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

05.17.19

Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

See part one, part two and part three for more background about this brewing European Patent Office (EPO) scandal

William Faulkner

Summary: This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?

AS the Kötter Group commemorates its 85th anniversary it seems rather petty-minded to rain on their parade.

But despite the best efforts to maintain a festive mood, some mean-spirited party-poopers have pointed out that the official Internet pages contain little or no information about the Group’s early history.

“It’s a bit like those gaps in a person’s CV that can lead to awkward questions at the job interview…”As a matter of fact, there is a rather conspicuous lacuna between 1934 when it was founded as “Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter” and 1966 when it started to operate as a provider of security technology in the post-war Federal Republic of Germany.

Koetter services 85

It’s a bit like those gaps in a person’s CV that can lead to awkward questions at the job interview…

As a matter of fact, back in 2008 some awkward questions were already being asked by the Federal Association of Prison Officers in Germany (Bundesverband der Strafvollzugsbediensteten Deutschlands).

“The BSBD pointed out that Kötter had been founded in 1934 as a family business under the name “Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter” and that state approval for establishing such an enterprise would most certainly have been required at the time in question.”The BDSD is, as its name suggests, an organisation which represents the interests of officials working in the prison sector. It was reacting to an announcement from the Baden-Württemberg Justice Ministry about the results of a tendering procedure for the “outsourcing” of services at the Oldenburg state pentitentiary. On that occasion Kötter submitted the most competitive bid and was awarded the contract.

The BSBD pointed out that Kötter had been founded in 1934 as a family business under the name “Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter” and that state approval for establishing such an enterprise would most certainly have been required at the time in question.

It should be remembered that we are not talking about any old state here. This particular state had succumbed to totalitarian control just one year previously and its new leader proceeded to ruthlessly eliminate many of his domestic opponents during the infamous “Night of the Long Knives” at the end of June 1934

“Let’s have a guess: all the records went missing because there was a war on at the time? How convenient!”The BSBD concluded that “it would be interesting to find out what protective and security tasks the private company was entrusted with from that time until today.”

That is a question which has so far remained without a satisfactory answer.

The late Friedrich Karl Kötter (+ 2015), the son of the founder, wasn’t giving much away in a puff-piece published in the online industry journal Vernetzte Kompetenz im Sicherheitsmanagement (Veko online) in 2012 when made the following evasive comments about the company’s origins: “I was born on 27 February 1937 in the heart of the Ruhr area, in Wanne-Eickel, where I also spent my youth. Three years earlier my father Karl Friedrich had founded the company Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter, which was active not only in Germany but also in Holland. What exactly the field of work comprised at that time is no longer known.”

“You would think that the Kötters could have afforded to engage the services of a professional historian or two to properly research the Group’s corporate history for the occasion of its 85th anniversary.”Well fancy that now. Let’s have a guess: all the records went missing because there was a war on at the time? How convenient!

“Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter … was active not only in Germany but also in the Netherlands from 1934 onwards” …

For anybody familiar with 20th Century European history, particularly the occupation of the Netherlands during WWII, this should be enough to trigger the alarm bells and signal the proximity of a potential minefield!

Minen Mijnen

You would think that the Kötters could have afforded to engage the services of a professional historian or two to properly research the Group’s corporate history for the occasion of its 85th anniversary.

“Their gut instincts may have told them that there were some skeletons in the family cupboard that were best left to rest in peace.”On the other hand, it could be that the experiences of other German companies, such as the Bertlesmann Group back in 2002, made them wary about digging too deep into the history of the family business.

Their gut instincts may have told them that there were some skeletons in the family cupboard that were best left to rest in peace.

Skeleton in the closet

If this was the case, then their reliance on those gut instincts was not misplaced. According to informed sources, a preliminary trawl has confirmed that there are some rather disturbing cans of worms waiting to be opened in the relevant archives.

“…it would appear that he used the proceeds of his business activities for the purpose of acquiring a significant shareholding in at least one “aryanised” company in the retail sector.”Hopefully Campinos and his management team are able and willing to look beyond the managerial bottom line and to realise that, to quote William Faulkner, “The past is never dead.”

Insiders confidently predict that if a rigorous in-depth UXO Risk Management Analysis isn’t carried out before a final decision is taken on this matter, then Campinos and his team could end up being well and truly blown out of the water.

Explosives in water

The evidence gathered so far suggests that the company founder made a small fortune for himself in the occupied Netherlands due to a close association with the military-industrial complex of the Third Reich. And it would appear that he used the proceeds of his business activities for the purpose of acquiring a significant shareholding in at least one “aryanised” company in the retail sector.

But what’s the point in doing all the homework for Campinos and his generously remunerated managerial dweebs? Surely it’s not too much to expect them to do a bit of “due diligence” for themselves?

“EPO staff, especially the large Dutch contingent among them (almost 500 at the last count), are unlikely to be favorably impressed if the deal goes ahead as currently planned.”Before making any further revelations on this front let’s just sit back and see what they are able to come up with off their own bat between now and the BFC meeting later this month or at least before the Administrative Council takes the final decision at the end of June.

After the farcical “Nazi witch-hunts” of the Battistelli era, wouldn’t it be the height of irony to see the new EPO President signing off on a contract worth EUR 30 million which goes to a company having such a “flawed pedigree”?

EPO staff, especially the large Dutch contingent among them (almost 500 at the last count), are unlikely to be favorably impressed if the deal goes ahead as currently planned.

The writing is on the wall for everyone to see. If no effective pre-emptive action is taken on this one as a matter of urgency, then there is a very real danger that what started out as a routine tendering exercise will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot for Antonio the Unready and his loyal retainers.

Charlie Foxtrot

Let us hope that things do not come to such a sorry pass. But if they do, then he can’t say that he wasn’t warned in good time.

Nobody told me

On that note we conclude the Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia. An update in the form of an end-of-term report is planned for June.

Watch this space, folks…

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  2. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on



  3. (Software) Freedom is Elusive Without the Ability to Concentrate

    Software is consuming people's minds; to make matters worse, people have become so attached to such software that they're unable to see it and get away from it (they associate that software with "social life")



  4. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  5. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  6. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  7. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  8. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  10. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  11. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  12. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  13. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  14. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  15. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  16. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  17. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  18. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  19. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  20. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  21. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  22. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  23. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  24. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  25. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  26. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  27. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  28. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  29. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  30. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020


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