09.11.21

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EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XX – Top Jobs at EUIPO for “Compliant” Baltic Officials?

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:49 am 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. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IX – António’s Faithful Acolyte in Alicante
  10. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part X – A Pan-European “Good Brother” Network Celebration?
  11. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XI – With a Little Help From My Friends…
  12. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XII – Battistelli and His Baltic Fiefdoms
  13. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIII – Out With the Old, in With the New?
  14. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIV – Business as Usual in Tallinn
  15. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XV – Worse Than “a Backward Kolkhoz”…
  16. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XVI – A Promising Start Followed by an Unfortunate Cock-Up
  17. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XVII – Secret Bank Accounts in Switzerland and Germany
  18. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XVIII – A Baltic Circus in Riga
  19. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IXX – The EUIPO Connection
  20. You are here ☞ Top Jobs at EUIPO for “Compliant” Baltic Officials?

EUIPO's Sandris Laganovskis
Sandris Laganovskis moved from the Latvian Patent Office to EUIPO in Alicante towards the end of 2020.

Summary: As EUIPO chief and later as EPO chief, António Campinos followed the footsteps of Benoît Battistelli, a fellow Frenchman who exploited small and vulnerable/cash-strapped countries to basically rig votes in favour of unlawful proposals; in this last part of the series we look at an overt form of profound institutional corruption, which extends from the EPO to the EU, meriting a lot more press coverage though such scandals never trigger a single large publisher (it is moreover intentional)

In the final part of this series we continue our examination of the connections between the Baltic States and the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO. In particular, we intend to shed some light on the circumstances of the sudden departure of Sandris Laganovskis from the Latvian Patent Office towards the end of 2020.

“…we intend to shed some light on the circumstances of the sudden departure of Sandris Laganovskis from the Latvian Patent Office towards the end of 2020.”Before doing so, we return briefly to the case of Arūnas Želvys whose promising career at the top of the Lithuanian Patent Office was brought to a halt by an administrative cock-up in March 2019 when he was re-appointed without the necessary competitive selection procedure which was mandated by law.

“Želvys is not the only senior management figure from the national “IP” offices of the Baltic States who has found a new professional home at the EU trademark agency.”Following his departure from the Latvian Patent Office, Želvys made a brief foray into the private sector as “Compliance Control Expert” with the Luminor Group, an “Internet bank” and financial services provider in the Baltic Region. According to his LinkedIn page he was in charge of “regulatory compliance in the areas of IT and innovation, change management, consumer and data protection”.

But his dalliance with the private sector didn’t last long. In September 2020, Želvys took up a new position as “Liaison Officer” at EUIPO’s Liaison Office in Brussels.

Želvys is not the only senior management figure from the national “IP” offices of the Baltic States who has found a new professional home at the EU trademark agency.

As we shall see, his Latvian colleague, Sandris Laganovskis, has recently enjoyed an impressive career progression in Alicante.

Laganovskis’ connections with EUIPO go back a long way. His appointment as director of the Latvian Patent Office in October 2013 received a prominent mention in the first issue of the “European Trademark and Design Network” newsletter published by OHIM/EUIPO.

OHIM and Laganovskis
Laganovskis’ appointment as director of the Latvian Patent Office in October 2013 was given a prominent mention in the first issue [PDF] of OHIM’s “European Trademark and Design Network” newsletter.

Some time later the Latvian Patent Office was featured in a puff-piece [PDF] entitled “Innovation and results – inside the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia” which appeared in the sixth issue of the European Trademark and Design Network newsletter published in the summer of 2015.

An important step in Laganovskis’ career was his election as deputy chair of the EUIPO Budget Committee in November 2016. This is the EUIPO oversight body responsible for budgetary matters and is the equivalent of the Budget and Finance Committee which reports to the EPO’s Administrative Council.

Laganovskis’ mandate as deputy chair of the EUIPO Budget Committee started on 26 February 2017 and nine months later, in November 2017, he was elected as chairman of the Committee.

“…as mentioned in an earlier part of the series, towards the end of 2020 Laganovskis disappeared without warning from his position at the Latvian Patent Office.”In February 2019, Laganovskis received a EUIPO delegation headed by João Negrão which visited Riga “to discuss inter-institutional co-operation and its development within the framework of the concluded Cooperation Agreement”.

Laganovskis and Joao Negrao
In February 2019 Laganovskis received a EUIPO delegation headed by João Negrão.

In May 2020, the Latvian Patent Office celebrated its 100th anniversary [PDF] and António Campinos – former Chief Executive of EUIPO who was now President of the EPO – tweeted his congratulations [PDF] to “the President of Latvia, the Minister of Justice, & the Head of [the Patent Office] Sandris Laganovskis & all his staff”.

However, as mentioned in an earlier part of the series, towards the end of 2020 Laganovskis disappeared without warning from his position at the Latvian Patent Office.

On 28 December 2020, an official statement was issued announcing that Baiba Graube, the head of the trademarks and industrial design department, had been appointed as the “acting director”.

So what exactly happened to Laganovskis and where did he disappear to?

“So what exactly happened to Laganovskis and where did he disappear to?”The answer to this question was revealed in mid-January 2021 when the Latvian Patent Office announced that Laganovskis had jumped ship to EUIPO in Alicante. It was reported that he had taken up the position of Deputy Director for International Cooperation in the trademark agency’s Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs. [PDF]

According to EUIPO Executive Director, Christian Archambeau:

“Mr. Laganovskis has vast experience and an extensive background in the field of Intellectual Property and possesses a profound knowledge of the functioning of both the National and European public administrations”.

Readers were informed that:

“The staff of the Latvian Patent Office entirely agree with the words of the Executive Director of EUIPO and are fully convinced that the contribution of the long-term Director and colleague to the EUIPO Cooperation team will be convincing and invaluable”.

Before long, EUIPO’s new Deputy Director for International Cooperation was being fêted in the echo chamber of the “IP media”.

On 3 February 2021 World Trademark Review published an “exclusive interview” with Laganovskis where he revealed [PDF] the “opportunities and challenges” of his new job and stated that post-Brexit cooperation with UK would be a significant “short-term challenge”.

“Based on the available information, Laganovskis’ move to EUIPO probably increased his take-home pay by a factor of four or five.”Laganovskis’ move to EUIPO would appear to have brought him quite significant financial advantages.

According to the Latvian website Visas Algas which publishes details of public sector salaries, Laganovskis’ basic monthly salary as Director-General of the Latvian Patent Office [PDF] was € 2,737.38. The figures for 2018 indicate that he occasionally received more than € 5,000 per month. This is probably due to some kind of bonus, or it might include additional remuneration such as duty mission expenses related to EUIPO and EPO meetings. It is assumed that these figures are pre-tax.

“As an added bonus, the weather in Alicante tends to be more congenial than in Riga – especially in the wintertime!”From the vacancy notice for the position as EUIPO deputy director which was published in the summer of 2020 [PDF], it can be seen that the EU staff grade for this position was AD10. According to available information about EU salaries, the “basic salary” for this staff grade lies somewhere between € 9,117 and € 10,315 depending on the assigned step within the grade. This is understood to be a net salary figure because EU officials do not pay national income tax. In addition to their “basic salary”, EU officials typically benefit from further allowances such as an expatriation allowance worth 16% of the basic salary along with generous per diems for duty travel.

Based on the available information, Laganovskis’ move to EUIPO probably increased his take-home pay by a factor of four or five.

As an added bonus, the weather in Alicante tends to be more congenial than in Riga – especially in the wintertime!

“As a matter of fact, by July 2021, he had advanced to the position of Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs.”Laganovskis’ appointment as Deputy Director for International Cooperation in January 2021 was not his only stroke of good fortune at EUIPO.

As a matter of fact, by July 2021, he had advanced to the position of Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs. This was a move up the career ladder which undoubtedly brought with it a further generous salary increment.

There doesn’t seem to be any published information about the staff grade for the position of Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs. However, the applicable grade is likely to be AD 11 which comes with a “basic salary” between € 10,244 and € 11,671 depending on the assigned step within the grade.

“For some unknown reason, the latter vacancy does not appear to have been publicly advertised.”In contrast to Laganovskis’ initial appointment as Deputy Director in January 2021, his subsequent “promotion” [PDF] to head of EUIPO’s Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs some months later does not appear to have been given much publicity. For some unknown reason, the latter vacancy does not appear to have been publicly advertised.

To understand what was going on here it is important to realise that when Laganovskis was appointed as Deputy Director in January 2021, EUIPO’s Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs was headed by João Negrão, the "faithful acolyte" of António Campinos.

Some time previously in November 2020 Negrão’s appointment as President of EUIPO’s Boards of Appeal [PDF] had been announced and it was foreseen that he would take up his new position on 1 April 2021.

“…with hindsight it seems that Laganovskis was recruited at the end of 2020 with the deliberate intention to install him as Negrão’s successor at the Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs.”We leave readers to fill in the dots for themselves. But with hindsight it seems that Laganovskis was recruited at the end of 2020 with the deliberate intention to install him as Negrão’s successor at the Department of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs.

In any case, it seems fair to say that Laganovskis enjoyed quite an impressive career progression between his appointment as head of the Latvian Patent Office in October 2013 and his appointment as EUIPO Director of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs in July 2021. [PDF]

“…in this particular case, Laganovskis’ advancement took place during a period which saw massive violations of the fundamental rights of EPO staff.”Under normal circumstances nobody could begrudge him such good fortune in his professional life. However, in this particular case, Laganovskis’ advancement took place during a period which saw massive violations of the fundamental rights of EPO staff. These violations were perpetrated by “Team Battistelli” between July 2010 and June 2018 and continued under “Team Campinos” from July 2018 onwards.

There is no indication that Laganovskis or any other Baltic delegates ever asked any questions or expressed any concern about these egregious violations of staff rights at the EPO. As a matter of fact, the Baltic delegations appear to have demonstrated blind and unquestioning loyalty to both Battistelli and his successor Campinos.

All things considered, it becomes difficult to avoid the impression that Laganovskis received his recent preferment at EUIPO as a reward for his “cooperation” with the abuses perpetrated by the Battistelli-Campinos cabal at the EPO.

The same suspicion exists in relation to his colleague Arūnas Želvys, the former director of the Lithuanian Patent Office who now holds the position of “Liaison Officer” at EUIPO’s Liaison Office in Brussels.

“The same suspicion exists in relation to his colleague Arūnas Želvys, the former director of the Lithuanian Patent Office who now holds the position of “Liaison Officer” at EUIPO’s Liaison Office in Brussels.”That concludes the present series which has focussed on the national “IP” offices of the Baltic States and their relationship with the European Patent Organisation and the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO over the last decade.

The series began with a detailed exposé of Battistelli’s “Baltic Crusade” to capture the votes of these states during his campaign to become EPO President in 2010.

We have also seen how Battistelli’s “apprentice” Campinos relied on the Baltic States to support his parallel bid to become Chief Executive of the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO in 2010.

During his tenure at the head of EUIPO, Campinos assiduously cultivated the goodwill of these states and he was able to count on their support during his subsequent bid to succeed Battistelli at the EPO in 2018.

“During his tenure at the head of EUIPO, Campinos assiduously cultivated the goodwill of these states and he was able to count on their support during his subsequent bid to succeed Battistelli at the EPO in 2018.”In the course of this series we have also seen evidence of the existence of a cross-border and inter-organisational "good brother" crony network operating between the EPO in Munich and the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO in Alicante. There are indications that this crony network has managed to “capture” both organisations over the last decade to the detriment of their good governance.

Battistelli and Laganovskis et al
Did Arūnas Želvys (Lithuania) and Sandris Laganovskis (Latvia) receive their positions at EUIPO as a payoff for their previous loyalty to Battistelli and his successor Campinos?

In this concluding part of the series we have seen how some former senior officials of the Baltic “IP” offices have recently obtained top jobs at the EUIPO. The circumstances surrounding the preferment of these individuals give rise to the suspicion that they may have received their EUIPO jobs as a payoff for their previous unquestioning loyalty to Battistelli and his successor Campinos.

“In this concluding part of the series we have seen how some former senior officials of the Baltic “IP” offices have recently obtained top jobs at the EUIPO.”We hope to present more revelations about the EPO’s Administrative Council in a further series which it is planned to publish in October and which will take a closer look at the delegates who were responsible for the “rubber-stamping” of Battistelli’s Vichyite "Strike Regulations" in June 2013.

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