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02.09.16

Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics ‘Damage Control’ Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The mask fell”: When millions wasted on PR and busting of unions (or inside sources, as was the case in Volkswagen) just isn’t enough to keep enforcers away

Sepp Blatterstelli improved
Blatterstelli — as Florian Müller calls him — was already compared to famous criminals on television

Summary: Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA

LAST week we learned about Battistelli’s propaganda event in Rijswijk, whereupon we asked for more details, taken down and composed by those who attended. They obviously did this anonymously, for their own protection.

One anonymous Twitter user wrote about an hour ago: “I hear the administrative council are asking advice from senior judges. Conference at the end of February I think.”

“One can be left wondering whether they want to get rid of the judge who allegedly exposed Team Battistelli, i.e. the alleged whistleblower, or get rid of Battistelli himself (along with others inside his circle, Željko Topić for example).”Judges do not support Battistelli (in fact, board judges defended the suspended judge even under immense pressure) because Battistelli has already broken basic rules in order to ban judges and his own idea of trials is as laughable as it can be. Even when there’s a ruling (after a truly faulty process, without separation of powers) he ignored the ruling and issued his own. Any judge with a clue (or even a law student) would treat Battistelli as the very antithesis of justice. It’s like something straight out of a famous novel or a satirical play. Since there’s no staging or acting here and real people are unjustly being hurt (there are even nervous breakdowns), this is quickly becoming the shame of Europe.

The above hearsay it curious. One can be left wondering whether they want to get rid of the judge who allegedly exposed Team Battistelli, i.e. the alleged whistleblower, or get rid of Battistelli himself (along with others inside his circle, Željko Topić for example). The EPO is in a state of crisis not because staff (such as examiners) is naughty but because the management clearly does not know how to manage. It follows the model or the example demonstrated by Željko Topić in Croatia. It’s something one might expect from the Kremlin, not from the European Union.

“It’s something one might expect from the Kremlin, not from the European Union.”“I´m trying to send that speech report,” wrote a source to us, who had attempted to securely pass to us some information about the self-aggrandising event set up by Team Battistelli, mirroring the likes of FIFA (before the scandals and dismissals).

“THE FARCE GOES ON” is the title of the report. It is an informal “report on Battistelli´s speech in The Hague on February 4,” to quote the outline. Here is some of the information contained therein (with altered formatting and minor omissions). We highlight one particular bit because of its relevance to us:

On February 3 the EPO was abuzz with rumors about the withdrawal/dismissal of B. Battistelli, the president who has been trying hard, and managed more and more successfully, to bring this European institution into disrepute. It would have been too beautiful. The spineless Administrative Council´s reaction has so far been, in the most fortunate cases, to avoid taking blatantly illegal steps but no firm reaction to his tyrannical decisions. Battistelli´s response to the AC´s first weak sign of dissent, the recommendation that BB start a dialogue with the staff representation, resulted in the dismissal of two members and the demotion of a third, which amounts to a spit in the faces of the European delegates. The European press, in its most part preoccupied with more pressing matters and unlikely to shatter the establishment, had slowly started to report on BB´s attack on the examiners´ elected representatives so BB, like any dictator under the siege of external forces, thought a speech would be a great idea in order to bolster his rule [...] Assad does it, Mugabe still does it, Honecker and Ceausescu did it, so sometimes, but fortunately only sometimes, it works.

Fuelled by the EUR 800,000 injection into PR a presidential show was organized in The Hague in the old Soviet Union style on February 4. People were hoarded and screened, told to behave, and at 10 o´clock the show began. Uplifting music accompanied the images of the EPO and after a short introduction by a continuously smiling moderator with French-accented English which mistook the event for the Eurovision contest the president took the pulpit. Pages of positive statistics started rolling on the huge background screen while the president informed the audience that never had the EPO been more successful. Budget, social situation, unitary patent were all mentioned. In particular the low fees achieved by the negotiating skills of the president against the will of several delegations were mentioned (one can ask why were´t the patent fees lowered but raised when the EPO enjoyed such a great year, but that would spoil the festive atmosphere). A small concession was surprisingly offered, a year of review and assessment – “digéstion”, in the words of BB, which means that the process of reducing the EPO pensions will only start next year. Presented were also the “orientations for the future”: financial perspectives, social review, occupational and safety assessment, review of investigation guidelines (whatever this may mean) and … renewed social dialogue [...] The Q&A time was started by a brave but very discoursive examiner whose question, very polite but sufficiently clear in describing the bad atmosphere in the office and the distance between the management and the staff, related to the main present concern, the silencing of the staff. [...] “I´m a strong believer in social dialogue. My INPI colleagues will testify to this.” was Battistelli´s reply, engaging thereafter in a tirade against SUEPO which were supposed to have slighted him during the homeworking negotiations several years before. And then, suddenly, the mask fell. This man who manages to keep his composure most of the time, lost it. “It is not ILOAT that manages the office. It is childish, childish to write to judges in Geneva.”, he retorted, raising his voice menacingly. For a moment we caught a glimpse of the real face of Battistelli, a man who takes any different opinion than his personally and is ready to destroy the lives of those who oppose him. In a now (in)famous interview he described SUEPO as “mafia” after which he started to eliminate his perceived enemies one by one (two fired and one downgraded). Then the screen presented a page entitled “Disciplinary cases” which started with the bullet point “Contrary to allegations, the EPO unequivocally supports freedom of expression and freedom of association. [...] continuing with the following bullet points:

- Disciplinary cases are not launched because of criticisms expressed against the office.

- Sanctions are applied following major breaches of our staff rules and regulations.

The cases involved:

- Active participation in a damaging defamation campaign against the Organisation, the EPO management and individual staff members (One can only ask oneself if the description of the SUEPO by Battistelli as “mafia” does not fall under [...] Direct threats and coercion expressed against staff members and staff representatives; Undue financial and moral pressure against EPO employees Pressure brought against witnesses during investigations and repetitive disclosures of confidential matter.

Then, in red color: “The office has a duty of care to protect all staff members.” After the sanctions in Munich and the pending suspensions in The Hague sentences referring to “supporting freedom of expression” have an Orwellian doublespeak ring to them. Then, among soft questions like the proposal of a name to the new building in The Hague, Battistelli explained the role of financial incentives in the examiners´ careers. Here he would have a point if the examiners received instead of between 1,500 and 2,000 EUR yearly bonus (representing an average of 2% of their yearly salaries) a bonus in the same order of magnitude as the president or the vice-president – seven- and six-figure sums are rumored but cannot be confirmed because Battistelli enjoys, very conveniently but totally against the principle of openness in a European organization, a secret contract).

He then embarked upon discussing parts of the health reform and argued that all has been done for the good of the people. “Il faut degonfler les rumeurs. There is no control at home! Ridiculous! The cutting of the lump sum for invalidity would only facilitate the return to work. All the decisions are medical. I´m pragmatic, ready to change …”

Battistelli then reiterated that there will be no major reform this year but after 2016 there will be discussions with the staff representation and the delegations (who “actually wish the pension reform” – with the tacit understanding that Battistelli will defend the staff rights in front of an aggressive AC!).

Questions about patent administration, classification and educational allowance for non-German or -Dutch staff were addressed and answered vaguely, with a bullet point interspersed:

“Quality is our main priority. We are in competition with other offices. We may be the best but we are the most expensive one.”

On the question regarding the fluctuating number of applications Battistelli gave this opinion conveyed also by VP Minnoye in his directors´ meetings, that “Backlog is a mistake. It is not a safety cushion. It is a big mistake. Backlogs are not a strength. It´s a weakness. We´re going to receive more and more applications.” It seems there are few people outside BB and his VP who are convinced of this …

Finally, likening himself with général de Gaulle (?) Battistelli clarified the matter of his bodyguards. “Europe is not the same as before the Paris attacks. I am French, president of a big European organization. After the Paris attacks both the French and the German police recommended that I should take measures.”

The finale was less glorifying than the beginning but all in all it was a pretty good performance. Battistelli showed himself less motivating than Fidel, less pugnacious than Kim Il Sung, but definitely more engaging than Honecker or Zhivkov.

Any dictator relies on a three-pillared system involving propaganda, fear and the loyalty of the repressive state apparatus. Battistelli is assured of the loyalty of his minions, there´s a certain degree of fear among the staff but his propaganda doesn´t fool anybody at the EPO.

The Administrative Council must finally act and replace Battistelli with somebody it can trust! At present the EPO is run by a loose cannon.

The analogy above is priceless. The President of the Banana Republic known as OPOnia not only brags about working with Colombia (in his 'blog') but also fast-tracking patent examination with Colombia (warning: epo.org link). This was posted as ‘news’ the other day, after the PR team produced the latest propaganda which no doubt it will force-feed the press with (as it always does). Perhaps the human rights of Colombia (and patent standards) are something that Battistelli can still feel comfortable with.

It is evident from the above report that Battistelli is growing rather worried about judges, who are not only more qualified than him but can also finish his career. We shall leave the report above in tact, both for future reference and for readers’ information. There are many interesting bits in this report.

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