03.11.20

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EPO Corruption Under António Campinos: Teaser

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

António Campinos and Topić
António and Željko (2011) – what’s a little favour between friends?

Summary: Guest series about EPO affairs with Team Battistelli even after some of it left (still profiting from EPO corruption)

Techrights recently reported on a grubby little EPO-EUIPO love-in together with the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV) in Zagreb.

Not for the first time, Techrights was on the right track but as is often the case with EPO matters the public spectacle is only the tip of the iceberg.

EPO insiders have pointed out that there are deeper, hidden layers of corruption which are obscured from public view but which are about to be explored in an upcoming mini-series.

The trigger which inspired this mini-series was a piece of news that came shortly after the Zagreb love-in. Namely, an announcement in the form of the cancellation of the European Qualifying Examination (EQE) 2020 scheduled to take place on 16-19 March.

According to the EPO (warning: epo.org link), the cancellation of the EQE was a response to the latest developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus).

It’s nice to see that the EPO is taking the Coronavirus seriously.

Let’s hope it has some success on that front because sadly it seems to have lost the battle against the virus of corruption which has infiltrated its body politic.

But back to the European Qualifying Examination.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the EQE, a few words of explanation may be in order. The EQE is a legal exam focused on patent law which is designed to establish whether a candidate is qualified to practise as a professional representative before the EPO.

In order to qualify for entry on the EPO’s list of professional representatives it is normally necessary to have passed this examination.

Candidates for the EQE 2020 who have invested a lot of time and effort into preparing for their big day are understandably rather peeved by this year’s cancellation at such short notice.

However, they might be able to take some consolation in the fact that it isn’t always necessary to have passed the EQE in order to obtain a place on the EPO’s list of professional representatives.

In the coming mini-series we plan to look into the unsolved mystery of how the name of a former EPO Vice-President appeared on this list in 2019.

As you might have suspected, the former EPO Vice-President in question is Željko Topić, who after departing the EPO at the end of 2018 seems to have managed to add a further qualification to his already impressive list of diplomas and certificates.

The events that we plan to examine here took place not during the “reign” of the notoriously corrupt influence-peddler Battistelli but rather on the watch of his successor, the allegedly “clean” António Campinos.

There is a further detail to this saga which suggests that the current EPO Vice-President in charge of Legal and International Affairs, Dr. Christoph Ernst is likely to have been implicated in the affair.

This is hardly surprising in view of Ernst’s long-standing connections to the Battistelli-Kongstad clique on the Administrative Council.

Readers may recall that Ernst previously held the position as Chair of the Administrative Council after his predecessor Jesper Kongstad had departed prematurely under circumstances that have never been fully clarified.

Kongstad’s abrupt exit from the Administrative Council seems to have been connected with allegations of financial irregularities which have been doing the rounds inside the EPO for many years now.

But in an international organisation which lacks its own independent Audit Committee and where the internal audit function appears to be safely in the hands of the remnants of Battistelli’s “old guard”, you would be well-advised not to hold your breath waiting for a credible investigation into what would be a criminal matter in any normal jurisdiction.

Whatever about that, Ernst was quickly moved in as a “safe pair of hands” to fill the gap left on the Administrative Council by Kongstad’s untimely departure in October 2017.

A little over a year later, in a typical game of EPO musical chairs, he was rewarded with the plum job of Vice-President in charge of Legal and International Affairs (VP5) when the former holder of that position, Raimund Lutz, departed in December 2018.

Ernst and Topić
Did Ernst facilitate Topić’s entry onto the EPO’s list of professional representatives?

Based on the currently available information it would appear that Ernst played a key role in facilitating Topić’s mysterious entry onto the EPO’s list of professional representatives in 2019.

Stay tuned for more as we take a closer look at the new EPO management team and the Balkan Express connection.

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