisation
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
D-80469 Munich (DE)

Representatives: …
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
D-80469 Munich (DE)

Respondent: …

Representative: …

Composition of the board:
Chairman: I. Beckedorf
Members: K. Klett
A. Dimitrova
M.-B. Tardo-Dino
E. Dufrasne
U. Oswald
H. Meinders

C10474.D


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Summary of facts and submissions

I. These proceedings concern the request of 25 June 2015
(hereinafter: AC request) from the chairman of the
Administrative Council of the European Patent
Organisation (hereinafter: the petitioner) for a
proposal that the respondent be removed from office as
a member of the boards of appeal under Article 23(1),
first sentence, EPC and the rules of procedure of the
Enlarged Board of Appeal (RPEBA) as approved by the
Council on 25 March 2015 (CA/D 3/15).

II. In the AC request, the petitioner referred to the
Council’s decision of 26 March 2015 (CA/28/15,
item 10.1, page 5) to initiate disciplinary proceedings
against the respondent, and said he had just received
the opinion of the Council’s Disciplinary Committee
(hereinafter: DC) recommending the respondent’s removal
from office.

He added that the DC’s opinion was an integral part of
the AC request, and that the documents provided to the
DC – available on a USB stick and including the facts,
arguments and evidence on which they were based – would
be submitted in due course. He also indicated that the
Council would be represented in the proceedings by …
Concluding, he said he expected to receive the
information about how the Enlarged Board assessed the
case in time for the Council to take a final decision
at an extraordinary meeting planned for early September.

C10474.D


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III. … [summary of the confidential DC’s opinion – added
for ease of understanding]

IV. … [summary of the confidential DC’s opinion – added for
ease of understanding]

V. On 29 June 2015, the Enlarged Board received several
copies of the USB stick promised by the Council
chairman in the AC request.

VI. On 30 June 2015, following receipt of the AC request,
the composition of the Enlarged Board to hear the case
was determined, and by letter of 2 July 2015 the
petitioner and the respondent (hereinafter: the parties)
were summoned to attend oral proceedings on 4 and
5 August 2015 and the respondent was set a time limit
of Monday, 27 July 2015 for making any written
submissions. In addition, the Vice-President in charge
of Directorate-General 3 (Appeals) (hereinafter: VP3)
was invited to comment under Article 12a(2) RPEBA. He
submitted substantive comments on 22 July 2015.

VII. In submissions received on 15 July 2015 the respondent
made several procedural requests and argued that the
AC request was not admissible.

VIII. By letter of 17 July 2015, the then chairwoman of the
Enlarged Board said in response to the admissibility
objections, without prejudice to the Enlarged Board’s
subsequent decision, that the facts to be regarded as
forming the basis for the AC request were limited to
those considered in the DC’s opinion of 23 June 2015

C10474.D


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IX. and that as a consequence the USB-stick material
referred to in the AC request could not be used to
extend the proceedings to new issues.

X. On 20 July 2015 the respondent made further submissions
to the Enlarged Board, inter alia repeating his
objections that the AC request was inadmissible. In
particular, the subject-matter of the proceedings was
still not clear, as the AC request referred to facts,
arguments and evidence on the USB stick, and the
procedural papers included documents relating to
allegations dismissed by the DC and stored somewhere on
that data carrier.

XI. … [procedural aspects – added for ease of understanding]

XII. On 28 July 2015 the respondent filed an objection
against the then chairwoman under Article 24(3) EPC.

XIII. On 5 August 2015 the Enlarged Board took an
interlocutory decision under Article 24(4) EPC allowing
this objection and appointing a new member of the
Enlarged Board in her place.

XIV. The (main) proceedings were structured as follows:
first, the procedural issues raised by the respondent –
notably the admissibility of the AC request – would be
discussed and considered in initial oral proceedings;
then, if the request was admissible, the substance of
the allegations would be addressed.

C10474.D


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XIII.1 Oral proceedings to decide on the AC request’s
admissibility were appointed for 16 and 17 September
2015.

XIII.2 To prepare for these oral proceedings, the Enlarged
Board informed the parties by written communication of
14 August 2015 under Articles 12a, 13 and 14(2) RPEBA
that the following issues in particular would be
addressed:

(1) The respondent’s argument that Article 2(5) RPEBA
was not compliant with Article 23(1) EPC
(point 2.1 of the communication)
(2) His argument that the AC request was inadmissible
on four grounds, namely
(a) the Council chairman had no mandate to make it
(point 2.2(a))
(b) it was not substantiated (point 2.2(b))
(c) it was premature (point 2.2(c)) and
(d) the DC’s opinion contained serious
deficiencies (point 2.2(d)).

(3) The communication also mentioned (point 2.3) the
respondent’s requests that the proceedings be
stayed and (point 2.4) a public hearing held.

XIII.3 Written comments for the oral proceedings were filed by
the respondent on 10 September 2015, and by the
petitioner’s representatives on 15 September 2015.

XV. At the oral proceedings, on 16 September 2015, the
respondent confirmed his request that the AC request be
rejected as inadmissible.

C10474.D


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The petitioner’s representatives requested that the
AC request be found admissible, and that substantive
proceedings under Article 23(1) EPC be started.

XVI. The parties commented on the individual issues, in the
order of their presentation in the communication of
14 August 2015.

In reply to a question from the chairman, the
respondent confirmed that his request for a public
hearing applied only to any consideration of the merits
of the AC request, not to the admissibility issues. He
withdrew his request for a stay.

After discussing at length with the parties the facts
and the law concerning the admissibility of the
AC request, the Enlarged Board closed the debate and
adjourned the oral proceedings for deliberation.

XVII. After this internal deliberation, the Enlarged Board
resumed the oral proceedings on 17 September 2015.

The chairman informed the parties that the Enlarged
Board regarded the AC request as inadmissible.

The petitioner’s representatives thereupon asked the
Enlarged Board to reopen the oral proceedings on
admissibility, so that the petitioner could make the
following request:

“The Enlarged Board of Appeal shall inform the Council
representatives what exactly it wishes to receive from

C10474.D


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the Administrative Council in order to proceed with a
substantive examination of the request for a proposal
for removal from office of the respondent.”

The respondent said this request should not be granted.
After discussion with the parties and internal
deliberation, the Enlarged Board refused it.

XVIII. The parties were then heard regarding costs.

XIX. The parties’ final requests were as follows:

XVIII.1 As per the AC request initiating these proceedings, the
petitioner wanted the Enlarged Board to

1. make a proposal to the Council for the
respondent’s removal from office as a member of a
board of appeal pursuant to Article 23(1) EPC

and, during the oral proceedings, it asked the Enlarged
Board to

2. reject the respondent’s admissibility objections
to the AC request

3. proceed with the examination of the substance of
the AC request, and

4. dismiss the respondent’s request for
reimbursement of costs or, failing that, limit
any cost reimbursement to the debate on
admissibility and to legal fees under German law.

C10474.D


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XVIII.2 The respondent asked the Enlarged Board to

1. dismiss the AC request as inadmissible, and
2. propose to the Council that all costs incurred by
the respondent in the proceedings be reimbursed.

XX. At the end of the oral proceedings and after internal
deliberation, the chairman announced the Enlarged
Board’s decision as set out in the Order.

Reasons for the decision

Preliminary remarks

1. The title of Article 23 EPC is “Independence of the
members of the Boards”. Under Article 23(1) EPC, members
of the boards of appeal, whose function as judges is
generally recognised, are appointed for a term of five
years and may not be removed from office during this
term unless there are serious grounds for such removal
and the Administrative Council, on a proposal from the
Enlarged Board of Appeal, takes a decision to that
effect.

2. Under Article 23(4) EPC, the rules of procedure of the
boards of appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal are
adopted in accordance with the Implementing Regulations.
They are subject to the approval of the Administrative
Council. Under Rule 13(2) EPC, the RPEBA are adopted by
the (internal) members of the Enlarged Board appointed
under Article 11(3) EPC.

C10474.D


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Under these provisions, by decision of 25 March 2015
(CA/D 3/15), the Council approved amendments to the
RPEBA which had been adopted by the Enlarged Board on
19 March 2015.

3. Article 2(5) RPEBA governs the Enlarged Board’s
composition in proceedings under Article 23(1) EPC. It
provides that in such cases the Enlarged Board is
composed according to the provisions of Article 22(2),
first sentence, EPC, the chairman being replaced by his
alternate and two of the legally qualified members being
external members.

More details about deputising for the chairman and the
Enlarged Board’s composition in specific cases are set
out in Article 10 in conjunction with Articles 1(2)
and 2(1)(a) and (b) of the Enlarged Board’s business
distribution scheme (hereinafter: BDS/EBA).

The respondent’s admissibility objections

4. These objections come under three headings:

a) Unlawfulness, i.e. the composition of the Enlarged
Board under Article 2(5) RPEBA was incompatible with
Article 23(1) EPC and general principles of law (see
section 5 below)

b) Procedural, i.e. the Council chairman and the
petitioner’s representatives were not duly authorised,
the disciplinary proceedings were premature, and the
disciplinary proceedings and the DC’s opinion were
flawed (see section 6 below), and

C10474.D


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c) AC request, i.e. it was not properly substantiated
(see section 7 below).

Unlawfulness objections

5. The respondent objects that the present Enlarged Board’s
composition is incompatible with the EPC and general
principles of law. As already stated in the Enlarged
Board’s communication of 14 August 2015 (in its
point 2.1), this objection does not withstand incidental
legal review of compatibility with Article 2(5) RPEBA
(and thus implicitly also with Article 10 BDS/EBA).

5.1 The EPC contains provisions concerning the powers and
proceedings of the Enlarged Board. They state that the
Enlarged Board is responsible for ruling on points of
law referred to it by a board of appeal or the President
(Article 22(1)(a) and (b) EPC), or on petitions for
review requested by a party under Article 112a EPC
(Article 22(1)(c) EPC).

5.2 For Enlarged Board rulings under Article 22(1) EPC,
Article 22(2) EPC provides that in proceedings under
paragraph 1(a) and (b) the Enlarged Board consists of
five legally and two technically qualified members, and
in proceedings under paragraph 1(c) of three or five
members. However, the Enlarged Board’s composition for a
proposal for the exceptional situation of a removal of a
board member from office under Article 23(1) EPC is not
regulated in the EPC itself.

In particular, the EPC does not stipulate that a
proposal to remove a board member from office on serious

C10474.D


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grounds under Article 23(1) EPC is to be decided on by
the full Enlarged Board (i.e. consisting of all its
internal and external members under Article 1 BDS/EBA).
This cannot be inferred in particular from the provision
as worded, because what Article 22 EPC refers to as the
“Enlarged Board of Appeal” are boards of varying (but in
any case limited) compositions.

5.3 Nor therefore can it be inferred from the words
“Enlarged Board of Appeal” in Article 23(1) EPC that a
proposal to remove a member on serious grounds must be
decided on by the Enlarged Board in its entirety. Rather,
the rules governing its composition are to be adopted by
the bodies responsible for the corresponding
implementing provisions, as expressly laid down in
Article 23(4) EPC.

5.4 In the institutional structure of the European Patent
Organisation, the Council as a body is responsible above
all for adopting secondary legislation where the
contracting parties to the EPC have not done so
themselves (Article 33 EPC). At the Enlarged Board’s
request (Article 23(4) EPC, Rule 13(2) EPC), it has
decided that proceedings under Article 23(1) EPC are to
be conducted in proper judicial form.

Thus it is up to the Council, as the appointing and
disciplinary authority for board of appeal members
(Article 11(3) and (4) EPC), or to VP3 as the vice-
president in charge of the boards, to make a request to
the Enlarged Board (Article 12a(1) RPEBA). This sets in
train adversarial proceedings to which the respondent is
a party (Article 12a(4) RPEBA). He must be able to

C10474.D


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comment on the allegations made against him and regarded
by either his appointing authority or administrative
superior as so serious as to justify his removal from
office. Article 12a(6) RPEBA expressly states that the
proceedings may not be concluded without the respondent
being informed of the facts, arguments and evidence
underlying the request and having had the opportunity to
be heard on them. It also says that in these proceedings,
which are conducted in writing, supplemented if
necessary by oral proceedings, he may be represented or
advised. Given the reference to Article 117(1) EPC,
which lists the means of giving or obtaining evidence,
the Enlarged Board must satisfy itself in proceedings
under Article 23(1) EPC that the allegations made
against a board member are indeed true.

5.5 Thus the proceedings which may lead to a board member’s
removal from office on serious grounds within the
meaning of Article 23(1) EPC take the form of a judicial
procedure. That means – contrary to the view expressed
by the petitioner’s representatives in the oral
proceedings – that it cannot be equated with an
administrative or executive-legislative activity. Since
it is not an administrative or executive-legislative
activity, the necessity of a full Enlarged Board of
Appeal (further subject to a quorum for taking decisions)
as foreseen for such activities by Rule 13 EPC is
neither given, contrary to the respondent’s opinion.

Rather, and logically enough, the legislative bodies
responsible have specified that for a decision on a
request under Article 23(1) EPC the Enlarged Board is
composed as laid down in Article 22 EPC for its judicial

C10474.D


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proceedings. That the European Patent Organisation
bodies responsible for enacting implementing legislation
opted in Article 2(5) of the amended RPEBA for the
largest Enlarged Board composition possible for such
proceedings shows they attached due importance to
proposals under Article 23(1) EPC.

5.6 Article 23 EPC contains provisions which are intended to
ensure the “independence of the members of the boards”
in their work as judges. The independence of judges is a
principle which is recognised and applied in all member
states of the European Patent Organisation, as
corresponding to the very nature of the judicial
function. The provisions of the EPC concerning the
boards of appeal must therefore be interpreted in the
light of this general principle (G 6/95, OJ EPO 1996,
649, Reasons point 2).

There is certainly no indication that the procedure for
removing a member, as laid down in the RPEBA approved on
25 March 2015, could run counter to basic principles of
judicial independence generally recognised in the EPC
contracting states.

True, removing a judge is always problematic in terms of
judicial independence. The independence of legal
decision-making – traditionally ensured in democracies
primarily vis-à-vis the other state powers (legislative
and executive) – is jeopardised not only when a specific
decision is directly influenced but also and especially
if undue pressure is brought to bear on judges or if the
resources they need to actually do their work are
withheld. The possibility of removing an irksome judge

C10474.D


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from office can thus be used to indirectly influence
decisions. That is why it is generally regarded as
crucial to judicial independence that judges cannot be
removed from office without special institutional
safeguards; this makes sure that removal is actually
objectively justified.

The above considerations certainly apply also to members
of the boards of appeal, who exercise a judicial
function that is generally recognised and derives
straight from the EPC.

Therefore, for disciplinary action against (professional)
judges in particular, the member states of the Council
of Europe – most of which also belong to the European
Patent Organisation – have as a rule set up state bodies
to be used in exceptional removal procedures laid down
by law. These bodies and procedures differ, however, so
there is no general institutional model which might
guide an international institution such as the European
Patent Organisation (see CEPEJ report No. 20 on
“European judicial systems – Edition 2014 (2012 data):
efficiency and quality of justice”, page 354 ff.;
Systèmes judiciaires européens. Efficacité et qualité de
la justice, Les Etudes de la CEPEJ no. 20, Edition 2014
(données 2012), page 369 ff.).

5.7 The rules implementing Article 23(1) EPC – as regards
powers and procedures for the exceptional removal of
board of appeal members – that have been adopted in the
RPEBA by the law-framing bodies responsible within the
European Patent Organisation are in line with said
provision’s object and purpose.

C10474.D


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For the fact that a board member can exceptionally be
removed from office only on a proposal from the Enlarged
Board is intended to make sure that unsubstantiated or
groundless, made-up allegations cannot be used as a
pretext for getting rid of an irksome judge.

The Enlarged Board must satisfy itself, in adversarial
proceedings conducted in proper judicial form, that the
allegations made are indeed true, and so serious as to
require the judge’s removal from office. Only on the
basis of proceedings meeting that general yardstick for
justice can the Council take a decision that is so far-
reaching, both personally and institutionally. These
proceedings thus embody the legislative intent codified
in Article 23(1) EPC.

That other ways of implementing Article 23(1) EPC might
be conceivable does not mean there is no compliance with
the EPC.

5.8 The respondent also requests that all documents on the
procedure leading to the 25 March 2015 decision to amend
the RPEBA be disclosed to him. However, he has put
forward no evidence of any deficiencies in the
proceedings followed in compliance with the only
procedure foreseen by the EPC (see points 2 and 5.4
above).

5.9 The respondent’s objection that Article 2(5) RPEBA runs
counter to Article 23(1) EPC and general principles of
law is thus unfounded.

C10474.D


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Procedural objections

6. The AC request asking the Enlarged Board to make a
proposal that a specified technical board of appeal
member be removed from office is signed by the chairman
of the Administrative Council.

The respondent argues that he had no power to do so, and
that the Council as a whole must decide to make such a
request, or delegate this task to its chairman – which
did not happen.

6.1 The EPC does not set out the Council chairman’s duties
in any detail.

The relevant chapter (Articles 26 to 36 EPC) provides
that the Council elects a chairman (and deputy chairman)
from among the EPO member states’ representatives and
their alternates, for a term of three years (Article 27
EPC), and his task is to convene the Council’s meetings
(Article 29(1) EPC). In addition, under Article 28 EPC
the Council can also elect a five-member Board and
assign duties to it in accordance with the rules of
procedure (Article 28(4) EPC).

Under Article 4 of the Council’s rules of procedure
(CA/D 8/06 as amended by CA/D 21/09, CA/D 10/12 and
CA/D 20/13), cited by the petitioner’s representatives,
the chairman is responsible for the work of the Council
and the exercise of its functions, and in particular for
presiding over its meetings.

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From that, no delegation of the power to submit a
request for an Enlarged Board proposal within the
meaning of Article 23(1) EPC can be inferred.

6.2 Both parties cite the decision taken by the Council at
its 143rd meeting on 25 and 26 March 2015 (summary of
decisions, CA/28/15, item 10.1: follow-up to the
Council’s decision CA/D 12/14 – investigation report
CA/C 4/15).

At that meeting, the Council unanimously decided to
initiate disciplinary proceedings against an employee it
had appointed, who was suspected of misconduct. To that
end, an ad hoc Disciplinary Committee was to be set up,
tasked with delivering an opinion on whether or not the
employee had breached his obligations and, if so,
recommending an appropriate sanction for such breach.

The DC’s opinion and recommendation would then be
forwarded to the Enlarged Board, pursuant to Article 23
EPC, and to the EPO President, who would both give their
opinions – to be also submitted to the Council, which
would take the final decision.

6.3 … [observations of the Enlarged Board in respect of the
non-public document CA/C 4/15 - added for ease of
understanding]

6.4 … [observations of the Enlarged Board in respect of the
non-public document CA/C 4/15 - added for ease of
understanding]

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Although neither the request nor the decision expressly
refers to the possible outcome of the proceedings before
the DC, it is apparent from the possible follow-up
measures that it was intended, “once the DC has issued
its opinion”, to make future arrangements “for the
Council to take an informed decision, bearing in mind
Article 23(1) EPC”, i.e. for the eventuality that the DC
found that misconduct justifying removal from office had
occurred.

As the Council, under item 10.1 of the summary of the
decisions it took at its 143rd meeting on 25 and
26 March 2015 (CA/28/15), not only initiated
disciplinary proceedings but also specified what would
happen once the DC’s report was available, it is to be
concluded that it agreed to its chairman’s proposal of
18 March 2015.

The Council’s decision of 25/26 March 2015 can thus be
understood to mean that, were the DC to propose
dismissal, it had mandated its chairman to submit to the
Enlarged Board a request for a proposal within the
meaning of Article 23(1) EPC.

6.5 Thus the Council did authorise its chairman to submit
the AC request to the Enlarged Board under Article 23(1)
EPC, and the respondent’s objection that the Council
chairman was not empowered to request a proposal for his
removal from office is unfounded.

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6.6 This also means that the Council chairman had the power
to appoint and authorise representatives to act for the
petitioner in the proceedings before the Enlarged Board.
So this objection too must fail.

6.7 On the respondent’s further objection that continuing
the disciplinary proceedings prejudged the proceedings
under Article 23(1) EPC and that the petitioner should
have discussed the DC’s opinion in plenary session, with
all Council members present, and should also have heard
him under Article 102(3) ServRegs, the Enlarged Board
has already commented in its communication of 14 August
2015 citing Article 12a(8) RPEBA, which provides that
Enlarged Board proceedings are conducted independently
of any disciplinary or national proceedings.

That means that continuing the Council disciplinary
proceedings cannot prejudge the present judicial
proceedings. Rather, the former are formally concluded
only when the Council, as appointing and disciplinary
authority under Article 11(4) EPC, takes its decision.
It is (only) prior to that decision that a hearing under
Article 102(3) ServRegs must take place.

However, for the Council to apply to a board member the
most severe disciplinary sanction available (dismissal
according to Article 93(2)(f) ServRegs), Article 23(1),
first sentence, EPC requires that it must first have
received a proposal for their removal from office from
the Enlarged Board. But that does not change the
principle that administrative disciplinary proceedings
under Article 93 ff. ServRegs before the appointing
authority are separate from judicial proceedings before

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the Enlarged Board, which is not the appointing
authority.

The objection that the disciplinary proceedings were
prejudicial must therefore fail. If the objection raised
against point 2.2(c) of the Enlarged Board communication
of 14 August 2015 is also to be understood as arguing
that the Council should first have discussed the outcome
of the disciplinary proceedings before taking a formal
decision to initiate proceedings under Article 23(1),
first sentence, EPC, then it concerns whether the
Council chairman (alone) had the authority to submit the
AC request. That matter was decided in the affirmative
in the previous section above.

6.8 The respondent’s further objection that the disciplinary
proceedings and the DC’s opinion were flawed would
involve both reviewing the disciplinary proceedings and
assessing the petitioner’s allegations that the
respondent has committed misconduct constituting a
serious ground within the meaning of Article 23(1),
first sentence, EPC.

It is quite clear from Article 12a(8) RPEBA, stating
that removal proceedings are conducted independently of
any disciplinary proceedings, and from the fact that
proceedings under Article 23(1), first sentence, EPC are
adversarial and conducted in proper judicial form, that
the purpose of the Enlarged Board proceedings is not to
conduct a formal review of the disciplinary proceedings;
on the contrary, they are conducted independently of the
disciplinary proceedings.

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Assessing the allegations made against the respondent,
and deciding whether they give rise to a serious ground
within the meaning of Article 23(1), first sentence, EPC,
would go (well) beyond evaluating their admissibility;
it would mean examining their substance.

Therefore, this objection too fails to establish that
the AC request is inadmissible.

AC request-related objections

7. Proceedings before the Enlarged Board under Article 23(1)
EPC are regulated in Article 12a RPEBA.

7.1 A request for a proposal may be made by either the
Council or VP3 (Article 12a(1) RPEBA).

7.2 In either case, the request must set out all the facts,
arguments and evidence relied on, and all documents
referred to must be attached (Article 12a(5) RPEBA).

7.3 The procedure that may lead to a proposal from the
Enlarged Board for removal from office within the
meaning of Article 23(1) EPC takes the form of quasi-
judicial adversarial proceedings (see point 5.5 above).
The rules expressly state that the member who is the
subject of the request is a party to the proceedings as
respondent (Article 12a(4) RPEBA) and that the
proceedings may not be concluded without the respondent
being informed of the facts, arguments and evidence
underlying the request and having had the opportunity to
be heard on them (Article 12a(6) RPEBA). The proceedings
are then to be conducted in writing, if necessary

C10474.D


- 22 -

supplemented by oral proceedings, and the respondent may
be represented or advised (Article 12a(6) RPEBA).
Article 117(1) EPC on the taking of evidence is
applicable (Article 12a(7) RPEBA), and the proceedings
are to be conducted independently of any disciplinary or
national proceedings (Article 12a(8) RPEBA).

7.4 In adversarial inter partes proceedings, the parties,
and in this case the petitioner in particular, are
required to produce the facts and evidence and give
reasons why, from the petitioner’s perspective, the
facts adduced – and in its view proven – are so serious
as to warrant the respondent’s removal from office as a
member of a board of appeal. In adversarial proceedings
the respondent must have an opportunity to refute the
allegations. He must be able to comment on all the facts
adduced, to state his case in full awareness of the
allegations and to rebut any evidence. It is up to the
Enlarged Board to judge whether the specific facts
adduced are proven by the evidence produced and whether
the proven facts exceptionally warrant the exceptional
removal from office of the respondent.

7.5 However, the Enlarged Board is not there to define of
its own motion which facts may be derived from documents
and exhibits. The respondent is a party to the
proceedings and can exercise his full right to be heard
only if the facts held against him are explicitly
described.

7.6 The AC request does not say what facts are held against
the respondent. Instead it refers to the DC’s opinion

C10474.D


- 23 -

and declares it to be an integral part of the request
for a proposal.

In that opinion, the accusations made against the
respondent, substantiated by a huge volume of data and
documents …, are grouped into five allegations.
[summary of points 1 to 5 of the confidential DC’s
opinion - added for ease of understanding]

7.7 At the oral proceedings the petitioner’s representatives
expressly stated – and confirmed more than once when
asked by the Enlarged Board – that they maintained all
five of these allegations, which had been raised by the
Administration, i.e. the EPO and its departments, in
particular the investigative unit, in the disciplinary
proceedings against the respondent. Their view was that
the Enlarged Board had been presented with all the
evidence on the subsequently filed USB stick and so was
fully informed and in a position to form its own view of
the respondent’s conduct.

7.8 Under Article 12a(5) RPEBA, the request under
Article 12a(1) RPEBA must set out the “facts, arguments
and evidence relied on”.

The facts have to be described and presented clearly
enough for the respondent to be able to comment on them
in a fully informed manner.

The Enlarged Board must be able to satisfy itself that
the facts explicitly set out in the request are proven,
so as to judge on that basis whether they constitute
serious grounds within the meaning of Article 23(1),

C10474.D


- 24 -

first sentence, EPC and therefore warrant a proposal for
removal from office under Article 23(1) EPC.

7.9 As the AC request itself does not adduce any facts that
in the petitioner’s view warrant the extraordinary
removal from office of the respondent, those facts would
have to be explicitly set out within the meaning of
Article 12a(5) RPEBA in the DC’s report of 23 June 2015,
together with the supporting evidence.

7.10 Firstly, the five issues under which the DC dealt with
the evidence against the respondent constitute general
allegations which in turn rest at best upon specific
facts.

Thus the DC – without ultimately expressing a view on
the reliability of the evidence produced – concluded
under issue 1 that the respondent … and under issue 2
that he … [had committed certain acts he was accused of
- added for ease of understanding]

7.11 The DC’s opinion goes into these allegations in more
detail, but adduces no specific facts in relation to the
allegations grouped under issues 3 to 5 … [observation
of the DC in its confidential opinion – added for ease
of understanding]

With regard to allegations 3 to 5, the DC’s opinion
provides no facts at all which under Article 12a(5)
RPEBA are set out explicitly enough for evidential
purposes. Hence allegations 3 to 5 are not substantiated
for the purposes of the AC request.

C10474.D


- 25 -

7.12 Yet even with regard to the allegations that the DC
groups under issues 1 and 2, the facts and evidence are
not set out explicitly enough for the respondent to
comment on them, and for the same reason the Enlarged
Board is unable to reconstruct and examine them in order
to judge for itself, independently of the disciplinary
proceedings as required by Article 12a(8) RPEBA, whether
there are serious grounds within the meaning of
Article 23(1) EPC. As a result, they cannot be used for
evidential purposes under Article 12a(7) RPEBA and
Article 117(1) EPC.

Similar considerations apply to the DC’s assessment of
evidence merely generally outlined in the DC’s opinion
or of pure deductions from circumstantial evidence not
set out or proven in detail therein, none of which can
replace either substantiated argument or the production
of direct or circumstantial evidence.

[observations of the Enlarged Board in respect of the
allegations under point 1 of the confidential DC’s
opinion - added for ease of understanding]

The specific facts held against the respondent must be
defined on the basis of the evidence indicated in the
DC’s opinion, to enable judgment to be made, in full
knowledge of the circumstances, as to whether they are
proven and relevant. It is not good enough to simply
refer to facts and evidence and leave the Enlarged Board
to reconstruct the events for itself. That does not
satisfy the requirements of Article 12a(5) RPEBA nor the
respondent’s right to know the charges against him.

C10474.D


- 26 -

7.13 The same applies to the allegations considered in
issue 2 of the DC’s opinion … [observations of the
Enlarged Board in respect of those allegations - added
for ease of understanding]

It does not however describe the individual acts of
which the respondent is accused; the Enlarged Board
would have to construe these from the evidence.

… [observations of the Enlarged Board in respect of the
allegations under point 2 of the confidential DC’s
opinion - added for ease of understanding]

Evidence that the respondent had sent … a message … was
found insufficient by the DC, so there is no need for
the Enlarged Board to entertain this allegation.

Lastly, the DC was satisfied – again by reference … –
that … the respondent wrote to … But again its report
does not actually reproduce the alleged insults, so the
respondent would not be able to comment on them under
Article 12a(6) RPEBA in adversarial proceedings before
the Enlarged Board.

7.14 Thus the AC request, taken as a whole, fails to fulfil
the formal requirements of factual substantiation
prescribed by Article 12a(5) RPEBA to ensure adversarial
proceedings in which compliance with parties’ generally
recognised procedural rights in judicial proceedings,
and impartiality on the part of the decision-making body,
are guaranteed.

C10474.D


- 27 -

7.15 At the oral proceedings the petitioner’s representatives
also expressed the view that the Enlarged Board should
have informed it beforehand, and more clearly, that
there might be admissibility issues with the AC request.

However, that disregards the fact that all the
admissibility objections discussed with the parties in
the oral proceedings and forming the factual and legal
basis for the present decision had already been raised by
the respondent, and were also mentioned again in the
Enlarged Board’s written communication of 14 August 2015
as material points for discussion.

So the petitioner’s representatives were – or could have
been – aware of these issues from the admissibility
objections explicitly raised and substantiated by the
respondent at the start of the proceedings, in his first
written submissions of 15 July 2015, and from his
unqualified request that the AC request be rejected as
inadmissible.

From the timetable explained to the parties at the oral
proceedings on 5 August 2015 (oral proceedings on
admissibility on 16 and 17 September 2015, and – if the
request was admissible – on the merits on 8 October 2015),
and at the latest on receipt of the Enlarged Board’s
communication of 14 August 2015 preparing the oral
proceedings of 16 and 17 September 2015, it was made
quite clear to all parties that the admissibility
objections were crucial to the decision.

In such circumstances, no further clarifications for the
parties – or for the petitioner alone – were called for.

C10474.D


- 28 -

7.16 Given this outcome, there is no need to consider the
respondent’s further objection regarding the
(in-)admissibility of the USB-stick evidence as
announced in the AC request but submitted only later,
not together with the request as required by
Article 12a(5) RPEBA.

7.17 The AC request is thus to be rejected as inadmissible.

Request to reopen the debate on the admissibility of the
AC request

8. The petitioner’s representatives’ request that this
debate be reopened was to be refused.

8.1 Firstly, all the admissibility issues set out in the
Enlarged Board’s communication of 14 August 2015 were
discussed with the parties in depth for over three and a
half hours on 16 September 2015.

That gave the parties the opportunity not only to
present their own positions on the facts and law but
also to comment on the opposing party’s submissions. The
Enlarged Board also questioned the parties to establish
further details and clarify their submissions.

When this discussion was over, the chairman closed the
debate on the AC request’s admissibility.

C10474.D


- 29 -

8.2 The petitioner did not dispute this in the requests it
made and substantiated orally, and then confirmed in
writing at the oral proceedings on 17 September 2015.

8.3 After the Enlarged Board had deliberated, when the oral
proceedings were resumed on 17 September 2015 its
chairman began by informing the parties of its
conclusions regarding the admissibility objections
discussed the previous day, expressly stating that this
was not yet a formal decision but the oral proceedings
would now continue with a discussion of the respondent’s
request for costs, which was still outstanding. It was
at this point that the petitioner’s representatives then
requested a reopening of the debate about the
AC request’s admissibility which had been closed the day
before.

8.4 In the grounds presented orally for this request and
reflected in the wording of the written request, the
petitioner’s representatives said they were making it
because they wanted the Enlarged Board to inform them
what exactly it wished to receive from the petitioner in
order to proceed with a substantive examination of the
request for a proposal for removal from office of the
respondent.

8.5 Under Article 14(6) RPEBA, a debate is reopened after
closure only at the Enlarged Board’s discretion, for
example if a procedural error material to the decision
has occurred, such as an infringement of the right to be
heard (Article 113(1) EPC).

C10474.D


- 30 -

Nor is the Enlarged Board under any general obligation
to offer pointers and explanations – especially if they
are sought with a view to giving one party in
adversarial proceedings a procedural advantage over the
other.

Rather, each party – itself, exclusively, and admissibly
– must make all the submissions on which its requests
are based. In the present proceedings, the admissibility
flaws set out above could not in any case have been
rectified afterwards, in the same proceedings. The
requirements under Article 12a(5) RPEBA for a request
under Article 12a(1) RPEBA must be fulfilled at the time
of its submission.

8.6 Thus it was not possible, for legal reasons, to accede
to the petitioner’s representatives’ request as worded
and substantiated.

Request and proposal on costs

9. Given the outcome of these proceedings, in the absence
of special circumstances, reimbursement under
Article 12a(10) RPEBA of all costs incurred by the
respondent in the proceedings before the Enlarged Board
is to be proposed.

The petitioner has given no convincing reasons why
reimbursement should be limited, and nor are any
otherwise apparent. As far as the petitioner’s
representatives argue that only legal costs under German
law should be reimbursed, and they should be limited to

C10474.D


- 31 -

those incurred on the issue of the AC request’s
admissibility, this is a matter of the costs’ actual
calculation and fixing, which are the petitioner’s
responsibility. However, the Enlarged Board would point
out that its former chairwoman’s order of 2 July 2015
instructed the respondent to present a defence against
all aspects of the AC request, not limiting in any way
the issues to be addressed, and that his written defence
in these proceedings covered the merits of the
AC request as well as its admissibility.

Order

For these reasons it is decided that:

1. The request of 25 June 2015 is rejected as inadmissible.

2. The reimbursement of all costs incurred by the respondent
in the proceedings before the Enlarged Board of Appeal is
proposed.

The Registrar
W. Crasborn

The Chairman
I. Beckedorf

C10474.D

The suspended DG3 member, or alternatively the “defendant” or “respondent” in this context, is already the victim of what looks like a defamation campaign. To quote this one comment:

Why is the AC doing nothing to stop BB’s destruction of DG3? A mystery, no?

Here is a possible explanation. The Link below (thanks to the IPCopy website) will take you to an EU Commission Paper on “Upgrading the Single Market”. Now how important do you suppose that political objective is?

Amongst the proposals are (see pp 68-77) to encourage SME innovators to upgrade to the EU unitary patent. What about the expense, I hear you cry.

The Commission hears you. It tells us that patent legal expenses insurance is the answer, and a must, but that a market in such insurance can germinate and grow only when the unitary patent succeeds.

So there you are. For the Commission, we get more innovation in Europe only when the unitary patent system displaces the EPO bündle of national patent rights. So don’t you see, we should all be grateful for BB’s deep sacrifice, because it is helping the AC to deliver to all of us the Commission-defined Roadmap to the unitary patent future.

Does the Commission believe its own tosh? Does it care? Who does care?

https://ipcopy.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/eu-commission-unitary-patent-concerns-ip-insurance-and-unitary-spcs/#more-5049

Here is another interesting comment about it:

Finally, the SUEPO published some numbers:

This year, 1228 persons were entitled to vote in the local SUEPO The Hague committee elections.
Last year (2014), 975 members were entitled to vote.

Within one year, SUEPO attracted netto 253 new members in The Hague alone.
That is more than 25% added over one year!

I think this alone speaks for whom the staff trusts and supports…
Or did we gang-press people on the street to join this mafia-like organisation?

In return, last weeks internal consultative organs received a new proposal by the president, which he might sell to the AC as necessary to be able to continue docking half the salary of the suspended DG3 member.

Current Article 95(3) of the Service Regulations limits any withholdings of salary to a maximum of four months, to incite the administration to be speedy.
This will be amended. No more time limit given.
Article 95(4) is intended to be deleted, which included that if the disciplinary procedure resulted not in a proposal to downgrade/dismiss the employee, the withheld salary hat to be paid out in full. It also states, that if the disciplinary procedure takes longer than four months, the withheld amounts had to be payed out anyway.

The new regulations would allow the president/administration to take years for any disciplinary procedure, thus , if necessary to get rid of “unwanted” persons, just pay them half and let them rot at home. (not being allowed to take up any kind of work, and having to be accessible for hearings, even at short notice).
Just being suspended would become a punishment in itself, as it will be questionable if withheld amounts based on false grounds dismissed by the disciplinary committee would have to be refunded.

We will be the only organisation having nothing in place to ensure a speedy procedure….

- on the other hand I got informed of a very interesting rumour, by my director nonetheless. But as (s)he pointed out, it would be the kind of rumour we want to hear, so we will have to wait to see how reliable it is.
Next week will be very interesting (AC meeting).

-fan of Art. 6 ECHR

Some have apparently decided to write to delegates. One person asks: “I would like to know if some of you have written to their AC delegate? and with some protection or not?

“My intention was to do so (and I still have it) but some comments on IPkat have slightly cooled down my (good) intentions. I will do it using a proxy and/or the Tor browser.”

The atmosphere of fear has made anonymity somewhat of a prerequisite, which may explain why the judge is accused of (or alleged to have been) communicating anonymously. Well, anonymity in its own right is not a crime. It’s not identity theft or impostering.

“I don`t like to share my personal life…it wouldn`t be personal if I shared it.”

George Clooney

The European Patent Office is a Lobby Organisation, Was and Still is Lobbying for Expansion of Patent Scope (Also to Software) Through UPC

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has historically been stepping outside the area of its authority and is still doing so right now, particularly when it comes to the Unitary Patent

THE EPO is widely misunderstood. We mean that in a bad way. A lot of people honestly believe that the EPO is a good idea badly or poorly implemented, or that change of management alone would resolve all the issues.

According to this site, serving as a puff piece platform for Benoît Battistelli, the EU ‘unitary’ patent is less than a year away. To quote their summary: “Matthew Newman, senior correspondent for MLex market insight, is joined by Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO) to discuss the new and long-awaited ‘unitary’ patent and how it will help boost investment and innovation in Europe.”

“A lot of people honestly believe that the EPO is a good idea badly or poorly implemented, or that change of management alone would resolve all the issues.”Well, not sure what they mean by “senior correspondent”, we deem the whole thing a sort of hogwash, like a media "presence" campaign. It was spread online with soft messages like “EuropeanPatentOffice’s President discusses the long-awaited #UnitaryPatent” (“long-awaited” by who?).

The FFII’s President has responded by saying that “the only thing the Unitary Patent will boost is patent litigation and patent filings.”

Linking to this Unitary Patent (or UPC) Web site, a City of London-based patent lawyers’ site (MIP) wrote: “Here they are at last: the final #UPC Rules of Procedure” (see attachment in there)

“Well, not sure what they mean by “senior correspondent”, we deem the whole thing a sort of hogwash, like a media “presence” campaign.”“Just the 142 pages,” they added, “happy reading!”

Happy for who? For lawyers. It’s not even of any (or much) value to patent examiners, boards, and so on. The London-based courts, as we showed here before, are being set up before Brexit/referendum. There is a push for finalisation by the patent lawyers, who are fast-tracking it so as to make reversal more difficult. The management of the EPO has been doing the same thing. This isn’t democracy, it’s more like a coup. Citizens aren’t even being consulted.

Coming up on December 28th is a talk by Reinier Bakels, Iga Bałos, and Józef Halbersztadt. Speaking at the popular CCC (in Germany), they will give a lecture titled “Software and business method patents: call for action”

“It’s not even of any (or much) value to patent examiners, boards, and so on.”To quote their abstract: “Ten years after the rejection of the European software patent directive by the European Parliament, the software patent problem still is not over. Political action is required.”

Reinier Bakels is well known for his work under the FFII, e.g. this one. The FFII has been warning about software patents for a very long time and its current President once took note of the “EPO CII microsite”. It’s no longer there, but it’s worth recalling what it used to say. Here is how the EPO microsite justified its selling of software patents: “As with all inventions, computer-implemented inventions are only patentable if they have technical character and solve a technical problem, are new, and provide an inventive technical contribution to the prior art.”

“What ever happened to separation of powers and executive branches?”The EPO called these CII (an alternative name for those controversial software patents, making them sound more sophisticated) and the address of the microsite used to be http://cii.european-patent-office.org/.

The site first appeared in 2005 (around the time of the famous vote on the matter) and it vanished some time between February 2007 and November 2007 (when it was already gone), based on the snapshots taken by the Web Archive.

Here is the page in question before in vanished and here is a screenshot of it:

EPO on CII

Well, in 2008 it already redirected, later (soon thereafter) to just vanish. Here is a screenshot:

EPO on CII

“The EPO lobbied Brussels,” we have learned from the FFII’s President, Benjamin Henrion. Here is how the EPO lobbied Brussels, based on MIP again:

Sant and his team are taking part in a working group of the EU Council that was formed after the Competitiveness Council approved the Community patent agreement on March 3.

As Henrion put it at the time: “So the EPO sends lobbyists to Brussels, who then take part in Council working groups.”

Around that time,”lobbying and influencing [of] the legislators” was alleged by Benjamin Henrion (see the original photo from Henrion, which we have digitally enhanced to make it a little more legible).

EPO lobbying

Has anything changed since then?

Well, judging by the EPO’s lobbying for the UPC these days, it is still the same [1, 2], only the names have changed a little. As we have shown here before, citing experts, the UPC will likely bring with it software patents.

What ever happened to separation of powers and executive branches? Well, the EPO isn’t just a tyranny inside Eponia. It tries to expand its breadth of influence as far as Brussels, still. Why is this tolerated and when will the public interest finally be considered?

Microsoft is Getting Utterly Desperate

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 10
These paid-for ads (from my timeline) show just how low Microsoft has stooped

Summary: An overview of Microsoft’s strategy as of late, including the plot to devour the competition (e.g. GNU/Linux in servers)

THIS MONTH (and in previous months too) I spoke to someone from Microsoft and learned about more layoffs, which the company is apparently trying quite hard to hide from the media (and the public). I was apparently not supposed to know about this. Microsoft is saving face.

The severity of the problems inside Microsoft is sometimes only known to insiders. A few days ago Microsoft’s friends at the BBC covered the XBox disaster. XBox has lost a lot of money over the years (Microsoft knows how to hide the losses) and now, according to this BBC report: “Encryption keys that secure Xbox Live accounts have been “inadvertently disclosed”, Microsoft has said.

“Microsoft is saving face.”“The keys in question are designed to be kept private so they can guarantee the authenticity of a digital certificate, invoked when users connect to xboxlive.com.”

Who would ever trust Microsoft for security? IDG’s Grimes (who is a Microsoft employee masquerading as journalist) is supposed to be a Microsoft security expert, but in this new article of his he deflects by speaking of an “almost foolproof way to check for malware”. “Yes,” iophk told us sarcastically, “if it is running Windows then it has / is malware” (increasingly the case with Vista 10, which is malware by definition).

Microsoft is having a lot of problems right now, both with security (giving the NSA back doors contributes to this) and with getting people to install malware like Vista 10 on their PCs. Hence the aggressive push, financial incentives, and ridiculous marketing (see above). Microsoft is clearly losing it; the common carrier/monopoly is dying, so Microsoft tries FORCING people to use spyware/malware (see this new article titled “Microsoft may ‘automatically upgrade’ Windows 7 and 8.x to W10″). Microsoft is literally trying to infect people’s PCs with malware — Microsoft’s own malware, complete with a keylogger that broadcasts people’s passwords for example. If it wasn’t Microsoft behind such a software plot, police forces would come at daytime, raid their offices, and put in handcuffs engineers and managers who created such malicious software, then forcibly spread it to many PCs.

“Who would ever trust Microsoft for security?”Microsoft is in a very bad state, no matter how much it pays the media (via PR agencies) to claim otherwise. Even Mac Asay does marketing for Microsoft on the face of it, but all these claims about a Microsoft recovery overlook the massive losses, the stock buybacks, and many other factors. Even a Microsoft booster from IDG (IDG employs many such boosters, including some on Microsoft’s payroll) is willing to acknowledge that quality of Microsoft’s software patched is basically low. “Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday update KB 3114409,” he explained, “intended to help admins keep Outlook 2010 from starting in safe mode, has in fact done the opposite. Many Outlook 2010 customers report that installing KB 3114409 forces Outlook to start in safe mode.”

Microsoft loses not just in phones and on the desktop. Its share in active sites keeps declining based on the latest figures from Netcraft. No wonder the company is now trying to devour GNU/Linux; it’s losing… well, everything. “See the chart at the end on “market share of computers”,” iophk told us, “and note that IIS has a worse than 1:1 ratio of sites to hardware while Apache and nginx have a better than 1:1 ratio.”

“Microsoft loses not just in phones and on the desktop.”Microsoft will definitely do whatever it can to force ‘upgrades’ to the latest spyware from Microsoft, not just Windows (which is now malware). As The Register put it yesterday: “Microsoft is advising Windows users to update their browsers ahead of a new policy that will see some versions of Internet Explorer no longer supported.

“The Redmond software giant said that beginning January 12, 2016, it will only support the newest version of its browser available in each operating system.”

People don’t need Internet Explorer. It is still a very low quality Web browser and it is spying on users’ browsing habits and more. Firefox does not do this.

“Microsoft’s history serves as a warning sign and the company still attacks Linux with patents.”Microsoft’s booster Todd Bishop, in this older bit of spin, tries to equate Google to Microsoft. “Google has jumped the shark,” iophk told us regarding this article, but the views of a person or two (Google hired some people from Microsoft) hardly represent Google’s views as a company.

One should proceed with caution amid Microsoft’s demise because the company is now trying to just devour the winner, which is GNU/Linux. See the news about ARTIK below [1] and also the Linux Foundation relationship, in [2-23] below (links not already mentioned in our daily news). We have already responded to the Linux Foundation's approach, which is risky. Microsoft’s history serves as a warning sign and the company still attacks Linux with patents.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ARTIK is Now Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT

    ARTIK, the Internet of Things (IoT) Samsung hardware platform has had some very Interesting developments recently, it is now Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT! This translates to the ARTIK 5 and ARTIK 10 boards being tested for readiness, compatibility, and usability with the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite.

  2. Microsoft’s week: Final Patch Tuesday for 2015, open source Chakra engine and Linux certification for Azure
  3. Microsoft and Linux Foundation Create ‘Linux on Azure’ Cert Program
  4. Microsoft offers new certification for Linux on Azure
  5. Microsoft offers Linux certification. Do not adjust your set. This is not an error

    The new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure teaches you how to do Linux on Azure by making you do an Azure course and a Linux course.

  6. Linux Foundation and Microsoft Partner on New Azure Cloud Certification
  7. Microsoft and Linux are offering a joint certification for Azure
  8. Microsoft continues to embrace Linux with new Azure certification
  9. Microsoft and Linux Foundation Create ‘Linux on Azure’ Cert Program
  10. Linux Foundation and Microsoft offer new Azure certification program
  11. Microsoft announces Azure certification program for Linux
  12. Microsoft Partners With Linux Foundation On Azure Certification
  13. Microsoft introduces new Certification for Azure on Linux
  14. Microsoft readies Linux on Azure certification
  15. Microsoft Adds Linux Certification For Azure
  16. Microsoft introduces Linux certification
  17. Microsoft is now offering Linux on Azure certification once you pass two exams
  18. Now Linux will be available on Azure Certification as announced by Microsoft
  19. This Is Not Your Or Bill Gate’s Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)
  20. Microsoft further embraces Linux with IT professional certification for Azure
  21. Microsoft to offer a Linux-based cert for Azure admins
  22. Microsoft Announces Linux on Azure Certification
  23. Microsoft embraces Linux with Azure certification

IAM ‘Magazine’ Protects Patent Trolls, Blocks People Who Disapprove

Posted in Deception, Patents at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IAM blocking opposing views now?

IAM blocking

Summary: The IAM echo chamber becomes even more of an echo chamber as people who don’t agree with IAM get literally blocked

IAM was always the most 'extremist' site when it comes to patents. It loves software patents, it loves patent trolls, and it evidently loves the EPO‘s management (at times serving as some kind of courier). We have watched the site for many years (reading literally hundreds of articles) and have many reasons for scepticism. It didn’t come out of nowhere or at haste.

“IAM brought upon itself somewhat of a controversy online because it has blocked at least 3 people in Twitter (those whom we know about) for merely criticising IAM, denying them even visibility of IAM’s ‘work’.”Well, IAM ‘magazine’ decided to organise a conference for patent trolls. They don’t use the word trolls (they strongly oppose and reject the term); they use a euphemistic acronym and refer to it as “our inaugural NPE conference”. Remember IP Dealmakers Forum, which was recently opened by the world’s largest patent troll.

IAM brought upon itself somewhat of a controversy online because it has blocked at least 3 people in Twitter (those whom we know about) for merely criticising IAM, denying them even visibility of IAM’s ‘work’.

Joff Wild, who often acts like a megaphone of Battistelli, especially amid scandals [1, 2], cannot take the heat. He is now blocking those who don’t agree with him, showing how thin-skinned he is. Even what we believe to be EPO staff got blocked [1, 2, 3], not to mention the President of the FFII [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and myself included. Well, even the EPO’s Twitter account, which is a PR front for an institution that blocked Techrights (internally, site-wide), has not done so. What does this say about IAM?

Links 12/12/2015: Mozilla Funds for FOSS, Rust 1.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Time has come for an ‘honorable retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 over Fukushima

    Let me begin this message by offering you my sincerest condolences. Condolences for what? For the death of the belief that a trouble-free 2020 Tokyo Olympics would serve to showcase Japan’s economic revival.

    Up to this point, the exact opposite has been the case, due to the scrapping of plans for a very expensive new National Stadium, the scuttling of the Olympic logo amid charges of plagiarism and newspaper headlines alleging, for example, that “Japan’s Olympics fiascoes point to outmoded, opaque decision-making.” Even more recently, Japan sports minister Hakubun Shimomura offered to resign over the Olympic stadium row.

    Among these developments, the charge alleging “outmoded, opaque decision-making” is perhaps the most troubling of all, because it suggests that both of the major setbacks the 2020 Olympics has encountered are systemic in nature, not merely one-off phenomena. If correct, this indicates that similar setbacks are likely to occur in the future. But how many setbacks can the 2020 Olympics endure?Let me begin this message by offering you my sincerest condolences. Condolences for what? For the death of the belief that a trouble-free 2020 Tokyo Olympics would serve to showcase Japan’s economic revival.

    Up to this point, the exact opposite has been the case, due to the scrapping of plans for a very expensive new National Stadium, the scuttling of the Olympic logo amid charges of plagiarism and newspaper headlines alleging, for example, that “Japan’s Olympics fiascoes point to outmoded, opaque decision-making.” Even more recently, Japan sports minister Hakubun Shimomura offered to resign over the Olympic stadium row.

    Among these developments, the charge alleging “outmoded, opaque decision-making” is perhaps the most troubling of all, because it suggests that both of the major setbacks the 2020 Olympics has encountered are systemic in nature, not merely one-off phenomena. If correct, this indicates that similar setbacks are likely to occur in the future. But how many setbacks can the 2020 Olympics endure?

  • Typo in case-sensitive variable name cooked Google’s cloud

    Google has admitted that incorrectly typing the name of a case-sensitive variable cooked its cloud.

    Users of the Alphabet subsidiary’s Google Container Engine customers “could not create external load balancers for their services for a duration of 21 hours and 38 min” on December 8th and 9th.

  • On the unreasonable reality of “junior” developer interviews

    Let’s not torture our junior developers by forcing them to do the programming equivalent of making high school students studying the Catcher in the Rye and the Scarlet Letter. Let’s talk to them like humans who are writing software. Let’s find out whether or not they’re open to learning, good at communicating, and people we’d like to work with every day.

  • Cyberbullying: Chubb offers UK ‘troll’ insurance against digital threats

    Cyberbullying has been a long-standing problem in the online community. Wrapped under the guise of anonymity, some individuals will launch hate campaigns against others rather than confront them in the physical realm, whether it be Facebook messaging and posts, tweets or campaigns designed to smear their reputation.

  • Hardware

    • Virtually there: the hard reality of the Gear VR

      But when the holidays are over, what will happen to the Gear VR? Is the headset a novelty or, as many of its developers and fans suggest, the start of a new medium? Once you’ve given everyone you know five minutes of virtual reality, is there much left to do? I’m not sure there is yet — and I’m not sure when that will change.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GMO Toxins Endanger Human Health

      GMOs’ toxins put your health at risk, according to plant biologist Jonathan Latham. As Latham reports, many genetically modified plants are engineered to contain their own insecticides. These GMOs, which include maize, cotton and soybeans, are called Bt plants. Bt plants get their name because they incorporate a transgene that makes a protein-based toxin (usually called the Cry toxin) from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. (The term “cry toxin” comes from the crystal proteins that form the toxin.) Many Bt crops are “stacked,” meaning they contain a multiplicity of these Cry toxins. Bacillus thuringiensis is all but indistinguishable from the well known anthrax bacterium

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Petraeus Recommends Using Al Qaeda Fighters to Defeat ISIS

      The United States’ relationship with Al Qaeda could be closer than corporate media might lead you to believe. In August 2015 retired CIA chief David Petraeus openly called for recruiting so-called moderate members of Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra to fight ISIS in Syria. Despite corporate media reiterating the message that Al Qaeda is an enemy terrorist group, the CIA and US military leadership continue to discuss using Al Qaeda as a tool for their own military objectives. As Shane Harris and Nancy A. Youssef report, Petraeus called for recruiting members of the Nusra Front, which opposes the Syrian government, to help the US combat ISIS.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia’s forest fires: everything you need to know

      As satellite data of the fire hotspots shows, forest fires have affected the length and breadth of Indonesia. Among the worst hit areas are southern Kalimantan (Borneo) and western Sumatra. The fires have been raging since July, with efforts to extinguish them hampered by seasonal dry conditions exacerbated by the El Nino effect. As well as Indonesia, the acrid haze from the fires is engulfing neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore and has reached as far as southern Thailand.

    • VIDEO: Here’s Why Fox News Is Wrong To Dismiss The Link Between Climate Change And Terrorism

      Fox News pundits have spent much of the past year mocking and dismissing comments by President Obama, Democratic presidential candidates and others who have described the connection that climate change has to terrorism and the rise of the jihadist group ISIS. But as world leaders strive for an ambitious agreement at the conclusion of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris — the site of horrific terrorist attacks by ISIS in November — it’s more important than ever that Americans and people around the world recognize the relationship between global warming and global security.

    • Fires in Indonesia: Perspective from the Ground

      I live in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan. We had some serious fires here, but it wasn’t as bad as in Central Kalimantan, which was basically the epicenter of the disaster. Breathing the smoke wasn’t pleasant, and I didn’t dare open a window or a door in my house because it would just permeate everything.

      The smoke also seriously disrupted some of my travel plans. There were no flights into or out of my town for at least a month, so we had to rely on boats or long-distance travel by car.

      The smoke also disrupted my work. I do lot in the community and in schools, but September and October were quiet months for us because the schools were not in session. It was too dangerous for students. Adults were not available to participate in our conservation activities and meetings because they either had to stay in the field and guard their crops from fire, or didn’t want to be outside more then necessary.

    • 6 locations where groundwater is vanishing

      Groundwater is disappearing beneath cornfields in Kansas, rice paddies in India, asparagus farms in Peru and orange groves in Morocco. These are stories about people on four continents confronting questions of how to safeguard their aquifers for the future – and in some cases, how to cope as the water runs out.

  • Finance

    • Exposing One of the Largest Accounting Scandals in American History

      New Networks Institute just released two reports in a new series, “Fixing Telecommunications”. It is based on mostly public, but unexamined information that exposes one of the largest financial accounting scandals in American history. It impacts all wireline and wireless phone, broadband, Internet and even cable TV/video services, and it continues today with impunity.

      Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, and other large telephone companies have been able to manipulate their financial accounting to make the local phone networks and services look unprofitable and have used this ‘fact’ in many public policy and regulatory decisions that benefited the incumbent telecommunications utilities.

      But the core of this scandal, which we dubbed the “FCC’s Big Freeze”, is so bizarre that no one would believe it if it was detailed in some thriller about financial chicanery. I’ll get to this in a moment.

    • Satoshi’s PGP Keys Are Probably Backdated and Point to a Hoax

      On Tuesday, both Wired and Gizmodo dropped a big bombshell: According to “leaked” (Wired) or “hacked” (Gizmodo) documents, the real Satoshi Nakamoto is…. Craig Steven Wright.

      Uh, who? one might ask. It’s a good question. Until now, Wright hasn’t pinged very many people’s radars as a potential Satoshi Nakamoto. On the other hand, Wright is indeed considered an expert on Bitcoin—in fact, he appeared on a panel with other possible-Satoshi Nick Szabo this year at the Bitcoin Investor Conference.

      Both Wired and Gizmodo outline Wright’s qualifications and accomplishments in detail, aside from pointing to emails and other documents that seem to nail Wright as once-and-future Bitcoin king Satoshi Nakamoto.

    • CETA’s Festering Wound: Corporate Sovereignty

      Remember CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU? Even though the text was “celebrated” back in October 2014, it is still not ready to be presented for possible ratification. As Techdirt has been covering, it’s pretty clear that the problem area is the corporate sovereignty chapter, because of concerns about the huge power it grants to Canadian (and US) corporations. First there were hints that Angela Merkel wanted the so-called “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) mechanism changed. Then France said the same — twice. Most recently, the EU commissioner responsible for trade and trade agreements, Cecilia Malmström, indicated that it wouldn’t be possible re-open the corporate sovereignty chapter, or to move away from “classic” ISDS to the re-branded version known as the Investment Court System (ICS), which the European Commission is pushing in an attempt to head off growing opposition to the whole idea.

    • ‘A Woman’s Ability to Pay Her Bills Should Not Be Dependent on the Whims of Customers’

      Janine Jackson: “The truth of the matter is this is a big deal,” says Simon King, the general manager of The Modern, a high-end restaurant attached to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. He is referring to the decision by Danny Meyer, owner of The Modern and many other restaurants, to phase out what the New York Times called “the time-honored American practice” of tipping.

    • On-demand workers unite online to fight Uber and the gig economy

      IT WAS a strike, but not as we know it. At midnight on 1 December, about 100 workers in New York City logged out of the Uber app on their phones in protest over a pay cut at UberRUSH, a delivery service run by the ride-sharing giant. One post on the Facebook page they created to rally the strike and list their demands read: “All we are asking is that Uber treats us fairly.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BBC Bias

      I am involved quite extensively in the making of what I believe to be a valuable independent documentary. It is based on George Ponsonby’s excellent book London Calling, and has the working title How the BBC Stole the Referendum. We have already done a few hours filming of my contribution.

    • Jon Stewart And Stephen Colbert Mock Media For Its Trump Coverage On The Late Show

      On the December 10 edition of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert reunited to lament the media’s extensive coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Colbert told Stewart that “the media won’t pay attention to anything … unless you are Donald Trump” and that if he wanted the media to pay attention to serious issues, he would have to “Trump it up.” Stewart appeared on the show to urge Congress to pass the Zadroga Act, which provides health care funding and compensation for the first responders to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Recently the media has been called out for its “wall-to-wall” Trump coverage, especially of his unconstitutional plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

    • After San Bernardino, Some Reporters ‘Poke Around’–While Others Follow the Money

      Some would say Columbia Journalism Review put it mildly, referring to the events of December 4 as an “unbecoming media frenzy in San Bernardino.” That was the sight of dozens of TV crew members from MSNBC and CNN trampling through the home of alleged killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, rifling through whatever they came across, holding it up for the camera and guessing about its meaning.

      Sample commentary from MSNBC‘s Kerry Sanders: “Come over here, you can see the baby’s toys. We have really quite a number of toys.” Sanders proceeded to show millions of viewers various photographs, we don’t know of whom, and for good measure, the driver’s license of Farook’s mother, including identifying information like her address.

  • Censorship

    • Citizens triumph in Nigerian digital rights battle

      This week the will of Nigerian citizens triumphed over a threat to the free and open Web. The recently proposed “Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected there-with”, popularly known as the “Social Media Bill”, sought to restrict free expression by making it illegal to start any type of petition without swearing an affidavit that the content is true in a court of law.

    • YouTube blocks Japanese contributors’ content for refusing to use its paid version

      Not everyone was sold. ESPN has pulled all of its content from YouTube due to what a YouTube spokesperson called “rights and legal issues.” At least EPSN got to choose. YouTube has said that companies that do not sign off on YouTube RED will find their videos unavailable to viewers. And it’s keeping that promise, blocking a huge swath of Japanese artists from U.S. fans.

    • Lucasfilm Uses DMCA to Kill Star Wars Toy Picture

      Star Wars: The Force Awakens has gone into an early and bizarre anti-piracy overdrive. Earlier this week a fansite posted an image of a ‘Rey’ action figure legally bought in Walmart but it was taken down by Facebook and Twitter following a DMCA notice. Meanwhile, webhosts are facing threats of legal action.

    • Couple takes pics of Star Wars figure they bought, gets DMCA notice from Lucasfilm

      or the last decade, Marjorie Carvalho and her husband have produced Star Wars Action News, a podcast dedicated to Star Wars collectibles of all sorts. Predictably, they’ve had a lot to talk about, as waves of action figures and other collectibles have been launched in the run-up to the much-anticipated release of Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens next week.

      On Tuesday, a Star Wars Action News staffer saw something he shouldn’t have—and bought it. A 3 3/4″ action figure of “Rey,” a female character from The Force Awakens, was on display in a Walmart in Iowa, apparently earlier than it should have been. The staff member bought it for $6.94 plus tax, no questions asked. The following day, he posted pictures of the Rey figure on Star Wars Action News’ Facebook page.

    • Disney drops—then doubles down on—DMCA claim over Star Wars figure pic

      A Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice sent by the Walt Disney Company earlier this week seems to have truly awakened The Force, and now the company can’t seem to decide if it wants to be on the light side or the dark side.

      Marjorie and Arnie Carvalho run Star Wars Action News, a podcast about Star Wars collectibles. Earlier this week, SW Action News staffer Justin Kozisek purchased an action figure of “Rey” in an Iowa Walmart. The figure, which hasn’t been seen elsewhere, was presumably put on the shelves by accident ahead of its official release date. An image of the figure was posted on the SW Action News Facebook page—and promptly subjected to a wave of DMCA takedown demands by Lucasfilm. Many of those who had spread the image on social media were also subject to copyright claims.

    • Search Engines Need Regulating to Reduce Piracy, Russia Says

      Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor says it will create a working group to look into the regulation of search engine results. The move is part of a package of initiatives designed to make pirated content harder to find. Also on the table are discussions on how to make anti-piracy techniques less prone to circumvention.

    • Resistance to Wyoming’s Unconstitutional Data Trespass Law

      In March 2015, Wyoming legislators passed a law that makes it illegal to report environmental hazards to the general public or to state officials. Senate Bill 12, “Trespassing to Collect Data,” makes it illegal to “collect resource data” from any “open land,” meaning any land outside of a city or town, whether the land is federal, state, or privately owned. As Justin Pidot and Deirdre Fulton reported, the controversial law protects the interests of private land owners by making it illegal for people to take photographs, sample soils, test water, or to take any kind of environmental data from any private, public or federal land outside of city limits.

  • Privacy

    • The Investigatory Powers Bill: PR myth list

      In the weeks since the Investigatory Powers Bill was officially released, we’ve seen a lot of Government PR. They are trying their best to assure us that we have nothing to be worried about, but we’re not convinced.

    • WaPo’s Excellent Explainer On Encryption Debunks WaPo’s Stupid Editorial In Favor Of Encryption Backdoors

      Washington Post reporter Andrea Peterson has put together a really excellent explainer piece on what you should know about encryption. Considering the source, it’s a good “general knowledge” explainer piece for people who really aren’t that aware of encryption or technically savvy. That’s important and useful, given how important this debate is and how many participants in it don’t seem to understand the first thing about encryption.

    • Driver Leaves Scene Of Accident, Gets Turned In By Her Car

      It’s no secret today’s vehicles collect tons of data. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be a secret. It certainly isn’t well-known, despite even some of the latest comers to the tech scene — legislators — having questioned automakers about their handling of driver data.

      More than one insurance company will offer you a discount if you allow them to track your driving habits. Employers have been known to utilize “black boxes” in company vehicles. These days, the tech is rarely even optional, although these “event data recorders” generally only report back to the manufacturers themselves. Consumer-oriented products like OnStar combine vehicle data with GPS location to contact law enforcement/medical personnel if something unexpected happens. Drivers can trigger this voluntarily to seek assistance when stranded on the road because of engine trouble, flat tires, etc.

    • FBI admits it uses stingrays, zero-day exploits

      The FBI’s secrecy surrounding stingrays has been well documented. And the controversy over the use of zero-days by governments has also generated its share of headlines. Both issues are controversial, in part because they have the potential to harm vast numbers of people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. That’s because stingrays generally intercept all cell phone communications in a given area, not just those of a drug or kidnapping suspect. Paying large sums of money to buy zero-days, meanwhile, creates powerful incentives for governments to keep the underlying vulnerabilities secret. FBI officials have long attempted to distance themselves from such topics. Today, they inched slightly closer.

    • On the CCA (in)security of MTProto

      Telegram is a popular messaging app which supports end-to-end encrypted communication. In Spring 2015 we performed an audit of Telegram’s source code. This short paper summarizes our findings.

      Our main discovery is that the symmetric encryption scheme used in Telegram — known as MTProto — is not IND-CCA secure, since it is possible to turn any ciphertext into a different ciphertext that decrypts to the same message.

      We stress that this is a theoretical attack on the definition of security and we do not see any way of turning the attack into a full plaintext-recovery attack. At the same time, we see no reason why one should use a less secure encryption scheme when more secure (and at least as efficient) solutions exist.

      The take-home message (once again) is that well-studied, provably secure encryption schemes that achieve strong definitions of security (e.g., authenticated-encryption) are to be preferred to home-brewed encryption schemes.

    • FBI Admits To Using Zero Day Exploits To Hack Into Computers

      It’s been widely suspected for ages that both the NSA and the FBI made use of so-called “zero-day” exploits to hack into computers. Leaks from a few years ago (which may or may not have come from Snowden) exposed just how massive the NSA’s exploit operation was, and there have been plenty of stories of security companies selling exploits to the NSA, who would use them, rather than reveal them and get them patched — thereby putting the public at risk. Last year, the President told the NSA to get better at revealing these zero day exploits to companies to patch, rather than hoarding them for their own use. Just about a month ago, the NSA proudly announced that it now discloses vulnerabilities 90% of the time — but conveniently left out how long it uses them before disclosing them.

    • Lofgren questions DHS policy towards TOR Relays

      Today, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) released a letter expressing her concern with news reports indicating an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent enlisted local law enforcement to pressure a New Hampshire public library into disabling its Tor relay.

      The letter, addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, notes that the Tor network is used by journalists, activists, dissidents, intelligence sources, and other privacy concerned individuals to keep their web browsing private, and the network receives significant funding through government grants.

    • Comey Calls on Tech Companies Offering End-to-End Encryption to Reconsider “Their Business Model”

      FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday called for tech companies currently offering end-to-end encryption to reconsider their business model, and instead adopt encryption techniques that allow them to intercept and turn over communications to law enforcement when necessary.

      End-to-end encryption, which is the state of the art in providing secure communications on the internet, has become increasingly common and desirable in the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance by the government.

    • Obama to clarify his stance on encryption by the holidays

      The Obama administration plans to clarify its stance on strong encryption before Washington shuts down for the holidays.

      Administration officials met Thursday with the civil-society groups behind a petition urging the White House to back strong, end-to-end encryption over the objections of some law-enforcement and intelligence professionals.

    • Ted Cruz using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users

      Documents reveal donor-funded US startup embedded in Republican’s campaign paid UK university academics to collect psychological profiles on potential voters

      Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is using psychological data based on research spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission, to boost his surging White House run and gain an edge over Donald Trump and other Republican rivals, the Guardian can reveal.

      A little-known data company, now embedded within Cruz’s campaign and indirectly financed by his primary billionaire benefactor, paid researchers at Cambridge University to gather detailed psychological profiles about the US electorate using a massive pool of mainly unwitting US Facebook users built with an online survey.

    • Facebook for Work is almost upon us

      HUNGRY DATA HIPPO Facebook has promised to launch the work version of its time-wasting solution very soon.

      The firm reckons that the time blight will hit worker desktops in the next few months and will not be used for things like crushing candy or, presumably, assessing the global cat situation.

      Reuters is first with the news, hot from Julien Codorniou, director of global platform partnerships at Facebook, who explained that the system is very much like the consumer version, except it is designed to make users more productive. This means no crap apps or gimmicky gewgaws but a lot of the other crap that you might have come to expect.

    • Tor Hires a New Leader to Help It Combat the War on Privacy

      The Tor Project is entering a crucial phase in its nearly 10-year existence. In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, it has assumed a higher profile in the world of privacy and security than ever before. But it’s also come under increased attack by governments out to demonize it, and by law enforcement and intelligence agencies out to crack it and unmask its anonymous users.

    • FBI on Encryption: ‘It’s A Business Model Question’

      Now that encryption has been elevated to a default technology on mobile devices, the government has heightened its “Going Dark” rhetoric, again on Wednesday insisting during a Senate Judicial Committee hearing that Silicon Valley figure out how to deliver plain-text communication between criminal and terror suspects to law enforcement.

    • Government, Can You Hear Me Now? Cell-site Simulators Aren’t Secret Anymore

      Digital analyzer. IMSI catcher. Stingray. Triggerfish. Dirt box. Cell-site simulator. The list of aliases used by the devices that masquerade as a cell phone tower, trick your phone into connecting with them, and suck up your data, seems to grow every day. But no matter what name cell-site simulators go by, whether they are in the hands of the government or malicious thieves, there’s no question that they’re a serious threat to privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • NYT Rewrites Scalia to Make Him Sound Less Racist

      This is not a person talking about a subset of blacks with a particular kind of educational background; taking his words at face value, this is a person asserting that African-Americans as a whole belong in “lesser schools” that are not “too fast for them.” (Or that “there are those who contend” that that is the case, if you want to give Scalia credit for that circumlocution.)

      The fact that a Supreme Court justice justifies eliminating affirmative action on the basis of openly racist views ought to be big news. By sugarcoating what Scalia actually said, the New York Times disguises that news–making the ethnic cleansing of America’s top schools a more palatable possibility. Perhaps that shouldn’t make me gasp.

    • Global Refugee Crisis Reaches 60 Million

      According to the United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees Global Trends Report: World at War, published in June 2015, sixty million people worldwide are now refugees due to conflict in their home nations. One in every 122 people is considered a refugee, internally displaced, or an asylum seeker. Those individuals come from almost every continent. Parts of Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa all have massive numbers of people who are trying to flee. Millions of people are on the move or hiding in the fringes of society to keep from being persecuted and harmed.

    • Glenn Beck Compares Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban To Hitler
    • Is Donald Trump a 2016 Manchurian candidate?

      The Republican presidential hopeful’s views are getting more and more extreme. Perhaps, as Salman Rushdie suggested, there’s more going on than meets the eye

    • Court Says Constitutional Violations By Law Enforcement Are Perfectly Fine As Long As They Happen Quickly

      As long as the stop isn’t extended for too long (a wholly arbitrary length decided on a case-by-case basis during suppression hearings/civil rights lawsuits), cops are pretty much free to stop and search any driver for any reason. And even if they’re completely wrong every step of the way, there’s a good chance the “good faith exception” will excuse their misdeeds. (For everything else, there’s qualified immunity.)

    • Bassel Khartabil: fears for man who brought open internet to the Arab world

      Syria never had a hackerspace until Bassel Khartabil – known online as Bassel Safadi – started Aiki Lab in Damascus in 2010. The Palestinian-Syrian open-source software developer used it as a base from which to advance the free software and free culture movements in his country. Because of Khartabil’s work, people gained new tools to express themselves and communicate.

      Writing to the vice president of the European commission in 2013, MEPs Charles Tannock and Ana Gomes summed up Khartabil’s contributions as “opening up the internet in Syria – a country with a notorious record of online censorship” and “vastly extending online access and knowledge to the Syrian people”. Among his awards included the 2013 Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award for using technology to promote an open and free internet.

    • Massive Sexting Case Shockingly Results In No Criminal Charges

      Given what we’ve seen in other (and much smaller) sexting cases — where sex offender laws have been twisted to cover consensual interactions between adolescents — the district attorney’s decision to put control of the situation back in parents’ hands is a surprise. It will no doubt be the exception that proves the rule.

      The instinctual reaction to bring law enforcement into the equation is understandable and, admittedly, there are aspects of sexting that may require this sort of scrutiny. The problem is that prosecutors often feel compelled to find something to charge sexting participants with, if only to justify the expenditure of law enforcement resources. This leads to preposterous (and potentially life-damaging) outcomes like teens being charged with exploiting themselves by taking photos of their own bodies and sharing them with others.

    • Twitter Told a Bunch of Users They May Be Targets of a ‘State Sponsored Attack’

      The attack is currently being investigated by Twitter. In their notice to users, Twitter said that the attack only impacted usernames, IP address, email addresses, and phone numbers if a phone number was associated with the account. Twitter did not say which state was implicated—it could have been China, Russia, or even the US.

      I spoke to a number of Twitter users who received the notice. A couple are engaged in activism and are connected to the Tor Project in some capacity. A few are located in Canada, and vaguely associated with the security community at large. However, I could not determine any common factors between all recipients. They all received the notice around the same time, between 5:15 and 5:16 PM EST.

    • Jamie Kalven on the Laquan McDonald Cover-Up

      This week on CounterSpin: There are calls for the resignation of Chicago Mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel—stemming from the city’s 13-month cover-up of video that belied the official story of the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. That video, along with an autopsy that also showed police’s initial story to be false, eventually came to light through the work of journalists—but not mainstream journalists; it was independent reporters, including our guest, who stepped in to force the police department and the city to acknowledge not only what happened on the night of October 20, 2014—when officer Jason Van Dyke put 16 bullets into the body of a boy who posed him no harm—but what happened after, as institutional forces came together to keep the truth from the public.

    • Salvadoran Women Imprisoned for Miscarriages

      In El Salvador an unexpected pregnancy loss has been declared unconstitutional and criminal. The law that has been in place since 1998 prohibits abortions in the country regardless of the situation. The penal code does no take into account if the mother’s life or the baby’s life is in danger; it is all abortion. The purpose of this law is to give the embryonic human a right to life. If any expectant mother happens to break this law regardless of the situation, she can be sentenced to 2-8 years in prison, and the medical professionals assisting the women can serve 6-12 years in prison. In some more severe cases, a woman can be charged with aggravated homicide if it is believed that the fetus could have been able to reach life successfully.

    • Ingraham: “I’d Go Farther” Than Trump’s Plan To Ban Muslims From Entering The US And “Do A Pause On All Immigration”
    • New York Teens Often Isolated in Adult Prisons

      New York and North Carolina are the only two states in the US that prosecute sixteen and seventeen year old teenagers in the justice system as adults. This is a crucial issue because in other states these teens are sent to juvenile facilities where they are held in more appropriate environments, given their ages. Young teens in adult prisons are often forced into solitary confinement, which can be severely, psychologically and physically damaging.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • “The more bits you use, the more you pay”: Comcast CEO justifies data caps

      While Comcast doesn’t actually cut people off the Internet when they hit their 300GB-per-month data limits, customers do get charged an additional $10 for each 50GB used. Customers can also pay an extra $30 or $35 per month for unlimited data, depending on where they live. Comcast, the nation’s largest home Internet provider, has implemented the data caps in many cities but hasn’t rolled them out to its entire territory yet. “We’re just trialling ways to have a balanced relationship,” Roberts said. “You can watch hundreds of shows and movies and other things before you hit these levels, many devices, but I don’t think it’s illogical or something people should be paranoid about… it’s not that different than other industries.”

    • Comcast CEO Defends Caps: Claims Broadband’s Like Gasoline

      Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was forced to defend the company’s expansion of usage caps this week at an industry conference. As most of you know, Comcast has been imposing usage caps of 300 GB on the company’s customers. Users then have the option of either paying $10 per every 50 GB consumed, or paying $30 to $35 to enjoy the same unlimited service many of these users literally enjoyed only just yesterday.

  • DRM

    • Ecuador Likely To Legalize DRM Circumvention In The Exercise Of Fair Use Rights — Something TPP Will Block

      Eighteen months ago, Mike wrote about the DMCA being abused to censor stories in an Ecuadorian newspaper that someone in the government there apparently didn’t want out in the open. But Boing Boing points us to a post by Andrés Delgado from a few weeks back which offers hope that some good things could be happening in Ecuador in the field of copyright.

    • Thirteen Year Legacy: Last.fm Downfall?

      Last.fm is a web service for users to track and share their music tastes with friends in an easy, simple way. A single play of a song is known as a “Scrobble”. Listening to music and recording the listen with Last.fm is known as “Scrobbling”. This is a service that has existed since 2002, originally under the name of Audioscrobbler. In 2015, Last.fm rolled out their new website beta, originally optional, but later forced upon all users.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Throws A Copyright Crumb: Confirms That Digitized Copies Of Public Domain Images Are In The Public Domain

        A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about a German museum suing Wikimedia over photos of public domain objects that were in its collection. We mentioned there was a related situation in the UK, where the National Portrait Gallery in London had threatened a Wikimedia developer for using photos of objects that were clearly in the public domain. Mike pointed out that in the US, the Bridgeman v. Corel case established that photographs of public domain images do not carry any copyright, since they do not add any new expression. In a rare bit of good news, noted by Communia, the UK Intelllectual Property Office has just announced officially that it takes the same view…

      • Canadian Govt Eyes VPN Pirates, Netflix Thieves and ISP Blocking

        New Government documents have shed some light on the future agenda points for online copyright enforcement. In a briefing for minister Mélanie Joly, officials from the Department of Canadian Heritage mention VPN pirates and website blocking as emerging issues and pressures.

      • On the Fringe: David Elston, Pirate Party UK

        Pirate Party UK is our first brave volunteer as we explore the fringe movements campaigning against the dominance of the Westminster parties in British politics.

        Speaking to the deputy leader David Elston, newly elected as part of a leadership change following the general election, we delve into what the Pirates stand for, why authenticity is a new force in campaigning, and what effect Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is having on smaller parties.

      • ‘Happy Birthday’ Copyright Case Reaches a Settlement

        After more than two years of litigation, “Happy Birthday to You” — often called the most popular song in the world, but one that has long been under copyright — is one step closer to joining the public domain.

      • Parties celebrate as ‘Happy Birthday’ copyright dispute settled

        A copyright lawsuit centring on the song “Happy Birthday to You” has been settled out of court.

        Music publisher Warner/Chappell and a group of documentary makers, who had been disputing ownership of the song for more than two years, settled the dispute yesterday, December 9.

        Details of the settlement have not been disclosed.

EPO Censored Itself After Publishing a Document Which Had Been Leaked Anyway

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The EPO’s highly controversial attempt to sack an accused judge is thwarted and the decision relating to it is also thwarted, or mysteriously removed from the EPO’s own Web site

THE EPO seems to have an internal struggle over what should and should not be made visible to the public, even though it’s sometimes made visible in blogs anyway. Based on information that we received, as early as (perhaps) 7 AM a decision was made publicly available but shortly thereafter, or shortly after it had been mentioned in IP Kat comments, it was removed. Certainly someone is hoping to hide something, though it’s not clear who and why/what. As such, tomorrow we’ll publish the entire text as HTML (it requires quite a lot of manual work).

Two days ago we saw the following comment pointing to the original of the decision which had already been disclosed by the IP Kat anyway (last month even). The comment says: “At least the EPO has decided that, in the interests of openness, decision G 2301/15 should be published: http://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/pdf/g152301eu1.pdf”

Another comment says: “So the [IP] Kat was right this time and the EPO king did not behave as presidentially as he should.

“Maybe this king should announce to the public that there is no future for the BoA at the EPO and that the UPC will be much better for every stakeholder… and that the BoA will die out anyway…

“If he is a decent person, excuses to the insulted DG3 member will soon follow, with media partners involved, so the 860k EUR will be well spend.

“Maybe it’s part of his Xmas speech to come soon…, I hope the AC will wake up from their anaesthesia (due to dental interventions?) [reference to this] before the Xmas speech, so they will have a less troublesome 2016.”

“It seems that the decision has been taken off the EPO´s homepage after a couple of hours only,” says this later comment.

“It announced that decision G2301/15 was available at http://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/pdf/g152301eu1.pdf,” a source told us. “The document was withdrawn very quickly, and prompted the following two comments.”

One comment says: “Strangely. the decision has now disappeared!”

Another says:

24 hours ago, Kant wrote here:

“At least the EPO has decided that, in the interests of openness, decision G 2301/15 should be published:
http://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/pdf/g152301eu1.pdf”

so I printed out a copy of G2301/15.

Less than 24 hours later, Kant wrote here:

“Strangely. the decision has now disappeared!”

So it seems that the spirit of open-ness didn’t last long.

Looking at the parties to G2301/15 I note that the “Respondent” name is redacted. So no chance of asking him or her for a copy of the published then un-published Decision.

But the “Petitioner” is stated on the Decision to be “Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation”. Can’t it show us the Decision? How much “spirit of open-ness” does the Petitioner possess? Does it know? Or must it first ask the EPO President for guidance on that point?

Isn’t there something in Europe we regard as important here? Something about justice not only being done but also being seen to be done?

Some more research has been done to study when the document was uploaded, removed, etc. but we’ll spare readers the technical details. It seems likely that there is some internal dispute over the publication of that file.

An hour ago I did a Google search on the text and got this:

EPO on Google

Clicking on the link yields the following:

EPO deletion

It was online long enough for Google to pick up. Thankfully, we got a copy. It may not be identical to the one IP Kat previously published, so a comparison may be worthwhile (perhaps a redacted copy will be published at a later date, indicating what caused the panic).

“The file is included herewith for your enjoyment,” wrote to us another source (many people have noticed this incident). “This apparent censorship is strange,” the source added, “as the document had already been leaked and published in an OCR version…”

Stay tuned as we are going to increase the file’s exposure by making an HTML version available very soon.

EPO Central Staff Committee Warns That EPO President Illegally Changes the Rules to Remove the Rights of the Accused, Crush Dissent/Unions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Main court in Warsaw
Main court in Warsaw, photo by Michal Zacharzewski

Summary: The Rule of Law is no longer applicable in Eponia, where people can be dismissed or suspended based on mere allegations

THE EPO‘s attempts to silence Techrights have made it the de facto publication for almost everything deep inside Eponia (the stuff not announced to the outside world). We often get material from several sources simultaneously these days.

“I’m sure you’ll get several copies of this one, but just to make sure,” said one source, here it is.

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité central du Personnel

11.12.2015
sc15452cp – 0.2.1/4.5/0.3.2

Amendment of the Service Regulations on suspension

Suspension of staff members is increasingly en vogue at the EPO. After staff representatives serving on the internal Appeals Committee and a member of the Boards of Appeal, the President of the Office decided to suspend on 18 November 2015 three elected staff representatives, also SUEPO executives. Not to mention “normal” employees suspended in less conspicuous investigative and disciplinary procedures.

“Suspension of staff members is increasingly en vogue at the EPO.”The President put on the agenda of the GCC meeting scheduled on 09 December a proposal to delete a protecting clause from Article 95 ServRegs, just in time before the Administrative Council (AC) of 16/17 December 2015.

Pursuant to Article 95 ServRegs, the appointing authority may decide to suspend an employee if an alleged misconduct is so serious that it becomes incompatible with his/her continuing in service, for instance if continuation of service would be against the interests of the Office, would endanger the investigation process or even other employees. Suspension is not a disciplinary sanction: it is essentially an interim measure until the appointing authority decides on a disciplinary sanction following the completion of a statutory disciplinary procedure.

“The President put on the agenda of the GCC meeting scheduled on 09 December a proposal to delete a protecting clause from Article 95 ServRegs, just in time before the Administrative Council (AC) of 16/17 December 2015.”The appointing authority may also decide to withhold part of the remuneration, up to half of the employee’s basic salary. A salary reduction is warranted when the foreseeable disciplinary measure would have a financial effect, i.e. only in case of relegation in step, downgrading or dismissal1. Presently, the Service Regulations include a single provision protecting employees against excessively slow investigation and disciplinary procedures: if no final decision is given within four months from the date of suspension, the employee shall again receive his/her full remuneration2. Furthermore, in that case, the employee is entitled to reimbursement of the amount of remuneration withheld3.

Similar provisions are included in the Service Regulations of other International Organisations, either in the form of a fixed duration for a suspension (e.g. non-extendable six months in the EU regulations), or in a more flexible form, with an advance written statement setting out and justifying its duration (UN and WHO). However, after the abolition of Article 95(3) ServRegs the EPO would be the only international organisation that would have nothing in place. While any extension of
_____
1 Article 93 ServRegs
2 old Article 95(3) ServRegs, to be deleted soon
3 old Article 95(4) ServRegs, to be amended soon


any time limit over the presently four months would still be objectionable because it is not in the interest of staff, the abolition thereof is unacceptable because it is illegal: Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time (emphasis added).

The amended Article will have immediate effect on all suspensions ongoing on the date of its entry into force. The Administrative Council, assisted by the Office, has “house-banned” and suspended the member of the Boards of Appeal in December 2014, and is now being confronted with a decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) not proposing his removal from office, as would be required by Article 23(1) EPC. The AC has asked once more the EBoA to propose removal from office and it is now tempted to buy time. Prolonging the suspension on a reduced salary is the President’s selling argument for the AC to approve the amendment. However, the Council would be ill-advised to lose credit by approving such a drastic proposal.

“…the abolition thereof is unacceptable because it is illegal: Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time (emphasis added).”A “collateral” but possibly not completely undesired effect is that suspension of any EPO employee on a reduced salary may go on for an unlimited period of time, without justification and against ILO-AT case law4, with no incentive for the President or the AC to investigate speedily the alleged misconduct and decide in a reasonable time5. This de facto negates the interim character of a suspension and turns a salary reduction into a financial sanction. Such disproportionate decisions may in principle be challenged with the Administrative Tribunal but the review is limited due to their discretionary nature, and a judgment will be long to come.

Factually, suspension will become an additional punishment. Thus the present proposal of the President is neither in line with the Service Regulations nor with ILO-AT case law. It is a violation of the EPC, for much the same reason. It is also a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, the AC should dismiss the proposal.

“Thus the present proposal of the President is neither in line with the Service Regulations nor with ILO-AT case law. It is a violation of the EPC, for much the same reason.”It should be noted that any damaging effect on any EPO employee this change of Article 95 ServRegs may in turn lead to court cases against Contracting States before the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, this amendment will bring into disrepute the Organisation, the Office, as well as the respective Contracting States if they were to be convicted.

Finally, it is remarkable that President Battistelli comes with such a proposal for tougher punishment tools in what looks like a “suspension policy” against staff, although the AC gave him in March 2015 the clear mandate to engage into “social dialogue” with staff.

The Central Staff Committee
_____
4 see for instance Judgment No.2698
5 see for instance Judgment No.2698

This document is quite self explanatory and is written in plain (not legal) language/terms, so there is little that we can or need to add to it.

A Day After Massive EPO Protest Benoît Battistelli Tries Using Money to Appease Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The biggest-ever (and ever-growing) EPO staff protests, over abuses rather than money, necessitate reactionary spin

Money

Summary: With slight (usually less than inflation rate) pay rise Battistelli hopes to make it seem as though he is generous

The following EPO piece was published on the Intranet a few days ago and got leaked to us. Why? To use the source’s own words: “Story-telling? Paternalistic patronization? Delusion? Or all of the above?”

We are going to first present the text in full, then proceed to a short sarcastic rebuttal.

Communiqué No. 73

04.12.2015
2015: A positive year for EPO staff

2015 has been a positive year in which our output and revenues have risen. Our enduring commitment to quality, both in terms of the products and the services we offer, has paid dividends. We have, thanks to your efforts, also prospered from increasing efficiency and rising levels of productivity, resulting in a financially positive year for our Office. As you know, my policy has always been clear: the results generated by the performance of the Office must directly benefit the staff in both the short term and the long term. [Note: there is a rumour that Battistelli got a 13% pay rise]

Earlier this year we announced a significant global rewards envelope and the means for its distribution. The new system ensures that those who contributed to the generation of extra revenues for the Office are recognised. Under this performance-based system and through step advancements, promotions, bonuses, functional allowances and collective performance bonuses, around 75% of the staff will be rewarded in 2015. For this purpose we have allocated 18.4 million euros, which represents an increase of more than 20% in comparison to the actual amounts spent during last year.

Given the strong situation in which the office finds itself, further proposals will now be made to the Administrative Council to ensure that every staff member of the EPO is able to benefit from our successful year.

Thanks to the salary adjustment formula which the Council, on my proposal, approved in June 2014, all salary scales and allowances effective from 1 July 2014 will be increased retroactively by 0.5%. On top of this retroactive adjustment, for 2015 the increases in salaries from 1 July are:

- Austria: +0,7%

- Belgium: +2,0%

- Germany: +0,9%

- The Netherlands: +1,5%

Cash injections and good investment returns also mean that we have been able to stabilise the rates of contribution into the pension and social security schemes. Accordingly, there will be no increase to the rate of contributions from staff to either the Pension Scheme or the Salary Savings Plan. Overall, including contributions to the healthcare insurance scheme and the long term care insurance scheme, we have managed to achieve a situation where all deductions from staff salaries are stabilised at the level of the previous year.

Finally, a proposal will be tabled to finance the long term liabilities of the Office by making a substantial cash injection of €200 million into the Reserve Fund for Pensions. Such a transfer, without any direct contribution from the staff, will contribute to the financing of EPO pension schemes and safeguard your future pension rights. During the last four years, such cash transfers amount to almost half a billion euros.

I think it is fair and legitimate that you benefit directly from the best ever results that you have generated. I am thankful for your achievements, of which we can all be proud.

04.12.15 | Author Benoît Battistelli – President

Here it is in plain English: 2015 has been a positive year (if we ignore the overwhelmingly negative press we got) in which we made a lot of money from key partners like Microsoft. Our enduring commitment to expanding patent scope and lowering the bar, both in terms of the products (yes, products!) and the queue-jumping services we offer, has paid dividends. We have, thanks to my wonderful iron-fisted leadership, also prospered from reduced illness (because it's dangerous to stay home while ill) and rising levels of stress, resulting in increased salary (and bonuses) for me and my homies. As you know, my policy has always been clear: the results generated by the performance of the Office must directly benefit the compensation to managers in both the short term and the long term.

Earlier this year we announced a significant global rewards envelope and the means for its distribution. The new system ensures that Big Businesses, which contributed to the generation of extra revenues for the Office, are recognised. Under this performance-based system and through step advancements, promotions, bonuses, functional allowances and collective performance bonuses, 25% of the staff will not be rewarded in 2015. For this purpose we have allocated 18.4 million euros, which represents an increase of more than 20% in comparison to the actual amounts spent during last year.

Given the strained situation in which the office finds itself, further suppressions but also gifts will now be made to the Administrative Council to ensure that every delegate of the AC/EPO is able to benefit from our incentivising year.

Thanks to the salary adjustment formula which the Council, on my command, approved in June 2014, all salary scales and allowances effective from 1 July 2014 will be increased retroactively by far below the inflation rates. On top of this retroactive adjustment, for 2015 the increases in salaries from 1 July are:

- Austria: +0,7%

- Belgium: +2,0%

- Germany: +0,9%

- The Netherlands: +1,5%

So, in other words, almost everywhere the inflation rate will outpace salary increases.

Cash injections (wink wink) and good investment returns also mean that we have been able to stabilise the rates of contribution into the pension and social security schemes, if you ever manage to actually qualify for it. Accordingly, there will be no increase to the rate of contributions from staff to either the Pension Scheme or the Salary Savings Plan. Overall, including contributions to the healthcare insurance scheme (which cannot be used because we don’t allow people to be ill) and the long term care insurance scheme (if the EPO is still around), we have managed to achieve a situation where all deductions from staff salaries are stabilised at the level of the previous year. That still doesn’t take into account the colossal internal tax, which we don’t like to publicly talk about, especially not when speaking to the media.

Finally, a proposal will be tabled to finance the long term debt of the Office by making a substantial cash injection of €200 million of Europeans’ money into the glorification of the almighty EPO. Such a transfer, without any direct contribution from the staff, will contribute to the PR campaign and public image of the EPO. During the last four years, such cash transfers amount to almost half a billion euros. It’s fun that money flows like this, without much oversight, let alone limitations.

I think it is fair and legitimate that you get less than inflation rate pay rise, after I used bogus yardsticks to tell politicians I achieved best ever results. I am thankful for your passivity and I insist that you don’t attend the protest next Thursday, especially if you attended yesterday’s protest.

04.12.15 | Author Benoît Battistelli – Sun King.

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