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04.18.18

Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reader’s response to this post

EPO FIFA-approved graphic

Summary: In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was

It should be obvious to all and sundry by now that people who expect the EPO Administrative Council to hold Battistelli to account are barking up the wrong tree. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that it really is possible to get away with serious abuses as long as the perpetrator is protected by diplomatic immunity. In this case Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity as President of the EPO and he also seems to be protected by a supine Administrative Council which shows no interest in calling him to account.

“In this case Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity as President of the EPO and he also seems to be protected by a supine Administrative Council which shows no interest in calling him to account.”But what people who complain about Battistelli seem to forget is that he also wears other hats and operates in other contexts where he does not enjoy immunity. To be more precise: he is the deputy mayor in charge of culture in his home town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

He was appointed to this position in October 2017 after the last local elections when he succeeded Arnaud Péricard. Péricard’s was “promoted” to the position of mayor after the death of Emmanuel Lamy in May 2017. Until October 2017 Battistelli was the municipal councillor in charge of theatre. In this position he was mainly responsible for the municipal theatre which is known as the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas.

“Until October 2017 Battistelli was the municipal councillor in charge of theatre. In this position he was mainly responsible for the municipal theatre which is known as the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas.”The Théâtre Alexandre Dumas (TAD) is named after the famous French writer, some of whose most illustrious works, such as “The Three Musketeers”, were written in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It is a municipal institution which is directly under the management of the municipal council. Both the deputy mayor for culture and the the town councillor in charge of theatre sit on its board of directors.

The TAD can also be rented as a location for events such as cocktails, seminars, congresses, projections and suchlike.

By an interesting coincidence the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas will serve as the venue for the European Inventor Award ceremony on 7 June 2018. (warning: epo.org link)

Paris theatre

The decision to host the event in Saint-Germain-en-Laye seems to be good news for the town and will undoubtedly result in an influx of funds to the local coffers. This means that it’s unlikely that anybody on the municipal council will ask too many questions or dare to upset the apple-cart.

Even before this latest twist the European Inventor Award has been shrouded in opacity because the European Patent Convention does contain any mandate for the EPO to sponsor such an extravanganza.

“Even before this latest twist the European Inventor Award has been shrouded in opacity because the European Patent Convention does contain any mandate for the EPO to sponsor such an extravanganza.”The event was initially established in 2006 under Alain Pompidou and the first ceremony was hosted in Brussels with the co-sponsorship of the European Commission.

In the beginning it seems to have been run as a joint venture between the EPO and the European Commission and for a number of years the venue chosen was in the state holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

From 2013 onwards this changed without any explanation being given and since then it has never been clear on what criteria the host state for the event is chosen.

But the choice of venue for 2018 takes the biscuit:

Not only is the event being held in France for the second time in the space of four years but it is taking place in the home town of the President of the EPO where he is an elected member of the local municipal council and deputy mayor!

“Not only is the event being held in France for the second time in the space of four years but it is taking place in the home town of the President of the EPO where he is an elected member of the local municipal council and deputy mayor!”Neither the Official Journal of the EPO (warning: epo.org link) nor the minutes of the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye appear to contain any records which would explain how the decisions to host the event in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and to use the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas for this purpose were taken or who was responsible for these decisions.

In other words no publicly accessible record can be found to clarify whether the selection of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as the host town was made by the EPO President acting on his own initiative or whether the Administrative Council had any involvement in the matter (even if this was only to rubber-stamp the President’s preference).
It’s also not clear what role Battistelli played in the selection of the TAD as the venue for the event but given that he is on its board of directors it would be reasonable to assume that he must have been involved in some capacity.

Even FIFA seems to be a paragon of transparency compared to this!

Battistelli job

Some observers who have looked into the affair have raised the question as to whether or not the choice of venue might involve a conflict of interest on the part of the individual who wears both the hat of the EPO President in Munich and the “chapeau” of the deputy mayor in charge of culture on the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

“Some observers who have looked into the affair have raised the question as to whether or not the choice of venue might involve a conflict of interest on the part of the individual who wears both the hat of the EPO President in Munich and the “chapeau” of the deputy mayor in charge of culture on the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.”Recent developments in the case of Sarkozy have shown that France has extensive anti-corruption legislation which among other things penalises improper giving and receiving of benefits, “influence peddling” and misdirection of public funds.

Given the failure of the EPO Administrative Council to call Mr. Battistelli to account as EPO President it seems legitimate to pose the question as to whether the French public prosecutor might not be the appropriate authority to scrutinize his activities as deputy mayor in charge of culture in Saint-Germain-en-Laye where he is subject to French law and does not enjoy immunity.

Attachments: Extracts from the “Journal Saint-Germain-en-Laye” [1, 2] showing Battistelli’s activities on the town council.

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