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03.16.18

Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Topić Campinos 2011

Summary: Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

Readers of Techrights will be aware that Željko Topić has been engaged in "whitewashing" operations for some time now.

As far as is known, these efforts started with a surreal “Apology” issued by the Croatian freelance blogger/journalist Željko Peratović in December 2014 under circumstances which have never been clarified.

Peratović announced that he had withdrawn the English language version of his article “A wrong Man sitting at the EPO?” which had originally been published on his blog on 24 June 2013.

However, archived copies of this article exist and can be accessed for example via the “Wayback Machine” using the now-defunct original URL. Another archived copy can be found here.

What is also interesting is that a version of the article in Croatian published by the Croatian news portal Metro and bearing Peratović’s name remains online.

It seems that the purpose of the “Apology” by Peratović was to make the English language version of the story disappear.

More recently it has been noticed that a number of articles about Topić published by Croatian media have mysteriously gone “offline”.

For example:

Archived copies of some of these articles are still accessible online via the Wayback Machine or other archives, e.g. [1, 2]

The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the published articles about Topić have not yet been clarified, but there seems to be a connection with his SLAPP activities in Croatia.

Sources in Zagreb have indicated that he has filed lawsuits against some online news portals and then agreed to withdraw the lawsuits on the condition that the portals suppressed their online publications about his alleged misconduct as Director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office.

This trick seems to have worked in some cases. However, a number of Croatian media outlets such as dnevno.hr and index.hr appear to have been more resistant as their published articles are still freely accessible online.

One question which remains unanswered is whether EPO funds have been used to finance these “whitewashing” operations. But it is unlikely that this question will be answered any time soon — if at all.

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