Links 18/4/2016: Linux 4.6 RC4, Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Keeping the Blockchain Open in the Shadow of Tech Giants

    You’ll find it parroted most in the open source community, particularly when Microsoft pulls stunts like their recent “partnering” with canonical to implement an Ubuntu-like Posix environment in Windows Ten. The phrase originates from the DOJ’s findings during the United States v. Microsoft Corp. antitrust case in 2003, as an internal standard for their technology development. Examples of Microsoft’s attempts at this methodology are pervasive in their offerings, including ActiveX and DirectX in the web and graphics software ecosystems, and recently, their involvement with the Linux community.

  • MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, Huawei Sign Open Source Agreement

    The MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, and Huawei are pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on using open source solutions to transform Central Offices and accelerate the industry transition to Third Network services. MOU partners will develop Proof of Concept use cases that illustrate how operators can deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated MEF-defined services by using open source software and open specification hardware. These use cases will serve as a stepping stone for deployable Third Network services that yield productivity-enhancing benefits for end customers.

  • Events

    • Mixing Linux and ZFS, LinuxFest NorthWest and More…

      It’s LinuxFest NorthWest time! I’ve never been to LFNW, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Back in the day — we’re talking the late 1960s and early 70s — Bellingham was home to a hippie underground newspaper, Northwest Passage, that was known in counterculture circles of the day across the continent. Alas, the Passage has been gone since ’86, but its spirit seems to live on in a high techy, Linuxy sort of way at LFNW. From what I’ve seen, LFNW seems to be the most community driven and for-the–people of the major festivals in the U.S.

    • Reflections on Starting a Local FOSS Group

      Last Wednesday was no less than the third time the local FOSS group in Aalborg met. Today I’m looking back at how it all started so I thought I would share some thoughts that may help others who would like to spread free and open source software in their local area.

    • BrickHack 2016

      Last month at the Rochester Institute of Technology, BrickHack 2016 came to a close. BrickHack is an annual hackathon organized by students at RIT. Close to 300 people attend every year. This year was BrickHack’s second event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An introduction to Redox

        Back in March, a young operating system project attracted attention in the open source community. The project is called Redox and its developers are working on a Unix-like operating system written in the Rust language. The Redox operating system features a microkernel design (like MINIX), the permissive MIT license and some interesting design ideas.

        While I read a lot of opinions in March about the developers and their design goals, I encountered very little commentary on what it was like to use the young operating system itself. This lead me to become curious and download the project’s small installation ISO which is just 26MB in size.

      • Firefox 45.0.2 Has Been Released
      • Thunderbird 45.0 Has Been Released, Bringing New Features And Bug-Fixes
      • ‘BLATANTLY ILLEGAL’: 17 newspapers slam ex-Mozilla CEO’s new ad-blocking browser [Ed: means he does it right!]

        A group of the biggest US newspaper publishers — including Dow Jones, The Washington Post, and The New York Times Co. — have cosigned what they are calling a “cease and desist” letter (read it in full below) sent to the former Mozilla CEO’s new browser company.

      • A nail in the coffin for Firefox? Mozilla struggles to redefine browser

        A quiet announcement about a new Mozilla project sounded like a death knell for the Firefox browser.

        It wasn’t. But the project, called Tofino, reveals the technology challenges Mozilla faces more than a decade after Firefox’s debut. Hundreds of millions of people still use the browser, but its star is fading compared with Google’s Chrome.

        Mozilla released details about the Tofino project Friday, saying a six-person team at Mozilla will consider how to radically revamp Web browsers.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • LibreOffice


    • Richard Stallman on Free Software: Freedom is Worth the Inconvenience

      Dr. Richard Stallman is an inductee of the internet hall of fame as well as the founder of the “Free Software” movement. In the words of Robert Grüning “Richard Stallman is like the Socrates of software, the money making colleagues are the sophists.” Another member of my audience said that Stallman is like Tron – he fights for the users. Yet Richard himself disliked both characterizations and called them misleading. So I suggest you check out my Singularity 1on1 interview with Richard Stallman, learn about the Free Software movement and judge for yourself.

    • DejaGnu 1.6 released

      DejaGnu 1.6 was released on April 15, 2016. Important changes include decent SSH support, many bug fixes and a much improved manual. Many old and defunct board files have been removed.

    • Libgcrypt 1.7.0 released
  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free, high-quality education resources from the National Science Digital Library

        The use of open educational resources is growing. Open education involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available to all without the restrictions of copyright and proprietary licensing models. According to U.S. Secretary of Education John King, “Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high-quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.”

    • Open Hardware or OS

      • Redox: a Rust-based microkernel

        Creating a new operating system from scratch is a daunting task—witness the slow progress of GNU Hurd, for example. But it would be hard to argue that the existing systems are the be-all and end-all of how we interact with computer hardware. At least some of the deficiencies in today’s offerings can arguably be traced to the language used to implement them; C, for all its power, has some fairly serious flaws that lead to bugs and security holes of various sorts. So it is interesting to see a new entrant that uses the Rust language, which is focused on memory safety. The result is Redox, which is still far from ready for everyday use, but may provide an interesting counterpoint to Linux, the BSDs, OS X, Windows, and others.

      • Announcing Kestrel-4

        Based on the recent and wild success of the Kestrel-3 home-brew computer project, I am happy to announce my next project for the open computing masses. Say hello to the Kestrel-4.

      • An Open-Source Steam Controller Driver is in Development

        What properly holds me back from buying one is the fact I need to use Steam to use the controller, and the few games I do play aren’t available on Steam (e.g, SuperTuxKart, MAME, etc).

      • Open-source 3D printed WireBeings robot allows for voice controlled wifi functionality at a bargain

        When I was a child growing up in the 1980s robots were something found exclusively in the realm of science fiction. As time passed, the 1990s emerged and Honda’s Asimo started making appearances in tech-centric television programming on the Discovery Channel or TLC (this, during an era when those networks still focused on educational content).

  • Programming/Development

    • RFC: EfficiencySanitizer

      We plan to build a suite of compiler-based dynamic instrumentation tools for analyzing targeted performance problems. These tools will all live under a new “EfficiencySanitizer” (or “esan”) sanitizer umbrella, as they will share significant portions of their implementations.

    • Google Is Working On An Efficiency Sanitizer To Improve Performance Problems

      Derek Bruening of Google has announced the company’s interest in creating an “Efficiency Sanitizer” for LLVM/Clang for analyzing targeted performance problems.

      Worked on Google and other compoanies have been Address Sanitizer, Memory Sanitizer, Thread Sanitizer, Leak Sanitizer, Data Flow Sanitizer, and other sanitizers found in LLVM/Clang some of which have also been ported to GCC. These sanitizers have been incredibly helpful for developers in catching various problems within program code-bases, including many security issues. The latest focus being pursued by Google’s compiler engineers is on an Efficiency Sanitizer.


  • Science

    • 10 Inventors Who Died Because Of Their Own Inventions

      These people made contributions to the mankind but they would have never thought that their own creation would be held accountable for their last breath.

    • Actor Wil Wheaton Brings Love of Arts to STEM Festival

      Actor and writer Wil Wheaton wants to “add an A to the STEM acronym and make it STEAM.” He’ll be speaking at the USA Science and Engineering Festival April 16-17 in Washington about why he thinks the arts should be represented in the acronym commonly used when referring to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

      Wheaton, 43, best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the 1980s and ’90s and more recently as a fictionalized version of himself on “The Big Bang Theory,” says that he has always been fascinated by science and technology, and has made it a goal of his to ensure that kids get the encouragement they need to pursue those fields.

    • Kettering Cosmos: How school children exposed Soviet secret

      The existence of the Plesetsk site was not admitted by the USSR for a further 17 years.

      It was reported at the time that the schoolboys had “beat the Americans” in discovering the site. Bob Christy, another pupil who participated in the experiment, thinks they probably knew of its existence, but the school’s work made sure the information was made public.

      “It wasn’t about studying the Russian space programme, it was about helping children understand space,” he said.

  • Hardware

    • Intel planning for thousands of job cuts, internal sources say

      Intel is preparing a significant round of job cuts across business units this spring, according to multiple sources inside the company familiar with its plans.

      The cutbacks will reduce employment in some parts of the business by double-digit percentages, according to Intel insiders, amounting to thousands of job cuts across the company by the end of the year. The planned downsizing could begin soon after Intel reports its first-quarter financial results Tuesday, though sources say timing and specifics remain fluid.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto’s Most Dangerous Product?

      On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ formulation.

      Glyphosate was last year determined to be “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO, and the resolution calls for no approval for many uses now considered acceptable, including use in or close to public parks, playgrounds and gardens and use where integrated pest management systems are sufficient for necessary weed control. The resolution falls short of an outright ban called for by many and also calls for the renewal of the licence for glyphosate to be limited to just seven years instead of the 15 proposed by the Commission.

      Nearly 700 MEPs voted on the seven-year licensing of glyphosate and the vote was passed by 374 votes in favor to 225 votes against.

    • This is what a dying NHS looks like

      If you don’t believe the Tories would destroy the NHS it’s time to face reality. It’s happening right now. The NHS is critically unwell, and whether it’s deliberate or not, death’s door is open.

  • Security

    • Backdoor in JBoss Java Platform Puts 3.2 Million Servers at Risk
    • Let’s Encrypt: threat or opportunity to other certificate authorities?

      Let’s Encrypt is a certificate authority (CA) that just left beta stage, that provides domain name-validated (DV) X.509 certificates for free and in an automated way: users just have to run a piece of software on their server to get and install a certificate, resulting in a valid TLS setup.

    • Making it easier to deploy TPMTOTP on non-EFI systems

      On EFI systems you can handle this by sticking the secret in an EFI variable (there’s some special-casing in the code to deal with the additional metadata on the front of things you read out of efivarfs). But that’s not terribly useful if you’re not on an EFI system. Thankfully, there’s a way around this. TPMs have a small quantity of nvram built into them, so we can stick the secret there. If you pass the -n argument to sealdata, that’ll happen. The unseal apps will attempt to pull the secret out of nvram before falling back to looking for a file, so things should just magically work.

    • Badlock Vulnerability Falls Flat Against Its Hype

      Weeks of anxiety and concern over the Badlock vulnerability ended today with an anticlimactic thud.

    • Samba 4.4.2, 4.3.8 and 4.2.11 Security Releases Available for Download
    • The Internet of bricks

      One of the promises of the “Internet of things” is that it gives us greater control over our homes, gadgets, and more. Free software also offers that sort of promise, along with the idea that, if necessary, we can support our own gadgetry when the manufacturer moves on to some new shiny object. The currently unfolding story of the Revolv hub shows that, in many cases, these promises are empty. The devices we depend on and think we own can, in fact, be turned into useless bricks at the manufacturer’s whim.

      The Revolv “M1″ home-automation hub was one of many products designed to bring home control to the Internet. It is able to control lights, heating, and more, all driven by smartphone-based applications. The product was sufficiently successful to catch the eye of the business-development folks at Nest, who acquired the company; Nest was acquired in turn by Google, and is now a separate company under the “Alphabet” umbrella.

    • Underwriters Labs refuses to share new IoT cybersecurity standard

      UL, the 122-year-old safety standards organisation whose various marks (UL, ENEC, etc.) certify minimum safety standards in fields as diverse as electrical wiring, cleaning products, and even dietary supplements, is now tackling the cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices with its new UL 2900 certification. But there’s a problem: UL’s refusal to freely share the text of the new standard with security researchers leaves some experts wondering if UL knows what they’re doing.

      When Ars requested a copy of the UL 2900 docs to take a closer look at the standard, UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories) declined, indicating that if we wished to purchase a copy—retail price, around £600/$800 for the full set—we were welcome to do so. Independent security researchers are also, we must assume, welcome to become UL retail customers.

    • Combined malware threat is robbing banks of millions every day

      THE SECURITY attack dogs at IBM have uncovered two normally solo malware threats working together to rob banks in the US and Canada.

      IBM’s X-Force division has dubbed the combined malware Stealma and Louise GozNym by merging the names of the individual, but now friendly, Gozi ISFB and Nymaim.

      “It appears that the operators of Nymaim have recompiled its source code with part of the Gozi ISFB source code, creating a combination that is being actively used in attacks against more than 24 US and Canadian banks, stealing millions of dollars so far,” said IBM in a blog post.

    • Flaw-finding Ruby on Rails bot steams past humans
    • Future of secure systems in the US

      Security and privacy are important to many people. Given the personal and financial importance of data stored in computers (traditional or mobile), users don’t want criminals to get a hold of it. Companies know this, which is why both Apple IOS and Google Android both encrypt their local file systems by default now. If a bill anything like what’s been proposed becomes law, users that care about security are going to go elsewhere. That may end up being non-US companies’ products or US companies may shift operations to localities more friendly to secure design. Either way, the US tech sector loses. A more accurate title would have been Technology Jobs Off-Shoring Act of 2016.

    • Software end of life matters!

      Anytime you work on a software project, the big events are always new releases. We love to get our update and see what sort of new and exciting things have been added. New versions are exciting, they’re the result of months or years of hard work. Who doesn’t love to talk about the new cool things going on?

    • JBOSS Backdoor opens 3 million servers at risk of attacks
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hillary’s Neocon Problem

      Hillary Clinton has a dark history in foreign policy. Indeed, if the Nuremberg principles were applied evenly, her name would certainly be on the docket, along with her former boss in the White House, who is actually less of a hawk than she. When Donald Trump publicly expressed a willingness to negotiate with Russia over international conflicts, she referred to such an idea as putting “Christmas in the Kremlin.” She’s red-baited Bernie Sanders for his support for the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions back in the 1980s. Clinton basically backs not “political realism,” but the more imperial tradition of neoconservative “American exceptionalism,” a chauvinist mindset by which the US sets the political, economic, and military priorities of the world and the places and times of its interventions, sometimes with allied support, sometimes without, at its own discretion.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

      Secretary of State Clinton was harsh on subordinates who were careless with classified information, but those rules apparently weren’t for her, a troubling double standard, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Young Iraqis Overwhelmingly Consider U.S. Their Enemy, Poll Says

      The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a public relations and market research firm co-founded by controversial strategist Mark Penn, and was sponsored by a Dubai-based affiliate of Burson Marsteller, once described as “the PR firm for evil.” Still, the undertaking, as outlined by organizers, sounds ambitious. It included 250 face-to-face interviews in three Iraqi cities, plus another 3,250 interviews in 15 other countries throughout the Arab world, all with men and women ages 18-24 “selected to provide an accurate reflection of each nation’s geographic and socio-economic make-up.” It claims an error rate of plus or minus 1.65 percent.

    • Pope Francis Takes On ‘Just War’ Theory

      The Catholic Church, which over the centuries has blessed many dreadful wars, is shifting to an anti-war position favored by Pope Francis and more in line with Jesus’s teachings, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Deadly Myths: Iraq ‘Surge’ General Calls for ‘Surge 2.0’

      There is no question that the neocons in the room, whose lavish sinecures come to them courtesy of the military-industrial complex, were hyperventilating in anticipation of another major US invasion of Iraq (and Syria). War is the greatest DC jobs program and the hits just keep coming.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals

      FOR DECADES, 3M was the primary producer of C8, or PFOA, and was the sole producer of a related chemical known as PFOS. But while DuPont was caught up in a massive class-action suit over C8, 3M has largely avoided public scrutiny and serious legal or financial consequences for its role in developing and selling these industrial pollutants.

      In February, however, a state court in Minnesota, where the company is headquartered, allowed a lawsuit against 3M to move forward. And late last year, lawyers filed a class-action suit in Decatur, Alabama, home to one of 3M’s biggest plants. Both lawsuits charge that 3M knew about the health hazards posed by the perfluorinated chemicals it was manufacturing and using to make carpet coating, Scotchgard, firefighting foam, and other products — and that the company knew the chemicals were spreading beyond its sites. With PFCs cropping up in drinking water around the country and all over the world, the two lawsuits raise the possibility that 3M may finally be held accountable in a court of law.

    • WWF: Finland has spent its natural resources for 2016

      The environmental group WWF Finland says that as of today, the country has already used up its share of natural resources for the entire year. Energy production, traffic emissions and food production are the top ills.

    • We Just Crushed The Global Record For Hottest Start Of Any Year

      NASA reports that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. It beat the previous record — just set in 2015 — by a stunning 0.7°F (0.39°C). Normally, such multi-month records are measured in the hundredths of a degree

      Last month was the hottest February on record by far. It followed the hottest January on record by far, which followed the hottest December by far, which followed the hottest November on record by far, which followed the hottest October on record by far. Some may detect a pattern here.

    • Going out, I found I was really going in: John Muir’s spiritual and political journey

      However, his friends were worried. Muir’s siblings pleaded with him to abandon his “clouds and flowers” for more practical pursuits. “You must be social John,” Jeanne Carr, a transcendentalist friend and spiritual mentor had written him, trying to coax him to leave the mountains and re-enter public life. “I could envy you your solitude, but there may be too much of it.” Carr felt strongly that Muir had a singular gift for carrying the transcendentalist vision of a sacred nature to a wider public, a vision she believed could help to dismantle the industrial consensus that saw nature only as a commercial resource to be exploited.

  • Finance

    • US Corporate Tax Cheats Hiding $1.4 Trillion in Profits in Offshore Accounts

      The biggest tax dodger is technology giant Apple, with $181 billion held offshore. General Electric had the second-largest stash, at $119 billion, enough to repay four times over the $28 billion GE received in federal guarantees during the 2008 Wall Street crash. Microsoft had $108 billion in overseas accounts, with companies like Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, IBM, Cisco Systems, Google, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson rounding out the top ten.

      Overseas tax havens have been the focus of recent revelations about tax scams by wealthy individuals, based on the leak of the “Panama Papers,” documents from a single Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, involving 214,000 offshore shell companies. The firm’s clients included 29 billionaires and 140 top politicians worldwide, among them a dozen heads of government.

    • Paul Krugman Is Proof That To Be Successful Even As An “Objective” Academic You Must Serve The One Percent
    • Bernie Sanders publishes tax returns showing $205,000 earnings following Hillary Clinton’s challenge

      Bernie Sanders has revealed he earns $205,000 dollars (£145,000) a year, after being challenged by Hillary Clinton to publish his tax returns.

      Mr Sanders’ annual income, which is shared with his wife, is less than his multimillionaire rival made for three recent speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs employees.

      The banking giant paid Ms Clinton $675,000 (£475,000) for the appearances. She and her husband have an estimated net worth of $110m (£77m), far surpassing the Sanders, who are worth around $300,000 (£210,000).

    • Hillary’s Bold Plan to Financially Penalize Recidivist Super-Predators

      The other day Hillary promised she would appoint Attorneys General like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. “I will appoint an Attorney General who will continue the courageous work of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.” Given that the comments came at an Al Sharpton event, I assumed the comment meant to invoke Holder and Lynch’s efforts to reform criminal justice and, presumably, their even more laudable support for civil rights.

      Nevertheless, it was a disturbing comment, given that Holder and Lynch have also both coddled the bankers who crashed our economy. Indeed, when Hillary tries to defend her huge donations from bankers, she always points to Obama’s even huger ones, and insists that there’s no evidence he was influenced by them. But the Obama DOJ record on bank crime is itself the counter to Hillary’s claim those donations didn’t influence the President.

    • 99% Party: Sanders Supporters Shower Clinton Motorcade with 1000 $1 Bills

      Actor George Clooney hosted a couple of obscenely expensive fundraising events for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Friday and Saturday nights. 1%er couples needed to pony up $353,400 to buy access. Saturday’s event was at Clooney’s home at 7:00 pm.

      At the same time, Howard Gold, a next-door neighbor of Clooney, hosted a $27 per person fundraiser in support of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill.

      Gold, whose family founded the 99 Cents Only store chain, called his event the “99% Party.” The email invitation to the 99% party read, “Swimming pools, Movie Stars and merriment for all! This is happening right next door to Clooney’s party for Hillary!” according to The Hill.

    • Here’s a Way to Shut Down Panama Papers-Style Tax Havens — If We Wanted To

      IT WOULD HAVE been infuriating at any time of the year to learn about the massive tax evasion by the global 0.01 percent revealed by the Panama Papers leak. But it’s especially maddening for regular American schlubs to hear about it in April, just as we’re doing our own taxes.

      According to estimates by Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman in his book The Hidden Wealth of Nations, rich individuals and big corporations use various machinations to pay at least a third of a trillion dollars less than they owe every year. For everyone else, this translates directly into higher taxes, more national debt, and less government spending.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook denies that it would ever try to influence the election

      Gizmodo published a screenshot Friday of an internal poll that Facebook employees were purportedly using to decide what questions to ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a meeting in March.

    • Like it or not, Mark Zuckerberg is now Silicon Valley’s ambassador to the rest of the world

      The company’s main product announcement, its attempt to turn Messenger into a hub little programs for businesses to chat with customers, was greeted by puzzlement from users and skepticism from the developers who were the main audience for the show.

    • To Protect Hillary Clinton, Democrats Wage War on Their Own Core Citizens United Argument

      FOR YEARS, THE Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United was depicted by Democrats as the root of all political evil. But now, the core argument embraced by the Court’s conservatives to justify their ruling has taken center stage in the Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — because Clinton supporters, to defend the huge amount of corporate cash on which their candidate is relying, frequently invoke that very same reasoning.

    • Superdelegates have destroyed the will of the people: As a political activist and hopeful millennial, I won’t support a broken system by voting for Hillary

      Four years ago, I attended a College Democrats conference in Chicago. I set foot inside Obama’s campaign headquarters and felt the enthusiasm about his presidency first-hand. For the first time, I called myself a Democrat with confidence. Democracy empowered me. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the entire world.

      Throughout my college career, I was actively involved with the College Democrats. I served as president. I recruited friends to attend meetings, volunteer for voter registration drives, petition for candidates, canvass in local neighborhoods and spread the word about upcoming presidential debates. I even formed close relationships with fellow Democrats through it. Civic engagement and active citizenship was my life. I wanted to empower everyone around me to exercise their political power.


      In a truly democratic system, we’d have more competent, diverse candidates. Voting no longer provides me the indulgence and satisfaction it once did. I feel it does more harm than good with our current political climate. If I vote for Clinton as a rejection of Trump, or vote for Sanders to dodge a Clinton vote, what duty am I actually performing? When I vote for a president I don’t support, I support a flawed political system. I refuse that system.

    • New York Observer Reporter Who Resigned Over Trump Ties And Endorsement: For Me, “A Line Had Been Crossed”
    • Wall Street Journal Slimes Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Forgets About George W. Bush’s Monumental Blunders

      In an article titled “Islam and the Radical West” published in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens raises the important issue of the radicalization of Western Muslims. But as far as responsible and informed journalism goes, the piece’s credibility ends there. Stephens goes on to make a number of stereotypical and weakly supported claims regarding Islam while taking amateurish pot shots at some of America’s most important thinkers, including Noam Chomsky.

    • Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon

      Beyond sharing this neocon “regime change” obsession, former Secretary of State Clinton also talks like a neocon. One of their trademark skills is to use propaganda or “perception management” to demonize their targets and to romanticize their allies, what is called “gluing white hats” on their side and “gluing black hats” on the other.

    • Meet The Protesters Who Crashed Donald Trump’s Private Event

      Maya Randolph and Aru, who declined to give her last name, were two of the few dozen New Yorkers arrested Thursday evening at a massive protest of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. The young women were part of a group of 10 people who were arrested and charged with criminal trespass after they stormed the hotel where Trump was speaking at a private event.

    • Trump Manager Said Apologizing To Reporter He Allegedly Assaulted Would Be ‘Unrealistic’

      Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, refused to apologize on Sunday for his alleged assault of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

    • The Best Reporting on Bernie Sanders Over the Years

      Bernie Sanders became the first socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and ran successfully as an Independent for the House of Representatives and then the Senate. Now, the Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton has young voters “feeling the Bern.”

      The political career of Bernie Sanders nearly ended before it began. In the early 1970s, he lost his first four races — two for the Senate and two for governor — running on the ticket of Vermont’s radical Liberty Union Party, while espousing positions such as ending the Vietnam War and abolishing the CIA. But when he ran as an Independent for mayor of Burlington in 1981, the socialist Sanders beat the five-term Democratic incumbent.

    • Barack Obama Never Said Money Wasn’t Corrupting; In Fact, He Said the Opposite

      DURING THURSDAY’S DEMOCRATIC debate in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders asked this question about Hillary Clinton: “Do we really feel confident about a candidate saying that she’s going to bring change in America when she is so dependent on big money interests?”

      Clinton’s response was to invoke Barack Obama. “Make no mistake about it, this is not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on President Obama,” she said. “President Obama had a Super PAC when he ran. President Obama took tens of millions of dollars from contributors. And President Obama was not at all influenced when he made the decision to pass and sign Dodd-Frank, the toughest regulations on Wall Street in many a year.”

    • Breaking Up the Banks: Why Sanders is Right

      Now Krugman has always been a defender of the banks and always in denial that banks can be crooked. A few years ago, Iceland had a problem. The banks were very crooked. They controlled the government that was about to give enormous amounts of money to the banks. I had gone over and met with the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and convinced them not to pay Britain and the sort of crooked depositors. They hired Krugman at a very high fee and gave him the handouts and he said no, the Icelandic banks are not crooked. Iceland should really bankrupt itself and pay for the Icesave and the British bank affiliates that went under, even though these were not bank branches but bank affiliates.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Online censorship on the rise: Why I prefer to save things offline

      It took me some time to trust the cloud. Growing up with digital technologies that were neither resilient nor reliable — a floppy drive could go kaput without you having done anything, a CD once scratched could not be recovered, hard drives malfunctioned and it was a given that once every few months your PC would crash and need a re-install — I have always been paranoid about making backups and storing information. Once I kicked into my professional years, I developed a foolproof, albeit paranoid, system, where I backed up my machines to a common hard drive, made a mirror image of that hard drive, and for absolutely crucial documents, I would put them on to a separate DVD which would have the emergency documents. It was around 2006, when I discovered the cloud.


      Turkey, recently, demanded that German authorities remove a satirical German video titled Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan mocking their President. In response, Germany reminded the Turkish diplomacy of that lovely little thing called freedom of speech, and in the meantime, Extra 3, the group that had released the video on YouTube, added English subtitles to the video. Just for perks. I hope you gave a brownie point to Germany, even as you scrambled to see the video.

    • Decision to hide UAlbany student newspapers ‘inappropriate’

      The decision to hide issues of a student-run newspaper at the University at Albany that called attention to a rise in reported campus sexual assaults — coming during a visit by accepted students — was inappropriate, a top college official said.

    • Silent censorship

      JUST living in Australia for a few months and watching television, makes you see clearly, how the Fiji public is so badly denied by the poverty of Fiji media offerings and silent censorship

      There are wonderful Australian media programs such as Q and A, Insiders, Catalyst, Landline, Insights, Foreign Correspondent, Four Corners, to name just a few, not even mentioning the many specials every week on ABC and SBS.

      Just in the past two months alone, Landline explored how an Australian sugarcane farmer, successfully intercropped rice to pander to his Vietnamese wife. Another intercropped with sunflowers for the seeds and oil, and mung beans (which Fiji farmers have also tried on a very small scale).

    • Soaring Subsidies and Nutritional Censorship Highlight Food Policy Disasters: New at Reason

      Recently, a pair of controversial federal food issues has made the news. The unpredicted increase in USDA farm subsidies and continuing fallout from the new dietary guidelines have captured headlines. They’re worth focusing on together, as they represent some varied and truly awful federal food law and policy.

      Earlier this week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Tx.) blasted critics of farm subsidies, claiming we live in a “fantasyland” where such subsidies aren’t needed.

    • IHT Retrospective | 1941: Roosevelt Tells Press He Wants No Censorship
    • UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Told To Resign After Censorship Of Pepper-Spray Google Results

      UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi may be forced to resign after documents were released earlier this week which show the school paying $175,000 of university funds to scrub Google results of references to the 2011 pepper-spray incident.

    • Pepper-sprayed students outraged as UC Davis tried to scrub incident from web

      The California university is being accused of censorship after paying a firm to try to hide references to the incident in which police sprayed protesters in 2011

    • On UC Davis and Erasing Things from the Internet

      This week, I and much of the internet learned that UC Davis paid at least $175,000 to a Maryland firm by the name of Nevis & Associates to disassociate the pepper spray incident of 2011 — in which footage of a campus police officer very casually and callously covering student Occupy protesters with pepper spray at close range was caught on video and disseminated — from both the name of the university and its chancellor in Google search results.

    • From draconian censorship to wilful conformity

      A discussion on Pakistan’s media on Sunday found that the industry, while certainly more independent than years past, is also following dangerous patterns of conformity and is no longer a watchdog for public interest.

      New Delhi-based activist Saif Mahmood moderated a session titled “Media: More Independent, Less Responsible’. He began by quoting an IBA-USAID study where Pakistan’s media was given a responsibility score of 5.46, and an independence score of 5.74, and added that these were reasonably good scores in his opinion.

    • Censorship on films meaningless in internet era

      “Censorship on films is futile in India. There are several other media these days which provide inappropriate content to youngsters for free,” said Bollywood director Sudhir Mishra, who is known for directing critically acclaimed films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi and Chameli.

    • Google refuses to censor search results that identify PJS and YMA

      The British press has played ball, agreeing not to name YMA, his husband PJS and the two others, AB and CD with whom a threesome is supposed to have taken place but it is impossible for law enforcement agencies to control what appears online. Google has been the first port of call for many curious-minded people eager to learn the names of those involved, and the search giant has said that — despite many requests to do so — it will not censor search results that could lead people to the names.

      Spend a little time on Twitter, Facebook, and numerous other websites and it won’t be long before you learn — if you don’t already know — the identities of the four people involved. Web Sheriff is not happy about this, and has requested that Google remove search results in a way that is reminiscent of the Right To Be Forgotten. As noted by Torrent Freak, Web Sheriff is usually associated with copyright-related takedown notices, but now also seeks to remove data that could harmful to reputations.

    • Merkel Vows to Repeal Law, After It Is Used to Prosecute Comic for Insulting Erdogan

      CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL alienated a broad swathe of the German public on Friday by approving a request from Turkey to prosecute Jan Böhmermann, a comedian who insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by reading an obscene poem about him on late-night television.

      In the same statement, however, Merkel said that her government would move to repeal the law Böhmermann appears to have violated, an obscure provision of the German penal code that makes it a crime to insult foreign heads of state. If approved, the change would not take effect until 2018.

      In the meantime, Böhmermann now faces possible prosecution both for breaking that law — an artifact of the ancient prohibition on hurting the feelings of monarchs, known as lèse-majesté — and for ordinary defamation, because Erdogan has also filed a separate defamation complaint with a state prosecutor.

    • Hard to satire: Turkey forcing censorship abroad
    • Angela Merkel is now silencing German satirists to please Erdogan. This is what the EU has wrought
    • Erdogan’s attitude to Europe is looking more and more like Putin’s
    • Great Ashby councillor’s campaign over ‘unjust’ censorship

      Terry Tyler, a member of Great Ashby Community Council, says the communications policy he and other members must adhere to is so restrictive it is preventing him from doing his job.

      The policy, seen by the Comet, says ‘correspondence with the public from individual councillors should be avoided’ and states ‘the clerk should clear all comments to the media with the chair of the council’.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trade Secrets: who voted what

      As expected, the European Parliament approved the Trade Secrets Protection directive by a large majority (503 in favour vs. 131 against).

    • Why Has The World Forgotten Islamic State’s Female Sex Slaves?

      Twenty months ago the Islamic State (ISIS) abducted thousands of Yezidi women and girls as the extremist group swept through their villages in northern Iraq in the middle of a terrible summer. Many were forced to become sex slaves for the group’s fighters. Hundreds remain enslaved and many of those who have escaped are still reliving the trauma and often not getting the help they desperately need.

    • Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

      Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

      Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

    • Confessions of a Former Torturer

      [...] Sleep deprivation, as I’ve said before, can be accomplished in a matter of hours. You can let someone go to sleep in a dark room with no windows, and you can wake them up in 15 or 20 minutes. They have no idea how long they’ve been asleep. And with no windows, they have no idea what time of day it is. You can let them go back to sleep, and you can wake them up in 20 minutes. They still have no idea. And they’ve since—within 45 minutes, they’ve lost all sense of time. Two or three hours later, you can convince this person that he’s been living for four or five days, when it’s really only been an hour.

    • The Telegram Criticising Bush That Got Me Sacked

      As this blog is now read daily by tens of thousands of people who had not heard of me before, some idea of where I come from might be in order. After a diplomatic career of rapid promotion (senior civil service age 36, my first Ambassadorship in Uzbekistan age 42) my opposition to Bush/Blair’s immoral and counter-productive foreign policy got me sacked.

      This telegram (diplomatic communications are called that; cable in the USA) I am with retrospect very proud to have sent. To have made at the time the observation that the Bush/Blair policy of invasion, oppression and torture would not suppress fundamentalism, but would create it, was prescient. I should say I understood very well I would be sacked. Some things are worth being sacked for.

      On provenance, after being kicked out I typed this up from my handwritten draft which I had in my briefcase; hence it does not carry the identifiers it would gain when sent. I assure you it is genuine, and by now I expect it should be obtainable under a Freedom of Information request. If someone makes one I would be grateful – the date on it is the day I wrote it, it might have got sent a day or two later, so give them a range.

    • Green Party proposes prosecuting Northern Irish men under the abortion laws for ‘reckless conception’

      The Deputy Leader of the Green Party for Northern Ireland has suggested making “reckless conception” a criminal offence for men “in the interests of equality”

    • Iraqi Man Removed From Southwest Flight For Speaking Arabic

      While on the plane, he called his uncle to tell him about the dinner and ended the phone call by saying “inshallah” — a common term used in Arabic that translates to “God willing.” But after he hung up, he noticed a female passenger eyeing him suspiciously. The passenger reported Makhzoomi, who was then removed from the flight and searched.

    • Student Thrown Off Flight After Passenger Heard Him Say ‘God Willing’ in Arabic

      So once again people from The World’s Most Frightened Country (C) fully overreacted to nothing. One of the 230 million people worldwide who speak Arabic happened to be on an airplane and happened to use one of the most common expressions in his language.


      Makhzoomi explained he was talking on the phone with his uncle and, as he said goodbye, he used the phrase “inshallah,” which translates as “if God is willing.” The student said that after hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him who then got up and left her seat.

      Moments later an airport employee made Makhzoomi step off the plane into the arms of security officers. Makhzoomi was told the woman thought he said “Shahid,” meaning martyr. Because in-shal-lah and sha-hid sound the same, at least to a dumb ass who speaks no apparent Arabic and likely learned the term shahid when it was last mispronounced on AM talk radio.

    • Racial Justice Takes Center Stage in New York Primary

      AS IT HAS grown in volume and influence, the movement reaffirming the value of black lives has raised its cry for racial justice from the streets and the internet to the race for the Democratic nomination, especially in the New York primary, where talk of police accountability, mass incarceration, and structural inequality has become an integral part of the candidates’ pitch to voters.

      At the Democratic debate on Thursday night, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke frankly about racism, with Clinton calling on white people to “recognize that there is systemic racism,” and Sanders again criticizing Clinton’s 1996 comments about “super predators,” saying that “it was a racist term and everyone knew it was a racist term.”

      But while competition for the so-called black vote continues to heat up ahead of Tuesday’s primaries, and the generational gap that has defined the primary race persists, members of Black Lives Matter remain determined to keep all candidates in check on matters of race and racism.

    • Are the Economic Pins to the Saudi-US Relationship Still in Place?

      So on the one hand, Obama is making a big show of declassifying the 28 pages. On the other hand, he is lobbying (privately until this NYT report) to ensure that nothing legal will come of the release of those pages.

      It feels kind of like Obama’s treatment of torture, allowing very limited exposure of what happened, all while ensuring there will be no legal accountability (legal accountability, I’d add, that would threaten to expose others higher up in the US executive branch; and note that while the Administration is permitting a lawsuit of James Mitchell and Bruce Jesson, I’m skeptical this well get very far either).

      Against this background, the Saudis are trying to negotiate an oil freeze to bring up prices, but apparently have delayed doing so, ostensibly because of rising animosity with Iran but also, analysts suggest, to hurt US capacity.

    • Bernie Sanders: US “Can’t Be Blackmailed” by Saudi Arabia

      “It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on September 11.

    • Obama Appeases Saudi Head-Choppers

      Do we have a more unattractive “ally” than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? In order to find one, we have to go all the way back to World War II, when the US was allied with the Soviet Union while “Uncle” Joe Stalin was murdering millions in the gulag.

    • George Clooney Bemoans Big-Money Politics After Hosting Big-Ticket Fundraisers for Clinton (Video)

      Hollywood star and Democratic Party booster George Clooney pulled off a clever script-flipping trick on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.” When confronted with Bernie Sanders’ recent critique of the cost required to attend the two fundraisers he and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, hosted over the weekend for Hillary Clinton in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, Clooney completely agreed with it.

    • George Clooney on Hillary Clinton Event: ‘There Is a Difference Between the Koch Brothers and Us’
    • Over 7,800 Prosecutions Questioned After NJ Lab Tech Caught Faking Drug Test Results

      If Shah wasn’t concerned about putting a possibly innocent person behind bars, it’s unlikely his yearly salary of $101,039 would have been much of a motivating factor for better work either. It could be that this was an isolated incident — the one time Shah cut corners to increase throughput. (Which, truth be told, is kind of how our entire criminal justice system operates: throughput is preferable to diligent effort.)

      But odds are that if Shah got caught, it’s something that happened eventually, rather than immediately. Bad habits are easy to develop and tend to spiral out of control until the inevitable happens. There’s no way to tell if this was a one-off. Conversely, there’s no way to positively state this didn’t happen all the time. Hence the thousands of criminal cases now being viewed as questionable.

    • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity

      The Israeli propaganda line is that the Palestinians are natural, intrinsic terrorists who are always attacking Israelis out of blind hatred for Jews and who casually deploy terrorism on a mass scale and refuse to recognize the inexorability and naturalness of several million European and North African and other Jews living in Palestine.

    • Arab-Americans, including ‘Watan’ Newspaper, Endorse Bernie Sanders

      It notes that Sanders’s demand for even-handedness in US policy toward Israel and Palestine is unusual in the Democratic Party.

    • ‘I have a conscience’: the Wall Streeters fighting for Bernie Sanders in New York

      He may be an investment banker himself, but Ryan prefers Sanders’ pledge to begin breaking up the banks in his first 100 days in the White House over Clinton’s more indirect promises.

      “She has a thousand talking points, but when the lights are turned off and all the glare of the election fades, politics-as-normal will return, the lobbyists will get to work, and nothing at all will happen,” he said.

      Frank, still speaking anonymously, agrees. “Hillary Clinton is paying lip-service to Wall Street changes. Maybe in her heart she means business, but for me income inequality is the civil rights issue of our time, and I feel strongly we need a president who is totally committed to making this happen.”

    • ACLU Sues Bureau of Prisons Over Missing Torture Documents

      The ACLU lawsuit alleges that either the bureau conducted an inadequate search, or is illegally denying the existence of documents.

    • Liberals for Hillary: There is Nothing Stranger

      Meanwhile, since the 1960s, when African Americans secured the right to vote in practice, not just theory, Republicans have been recruiting displaced and alienated white voters into their ranks, taking advantage of racist and nativist animosities, and anything else that they could put to use.

    • I Feel a Political Revolution Coming

      The media often would like us to believe that Sanders’ promises to continue his quest for equality are too lofty and unrealistic, and even impossible. Is it really impossible to treat Black people like humans instead of just votes? Is it really so impossible to make an investment in our students instead of the $17 billion the Clintons invested in police, military grade weapons and prisons? Is it really impossible to invest in the healthcare of the American people instead of the $26 billion wasted training foreign armies under Clinton as Secretary of State? Is it really impossible to demand transparency from our police departments and our criminal justice system in an effort to bring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to fruition once and for all? Is it really impossible to take the necessary steps to get more teachers and counselors in our schools instead of labeling them super predators and putting them on the school to prison pipeline?

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Working on HTML5.1

      HTML5 was released in 2014 as the result of a concerted effort by the W3C HTML Working Group. The intention was then to begin publishing regular incremental updates to the HTML standard, but a few things meant that didn’t happen as planned. Now the Web Platform Working Group (WP WG) is working towards an HTML5.1 release within the next six months, and a general workflow that means we can release a stable version of HTML as a W3C Recommendation about once per year.

    • Obama Urges Opening Cable TV Boxes To Competition

      President Obama is throwing his weight behind a plan that would lead to competition in the market for set-top cable and satellite TV boxes. Most viewers now rent the boxes from their TV providers. The Federal Communications Commission wants to make it easier for viewers to buy the devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Say the Truth About the US Patent System, Get Attacked by the Patent Propaganda Machine (Disguised as Press)

Posted in America, Patents at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

His only ‘crime’ (which brought/attracted publicity punishment) is that he sought patent reform

Darrell Issa
Photo in the public domain, via Wikipedia

Summary: Darrell Issa (photographed above) comes under attacks from boosters of software patents, apologists of patent trolls (often funded by them), and patent maximalists because he correctly insinuated that (most) plaintiffs are like patent trolls in the United States

In the US, a lot of plaintiffs are patent trolls. These patent trolls use software patents that would be ruled invalid if brought before the courts. There’s no denying it, just look at the widely available statistics and then consider money extracted outside the courts (like ‘protection money’) and without the media even being informed (secrecy demanded by the racketeer). The USPTO keeps granting twice as many patents as one decade ago. No quality control seems to be in place, at least no effective control of quality (92% of applications wind up being accepted). These new figures from Patently-O, which cover a particular kind of patents, reinforce this. They completely reaffirm or fit the pattern and as IP Kat has just put it, “the patent system is inimical to innovative activity, at a time where innovation is seen as in decline.”

“These patent trolls use software patents that would be ruled invalid if brought before the courts.”The US patent system is now dominated more by parasites than by innovators. It’s a real issue. But those who insinuate this or ‘dare’ to point it out come under severe attacks, especially if they’re influential. Blowhard Gene Quinn (whom we often called WatchTroll for various reasons) leads the pack in these attacks.

“Congressman Issa calls patent trolls and plaintiffs interchangeable during ITC hearing,” he wrote in Twitter, linking to an article with the same headline. This whole article is based on a small spoken portion which said, “for purposes of my opening statement ‘plaintiff’ and ‘troll’ will be interchangeable.”

This seems like convenient framing for abbreviation when time is limited (a hearing), but watch how far Gene Quinn took this, defending the ITC’s embargo policies and defending patent trolls by targeting Darrell Issa, i.e. the messenger. These are the expected personal attacks on him from Quinn (for ‘hypocrisy’), in the same way he attacked Mark Cuban (over Vringo investment), who’s trying to demolish software patents.

“The US patent system is now dominated more by parasites than by innovators.”“Finally we get the truth,” IAM wrote (Gene Quinn being praised by IAM says a lot about IAM). “According to reform proponents a patent troll is any entity that seeks to enforce a patent” (because patent maximalists, propagandists, and proponents of software patents have agenda, which includes top enforcers of software patents, namely patent trolls).

Soon to join the above was a Bristows [1, 2] employee (UPC and software patents booster) who wrote: The Subcommittee is Chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has been an outspoken advocate for the need for more patent reform in order to provide relief from those he believes are abusing the patent litigation system — those sometimes called patent trolls. Indeed, from the start of the Thursday’s hearing, the debate regarding patent infringement at the ITC was couched in the language of the patent troll debate. For example, during his opening statement Congressman Issa rather imperiously stated: “for purposes of my opening statement ‘plaintiff’ and ‘troll’ will be interchangeable.”

“There is an agenda to drive and combing/cherry-picking the words of this agenda’s antagonists is a commonly-used tool.”The strategy of nitpicking a brief statement (where brevity was achieved in the above-stated fashion) is rather common these days. There is an agenda to drive and combing/cherry-picking the words of this agenda’s antagonists is a commonly-used tool. I frequently saw it done online to incite against Techrights (misrepresentation of the site’s positions).

Incidentally, and not too surprisingly (it was inevitable), IAM ‘magazine’ joins the lobbyist David Kappos (funded by IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc.) in attacking challenges to software patents in the US. To quote an article from this weekend (insisting that “something needs to be done about [section] 101″:

Earlier this week former USPTO Director David Kappos doubled down on his long-time criticism of the recent case law and called for the abolition of 101. Speaking at the Federal Circuit Judicial Conference he reportedly compared the situations in the US with Europe and Asia. “It’s time to abolish Section 101 and the reason I say that is that Europe doesn’t have 101 and Asia doesn’t have 101 and they seem to be doing just fine in constraining patent eligible subject matter,” he commented.

Such is the uncertainty around 101 in both the high tech and biotech fields, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decisions in a series of cases including Alice Corp v CLS Bank and Mayo v Prometheus, that Kappos’s concerns are shared by many patent owners. His worries around 101 have evolved over recent years. On a panel at the AIPLA annual conference in 2014 he claimed that the case law had moved far beyond the original meaning of the statute. He strengthened his arguments in a speech he gave at the LeadershIP event in 2015 when he noted that despite the uncertainty, 101 reform did not feature in the debates around patent legislation.

IAM is a mouthpiece for patent lawyers, large corporations that rely on software patents, and basically those who are paying IAM. Megaphone for those interests is what IAM has become. It’s not a news site. It’s agenda dressed up as ‘news’.

Michael Garofalo’s Patent Lawyers Austin Hansley Are Trying to Twist § 101 in Favour of Software Patents Rather Than the Opposite

Posted in America, Patents at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taking pride in the state which openly brags about being trolls-friendly

Austin Hansley

Summary: Michael Garofalo, who is attacking small companies using software patents that are likely worthless once actually subjected to expensive scrutiny (at the courts), is being defended by a firm which doesn’t seem to grasp the difference between the USPTO’s lenience and courts’ adherence to the Supreme Court’s decision on Alice

Austin Hansley, which is based near the capital of patent trolls, isn’t the sharpest pencil in the toolbox. We recently wrote about the Garfum case, where the plaintiff essentially lost after the EFF had stepped in, making ‘protection money’ harder to collect without a legal challenge.

The patent in question is a software patent — one that any court would likely invalidate because the USPTO isn’t doing its job (finding prior art, considering triviality and so on). But as long as the defendant (victim to be sued) is poor enough Michael Garofalo (of Garfum) probably hopes that money will be shelled out to avert legal expenses.

As one new report puts it:

A New Jersey man named Michael Garofalo had a patent he claimed covered online contests, and used it to demand money from other small businesses. But when the Electronic Frontier Foundation came to the defense of a photographer targeted by Garofalo last year, Garofalo quickly dropped his case. Last month, he and his lawyers were ordered to pay $29,000 in legal fees.

Now Garofalo, who owns the website Garfum.com, is asking for the fee smackdown to be reconsidered. His reasoning: since the US Patent and Trademark Office recently agreed to grant him another patent, nearly identical to the first, his case couldn’t possibly be considered “exceptional.”

“This new evidence shows that this case does not lack substantive strength,” writes Garfum.com’s lawyers, from the Texas-based Austin Hansley law firm. “Simply put, how could Plaintiff’s position lack substantive strength when the USPTO performed the same § 101 analysis as this Court and found nearly identical claims to recite patentable subject matter?”

But actually, contrary to what these aggressive lawyers claim, § 101 analysis at the court is a very different matter (unlike the 'analysis' at the USPTO), so both patents are likely to be bogus and invalid, once subjected to proper scrutiny by agents that don’t profit from granting rather than rejecting. One must begin to question whether Austin Hansley even groks § 101 at all.

Bavarian Parliament to Discuss the EPO’s Abuses in 24 Hours

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of arms of Bavaria

Summary: Action by Bavarian politicians in light of serious abuses against workers of the European Patent Office is just a day away

SUEPO, whose Web site is barely accessible at the moment, has just updated the RSS feed to mention the “Bavarian Parliament session about the urgent request regarding the situation of the employees of the EPO”. SUEPO Munich’s page was modified to say that the “urgent request (see communiqué dated 15 March 2016) made by Freie Wähler will be dealt with in an upcoming session (see request in section I.2.) of the Bavarian Parliament, which will be held on Tuesday 19 April, starting at 12:30.”

“We are aware of several other such actions, which inevitably we are going to expose at some stage.”We previously published some English translations of the complaints. Gabi Schmidt was mentioned here at least three times in the recent past in relation to action about EPO scandals at the Bavarian Parliament (see Wikipedia for background on Bavarian politics). Given the imminent lawsuit against the EPO it’s clear that despite apparent calm as of late, there’s no calm behind the scenes. We are aware of several other such actions, which inevitably we are going to expose at some stage.

EPO Integrity on the Line: The Story of Željko Topić’s Controversial Diploma – Part I

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new series which explores serious allegations against a Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Željko Topić

“Follow-up to [our] recent Croatian article” has been sent to us by a reader. Last week we published information about the latest status/situation with regards to criminal cases against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, but not much is publicly known about matters pertaining to his background, such as suicide of a DZIV employee back in the Topić days, puttin’ [sic] aside the suicides at the EPO (allegedly a tenfold rise in suicides) since Topić came to the EPO or since a short time beforehand.

Topić has many enemies in Croatia. Many of these are his victims and they are eager to tell us more about him (including his attacks on the local media).

The reader in question has decided to send us “an English translation of the text which was attached to the recent Dnevno article.” This article about Topić was also published here in German, not just in English. “This is an anonymous letter of complaint about Mr. Topić,” we got told, “which was sent in January 2012 to the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. That is the Ministry which was responsible for the oversight of the SIPO.” (the Croatian one, not the Chinese one)

Here is the text of the letter in English:

[Note.: Date stamp in top left corner]


Received: 20.1.2012 11:13:24

Classification no.

Department 08

File no.




Ministry of Science, Education and Sport
For the personal attention of the Minister:
Prof. Dr. sc. Željko Jovanović
Donje svetice 38

10000 Zagreb

Dear Minister,

in the hope that it may serve as a useful item of information for establishing the facts relating to an offence and for determining the appropriate legal sanctions and actions to prevent unwelcome aberrations in society as well as contributing to the public disclosure of this case, we submit to you the most essential information and facts.


Ever since his migration from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia in the late 1990s Mr. Željko Topić, Director of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia, has fraudulently misrepresented himself. In this way he has succeeded in occupying attractive positions in the Republic of Croatia. He even signs official documents as “Mr. sc.” [Translator’s note. : Magister scientiae, Master of Science *] and claims salary supplements despite the fact that he has never acquired the qualification of a Master of Science.

It is generally known that the attainment of a particular educational qualification – andthis also applies to the Master of Science – must and can be proven through the submission of relevant documents and evidence on every occasion when this information is considered to be of significance.

The acquisition of the academic degree of Master of Science can only be established by the possession and presentation of the legally prescribed diploma concerning the awarding of the Master’s degree. This document is issued by the appropriate Faculty at which the degree has been obtained.

The diploma is awarded in an official and solemn manner with all the necessary and required information and signatures of the authorized officials of the Faculty, with many invited guests, who are likewise witnesses to the event. All relevant information is entered into an appropriate register.

Moreover, the person in question should be in possession of at least one copy of the Master’s thesis, a document of which said person has drafted several versions and defended in front of an officially designated examination commission. In addition, it is mandatory to file at least one copy of the thesis with the Faculty.

A document relating to the assignment of the subject for the Master’s thesis and containing information about the supervisor / mentor and further details should also be available at the relevant Faculty. Of particular importance are the minutes of the examination with details of the date of the defence of the thesis, the composition of the examination commission, the questions asked and all other prescribed details. All documents and information should be indicated in the study transcript of each person who has obtained a master’s degree at the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka, and likewise in the archive of this Faculty or elsewhere in the archives of the Republika Srpska.

However, Željko Topić can produce neither a diploma with a Master’s degree acquired at the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka, nor any of the other aforementioned documents or evidence. This means that he has no diploma. He also
has no copy of his thesis, no evidence of the appointment of the examination commission, no minutes of the examination, no witnesses. He has nothing in to show except a single letter of confirmation.

It is astonishing that in the course of the past 20 years, since his migration from Banja Luka to Zagreb, where he worked in the former Committee for Science, Technology and Informatics, and its subsequent successor, the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Croatia, Željko Topić – who has been the head of the State Intellectual Property Office since 2004 – has managed to only submit a letter of confirmation which has served him as proof of having obtained a Master’s degree. This was issued on 08.12.1989 and on the basis of this he has not only advanced himself under false pretences but has signed all documents in an unjustified manner with [the title] “Mr. sc.”. In addition, he receives a salary supplement for a level of education which he does not have.

This is an elementary case of fraudulent misrepresentation [Translator’s note: alternatively “impersonation”] and unauthorized signing with [a title] “Mr. sc.” to which he has no legitimate claim, since he only obtained the second level of education [Translator’s Note: this seem to refer to a primary degree] at the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka. This is the same Faculty which many of us have also attended, most of whom have no more claim to a Master’s degree than he has.

Whether you care to believe it or not, one single puny letter of confirmation concerning the acquisition of the degree “Mr. sc.” sufficed for Mr. Topić during all the time since the late 1980s, following his migration to Zagreb and his employment, not just anywhere, but at the then State Committee for Science, Technology and Informatics. This document was signed by three professors who taught at the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka at the time. Of the three, only Professor Slobodan Đorđić remained in employment there by the early 1990s while Professor Boris Tihi moved to Sarajevo where he was the Dean of the Faculty of Economics for a time. Professor Ejub Mujezinović moved to the USA at that time.

It is an incredible and astonishing fact that for more than 20 years no one in the Republic of Croatia seems to have wanted to see the authentic statutorily prescribed documents and certificates of Mr. Topić that serve as proof of an acquired “Mr. sc.” degree. The main issue here is the Master’s degree certificate. To check this is the
responsibility and duty of the official authorities and of particular individuals in relation to hiring and the assignment to specific duties. Such checking is relatively simple and straightforward to perform. It is, however, obvious that this has not been done in accordance with the applicable regulations. This is the case concerning his initial employment in Croatia with the State Committee for Education, Technology and Informatics as well as his transfer to the Ministry of Science, but also for subsequent transfers to other positions such as those at the State Intellectual Property Office. It also applies to the procedure by which he was appointed as the Director of that Office for two terms.

A further detail which appears equally inexplicable is that under mysterious circumstances Mr. Topić succeeded in keeping the factual situation surrounding his master’s degree secret even during a campaign that was launched in the early 2000s under the government of [Prime Minister Ivica] Račan in which the documents that served as evidence of the educational qualifications claimed by all civil servants were supposed to have been collected and verified.

With regard to the collection of the necessary facts and evidence perhaps it is also worth pointing out that Banja Luka is not located at the opposite end of the world and that it would have been possible to perform an inspection of the relevant documents in cooperation with the administrative organs of the Faculty of Economics there. Moreover, it would also not have been impossible to establish contact with the academic supervisor or the members of the Examination Board who were mentioned in the relevant documentation. The same also applies to the three professors who signed the letter of confirmation in order to obtain a response detailing the circumstances under which this confirmation was issued. Maybe it is in fact a simple forgery or the aforementioned persons were pursuing a particular interest by issuing a letter of confirmation concerning a master’s degree. The competent investigative bodies in Banja Luka should also take account of this in order to obtain an answer to the questions concerning the interests involved and the circumstances under which the letter of confirmation was issued and signed.

Our decision to write to you has been inspired by the fact that the latest elections have led to a new government structure in Croatia. Thus an era has at last irrevocably dawned in our homeland in which loyalty, endeavor, courage to tackle the exposure, unmasking, breaking up and sanctioning of all kinds of felonies and other misdemeanors, such as corruption, abuse of office and various manifold violations of the law will no longer be called into question.

Now there is the possibility that this case will be investigated and brought to closure. It is possible for a new start, in which documents, such as for example the proof of a claimed level of education are actually checked in practice in a consistent manner with respect to their authenticity and legality. In this way legal sanctions could be initiated – without exception and in all cases where forgeries are detected.

The citizens of the Republic of Croatia, amongst whose number are former students of the Economics Faculty in Banja Luka, wish to express their gratitude in advance,

Zagreb, January 2012

* Translator’s Note: “Mr. sc.” = Master of Science.
In former Socialist Republic of Jugoslavia and prior to the introduction of the Bologna Process in Croatia, this level of education could be acquired through a postgraduate study, which normally lasted two years following a primary degree. So it is not identical to the German Master’s degree but is a higher position and somewhere between a “diploma” (primary degree) and a doctorate / Ph.D.

“Around this time,” our reader continued, “or shortly afterwards, the then Minister Jovanovic attempted to launch a series of investigations into the affairs of the SIPO. An initial report was issued by the Ministry on 16th March 2012.”

We fortunately have a copy of this report (in Croatian). We first outline its context in German (English text later):

Auszug aus einem Bericht des Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport (zuständig für das Staatliche Amt für Geistiges Eigentum).

Datum: 16 März 2012.

Es folgt eine Übersetzung aus dem kroatischen – ohne Gewähr.

II. Amtliche Stellungnahme bezüglich des erreichten akademischen Bildungsgrades eines Magisters der Wissenschaften durch den Amtsleiter des DZIV, Željko Topić

Nach einer Einsichtnahme in die Dokumentation wird festgestellt, dass Mr. sc. Željko Topić gemäß folgenden Beschlüssen der Regierung der Republik Kroatien zum Amtsleiter des Staatlichen Amts für intellektuelles Eigentum [kroat. DZIV / Državni institut za intelektualno vlasništvo] ernannt wurde: Vom 5. Mai 2004, KLASSE 080-02/04-01/281, REG. NR. 50304/2-04-02 (Amtsblatt, Nr. 59/04) vom 19. März 2008, KLASSE: 080-02/08-01/171, REG. NR. 50304/2-08-01 (Amtsblatt, Nr. 35/08), vom 3. September 2009, KLASSE 080-02/09-01/240, REG. Nr. 503/2-09-01 (Amtsblatt, Nr. 108/09) und vom 26. Januar 2012, KLASSE: 080-02/12-01/107, REG. NR. 5030115/1-12-01 (Amtsblatt, Nr. 16/12).

Bezüglich der Bestellung von Željko Topić zum Amtsleiter des DZIV und einer eventuellen Anfechtung seiner Bestellung zum Amtsleiter des DZIV, wurde in einer zuvor empfangenen Dokumentation festgestellt, dass die ehemalige Mitarbeiterin des DZIV, Vesna Stilin, dessen Bestellung mit einer Klage beim Verwaltungsgericht der Republik Kroatien angefochten hat. Am 24. September 2008 hat das Verwaltungsgericht der Republik Kroatien den Beschluss gefasst, dass die Klage mit der Begründung abgewiesen wird, dass keine Klage zulässig sei. Gegen diesen Beschluss des Verwaltungsgerichts der Republik Kroatien hat Vesna Stilin eine Verfassungsklage beim Verfassungsgericht der Republik Kroatien eingereicht. Am 3. Februar 2011 hat das Verfassungsgericht mit seinem Beschluss Nr. RH-U-III-5023/2008 die Klage von Vesna Stilin mit der Begründung abgelehnt, dass keine Voraussetzung für den Beschluss über eine verfassungsrechtliche Art der Sache gegeben sei. Das Gericht hat beschlossen, dass sich die in der Verwaltungsklage bereits vorgebrachten, anfechtbaren Gründe mit einer Wiederholung dieser Gründe, die bereits in der Klage vor dem Verwaltungsgericht vorgebracht wurden, erschöpft haben. Somit wurde beschlossen, dass es sich im konkreten Fall nicht um eine Durchsetzung von Grundrechten der Klägerin handelt und dass daher keine verfassungsrechtliche Art der Sache besteht, über die das Verfassungsgericht entscheiden könne.

Das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport hat am 20. Januar 2012 eine anonyme Beschwerde erhalten, in der aufgeführt ist, dass sich der Amtsleiter des DZIV, Mr. sc. Željko Topić, mit falschen Angaben vorstellt, bezüglich der Tatsache, dass er keinen Magister der Wissenschaften* erworben hat. Im Hinblick auf die erwähnte Tatsache hat sich Mr. sc. Željko Topić in einem Schreiben dazu geäußert, das dem Ministerium am 2. Februar 2012 zugestellt wurde, ebenso hat er in einem Gespräch mit dem Ausschuss bei Durchführung einer Verwaltungskontrolle dazu Stellung genommen. Željko Topić führt dabei an, dass er bis 1988 eine Ausbildung in Banja Luka durchlaufen hat. An der Wirtschaftsfakultät in Banja Luka wurde er 1977 immatrikuliert und hat dort 1981 einen Diplomabschluss erworben. An dieser Fakultät hat er ein anschließend postgraduales Studium abgeschlossen und mit der Verteidigung seiner Magisterarbeit am 8. Dezember 1989 den akademischen Grad eines Magisters der Wissenschaften erworben. Er erklärt, dass das Studium an der Wirtschaftfakultät in Banja Luka, unter Beteiligung damals eminenter Professoren von vielen Universitäten des ehemaligen Staates [Anm.: Jugoslawien] organisiert war. Sein Mentor war Prof. Boris Tihi, der [Anm.: heute] ordentlicher Professor und Dekan der Wirtschaftfakultät in Sarajewo ist. Nach seinen [Anm.: Topićs] Ausführungen musste er nach Bestehen aller Prüfungen und der Ausarbeitung seiner
Magisterarbeit längere Zeit auf die Vereinbarung eines Verteidigungstermins warten und siedelte während dieser Zeit nach Zagreb über. Topić führt weiter aus, dass er dort eine Anstellung im staatlichen Selbstverwaltungskollegium für Wissenschaften [Anm.: kroat. SIZ / Samoupravni institut za znanost] (dem späteren Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Technologie der Republik Kroatien) fand und zwar mit seinem Diplom als Wirtschaftswissenschaftler (und nicht als Magister der Wissenschaften). Seine Magisterarbeit verteidigte er schließlich am 8. Dezember 1989, aufgrund dessen wurde ihm am 11. Dezember 1989 eine Bestätigung ausgegeben, die vom Dekan der Wirtschaftsfakultät in Banja Luka, Prof. Dr. Sc. Šefkija Berberović, unterzeichnet war. Damals wurde ihm als erstem Absolventen dieses Studiengangs gesagt, dass er noch abwarten müsse, bis weitere Kandidaten ihren Magisterabschluss erwerben, erst anschließend würde man Diplome drucken und eine Promotionsfeier [Anm.: eine an Hochschulen übliche Abschlussfeier für die Absolventen eines Jahrgangs] organisieren. Nach Angaben von Herrn Topić kam es jedoch bis Kriegsausbruch nicht mehr dazu und er kehrte sieben Jahre nicht mehr nach Banja Luka zurück. Zwischenzeitlich wurden die Diplome ausgegeben, allerdings von Seiten und mit den Symbolen des neu gegründeten Staates Republika Srpska [Anm.: heute ein Teilstaat von Bosnien-Herzegowina].

Mit der Einsicht in die Bestätigung vom 11. Dezember 1989 ist ersichtlich, dass Željko Topić, Sohn des Vladimir, geboren am 5. August 1959 in Banja Luka, Gemeinde Banja Luka, am 8. Dezember 1989 seine Magisterarbeit verteidigt und damit die Voraussetzung für den Erwerb des akademischen Bildungsgrades eines Magisters der Wirtschaftswissenschaften aus dem Bereich „Entwicklung und Förderung des Exports im Rahmen der Kollektivarbeit“ erlangt hat.

Mit Einsicht in das Diplom aus dem Jahr 2001 (ein genaues Datum ist darin nicht aufgeführt) wird ersichtlich, dass dieses ebenfalls von der Universität in Banja Luka, Wirtschaftfakultät Banja Luka, ausgegeben wurde. Im Diplom ist vermerkt, dass Herr Željko Topić, geboren am 5. August 1959 in Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosnien-Herzegowina, 1985 in das erste Studienjahr des Magisterstudiums an der Wirtschaftsfakultät in Banja Luka eingeschrieben wurde und am 8. Dezember 1989 seine Magisterarbeit unter dem Titel „Position und Rolle einer Marketinguntersuchung im Herbeiführungsprozess von Investitionsentscheidungen“ verteidigt hat. Auf Grundlage dessen wird ihm das erwähnte Abschlussdiplom über den erworbenen (wissenschaftlichen) Bildungsgrad eines Magisters der Wirtschaftwissenschaften ausgegeben, mit der fortlaufenden Evidenznummer 21 für ausgegebene Diplomurkunden.

* Anm.: Der kroatische Magister der Wissenschaften ist nicht dem deutschen Bildungsgrad eines Magisters (= Diplom, 1. Bildungsgrad an der Universität) gleichzusetzen; der Magister gilt als 2. Bildungsgrad (und ist etwa zwischen Diplom und Doktortitel einzuorden), der Magister wird durch ein postgraduales Aufbaustudium erworben. Diese Angaben beziehen sich vor die Zeit des Bologna-Prozesses


Im Zusammenhang mit dem erworbenen Bildungsgrad des Amtsleiters des Staatlichen Instituts für intellektuelles Eigentum [kroat. DZIV] möchten wir erwähnen, dass aus dem Diplom der Universität in Banja Luka, Wirtschaftsfakultät Banja Luka, hervorgeht, dass Željko Topić den akademischen Grad eines Magisters der Wissenschaften erworben hat. Ein Diplom ist eine amtliche Urkunde, die von einer Hochschule ausgegeben wird und als Nachweis dient, dass der Student ein bestimmtes Studium beendet und damit das Recht auf einen akademischen Titel oder Bildungsgrad erworben hat. Da dem Ministerium allerdings nur eine Kopie des Diploms zugestellt wurde und unter Berücksichtigung dessen, dass kein Datum der Diplomaushändigung vermerkt ist, wird das Ministerium von der Wirtschaftsfakultät in Banja Luka die Übermittlung der Dokumentation sowie eine Erklärung über den Erwerb des akademischen Grades eines Magisters der Wissenschaften von Željko Topić auf dem Amtsweg anfordern.

Bezüglich des Betrages in Höhe von 1.033.182,20 Kuna, den das DZIV für intellektuelle und persönliche Dienstleistungen ausgezahlt hat, wurde bei einer Prüfung festgestellt, dass sich diese Summe zum Teil auf die Auszahlung von Vergütungen für die Teilnahme an der Durchführung von Fachprüfungen für bevollmächtigte Vertreter auf dem Gebiet des industriellen Eigentums bezieht. Diese Vergütung wurde aufgrund eines Beschlusses des Amtsleiter des DZIV, Željko Topić, (Klasse: 400-01/06-010/002, Reg.-Nr. 559-02/1-07-02) vom 9. März 2007 ausgezahlt. Die gesamte Vergütung in Höhe von 4.000,00 Kuna, die von einem Kandidaten eingezahlt wurde, deckte den Nettobetrag der Vergütungssumme, die dem Vorsitzenden, den Mitgliedern sowie dem Sekretär der Kommission ausgezahlt wurde. Im Gegensatz dazu wurden allerdings die Abgaben »aus« und »auf« die Bemessungsgrundlage, wie z.B. Steuern und Kommunalabgaben direkt zu Lasten der Haushaltsgelder gezahlt. Das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport ist der Ansicht, dass der gesamte Bruttobetrag der Vergütungen, die dem Vorsitzenden, dessen Stellvertreter, den Mitgliedern, deren Stellvertretern sowie dem Sekretär der Kommission ausgezahlt werden, nicht den Betrag überschreiten dürfen, den ein Kandidat einzahlt.

Zudem hat sich der aufgeführte Betrag zum Teil auf die Begleichung von Werk- und Autorenverträgen bezogen, die mit Mitarbeitern des DZIV für die Anfertigung von Dokumenten, Artikeln und Präsentationen zu Themen aus dem Kompetenzbereich des DZIV abgeschlossen worden waren. Das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport vertritt die Ansicht, dass die erwähnten Auszahlungen an die Mitarbeiter des DZIV infolge von Werkverträgen nicht im Einklang mit den Vorschriften stehen, die die Arbeitsverhältnisse regeln – da hier Tätigkeiten vereinbart wurden, die sich größtenteils unmittelbar mit der Verrichtung der Aufgaben der entsprechenden Arbeitsplätze, den Anweisungen des Arbeitgebers, in dessen Namen und auf dessen Rechnung, decken. Ein Teil des Betrages bezieht sich dabei auf die Begleichung von Autorenverträgen, die mit Mitarbeitern des DZIV für die Übersetzung von Gesetzestextes im Bereich Urheberrechte abgeschlossen wurden. Das Ministerium vertritt die Ansicht, dass, falls es sich um die Übersetzung von Vorschriften handelt, die für das DZIV von Belange sind, davon ausgegangen werden kann, das dies die Mitarbeiter des DZIV auch im Rahmen ihres Aufgabenbereichs erledigen können.

Bezüglich der vereinbarten Werkverträge sollte unterstrichen werden, dass das Arbeitsverhältnis zwischen Arbeitgeber und Arbeitnehmer aufgrund der im Arbeitsgesetz verankerten Bestimmungen geregelt ist. Wenn eine Person in den Geschäftsräumen und mit den Arbeitsmitteln eines Arbeitgebers tätig ist, nach dessen Anweisungen und Beauftragungen handelt, wenn der Arbeitgeber gegenüber dritten Personen für die Ergebnisse der Arbeit dieser Person haftet, falls diese Person die entsprechende Arbeit im Rahmen der Arbeitszeit durchführt – wie die übrigen Beschäftigten dieses Arbeitgebers –, handelt es sich um ein Arbeitsverhältnis. Ein Werkvertrag, mit allen Merkmalen des Schuldrechts, könnte nur für die Durchführung einer einmaligen Tätigkeit abgeschlossen werden, für die nicht die Arbeitszeit maßgeblich ist, sondern die Erbringung einer bestimmten Leistung innerhalb einer festgelegten Frist und für ein vereinbartes Honorar. Aufgrund dieser Tatsachen wird das Ministerium die Durchführung einer Prüfung von Seiten des Staatlichen Inspektorates, konkret: der Arbeitsinspektion*, veranlassen. Bezüglich der Anschaffung und Nutzung von Dienstwagen wird bestätigt, dass die DZIV für die Anschaffung der umstrittenen Automobile das Einverständnis der kroatischen Regierung hatte, auf dessen Grundlage die Verträge für das operative Leasing abgeschlossen wurden. Das Ministerium kann im Hinblick darauf keine Unrechtmäßigkeiten feststellen.

Aus der Antwort des Finanzministeriums vom 25. Februar 2008 auf das Protokoll über die Durchführung der Budgetüberwachung wird ersichtlich, dass das Finanzministerium bestimmte Erklärungen des DZIV als Antwort auf festgestellte Unrechtmäßigkeiten nicht akzeptiert hat. Hierbei muss berücksichtigt werden, dass im Zeitraum 1. März 2008 bis 22. Dezember 2011 das Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Unternehmertum für das DZIV zuständig war. Das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport hatte in diesem Zeitraum keinen Einblick in die Geschäftsaktivitäten des DZIV. Aufgrund der aufgeführten Tatsachen wird dieses Ministerium in Einklang mit den Bestimmungen aus Artikel 115 und 116 des Haushaltsgesetzes (Amtsblatt Nr. 87/08) vom Finanzministerium allerdings die Durchführung einer Budgetüberprüfung aus Gründen der Gesetzmäßigkeit, Zweckmäßigkeit und Rechtzeitigkeit der Nutzung von Mitteln aus dem Budget für den genannten Zeitraum verlangen.

Der Minister

[handschriftliche Unterschrift sowie Rundstempel, beides unleserlich]

Dr. sc. Željko Jovanović

Zuzustellen an:

1. Anschrift
2. Ablage, hier.

* Anm.: Arbeitsinspektion, in Deutschland: Gewerbeaufsicht

“Unfortunately,” our reader said, “no complete English translation of this document is available.” There is “a translation of one short passage from the concluding section.” Here is what we have so far:


With respect to the acquired level of education of the Director of the State Intellectual Property Office [Croatian: DZIV] we would like to mention that from the diploma of the University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Economics Banja Luka, it appears that Željko Topic has earned the degree of Master of Science.
A diploma is an official document that is issued by a university and which serves as proof that the student has completed a particular course of study and has thus acquired the right to an academic title or educational degree. Since, however, the Ministry has only been provided with a copy of the diploma and taking into account the fact that the date of the award of the diploma is not recorded, the Ministry will request from the Economic Faculty in Banja Luka through official channels the transmission of the documentation and a declaration concerning the acquisition of the degree of Master of Science by Željko Topic.

Herein (below) is the original in the form of images. A full English translation both of the German text and the Croatian text might be handy as otherwise it’s accessible to limited audience only.

Letter in ministry's report - page 1

Letter in ministry's report - page 2

Letter in ministry's report - page 3

Letter in ministry's report - page 4

Letter in ministry's report - page 5

Letter in ministry's report - page 6

Letter in ministry's report - page 7

Letter in ministry's report - page 8

Letter in ministry's report - page 9

Letter in ministry's report - page 10

Church of EPO: How Team Battistelli Engineered the Dismissal of People Not Sufficiently Loyal to Them – Part IV

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli and Minnoye have effectively placed themselves above the law, having created new instruments of coercion and unjust power over staff

EPO gods

Summary: Why EPO management perceives itself as exempted from its own rules and outside the law of host nations, and how it achieved or attained these God-like powers

In part one, part two, and part three we carefully looked — more or less retroactively — at how EPO management gave itself supreme powers with minimal or zero oversight. We moreover considered how it proceeded to sending to exile various members of staff who — although perfectly competent — were viewed as a danger to the leadership and thus terminated using bizarre pretexts, without the lawmaker/accuser/judge/executioner (the EPO’s President) facing any consequences or even veto, except a hoard of protesting (and more recently striking) staff. The Administrative Council continues to be far too soft and thus complicit in all this. We heard that there are prospects of lawsuits against them (or their national offices) for this complicity, setting aside the imminent lawsuit against EPO management.

“This is like a monarchy at the very heart of an international organisation and it’s designed to eliminate dissent or resistance, however legitimate it may be.”Documents we showed in previous parts marked or at least signaled the beginning of the bizarre disciplinary procedures against staff representatives at the EPO. They were not punished and/or dismissed (even lost pension rights in one case) for their union roles; at least that’s how EPO management tried to make it appear. In October 2014 we published Circular 342 [PDF]. These are the Investigation Guidelines at the EPO (11 pages in total). Not too long ago we learned that Battistelli considers the Code of Conduct, which he himself violates (see installment one of this series), part of this aforementioned legal framework, even though he wrote it entirely himself. This is like a monarchy at the very heart of an international organisation and it’s designed to eliminate dissent or resistance, however legitimate it may be. “When you start reading it,” told us the source of Battistelli’s own Code of Conduct, “you’ll get that the Code of Conduct is meant to apply to everyone except himself. Management by intimidation started with the publication of the Code of Conduct in 2012. The next step was the Investigation Guidelines together with the Guidelines on Harassment.”

When the Administrative Council and Board 28 were finally going to do something about Battistelli’s lawlessness guess who stepped in? It was Mr Minnoye and his now-infamous letter. Speaking of Minnoye, somebody sent us these amusing reminders of how he too ignores (or makes up) the law, and is proud of it!

Mr Minnoye’s respect for the judiciary

Vraag: Dus U zult de uitspraak van de hoogste rechter in Nederland niet respecteren?

Minnoye: Ja.


Question: So you will not respect the decision of the highest judge in the Netherlands?

Minnoye: Yes (indeed).

Mr Minnoye is a repeat offender. Already on earlier occasions he has shown very little respect for the judiciary, see [IP Kat]

To quote Minnoye’s letter from that time:

Dear all,

In relation to the letter sent by Professor Sir Robin Jacob to Mr. Kongstad, VP1 asked to share with you the following remarks:

Sir Jacob 1) is not aware of all facts
2) is not aware of what the decision of the president was (office ban)
3) does not understand that the AC took the decision based on facts!
4) does not understand that this case has nothing to do with the independence of the Boards!
5) and nevertheless writes this letter!

Best regards,

This, as someone put it, “is only matched by the Dutch government’s concern about human rights” (based on the same as the above link). To quote: “De regering maakt zich weliswaar zorgen over de sociale situatie bij het Octrooibureau, maar stelt: “voor de vraag of een internationale organisatie immuniteit toekomt (is) niet van belang of haar mensenrechtenschendingen of andere schendingen van internationaal recht verweten worden.”

Translated into English: “The (Dutch) government is concerned about the social situation within the Patent Office, but considers that for the question whether or not an international organisation has immunity it is irrelevant whether it is accused of violations of human rights or other violations of international law.”

What an utterly poor hand-waving gesture. As one Dutch article put it, "What If the European Patent Office Were to Torture?" Should Battistelli and Minnoye be allowed to get away with that, too? Gods in their own mind, they already psychologically torture people and then feel stunned that the German/Bavarian press highlights correlation to suicides.

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