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

09.01.17

EPO Silencers of the Media – Part III: EPO Vice-President Topić Takes Association of Writers and Journalists to Court

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO civil lawsuits

Summary: Acting at a personal capacity, EPO Vice-President Topić is attacking Croatian media and we have the details

THE general subject dealt with herein was introduced in part 1 and part 2. There has been a clear pattern that can best be described as “war on the media” and there are ongoing cases that make it abundantly clear that the EPO‘s management ‘deals’ with reporting by SLAPPing journalists. We saw similar things in WIPO.

The more the public knows about the EPO, the more can be done about it. And the more the public knows about EPO management, the more things will change, including people. Lots of top-level managers (almost all the top-level ones) have already gotten the boot or stepped down… but some might even get arrested.

“There has been a clear pattern that can best be described as “war on the media” and there are ongoing cases that make it abundantly clear that the EPO’s management ‘deals’ with reporting by SLAPPing journalists.”The free flow of information is essential for justice. When the media itself gets attacked it’s often indicative of the fact someone is afraid of justice.

“Disgusting” (or even utterly disgusting) is how we can describe the EPO’s (mis)use of money against the media (bribing the media, threatening the media etc.), not only because the money was paid by stakeholders; if it is being wasted on SLAPP actions and payments to journalists, what would stakeholders think? Those are serious questions and big issues that need to be raised with stakeholders. They ought to be aware of how their money is being handled.

The Zagreb SLAPP lawsuit will be the subject of the remainder of this series; it’s not the only SLAPP case attributed to the EPO, but it’s one case we have plenty of information about.

“The Zagreb SLAPP lawsuit will be the subject of the remainder of this series; it’s not the only SLAPP case attributed to the EPO, but it’s one case we have plenty of information about.”Shown above is a filing of court. It’s two years old, but the case is still ongoing. With the help of locals, we have managed to get access to copies of some documents relating to the SLAPP lawsuit currently being conducted by the EPO Vice-President Topić against the portal Tjedno.hr.

A redacted copy of the first page of the civil complaint filed on behalf of Topić is shown above.

A summary of the contents of the complaint follows below. The respondent, “Udruga Pisac i Novinar” which is the publisher of the portal “Tjedno.hr”, submitted its response to the complaint on 20 May 2016. We are still in the process of analysing the response and will publish a further summary of this when we are finished.


The lawsuit was registered at the Municipal Civil Court of Zagreb on 19 January 2015 under the case number Pn-195/15.

The plaintiff is Željko Topić and he is represented by a lawyer from the Zagreb law firm Gajski, Grlić, Prka and Partners.

The respondent is “Udruga Pisac i Novinar” (Association of Writers and Journalists) the publisher of the portal “Tjedno.hr”.

Topić makes a claim for “compensation due to the publication of information” and is seeking damages in the amount of HRK 200 000 (two hundred thousand Croatian Kuna) plus the award of his legal costs.

The substance of the complaint relates to an article entitled Laži  Željka Topića u Munchenu” (“The Lies of Zeljko Topić in Munich”) which was published on 18 October 2014 on the Internet portal Tjedno.hr with the subtitle “Six criminal proceedings against the EPO Vice-President in Croatia” and a photograph of the plaintiff accompanied by lawyer Janjko Grlić.

According to the complaint the Tjedno.hr article refers to a statement made by the EPO President where it was said that neither the Administrative Council nor Battistelli knew of the allegations against Topić at the time of his appointment “but since the charges have been made public they have all been cleared”. Referring to the photograph of “Željko Topić, accompanied by his attorney … taken in front of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb on 29 September 2014 in the morning” the article stated that “it seems that things are not so” (i.e. not as claimed by Battistelli) thereby insinuating that Topić was being prosecuted.

Topić states that on the date in question he was attending a hearing before the Municipal Criminal Court in the capacity of a plaintiff against a person charged with having been producing and disseminating falsehoods against him for the past several years primarily through the portal Tjedno.hr.

[Note: The person referred to here seems to be Vesna Stilin, the former Assistant Director of the DZIV.]

Various other claims made about Topić in the disputed article are challenged.

For example, reference is made to the allegation that “there is a completely justified suspicion expressed in the criminal report at USKOK that Željko Topić has bribed the former Minister Primorac with an Audi 6 Quattro to renew his mandate”.

According to Topić this claim was investigated by the competent institutions which found no misconduct in this regard. Topić was appointed to his previous position (i.e. Director of the DZIV) four times by three different Prime Ministers, which is said to disprove the allegation of bribery in order to obtain a mandate.

Reference is also made to the allegations about the private acquisition of an official car, (i.e. an official DZIV Mercedes which was later privately acquired by Topić). Here it is claimed that Topić bought the vehicle from the leasing company and paid the normal price. He used a bank loan for this purpose, and the vehicle was registered in his name and he acted in a legitimate and transparent manner.

Topić also takes issue with the allegedly “false claim” systematically repeated by Tjedno.hr that he has a bogus master’s degree certificate.

“This systematic defamation has created the need for official validation of the diploma by the EPO, thus completely rejecting all publicly asserted claims of a counterfeit diploma, but the claimant has been subject to irreparable damage.”

The evidence submitted here includes the announcement of the EPO President to EPO Staff on 26 February 2013 and the Communique of 20 June 2013 from the EPO’s Internal Audit Director, Mr. Florian Andres. A request is made for the hearing of John Martin, the current Director of Internal Audit.

The complaint also challenges the following statement which was made in the disputed article:

“As our source in Munich informed us, Topić’s suitability for the position of Vice-President is a “fairly controversial issue” within the EPO. Taking into account the various accusations and obviously controversial news coverage, the general opinion of EPO’s employees is that there are unanswered questions about Topić’s appointment.”

The hearing of the EPO’s Principal Director of Human Resources (Elodie Bergot) is requested in relation to these allegations!

The complaint goes on to claim that the article in question is “conceived as sensationalist news and contains a number of untruthful, defamatory, offensive and compromising allegations, thus causing an extraordinary non-material injury to the plaintiff.”

According to Topić this journalistic “persecution” has been systematically repeated over an extended period of time.

The disputed article is not the only “offensive” article of the Tjedno.hr portal concerning the personal and professional activities of the plaintiff and a list of such articles is presented:

  • “Falsified patents at the Intellectual Property Office” – 7.02.2012
  • “OLAF deals with Topić” – 31.03.2012
  • “Six lawsuits pending against Topić” – 11.04.2012
  • “Is Željko Topić’s master’s certificate fake?” – 20.06.2012
  • “A Billion Kuna ZAMPed” – 4.9.2012
  • “Two different years on Topić’s degree certificate” – 30.03.2013
  • “None of the billions for Croatian patents” – 16.10.2013
  • “Željko Topić’s formerly official and now private Mercedes” – 24.03.2014
  • “In addition to the Touareg, the A6 used by the former Minister is disputed” – 01.04.2014

It is claimed that the article of 18 October 2014 as well as the other articles mentioned above have been systematically translated into the official EPO languages ​​and distributed as anonymous postal items and as electronic publications to the management and employees of the EPO (7000 employees), members of the EPO Administrative Council, governments and parliaments of 38 EPO member states, relevant professional and diplomatic circles around the world. This is said to have caused irreversible damage to the professional reputation of the plaintiff and to have violated his personal rights.

A claim is also made that anonymous people from the EPO were in direct contact with the portal Tjedno.hr and its editor-in-chief Dražen Stjepandić from February 2013 onwards and that they distributed their “defamatory writings” to other portals.

In this context a reference is made to an article published in English on 16 November 2014 by the portal Techrights under the title “Special Report: Many Criminal Charges against EPO Vice President Željko Topić”.

The complaint concludes with a long list of self-serving claims about how extremely successful and appreciated Topić is in his professional field and that this is confirmed by the fact that he has been a longtime director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office and has held senior positions in the international Intellectual Property system.

For example: He was the Chairman of one of the standing committees of the World Intellectual Property Organization Geneva (WIPO), Vice-Chair of the Diplomatic Conference on International Trademark Law (STLT), held in Singapore in 2006, and was appointed WIPO expert for the implementation of professional studies of that organization, etc.).

The EPO Administrative Council, composed of representatives of 38 Member States, appointed the plaintiff as a Vice-President of EPO following an open competition and the plaintiff considers his appointment to this position as an international recognition for his work and achievements in regional and European cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property protection, as well as for the development of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV) and the active participation and contribution of the DZIV to the work of EPO.

It is claimed that the publication of the aforementioned articles is likely to cause a negative attitude on the part of his colleagues and immediate superior which could affect his further professional development, especially in view of the persistent insinuation of unlawful conduct on his part.

In conclusion Topić claims that these publications have caused serious disruption to his private life and family stability and that he has had to make great efforts to create a different image to the one presented to the public in the media. The claims made about his allegedly unlawful conduct have caused serious repercussions in the functioning of his family because all members of his immediate family feel the consequences of the published information in the form of discomfort and the need to justify themselves, etc.

The respondent, “Udruga Pisac i Novinar” which is the publisher of the portal “Tjedno.hr”, submitted its response to the complaint on 20 May 2016.

According to available information, the case has been assigned to Judge Sanja Krovinović of the Municipal Civil Court in Zagreb and the procedure is still ongoing.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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 23/2/2020: PipeWire 0.3 and Osu!

    Links for the day



  2. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on Being Cancelled

    It was reading this that I realized I’d been cancelled myself. In my case, I was painted misogynist and transphobic, and for a post in which I supported women but denounced a crowd of men twisting the feminist cause, that I share, to attack rms, as if he wasn’t a feminist himself; and in which I express curiosity as to what pronoun to use to refer to zero women to paint me as someone who disregards gender identities and their pronouns.



  3. Good People Need to Run for Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board Positions After an FSF Coup Threw in the Towel, Pushing Out the Founder

    "I have been hit, but not knocked out, and my campaign for free software is not over." --Richard Stallman, October 2019



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 22, 2020



  5. Alexandre Oliva's Message About Cancel Culture at the FSF

    Being cancelled is no fun. In my case, it was for standing for a friend who got canceled for defending someone else from an accusation that was later proven false.



  6. Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

    Links for the day



  7. Being Rich Does Not Imply Being Smart (Especially When One is Born Into Wealth)

    Presenting the 'genius' (college dropout, but that does not matter when the yardstick of wisdom is wealth alone), with his own predictions overlaid on top of his photo from the show of Bloomberg (another 'genius' whose supposed brilliance is measured using money alone)



  8. The Rise and Fall of Free Software

    "We simply need to make the movement less corporate, and more grassroots."



  9. Why You Should Adopt Debian 10, Not Vista 10 (Windows Vista With Microsoft's Latest Surveillance Add-ons)

    A little personal story and recommendation of Debian "Buster" (10) or Devuan (whose developers persist)



  10. Ethics by Exclusion

    It's the same old philosophical question; can excluding those who are perceived to be intolerant be seen as an act of tolerance?



  11. Even Worse Than Microsoft Inside the Board of the OSI

    The OSI has accepted people from companies that actively attack Software Freedom and there may be more on their way



  12. ZDNet Continues to Stuff Its 'Linux' Section With Proprietary Software of Microsoft

    The above is what the "Linux" section of ZDNet is going to look like throughout the weekend (and this is hardly unusual, either)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 21, 2020



  14. Links 21/2/2020: EasyOS 2.2.11 Released, Microsoft's Control of the Linux Foundation Increases and More Binary Blobs Arrive

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 20, 2020



  16. Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

    LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman



  17. GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

    As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles



  18. Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

    Links for the day



  19. Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

    Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing



  20. Former Microsoft Employees Don't Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

    In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the 'Softers' run away and block any further debate



  21. Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

    Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned



  22. Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

    The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week



  23. Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

    More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there's nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 19, 2020



  25. China Bashing is Grounded in Fear (That They Can Simply Do Better Than the West)

    The atmosphere of hate towards China — fuelled partly by a white supremacist in the White House — is unhelpful and insulting; dignity and understanding is the way to go



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020



  27. FFII Press Release: Germany Can No Longer Ratify the Unitary Patent Due to Brexit and the Established AETR Case-law, says FFII

    Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit and the established AETR case-law. The ratification of the UPC (Unified Patent Court) by Germany would constitute a violation of the AETR case-law, which was used during the EPLA negotiations in 2006 to consider a deal with non-EU countries, such as Switzerland.



  28. DRM (Proprietary Software) Already Makes Mozilla Firefox Broken, Unreliable, Undependable (Dependent on Binary Blobs)

    More people are beginning to realise that Mozilla resorted to self-harming DRM and self-inflicted damage that impacts Firefox; can Mozilla (re)join the anti-DRM coalitions?



  29. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  30. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms


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