EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.28.16

The EPO’s Balkan Express Keeps Chugging Along Despite Predictions of Derailment

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Balkan Express crossing the Isar in Bavaria
Balkan Express crossing the Isar in Bavaria

Balkan Express

WELCOME TO RS

Summary: The latest part in the series regarding the reappointment of the two Vice-Presidents, Casado and Topić

THE EPO‘s management makes things worse before it makes things any better. The reappointment of two Vice-Presidents, Casado and Topić, is quite revealing. We already wrote about Casado; see part one (photos addendum) and part two (photos addendum). Today we deal with Topić, having published a leaked letter this morning and a teaser with accompanying photographs.

The latest official Communique issued by the EPO Administrative Council on the 14th of October 2016 confirmed that “on a proposal from the President” the Council had decided to extend the appointment of Željko Topić as Vice-President of Directorate-General 4 until the 31st of December 2018.

Topić’s contract was due to expire in April 2017 and in June of this year rumours were already circulating that there was strong opposition inside the Administrative Council to a prolongation. But after persistent and intensive lobbying on behalf of his “winning team” it appears that “Il Duce” was ultimately able to prevail against his opponents. The news that the EPO Balkan Express is now scheduled to remain in service until the end of 2018 probably came as an unpleasant surprise to those who had expected this particular “gravy train” to be decommissioned at the end of its current term.

“Topić’s contract was due to expire in April 2017 and in June of this year rumours were already circulating that there was strong opposition inside the Administrative Council to a prolongation.”To mark the occasion it seems like a good idea to revisit this controversial “Topic” (if you’ll excuse the pun) and to provide Techrights readers with an update concerning Battistelli’s “Balkan Connection”.

Topić originally comes from Banja Luka which is in the Republic Sprksa region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the former Republic of Jugoslavia split up it seems that he moved to Zagreb some time in the early 1990s and pursued a career in the Croatian civil service where he eventually became Director General of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and head of the Croatian delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council.

Although he is officially a Croatian national for EPO purposes it is rumoured that he also claims Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizenship by virtue of his roots in Banja Luka. Nobody can say for certain whether or not he has declared any additional citizenships which he might hold to the Administrative Council of the EPO (which is his appointing authority).

“Although he is officially a Croatian national for EPO purposes it is rumoured that he also claims Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizenship by virtue of his roots in Banja Luka.”EPO insiders say that the “Balkan Connection” forms an important link in Battistelli’s pan-European political network. It seems that the links between Battistelli and Topić go back at least as far as 2008 when as heads of their respective national IP Offices they signed a bilateral agreement between France and Croatia [PDF] (see photograph in our “teaser” article).

Topić also appears to have long established links to the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) which was involved in two EU-sponsored twinning projects with the Croatian SIPO between 2003 to 2005 and again in 2009 to 2010. Sources include the DKPTO’s own site (more here). In our “teaser” we showed Topić a decade ago (2006), meeting the DKPTO for the twinning project [PDF]. The head of the DKPTO is now the Chinchilla Man of the Administrative Council, Mr. Kongstad.

Back in 2014 Techrights reported about an alleged "Protection Triangle" involving Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić.

“The head of the DKPTO is now the Chinchilla Man of the Administrative Council, Mr. Kongstad.”In his current position as a key member of “Team Battistelli” at the EPO, Topić is said to be useful for drumming up support amongst the delegations from the territory of the former Jugoslavia and its neighbouring states. He seems to be an old hand at this kind of political lobbying game. The source is Wikileaks diplomatic cable 07ZAGREB597, which reveals that he previously assisted the efforts of the US to unseat Kamil Idris as the Director General of the WIPO in 2007. To quote from the Wikileaks cable: “Topić said he would raise the issue there and urge those states that are also EU members to lobby the other EU member states to take a firm position on Idris at the September WIPO General Assembly.”

Background to the Kamil Idris affair is in Wikipedia.

Following his appointment as EPO Vice-President, Topić is said to have maintained close links to the Croatian delegation on the Administrative Council which is now headed by Ljiljana Kuterovac (see the leaked letter we published this morning), the current Director General of the Croatian SIPO. Kuterovac is reputed to be Topić’s protégée having previously served under him at the SIPO as an Assistant Director.

According to sources in Croatia, during Topić’s time as Director General from 2004 to 2012 Kuterovac was one of five Assistant Directors. From among the group of five, Kuterovac seems to have been the Director General’s favorite Pet Chinchilla and she is reported to have regularly accompanied him on official trips to the WIPO and other IP “junkets” around the globe. It is further alleged that an upmarket Skoda Octavia Combi 1.9 TDI limousine which was acquired by the SIPO in 2007 as one of three luxury cars for its official fleet was placed at the exclusive disposal of Kuterovac. Apparently she was the only one of the five Assistant Directors to receive such perks. It has been reported from Zagreb that a long overdue audit of the SIPO which was belatedly completed by the Croatian Ministry of Finance in March 2016 confirmed that, as has long been suspected, the luxury cars used by the SIPO during Topić’s term of office were acquired in breach of the applicable official budgetary regulations.

“It has been reported from Zagreb that a long overdue audit of the SIPO which was belatedly completed by the Croatian Ministry of Finance in March 2016 confirmed that, as has long been suspected, the luxury cars used by the SIPO during Topić’s term of office were acquired in breach of the applicable official budgetary regulations.”Between Topić and Kuterovac there appears to be a “synergy” comparable to that which has been recently noted in the case of the Spanish Vice-President Alberto Casado and the head of the Spanish delegation, Patricia Garcia-Escudero. In both cases the head of an Administrative Council delegation got appointed to a position as EPO Vice-President and his successor as head of delegation was his former subordinate and deputy. As with Casado and Garcia-Escudero, this is another case in which an EPO Vice-President appears to be in a position to exert an inappropriate level of influence over an individual member of the oversight body because of the previous professional relationship.

Shortly before the Administrative Council met in Munich on the 12th and 13th of October and decided to renew Topić’s contract, sources in Croatia reported on an interesting development in a civil lawsuit which is being pursued in Zagreb against the Croatian SIPO and its former Director General by former SIPO employees as previously reported by Techrights. See our earlier report on this.

The lawsuit which concerns claims of harassment and other SIPO management misconduct was filed a long time ago in 2008 and it is still working its way through the painfully slow Croatian legal system. The good news for those affected is that the last hearing took place on the 10th of October 2016 when one of the lead plaintiffs, Jadranka Oklobdžija, was heard as a witness. Ms Oklobdžija was the Chairperson of the staff union at the SIPO at the time in question. Now that the court hearings are finished a judgment is expected fairly soon. People who have been following the case say that this is not likely to be in Topić’s favour.

“Due to these developments it now seems that Topić no longer enjoys the high-level political “protection” that he is once reputed to have had in his adopted homeland.”At the same time other sources in Croatia have pointed out that a number of criminal complaints against Topić are still sitting on the desk of the Public Prosecutor in Zagreb. It is rumoured that during the time when Ivo Josipovic was President of Croatia (January 2010 to January 2015), he colluded with the then Chief State Attorney Mladen Bajic to obstruct the processing of criminal charges against Topić. However Josipovic failed to secure re-election in 2015 and he has since faded from the political scene in Croatia. Due to these developments it now seems that Topić no longer enjoys the high-level political “protection” that he is once reputed to have had in his adopted homeland.

Following the recent snap parliamentary elections in September 2016 a new Croatian government is expected to be formed soon.

It remains to be seen how effective the new government will be in clearing up the various messes left behind by previous administrations but many people in Croatia are hopeful that a new and less corrupt era may finally be dawning in Croatian politics. It could be that the Public Prosecutor finally starts to take action in relation to certain cases concerning alleged irregularities in the management of the SIPO which appear to have got stuck in the legal pipeline over the last decade.

“Only time can tell whether Team Battistelli will ride off intact into the sunset in 2018 as planned or whether it is in danger of being prematurely “balkanised at sunrise” by the slow but inexorable grinding of the mills of the Croatian legal system.”In view of these developments observers of the EPO are recommended to keep a watchful eye on Team Battistelli’s south-eastern flank over the coming months.

At the moment it is too early to say whether the Balkan Express will continue to chug along on its merry way until its recently rescheduled end of service or whether it might not be suddenly derailed if the prevailing political winds in Croatia happen to shift in an unfavourable direction.

At this juncture we will not risk making any predictions either way. Only time can tell whether Team Battistelli will ride off intact into the sunset in 2018 as planned or whether it is in danger of being prematurely “balkanised at sunrise” by the slow but inexorable grinding of the mills of the Croatian legal system.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  2. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  3. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  4. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  5. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  6. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  7. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  8. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  9. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  10. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020



  11. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  12. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  13. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer



  14. FFPE EPO Has Rendered Itself Obsolete by Liaising With Benoît Battistelli

    FFPE EPO has been left out of staff representation, demonstrating that liaising with the oppressor is a self-deprecating move which must be avoided (the only remaining potent union is SUEPO)



  15. Links 4/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 'Personal Edition', Atari VCS Coming Soon

    Links for the day



  16. [Humour/Meme] The 'New' Edge (Chrome Copycat) is Already Dead, So Microsoft is Trying to Just Kill the Competition

    Edge market share is so minuscule that it doesn’t even make it into this chart (it’s in “other”); no wonder Microsoft now bullies Windows users into using it, for users reject it even after months of endless advertising/AstroTurfing and aggressive exploitation/appropriation



  17. Fourth of July in the United Kingdom and the United States

    In these bizarre times Independence Day is still being celebrated, even as so many people are out of work, running out of hope and being fed xenophobia in social control media with a racist 'celebrity' president (the "user in chief")



  18. [Humour] Bigger is Always Better When You're a Deluded Maximalist

    The EPO totally lost sight of its mission; it's just speeding everything up, very carelessly, not minding quality and accuracy/certainty/legal validity



  19. 'Managing Intellectual Property' Managing to Become Uncritical Parrot of EPO Management

    Managing to amplify the EPO's lies isn't hard; one just needs to copy, paste, edit a little; then they call it 'journalism', irrespective of the proven track record of EPO management lying to staff and to the media



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 03, 2020



  21. Monopoly Abuse, Still: Microsoft Pays Projects to Embrace/Move to C#, GitHub and Visual Studio

    Microsoft's greatest of efforts to lull regulators into inaction and fool us all into thinking that things have changed are undone by actual behaviour, which is abusive, anti-competitive and just... typical Microsoft



  22. Links 4/7/2020: Grml 2020.06 and diffoscope 150 Released

    Links for the day



  23. [Humour/Meme] Don't Let a COVID Crisis Go to Waste When You're Eager to Find Excuses for Many Layoffs and Shutdowns

    Microsoft business units that were defunct (long-failing, well before COVID-19) are being thrown out and Microsoft exploits a virus to rationalise these decisions while spicing up media coverage with "Hey Hi" (AI) and "virtual" experience or Facebook (to give the false impression that nothing really goes away)



  24. Free Software Tackles Political Issues. Political Tactics Are Also Being Weaponised Against Free Software.

    Divide-and-rule tactics seem to have been exploited to weaken collaborative work on Free/libre software; the response to these tactics needs to start with realisation that this is going on (even if it's done in a somewhat clandestine nature)



  25. Offence and Racism

    o those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation



  26. Links 3/7/2020: TrueNAS 12 Beta 1, Librem 13 Product Line

    Links for the day



  27. [Humour] European Patents Only Useful Outside the Legal Framework?

    Patents that aren't valid in the eyes of courts would best serve patent trolls that settle out of courts, en masse



  28. Microsoft's Share in Web Servers Rapidly Falls to Just 4.5% (Falling More Than 5% in a Single Month)

    Microsoft's share as measured at Netcraft (de facto authority in this area) is rapidly declining; expect IIS to go the way of the dodo some time in the coming years



  29. The Lock-downs Are Over and Still Zero Media Coverage About EPO Scandals and Corruption

    The appalling state of journalism in Europe (and to some extent in the world at large) means that the EPO's management can get away with all sorts of horrible crimes and fraud; the silencing of the media is, in its own right, quite scandalous



  30. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 02, 2020


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts