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01.24.16

Süddeutsche Zeitung After FTI Consulting Deal: EPO Ghostwriter or Journalism?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The character assassinations in Süddeutsche Zeitung began just a few weeks after the FTI deal (FTI is already known to be paying publishers such as IAM)

FTI and Süddeutsche Zeitung

Summary: Mainstream media started defaming EPO whistleblowers just weeks after the EPO’s management secretly passed nearly a million dollars for a one-year contract with the AstroTurf-centric FTI Consulting and it still shows

“More actions,” we’ve learned, are still on their way, including a strike (if all goes as planned). EPO staff is rightly furious or at least deeply concerned. The dismissals backfire in a major way, as very much foreseen all along. “In Munich,” we’ve learned, “the next demonstration is planned to coincide with a meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council (the so-called “Board 28”) on 17 February.”

Delegates can be contacted ahead of this meeting. Concerned readers are allowed to contact them and express concern about the terrible situation at the EPO.

“In The Hague,” we’ve learned, “the next demonstration will takes place on Thursday 28 January around lunchtime.”

National representations will be targeted. “The demonstration starts at 12:00 in front of the French Embassy to finish in front of the German Embassy,” we have learned.

A prior expression of anger from these delegations makes them both a convenient target, not to mention the special role that the French and the Germans play in the current scandals (different aspects to the relevance of each).

One might expect, given the increasingly high severity of this whole situation, for the media to take part or at least pay attention, but when publications such as Süddeutsche Zeitung write about it they get the facts wrong and repeat the lies of EPO management. The protests are hardly even mentioned, even when there are thousands in attendance (employees of the party which the demonstration is against).

It’s not unusual for the EPO to pay the media. The EPO already pays IAM 'magazine', for example. Why not others too? There may be others, but we don’t (yet) have the ‘smoking gun’.

Several months ago we saw Süddeutsche Zeitung playing up the narrative of violence [1, 2, 3, 4] not from EPO management but from people whom the management abuses. One reader who works for the EPO told us that “the situation at the EPO is a disaster.

“And there is almost NO press coverage anymore, for example in Germany.

“These journalist at Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Katja Riedel — do you have further information about her?

“When you compare former articles, these were formerly written by Christopher Schrader, then later by Christopher Schrader and Katja Riedel, and now, since a while, by Katja Riedel alone.

“From what she wrote I have doubts, whether she is writing “independently” (I do not trust her anymore).

“And, where is a coverage in “DER SPIEGEL”, “DIE ZEIT” and “THE INTERCEPT”?

“Where is WOLFGANG KALECK??? (Human rights lawyer, based in Berlin) He should be contacted now.

These are legitimate points and we addressed these before. We also explained how the EPO's PR team manipulates the media, based on sources in the media. It’s rather disgusting. Our reader wrongly assumed that we have contacts in the media and asked: “Please can you arrange, that these publishers begin to report about the BIG [scandal], Mr Sun-King Battistelli is doing with the EPO, the STAFF, the UNION LEADERS and patent law as such?”

Well, all we can do here is report about these issues and hope that others make use of that (as some people do, even politicians).

“(Some) EPO STAFF on the streets,” our readers ranted, “but where is the press coverage about this? The EPO STAFF are cowards, sorry, but we must see that they really have no rights anymore. You know, I know, but the mass is not understanding (and Battistelli has the “luck” of other current issues, refugees, ISIS, VW #Dieselgate, Oil price and economic crisis etc.)”

Well, some time in the past we were warned about the loyalties of Süddeutsche Zeitung. We still have some interesting information on Riedel, for instance, among other people who call themselves journalists. Shall we publish a rebuttal to them? Well, in the past we did, but it involves a lot of work and helps give visibility to their propaganda, too.

“You didn’t mention the worst of Katja Riedel’s articles about the European Patent Office,” one reader wrote to us. “I assume that you know about his article and decided not to mention it. Just in case that you’ve not read the article, I send you a machine translation of the article (actually a mix of machine translation and quick manual translation).”

We are enclosing it below despite the fact that it’s a nasty personal attack. We are trying to show what kind of rubbish Süddeutsche Zeitung is willing to publish as though it’s the EPO’s attack dog or a right-hand courier.

“The article is about the DG3 member,” we got told, “who was suspended and it’s one of the articles which appeared in the press on Oct 17th, 2015, during the events that you reported in http://techrights.org/2015/10/19/benoit-battistelli-smears/.

“The article written by Katja Riedel repeats the statements of the internal investigation report (which was not made available to the staff, but to journalists – I don’t know whether in its entirety or in well-chosen and well-prepared excerpts, “ready for a quick and easy publication”).

“The article reports about the findings of the investigation unit (and their conclusions) in such a way that I would guess most readers who do not know about the situation at the EPO would assume that the allegations must be true. Furthermore, at the end of the article, the demands for a rule of law at the EPO are ridiculed by emphasizing matters of course, for example that those who are sick get deductions (which by itself does not sound so different from the rules which apply in many European countries) and by emphasizing the “extremely high average salaries”. Comments such as “any employee can initiate an investigation against any other employee” convey the impression that the investigations against the head of the union were requested by ordinary staff members (which is not true, as they were initiated by the upper management).

“As the article seems to be defamatory itself (and severely violates the basic rights of the DG3 member concerned, serving as a kind of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_assassination), I would NOT recommend spreading it further by providing a link to it or by publishing an English translation. So it’s rather background information about Katja Riedel articles about the EPO.”

Some time has passed and we decided that, due to the nature of the latest poor article from Katja Riedel, it would be worthwhile to support the above criticism by showing the raw smear. Assume the following is more like a smear ghostwritten by EPO management:

October 17, 2015, 21:56 clock
European Patent Office: The made-up scandal

By Katja Riedel

The corpus delicti is unimpressive, just five centimeters long. But the contents of the gray USB sticks with the inscription “Work” has explosive power. [The contents] could merge threads in a story in which there are many truths. One story that has put the European Patent Office in a serious crisis three years ago, in a seemingly irreconcilable conflict between the management, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, and parts of the workforce of approximately 7,000 employees in Munich, The Hague, Vienna and Berlin.

Some speak of a war of extermination. A battle that takes place not only behind the glass facade of the Munich headquarters, but in public. On the streets, through which again and again thousands of people march with banners. In many blogs of the patent scene. In political circles in Berlin and Brussels. In newspapers.

Who wants to destroy whom? And why? These are questions to which “USB stick Alpha” can at least provide clues. The owner of this stick, an Irish patent judge, is not allowed to enter the EPA premises any more since 3rd of December last year. President Battistelli has ordered him to stay away from the premises, although he does not have disciplinary power on the judge – the independence of the judiciary is a valuable commodity.

The accused is said to have worked with more than 20 code names

[After the interdiction to enter the EPO premises] there was a revolt of the international patent scene, a debate about the lack of separation of powers. However, the Administrative Council retrospectively approved the decision. Why? This could be due to a hitherto unknown content of the confidential investigation report on the case C-62, which the Süddeutsche Zeitung could now see. Accordingly, the judge is said to have written thousands of emails, blog entries and threatening letters since early 2013, using more than 20 fake names. He is even said to have launched a petition to the European Parliament. These letters were sent to journalists of almost all major German media, and the author appeared upset when their content was not picked up, states the [investigation] report. In the e-mail addresses he is said to have used the name of freedom fighters such as Andreas Hofer or Robin Hood.

According to the investigation report, more than 3.000 such documents were found on the USB stick that the investigators confiscated when they apprehended him on a public computer in a waiting room of the EPO and led him away. Even encryption software was said to have been on the USB stick.

Previously, two computers had been identified as those from which defamatory letters were ceaselessly sent. Those computers had been equipped for several days with monitoring software. The Office was harshly criticised for this because other users have access to these computers as well. Even the legal committee of the Bundestag [German parliament] dealt with the data protection at the European Patent Office. However, for the investigators their approach was successful: The software issued an alarm when one of the relevant e-mail addresses was used – and security guards intervened immediately, took away the person whom they since consider to be the author of all these letters.

Radical right-wing propaganda material in the office

They confiscated the stick. The judge complained against [the confiscation], he reportedly said that it was private property. In his office, which the investigators ransacked afterwards, they found, according to the investigation report, the unbelievable: two batons – and Nazi propaganda material. CDs with national socialist songs were found, a Nazi propaganda film, Forbidden emblems along with the lettering “I Fight”. In the letters, which attacked in great numbers the integrity of the Croatian EPO Vice President Zejlko Topić, the investigators also saw formulations in which they recognized a racist undertone against the Croat Topić. Dozens of the incriminating letters claimed that [Topic] was allegedly corrupt. Other letters, for example addressed to the German EPA Vice Raimund Lutz, contained massive threats. Under the sender “Internal Oddity Department” and a Croatian Email address, [Raimund Lutz] was threatened with unpleasant consequences, should he continue to express himself in favour of the management. This would be the first and final warning letter.

Since a year, all members of the patent world have been concerned by the case. 38 states have spun off questions of intellectual property into a state within a state, with its own laws. On Thursday, the Administrative Council, the government of that State, has decided to dismiss the owner of the USB flash drive, a member of the so-called Enlarged Board of Appeal, the Judicial Branch. However, the Administrative Council can only enforce this decision when the chamber (of which the man is a member) has issued a corresponding recommendation. So far, the [DG3] chamber has refused to comment on the case. There has never been a case like that in 40 years of European patent history. So far, the judge was suspended on full pay, now his salary was reduced by 50%.

[He claims to have used the] batons in his office for back exercises

The accused, who refused to testify before the investigators, denied any guilt: He was not author of the documents; he had collected them for private use only. For the same reason he used the public computer [to surf in the Internet] during the breaks. In addition, the stick would be legally unusable because it was seized in an illegal manner, argued his lawyer Senay Okyay. She sees “numerous serious violations of the law” – also against the confidentiality; because the legal proceedings against the judge have not been brought to a close yet. [Allegedly] he used the batons in his office for back exercises. According to the lawyer, the CDs, books and movies were historical material which her client had collected for private reasons and ordered from an online store.

The Administrative Council and the investigators have a completely different opinion. They are convinced that the man has coordinated a campaign against the Office, acting as a central mastermind. The investigators are convinced that this campaign did not only target Battistelli and vice president Topić, but the reputation of the Office – to discredit both the office and the management as unsustainable. And to prevent that the Office faces the biggest change in its history: the transition to the single European patent and a new jurisdiction with the Court in Paris, including field offices, also in Munich. The Enlarged Board would be replaced as soon as all States have ratified the agreement. The man and his colleagues would lose their positions.

The process [of introducing the unitary patent] has been ongoing for three years, 28 of 38 states have already agreed, Germany not yet. Almost simultaneously, the defamations began, a few weeks after the unitary patent and the unitary patent court were agreed upon. From the point of view of the investigators, this motive seems to be probable because shortly before his unmasking, the judge is said to have leaked confidential information to a patent lawyer who is critical about the reforms, including the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Appeal.

Between the informant and the patent attorney, a lively correspondence is said to have taken place. Corresponding news were published on the website [of the patent attorney]. A single man, therefore, who attacked the head of the EPO and who almost unhinged the EPO? This reading is expected to be particularly welcomed by President Battistelli. However, the judge (independently of how one judges his case) is by no means the only one who strongly criticizes Battistelli and his way of dealing with his abundance of power.

Patent examiners were afraid the EPA could become a mere money-making machine

The Frenchman, who got the task to trim the Office on efficiency, complied with that order eagerly; he got tasked to get rid of some sinecures, which include extremely high average salaries – and he has done so, in record speed. Internationally this acquired renown [for Mr Battistelli] – but internally he is accused of having made mistakes. He always wiped away critical voices with a stroke of the pen. He has introduced a new career system which is based more on speed and less on thoroughness and depth. Those who benefited most from it are close confidants, with flash careers, as critics point out.

For some long-serving patent examiners this is an affront, they consider the reforms as interferences with their fundamental rights. Who is sick, get deductions. And must stay at home the whole day because the EPA reserves itself the right to [sickness] controls. Employees tell they were afraid and would feel pressure. And that they fear for the quality of their work. They believe the EPA could become a mere money-making machine. Germany alone is said to have recently obtained EUR 140 million from patent fees.

A private investigation company should shed light onto it

This critical movement is led by Suepo, a union that has not been recognized so far. Only this spring, the Administrative Council ordered a social dialogue. Suepo is to be recognized, after more than 30 years. And all the staff representatives should sit at a table [to meet] with the management. But the dialogue has failed. Amongst others, because now there is even an internal investigation against the head of the union, which could cost her her job. According to the statutes, any employee can initiate an investigation against any other employee. Meanwhile, the head of the union boss has written to the head of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, and defended herself / fought back. In the letter, she denies any allegations. She complains to have been continuously threatened: “I was the target of many hostile, highly intimidating attacks by the administration under this president.” The Office refused to comment on the current process.
This investigation is not even lead by the internal department; it is said that this internal department is overworked. The Control Risks Group was hired, a private investigation company. This company, as it writes itself, is highly specialized in „helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments”.

=== Other parts of the article (boxes and image subscriptions): ===

[Image]

From the viewpoint [of this photo] the European Patent Office seems peaceful. However, for years a fierce battle has been raging between the management and parts of the workforce
· A judge of the European Patent Office is said to have staged a protest against his boss using more than 20 code names.
· The Süddeutsche Zeitung has seen the investigation report.

[Image]

Surveillance scandal: European Patent Office supervised employees with keyloggers
In its Munich headquarters, the European Patent Office spied on its computers to throw light on a defamation campaign. But the computers were also used by external persons.

European Patent Office: uprising against the Sun King

Employees of the European Patent Office in Munich demonstrate against their boss Benoît Battistelli: He is said to subdue his people and it is said that he could even prevent strikes. Maybe he thus even violates European human rights.

140 millions

The European Patent Office is an international organization. The right of the host countries or the EU does not apply here, it has its own legal basis: The European Patent Convention, which was adopted in 1973. Nowadays, 38 states are members – led by the President of the Office. The supreme body is the Administrative Council, the president is subordinate [to the Administrative Council]. The goal is now to make the Office more profitable and thus more competitive against international competitors.

Patents bring money: Germany alone is said to have received EUR 140 million. Despite high expenditures of the Office.

Having previously received information about what really happened, we know the above is rubbish and one day we may choose to provide a point-by-point debunking. The EPO’s thugs keep alleging “campaign of defamation” (or something along those lines), but the accused judge should himself consider suing EPO management for a campaign of defamation, for reasons we outlined before.

The moral of the story? Don’t trust Süddeutsche Zeitung, especially not Katja Riedel.

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