08.31.21

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EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IX – António’s Faithful Acolyte in Alicante

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part I – More Captured Delegates?
  2. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part II – Old Wine in New Bottles…
  3. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part III – Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”
  4. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IV – Martti Enäjärvi and His “Good Brother” Networks
  5. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part V – A Man With a Conviction…
  6. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VI – “A Good Friend of Estonia and a Steady Cooperation Partner”
  7. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VII – A Self-Appointed “Select Committee”
  8. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VIII – Pulling for the Portuguese Pretender?
  9. You are here ☞ António’s Faithful Acolyte in Alicante

Joao Negrao
Mr. João Negrão [PDF] followed his master António Campinos to Alicante in 2010 where he soon became Director of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs at the EU trademark agency.

Summary: “Of course Campinos could have tried to switch his own nationality to “French” but that wouldn’t have gone down well either because he had been elected as Benoît Battistelli’s successor on the premise that he was “Portuguese”.”

Upon taking up his appointment as Executive Director of the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO in October 2010, Campinos was immediately joined in Alicante by his faithful acolyte, João Negrão [PDF], who became his chef-de-cabinet.

“Between 2010 and 2018, Negrão followed his master like Mary’s little lamb.”About a year or so later Negrão became Director of the International Cooperation and Legal Affairs Department of the trademark agency.

Between 2010 and 2018, Negrão followed his master like Mary’s little lamb.

Wherever Campinos popped up on an OHIM “duty mission”, Negrão was usually to be seen in close proximity.

For example, the pair were spotted together in Estonia in October 2015 and in Iceland in May 2016 at a shindig to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Icelandic Patent Office.

António Campinos in Estonia
Campinos and Negrão in Estonia in October 2015.

António Campinos and Joao Negrao in Iceland
Campinos and Negrão joined Borghildur Erlingsdótti and her friends in Reykjavík in May 2016 for a shindig to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Icelandic Patent Office.

“Despite their close – almost symbiotic – working relationship over the years, Negrão didn’t end up following Campinos to Munich in July 2018.”They also turned up together in Monaco in March 2017 for a meeting with Monegasque officials “to consider areas of potential cooperation between EUIPO and the National Intellectual Property Office of Monaco” and in San Marino in May 2017 to sign a bilateral “Memorandum of Understanding”.

António Campinos and Joao Negrao in Monaco
Campinos and Negrão in Monaco in March 2017.

Despite their close – almost symbiotic – working relationship over the years, Negrão didn’t end up following Campinos to Munich in July 2018.

Campinos would probably have liked to bring his faithful and long-serving acolyte with him. However, under the unwritten rules governing senior EPO appointments it would have been impossible to appoint a Vice-President having the same nationality as the President.

“Campinos would probably have liked to bring his faithful and long-serving acolyte with him.”Of course Campinos could have tried to switch his own nationality to “French” but that wouldn’t have gone down well either because he had been elected as Benoît Battistelli‘s successor on the premise that he was “Portuguese”.

“Of course Campinos could have tried to switch his own nationality to “French” but that wouldn’t have gone down well either because he had been elected as Benoît Battistelli’s successor on the premise that he was “Portuguese”.”Because there was no realistic chance of a job to match his expectations in Munich, Negrão chose to remain in Alicante.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, opportunities for “duty travel” have become more limited and nowadays most business is conducted using videoconferencing.

“But even if Negrão’s relationship with his new boss Christian Archambeau is a bit more “socially distanced” and things seem less cosy than they were under Campinos, this hasn’t hampered his career progression.”For example on 13 January 2021, Negrão took part in a ViCo with the EU Director-General for Research and Innovation, Jean-Eric Paquet and on 15 February 2021, he participated in a “virtual meeting” with the Portuguese INPI.

But even if Negrão’s relationship with his new boss Christian Archambeau is a bit more “socially distanced” and things seem less cosy than they were under Campinos, this hasn’t hampered his career progression.

On the contrary, in November 2020 it was reported that Negrão had been elected as President of EUIPO’s Boards of Appeal and he took up his new position on 1 April 2021.

“But since neither Battistelli nor Campinos took the “judicial independence” of the EPO Boards of Appeal seriously, Negrão is unlikely to be concerned about the supposedly inferior status of the Boards over which he presides.”EUIPO’s Boards of Appeal are only an administrative instance whose decisions are subject to judicial review by the Court of Justice of the EU. So they don’t have quite the same status or “cachet” as the EPO’s Boards of Appeal which are an independent judicial body – at least on paper.

But since neither Battistelli nor Campinos took the “judicial independence” of the EPO Boards of Appeal seriously, Negrão is unlikely to be concerned about the supposedly inferior status of the Boards over which he presides.

One advantage that the EUIPO Boards of Appeal have over those at the EPO is that they don’t have to pretend to be a judicial instance or worry about the perception of independence.

That concludes our review of the circumstances surrounding the secretive meeting which took place at the Estonian Patent Office in January 2010 and its effects on the careers of some of those involved.

“EUIPO’s Boards of Appeal are only an administrative instance whose decisions are subject to judicial review by the Court of Justice of the EU.”It seems fair to say that this little conclave in Tallinn had a significant influence on the course of events over the following decade, both at the EPO and at the EUIPO.

Indeed, it would appear to have brought considerable benefits to some of the participants.

“…it would appear to have brought considerable benefits to some of the participants.”In the next part we shall look at another event which was held in the same place a little over two years later in March 2012 and which drew the great and good of the “global IP community” to Tallinn, namely the official ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Estonian Patent Office.

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