04.09.21

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EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. You are here ☞ The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

Christoph Ernst mugshot
Christoph Ernst, current EPO Vice-President in charge of DG5, formerly head of the German delegation to the Administrative Council.

Summary: The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him

In this part we turn our attention to the second member of the EPO-Federal Justice Ministry nexus which derailed the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s efforts to reform the EPO’s data protection framework in 2015.

“For the first decade and a half of his career at the Justice Ministry, Ernst languished in relative obscurity.”The person in question here is Dr Christoph Ernst who is another familiar figure to readers of Techrights.

Christoph Ernst was born 1954 in Bremen. After completing legal studies he started work as an attorney in Bremen, focusing on commercial, economic and taxation law. In 1989 he obtained the additional qualification of “Fachanwalt für Steuerrecht” (FAStR), which is a “specialist lawyer in tax law”.

Ernst joined the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection at the end of 1989 where he initially worked in the Accounting and Auditing Law Department.

For the first decade and a half of his career at the Justice Ministry, Ernst languished in relative obscurity. However, some time in the mid-2000s he was put in charge of a project to reform German corporate accounting law which led to the adoption in 2009 of the so-called Bilanzrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz (usually abbreviated to “BilMoG”).

Dr Christoph Ernst younger days
Prior to his involvement with EPO affairs, Ernst worked on the reform of corporate accounting law.

We leave aside, albeit locally retained for long-term availability, documents pertaining to IASC [PDF] and “BilMoG” [PDF]. The first is 6 pages long and entirely in English; the latter a 2-page German language document. Key parts highlighted below (about Dr. Ernst, not Ernst & Young, the giant firm that is mentioned there too).

“We shall return to Ernst’s activities in the area of corporate reporting standards and his public image as a “good governance” guru later on.”During this time his duties included acting as the German representative on various international bodies responsible for approving financial reporting standards, such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the Standards Advisory Council (SAC) of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

Dr Christoph Ernst at IASC
Ernst was German representative on various international bodies for approving financial reporting standards.

We shall return to Ernst’s activities in the area of corporate reporting standards and his public image as a “good governance” guru later on. However, for the moment we want to focus on the overall career progression which led to him to become head of the German delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council in 2011.

Following his success in leading the “BilMoG” project, Ernst was promoted in May 2010 to the position of Deputy Director General (“Ministerialdirigent”) in the Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Department of the Justice Ministry.

In this position he began to assume duties as the German representative on various international bodies dealing with IP matters.

In April 2011, shortly after Raimund Lutz had taken up his new post as EPO Vice-President, Ernst was appointed as his successor to head the German delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council.

11-EPO-OJ-2011: Ernst AC
In April 2011 Ernst was appointed to head the German delegation on the Administrative Council

Following the 152nd meeting of the Administrative Council (warning: epo.org link) in the Hague on 28 and 29 June 2017, it was announced that the Council had “unanimously elected Christoph ERNST (DE) to become Chairman of the Council for 3 years, starting on 1 October 2017″.

“These revelations came in the wake of persistent and credible rumours inside the EPO that Kongstad had been unlawfully placed on the EPO payroll by Team Battistelli.”In the German media, Ernst’s appointment as Council Chairman was described as a “rotation” (“turnusmäßigen Wechsel”) giving the misleading impression that it was a purely routine passing on of the baton inside the Administrative Council.

However, the reality is that back in March 2016 (warning: epo.org link) the Council had re-elected Jesper Kongstad as its chairman for a term of three years starting on 1 July 2016. From this it is very clear that the original game plan of the Council was that Kongstad should continue as Chairman until July 2019.

But the carpet was pulled out from beneath Kongstad’s feet by the publication of a series of articles in the Danish Press in October 2016, which revealed that he was under investigation by the Danish authorities following allegations of tax evasion.

These revelations came in the wake of persistent and credible rumours inside the EPO that Kongstad had been unlawfully placed on the EPO payroll by Team Battistelli. According to the rumours, Kongstad was in receipt of a secret tax-free five-digit monthly “emolument” equivalent to that of a Principal Director’s salary.

Some time later in May 2017 it was announced that Kongstad would be stepping down from his position as director of the Danish Patents and Trademark Office at the end of September 2017.

“Some time later in May 2017 it was announced that Kongstad would be stepping down from his position as director of the Danish Patents and Trademark Office at the end of September 2017.”Kongstad’s sudden and unexpected fall from grace in Denmark meant that the announcement of Ernst’s appointment as Council Chairman in June 2017 was anything but a purely routine passing on of the baton.

On the contrary, this was quite obviously a damage limitation exercise occasioned by the premature departure of Battistelli's Danish protector who had originally planned to stay around directing the Council until July 2019.

From the perspective of Team Battistelli, the purpose of this exercise from was to ensure that the EPO Balkan Express could be kept chugging along without undue disruption.

In the next part we will look at Ernst’s mysterious rise to prominence in the governance circles of the European Patent Organisation and review his disappointing track record as Council Chairman.

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