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12.06.16

Heiko Maas, the SPD “Cash for Access” Affair, and Suspicions of Unwarranted Censorship at IP Kat (Again)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Heiko Maas Cash for Access

Summary: Unsayable views or just a glitch? Readers of IP Kat express concern about a culture of censorship at IP Kat

LAST night we published a caricature about Heiko Maas, whom many inside the EPO accuse of turning a blind eye to the abuses (if no crimes, as per national laws) of Team Battistelli. The growing sentiment against Maas (or mass) inaction can be seen across many spectra, including outside the EPO. Battistelli feels as though he is above the law partly thanks to apathy from Maas et al (deafening silence in spite of many letters and copies of letters).

“Even my defense (from personal attacks) was censored at one point, unlike these attacks.”“Some people at this end,” said a source to us, “have been complaining about failed attempts to post comments on the IP Kat website.”

We too have had such issues and we wrote about the subject several times in the past. Even my defense (from personal attacks) was censored at one point, unlike these attacks.

Heiko Maas saleThe comments that are not being suppressed are in no way defamatory. “These comments related to the recent “cash for access” affair surrounding the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) of which Maas is a member,” our source explained to us. “The details of the “cash for access” affair has been widely reported on in the German media recently. A report in English can be found on the website of Deutsche Welle.”

Perhaps the suspicion here is that the silence regarding the EPO — a silence in the German media as well (as we last noted a few days ago) — is part of a broader conspiracy of silence. It’s convenient for Germany not to criticise the EPO because it’s a local cash cow, milked at the expense of the rest of Europe.

“One of the SPD Ministers whose name got mentioned in connection with this affair was the Justice Minister, Heiko Maas,” our source says. “Some satirical postings have also appeared on the Internet poking fun at Maas and his connection to the “cash for access” affair as reported in the media.” We include them at the top and to the right as it’s probably Fair Use (“criticism”).

“It’s convenient for Germany not to criticise the EPO because it’s a local cash cow, milked at the expense of the rest of Europe.”“For some unknown reason,” our source insists, “comments about these matters aren’t making it through the IP Kat comments filter. Is this just a technical glitch or is there some censorship going on behind the scenes?”

IP Kat was at one point censored by the EPO, so maybe it’s just afraid of particular kinds of comments showing up from now on? That would be an example of self-censorship owing to bullying by the EPO. They tried to do this to me.

My experience leaving comments in IP Kat suggests that in the majority of cases my comments won’t show up (even after review), so I’ve altogether quit bothering with it. This unpredictable review policy, in its own right (by virtue of existing), breeds self-censorship among commenters. What’s amazing though is the sheer amount of troll comments that got published there recently, including some inflammatory ones (against EPO staff).

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