10.12.21

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The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock

Swiss Christian Bock
Christian Bock, deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013, now controversial director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration.

Summary: An enabler of Benoît Battistelli, who illegally brought firearms to the EPO, very recently had a firearms-related scandal in his home country

In this part we turn our attention to Christian Bock who was the deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013.

Although he was not the head of the Swiss delegation, Bock’s subsequent controversial career as Director of the Federal Customs Administration in Switzerland deserves a chapter or two of its own.

“He originally comes from northern Germany but he is a naturalised Swiss citizen and has been employed in the Swiss federal civil service for over 25 years.”Bock is not a native of Switzerland. He originally comes from northern Germany but he is a naturalised Swiss citizen and has been employed in the Swiss federal civil service for over 25 years.

He pursued legal studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland and graduated with a Master of Law degree in 1993. He initially worked as an attorney and notary in Solothurn before joining the Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property – known as the Institut für Geistiges Eigentum (IGE) – as a “trademark lawyer” in 1994.

“He pursued legal studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland and graduated with a Master of Law degree in 1993.”From 1994 to 2007, he held various positions at the Swiss IGE, rising to become Deputy Director under Roland Grossenbacher.

Bock’s first big breakthrough came in 2007 under the then Justice Minister Christoph Blocher who promoted him to the position of director of the Federal Office for Metrology (METAS).

“Bock’s political sponsor, Christoph Blocher – an industrialist and politician who headed the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party SVP – had plans to “reform” METAS and Bock seemed to be the right man to push things in the direction that he wanted.”This was the position that Bock held when the EPO’s Administrative Council voted on Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” in June 2013. Bock remained as deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the Administrative Council until the end of 2014 when he was replaced in this capacity by Alban Fischer, the new deputy director of the IGE and head of the institute’s patent department.

“However, Bock’s managerial style at METAS led to a noticeable deterioration of the social climate in the institution.”Bock’s political sponsor, Christoph Blocher – an industrialist and politician who headed the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party SVP – had plans to “reform” METAS and Bock seemed to be the right man to push things in the direction that he wanted.

Before taking over at METAS, Bock had no experience in the field of meteorology, but he saw himself as a “doer” and he left no doubt about his ambitions to implement a radical programme of “reform” as desired by his political patron.

However, Bock’s managerial style at METAS led to a noticeable deterioration of the social climate in the institution.

“According to the reply from the incumbent Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga – who relied on the information provided to her by Bock – everything was in good order.”In September 2015, the Swiss parliamentarian Gerhard Pfister submitted a set of parliamentary questions [PDF] “about staff changes and the working atmosphere” at METAS to the Federal Council of Ministers (as the national government of Switzerland is known).

According to the reply from the incumbent Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga – who relied on the information provided to her by Bock – everything was in good order.

Shortly afterwards in December 2015, Bock marked another significant milestone in his career when he advanced to become director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA) [PDF] with the support of then Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.

Simonetta Sommaruga and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf
Bock’s political patrons on the Swiss Federal Council in 2015: former Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (left) who defended his record at METAS and former Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (right) who promoted him to head of the Federal Customs Administration.

Bock was now the “powerful overlord of 4,500 customs experts and border guards” in a position which is reported to carry an annual salary of up to CHF 321,000 (around € 296,000 at current exchange rates).

“In April 2021, the CH Media group published a series of three articles authored by the Swiss journalist Henry Habegger. These articles contained an in-depth critique of Bock and his aggressive and confrontational management style at the Federal Customs Administration.”According to Swiss media reports, the same thing seems to have happened at the Swiss FCA as previously with METAS. Under Bock’s stewardship a toxic climate of mistrust and fear developed among the staff of the organisation.

In April 2021, the CH Media group published a series of three articles authored by the Swiss journalist Henry Habegger. These articles contained an in-depth critique of Bock and his aggressive and confrontational management style at the Federal Customs Administration.

Amongst other things, the series examined [PDF] Bock’s ambitious and highly controversial “DaziT” project – the planned root-and-branch “modernisation” and “digitisation” of the Customs Administration.

The original articles in German are behind a paywall but PDF copies are available.

Wo er wirkt, herrscht ein «Klima der Angst» – Zolldirektor Bock, ein Chefbeamter zum Fürchten. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Wherever he operates, “climate of fear” prevails – Customs Director Bock, a senior official who is dreaded.

Zollchef Bock: Der Waffenfreund in Phantasieuniform serviert das Grenzwachtkorps ab. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Customs boss Bock: The gun lover in fantasy uniform is dumping the border guard corps.

Überwachung total? Wie sich Zolldirektor Bock von zwei Juristen ein «Ermächtigungsgesetz» fabrizieren liess. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Total surveillance? How Customs Director Bock got two lawyers to manufacture an “Enabling Act” for him.

The Swiss website finesolutions.ch, which reports on customs-related issues, also published an openly accessible summary of the three part series in German. A translation is available in PDF format above and below. [PDF]

More can be found here. [PDF]

“According to these reports, Bock and his deputy Isabelle Emmenegger were in full dress uniform and carrying pistols when a train conductor approached them with a request to bring an unruly passenger to his senses.”In June 2021 the Swiss TV channel SRF produced its own report on the situation at the Federal Customs Administration. The report [PDF] was entitled “Zolldirektor mit Pistole: Der umstrittene Christian Bock” (“Customs Director with a Pistol: the controversial Christian Bock”).

“In the normal course of events, such passengers tend to calm down very quickly when an armed law enforcement officer shows up and there is rarely any need for the actual use of force to subdue the individual in question.”Although he has taken great pains to cultivate a public image of himself as a “man of action”, in April 2021 the Swiss media reported that Bock had failed to intervene in a real-life incident involving an unruly passenger on a train travelling between Bern and Basel.

According to these reports, Bock and his deputy Isabelle Emmenegger were in full dress uniform and carrying pistols when a train conductor approached them with a request to bring an unruly passenger to his senses. In the normal course of events, such passengers tend to calm down very quickly when an armed law enforcement officer shows up and there is rarely any need for the actual use of force to subdue the individual in question.

“The verdict of the Swiss media was that the incident reflected poorly on Bock who was said to be “armed but lacking in courage”.”But in this case, Bock and his deputy decided to play it safe for themselves and remained seated. Bock telephoned ahead to request that a detachment of border guards be assigned to the platform in Basel. Their mission was to apprehend the disruptive passenger upon arrival of the train. However, the troublemaker managed to escape scot-free. He disembarked from the train well before it arrived at its final destination.

The verdict of the Swiss media was that the incident reflected poorly on Bock who was said to be “armed but lacking in courage”.

In the next part we will look the most recent developments in the controversy surrounding Bock, which is still very much a “live” topic in Switzerland.

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