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12.26.15

EPO Whistleblowing: How (Not) to Use Machines at the Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Control Risks and EPOSummary: What Control Risks and the EPO’s management probably hope staff won’t know and therefore, potentially, self-incriminate

STAFF of the EPO, as we noted here a few days ago, no longer trusts phones at the Office, but what about the PCs and the printers? Thankfully, having inquired for a while, we have been able to gather some information and now is a good time to share it, for the safety of EPO workers who are under the vigilant eyes of Team Battistelli and unaccountable goons like Control Risks.

“Anyone who uses an EPO computer to do anything at all is in danger,” one reader told us.

“It is thus imperative that any file which is published isn’t 100% identical to the original, even if it was widely distributed internally in the first place.”
      –Anonymous
“It is pretty much established that ALL user computers at the EPO are equipped with key logging software,” said an anonymous person. This is apparently well understood by now. No wonder the atmosphere at work is so depressing. There have been studies conducted which explain the effect of never having any privacy, let alone a sense of privacy.

“I obviously couldn’t study the currently installed machines myself,” one reader told us, “but I trust my sources on this. The amount of data transmitted and stored is trivial, and putting myself in the skin of a spy, I would suppose that the logging includes the list of opened windows with the ID of the one in focus, with occasional screen captures. That’s fairly easy to implement.”

As some people put it, Windows is almost designed and even optimised for spying. There are many surveillance add-ons sold for it, and Vista 10 is spyware out of the box (for Microsoft to spy on every keypress and much more).

“There are commercial programs offered on the market that monitor and log any data traffic to and from attached USB ports.”
      –Anonymous
“Using hooks in the file system,” a reader of ours hypothesised, “you could also check whether someone uploads a file in Chrome or Firefox for transmission, e.g. in a webmail window, so you don’t even need to doctor and compromise the browsers.

“It would also be easy to scan EPO computers for an identical copy of any file which shows up on the Internet. Someone who would want to leak a document would have to store it on his/her local drive first, and that leaves traces. This wouldn’t require excessive resources if you work with file signatures computed hash functions.

“It is thus imperative that any file which is published isn’t 100% identical to the original, even if it was widely distributed internally in the first place.”

Obviously it would be unwise to use a computer at work for subversive activities in the first place. It’s safer to do so from home or some open network.

“I often work with bitmap conversions,” a person once advised us, “which strips all original metadata and of any stuff which could be easily hidden in PDFs. The Adobe format is ugly and complex, and provides PLENTY of opportunities for introducing side channels, e.g. orphan objects, extra entries in character coding vectors, or even the ordering of objects within a page, which PDF linearization wouldn’t defeat. Technically, you could still watermark a document using character kerning, which is harder to defeat with bitmap transformation, but this would require an infrastructure just for that, and that would require RATHER smart operators.”

“One can only send a document to one’s own e-mail address these days.”
      –Anonymous
Going back to the point about Windows, especially recent versions of it, it’s probably not wise to use it because spying is often done by numerous parties (including Microsoft) at the same time. Personal data is later being passed around or even sold.

One reader reminds us: “There are commercial programs offered on the market that monitor and log any data traffic to and from attached USB ports. It would be slightly safer to obfuscate a file before saving it to an USB stick, but there are still traces. I know of places who use these, but I don’t know if the EPO is among them. By the way, our beloved NSA files patents for “butt plugs” for insertion into USB ports.”

Just to complete the picture, someone told us that if people use the machines at the Office, then “Xerox” may appear in the document producer metadata and “chances are,” in such a case, “that the document was scanned on these high performance network printers which are widely used at the EPO. These used to be in open access, but current models require the user to present his ID badge in order to access the scan menu. One can only send a document to one’s own e-mail address these days.”

Our sources believe that computer keyboards are equipped with smart card readers, but we don’t know whether the smart card must be left inserted in order to work. In any case, the screen lock delay is quite short, so one can hardly use the excuse “someone must have entered my office when I went out to take a leak”.

Any public file produced by the Register or Espacenet is generated on the fly from internal bitmap images and contains metadata which could betray the IP of the requester, so sources would want to cleanse these too.

At Techrights we use various methods to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the risk of sources being found through metadata. Nevertheless, if during transmission there is identifying information and if Control Risks can observe the session, then there is risk of useful interception. We previously provided information on how to securely send data to us. Some of the above observations hopefully increase awareness of the traps and the weaknesses that are EPO-specific.

Summary of the EPO-Europatis Series

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Europatis

Summary: Closing the series about Europatis and a request for information about Questel, which is also working closely with the EPO and is historically closely connected to Jacques Michel and INPI

SHOWN above are additional documents about Europatis, which is not as significant as what we are going to show regarding Questel.

We would like to invite our readers, including existing EPO staff, to send us information about Questel and what they are aware of. As we are done (for now) covering Europatis, here is a summary of what we previously wrote about it.

  1. Jacques Michel (Former EPO VP1), Benoît Battistelli’s EPO, and the Leak of Internal Staff Data to Michel’s Private Venture
  2. Europatis: “Turnover of €211,800 and Zero Employees”
  3. Loose Data ‘Protection’ and Likely Privacy Infringements at the EPO: Here’s Who Gets Employees’ Internal Data

Next week’s focus will be Questel, which is also connected to Jacques Michel. We look forward to any input readers can give. We are particularly interested in the interactions between Questel and EPO or INPI, which Mr. Battistelli came from.

“Team Battistelli (the inner circle of Battistelli) is probably the biggest culprit and it’s him who shames and disgraces the Office, not people who exercise basis rights and find the courage to defend these rights.”The aim of this series is to highlight the hypocrisy of Team Battistelli (regarding mixed loyalties, conflict of interests, revolving doors etc.) and to show the rather controversial roots of the EPO, which came about (at inception or thereafter) with private/privatised baggage. Team Battistelli cannot justify attacks on people's most basic rights using the presumption that internationally-recognised human rights would introduce impurities, biases, reputation issues etc. The EPO is full of bias, as even some recent leaks served to show. Team Battistelli (the inner circle of Battistelli) is probably the biggest culprit and it’s him who shames and disgraces the Office, not people who exercise basis rights and find the courage to defend these rights.

Loose Data ‘Protection’ and Likely Privacy Infringements at the EPO: Here’s Who Gets Employees’ Internal Data

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Public’ office, privately connected

Europatis form

Summary: Another look at Europatis, the company of a former EPO Vice-President (VP1), which is now accessing staff details at the EPO

This morning we wrote about the latest active venture of Jacques Michel, which we now know receives private information (internal data) from the EPO. Several people who used to work for the EPO still act as though they are inside the EPO, even though they run a private (for-profit) company. Talk about conflict of interests! They magically enough, owing to professional connections, get data about every member of staff at the EPO. This truly helps illustrative the hypocrisy of Team Battistelli.

Source for the numbers noted this morning: SOCIETE

“The main issue we have with Europatis right now is that it serves to show just how weak data protection is.”“That sounds like it’s just enough to provide a net income to feed one,” wrote one person to us, “or maybe two, people, but it’s hardly anything more of a mom-and-pop operation that occasionally rescues the freelancing retired examiner from terminal boredom. Not a big deal really, and this type of work is needed during both for the initial drafting of patent applications and for finding killer prior art for busting granted patents. They are not in competition with the EPO. Other groups such as professional patent researchers and registered IP counsels might have something to say, but that’s another issue.”

The main issue we have with Europatis right now is that it serves to show just how weak data protection is. The EPO already spies on staff with keyloggers and hidden cameras, so passing staff data in bulk (‘wholesale’ so to speak) probably shouldn’t be so shocking.

“As to the data protection,” wrote to us a reader, “people do keep in touch, and you generally know who is currently fetching his coat. In the present situation, that’s certainly a heck of a lot of people — and of coats.

“The EPO already spies on staff with keyloggers and hidden cameras, so passing staff data in bulk (‘wholesale’ so to speak) probably shouldn’t be so shocking.”“It’s probably like those insistent headhunters who always ask you whether you might know anyone else might be interested in that “super” job in Milwaukee or suburban Ulaanbaatar they unsuccessfully tried to hook you with. And you happily oblige by warmly recommending a colleague you’re not particularly fond of, hoping that both the headhunter and the colleague get the message.”

As we noted this morning, neither Europatis nor the data passage is the big deal; there is an even bigger story involving Jacques Michel. We are going to cover this story in the coming week, in conjunction with the “Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management” series. For those who want to know who’s behind the company with access to internal EPO data, here is a document from 2009 converted into text, followed by another. Nothing too personal there, just registration details. It’s only fair for EPO staff to know who’s gaining access to some of their personal details (such as E-mail), potentially for personal gain.

0907399703

DATE DEPOT : 2009-08-31
NUMERO DE DEPOT : 73997
N° GESTION : 2009B16103
N° SIREN : 514485788
DENOMINATION : EUROPATIS
ADRESSE : 61 rue des Morillons 75015 PARIS
DATE D’ACTE : 2009/08/04
TYPE D’ACTE : DECISION DES ASSOCIES
NATURE DACTE : NOMINATION DE GERANT(S)


EUROPATIS

Société à responsabilité limitée au capital de 4 000 euros

61 rue des Morillons

75015 PARIS

Les soussignés :

M onsieur Jacques MICHEL
Né le 30 octobre 1937 à Reims (51)
De nationalité française
Dem eurant 61 rue des Morillons à Paris (75015)
Marié sous le régime de la communauté

Madame Geneviève ALIGON épouse MICHEL
Née le 23 novembre 1939 à Argenteuil (95)
De nationalité française
Demeurant 61 rue des Morillons à Paris (75015)
Mariée sous le régime de la communauté

M. Laurent MICHEL
Né le 24 décembre 1974 à Genève (Suisse)
De nationalité française
Demeurant 11 rue du Bois Fourgon à Villeconin (91580)
Marié sous le régime de séparation de biens

se sont réunis à l’issue de la signature des statuts de la société EUROPATIS, pour désigner
d’un commun accord le prem ier gérant de la société, conformément aux dispositions de
l’article 10 des statuts de ladite société.

A cet effet, il est convenu de ce qui suit :

NOMINATION P U GÉRANT
Les soussignés nomment en qualité de gérant de la société :
- Monsieur Jacques MICHEL, demeurant 61 rue des Morillons à PARIS (75015)
pour une durée illimitée.


Monsieur Jacques MICHEL n’entrera effectivement en fonction qu’à partir du jour où la
société aura été immatriculée au Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés.

Monsieur Jacques MICHEL déclare accepter les fonctions de gérant qui viennent de lui être
confiées. Il affirme n’exercer aucune autre fonction et n’être frappé d’aucune incapacité ou
interdiction susceptible de l’empêcher d’exercer ce mandat.

RÉMUNÉRATION DU GÉRANT
Le gérant ne percevra aucune rémunération. Il aura droit au remboursement de ses frais
dûment justifiés engagés dans l’intérêt de la société.

Fait à Paris, le 4 août 2009 en trois originaux, deux pour les dépôts légaux et un pour les
archives sociales.

M. Jacques MICHEL
M. Laurent MICHEL
Mme Geneviève ALIGON


0907399702

DATE DEPOT : 2009-08-31
NUMERO DE DEPOT: 73997
N° GESTION : 2009B16103
N° SIREN : 514485788
DENOMINATION : EUROPATIS
ADRESSE : 61 rue des Morillons 75015 PARIS
DATE D’ACTE : 2009/07/27
TYPE D’ACTE : ACTE
NATURE D’ACTE : ATTESTATION BANCAIRELISTE DES SOUSCRIPTEURS


Banque Transatlantique

CREATION DE S.A.R.L.
ATTESTATION DE BLOCAGE DU CAPITAL SOCIAL

La BANQUE TRANSATLANTIQUE sise 26 Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, 75008 PARIS déclare
et atteste avoir reçu la somme de EUR. 4.000,00.

Monsieur Jacques MICHEL, gérante de la SARL «EUROPATIS» actuellement en cours de formation
dont le siège social se situe 61 rue des Morillons 75015 PARIS, déclare, sous sa seule responsabilité,
que cette somme représente la totalité du capital souscrit et libéré immédiatement.

Associés : M . Jacques MICHEL pour 2.000 parts soit 2.000 € de capital versé,
Mme Geneviève MICHEL née ALIGON pour 100 parts soit 100 € de capital versé,
M. Laurent MICHEL 1.900 parts pour 1.900 € de capital versé.

Nombre de parts : 4.000
Montant versé : 4.000,00 €

En conséquence, conformément aux dispositions législatives en vigueur, la somme ci-dessus
demeurera bloquée en compte n° 30568/19918/000/23365501/59 jusqu’à production du certificat
d’immatriculation au Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés de la société actuellement en voie de
formation. A défaut de ce certificat, elle pourra être débloquée, conformément à l’article L223-8 du
Code de commerce :

- soit entre les mains du mandataire qui sera désigné par l’associé unique
- soit sur décision de justice passée en force de chose jugée

La présente attestation est établie en double exemplaire pour faire valoir ce que de droit.

Fait à Paris, le 27 juillet 2009

Le déposant
(“lu et approuvé”)
signature

Europatis: “Turnover of €211,800 and Zero Employees”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Michel family stakes

Jacques Michel document

Summary: The business of Jacques Michel (EPO Vice-President of Directorate General 1 from 1987 to 2003) put under closer scrutiny

Regarding our recent article about Europatis and the EPO, some readers had positive things to say, whereas some thought we had missed an even bigger story.

“You’re making a big deal of “Europatis”,” one person told us, “but that is in my opinion really something of a non-story. Jacques Michel’s career prior to his official retirement is without doubt considerably more interesting. Let us first have a quick look at Europatis.

“Geneviève Michel née Aligon was listed in the EPO directory… And that’s not counting his other occupations.”
      –Anonymous
“Jacques Michel: He swims with the biggest of the sharks, and is rumored to have at least four rows of very sharp teeth that can tear your arm off in the bat of an eye. But despite the bone rattling noise from his closet, Jacques Michel is nevertheless a rather congenial fellow, and can genuinely claim to have built something in his lifetime — unlike the Battistelli clique to which he doesn’t belong, AFAIK.

“Word was that the company was founded in 2009 as a sort of plaything to keep his son busy. Its founding statutes show that Jacques Michel and his wife Geneviève Aligon respectively hold 50% and 2.5% of the shares. Laurent Michel, the son, got the balance, 47.5%.

“With his EPO pension, Jacques Michel shouldn’t be in any sort of financial need, especially if his wife should also be entitled to one. Geneviève Michel née Aligon was listed in the EPO directory… And that’s not counting his other occupations.

“Europatis is actually very small peanuts compared to other initiatives that Michel was involved in and derived a lot more money from prior to his EPO career.”“Europatis officially reported a turnover €211,800 and zero employees for 2014.”

Europatis is actually very small peanuts compared to other initiatives that Michel was involved in and derived a lot more money from prior to his EPO career. This, however, will be the subject of future articles. Guillaume Minnoye now occupies the position previously occupied by Michel.

Isn’t it funny that EPO management brags about the need for “independence” of boards, requires somewhat unreasonable cooling-off periods and gags departing staff when it’s so abundantly clear that there may be ‘revolving doors’ at the very top (way above the boards)?

Witnessing the Patent Mess That the USPTO Created

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where patent trolls with software patents are the stars of the show…

Erich Spangenberg

Summary: A look at some recent court actions in the US, motivated by software patent grants

The power outage at the USPTO aside (“It will be interesting indeed to find out how this quite extraordinary state of affairs plays out after the holiday weekend,” IP Kat wrote), there were some other problems at the USPTO earlier this holiday (or just before it began). It’s something for the EPO to learn from (EPO staff as a whole, not management).

A ‘superstar’ patent troll, Spangenberg (shown above with troll cross-pollination), which we wrote about before [1, 2, 3], is said to have just attacked a company which produces Free software. It happened just shortly prior to an IPO and watch how many other companies were sued. To quote this report: “In the realm of patent assertion, there is one man who stands head and shoulders above the rest: Erich Spangenberg. Of the more than 1,600 companies he has sued for patent infringement in the past decade, the most recent is Atlassian.

“The likes of Spangenberg, wielding software patents, attack thousands of practicing companies.”“Not that you’d know it was Spangenberg doing the suing; the action comes from Spangenberg-controlled Pherah LLC, a company that doesn’t even have a website.”

Also published just days ago was this article titled “Patent Trolls Attacked My Business”. The likes of Spangenberg, wielding software patents, attack thousands of practicing companies.

“My small business was the victim of abusive patent litigation,” said the author of of the latter article, “and I want to share my story to promote awareness of this growing problem. Capstone Photography provides photography services at events across the country, like marathons, triathlons and 5K road races. We have been in business since 2005. Naturally, we have a website where athletes can find and view their photos. It’s not rocket science. The basic premise of our site relies on a simple lookup function that any high school programmer could describe and execute.”

“Some of these patents were granted by the EPO and later invalidated (after Apple had sued Samsung and others).”Not only software companies are affected. Watch how Apple, a branding giant, attacked Samsung (mostly a hardware company) just before Christmas. As Florian Müller put it: “While Apple is usually the net payer when it comes to patents (most recently vis-à-vis Ericsson), it has received $548 million from Samsung this month, though a reimbursement may be demanded later. Samsung might base a future reimbursement claim on its design patent-related appeal to the Supreme Court (if that one suceeds, which would not be a huge surprise) and/or on the fact that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has held the ’915 pinch-to-zoom API-related patent invalid (a decision Apple is appealing to the Federal Circuit) and/or the increasingly likely invalidation of the D’677 iPhone design patent.”

Some of these patents were granted by the EPO and later invalidated (after Apple had sued Samsung and others). What does that tell us about the direction the EPO is heading in? Europe already attracts some patent trolls with software patents.

Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part III: Death in the Family

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Till Death Do Us Part?

GraveSummary: Revisiting the bizarre attitude of the EPO towards the dead and the denial of basic rights to the dead (or surviving spouses)

Several of our past articles about EPO suicides, which are estimated to have grown tenfold, alluded to pensions and compensation to the spouses, as these crucial funds are said to have been withheld. What we know about it has been mostly based on hearsay or newspapers mentioning rumours, but nonetheless, there may be an element of truth to these rumours.

We were once again reminded of these rumours because of articles which talk about the ‘unwanted’ units being quietly dissolved (redundancies, layoffs), contrary to what seems to be imposed by the EPC. Having read a lot of articles and some legal documents we are starting to better understand what motivated at least some of these suicides. One comment from a couple of days ago said (context being the boards): “The same way the investigations into the suicides were stopped: by not paying the pensions. That is, even though illegal, a mighty good weapon in view of the fact that it takes 14 years to gain your case.”

To quote an older remark, “the widow and her children would be left without money and without social security for 8 years.

“This wife was desperate by the dead of her husband. She couldn´t face additional money problems and she had to cooperate with the EPO.”

Don’t worry about the jobs of EPO management, where there are third world countries' standards for appointing or sacking people. Regarding Battistelli et al one commenter joked: “Jobs for the in-laws, second cousins, and hairdressers of his garde rapprochée” (man of the house).

“one of those EPO examiners” wrote:

If I’d change [job] now, my worries would be to find an employer willing to go confrontational if necessary.

The pensions can be sorted later, in my personal case.

In the case of the withheld allowances you mentioned (widowers, half-orphaned, …) it is a different story, but these would not be hampered by a cooling-off period anyway, as the former EPO employee, for whom this clause would have applied, did not take up a new job…

But in my new job, the national rules would apply, and then the administration of the EPO could only try to enforce the non-consented amendment of my working contract through national courts, which take such rulings only in extreme rare cases.

And in most member states, such non-consented amendments limiting personal freedom are not taken favourably by the courts. In Germany and the Netherlands, every single employee would have to agree to such an amendment if her/his working contract. Agreement of the staff representation would not be sufficient, mere consultation even less.

The EPO’s management has made it exceedingly easy to sack staff (even easier with the passage of some recent rules to help combat unions) and incredibly hard to resign without severe consequences. It’s not only hard to find a job once resigning (because of the so-called cooling-off period) but also increasingly hard to speak out. Some people apparently just choose to kill themselves. But even then they’re denied their basic rights (as do their spouses and/or children). How long can the European Union tolerate what the EPO is doing?

Monday Talk at Chaos Computer Club (Germany) Makes the Case Against Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chaos Computer ClubSummary: A lecture on the 28th of this month at Chaos Computer Club (CCC) to cover software and business method patents

AT its very core (since inception), Techrights is a site against software patents. There is a big patents lobby which extends from the US into Brussels and in recent days we saw that boosters of software patents are now trying to frame computer programs as machines (“as such”) in order to bypass Alice.

Those among our readers (some of whom asked me to present at CCC, which is far away), especially those who live in Germany, might wish to attend this talk on Monday. Iga Bałos, Józef Halbersztadt and Benjamin Henrion (known online as “zoobab”) will present. It is very much relevant to the EPO because, as we have shown here for years, there have been growing efforts to patent software in Europe. Lobbyists of that agenda often were front groups of large US corporations, which really speaks volumes.

In the field of software, not patents drive innovation but a free (liberal) exchange of code (and ideas) drives innovation. The same applies to some other fields and to quote this very recent article: “Does scientific research drive innovation? Not very often, argues Matt Ridley: Technological evolution has a momentum of its own, and it has little to do with the abstractions of the lab” (or paperwork pertaining to algorithms).

Benoît Battistelli Fails to Get Majority of 38 Member States to Crush the Boards, Which Are Already Being Crushed Anyway (23 Vacant Judge Positions)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli is cooking up his own Watergate scandal

Nixon

Summary: A translation of the recent JUVE article, which explains just to what degree Battistelli’s EPO effectively shuts down boards, with or without consent from national delegates

SEVERAL days ago we foresaw someone coming forth with a translation of an article written in German about the EPO/Administrative Council standoff (it’s no longer as amicable as before).

“JUVE is a publication specialising in information on and for corporate law specialists,” told us one reader, offering a JUVE article translation. “The expression “Schöne Bescherung” in the title,” this reader said, is actually a pun which “could also be taken to figuratively mean “A fine mess” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

“A bit of the AC communiqué is cited in the Article in German translation. I translated it back in English, without attempting to see how it read like originally. I didn’t bother looking up the original.”

Here is the translation with bits highlighted:

23.12.2015

Merry Christmas: EPO President loses the support of the Administrative Council for his court reform

The reform which is supposed to provide more independence for the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further delayed. According to several converging reports close to the Munich patent authority, the Administrative Council is pursuing a new reform proposition since last week. The office’s supervisory body would have also refused to approve the original reform plan put forward by Benoît Battistelli. The Administrative Council had been considered until now as the power base of the controversial EPO President.

Benoît Battistelli

“The Administrative Council had been considered until now as the power base of the controversial EPO President.”Battistelli proposed back in March a stricter separation of the Boards of Appeal from the Office. The Boards of Appeal, which is the name by which the authority’s own courts are known, review oppositions against the grant of European patents by the office. The courts are however subordinated to the Office. The reform became necessary as critics became louder regarding the close integration of the Boards in the office’s structure, and the resulting doubts cast on their independence.

Battistelli wants a structural separation between the Boards of Appeal and the Office by making these directly subordinated to the Administrative Council. They are to have their own president, who would take over essential administrative functions and disciplinary powers over the staff. He would also report to a newly created Board of Appeal Committee (BOAC). The president would however retain his influence over the court’s budget.

“The necessary majority of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation was not reached, according to circles close to the Boards of Appeal.”Battistelli was apparently unable to find acceptance for his proposal after one year of consultations and a user poll. JUVE learned that a vote took place at the ultimate 2015 meeting of the Administrative Council. The necessary majority of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation was not reached, according to circles close to the Boards of Appeal. The EPO did not reply to requests for confirmation made by JUVE. A press release of the Administrative Council published yesterday stated however: “The Council conducted an exchange of opinions on the planned structural reform of the EPO Boards of Appeals. It mandated its Praesidium with the drafting of guidelines, from which the President of the Office will derive concrete proposals. If possible, these will be submitted as a resolution for adoption at the March 2016 meeting.” The Administrative Council thus took away the control over the reform process away from Battistelli’s hands. JUVE learned from reliable sources that resistance in the Administrative Council was particularly strong from the German, Dutch and Swiss delegations.

“JUVE learned from reliable sources that resistance in the Administrative Council was particularly strong from the German, Dutch and Swiss delegations.”According to information available to JUVE, a new reform proposal was made, which aims for an even more independence. JUVE is however not in possession of the exact features of this proposal. Several reform attempts, including some put forward by the the Boards of Appeal themselves, strived in the past for a complete separation of the court using the German Federal Patents Court as a model.

Increasing pressure for the appointment of judges

There are also apparently developments in the question of the reappointment of the Members of the Boards of Appeal, as EPO-judges are officially called. The Administrative Council announced the reappointment of a member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal as well as of several members of Boards of Appeal. They are appointed for five year period. The process had come to a standstill in recent times. There are 23 vacant judge positions in the Boards, including 3 chairmen. The EPO President has the right to propose candidates for the filling of vacant posts. Critics reproached him repeatedly of retarding new appointments in order to trim the Boards of Appeal for more efficiency.

“There are 23 vacant judge positions in the Boards, including 3 chairmen.”According to information available to JUVE, the Administrative Council called on Battistelli to expedite new appointments. The EPO President declared in an interview with the US-magazine “Managing IP” his readiness to address this issue in the beginning of 2016. He added however that he saw now urgent necessity to make new appointments to Judge positions.

The question of the future location of the Boards of Appeal now appears to have become secondary. Berlin, Vienna and a different building in Munich had been discussed up to now. But in any case, a transfer to Vienna is considered by legal experts to be incompatible with the European Patent Convention, which limits seat locations for the EPO to Munich and The Hague. Vienna hosts only an information service of the Office. Berlin is considered as rather unpractical. Battistelli declared to “Managing IP” that it is more important for the Boards of Appeal to be located in premises other that the EPO building than in a different city in order for them to achieve the perception of their independence.

(Christina Schulze, Mathieu Klos)

It doesn’t seem to matter to Battistelli what the Administrative Council says; by failing to fill vacant positions he already does whatever he wants. No wonder one board judge dared to open his mouth and is alleged to have communicated with delegates (that’s his real ‘crime’). No wonder some among the delegates apparently chose to leak to us, seeing how Battistelli bullies delegates too.

Some believe that Battistelli isn’t interested in the boards’ independence; he’s just not interested in the boards at all and some say it’s because of the Unitary Patent. Incidentally, see this recent paper (letter) titled “Unitary Patent and the Pending Spanish Cases (C‑146/13; C-147/13): An Open Letter to the Judges of the European Union”. To quote the abstract (with our emphasis in bold): “This is a letter which is addressed to the judges of the European Union regarding the pending cases of [Spain v. Parliament and Council] that examine the validity of EU Regulation No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection and that of EU Regulation No 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements. It analyses the opinion of Attorney General Bot and, in particular, it focuses on i) the absence of judicial review of the European Patent Office, around which the EU Regulations revolve; ii) the underlying aim for uniform patent law, as envisaged in Article 118 TFEU, on which the EU Regulations rest; iii) the autonomy and uniformity of European Union law, as affected by the European Patent Office and the European Unified Patent Court; iv) the human rights implications involved.”

Is there someone left who can actually overthrow the tyrant, Benoît Battistelli, along with the Battistelli agenda? He clearly believes that he is above the law and it’s not hard to who he is working for.

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