“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”
–Bill Gates, Microsoft
Summary: The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft ‘embracing’ Open Source
MICROSOFT has been relying on a great deal of AstroTurfing as an instrument of domination. To quote Microsoft’s internal documents
[PDF], “[t]o control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”
Microsoft now directs its instrument of deception towards GNU/Linux users. AstroTurfing of this kind necessitates influence from the inside. It is no longer just Novell’s money that makes the Linux Foundation unable (without risk) to antagonise Microsoft. By becoming financially dependent on Microsoft partners like Nokia and Intel (Wintel) the Linux Foundation lost its ability to antagonise rivals and it might not be long before the Linux Foundation silently tells Torvalds not to denounce Microsoft because of his new senior colleagues from there and because “Microsoft loves Linux”, according to Microsoft. As we have shown before, several Linux Foundation sub-committees are having heads appointed to them from Microsoft (Neela, Ramji and more). It is like a coup in slow motion as we are gradually witnessing more of its impact. It is even endemic in the media.
Microsoft used OOXML to shut out OpenOffice.org and to screw up not just migrations away from Office but also from Windows. This proved to be an effective sabotage-centric strategy in Europe, where some migrations to GNU/Linux were notably impeded because of OOXML. Office suites are not being made compatible, as they can never be made compatible, as per Microsoft’s deliberate design. As Bobby Moss put it to me the other day (about OOXML): “Here’s our ISO-approved standard, but we’re going to use a ‘transitional’ version instead. Good luck suckers ;)”
There is a nasty strategy going on right now and as Microsoft’s own partners now admit, Microsoft is trying to do to GNU/Linux with ‘cloud’ APIs what it did using OOXML. Microsoft loves Linux like Eric Holder loves free speech and like Obama loves peace. It’s nonsense (albeit endlessly repeated) of the highest order, but enough people who are not keeping up with the news might actually fall for this nonsense and even pass it on.
The other day we saw this article about one of the latest attack vectors against Android. This attack is partly Microsoft-funded and there is a good explanation of how Microsoft attacks Android/Linux right now. it’s titled “Microsoft’s Trojan Horse To Undermine Android”. A journalist specialising in Android over at Forbes noted: “Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has provided a high-level review of Nadella’s operation that brings the jigsaw of ‘Cloud first mobile first’ into focus. But I want to take a look at one of the moves that Redmond has made at the very edge of the mobile space… specifically the investment by Microsoft in the alternative mobile operating system company Cyanogen.
“According to reports from the Wall Street Journal (and others), Microsoft is a minority partner in the latest funding round of Cyanogen (the company behind the custom Android ROM that is CyanogenMod). The round is believed to be for $70 million in total, valuing the company in “the high hundreds of millions of dollars”.
“What is Microsoft playing at here?
“I seriously doubt that Microsoft is in it to make a profit. There are far better ways of investing its money if it wants a financial return. So where is the value in Microsoft in becoming involved with Cyanogen?
“Let’s start with the easiest one. While Cyanogen isn’t exactly the enemy of Google (it still relies heavily on the Android Open Source Project as well as the goodwill of Google and the other manufacturers to allow devices to have the ROM installed easily and smoothly), the old adage of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should apply. Anything Microsoft can do to destabilise Google and force it to expend more effort on areas where Microsoft is fighting Mountain View is a strategic win, no matter how small it is.”
To skip to a point further down in this article, “Microsoft is looking at opportunities beyond the mobile operating system as a platform. Instead it is looking to leveraging any operating system so that it talks to the Microsoft cloud.”
He concludes as follows: “I’m sure Microsoft would be more than happy to load up CyanogenMod with Outlook, Office, and the rest of the app suite. I’m pretty sure it would help out with some engineering time as well if there was a need for such a thing.”
This article is far from perfect. As Will Hill put it: “There’s nothing potent about Microsoft’s “cloud”. Bing, Skype, Outlook are miserable failures like everything else Microsoft touches. Idiot news sources like Forbes said the same kinds of silly things when Microsoft subjugated Yahoo, but it went no where. Microsoft’s corruption of Cyanogenmod is one or two orders of magnitude less important than that.”
Also see the new article titled “Cyanogen versus Google: Biting the Android that feeds”. To quote parts of it: “Considering how much Android has benefited the Cyanogen developers, one might think the company would owe Google a debt of gratitude; without Android, there is no CM. However, not only has Cyanogen publicly railed against the platform’s licensing terms, its CEO, Kirt McMaster, actually began a recent speech (at The Information’s “Next Phase of Android” event) by stating that “we’re attempting to take Android away from Google.””
This Microsoft-funded effort to derail Android is further crticised as follows: “An old aphorism goes something like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” By maligning Google so vehemently, and seemingly ignoring the larger corporation’s work in building up the popularity of Android — not to mention creating the basis for its ecosystem — Cyanogen is playing a dangerous game that seems born in arrogance: its perceived success, and apparent high valuation, may have given its principals the notion that they can do no wrong.”
Microsoft is now doing to Samsung something similar, based on some reports. It is the latest of many Microsoft-backed attempts to disrupt Android using another party. As a Red Hat-run site serves to remind us, “OnePlus ditches CyanogenMod” around the same time Microsoft funding was revealed and following Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo the company continues its rapid collapse (it has become a proxy for Microsoft’s search efforts, even in the UK, not just in the US).
What saddens us the most is that Canonical is seemingly fine with Microsoft’s abuses as long as Microsoft pays some money. It’s a bit like Novell, but not quite as insidious.
It is not hard to see what Microsoft is really up to here. Watch an article titled “Microsoft’s Trojan horse strategy to rule the world”, written by Microsoft partner and propagandist Tony Bradley (we wrote about him many times before because of his anti-GNU/Linux articles which exempt disclosures of his ties to Microsoft). The way he put it the other day is quite revealing. He is no ordinary writer, he has been a Microsoft mouthpiece for quite a few years and Microsoft works with him. “Brilliant strategy” he called the Trojan horse strategy (see subheading), noting that “By integrating cloud services and expanding the availability and influence of Office, Microsoft is (not so) secretly extending its dominance to rival platforms.”
The “Trojan horse” part says: “The world where Microsoft has a monopoly or pseudo-monopoly on any platform or technology has all but disappeared. The new reality is a multi-device, multi-platform world. Any attempt to paint customers into a corner and lock them into a specific platform or device is essentially suicidal.
“Microsoft’s new strategy takes a sort of “Trojan horse” approach to ruling the world once again. It can’t make everyone use Windows PCs, and Windows Phone smartphones have claimed only a negligible slice of the mobile device market. By freeing customers to use Microsoft tools on other platforms and devices, though, Microsoft will continue to be a dominant force — even on rival platforms like Android and iOS.”
Fernando Cassia, former journalist with The Inquirer (UK), told us in Twitter (using hastags) that #TheCloudIsTheAPI #FogComputing (our made-up term for “cloud”).
Microsoft does not “love Linux”, Microsoft hopes to “engulf Linux” while a sufficient number of drooling observers believe PR pieces from Microsoft and its friends in the media.
We have been patiently waiting for the whole “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense (in the Microsoft-leaning media) to end so that we can write a most comprehensive rebuttal to these latest veiled attacks. It is basically an attack on Android disguised as being about search, choice, competition, etc. Watch what ECT (“Linux Insider”) did the other day. Richard Adhikari, who produces many Android-hostile pieces for a number of years now, is still a propagandist without tact. He often quotes anti-Android factions regarding perceived security issues and now he asks Microsoft’s mouthpiece Rob Enderle for ‘analysis’ of Google. He should be slammed for having ECT (which paid Rob Enderle) give Enderle a platform again, with which to bash Microsoft’s competition (nothing in the article says that Microsoft paid him). Tabloid ‘journalism’ at its best? Making matters worse, ECT does not disclose that Rob Enderle used to work for them, regularly bashing Linux/FOSS for a salary!
This is basically just another noteworthy pattern of the attack on Linux and its backers, pushing the pro-Microsoft line and pushing the anti-Google angle. But there’s another angle to it — an angle which flooded the media this past week. There are many puff pieces (similar to press releases) like this one about Azure. Slashdot plays a role in it, propping up the narrative of “Microsoft loves Linux” and IDG, in the mean time, characterises PRISM surveillance and lock-in as ‘free’.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols once again gives Microsoft a soft treatment because Canonical is helping the Trojan horse in exchange for money. This has been covered by some GNU/Linux proponents, who wrote: “Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced today, February 19, that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Linux, Ubuntu more specifically” (all about self interest, as in Novell’s case, to the exclusion of externalities).
“Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.?”The British and American media were quick to help Microsoft spread this misleading narrative, which made us wonder; Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.? It smacks of that.
Here is one quote from the articles named here: “Bill Gates once chose the word “cancer” to describe the operating system, which competes with Windows.) But in the past year, especially since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s chief executive, the company has taken several steps demonstrating a commitment to the open-source development model or its own tools and open-source tools assembled outside of Microsoft.”
No, hardly so. It has been a strategy of embrace and extend, before extinguish comes. Watch what things were selectively made “open source”. Microsoft is constantly attacking FOSS while trying to control it and take control of its direction, tying it to Microsoft’s proprietary software maze (Windows, Office, and so on).
GigaOm, which was paid by Microsoft for secret (undisclosed, embedded in article content) ads, continues to openwash the company with this widely-cited article. We asked Om Malik, “how much does Nadella bribe you now?” He did not respond (it has been days since we asked).
“Microsoft says 20 percent of all VMs running on Azure run Linux,” according to the article, but is that actually good news? No, it’s not. Remember that Microsoft treats GNU/Linux as patent infringement. Here is another article about it. Microsoft is now controlling, putting under surveillance and already taxing GNU/Linux. Microsoft propagandists and “MVPs” like Rod Trent won’t bother pointing that out and neither will Microsoft propaganda sites with strong connections to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2]. They are openwashing this nasty thing called Azure as though they’re under orders to coordinate a PR campaign in the media. See Mary Jo Foley doing her thing along with Microsoft networks [1, 2], Microsoft-funded sites, Microsoft boosters like Adrian Bridgwater, and Microsoft-funded networks such as UBM and IDG [1, 2]. This misinformation war managed to even ‘leak’ out of Microsoft’s controlled press, e.g. this one from Forbes and some lesser Microsoft-friendly sites such as AOL, etc. etc. etc.
The latest openwashing of Microsoft often cites acquisition of two proprietary software companies that will be used versus FOSS — companies such as Revolution Analytics and Cyanogen (partial ownership). This openwashing of Microsoft requires a high degree of gullibility or intentional (malicious) desire to mislead.
The other day we spotted Microsoft booster Darryl K. Taft propping up the Microsoft-connected Black Duck. He wrote this:
The Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year are selected irrespective of commercial motivations.
No, Black Duck is selecting partners that paid money, Microsoft for example.
Weeks ago we wrote that the openwashing of Microsoft is now threatening to eliminate the identity of Free software. Never mind the high cost of proprietary lock-in and back doors (see the new reports titled “Microsoft to double price of XP’s post-retirement support” and “Microsoft prepares for summer price hike”). Never mind the high costs passed to the taxpayers, as the story of the BBC serves to show (Microsoft infiltrated it). The BBC is still leeching off taxpayers to pay Microsoft, so it’s quite a relief to learn from the BBC that “Windows Media [is] becoming too expensive to operate, Mr Scott said.”
If Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” and a company that “loves Linux” as some of the press wishes us to believe, then how come none of the company’s big products became Open Source? How come the only things that are being openwashed are mechanisms for selling proprietary software? █
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Summary: Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware
WHEN it was revealed that governments had constructed Stuxnet to sabotage computers almost all reporters refused to call out Windows, despite Stuxnet being exclusive to Windows. The same is happening right now in relation to Superfish. We posted links to a lot of articles about it (see our daily links for about a dozen) and none of them bothered reporting the fact that only clients of Microsoft (the NSA’s ally) were affected. Having watched dozens of articles about it we can say that almost not a single article emphasised that it only affects Windows. Lenovo says it didn’t know about it and given the shadowy background of Superfish (its CEO came from the surveillance complex) it’s possible that Lenovo was tricked or bribed into installing this back door.
“Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.”The CBS-owned ZDNet has Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe spinning that Superfish scandal to even imply that people should “love Windows”. Well, at least she points out that it’s a Windows issue, albeit that’s not her intention (she is just a Microsoft mouthpiece seeking to divert blame).
Robert Pogson responded to Branscombe by stating:
I recommend everyone switch to GNU/Linux. It’s easy. Demand your local retailers sell them. Shop online for a GNU/Linux PC. Heck, install it yourself. Heck, you can even get that other OS to start the process. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, software that works for you, not some corporation with the morality of a snake. The beauty of it is that the licence you get with the downloads includes the right to examine, modify and distribute the software, so you can cut out all that third-party crapware, if there were any. Debian doesn’t bother attaching crapware to PCs it doesn’t sell…
It’s not just that. Windows, with or without crapware, has back doors. GNU/Linux hasn’t. Free software is essential for those who pursue real computer security, as opposed to so-called ‘national security’.
Here is the statement that the FSF has just made about it (hours ago):
Security experts have discovered a highly threatening vulnerability in software preinstalled on some Windows computers manufactured by Lenovo through January 2015. Extreme negligence on the part of Lenovo and unscrupulous programming by its adware partner Superfish seem to have caused the vulnerability.
The FSF does point out that it’s a “Windows computers” issue. Well, there is no such thing as “Windows computers”, as such computers can have Windows wiped and GNU/Linux installed instead. Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly. █
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Terrorising his own staff
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening — as before — staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself
AS just about everyone in the EPO ought know by now, the British Consulate is about to find itself besieged by EPO staff (potentially thousands of staff) who will be there to protest an attack by non-scientists on the great scientists who work as examiners for the most part [1, 2]. These people are highly skilled (many have doctorate degrees and a long track record in their field), so they shouldn’t be taken for fools or radicals. Au contraire — these people can very easily recognise tyranny and injustice. They are eager to react to that even at personal cost or high risk. Greed does not motivate them to the degree that it motivates empty suits like Battistelli, who now surrounds himself in a crowd of bodyguards and other 'protection'/thugs (this so-called ‘security’ is costing taxpayers a lot of money and speaks volumes about paranoia or megalomania). Battistelli acts like a politician, not a manager. He leads by wielding fear and censorship, not charisma. It’s no wonder given his right-hand man. No wonder top staff is leaving over time. It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.
“It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.”According to some of these latest comments, Battistelli “had just issued a letter/threat to staff, directed at SUEPO Munich committee, that if there is a march to the British consulate next week, the organisers will be disciplined. So much for free speech. Is this his response to the Dutch court?”
This is a reference to the Dutch court's decision that we covered a couple of days ago. Quote from the message: “Those who take an active role in its organisation must know they ate infringing the standards of conduct expected from international civil servants. Should the planned demo actually take place, this would constitute a breach of the applicable legal framework and those concerned will be held liable for the beach of their obligations under the EPC and the Service Regulations.”
Actually, the rights of workers include the right to protest. In the face of tyranny, as in this case, protest is very much necessary. The rules imposed by Battistelli are seen as illegitimate at this stage. They’re designed to sustain his power, nothing else. It’s essential to demonstrate for justice and democracy — of which Battistelli is a sworn opponents, based on both actions and vain words.
“Well,” said one anonymous person, “I had been pondering whether or not to participate in the demonstration on 25 February, midday. BB [Benoît Battistelli] has just made up my mind for me: I’ll definitely be there to exercise my democratic rights (even in the unlikely event that I should be the only one there!)”
Another quote-worthy comment: “BB announces that any employee involved in organising a demonstration outside the UK Consulate in Munich will be “disciplined”. Do I see it right, that it is the act of organising that requires discipline (rather than the act of demonstrating)?
“I recall another regime that began its reign of discipline by going after union organisers. I wonder, how long is the AC going to continue to sit on its hands.”
Benoît Battistelli is digging himself deeper in the thin ice, to reuse a metaphor which was used the other day.
Battistelli has become a horrible pretender because only days ago, following the protest against an outpost of Denmark in Munich (targeting the AC, headed by Battistelli's mate) [1, 2, 3, 4], Battistelli published this in the EPO Web site:
Last week-end was marked by yet another tragic event in Europe as Denmark has been the victim of terrorist attacks in the centre of Copenhagen.
I am joined by the staff of the European Patent Office in expressing full solidarity with the Danish people. Europe is based on values among which freedom of expression and liberty are the most essential.
We must not be afraid, assume our responsibilities and stay united to reject these attempts against the basis of our plural society.
Well, what an unbelievable hypocrite, attacking free speech while claiming to defend it and squeezing terror attacks for his own spin.
“If 1000 staff members show up for that demonstration,” writes one person, “it will be very difficult to apply diciplinary [sic] actions. This situation is not sustainable, Examiners get on the baricades [sic] and walk for a more democratic organisation.”
Another person writes: “There must be a huge turnout at the GB consulate. As many staff, and Munich based attorneys, as possible. Strength in numbers. Enough with this authoritarian rubbish.”
Finally, said another person several hours ago: “I don’t live in Munich but this attempt to stop a fully democratic demonstration is so mind-bogglingly unacceptable that I think I shall take the day off and travel to Munich to be at the demo. Time for a strong signal, methinks.”
The more people attend to protest, the more trouble the tyrant will be in, not the staff. It’s collective strength. █
“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.
“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”
–Richard Stallman amid 2008 EPO protests
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All modern dictators fall – the question is when
The modern dictator walks on thin ice. And the ice is likely to get thinner and thinner as time passes. The dictator’s dilemma will usually lead to his downfall, which can be provoked either by a massive uprising when unhappiness becomes unbearable, or by the pressure exerted by external parties. Or both.
Suppressed people learn how to apply measures everyone can take, to chip away at the dictator’s authority and credibility: for example public demonstrations, strikes, caricatures, leaflets, boycotts, contributions to online debates, discussing with like-minded affected people, and sharing best practice one spots.
Knowing that every one of the dictator’s mistakes accelerates his fall, his opponents will try to create situations where the dictator fails. They will, for example, ensure that their dictator does not meet his objectives. Of course, a good dictator will always try to blame others when things go wrong. Perhaps one of his partners is at fault, perhaps an opposition leader, or a whistleblower. Or he just invents someone. In the end, though, he won’t get away with it:
“That is the problem for authoritarian leaders everywhere. Eventually, you run out of scapegoats.”
From the latest EPO-FLIER (#14)
Summary: An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday’s 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains
THURSDAY was quite a heck (or hack) of a day for Techrights, which published three very important articles about very important developments.
“The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) has repeatedly complained as well, so this is part of a pattern”One very important item which we missed on that exceptionally busy Thursday was this letter.
Protest in the British Consulate over patent scope and Board 28 is planned for next week, as we first noted last week, but here is the new letter that should have been sent to Mr. Dennehey, not just Mr. Kongstad of the European Patent Office (the AC is more or less an inseparable part of it now). It comes from the UK-centric CIPA and it states:
6th February 2015
Dear Mr. Kongstad,
re: Independence of the Boards of Appeal
On behalf of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys I submit the following
comments on this matter of great importance.
The EPC set up a system with a rough separation of powers between:-
- a legislative/oversight body (the Administrative Council);
- an executive body (the Office through the President);
- a judiciary (the Boards of Appeal).
The separation of the judiciary from the Office was intended to be ensured by disciplinary powers over the members of the Board of Appeal being with the Administrative Council (legislature) rather than with the President (executive). While not a complete separation of powers, this was thought by many to be sufficient to ensure the independence of the Boards of Appeal. [Indeed, some have complained that the members of the Boards of Appeal are too independent, in the sense that different strands of opinion are evident within the Boards, and references to the Enlarged Board of Appeal take place only when a Board decides or on a reference by the President.]
The subject of judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal has been put into sharp focus by recent events, and in particular by:
- the exclusion of a member of the Boards of Appeal from the premises of the EPO pending investigation of alleged disciplinary offences;
- the decision R19/12 and its effect on the role of VP3.
The confusion that has resulted implies that the balances built into the EPC appear not to be functioning, and that strengthening of the separation of powers may be necessary.
There have been previous proposals to change the institutional framework of the Boards of Appeal to ensure their judicial independence. [For example see CA/46/04 and CA/103/03] These proposals, which would have required a diplomatic conference to amend the EPC to make the Boards of Appeal a clearly separate arm of the European Patent Organisation, were not carried through, even though they attracted wide support in principle (although not necessarily in detail). [NB CIPA does not necessarily support all aspects of that proposal, in particular the prospect of lifetime tenure without adequate safeguards for removing erratic members of the Boards of Appeal, and the determination of promotion in the hands of one person.]
Given the experience with ratification of EPC2000, amendment to the EPC will take too long to deal with the immediate problem, but should not be ruled out, particularly given that the Article 4a EPC conference of ministers is long overdue and the above mentioned proposal for autonomy was made over 10 years ago. [A conference under Article 4a EPC to discuss “issues pertaining to the Organisation and to the European patent system” would appear particularly opportune given the imminent arrival of the unitary patent.]
Amendment to the EPC Rules is within the competence of the Administrative Council and can be done relatively quickly.
The EPC is explicit that disciplinary power concerning senior officials and the members of the Boards of Appeal shall lie with the AC. [Article 11(4) EPC; Article 23 EPC] However, the recent events have highlighted a gap, in that the AC is not in a position to take immediate action if it appears necessary, and the President’s authority to intervene is controversial (CIPA take no position on the specific case in question).
Complete financial independence is not necessary for judicial independence. Courts in most European countries are supported by the state, and court fees do not necessarily cover full costs. What is necessary is security of finance for the courts and the judiciary, which must be visibly independent from interference by the executive, so that the decisions in any case are based on the case itself and not on extraneous pressures.
The European Patent Office does not have the resources of a state and is reliant on income from users and so users will suffer if costs are not appropriately controlled.
Establishing an independent judiciary does not necessitate a separate body, nor does it necessitate establishing a separate fee structure, building, and administration. All of the physical infrastructure requirements for an independent Board of Appeal are present in the current arrangements: what is missing is an appropriate reporting structure and assumption by the Administrative Council of its disciplinary role. It has been suggested that a degree of physical separation between the Boards of Appeal and the Office might assist in the appearance of independence: however this appearance would only be gained at considerable expense and loss of efficiency.
To provide at least an interim solution to maintaining the independence of the Boards of Appeal it is suggested that some rule changes may assist while a long-term solution is sought, desirably through amendment to the EPC. Suggested rule changes include:
A. Amendment to Rule 9(1) EPC to place direction of the Boards of Appeal and Enlarged Boards of Appeal with a Director of the Boards of Appeal, who would not be a Vice President of the Office. He/she would have budgetary responsibilities and would report directly to the Administrative Council. This avoids the current blend of responsibilities to the executive and judiciary that led to R19/12. He/she might also be Chairman of the Enlarged Board;
B. The President’s supervisory authority over BoA members (Article 10(2)(f) EPC) to be delegated to the Director under Article 10(2)(i) EPC. This fills the gap highlighted by the recent events. If urgent action to exclude a BoA member appears necessary, pending disciplinary proceedings by the AC, then it can be taken by the Director. This is to the benefit of the President since there would be no reason why he need become mired in controversy.
C. Amendment to Rule 12(1) EPC by replacing reference to the VP with reference to the Director of Boards of Appeal.
D. Provision for the Director to be appointed by the AC on a proposal of the Enlarged Board (or for an extremely independent approach – by election from the Boards of Appeal subject to approval by the AC);
E. Introduction of Rules under Article 11(3) EPC concerning how and under what criteria the President will propose BoA members, in particular relating the number of Board members to demand and backlogs, and indicating how people may put their names forward;
F. Provision for a separate Chapter in the EPO budget relating to the Boards of Appeal to provide transparency as to costs;
G. If they do not exist, the AC to introduce and publish disciplinary rules for Board of
Appeal members and for others over whom it has disciplinary authority [The institutional secrecy of the EPO is damaging to its reputation and allows rumours to spread unchecked. The damage done is evident from recent events.];
H. Introduction of Rules or guidelines concerning under what circumstances (e.g. health, safety, public order), and for what duration, the President may temporarily exclude members of the Board of Appeal from the premises of the EPO without prior agreement of the Director of Boards of Appeal.
The above proposals only represent interim measures. CIPA is of the view that amendment to the EPC is necessary to give a secure guarantee of independence. When the EPC is next
amended CIPA will be ready to contribute to the debate on what specific changes are necessary.
J. C. Boff, Chairman of CIPA Patents Committee
There are plenty of anonymous comments there and here are some of Merpel’s own remarks:
The current ongoing controversy over the (mis)governance of the European Patent Office (EPO) Boards of Appeal is due to come before the Administrative Council (AC) when it next meets on 25 March. As this moggy recently reported, some groundwork has been done in advance of that meeting, with proposals apparently having been drafted by the members of the AC’s inner sanctum, Board 28. Jesper Kongstad, who chairs the AC, met with members of the Boards of Appeal, without sharing the details of the proposed reforms, but the topic will undoubtedly come before Board 28 when it convenes again on March 10.
Merpel thinks that the AC could do worse than take the template set out by CIPA below, and use this as a starting point for their reforms. It seems to deal with all the majors gaps in governance that have emerged in the last three months, and to suggest practical ways of plugging those gaps until the EPC is eventually amended (something that won’t happen during the tenure of Mr Battistelli, bets Merpel). In addition to the legal reforms required to separate powers, Merpel is interested to see that CIPA is also proposing fiscal changes, to give the Boards their own budget and financial independence.
The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) has repeatedly complained as well, so this is part of a pattern. Not only EPO staff complaint but stakeholders too.
We don’t expect the EPO to last in its current state for much longer. █
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Summary: Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses
TODAY we published three very important articles regarding the EPO. It didn’t take more than an hour for the site to become inaccessible. Cracking attempts against Techrights sharply rose to a pace of ~1 per second (it’s usually quite bad, but not that bad) and Techrights was down due to exhausted resources, as is so often the case (for 6 months now) after writing major reports about EPO scandals. Investigation ensued (we still study the damage and the cause) and we are back online. Risk of brute-force SSH attacks on Techrights had already been mitigated by restriction to key-only authorisation, but that did not protect from DDOS attacks with large enough IP addresses pool. There is a reason and motivation, but we don’t know whose. Correlations (in timing and more) have inspired mere guesses over the past 6 months. We have been taking comprehensive site backups specifically before publishing key (exclusive) articles about the EPO; we didn’t do this in our entire history as a public site (which is almost a decade old). With mass protests, ugly coverups, violations of the law and resignations already happening there is a lot at stake here. DDOS attacks against us started around the same time the series about the EPO began, lasting months and sometimes persevering for weeks at a time (causing downtime or limited availability). I lost many nights of sleep over it. So has my wife.
“The EPO is already being sued by staff, which forced it (in The Hague) to stop censoring (essentially attacking) the voice of staff.”We already have it confirmed that EPO is in such as sordid mess that there are censorship attacks (by the EPO's management) on EPO staff. This is the same management which is misusing taxpayers' money, paying for fake coverage to glorify EPO management in respected publications such as the New Scientist. The decision from the EPO to plant ‘articles’/’testimonies’ (for a fee!) will backfire badly on Benoît Battistelli. As one IPKat comment put it: “As we read the various comments from the anonymice, keep in mind, dear Reader, that a comment that gives every appearance of coming from an EPO Examiner might in fact be disinformation coming from a crony of the President. And vice versa, of course.”
The EPO is already being sued by staff, which forced it (in The Hague) to stop censoring (essentially attacking) the voice of staff. This never prevented staff from accessing information from home (after work). “I think that’s the begining [sic.] of the end of Battistelli reign,” says a comment from the past hour, “it will create a scandal bigger that the Edith Cresson scandal” (context here). █
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