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06.15.16

Battistelli’s European Patent Office Broadens FTI Consulting Contract to Undermine the Media, Wastes Millions of Euros

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FTI Consulting is hired when powerful people need to whitewash (or greenwash) truly evil things like fracking

FTI Consulting for fracking
FTI Consulting for fracking. From FTI Consulting’s own brochure [PDF], bragging about helping to poison British people on behalf of big clients.

Summary: Shedding light on what happens to EPO budget and how it’s put “to work” under Battistelli’s unprecedented tyranny (Eponia) right at the very heart of Europe

MANAGEMENT at the EPO has turned worse than nasty and malicious. It is now an existential threat to the Office and the whole Organisation, having wasted a lot of money buying positive publicity and earning utterly negative publicity (which is mostly definitely deserved). This reputation-laundering exercise may help determine if Battistelli and his thugs survive with their miserable careers.

Based on this morning’s Twitter activity (they have changed their tune somewhat since yesterday), the EPO’s lobbying of delegates is imminent, shortly after EIA2016 (a lobbying opportunity) and before the Administrative Council’s meeting: “In Tirana this week we’ll be discussing with EPO member states how to improve services for businesses & inventors. Stay tuned for updates!” (yesterday’s tweet was a lot more revealing as there is budget at stake)

“What we wish to draw attention to right now is the distraction and diversion campaign that portrays EPO staff as violent, armed, and dangerous.”This is another opportunity to grease up delegates and their nations before a vote that ought to sack Battistelli. “Keep on dreaming,” told us one person about this prospect, “Battistelli will never ever be sacked by the AC! Kongstad and Battistelli are close friends.”

Moreover, he appears to be 'buying' votes. What we wish to draw attention to right now is the distraction and diversion campaign that portrays EPO staff as violent, armed, and dangerous. It helps Battistelli surround himself with six bodyguards which are grossly overpriced (and raise questions about the very legitimacy of the secret contract). It turns out that Battistelli’s friend’s wife, a short French lady, is also strutting around with bodyguards (yes, plural!) these days and the sky is the limit in Napoleon’s EPO. Moreover, the PR contracts (i.e. manipulation of the media) are on the rise and they are expanding, broadening the reach of obnoxious PR people who also tried to push fracking into the Manchester area. These people have business objectives; they don’t have ethics.

HB GaryRecall some of the awful strategies used by HBGary on behalf of corporate clients against Wikileaks, against journalists, and against the public. These are the tactics EPO workers ought to expect from EPO management right now. EPO management sent threats my way only weeks after signing the FTI Consulting deal and that’s about the same time when EPO used German and Dutch media to defame a falsely-accused (of fictitious things) judge whose 'trial' ended in his favour yesterday (for the third time).

There are truly nasty tactics being employed by the EPO at the moment. Those who are not aware of it must not have paid sufficient attention. These attempts to anonymously defame the judge, as we noted the other day, came right after the contract with FTI Consulting. Guess what EPO management is doing. Will it shy away and end the FTI Consulting contract? No, it broadens it, offering financial awards for what sank the EPO into an unprecedented crisis. In the following text which we received, note the part about the bodyguards as well:

The EPO is very secretive about its finances. Hence the few documents that it publishes – internally only – are worth reading. Someone recently drew our attention to the very last entry in CA/F 6/16 that refers to “close protection” (i.e. bodyguards) and concerns 6 contracts with 6 individuals, at a total of €550.000 for a fixed period of 6 months. Over a year this makes 1.1 million Euros, just to protect Mr. Battistelli (4 bodyguards) and Ms. Bergot (2 bodyguards) from what seem to be largely imaginary dangers. As far as we know the Office never made “awards” of this kind to individuals, but only to companies. It is not clear why this time things are different. We also wonder how the individuals concerned were selected. Could they be old friends of one of our newly recruited managers? There are more pearls to be found in CA/F 6/16, e.g. we note a contract worth €280.200 for FTI consulting – already graced with some €870.000 at the end of last year – for “EPO’s position campaign for Germany, the Netherlands and France”. That makes more than 1.1 million Euro purely for propagating the Office’s story telling, on top of the European Inventor of the Year award, estimated to cost several million Euros. There is also a contract of almost €800.000 for Lenz & Staehelin, lawyers in Geneva, for “legal support for EPO cases at ILOAT”, i.e. for the Organisation to fight its staff. To that the sum paid to ILOAT (estimated at 20-25k per case) must be added. The President and VP4 nevertheless continue to provoke ILOAT cases, among others by refusing even modest compensations e.g. for excessive delays awarded by the Internal Appeals Committee – for the results see herein further below.

No wonder EPO staff is up in arms. Look how the Office is run. It’s madness. If it was a private company, it would have folded long ago. Paying publishers for UPC propaganda events in the US is small potatoes when the budget is as incredible as more than a million dollars per year (to a US-based PR firm).

Using PR and purchases of press contracts (media ‘partnership’), which is a growing trend, the EPO management is trying to maintain the illusion that everything is going well. It’s appalling to watch such an expensive charade going unpunished, with zero accountability in fact (no matter if people’s money goes down the drain). Last year the EPO did publicity stunts for a fraud which is responsible for many deaths. When EPO management is making “entertainment” out of frauds and crooks like Elizabeth Holmes, for example, what does that say about EPO management? Regarding this one examples (Holmes), one reader asked us, “did you notice they are making a blockbuster film about Elizabeth Holmes with her being played by Jennifer Lawrence? I really hope that someone catches onto the idea of “the corrupt world of patents” and does a bit of digging…”

“This ‘article’ says “King Battistelli” but does not properly explain that it’s a cynical label for Battistelli because he’s a megalomaniac tyrant and infamous thug.”This is about that dumb European Inventor Award ceremony, which is called a “Eurovision for” Battistelli (they say “Hot Patent Talent”) by this new puff piece that EPO links to (as of last night, shortly after it got published). After waste and abuse (purchasing of media) we cannot quite understand how it really came about; maybe FTI Consulting contacted Etan Smallman or someone else at Vice? And at what cost? At whose expense?

This ‘article’ says “King Battistelli” but does not properly explain that it’s a cynical label for Battistelli because he’s a megalomaniac tyrant and infamous thug. Instead they attribute it to extravagant tendencies as follows:

It is the flagship event of the European Patent Office (EPO), a quango that employs 7,000 people and has been embroiled in a peculiar amount of publicity and controversy of late. While the inventors themselves are invariably modest to a fault, the same can’t be said for the EPO’s president, Benoît Battistelli, recently referred to rather scathingly as “King Battistelli” by one tech website. His face receives a whole page in the event’s brochure and each year he insists on mounting the stage—with accompanying introduction from the glamorous host—for the announcement of every single category.

The reason he’s called “King Battistelli” is that he does not obey the law. He doesn’t even obey ServRegs. Battistelli is breaking his own rules. As one person put it last night:

Mr. Battistelli sent a threatening message to the Enlarged Board of Appeal

If true, then according to the Guidelines for Investigation, everyone concerned has a DUTY to report Mr. B. to the investigative unit. According to what had been presented as his contract, he is after all submitted to the same staff regulations as every one else…

When Mr. Battistelli leaves service in one way or another, will he be submitted to the whim of his successor before applying to a new job?

And if there is a vacancy at the top, does this mean that no one can leave the EPO anymore?

As one person noted, Battistelli “is appointed by the AC so it is they who would decide his future employment? But if he leaves within 10 years is his pension still retained by the EPO?”

More comments on this topic (but another thread) were as follows:

The EBoA was right in considering that its independence was threatened. Mr Battistelli has just put a document for the June session of the AC which defines Standards of Conduct applying to everyone including the BoA. All EPO employees must act solely in the interests of the organisation. Nothing is said about the interests of the users of the patent system and the public. And its the EPO Stasi, the Investigative Unit which will track those deviating from the standards.

Is that the end of it before the EBA with regard to this ‘case’ (number 3) or did the EBA just suspend procedures? If ended, who will rid BB [Battistelli] of these troublesome judges? Will there be legal advice (VP5?) that the EPO judiciary is out of control and not acting correctly? Surely now the AC will have to resolve the big issue – BB v DG3. They either decide to overrule DG3 or they overrule BB, it’s difficult to see any form of co-existence.

Amazing. A new low for the EPO.

I’m confused, and trying to make sense of the bigger picture. Does anyone have any insight into why the EPO has descended into such farce? The common narrative seems to be that, once Battistelli realised he was above national law, and could change internal regulations at will, and was answerable only to a disparate bunch of spineless bureaucrats, he decided to give the EPO a good shake-up – either for ideological reasons (ENA-style) or because he’s simply a nasty piece of work, depending on whose narrative you read.

But isn’t it more likely that the AC gave Battistelli specific objectives, such as improving productivity, and that he was simply not able enough to deliver on these without causing all a whole lot of collateral damage to the office and its reputation?

And whose idea was it to set Battistelli these objectives anyway? Was change really needed? What was the motivation for the changes? Fear of the UPC? The TTIP?

Whatever the reasons, there needs to be some transparency and public accountability. The current situation is not only farcical but also a touch sinister – is it really a good idea to entrust important national legal and economic issues to an organisation with no effective accountability?

What we’re seeing right now at the EPO is beyond words. It is a lot worse than anything we saw in FIFA. It’s a lot more similar to the Watergate Scandal, but this one is lasting years and there’s still no resolution, not even a resignation. Eponia is one heck of a crazy place run by crazy people, where managers needlessly waste millions of Euros on bodyguards, millions of Euros on PR firms whose role is to lie to the media, and even give millions of dollars to media companies in order to compare the EPO to “Eurovision”, whereupon the EPO’s PR team links to that as ‘proof’ that Battistelli is an awesome king whose haters are just utterly jealous.

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