10.17.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:21 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. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. YOU ARE HEREEt Tu Felix Austria…

Friedrich Rodler and Andrea Scheichl
The Austrian delegation: Friedrich Rödler and his deputy Andrea Scheichl.

Summary: Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler

The Federal Republic of Austria is not a founding state of the EPO but it nevertheless plays a significant role in the organisation’s affairs due to the fact that it is the third host state. There is a small EPO sub-office located in Vienna (warning: epo.org link) which employs 87 staff and is mainly concerned with patent information and publication services.

“There is a small EPO sub-office located in Vienna which employs 87 staff and is mainly concerned with patent information and publication services.”In this part we will take a closer look at the delegation representing Austria on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013. At that time, the delegation was headed by the Director of the Austrian Patent Office, Friedrich Rödler, who was assisted by his deputy, Andrea Scheichl.

Rödler’s escapades during his time as Director of the Austrian IPO between 2005 and 2015 made the headlines in his home country and will be treated to an in-depth exposé here.

“Rödler’s escapades during his time as Director of the Austrian IPO between 2005 and 2015 made the headlines in his home country and will be treated to an in-depth exposé here.”Rödler never quite managed to make the grade as an “alpha male” silverback in the pecking order of the EPO’s Administrative Council, although he may well have had ambitions in that direction.

But back on his home turf in Vienna, he was permitted to run the show at the Austrian Patent Office without any effective ministerial oversight or control until he finally ran out of luck in 2015 as a result of his own hubris and greed.

The civil service in Austria is extremely “politicised” – in the sense that senior civil servants are typically card carrying members of a particular political party.

Rödler is a member of the Austrian FPÖ which was founded by Jörg Haider. This party presents itself as residing in the political “centre” but it is more generally perceived as “right-wing populist” and “national-conservative”.

Rödler was an unsuccessful candidate for the FPÖ in the Vienna regional elections in 2005 and 2015. He is also reputed to be connected to Masonic circles in Austria associated with the former FPÖ finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser who was jailed for corruption in 2020.

“The civil service in Austria is extremely “politicised” – in the sense that senior civil servants are typically card carrying members of a particular political party.”Rödler’s appointment as Director of the Austrian Patent Office followed an amendment to the Patent Act at the end of 2004 under Minister Hubert Gorbach (FPÖ). This amendment removed a previous restriction according to which only academically qualified staff members of the Patent Office were eligible to apply for the position of Director.

At the time of its adoption, the amendment was strongly criticised by opposition parties in Austria. In particular, it was criticised for opening the door to purely political appointments at the senior management level of the Patent Office.

Rödler’s subsequent appointment as Director of the Patent Office in 2005 showed that these fears were entirely justified.

Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that his ten-year tenure at the head of the Austrian Patent Office – from 2005 to 2015 – was continuously dogged by political controversy.

“The President of the EPO – Alain Pompidou – responded by stating that Rödler’s comments were “misleading in substance” and had been made in an inappropriate manner.”In 2007, Rödler launched his own private vendetta against the European Patent Office (EPO) and its staff when he issued a press release [PDF] complaining that he was “severely disappointed by the performance of the EPO” and claiming that he found “the discrepancy between salary level and output [of patent examiners] increasingly incomprehensible”.

The President of the EPO – Alain Pompidou – responded by stating that Rödler’s comments were “misleading in substance” and had been made in an inappropriate manner.

Rödler was not deterred and continued to draft further dispatches in a similar tone.

In the end, his supervising minister – at the time, Werner Faymann of the SPÖ – was obliged to intervene and apologise officially to the EPO and its staff. Faymann wrote that “Austria very much appreciates the EPO’s work” and he assured that he would “take care of an improved communication structure.”

Werner Faymann
The minister responsible for the Austrian Patent Office, Werner Faymann, felt obliged to publicly apologise for Rödler’s “misleading” and “inappropriate” attacks on EPO staff in 2007.

Even this intervention by his supervising minister wasn’t enough to stop Rödler who continued to issue misleading statements about a purported “debt quagmire” at the EPO.

“Even this intervention by his supervising minister wasn’t enough to stop Rödler who continued to issue misleading statements about a purported “debt quagmire” at the EPO.”Given his deeply entrenched hostility towards EPO staff, it’s unlikely that Rödler had any qualms about supporting Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” in June 2013. And it seems equally improbable that his submissive deputy Andrea Scheichl dared to express any contrary opinion on the matter.

However, by a curious twist of irony, just as Rödler was voting to trample on the rights of EPO staff in June 2013 he was becoming embroiled in what the Austrian media called an “embarrassing farce” back home in Vienna.

This affair revolved around a “second salary” which Rödler received in addition to his regular remuneration as head of the Patent Office and it would lead to his downfall in due course.

“This affair revolved around a “second salary” which Rödler received in addition to his regular remuneration as head of the Patent Office and it would lead to his downfall in due course.”To fully understand what was going on here it is worthwhile conducting a detailed review of Rödler’s career at the Austrian Patent Office starting with his appointment as Director in 2005.

At the time in question, Rödler was a senior civil servant holding the position of Secretary-General at the Patent Office’s supervising Ministry (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie – BMVIT).

Right from the word go, Gabriela Moser – an Austrian MP from the Green Party – was on Rödler’s case with a parliamentary question about the circumstances of his appointment to the top job at the Patent Office.

As a matter of fact, during the period between 2005 and 2016, Moser submitted no less than four parliamentary questions about Rödler and his activities in connection with the Austrian Patent Office.

“As a matter of fact, during the period between 2005 and 2016, Moser submitted no less than four parliamentary questions about Rödler and his activities in connection with the Austrian Patent Office.”In the first parliamentary question submitted in February 2005 [PDF], Moser referred to various suspected irregularities which occurred on Rödler’s watch as BMVIT Secretary-General. These suspected irregularities included inconsistencies in the award of public contracts connected with the relocation of the Patent Office from the city centre to an outlying suburb of Vienna.

Moser also referred to Rödler’s exceptionally well-endowed special contract as Secretary-General and she criticised the 2004 amendment of the Patent Act, which removed previous restrictions on prospective candidates for the position of Patent Office Director. According to Moser, the amendment was specifically tailored to permit Rödler to be installed into the top job by his political sponsors.

Gabriela Moser
Rödler’s nemesis, the late Gabriela Moser of the Austrian Green Party (front left), protesting against legislative plans to increase state surveillance.

In October 2009, Moser was back on Rödler’s case when she submitted a second parliamentary question [PDF] about his management style and his controversial track record as head of the Patent Office since 2005.

“More specifically, there were allegations of “intimidation” by Rödler, including unjustified disciplinary procedures against staff – in one case a private lawsuit against a staff member – and harassment of staff representatives, in particular one who had given support to an employee targeted by Rödler.”Amongst other things, Moser accused Rödler of stoking conflicts with the EPO and of an excessively confrontational management style at the Austrian Patent Office.

More specifically, there were allegations of “intimidation” by Rödler, including unjustified disciplinary procedures against staff – in one case a private lawsuit against a staff member – and harassment of staff representatives, in particular one who had given support to an employee targeted by Rödler.

In addition to this, questions were asked about Rödler’s involvement with serv.ip, a partially autonomous unit of the Patent Office which had been set up to provide “IP information services” on a commercial basis, apparently without a proper legal basis.

“In all of these cases Rödler was found to have acted in a manner that was “not in accordance with the law”.”The issues raised in Moser’s second parliamentary question were taken up in an article published [PDF] in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse under the title “Friedrich Rödler: The Stern Master of the Patent Office”.

In this newspaper article it was reported that the Staff Representation Supervisory Commission of the Austrian Federal Chancellery had investigated six complaints against Rödler in 2007.

In all of these cases Rödler was found to have acted in a manner that was “not in accordance with the law”.

However, despite the extensive allegations of misconduct against Rödler, the Minister in charge of the BMVIT, Doris Bures, was not deterred from renewing his appointment for another five years in 2010.

Friedrich Rodler and Minister Doris Bures
Rödler with Minister Doris Bures who renewed his appointment in 2010 before his “second salary” from serv.ip became a matter of public controversy.

As we shall see in due course, Bures probably lived to regret her decision.

“As we shall see in due course, Bures probably lived to regret her decision.”A few years later in 2013, Rödler was back in the headlines again. This time the renewed public scrutiny was linked to his role as “managing director” of serv.ip and, more specifically, to a second salary which he had awarded himself in this capacity.

In the next part we will see how this very public controversy eventually led to Rödler’s downfall in 2015.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  2. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day



  3. Sirius Finished

    Yesterday I was sent a letter approving my resignation from Sirius ‘Open Source’, two months after I had already announced that I was resigning with immediate effect; they sent an identical letter to my wife (this time, unlike before, they remembered to also change the names!!)



  4. The Collapse of Sirius in a Nutshell: How to Identify the Symptoms and Decide When to Leave

    Sirius is finished, but it's important to share the lessons learned with other people; there might be other "pretenders" out there and they need to be abandoned



  5. Links 03/02/2023: WINE 8.1 and RapidDisk 9.0.0

    Links for the day



  6. Links 02/02/2023: KDE Gear 22.12.2 and LibreOffice 7.5

    Links for the day



  7. Linux News or Marketing Platform?

    Ads everywhere: Phoronix puts them at the top, bottom, navigation bar, left, and right just to read some Microsoft junk (puff pieces about something that nobody other than Microsoft even uses); in addition there are pop-ups asking for consent to send visitors’ data to hundreds of data brokers



  8. Daily Links at Techrights Turn 15, Time to Give Them an Upgrade

    This year we have several 15-year anniversaries; one of them is Daily Links (it turned 15 earlier this week) and we've been working to improve these batches of links, making them a lot more extensive and somewhat better structured/clustered



  9. Back to Focusing on Unified Patent Court (UPC) Crimes and Illegal Patent Agenda, Including the EPO's

    The EPO's (European Patent Office, Europe's second-largest institution) violations of constitutions, laws and so on merit more coverage, seeing that what's left of the "media" not only fails to cover scandalous things but is actively cheering for criminals (in exchange for money)



  10. European Patent Office Staff Votes in Favour of Freedom of Association (97% of Voters in Support)

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) at the EPO makes a strong case for António Campinos to stop breaking and law and actually start obeying court orders (he’s no better than Benoît Battistelli and he uses worse language already)



  11. Links 02/02/2023: Glibc 2.37 and Go 1.20

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 01, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 01, 2023



  13. Links 01/02/2023: Security Problems, Unrest, and More

    Links for the day



  14. Links 01/02/2023: Stables Kernels and Upcoming COSMIC From System76

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 31, 2023



  16. Links 31/01/2023: Catchup Again, Wayland in Xfce 4.20

    Links for the day



  17. Links 31/01/2023: elementary OS 7

    Links for the day



  18. Intimidation Against Nitrux Development Team Upsets the Community and Makes the Media Less Trustworthy

    Nitrux is being criticised for being “very unappealing”; but a look behind the scenes reveals an angry reviewer (habitual mouthpiece of the Linux Foundation and Linux foes) trying to intimidate Nitrux developers, who are unpaid volunteers rather than “corporate” developers



  19. Links 31/01/2023: GNOME 44 Wallpapers and Alpha

    Links for the day



  20. Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) and KU Leuven Boosting Americans and Cancellers of the Father of Free Software

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), along with the SFLC one might add, have been under a siege by the trademark-abusing FSFE and SFC; Belgium helps legitimise the ‘fakes’



  21. Techrights in the Next 5 or 10 Years

    Now that I’m free from the shackles of a company (it deteriorated a lot after grabbing Gates Foundation money under an NDA) the site Techrights can flourish and become more active



  22. 60 Days of Articles About Sirius 'Open Source' and the Long Road Ahead

    The Sirius ‘Open Source’ series ended after 60 days (parts published every day except the day my SSD died completely and very suddenly); the video above explains what’s to come and what lessons can be learned from the 21-year collective experience (my wife and I; work periods combined) in a company that still claims, in vain, to be “Open Source”



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 30, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, January 30, 2023



  24. Taking Techrights to the Next Level in 2023

    I've reached a state of "closure" when it comes to my employer (almost 12 years for me, 9+ years for my wife); expect Techrights to become more active than ever before and belatedly publish important articles, based on longstanding investigations that take a lot of effort



  25. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Realise That Outsourcing Clients' Passwords to LassPass After Security Breaches Is a Terrible Idea

    The mentality or the general mindset at Sirius ‘Open Source’ was not compatible with that of security conscientiousness and it seemed abundantly clear that paper mills (e.g. ISO certification) cannot compensate for that



  26. Links 30/01/2023: Plasma Mobile 23.01 and GNU Taler 0.9.1

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Management Isn't Listening to Staff, It's Just Trying to Divide and Demoralise the Staff Instead

    “On 18 January 2023,” the staff representatives tell European Patent Office (EPO) colleagues, “the staff representation met with the administration in a Working Group on the project “Bringing Teams Together”. It was the first meeting since the departure of PD General Administration and the radical changes made to the project. We voiced the major concerns of staff, the organization chaos and unrest caused by the project among teams and made concrete proposals.”



  28. Links 30/01/2023: Coreboot 4.19 and Budgie 10.7

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 29, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 29, 2023



  30. [Meme] With Superheroes Like These...

    Ever since the new managers arrived the talent has fled the company that falsely credits itself with "Open Source"


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts