Summary: The EPO’s Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States’ delegations are urged to call for action
AS UNLIKELY as it is to ever happen, since the Administrative Council is pretty much in Battistelli’s pocket (loyal to Battistelli), Merpel wrote an open letter to the Administrative Council asking for actions to be taken only days ahead of a big meeting.
“The below email,” says a new source of ours, “was sent to the Delegations of the EPO’s Administrative Council”. It was sent in “preparation of the Administrative Council meeting on 25 and 26 March 2015″ (tomorrow and Friday).
This was sent to “heads and members of the Member States’ delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation [and] Mr Grandjean” (the Chairman).
Here is the letter
By email to Heads of Delegation
17 March 2015
Questions to the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the EPO
Dear Heads of Delegation,
There has been some criticism of the Administrative Council on the internet recently, but one of the more constructive contributions we noticed were two questions posted on the IPKat blog, and directed to the UK delegation1. In quoting them here, we have generalised them:
1. What, for your country, are the big issues at the EPO that you see, especially in terms of the staff’s working conditions, as being a risk for the long-term future of the Office?
2. What aspects of the issues in your answer to the first question made it worth taking the risk of breaching international law (such as the European Convention on Human Rights) when you voted in the Council?
The commentator on IPKat stresses that he does not wish to be controversial. Rather, it would be his hope to have some openness on the Council delegations’ thinking, so people could understand better the steps they have taken. We agree that it would be helpful if you could take a public position on the above questions. You could, for example, contact IPKat, or simply have a meeting with your nationals among the staff at the EPO, and give your answers there.
Attached to this mail, you will find a document expressing some thoughts and ideas which you will perhaps find useful in your deliberations.
With our thanks in advance for the time you give to this letter and its attachment.
The EPO-Flier Team
a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous
due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office
The original questions were posted on 26 February at 17:09 hrs
Along with the letter the following text
[PDF] was sent, highlighting “[f]ive reasons why the EPO’s president is bad for the EPO”:
17 March 2015
EPO FLIER No. 16
The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict.
Five reasons why the EPO’s president is bad for the EPO, and for Europe
Benoît Battistelli took office as President of the EPO on 1 July 2010 and is scheduled to leave on 30 June 2018. Based on his record to date, it seems likely that whenever he goes, his successor will have a mess to clean up. This article suggests five reasons for this.
Reason 1: A legacy of alleged human rights abuse that damages the reputation of all international organisations
The EPO and most other international organisations benefit from immunity from local jurisdiction in the performance of their work. This is not in order to give them a blank cheque to behave
whatever way they like. Rather, “Independence is … an embodiment of the equality of Member States. Member States may be considered shareholders that maintain separate identities from that of the organization. They own equal shares with equal distribution of power both in terms of management and decision-making.”1
In order to avoid human rights violations, the Council of Europe proposed a number of options to increase the accountability of international organisations and to limit their immunity where it is not essential for their functioning2.
The accusations against Battistelli of human rights abuse within the EPO are, amongst others, in respect to new internal rules to curb the powers of the union and the staff representatives3. He has restricted the right to strike, prohibited any other form of industrial action, and throttled the right of union and staff representatives to address their constituencies freely3, 4. He has introduced an election procedure for staff representatives that has no parallel in the western world4.
His investigation guidelines do not include the right of an accused to remain silent or to have legal counsel. The rule of law is absent4.
His medical guidelines give him the power to force staff to undergo medical examinations by a doctor of his choosing, whenever he decides, even in the staff member’s own home.
Most of these measures are subject to legal challenges and we will one day know which of them the courts consider to be breaches of human rights. For the purpose of this article, we do not
need to know the outcome of all those cases. It is enough to note the pattern – the EPO’s president is walking a very thin line, probably outside the law, at least in the view of the Dutch appeal court judges in their recent judgment, which received considerable attention across the IP community3,5.
For what used to call itself a “model European organisation”, this goes way too far. It is not just damaging to the EPO to see the comments on the internet about these alleged breaches, but it exposes all international organisations to unwanted public scrutiny. After all, the member states of the European Patent Organisation are democratic countries based on the rule of law.
The EPO should be “whiter than white” when it comes to respecting fundamental rights.
Cedric Ryngaert, senior lecturer in international law in Utrecht said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant: “International organisations are putting themselves even more above the law, although it’s already a problem.”6
Siegfried Broß, a former judge of the German Constitutional Court, recently commented that the European states, including Germany, should never have ratified the EPC since “it places the fundamental and human rights of EPO employees at the disposition of the Office Administration”7.
7 Recht haben und Recht bekommen, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.02.2015; http://www.suepo.org/archive/ex15092cp.pdf
Reason 2: Changing staff’s working conditions without regard to the consequences for the patent system
What does this attitude toward the most fundamental of rights tell us about the Office’s attitude to other forms of legal process, such as patent granting and appeals procedures?
Normally, outsiders would say that it is an internal matter for the EPO if the management and the staff are at odds about working conditions. And normally, this would be correct. At the EPO,
however, there are wider implications than for a regular employer.
Let us just consider the financial side of things. First of all, the EPO is not supposed to make a profit, so it needs to balance income and expenditure. If the staff costs drop by, say, 20%, due to a reformed career system, then it will need to drop its income by a corresponding amount. Will it decrease its fees? Then the EPO will return to balanced books. However, it is already in that situation today, so why will balanced books in the future be better than the balanced books it has today? Are lower fees so important that it is worth damaging the motivation of highly competent and professional staff?
Then there is the question of pensions and medical insurance. If staff salaries drop by 20% then contributions to the pension and medical insurance schemes will also drop accordingly. The
office will be forced to react. It will either increase contributions, which may be difficult considering they are already high, or reduce the benefits, thus once more making it a less attractive employer.
Beyond the financial considerations, there is the wider question of how to treat a body of staff with the talent and qualifications that EPO staff have. EPO workers are highly educated people, but they are not treated as such. New rules are imposed upon them without reasonable consultation with their representatives and an explanation of why the new rules are necessary. Battistelli’s effect on morale is evident to anyone who makes the effort to speak to staff members. They are demoralised, and very sad at seeing what is happening to the proud organisation they work for. This sadness is likely to lead to demotivation or resignation, and will have an impact on the functioning of the EPO. The fact that the outside world has not noticed a significant change in the quality of the EPO’s work is testimony to the professionalism and dedication of its staff. Up to now, staff have worked despite their president, not thanks to his inspirational leadership. But morale is suffering and cracks are starting to appear. The drop in morale is already so widespread that the impact will be significant. Exactly what that impact is, will become clear with time. It is unlikely to be positive.
We predict that staff will give up trying to maintain quality under the pressure of production8,9.
Those setting the priorities may like to reflect on something that Forbes10 published: “’Efficiency’ in the private sector means profit. Hence, to ask that the government be run like a business is tantamount to asking that the government turn a profit. The problem in a nutshell, is that not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable”.
Reason 3: Alleged cronyism brings his home country, France, and much of Europe into disrepute
France has had its share of scandals when it comes to cronyism at the top. Edith Cresson was forced out of office as European Commissioner when it came to light that she had engaged a
personal friend as a “visiting scientist”. Jacques Chirac was convicted of corruption for paying members of his party for jobs that did not exist. And now, even IMF President Christine Lagarde is under investigation for negligence in a corruption case.
France can have no interest in another of its high-ranking nationals being accused of creating jobs for his friends and relatives. Yet Battistelli stands accused of exactly that. Since joining the EPO, he has put French citizens in many of the key positions: Head of International Co-operation, Head of Human Resources, Member of External Audit, Head of IT and Head of Internal Communication. No matter how qualified and deserving these people are, this just looks bad. A balanced and Europe-minded president would have avoided any risk whatever of favouritism. Instead, all dealings with the member states, every HR decision, and other aspects of the EPO’s work are susceptible to criticism that they are tainted by a conflict of interest.
Europe is on the whole very sensitive to conflicts of interest in high office, and the EPO is no different, as revealed in the recent decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal R19/12, which
addressed the dual role of the Vice-President of DG 3 as part of the EPO management and simultaneously as a chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It said, “Es reicht aus, das eine Besorgnis, d. h. ein Anschein, der Befangenheit vorliegt” (see Entscheidungsgründe, paragraph 7) (“It is enough that there is concern, i.e. an impression of impartiality”).
Reason 4: Behaviour that has led to the complete discrediting of the Administrative Council as a supervisory body
Almost one year ago, French MP Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ spoke about “l’incompréhensible placidité” (the unfathomable placidness) of the Administrative Council.11 With these two simple words, he encapsulated an issue that is likely to reverberate for many years12,13,14,15.
Why has the Administrative Council simply rubber-stamped all of Battistelli’s submissions to them?
Basically Mr Battistelli has set sail on a collision course and his overseers are doing nothing about it. He, and thanks to him, the EPO, and the entire European Patent Organisation, are in the processing of colliding:
· with Human Rights (and Dutch courts)
· with EPO staff
· with the European Patent Convention (e.g. the house ban of a member of the Boards of Appeal9, and the likely effects of the reformed career on patent quality8)
· with IP interested circles and the public
· with the stakeholders of the European patent system
With the endorsement of the house ban by the Administrative Council, it has become clear that the Council itself is prepared to cruise on the absolute limit of the law, possibly cross that limit.
An explanation for part, if not all, of this must surely lie in the bizarre but true fact that the Administrative Council approves the budget for the office’s international co-operation. In other words, they, as Council delegates, are the approving body for the money used to subsidise them in their role as national patent offices. They approve the overall budget, based on a proposal from the president; then the president decides how to distribute it. Theoretically, Battistelli simply has to award and withdraw subsidies as a reward or punishment for votes in Council decisions, and Council delegates will soon learn what they have to do to get a reward. What happens in reality, no one is saying.
And it gets worse. The countries for which patents play a vital economic role are in the minority in the
Administrative Council. So for most delegates, they vote on topics that don’t have any relevance for them. They’ve nothing personally to lose or gain, except for Battistelli’s favour.
The behaviour of the Administrative Council has now become the topic of discussion forums on the internet12, especially IPKat13,14,15. The pressure is already mounting for a fundamental review of who governs the European Patent Organisation, and how. Maybe this will ultimately be one good thing that comes out of Battistelli’s tenure as president, but it is probably not something that he intends or wants. And it is certainly something that will introduce more uncertainty into European patenting until things settle down again, which may take years.
Reason 5: A complete lack of vision and strategy for a patent system fit for Europe
You could forgive an impassioned leader who brought in a few friends to help him achieve a truly worthy goal. Or one who ignored a few rules. Or even one that damaged an organisation’s short-term reputation in the long-term interest.
Battistelli is, however, not an impassioned leader. He has not described his vision for the European patent system of tomorrow. He has not explained why his actions will be good for the European economy or for innovation. He hasn’t even said why what he is doing will be good for the EPO.
This apparent lack of strategy might of course be a veil for a strategy that exists but would never be accepted by stakeholders if he were to go public. Or it could simply be that his behaviour is based on jealousy and greed, and on a thirst for power. He does it because he can.
Commentators are beginning to realise that there is no strategy statement, no justification for what is going on. Various IP blogs show a growing sense of unease about the future of the EPO. The catalyst for this was the house-ban imposed on a member of the Boards of Appeal, but the commentators clearly understand that the issue is wider than that15. When the European patent system was created, its founders were united in the belief that it had to exist on the principle of a “high presumption of validity”. Through his acts, Battistelli is showing that he questions this most fundamental of concepts. He has not said it, but the measures he has taken indicate that his values and his goals lie elsewhere. Commentators are picking up on this and are increasingly asking what the long-term consequences of the current developments at the EPO will be12-16,17.
We can but hope that, echoing the March 2015 information letter of French MP Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’18, the commentators’ voices will grow, and that they will be heard by the people who have the authority to do something about the situation at the EPO before it is too late.
This “EPO-FLIER” was mentioned by WIPR, which wrote: “A group of staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) has written to the office’s supervisory body, the Administrative Council, explaining why it thinks the office’s president Benoît Battistelli is “bad for Europe”.
“In a letter sent yesterday (March 17), the workers outlined five reasons to back up their claims. They cited allegations of human rights abuses, changes to staff’s working conditions, cronyism, a failure of the AC to hold Battistelli to account, and a lack of strategy.”
“After the EPO’s reaction to the WIPR publication,” told us a source, “the EPO-FLIER team spontaneously decided to go for another publication: EPO-FLIER No. 17 [which] also reflects some statements Mr Battistelli made in the interview with NRC Handelsblad.”
“It is public,” we were told, “and you can make use of it and its content, in case you want to.” Here is EPO-FLIER numbeer 17
[PDF]. It is titled “Lies – damned lies” and it mentions Dutch newspapers:
22 March 2015
EPO FLIER No. 17
The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict.
Lies, damned lies and EPO management statements
There is incredulity everywhere when you ask people’s opinions on the “Statement from the Management” that appeared on the EPO website last week. For those who missed it, just google ‘No, the EPO is not violating fundamental human rights’ or go to IPKat1 and enjoy the read. But be warned, it may make you cry, either with laughter at the ridiculousness of the text, or with pity at the patheticness of it.
In terms of its tone, this has to be the lowest the Office has ever sunk in its communiqués to the outside world. Written in a language that is both arrogant and childish at the same time, it implicitly accuses Dutch judges of incompetence. It then claims that a German court ruled that the EPO was respecting human rights, which – as far as we know – no German court has ever done: Battistelli’s highest ranked legal expert, VP5 Raimund Lutz2 recently said that the German court had neither entered into the substance NOR taken a decision on this matter3. But that did not hinder him from signing the communiqué stating just the opposite.
Going back a couple of weeks, Communiqué No. 694 (announcing that the Office would not execute the Dutch judgment) was more shocking than previous missives because it showed just how far from reality Battistelli has slipped – and it revealed his true face, full of disrespect, disdain even, for his fellow humans, for the principles upon which post-War Europe was built, and for the law. Despite this, he did not actually say the judgment was wrong, focusing more on his refusal to execute it. The new announcement, on the other hand, was public denial, this time by the entire Management Committee (MAC), of any breach of fundamental human rights at the EPO. It is noteworthy that the statement (the first from the entire MAC, we believe, since Battistelli took power) came exactly a week before the next Council meeting. What will Battistelli tell the delegations this time, and how long will the closed (nonpublic) session last?
Growing signs of panic
The pressure is clearly growing on Battistelli and his followers. They are making mistakes more often, and those mistakes are more damaging than before. Is it a coincidence that Flier No. 16 (“Five reasons …”) came out just hours before this absurd act from the EPO’s management? We have received a lot of compliments for it, so maybe it was one element amid all the criticism they face that drove them to take such panic measures.
In an interview in a Dutch newspaper5, published on 21 March, Battistelli struggles to give credible answers to the journalist’s well-worded questions. He clumsily blames
3 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-epo-breaks-silence-to-say-no-epo-is.html (18.03.2015 18:56:00 GMT)
4 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/the-epo-privileged-and immune-says_24.html
5 ‘Ik ben geen zonnekoning’, NRC Handelsblad, 21.03.2015
the staff union: “… the staff union SUEPO runs a systematic counter campaign, with unjust information, via media, politicians and now even judges.” (“Maar de vakbond SUEPO voert een systematische tegencampagne, met onjuiste informatie, via media, politici en nu ook rechters”). His position on the Dutch judgment is as follows: “The Court in The Hague committed a legal mistake by not recognising our immunity. Then the court interpreted the facts wrongly.” (“Het Hof in Den Haag heeft een juridische vergissing begaan door onze immuniteit niet te erkennen. Daarnaast heeft het Hof de feiten die er zijn onjuist geïnterpreteerd.”). We leave it to our readers to draw their own conclusions on this.
Time for a change
It must now be clear to everyone, including the delegations to the Administrative Council, that the current situation cannot continue. The EPO is becoming a laughing stock. We know who is to blame for this, but the damage affects the entire European patent system and the values upon which it was built.
Patent attorney Wouter Pors6 makes it clear that Battistelli has failed as a manager: “Whoever is right in the many social conflicts at the EPO, as president of that organization you have to find a way to tackle these issues, instead of turning your back to the unions, ignoring court decisions, prohibiting strikes and threatening with disciplinary measures against people who complain. You have to be able to go into a dialogue.” We say it is too late for dialogue with Battistelli – he has irretrievably lost the trust of the staff, and everyone else. He must go, and so must those who have helped him, so that we can start the hard work of restoring the European Patent Organisation to the great institution it used to be.
Here are a few examples of what others are saying, taken from the IPKat blog1:
“EPO management is making a big gamble. If the reforms of the working conditions are declared invalid in 5-10 years, the mess will be rather substantial. But before that time national constitutional courts might already have blown the European patent system to pieces by ruling that the boards of appeal, or what’s left of them, are not a court. Is the AC at all aware of these risks?” (18.03.2015, 22:39:00 GMT)
“There is still time to avert the implosion of the EPC based system – but it would require that the AC accepts its responsibilities and takes the necessary steps to exercise supervision of the Office as required by Art. 4 EPC.
More specifically, it must:
- stop now to rubberstamp the president’s proposals
- demand full transparency for all financial matters, such as, for example:
>> the president’s remuneration
>> the financing of the new building in The Hague
>> all “projects” with the member states financed by the EPO
>> all the president’s travel and hospitality expenses
It seems late in the day, but with swift and decisive action the AC could halt the destruction and even restore some semblance of integrity to the Office. … (19.03.2015, 00:23:00 GMT)
“And so the damaging war of words continues. The user community is also being damaged by this “fracas” and loss of reputation. Applicants look on in dismay (and even disgust) at these goings-on. The EPO is expensive and our business leaders rightly ask “why bother with this system?”. I hope that the likes of CIPA and the equivalent bodies across Europe respond to this statement from the EPO management. They should also be lobbying their national representatives on the AC to educate them about the truth behind the statement, if they’re not doing so already. Everyone in IP is being damaged by this issue, not just the staff at the Office…” (19.03.2015, 11:30:00 GMT)
Our sources tell us that “Mr Battistelli is even more under pressure, and he apparently has difficulties in explaining his policy: A number of articles in Dutch newspapers were published on Saturday 21 March, one of them contains an interview with Mr. Battistelli: NRC Handelsblad ‘Ik ben geen zonnekoning’ (‘I am not a sunking’).” We intend to cover and post articles about the Hague, along with translations of Dutch newspapers, some time in the coming days. █
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Summary: Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of ‘love’ whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions
THE Times of India has this borrowed article which says “Windows and Office are about to get much, much more complex, confusing, and expensive” (anyone with enough experience ought to have foreseen or known this).
Windows becoming ‘free’ is a lie (we have covered lies about the cost of Vista 10 in [1, 2, 3]) and it’s easy to see why people were led to believe this. Microsoft is trying to slow down or halt migrations to GNU/Linux, which are already happening even in large numbers (in my daytime job, for example, we’ve migrated entire companies to GNU/Linux). Confusing people about cost would be quite effective a method, even if an extremely dirty method (it’s all vapourware/promises because Vista 10 has not been released yet, hence no risk of lawsuits for false advertising).
Maria Deutscher, a relatively new Microsoft propagandist (recall the time she published "Microsoft continues open source love affair") is openwashing Microsoft again with lots of nonsense and PR wrapped up in the form of an ‘article’ (more of an advertisement), adding to the nonsense from Microsoft marketing sites masquerading as “news”. They are trying to paint purely proprietary software as “open”. This is another kind of lie. It helps stall migrations to Free software such as Apache, Java, Drupal, GNU/Linux, etc.
Speaking of Drupal, which I deploy and support in my daytime job, watch Microsoft's partner Trustwave openly badmouthing it (yesterday’s ‘news’ resurrecting news from several months ago). The ‘newsflash’ from this Microsoft mouthpiece is that some people don’t patch Drupal, hence Drupal is supposedly at risk from a flaw patched nearly six months ago (the simple patch was made available as soon as the flaw was announced!). This is beyond FUD; it’s a lie and it is very shameless. Then again, Trustwave is a FUD firm, so why not target some gullible people who don’t comprehend security issues at a technical level? Why not borrow news from half a year ago, posting it afresh?
We recently covered a series of Microsoft lies in the “Microsoft hates GNU/Linux” marathon (on Saturday), wherein, in part 6 to be specific, we spoke about the media propaganda (Microsoft pretending to embrace FOSS and love Linux) and in part 1 we spoke about Microsoft’s blocking of FOSS operating systems, including GNU/Linux (a complete contradiction of Microsoft’s claims).
Well, the word is spreading regarding the lock-out of GNU/Linux as IDG says that “PC vendors may not have to include a Secure Boot toggle with Windows 10, making it harder for users to install alternative operating systems.”
Harder? How about impossible?
Here is another take on it which says: “The Secure Boot feature in Microsoft Windows 10 could make life difficult for users of Linux and other open source operating systems.”
No, it can make it impossible on particular machines. This is an antitrust matter and it should be raised as such as soon as possible.
This subject was already floated in Techrights’ IRC channel several times, with additional links on the subject. Addressing an optimistic response from Phoronix (quoted here the other day), Mark said that “this is a “boil the frog” thing… Microsoft is turning up the heat… they don’t have to make it impossible to boot Linux, that would attract attention from the DOJ… they’ll just keep making it more and more difficult.”
Balrog responded by saying, “expect low end stuff to be locked out, like the 7″ Zcer tablets…it’s stuff for which they don’t even bother to make a stable UEFI firmware.”
Mark then responded by quoting Michael Larabel as saying that “it’s not a nightmare scenario quite yet”, then adding, “that’s not very reassuring” (it’s actually a very bad scenario).
Responding to Larabel’s assumption that Microsoft might not revoke the Linux key he wrote: “Wow, that’s not something I can really count on” (not based on history anyway).
XFaCE told me some hours ago: “your recent Microsoft articles are excellent. I didn’t know Win 10 had no off secure boot requirement for OEMs, but we knew that would eventually happen. Even Nathan Lineback knew. Doesn’t take a genius.”
Jamie Watson, who recently complained about UEFI and Microsoft’s sabotage of multi/dual-boot setups (we covered it earlier this week), is right now complaining about it yet again and he provides details of what Microsoft is doing to his computer. To quote his summary: “As if wiping one of my disks weren’t enough, Windows Update has decided to go into a ‘reboot loop’ on my desktop Windows 7 system.” To quote him from the body of the article: “I know that I just posted a fairly long rant about Windows Update last week, and I don’t want this to turn into a blog called “Jamie’s Mostly ‘I Hate Windows’ Stuff”, so I am going to make this quite short and to the point. But I think it is important to post it, because it looks like I have experienced a problem that might specifically target people who are likely to read a blog such as mine.
“First, this problem affects my Lenovo T400 laptop, which I use with a docking station on my desk at home, and which is loaded with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a variety of Linux distributions. It is not Windows 8, it is not UEFI boot, and it is not a GPT partitioned disk – it is a ‘plain vanilla’ (bog standard? could be appropriate for Windows…) Windows 7 MBR system.”
So Microsoft continues not only to hate GNU/Linux but also to sabotage it, leaving Mr. Watson having to do very complicated things merely to run GNU/Linux on hardware he bought. The vast majority of people can never do this, not even with detailed instructions.
If Microsoft really loves Linux, then it must be next Tuesday already (April 1st). █
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Summary: Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić
IT HAS been almost a week since we last wrote about the thug or the bully called Željko Topić. He is still Vice-President at the EPO, which is rather amazing given the criminal charges that he faces and the generally outrageous background that he comes from, allegedly involving bribes and other serious abuses. Topić is Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man, so Battistelli’s tyrannical tendencies should come as no surprise (or conversely, the appointment by Battistelli should come as no surprise).
Rikard Frgačić has fought against Topić's abuses for quite a few years and his comments which he sent after we had covered his case highlighted an important name, which can see seen in the above document, implicating Željko Topić in addition to (potentially) Lufthansa.
The person in question (see above document) is Ivan Šimonović (E-mail address
firstname.lastname@example.org) who describes himself as follows in his public VCARD (don’t mind the relatively poor English):
TEL;PREF;WORK;VOICE;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:+ 385 1 48 28 060
TEL;WORK;FAX;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:+ 385 1 49 21 195
N:;Ivan;Šimonović, dipl. iur.;;
FN:Ivan =C5=A0imonovi=C4=87, dipl. iur.
NOTE;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:Date of birth: April 28th 1984=0D=0A
Place of birth: Zagreb, Croatia=0D=0A=0D=0AEducation:=0D=0AInternational Baccalaureate Diploma in 2002, United Nations International School, NY, NY=0D=0ADipl.iur. in 2009 Law Faculty at the Univeristy of Zagreb =20=0D=0A=20=0D=0AWork experience:=0D=0A2009- Lawyer trainee at Hraste & Partners law firm=0D=0A=0D=0ASpecialties and other interests:=0D=0AHelping attorneys in providing legal advice in various areas of civil and misdemeanor law=0D=0APreparing lawsuits and other civil actions=0D=0ACurrent activity of assisting in enforcement cases=0D=0AExcellent knowledge of English language in reading and writing=0D=0APassive knowledge of Franch language in reading and writing=0D=0AUse of MS Office packages=20=0D=0ADrivers license B category (car)=0D=0A=0D=0AMembership:=0D=0A2004 – ELSA (European Law Students Association), 2004-2005 President of ELS=
A Zagreb, 2005-2006 President of ELSA Croatia=0D=0A2009 – Membership in the Association of lawyer trainees with the Croatian Bar Association=0D=0A=0D=0A
MAILER: Joomla! vCard for
Mr. Frgačić has highlighted to us a very curious connection. Putting aside the United Nations International School (New York), as can be seen above, Frgačić urged us to “note one family name on memo-sheet of lawyer paper (on the bottom) Hraste & Partners in my article [response]. Named Ivan Šimonović, he is a son of the assistant secretary of Ban-Ki-moon, gen. Sec. of UN in New York. His father has the same name.
“By the way, Ivan Šimonović assumed his functions as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on 17 July 2010, heading OHCHR’s New York Office.
“Topić has a lot of power (to abuse) because he is conveniently connected to rather powerful people.”“If you follow Croatian diplomatic network you will found his wife (or his mother) Dubravka Šimonović in Croatian UN & OSCE mission in Vienna (see Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia).
“Its means that this “company” have (Željko Topić friends) cover at 3 UN head points – Vienna, Geneva and New York. This political and horror theme may be published in a stronger daily newspapers or weekly magazines.
“As you see, it’s not a joke or desert mirage…”
Topić has a lot of power (to abuse) because he is conveniently connected to rather powerful people. A lot of people wrongly assume that because he came from Zagreb he is lagging on the influence front. Over the telephone Frgačić repeatedly told us that Topić is a dangerous man. █
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Summary: The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court
THE Dutch media is cracking down on Benoît Battistelli and his authoritarian regime (more on that in days to come). Dutch solicitors too are growing impatient, realising perhaps that the EPO and the Dutch system both lose legitimacy because of Battistelli. Two days ago Dutch News called the EPO’s notorious work atmosphere (that induces suicides) ‘reign of terror’ and wrote that “The European patent office in Rijswijk came under fire in the Dutch media this weekend after claims the management operate a reign of terror. The Volkskrant said on Saturday that many staff have psychological problems. ‘The pressure of work has gone up enormously and colleagues are becoming desperate,’ one source told the Volkskrant. The organisation has become a bastion of fear, the source said. The low point came in 2013 when a young colleague killed himself while at work, the source said. There has never been an investigation into the death but other workers suspect the unreasonable pressure played a part. The organisation has refused to allow the labour inspectorate to look into working conditions at the EU institution and its president, Benoît Battistelli, told the NRC the inspectors have ‘no reason to intervene’.” The article also refers to the Dutch saga which we intend to cover in a much greater level of detail very soon (a lot to catch up with and prepare for publication, including more than a dozen PDFs).
Battistelli has landed himself in yet more of a scandal (a path of scandals) when he chose to discredit, ignore and even stomp a Dutch court’s decision. One of the latest postings on the “Kluwer Patent Blog” is titled “Behavior of Benoît Battistelli is bad for the EPO’s reputation”. Written by the widely-respected and highly-regarded Wouter Pors (secretary of the Dutch group of AIPPI), it says the following: “The behavior of EPO president Benoît Battistelli is bad for the reputation of the European Patent Office and may in the longer term force him to resign. Wouter Pors, IP practitioner of Bird & Bird, said this in an interview with Kluwer IP Law, on the occasion of a recent decision of the Dutch appeal Court in The Hague.
“The so-called Gerechtshof found that the EPO is violating the European Treaty on Human Rights by blocking mails from the labor unions and by limiting the workers’ right to strike. The Court said that regardless of the question whether the EPO is an autonomous international organization with its own legal order and staff policy, and which in principle enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of Dutch courts, this autonomy cannot encompass/include the right to violate fundamental European rights (…) without offering parties such as the unions any legal remedy.”
“Battistelli reacted with fury. He was quick to announce that the judgment was ’neither legally admissible nor practically enforceable’ and nothing would change at the EPO. Apart from that, he thought it ‘unfortunate that such a dangerous development was initiated and encouraged by an union whose first aim should be to preserve the fundamental interests of the staff and the Organisation’. Battistelli must have felt reassured by the Dutch minister Opstelten, who announced that as the EPO was ‘immune from execution’, there would be no action from the authorities in the Netherlands.
“The way Battistelli talked about the Court was very inappropriate, according to Wouter Pors. ‘You cannot say this. It amounts to saying “the judge is crazy”! That is disrespectful and contrary to fundamental principles as laid down in Art 4 of the Treaty on the creation of the European Union, that members of the EU should respect each other’s institutions. 28 out of the 38 EPC members are also members of the European Union. They cannot accept such disrespect towards one of their courts.’”
“This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. “Here is some background information about Wouter Pors. Bird & Bird says “Wouter Pors leads the IP group, and has a broad practice covering patent, copyright and trade mark litigation.”
This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. Even pro-patents circles are tired of him. They want him out.
Meanwhile, according to some sources, “Luxembourg parliam[ent] today approved #UnifiedPatentCourt Agreement unanimously! main discussion was languages/costs.” The FFII’s president wrote back that “Luxembourg ratified the unipat today, time to work on an appeal. Anyone knows the delay to file an appeal?” The FFII’s Ante Wessels recently warned that the “International investment court plan threatens our democracy”. That’s what it’s all about really. It’s an attack on democracy in Europe. Battistelli plays a considerable role in it.
The EU patent package that we have been covering for years and chastising repeatedly is back in the headline (as mentioned here a week before the news from Luxembourg) and professors are raging while Wouter (above) responds. Wouter Pors writes something titled “Law professors petition against the Unitary Patent Package – but are the arguments correct?” (c/f professors’ petition
One sure thing is, there is a lot of shakiness in the European patent system right now. Corruption, abuse, oppression and censorship are just some of the elements at play. This cannot endure; change is imminent. █
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