05.25.18

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EPO, a Longtime Privacy Offender, Uses General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Day to Lie to the Public

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They won't pay attention to your crime. If you keep insisting you oppose that crime...

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has the nerve to pretend to value privacy after all it has done; it’s just exploiting the “GDPR Day” buzz to spread some more face-saving lies about the very subject it has become incredibly notorious for

MUCH remains or needs to be said about what the EPO wrote today. Unlike the USPTO, for example, the EPO is widely known for privacy abuses and data handling violations. The EPO is notorious for breaking such laws. But remember that it’s immune from lawsuits (unlike the USPTO — a subject to be covered this weekend).

“The EPO is notorious for breaking such laws.”We’re going to leave aside new tweets about software patents (the EPO has once again promoted its sponsored ‘study’ which is actually advocacy of software patents), the latest (re)tweets about “Inventor Award” (still about half a dozen per day, promoting the looting of the EPO's treasury), and even the Cypriot tweet from Georgios Lakkotrypis, who wrote: “Delighted to welcome the @EPOorg 12th Annual Meeting in #Cyprus. At a time when IP protection is vital for accelerated innovation, the 2-day deliberations in #Limassol offer an excellent opportunity for enhanced cooperation.”

These just aren’t particularly new of interesting. Let’s look at this promotion of Battistelli’s ‘blog’ (warning: epo.org link) where he wrote: “At the other end of the spectrum, the integrity of personal data held by organisations has been widely reported recently and that is sure to continue when the EU GDPR enters into force today. The EPO holds personal data but the amount we have is kept to the minimum legally required under the European Patent Convention and its rules, and with strict adherence to the personal data minimisation principle.”

“Battistelli is a serial violator of privacy who clearly broke the law on several different occasions and should be prosecuted for it (but he’s immune).”Really?! Battistelli is a serial violator of privacy who clearly broke the law on several different occasions and should be prosecuted for it (but he’s immune). Now he pretends that the EPO values privacy. The EPO’s official site has just written about it too (warning: epo.org link), basically piggybacking the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to spread a big lie about its record on privacy. Thankfully, we have plenty of information with which to rebut. See for example the EPO's passage of data to Europatis, the company of a former EPO Vice-President (VP1).

How about the time Battistelli libeled a judge by liaising with Dutch and German media to label that judge “Nazi”? And the same (or similar) for Elisabeth Hardon and other staff representatives, whom Battistelli accused of Nazi-type saluting? Remember that not only was illegal surveillance deployed but selected ‘leaks’ of confidential inquiries were made available to the press. It was a dirt-dishing exercise by the IU, the ‘gestapo’ of Battistelli. And they have the audoacity to brag about “privacy” today. How dare they? The EPO is the very antithesis of privacy, with number plate recognition (more obtrusive surveillance) recently added to the building as if patent examiners are CIA/BND agents.

“The EPO is the very antithesis of privacy, with number plate recognition (more obtrusive surveillance) recently added to the building as if patent examiners are CIA/BND agents.”Incidentally, Märpel has just published some additional details about the Elisabeth Hardon case. Battistelli and his IU apparently intruded a GMail account after they had already snooped on other E-mails to and from Hardon, eventually firing EPO staff representatives (not only her) for speaking about a profoundly critical matter (a staff suicides epidemic). To quote Märpel:

There are so many problems with this judgement that Märpel does not know where to start. Maybe she should simply start with the facts: someone committed suicide and Mrs Elisabeth Hardon, who had dealt with that person as a staff representative, was understandably upset. She was all the more upset because it was the second suicide under the same manager. Judgment 3968 fails to mention that “detail”, although the tribunal was certainly informed by the defendant.
After that suicide Mrs Hardon send an E-mail to an internal SUEPO distribution list were she stated as follows:
“[...] most of us believe that the behaviour of [the deceased staff member's] (previous) manager and the unfounded attacks by PD4.3 (culminating in a disciplinary procedure) have contributed significantly to his death. [...] Formally the Office will of course deny any guilt. But we hope that this letter will contribute to an internal discussion and maybe some lessons will be learnt.”
(This is the text, verbatim, from judgement 3968.)

Märpel finds that text to be a rather measured response to a double suicide. Mr A., the manager of the two deceased persons, considered that single e-mail harassment.

Harassment has always been a difficult subject at the EPO, so difficult that the definition of harassment was the subject of several circulars. Märpel understands that Mrs Hardon was found guilty under the terms of a circular published after the facts (point 8 of judgement 3968).

Actually, Mrs Hardon was NOT found guilty, twice. VP4 wrote to that effect on 13 July 2012 (point 4 of judgement 3968) and the disciplinary committee wrote a report to the same effect on 28 January 2014 (point 8 of judgement 3968). But President Battistelli found otherwise and decided to downgrade Mrs Hardon.

Judgement 3968 confirmed the sanction. Most striking is point 18: “Consistent case law holds that the executive head of an international organisation is not bound to follow a recommendation of any internal appeal body nor bound to adopt the reasoning of that body”. Märpel understands that AT-ILO is satisfied that President Battistelli can strike any staff member he wants, with complete disregard for internal disciplinary bodies.

Isn’t there a problem with that?

Mrs. Hardon was dismissed later and for another case of “harassment” (that time a single word and not an email). She was dismissed together with another SUEPO official, Ion Brumme. A third SUEPO official, Malika Weaver, was downgraded. The 3 cases are planned for the next session of AT-ILO, right in time for President Battistelli end of contract bonus and inventor of the year event. Timing is everything. Märpel hates to predict the future, but her contacts in the 7th floor of the Isar building told her that the celebrations shall not be spoiled. It is a little known fact that the Office receives AT-ILO judgements before official publication.

Having already published the very detailed IU report, or the ‘case’ (‘trial’?) against Hardon, it’s very clear to us that the EPO breached privacy laws. Does the public care? Can Battistelli carry on lying about privacy without being challenged on it?

“Can Battistelli carry on lying about privacy without being challenged on it?”Soon enough, according to sources, Battistelli will treat himself like a literal king where he plans to prematurely inaugurate a Dutch building instead of showing up for trial at the ICC nearby. One reader asked us about this lavish, self-flattering ceremony: “Any idea what Battistelli’s big announcement at inauguration of new building is about? And why Campinos is not invited? The rumours are vague.”

Well, in case someone knows, please get in touch. As we understand it, Battistelli’s parade will be rained on when SUEPO in the Netherlands organises a party to celebrate his departure. SUEPO in the Netherlands, having already witnessed staff jumping from the window (during working hours), certainly knows that this ‘king’ has blood on his hands — probably a much more serious issue than his privacy violations — like those used against a Dutch lady who ‘dared’ speak about suicides.

Isn’t it funny that the EPO cited “privacy” when it sent me several legal threats (SLAPP) but was perfectly happy to violate the privacy of all EPO staff, especially those whom Battistelli tried getting rid of?

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