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Survey Confirms What Board 28 Already Admits: the European Patent Office is Deep in a State of Crisis Since Benoît Battistelli Took Over

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English slides (finish to start):

English slides

French slides:

French slides

Summary: Central SUEPO Committee releases the results of a survey which a high proportion of staff took a part in (nearly 40%)

BOARD 28 says there's a crisis at the EPO and the new survey (outlined above) shows that this is an understatement at best. No, this isn’t a survey from Sun King (EPO President, Battistelli) or the Administrative Council but a survey that comes from the staff itself because the circle of Sun King manufactures propaganda and something that’s misleadingly named "social study" (more like socialist or Communist type of ‘study’, i.e. propaganda for supporting the party line). Rumours suggest that the Spaniard Jesús Areso was the subject of union-busting ‘investigations’ for merely trying to arrange a staff satisfaction survey — one that’s not controlled by Sun King and his party (or circle) for self-glorification purposes.

“These are self-explanatory and simple enough for anyone aged 10 or above to interpret and understand.”Using the GIMP (GNU software) I have generated animated slideshows that summarise all that’s in the PDFs in English and in French. These are self-explanatory and simple enough for anyone aged 10 or above to interpret and understand.

“There used to be a staff survey which was abolished by Battistelli,” one reader told us. “Why ask people’s opinion when it’s obvious that staff is entirely happy and fully behind their beloved leader, except a few disgruntled felons who will be disposed of in due course…

“SUEPO ran on its own the survey with the essentially same questions as the earlier ones.

“SUEPO ran on its own the survey with the essentially same questions as the earlier ones.”
“Surprise! The results are even worse than the earlier ones…

“I’m not sure that the AC [Administrative Council] will be impressed.”

Judging by how many people voted for a strike, there’s consistency here. There’s no happiness at all, just increasing anxiety and stress. Does this help explain the surge in suicides? Watch the (dis)trust rates towards both Battistelli and the Administrative Council. It’s virtually zero. Here is the covering letter, so to speak:

Zentraler Vorstand . Central Executive Committee . Bureau Central

su16044cp – 0.2.4

Preliminary results of the EPO Staff Survey 2016 (run by Technologia)

Dear colleagues,

The 2016 Staff Survey is now completed. Thanks to all of you who participated!

Some preliminary results are accessible in English and in French. They will be also brought to the attention of the Delegations of the Administrative Council today.

The final results and analysis will follow in due course.

As you know, this year’s survey asked the same questions as the previous surveys held in 2010 and 2013, in order to be able to compare the results and secure reliable benchmarks. Although we await the complete assessment by Technologia, it is already manifest that there has been a deterioration in our collective experience of work at the EPO.

We thank you for your trust and support. Rest assured of our commitment to trying to improve the situation.

Your Central SUEPO Committee

Remember this: nothing hurts the tyrants at the EPO as much as transparency and facts. The management is lying to staff and to journalists these days. That’s how terrible things have gotten. It’s going to further erode trust, both internally and externally, damaging the image of both the Office and the Organisation unless things radically change — and fast!

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

Exclusive: New Leaked Document Shows Board 28 Surprised Battistelli and Had a Long Unilateral Argument With Him Over Union-Busting (‘Disciplinary Cases’), Called It a “Crisis”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Helping and serving to refute some of the lies Battistelli has told the media as of late

EPO crisis
In their own words…

Summary: A truly revealing leaked document (aged one week) shows that there is a deep disagreement between the Board and the President (for now) of the EPO

BOARD 28 is secretive, but sooner or later — just as in the case of TPP and TTIP or ACTA — we get lucky enough to see what’s inside. The EPO‘s management has a lot to hide, but it’s not hiding it too well (except perhaps Battistelli’s ultra-secret contract). One concise summary was published here recently in English and in Spanish. An additional document, released a week ago as well (but confidential nonetheless), has landed on our lap and here it is. Our remarks on the text can be found below.


Orig.: en

Munich, 09.03.2016




of the

70th meeting of the


Munich, 2 February 2016

SUBMITTED BY: Council Secretariat

ADDRESSEES: Administrative Council (for information)

This document has been issued in electronic form only.

1. The Board of the Administrative Council (“the Board”) held its 70th meeting in Munich on 2 February 2016, with Mr Kongstad in the chair
Mr Grossenbacher had in formed the Chairman that he was not able to attend.

2. The Board adopted the provisional agenda set out in B28/1/16 e, with the addition of a new item on the recent disciplinary cases.

3. The Board focused on the disciplinary cases. An in-depth discussion shows controversial and sometimes conflicting views between the Board members and the President on both the legal elements and the political background. The social dialogue has clearly been brought to a halt, and the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency. The Board qualified the situation as a crisis – a view challenged by the President.

4. The Board made proposals in order to assist the President in his handling of the situation. Mechanisms were proposed in order to prepare the next B28 meeting, and an informal meeting with the President was decided.

5. Due to time constraints, the Board decided to postpone the other items on the agenda to its next meeting.

6. On the issue of the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal, Mr Battistelli stressed that the B28 should not conduct hearings of administrative units of the Office — institutional aspects are here of utmost importance. In view of this position of the President, the Board agreed to invite, jointly with the President, some representatives of the BoA for an exchange of views ahead of its next meeting.

Grossenbacher was absent (he is often seen as a defender of Battistelli, as we explained before). The Board added “a new item on the recent disciplinary cases” by essentially changing the agenda that was expected by one like Battistelli (unpleasant surprise to him for sure, but he didn’t storm out in anger like earlier this week). “The Board focused on the disciplinary cases,” so this is what took the lion’s share of the time and basically prevented much of the rest of the agenda from being reached at all. They disagreed on “both the legal elements and the political background” and there is no indication of anyone in the Board siding with Battistelli.

“They disagreed on “both the legal elements and the political background” and there is no indication of anyone in the Board siding with Battistelli.”“The social dialogue has clearly been brought to a halt,” it says, so clearly they too realise that the whole ‘union recognition’ was nonsensical theatre.

The above adds that “the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency.”

“The Board qualified the situation as a crisis,” which probably refutes what Battistelli has been telling the media since then. This is a “view challenged by the President,” so he clearly chooses to live in a world of his own.

“The above adds that “the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency.””It should be noted that “an informal meeting with the President was decided.” We don’t know the date yet (if any was agree on already).

The crisis is so big in fact that “the Board decided to postpone the other items on the agenda to its next meeting.” The item added to the agenda at the 90th minute was treated as so urgent that everything else got thrown aside. And Battistelli still insists that everything is under control? Who is he kidding?

“And Battistelli still insists that everything is under control?”The last item above speaks of the Boards of Appeal and says they’ll invite “some representatives of the BoA for an exchange of views ahead of its next meeting.”

Maybe they should invite that judge whom Battistelli illegally suspended (on 'house ban') and learn from that judge about Željko Topić, in case they don’t know enough already (everyone seems to be aware by now), whereupon they may finally get down to the core of many of these issues that keep escalating.

Battistelli No Sorprendio a Nadie al Rechazar la Oportunidad para Salvar su Status, Huelga de la EPO Probablemente Procederá Pronto

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en Europe, Patents at 5:04 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Train strike

Sumario: El resultado de la reunión de hoy con Benoît Battistelli resultó en la imminente initiación de la acción de huelga, a la que Battistelli continua tratando de demorar/bloquear

El Comité Central de Personal extendió una rama de olivo a Benoît Battistelli, pero el se cagó en la noticia. Es tan terco y orgulloso de sí mismo, ya que toma la ley entre sus manos (de las manos de aquellos calificados para hacerlo).

El reportje en la reunión de hoy esta disponible y aquí está como HTML:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Comité Central de Personal

sc16045cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2

Queridos Colegas,

La reunión entre el Comité Central de Personal y el Presidente acaba de terminar. Duró poco más de dos horas. El Presidente estuvo acompañado de VP 1, VP 2, VP 4, PD 4.3 y otros consejeros.Algunos otros miembros de Comité Local de Personal también estuvieron presentes, pero – como declararón sin intervención – sólo en calidad de observadores. Aunque todos los puntos de la Agenda fueron discutidos y CSC hizo propuestas constructivas, el Presidente no tuvo voluntad de ceder de ninguna manera a nuestras peticiones.

Como su interlocutor en el reciénte llamado a la huelga (91% de empleados votaron a favor), preguntamos al Presidente tomar una posición las siguientes preguntas. Sus respuestas estan sumarizadas abajo:

● ¿Levantará Ud. los castigos disciplinarios contra Elizabeth Hardon, Ion Brumme and Malika Weaver?

El Presidente dijo que estaba estrictamente atado por las reglas: por los castigos disciplinarios, primero una revisión gerencial debe ser llenada, y el procedimiento de ley (ultimamente revizada por ILO-AT) seguirá. El Presidente no aceptó las propuestas del CSC compatibles con las reglas existentes para recibir consejo y reconsiderar sus desiciones. Tampoco, a pesar del largo tiempo para un procedimient ante ILO-AT, el Presidente no aceptó nuestras propuestas a sujetar las decisiones a una revision externa e independiente al involver renombrados expertos legales. Tampoco supo que una revisión gerencial ya ha sido llenada; sin embargo, PD 4.3 confirmó que este fue el caso.

● ¿Levantará Ud. los castigos disciplinarios contra los previos miembroos del Comité Interno de Apelaciones?

De nuevo el Presidente declaro que estaba atado por las reglas. En este caso el tiempo para una revisión gerencial expiró y el no tiene la intención de revisar las respectivas decisiones.

● ¿Detendrá Ud. las amenazas disciplinarias, investigaciones y retalaciones contra más representantes de los Empleados?

El Presidente no comentó en esta pregunta.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado a revisar las Guías de Investigación junto a la Representación de Empleados basado en un mandato acordado por ambas partes?

El Presidente declaró que consideraría una futura revisión. Sin embargo, consideró cualquier clase de revocación legal y políticamente imposible y rechazó hacer tal proposición al Consejo. Más aún, cualquier emmienda resultante de una futura revisión no puede ser implementada retroactivamente. La CSC estresó que decisiones favorables pueden tener efecto retroactivo. El Presidente no aceptó trabajar junto a Representantes de Empleados bajo un mandato acordado, ya que este implicaría ser usado como derecho de veto a la opinión del Presidente.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado para adaptar las regulaciones de huelga de acuerdo al juicio de la Corte Holandesa?

El Presidente dijo que hubieron muchas decisiones contrarias entregadas por las cortes nacionales que cuestionaron la materia de inmunidad. El Presidente resaltó que la pregunta en cuestión ya ha sido referida a la Corte Suprema con apoyo del gobierno Holandes.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado para revisar las regulaciones de salud, permiso por enfermedad junto a los Representantes de Empleados basado en un acuerdo mutuo?

El Presidente reconoció que revisiones son necesarias y están en progreso. Refiriéndose a un estudio social que viene, el Presidente declaró que esto sería un útil indicador de cambios necesarios. Por lo tanto, no puede contemplar una mayor revisión antes del Otoño.

● ¿Qué otras concesiones Ud. se ofrece a hacer?

No propuestas fueron hechas.

El Presidente no estuvo de acuerdo que la Oficina esta en crisis. Era de la opinión que tenía apoyo pleno del Consejo de acuerdo asu punto de vista. Por lo tanto CSC no puede ver alguna razón de postponer la huelga. Sin embargo, nuestra decisión final en esta materia únicamente será tomada de acuerdo con el resultado de la reunión del Consejo Administrativo.

Su Comité Central de Personal

Si Battistelli ¨no estuvo de acuerdo que la Oficina está en crisis,¨ esta claro que él esta delirando, probablemente viviendo su auto-engaño cuando fué publicado esta tontería hoy en Munich. Una persona online lo llamo ¨DEPRIMENTE & DISGUSTANTE!!! Nada pero MENTIRAS!¨ (¿Qué esperaban de Pinocho?)

Si alguién por favor pudiera enviarnos una traducción, podríamos preparar una respuesta. Hay una gran campaña PR y si lo dejamos así ENGAÑARÁN a mucha gente en Munich y más alla.

EPO’s Comite Central De Empleados Pide A Benoît Battistelli Retractarse en sus Actividades Destructivas Contra el Sindicato y a Obedecer a la Corte Holandesa

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en Europe, Patents at 12:55 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No es probable que él acepte estas ofertas (o concesiones)…

An olive branch
La CSC extiende una rama de olivo a Monsieur Battistelli

Sumario: En medio de preparaciones para la huelga y una muy difícil reunión del Consejo Adminstrativo (comenzando hoy 16) el Presidente de la EPO recibe una oportunidad para reconocer sus errores y corregirlos (¿Superará su propio orgullo al aceptarlos?)

Hace VARIOS dias el Presidente del Consejo Administrativo fue contactado en un esfuerzo de minimizar cosas para desacerse de las actividades contra el Sindicato de parte de Monsieur Battistelli. Aquí esta el último comunicado del Comite Central de Empleados (CSC) de la EPO. Sugiere que ellos están buscado una resolución pacífica, en donde los representantes de empleados (SRs) recuperen sus trabajos y se reintegren a la fuerza de trabajo.

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
El Comité Central de Personal

sc16043cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2

Queridos Colegas,

El Comité Central de Personal ha aceptado la invitación para ver al Presidente en la tarde del 15 de Marzo de 2016 en Munich para discutir la última llamada a la huelga (link). Esto es esta tarde antes de la reunión del Consejo. Una reunión previa el pasado 24 de Febrero con la Srta. Bergot acerca de lo mismo no obtuvo resultado alguno (link).

Como su interlocutor en el reciénte llamado a la huelga (91% de empleados votaron a favor), pediremos al Presidente preguntas concretas, incluyendo las de abajo y regresaremos a usteds con sus respuestas lo más pronto posible.

  • ¿Levantará Ud. las sanciones disciplinarias contra Elizabeth Hardon, Ion Brumme y Malika Weaver?
  • ¿Levantará Ud. las sanciones disciplinarias contra los previos miembros del Comité Interno de Apelaciones?
  • ¿Detendra usted las amenazas, investigacioness y retaliaciones contra adicionales Representativos de Empleados?
  • ¿Estará Ud. listo a revisar las Guías de Investigación junto a la Representación de Empleados basado en un mandateo que fue acordado por ambas partes?
  • ¿Estará Ud. listo a re-establecer un apropiado sistema IAC?
  • ¿Estará Ud. listo a adaptar las regulaciones de huelga de acuerdo al juicio de la Corte Holandesa?
  • ¿Estará Ud. listo a revisar la invalidez de las regulaciones de salud, permiso por enfermedad junto a los Representantes de Empleados basado en un mandato acordado por ambas partes?
  • ¿Qué otras concesiones estará usted ofreciendo?

Su Comite Central de Personal

Todo los puntos resaltados parecen perfectamente razonables considerando la rara naturaleza de las alegaciones y la falta de Battistelli a implementar los juicios como fueron pasados a él por el Comite Disciplinario – algo en que el Jurado 28 se angustiado por (llamó por una suspensión a los tres despidos y una externa re-evaluación de ellos).

Links 16/3/2016: GNU Linux-Libre 4.5, NVIDIA Distro Rumours

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Productivity Hacks: Multitask smarter … or not at all

    Take a quick scan of any CIO’s list of priorities for the year, and it’s easy to see that they are among the busiest executives in the C-Suite. But driving digital transformation, thwarting cybersecurity attacks, and leveraging the Internet of Things to better understand customers – just a few tasks on CIOs’ to-do lists – don’t come easily if IT leaders are inundated with back-to-back meetings and an out-of-control inbox.

  • Science

    • A Postlude on Pi Day

      It looks like I’ve missed Pi Day by some fraction of a day, but I can’t help but get a little excited when this special day rolls around — especially if pi turns into pie. And, while I can’t remember much past 3.14159 in my head, I know that calculating pi to some outrageous number of digits can be pretty exciting and that we can do that fairly easily on Unix systems.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Barring Plastic Bag Bans, another ALEC Law Takes Aim at Local Democracy

      The pay-to-play model of government advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) scored another victory this week. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Senate voted along party lines to approve a bill that would prohibit local communities from issuing their own rules on plastic bags and other containers.

      This is part of an emerging national trend.

      Preventing local governments from banning, charging a fee for, or otherwise regulating plastic bags is part of a national strategy by corporate interests and groups they fund, like ALEC to override progressive policy gains at the city and county level.

      Similar state “preemption,” or state intervention, measures have gone after popular city measures to increase the minimum wage, require paid sick leave, ban fracking, and bar discrimination.

    • Malta gives go ahead to shooting of 5,000 endangered turtle doves

      Hunters in Malta will be permitted to shoot 5,000 turtle doves this spring despite the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently adding the migratory bird to the “red list” of species at risk of being wiped out.

      The Maltese government, the only EU member to allow recreational spring hunting, said it was taking “special measures” to minimise the impact of its shoot on the bird’s plummeting population, cutting the shooters’ allowance from 11,000 birds.

  • Finance

    • Every English school to become an academy, ministers to announce

      Legislation to turn every school in England into an academy independent of local authority control will be unveiled in the budget.

      Draft leglislation, to be published possibly as early as Thursday, will begin the process of implementing a pledge made by David Cameron in his conference speech last autumn.

      The prime minister said his “vision for our schooling system” was to place education into the hands of headteachers and teachers rather than “bureaucrats”.

      The move follows criticism of the government for going into stasis during the referendum campaign. Cameron and the chancellor, George Osborne, are keen to show that they are in charge of a “reforming” government.

    • Leak shows Commission giving inside information to car lobby on new emissions tests

      As the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the dieselgate scandali begins its work in Brussels, a leaked lobbying document from the European car manufacturers’ lobby, ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association), reveals a sophisticated, multi-faceted behind-the-scenes lobbying strategy aimed at weakening new emissions tests.

      Last September’s dieselgate scandal exposed how car manufacturers were meeting legal NOx emissions limits in laboratory tests, but massively exceeding them on the road (by up to 40 times in the case of Volkswagen). While this was news to the general public, the European Commission had known manufacturers were vastly exceeding limits back in 2011 and was designing new on-the-road tests, or ‘Real Driving Emissions’ (RDE) tests, to tackle the problem in diesel cars. But as the leak shows, ACEA and its members had other plans. Their intention: to weaken and delay the new tests, scheduled to be finalised in 2015 and introduced in 2017, which could prevent thousands of premature deaths every year but would most certainly dent profits if implemented in full.

    • Former Swedish PM set to become US banker

      The man who led Sweden between 2006 and 2014 is swapping politics for banking, his new employer confirmed in a press statement on Tuesday.

      Reinfeldt, 50, who also served as president of the European Council in 2006, has been hired as a senior adviser for the bank in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

      Johan Lustig, head of Nordic Corporate and Investment Banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, called the ex-PM “one of Europe’s most highly respected politicians in recent years.”

    • Americans Think CEOs Make a Fraction of What They Actually Do

      Overall, respondents believed most CEOs made less than a tenth of what they actually do—on average, they thought CEOs earned nearly $1 million, whereas the real average is about $10 million. Still, 74 percent think those CEOs are overpaid.

    • Analysis: How TPP, TTIP and agriculture are shaping EU Japan trade talks

      The factors that shape EU trade policy are many. But among those that shape most actual and current negotiation dynamics in the EU Japan FTA negotiations, which started in 2013, a few months before the transatlantic TTIP talks, two stand out: United States free trade agreements and the EU agriculture sector, argues Iana Dreyer.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Denouncing Free College in the Name of the Poor

      Although corporate media outlets have blasted presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for “living in an economic fantasy world,” his proposed plan for free tuition in public universities is hardly radical. To be funded by a modest financial transaction tax—0.5 percent on stock transactions and 0.1 percent on bond transactions—it’s essentially an older policy being reinstated to create revenue for a social program.

      Many countries, including the UK, France, Japan, India and Taiwan, already have similar taxes and the US had one until 1966. And a number of industrialized nations, like Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the Scandinavian countries, have instituted free college tuition without evident chaotic societal breakdown.

      And yet a flurry of media “experts” have rushed to denounce not only the financial tax as a means to fund college tuition, but the prospect of socialized higher education as a concept.

    • Cable News Covers Everyone’s Speech but Sanders–Who Made the Mistake of Discussing Policy

      Bernie Sanders, while well behind, is still a viable candidate and is very much staying in the race. One wouldn’t know this, however, from watching last night’s cable news coverage, because the three major 24-hour news networks–CNN, MSNBC and Fox News–cut away from Sanders’ speech.


      Sanders’ major sin appears to have been choosing to discuss policy rather than dishing out the typical hoorah platitudes. His hour-long speech which, according to Talking Points Memo, wasn’t carried even in part, focused on issues like campaign finance reform and the barriers to mass political change. You can watch the whole thing here, courtesy of C-SPAN.

    • Is GCHQ Embedded in Wikipedia?

      I don’t look at my own Wikipedia page, but was told about it yesterday. I therefore googled Philip Cross and was amazed to discover that he is allegedly an alias for Oliver Kamm attacking people online. Furthermore that Kamm has employed lawyers to threaten those who claim that he is Philip Cross, and by Kamm’s own account the Metropolitan Police have even warned off Neil Clark from saying Kamm is Cross. The Kamm/Cross affair was discussed on George Galloway’s show on Saturday.

    • #OpTrump: Anonymous Declares “Total War” Against Donald Trump From April 1
    • Was This the Strangest Weekend in American Political History?

      Things started to go off the rails on Friday, when Clinton, attending the funeral of another former first lady, Nancy Reagan, offered up a startlingly inaccurate account of “how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s” until a national conversation finally began “because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particular Mrs. Reagan.”

    • Florida Attorney General Endorses Trump After Taking His Money and Backing Off Trump University Investigation

      Donald Trump just won a key endorsement going into Tuesday’s Florida primary: the state’s attorney general, Pam Bondi.

      But her bigger favor to Trump may have been her decision in 2013 not to pursue an investigation of Trump’s for-profit education chain after he made a big donation to her re-election campaign.

      As Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time, Bondi announced in September 2013 that her office was reviewing a series of complaints related to the Trump Institute of Boca Raton, a for-profit education company that is no longer in operation. Three days after the report that Bondi was considering joining other states’ attorneys general in taking action against Trump’s for-profit education chain, the real estate mogul dumped $25,000 into a committee organized for Bondi’s re-election.
      Bondi ended up taking no action.

    • Anonymous collective declares ‘total war’ on Donald Trump, again

      Hackers target ‘deeply disturbing’ presidential candidate and ask for support to dismantle his campaign and expose private details

    • Mo Ansar once admitted he was a liar in formal legal proceedings

      Mo Ansar is in the news again. In particular, there is an article in the current issue of Private Eye about a complaint he was seeking to make to Twitter.

      (For background to Ansar, see this dossier by Jeremy Duns, which details threats made against journalists and bloggers, including me.)

      Ansar has made a great deal of his legal experiences, and often refers to his exploits in courts. I exposed his claims as being a “lawyer” in May 2014.


      I have asked Ansar about these passages, but have not yet had a response.

  • Censorship

    • China’s Censors Battle Mounting Defiance

      Yang Jisheng knows all about censorship. His book “Tombstone,” an epic account of Mao Zedong’s great famine, is banned in China.

    • Chinese website publishes, then pulls, explosive letter calling for President Xi’s resignation

      Two weeks after China’s President toured state media offices and called for absolute loyalty from the press, a website with links to the government published an explosive letter asking him to resign “for the future of the country and the people.”

      The letter was reportedly posted in the early hours of March 4 by a website called Wujie News, which is jointly owned by SEEC Media Group, Alibaba and the government of Xinjiang, in China’s far northwest. The Washington Post found a cached version of the document that shows the post live on the site.

    • What’s Driving the Current Storm of Chinese Censorship?

      Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a screen above delegates during the second plenary session of the National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 9, 2016.

    • How China Censors Mass Media in Your World

      The recent censorship crackdown inside China is typically met with a shrug, but now the Chinese are censoring content worldwide. Here’s how.
      The famous Great Firewall of China has been in effect for decades. But in recent months, China’s current authoritarian leader, President Xi Jinping, has been taking domestic censorship to a new level.

      Under Xi’s leadership, Internet police officers have been embedded inside Chinese tech firms, depictions of extramarital affairs and homosexuality have been banned from TV and even news articles that complain about censorship are being censored.

    • Chinese government adviser attacks rise in censorship

      Jiang Hong, whose interview in a Chinese magazine was taken down last week, says ‘mistakes can be made’ if a society listens to only one voice

    • Chinese parliamentary delegate’s rare act of dissent

      Chinese parliamentary delegate Jiang Hong has spoken to the BBC about censorship and the “obstacles” Chinese people still face in being able to speak out.

      Mr Jiang was interviewed on the fringes of the National People’s Congress. Previous interviews to online media outlets have been deleted by the authorities.

      He told the BBC’s John Sudworth, “If a society only listens to one voice, mistakes can be made”.

    • Rare act of dissent at China’s annual parliament

      After 11 days of interminable speeches, followed by ritualistic voting to approve everything put before it, China’s annual parliamentary gathering will, once again, leave little worthy of note in its wake.

      That is precisely the intention of course because it is not meant to hold power to account.

      That is kept tightly in the hands of the ruling Communist Party, and the key policies have long been decided in advance.

    • Missouri House Passes Limits on Student Reporter Censorship

      Lawmakers voted 131-12 Tuesday to limit the power of public schools to censor student media, including publications financed by the school. Administrators would still be able to block content that is slanderous, libelous or otherwise breaks laws.

    • Pressure grows on politicians to relax strict Senate photography censorship

      A campaign to relax strict photography rules in the Senate has now been backed by Communications Minister and Manager of the Government Business in the Senate Mitch Fifield.

    • Mike Gold: Defying Censorship
  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Appeals Court Says Backpage.com Is Not Liable For Sex Trafficking Done Via Its Site

      Backpage.com has been pretty busy in court. The site, which basically took over the market for “adult” classified ads after Craigslist shut down its ads (after being misleadingly attacked) has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users. Last year, however, Backpage won a big case in Massachusetts in May, but then lost one in Washington in September. (Separately, it won a different case going after Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart for meddling and getting credit card companies to stop supporting Backpage.com — the company just asked the lower court to dismiss what’s left of that case). The September ruling was surprising, as it’s one of a very, very, very small number of cases that basically says that Section 230 doesn’t apply.

    • “Tyranny will fall”: Son of executed Saudi dissident al-Nimr shares his incredible story

      “I don’t like the name ‘Saudi Arabia,’” Mohammed Nimr al-Nimr said with a smile. “It’s actually called the Arabian Peninsula, not Saudi,” he laughed, noting the country is named after its ruling dynasty.

      The impeccably dressed and amiable 29-year-old Saudi activist and engineer was in Washington, D.C. for the 2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia, the first international conference to call into question the close U.S. relationship with the theocratic absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

    • India Denies Visa Request From U.S. Govt Religious Freedom Monitoring Group

      India has denied visas to a team from the United States government responsible for monitoring religious freedom.

      The organization, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, had planned a trip to India to assess religious liberty in the country. But India has not issued visas to members of the commission.

    • Is Donald Trump a Fascist? Part 2 of Interview with Robert Paxton, Father of Fascism Studies

      Part 2 of our conversation on Donald Trump with the father of fascism studies, Robert Paxton, professor emeritus of social science at Columbia University and author of several books, including “The Anatomy of Fascism.”

    • Donald Trump Warns of Riots at Convention if He Is Denied Nomination

      Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that his supporters could riot at the Republican convention in Cleveland if he is not “automatically” made the party’s nominee if he arrives with the most votes but fails to secure a majority of convention delegates.

    • Watch: Obama Nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

      President Obama has nominated federal judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left open by the death of Antonin Scalia. Widely seen as a moderate, Garland is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    • The Department of Justice Throws Its Weight Behind Ending the Jailing of the Poor for Unpaid Fines

      Yesterday the department called upon state court leaders to ensure that court rules and procedures on fine and fee collection afford due process and equal protection of the law and align with sound public policy. The timing could not have been better because today the ACLU reached a settlement in our lawsuit against Biloxi, Mississippi, which challenged the jailing of poor people if they could not pay the entire amount of their outstanding court fines and fees up front, in full, and in cash. The agreement provides a critically important model on how to implement the Justice Department’s recommendations and do even more to treat the rich and poor equally and fairly when they step into court.

    • Stop eroding faith in gov’t: DOJ warns courts about fining & jailing poor people

      The US Justice Department cautioned local courts that it is unconstitutional to jail someone for not paying fines without determining whether they are able to pay, and warned against using court fees to generate revenue for cities.

      The warnings came as part of an effort to reform court practices that “perpetuate poverty and result in unnecessary deprivations of liberty,” the Justice Department said.

      “The consequences of the criminalization of poverty are not only harmful – they are far-reaching,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement. “They not only affect an individual’s ability to support their family, but also contribute to an erosion of our faith in government.”

    • Is it Okay to Kick People Out of Campaign Rallies? That Depends.

      While there may not be a single policy issue this year’s presidential candidates can agree on, there does seem to be a bipartisan consensus on one thing: Protest will not be tolerated at campaign rallies.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Join Internet Startups In Telling The EU Not To Mess Up The Internet

      We mentioned this a few weeks ago, but wanted to remind folks to help us tell the EU not to wreck the internet with a series of bad regulations. There you can see the letter that we put together, which has already been signed by a wide variety of internet companies, including Reddit, DuckDuckGo, Medium, Automattic, Patreon, Shapeways and more. The issue is a big deal right now. European bureaucrats (who couldn’t even program a web survey to operate properly) are in the midst of putting together plans to regulate internet companies. This is under the umbrella of what they’re referring to as the “Digital Single Market,” but which some Commissioners are using as part of a plan to saddle the internet with a variety of new regulations, which have the potential to wipe out important safe harbors that made the internet what it is today.

    • Closed silo challenges to an open web

      The growing trend of closed content silos—publishing platforms that require a login in order to view the content—is a step away from a more open web. As this trend continues, owners of closed silos will have even more control over published content and traffic that content drives. This is why content producers should also consider ways to publish content openly, and for their users to have the option to access content through their web browsers rather than being driven into closed ecosystems.

    • Moroccan Telcos Block Free VoIP Calls To Protect Their Bottom Lines

      American telcos don’t have a monopoly on monopolies. Foreign telcos can be just as inappropriately (and pehaps illegally) protective of their turf profits.

    • Despite Gigabit Hype, U.S. Broadband’s Actually Getting Less Competitive Than Ever

      Despite government programs, national broadband plans, billions in subsidies and a lot of recent hype paid to gigabit services like Google Fiber, U.S. broadband is actually getting less competitive than ever before across a huge swath of the country. Companies like AT&T and Verizon have been backing away from unwanted DSL networks they simply don’t want to upgrade. In some cases this involves selling these assets to smaller telcos (who take on so much debt they can’t upgrade them either), but in many markets this involves actively trying to drive customers away via either rate hikes or outright neglect.

  • DRM

    • Tell Us Your DRM Horror Stories about Ebooks, Games, Music, Movies and the Internet of Things!

      Have you ever bought music, movies, games, ebooks, or gadgets, only to discover later that the product had been deliberately limited with Digital Rights Management? We want to hear from you!

      We’re preparing a petition to a government agency on fair labelling practices for DRM-restricted devices, products and services. DRM used to be limited to entertainment products, but it’s spread with the Internet of Things, and it’s turning up in the most unlikely of places. As the Copyright Office heard during last summer’s hearings, DRM is now to be found in cars and tractors, in insulin pumps and pacemakers, even in voting machines. What’s more, the manufacturers using DRM believe that they have the right to invoke the “anti-circumvention” rules in 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prevent competitors from removing DRM in order to give you more choice about the products you own.

    • DRM Non-Aggression on the Table at W3C

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will consider adopting a DRM non-aggression covenant at its Advisory Committee meeting in Boston next week. EFF has attended several of these meetings before as a W3C member, always with the intent to persuade the W3C that supporting DRM is a bad idea for the Web, bad for interoperability, and bad for the organization. By even considering Web standards connected with DRM, the W3C has entered an unusually controversial space. Next week’s membership meeting will be accompanied by demonstrations organized in Boston by the Free Software Foundation, and other cities where the W3C has a presence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • If college students made the next Angry Birds, who would own the IP?

      Flanagan tries to get the ownership of her game’s IP early documented by the dean or other heads of the school, and also keeps her work separate from the school by creating games under her own company. There’s a balance, as she puts it, asking for permission sometimes, and taking risks the other. And she warns that not only can overthinking IP can halt creativity, but it can set false expectations with universities, who will think video games are often worth millions.

    • SIPO Seeks Comment On Patent Infringement Guidelines
    • Ukraine To Amend Customs Code, Ratify Amendments To TRIPS

      The Ukrainian Parliament is currently drafting an amended Customs Code to introduce a number of changes to the country’s intellectual property legislation. Moreover, in mid-March, local lawmakers authorised Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to ratify the protocol amending the TRIPS agreement which enables increased exports of pharmaceuticals produced under compulsory licences to countries which are not capable of manufacturing them locally.

    • US Officials Under Pressure To Include Industry In IP Talks With India

      The United States government has increasingly engaged India on intellectual property rights and other trade issues in recent years, and US negotiators are under still more pressure to include industry in this engagement and deliver more results, a recent letter from 14 members of the US Congress shows.

      The congressional letter comes at a time when recent submissions by US industry to the annual US government process for assessing the IP protection of trading partners caused a reaction in India by indicating commitments have been made by India’s government not to use compulsory licensing and other measures to dodge IP rights.

    • Asia On The Heels Of US And Europe In Patent Applications At WIPO; Developing Countries Lagging

      China, Japan and South Korea are among the top five countries filing international patent applications at the World Intellectual Property Organization, while the United States continues to lead in patent and trademark applications. Far behind, developing countries seem to be having a hard time catching up.

    • Copyrights

      • Free Wi-Fi providers not liable for user’s piracy, says top EU court lawyer

        Businesses that provide free and open Wi-Fi to customers are not liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network, a top legal adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided.

        Advocate General Maciej Szpunar’s opinion (PDF) is not binding on the final ruling of the CJEU, but is generally a good guide to what the court will decide when it hands down the definitive judgment.

        However, the Advocate General ruled that national courts may issue injunctions against the provider of free Wi-Fi services in the case of copyright infringement provided they are “particular, effective, proportionate and dissuasive”; and “that they are aimed at bringing a specific infringement to an end, and do not entail a general obligation to monitor.” Moreover, courts must strike a fair balance between “freedom of expression and information and the freedom to conduct business, as well as the right to the protection of intellectual property.”

      • BREAKING: AG Spuznar says that provider of free Wi-Fi is NOT liable for users’ infringements but an injunction can be sought against him

        Can the provider of a password-free free Wi-Fi be liable for infringements – specifically: of copyright – of those who use his/her service?

        This question is not an abstract one, but rather the core of a case currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): McFadden C-484/14.

        As readers may imagine, should the answer be ‘yes’, this would change quite a few things …

      • Police Arrest Cinema Goers Over “Pirate” Audio Recording

        Two men have been arrested at a cinema in the UK after being found in possession of an audio recording of the movie The Divergent Series: Allegiant. The men, aged 19 and 44, have been released on police bail pending further inquiries and are now banned from all cinemas in England and Wales.

Dutch Media (NRC) Cites Documents Leaked to Techrights and EPO Refuses to Comment on Them

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The protests are the least of Battistelli’s concerns at the moment

NRC on protest

Summary: The ‘damage control’ at the European Patent Office (EPO) continues as the mainstream media in Europe increasingly takes a side, and it’s not the side of the Office

THERE is plenty of unwanted attention for EPO management right now. It started with a semi-political meeting that pretty much had the EPO go ballistic (truly terrible diplomatic approach, Battistelli is an incompetent politician and lobbyist, just like the rest of his party) and then came the Administrative Council’s meetup. This is a subject that we begin to explore in this post. There is a lot more to come.

“It started with a semi-political meeting that pretty much had the EPO go ballistic (truly terrible diplomatic approach, Battistelli is an incompetent politician and lobbyist, just like the rest of his party) and then came the Administrative Council’s meetup.”We begin with a polite request to readers. There are many articles in German [1, 2, 3] and in Dutch right now. We only have a translation for the Dutch one, at least for now (plus another that we wrote about earlier), so that leaves 3 articles in German (plus the utterly poor one we mentioned last night, coming from Munich) that we could use translations of. Contact information and advice can be found here.

Petra Kramer worked on a translation of this article from NRC, which is a large Dutch broadcaster. Human-corrected machine translation of it can be found below. “Paywalled,” Kramer wrote, so “you know the drill.” Highlighted below are new(er) bits that are relatively unique:

It will be a painful meeting

European Patent Office Member States have to choose sides this week in the conflict between their appointed boss of the European Patent Office and the staff.

It was a brief and heated conversation between a critical Dutchman and an indignant Frenchman. So went the meeting between Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) and President Benoît Battistelli of the European Patent Office in early March, according to sources close to the organization.

Van Dam (38) and Battistelli (65) seemed to talk past each other. Van Dam expressed his concern about the conflict between Battistelli and union SUEPO. The Netherlands and many other member states of the patent office want an examination into sanctions against prominent members of both the union and the works council: two of them have been dismissed, one was reduced in salary.

But Battistelli denounced the “smear campaign” by the union and felt supported by Member States. When the State Secretary repeated his criticism, it was the last straw for Battistelli. The Frenchman got angry and left the office of Van Dam after half an hour. The State Secretary has already expressed concern, says a spokesman. This conversation brought “no new insights”.

The internal tensions at the patent office are to be fought on Wednesday and Thursday in Munich. That’s when the Administrative Council will meet, the highest body in which 38 Member States are represented. The Council wants to force Battistelli to be open about punitive measures against workers. A leaked draft proposal of Battistelli’s supervisors reveals they intend to file a motion of disapproval.

Private investigation service

The conflict at the European Patent Office, which in addition Rijswijk also has offices in Munich, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels affects many interests. The Office established in 1977 adopts patent applications and grants patents valid from Iceland to Turkey. Thus, the agency protects the products and the competitiveness of multinationals like Philips, Samsung, and Siemens, but also those by private inventors.

Under Battistelli, the number of patent examinations of 7,000 employees rose by 14 percent last year, according to the patent office. But workers complain about stress and authoritarian control. The workload would be detrimental to the quality of patent protection and the health of workers. The office has a private investigative service which screens workers and labour inspections are barred from entrance. Even when someone killed themselves in 2013 by jumping out the window of their office on the seventh floor in Rijswijk.

As an international organization, the Agency neither recognizes the national labour laws nor trade union SUEPO. The Dutch government cannot intervene on its own territory, but also wants to remain a pleasant host to other international organizations, like the ICC and the European Space Agency. States are now compelled to speak out about the conflict because the attention of the international media is growing. But none of the critical countries dares to openly apostatize Battistelli – who they reappointed him until 2018 themselves.

Earlier this month Battistelli said in this newspaper that the relationship with member states is “excellent” and the proposal on the external investigation was off the table. But those involved and documents tell a different story. Battistelli would not have “the will” to implement “open discussion”.

For example, the blog Techrights published leaked minutes the management board February. These states that Battistelli has “a clear lack of will” to enter “an open discussion” on “contentious issues” – especially “social dialogue” with the union. The resolution could have been no surprise to the President: the management board had given him “many signs” for “a significant period”, it says.

Battistelli received sharp criticism last December when the management board met in Munich. The president presented beautiful annual figures and proudly told about the increase in productivity and decrease in the number of sick leave and in internal objections. There also were zero days of strike.

The delegates of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland were astonished. Yes, Battistelli earned praise for the beautiful business results, but why hasn’t the president said anything about the crisis? Member States were deeply concerned about the image of the patent office.

It is not surprising that there are no strikes because Battistelli has to authorize them, the Council continued. If employees want to make a career or want a bonus, they have to work harder. Both higher production and higher quality, does not exist. Volkswagen supposedly sold powerful and clean diesel cars – we know how that ended.

Borders of immunity investigated

All lies, Battistelli said. If there was a climate of fear, the numbers would not have been so beautiful. The president received support from Italy and Croatia, which called the image as portrayed in the media to be biased.

How the meeting in Munich will go cannot be predicted. The proposal has been watered down to gain more support among the Member States, sources say. Battistelli must ensure that punitive measures against employees are fair and he should consider access to external researchers. How to measure it, is still unclear. It could also be that Battistelli embraces the weakened proposal embraces himself.

Possibly the patent office will remain functioning without any changes, but the union and Member States will remain vigilant. Later this year a study on the working conditions will be published. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands is examining the limits of the immunity of the office.

The patent office says they do not comment on leaked documents nor on the meeting the state secretary. Spokesmen say that discussions between Member States are very common.

How convenient for them to just decline to comment because it’s not an ‘official’ announcement from them, like their lies about performance.

We look forward to more translations. In the mean time we shall work our way through newly-leaked material and publish to the best our ability/capacity (I’m personally using my holiday quota this week, in order to have more time to examine and report on the situation).

EPO’s Leadership All-time Low: Benoît Battistelli’s Meeting With Secretary Martijn van Dam Explodes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NRC story

Summary: Astonishingly, Battistelli’s temper becomes too much for him to bear and he escapes the building right at the middle of an important meeting

THE EPO faces more embarrassment as Benoît Battistelli, who evidently lacks social skills (recall how he treats delegates), pisses off or shocks yet more public officials. Petra Kramer and others have told us about new media reports such as this. Human-corrected machine translation of this seminal article has been provided to us by Kramer. “Paywalled,” she remarked on it, “but you should know the drill by now; get rid of cookies from NRC.” Here it is in English:

EPO boss left meeting with Van Dam in anger

The Frenchman Benoît Battistelli was irritated during a critical interview with Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) and walked away.

The President of the European Patent Office in Rijswijk, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, showed his infamous temper this week in The Hague. Battistelli (65) was irritated during a critical interview with Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party). After half an hour Battistelli was angry and he left the office of the Secretary of State in the Ministry. Sources close to the patent office confirm.

The international organization in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Belgium (7,000 employees) accepts patent applications and grants European patents. But the patent office is mainly in the news because of the ongoing conflict between Battistelli and the union that he does not want to recognize, SUEPO. The Governing Council, the supreme body of the patent office which consists of 38 Member States today voted on external research into sanctions against trade unionists.

During the interview on Friday, March 4th State Secretary Van Dam expressed his concerns about working conditions and reputational damage to the patent office. But Battistelli accused the union of a smear campaign and said that he was supported by most Member States. When the Secretary repeated his criticism because it fell on deaf ears, president Battistelli broke off the conversation with Van Dam and he left.

The Secretary of State has expressed concern before about the patent office, a spokesperson for Economic Affairs responded on request. This conversation has delivered “no new insights”, the spokesman said. The spokespersons of the patent office said not to be able make statements about the conversation with the Secretary of State, because they were not informed about the course of the conversation.

A day before the interview at a press conference in Brussels Battistelli said he came to ask Van Dam questions. Earlier, he told NRC:

“Especially if he realizes that the Netherlands benefits from the patent office. We invest 250 million euros in a new building. We put 1 billion euros to the Dutch economy. So I’m going to ask him whether he is aware of these elements ”

Dutch News put it as follows (citing the above):

Angry EU patent office chief breaks off talks with Dutch minister: NRC


The Dutch minister is said to have raised working conditions and the damage to the patent office’s reputation during the meeting with Battistelli at the beginning of this month.

He accuses the union of slander and says his position is supported by most member states. When Van Dam repeated his concerns, Battistelli broke off the conversation and walked out, the sources said.

Battistelli is very much delusional about the reality at the Office. Either he misleads himself, his (high-level) colleagues mislead him, or the PR team that lies to staff and to journalists got to him. Whatever it is, Battistelli is an embarrassment to the Office. The Organisation, i.e. the Administrative Council, should do the right thing now.

Reader’s Article: “Guantanamo Possible in Germany”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

German Gitmo

Summary: A reader’s contribution to the debate about human rights (or lack thereof) at the European Patent Office (EPO)

In a recent report of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Siegfried Broß, a former judge of the German Constitutional Court expressed concern about the situation at the EPO: “Guantanamo would be possible in Germany.”

“But thanks to EPO vice president Guillaume Minnoye, we all know that the EPO-regime would not even accept the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.”While the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, did not want to give an interview to Bayerisches Fernsehen, regarding the controversial investigation procedures, the German Federal Justice Ministry wrote: “Germany has called on the President of the EPO repeatedly and urgently to change the rules it has laid down for the investigation procedures in this respect. This has unfortunately not yet happened.”

“Mere requests are too little”, says former federal constitutional judge Siegfried Broß in the BR report. “The Federal Constitutional Court explicitly states that the Federal Republic of Germany may not ‘hold out its hand’ to acts which violate human rights. From that point of view, Germany as a host country is indeed called upon to act. If you exaggerate a little and think ahead, with the way of thinking that has come to light here, Guantanamo would be possible in Germany. And that cannot be – everybody understands that.”

But thanks to EPO vice president Guillaume Minnoye, we all know that the EPO-regime would not even accept the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

“Mr Battistelli has to go!”The Administrative Council (AC) can and should put an end to the EPO’s illegal practice this week. And as the EPO’s major host country, Germany has a particular responsibility for the employees. But since the German minister of justice, Heiko Maas, has been conspicuously cautious with (publicly) criticising the EPO regime, it is currently not clear what the position of the German delegation is. Amongst others, the German government had pushed for the current reforms: “The reforms are necessary and partially long overdue.” The reforms were apparently more important for them than the social peace in the Office.

Heise newsticker mentioned that, for the organisation’s member states, the EPO is above all a ‘cash cow’ whose milk should continue flowing: In 2014 the turnover with patents and procedural fees would have been close to 1.6 billion Euros.

In order to keep the ‘cash cow’ alive, the German delegation must make sure that the EPO’s examiners can do their job properly, in order to be able to fulfil the EPC mandate. A return to the rule-of-law is a necessary first step. It is unrealistic that this can be achieved together with president Battistelli, as he is continuously demonstrating.

Mr Battistelli has to go!

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