12.16.15

Battistelli’s Furious Love Affair With French Power: Part II

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alain Pompidou
Source: EPO Web site via the Internet Archive

Summary: Christine Lagarde’s connections to Alain Pompidou (above), former President of the EPO, and also Benoît Battistelli, current President of the EPO

IN this series’ teaser and in part one we focused on Benoît Battistelli’s professional relationship with Largarde, who is known for serving foreign (mostly US and/or corporate) interests inside Europe. This echoes a lot of what we are seeing in the EPO these days and we shall cautiously proceed before getting to the ‘meat’ of the story. There is some background which needs to be presented.

Not a Personal Attack

In this series we are presenting just facts, which we carefully verify and check with various sources. Where there is doubt or uncertainty we will present it as such and always attribute where possible. We don’t want to go ad hominem; we leave that to Battistelli himself. As a new comment put it last night, at Battistelli’s EPO “Control Risks were hired to prepare the charge-sheet and the barristers were hired to plead the case” while another person correctly noted that “At the European Patent Office, you do not get a working contract.” It’s no man’s land. It’s effectively operating outside the law and there is no genuine due process.

“There is some background which needs to be presented.”The EPO does not want the public to think that it has legitimate critics. It defames the critics. There are only ‘armed’ ‘Nazi’ ‘Mafia’ ‘snipers’ exposing EPO abuses, or so we’re supposed to think. Last year the EPO personally attacked at least 2 critics (staff representatives), possibly defaming them in the process. This year it has done so to more than 2 people, so it is only getting worse. The EPO will sooner or later try to discredit reporters as well (probably pile more ‘dirt’ on them), just as it does to everyone ‘daring’ to expose the EPO. That’s just the modus operandi du jour.

Today we’re going to drop the “Rothschild” word/name, which often gets wrongly associated with all sorts of conspiracy theories. What we actually allude to here is an affluent French family whose relevance to the story will become apparent in future parts of this series.

Lagarde and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild

The following toasting photo shows Largarde in her then role as French Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries toasting with Baroness Philippine de Rothschild at Vinexpo, the world’s biggest wine fair, 18 June 2007 in Bordeaux, southwestern France.

“The EPO does not want the public to think that it has legitimate critics.”Baroness Philippine de Rothschild was the owner of the French winery Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

Here she is shown delivering a speech during the dinner of Conseil des Grand Crus Classes of 1855 hosted by Chateau Mouton Rothschild on June 16, 2013 in Pauillac, near Bordeaux, France.

“We note in passing that her adopted son Alain Pompidou was a former President of the EPO.”As might be expected, Baroness de Rothschild was well-connected in French high society. Here you can see her with Claude Pompidou, the widow of former French President Georges Pompidou. More information about Claude Pompidou can be found in Wikipedia.

We note in passing that her adopted son Alain Pompidou was a former President of the EPO. Seeing some circles yet?

Baroness de Rothschild was closely associated with a charity operated by Madame Pompidou (“Fondation Claude Pompidou”) which issued a statement of appreciation following her death in 2014 (in French).

“It’s not about what you know but who you know and who likes you.”Needless to say, as the owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Baroness de Rothschild was also a significant player in the French wine industry. This will be the ‘meat’ of our story, as we shall come to at a later stage because it involves Battistelli.

Here’s a local copy of the speech photo from 2013 without the Getty Images watermark (arguably qualifies as fair use, under “criticism” and limited access to the venue). Part III will delve deeper into the connection of all this not just to Alain Pompidou, former President of the EPO, but also Battistelli, current President of the EPO. It sure looks plausible that in order to become President at the EPO you need to be well-connected. It’s not about what you know but who you know and who likes you. Recall our series “EPO: It’s Like a Family Business” (part one, part two, part three and part four).

Speech

UPC and Patent Trolls: The Connection Revisited

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lesser explored aspects of so-called ‘unitary’ hogwash

Napoleonic Europe

Summary: Looking back at a New Scientist article (a year before Benoît Battistelli’s EPO literally paid the New Scientist for puff pieces) which criticised the strengthening of Europe’s patent laws

UPC lobbying/promotion/meddling by EPO isn’t a particularly big scandal compared to other EPO scandals, but it definitely worth noting, especially considering last night's senseless self-serving propaganda which later made it into Twitter.

The UPC and the “East Texas” patent troll problem are not far apart. Yesterday we shared a cautionary tale, having done so before regarding the Eastern District of Texas.

“Referring to your recent articles about the “East Texas” patent troll problem,” one reader told us, “you might be interested in the following critique of the UPC which appeared in the New Scientist last year” (under the headline “Strengthening Europe’s patent laws will weaken them”).

This one particular article from New Scientist, unlike some others, is not sponsored by the EPO.

To quote the relevant parts:

Europe’s high-tech firms are threatened by patent reforms that will expose them to one of the worst features of the US system, says a patent expert

[...]

Under the EUP, a system of national patent courts will be set up. The verdict of any such court will be valid and enforceable in all countries that have ratified the treaty. It is, of course, important that their decisions are correct, unbiased and have a high standard of integrity. After all, when a court concludes that a patent has been infringed, the consequences can be serious. In 2006, for example, US company NTP obtained an infringement order against the maker of Blackberry mobile devices. The settlement cost Blackberry more than half a billion dollars.

So it is not a good omen that the signatories to the EUP include Bulgaria and Slovakia, two countries that are ranked very low in the World Economic Forum’s rating of judicial independence. Of 142 countries, Bulgaria is ranked 104th and Slovakia 116th. To put this in perspective, Zimbabwe is ranked 118th.

Why does this matter? When a patent holder initiates legal action, they generally get to choose the jurisdiction where the proceedings will take place. This creates an incentive for courts to gain a reputation for being favourable to patent owners, so as to attract business.

This “forum shopping” is already a real problem. In the US, the notorious Eastern District of Texas court is significantly more likely then other US patent courts to find in patent holders’ favour. Unsurprisingly, it is a popular venue for patent litigation. There is little to stop Bulgarian or Slovakian courts becoming the European equivalent.

This is the kind of thing we have been warning about. When software patents strike (as has just happened in Texas again) we are always reminded of one of the biggest failures of the US patent system. Last night we found in the news two new articles, “Activision Sued Over Fantasy Sports Software Patent Infringement” and “Patent owner sues EA, Activision, Zynga, and more over sports games”. To quote the latter: “Texas-based Virtual Gaming Technologies, LLC is suing a number of game publishers over patents it holds relating to fantasy sports and, more specifically, realtime reports of sports information in games.”

It’s basically a patent troll attacking a lot of companies, located in different places, in one fell swoop. Do we want these in Europe as well? Of course not.

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