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03.27.15

Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader’s Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ivan Šimonović
MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani, CC BY-SA 2.0

Summary: Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader’s highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail

THE other day we wrote about Šimonović’s (Junior) role in the case of Rikard Frgačić, one of the many victims of Željko Topić.

“Despite Sanader being in prison, some of his cronies (like Topić) seem to be doing quite well, even abroad where people are unaware of Sanader’s crimes; their track record is hardly being questioned, let alone investigated.”Based on information acquired the other day from an anonymous source, our coverage of EPO scandals more or less leads to broader scandals (nepotism in appointment) implicating the UN.

“This article here about the UN appointment of Ivan Šimonović (Senior),” told us a source, shows that not only the European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President Željko Topić is connected to Ivo Sanader (white-collar criminal); Šimonović may be too. It’s like a large network of corrupt officials. Željko Topić still hides from EPO staff the criminal charges that he faces in Croatia.

“We read your recent articles based on the information provided by Rikard Frgacic,” said our source. “Doing some research of our own, we managed to find an interesting article here about the controversy surrounding the UN appointment of Ivan Šimonović (Senior).

According to Wikipedia, Šimonović was Minister for Justice in Croatia from 2008 to 2010 (under Prime Minister Ivo Sanader who also appointed Topić as Director of the DZIV).”

Despite Sanader being in prison, some of his cronies (like Topić) seem to be doing quite well, even abroad where people are unaware of Sanader’s crimes; their track record is hardly being questioned, let alone investigated. There are sham 'internal investigations', not real investigations. EPO staff should demand more scrutiny over the Topić appointment (by Benoît Battistelli) and also raise questions about Šimonović’s (Junior) involvement in cases that relate to Topić and SIPO. These crooks revel in two things: ignorance and apathy.

03.26.15

The EPO’s Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The management is now afraid of the staff, not vice versa

Game over

Summary: EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities

LEAKS ABOUT EPO misconduct have shaken the Office (patents establishment of Europe, seeking to substitute members states’ establishments) and put its management at peril. Managers now realise that there is serious risk to their career. It’s a permanent threat to mischievous and/or corrupt folks, so they are backtracking on assaults on the staff, or at least so they claim (publicly, to save face). “While nothing is promised other than a kick-off meeting,” writes IP Kat, “the intention would appear to be to formally recognise the staff union, SUEPO. It remains to be seen if such formal recognition will include the actions that the Hague Court of Appeal ordered the EPO to undertake, including unblocking SUEPO’s emails to staff members, abolishing the President’s power to dictate the terms of industrial action, and allowing for collective bargaining. We shall see what develops and as always expect that our readers will have strong views to express in the comments below (bearing in mind the rules at the bottom of this post).”

EPO management has also been attacking the Enlarged Board, which IP Kat writes about today [1, 2].

Let’s be clear again about the track record of EPO management. It has been spying on its staff like Microsoft spies on its so-called ‘customers’ and it has consistently been ignoring laws, even when these laws were upheld by a Court. Last month while I was away in Singapore IP Kat published “The EPO: privileged and immune says the President”; the so-called ‘president’ is the the arrogant Benoît Battistelli, who tried hard to derail the protests of staff, despite a Court’s ruling in favour of the staff.

IP Kat also published the article “Dutch Minister trumps Court of Appeal ruling, reasserts EPO immunity”. This Dutch minister is corrupt and in later parts of this series about the Dutch affair we shall show why. “The gist of the article in de Volkskrant,” according to a source, “is that the Dutch Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten has made a decision on the basis of the EPO’s immunity from execution of court orders under international law, an immunity which the Court had previously lifted. Whether the minister is correct, either in terms of law or in terms of policy, appears to be open to question.”

Well, the minister is corrupt, as we found out just days after this source spoke about it. He is no longer even a minister. We’ll cover this in the future. Spoiler alert: He quit over payment to a drug-trafficker a few weeks ago. “The Dutch Minister of Justice,” said to us one source, “the guy who said that the court ruling is not to be executed, resigned.” There is a lot of corruption here (more of it is being leaked to us every week). Responding to what he or she called “Techrights publications over Balkan standards,” this source wrote: “After having succeeded to “convince” the Croatian journalist to withdraw his article in December, the next step would be to try to get it off your web site as well. I am sure they at least thought about it. Possibly legal steps? In any such case, would it be possible to share the data you have, in order to make them available somewhere else?”

As always, since all the stories here are licensed very liberally, we encourage everyone to copy and spread them (in forums, other news sites, and so on). The more copies of the information in existence, the harder it will become to censor. Attribution helps but is not a priority. By all means, publishing Techrights articles in more places, e.g. anonymous blogs, would discourage these censorship attempts (intended to purge evidence of crime) and make veiled threats obsolete. In a way, the more this information spreads, the better the collective protection becomes.

We are going to write more on what happened in the Netherlands in the coming days. We will also comment on other corruption which emanates from the EPO affairs (extending well beyond Croatia).

03.25.15

The EPO’s Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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 [PDF]:

By email to Heads of Delegation

17 March 2015

Open letter

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.

Yours sincerely

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

____________________________________
1 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/breaking-news-uk-government-issues.html
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.
_____________
1 http://chinesejil.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/1/97.full
2 http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewPDF.asp?FileID=20310&lang=en
3 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/can-suepo-sue-epo-it-now-seems-so.html
4 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/more-news-of-epounrest-reaches-ipkat.html


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 Administration7.
_____________
5 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/the-epo-privilegedand-immune-says_24.html
6 http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/opstelten-uitspraakrechter-geldt-niet-voor-europese-instelling~a3873491/
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”).
_____________
8 http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patentoffice-examiners-fear.html
9 http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/12/10/epo-supervisory-bodyto-face-patent-quality-judicial-independence-fears/
10 http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/10/05/government-vs-business/


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
_____________
11 http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2014/04/interrogations-sur-lagouvernance-de-loffice-europeen-des-brevets/
12 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/01/pressure-mounts-onepo-president-and.html
13 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/what-is-eatingeuropean-patent-office.html
14 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/01/developments-ateuropean-patent-office.html
15 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/battistelli-andkongstad-respond-to-epo.html


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.
_____________
16 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015_02_01_archive.html
17 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/03/epo-human-rightsissues-and-eu-patent.html


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.
_____________
18 http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2015/03/office-europeen-des-brevets-a-quand-la-sortie-de-crise/

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

_____
1 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-epo-breaks-silence-to-say-no-epo-is.html
2 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raimund_Lutz
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)

______
6 http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2015/03/20/behavior-benoit-battistelli-is-bad-for-the-epos-reputation/

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.

03.24.15

Concerns Over Željko Topić’s Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DPUM_1

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 ivan.simonovic@hraste-partneri.hr) who describes himself as follows in his public VCARD (don’t mind the relatively poor English):


BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:2.1
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.
ADR;WORK;POSTAL;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:;;Ribnjak 40;Zagreb;;10000;Hrvatska
EMAIL;INTERNET:ivan.simonovic@hraste-partneri.hr
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


URL;WORK:http://hraste-partneri.hr/
TITLE:Trainee
ORG:
REV:2015-03-23T12:06:49Z
MAILER: Joomla! vCard for 
END:VCARD


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.

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign ‘in the Longer Term’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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).

Pors WouterBattistelli 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 [PDF])

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.

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French flag

Summary: More EPO interventions — this time from France — target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions

Benoît Battistelli is French and he is well-connected not only within the EPO's management but also in Ecole Nationale d’Administration at his home country (never mind INPI in particular), yet it doesn’t mean that he is immune to criticism from French politicians.

Several months ago the French Senator Jean-Yves Leconte wrote a letter to the French Ministry in charge of the INPI [1, 2].

A new kind of intervention from Philip Cordery and Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ has been flagged to us. There are two separate actions. See the PDFs below (provided to us anonymously):

  1. PYLB-EPO-CRISIS (in French with English translation, German translation, and Dutch translation)
  2. CORDERY-ILO (in French with English translation and German translation)
  3. CORDERY-EU (in French with translations)
  4. CORDERY-EPO (in French with translations)

These 4 PDFs show that opposition to the scandalous tyranny of Battistelli keeps growing. Here is the English translation of (1) above:

European Patent Office: When will the Crisis end?

English translation

4 March 2015

It will soon be a year since I posted on my site (click here) the numerous initiatives I had come up with in response to the requests and appeals from a substantial number of members of the European Patent Office relating to the disturbing deterioration of social relationships within their organization. I have not expressed myself more elaborately in public since then, but I have nevertheless been keeping in touch by mails, telephone conferences, meetings, and other visits to the French Government as well as the presidency of the EPO, with the aim of contributing to the search for a solution which will bring an end to the crisis which is besetting the organization. Last month, when I went to Munich, I had a meeting lasting close on two hours face to face with the President Benoît Battistelli, whom I would like to thank. I also met with a number of members of the staff, at their request, together or individually. These persons, as well as those who have written to me, have told me of the risk they were taking in communicating with me, and immediately asked me not to reveal their identity for fear of disciplinary sanctions against them.

I cannot conceive, and cannot accept, that communicating with a member of parliament could result in threats, sanctions, and even a wrecked career. Behind the member of staff I see a citizen. All this is symptomatic, unfortunately, of a deleterious social climate. I am familiar with the commercial world, having spent more than 20 years of my life in it. I know that social relations can sometimes be difficult. As well as that, I also know that getting out of a crisis requires from all parties concerned a common willingness to understand the difficulties being encountered, and to find together the means to get back on track. The key is there. I am convinced that an organization operating in an atmosphere which has deteriorated to this extent, characterized by fear and suspicion, and without any prospects other than one bloc against another, in the hope that one of them will end up giving way, is an organization which is doomed not to achieve its aims. This prospect cannot be allowed to be the future of the EPO, of which the role for the European economy, innovation, and employment, is essential, now more than ever.

On my return from Munich I contacted the Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron, and told him how I felt, as well as presenting a series of proposals. I had not originally envisaged making a public statement. It was the ruling by the Court of Appeal at The Hague of 17 February last, and the developments which followed, which caused me to change my mind. It is in fact unknown, or almost so, that the immunity of an international organization should be impugned by a court. How can one not be shaken when a court as important and prestigious as this takes the view that the failure of the system for the resolution of conflicts within the EPO is interpreted as an unacceptable infringement of the fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore leading to the suspension of the immunity of the organization? Such a judgment would merit, at the very least, with regard both to its expectations and its consequences, a debate between the Member States within the Administrative Council. Nothing of the kind. I was amazed to learn that the President of the EPO had announced to the staff that the organization would not be submitting to the ruling by the Court.

It is time for the Member States to get back in control. The legitimacy of an international organization, and the EPO is no exception, rests on them. When one has lost immunity from jurisdiction, it is futile to invoke despairingly immunity from enforcement. The EPO has been suffering for years from a lack of governance, attributable to the increasing lack of interest by the Member States in any relevant subject, more or less, relating to the separation of power from the elementary rules of checks and balances, in particular with regard to the matter of internal monitoring and control. It has been 15 years since the last meeting of the inter-ministerial conference which is provided for in the statutes of the organization. The present situation means that the holding of such a meeting in the near future is a matter of urgency. That notwithstanding, it should be possible for such a meeting to be held every two years. The conference would establish the framework of action of the EPO, and confer control on the Administrative Council. The power of the major States which are the purveyors of patents should also be enhanced, breaking with the rule of one State – one vote, and moving towards a weighting arrangement of the votes. And in order for the Administrative Council to play its role in a truly active way, a system of incompatibility should be put in place such that the exercise of the Presidency of the Administrative Council becomes incompatible with candidature for the Presidency of the EPO.

To emerge from the present crisis, an independent social audit is required. It is up to the Member States to define the scope, and to assess the content of the decisions which it would be appropriate to adopt in accordance with the recommendations of the auditors. The future of the EPO depends upon this. This is not a matter of personages, or of a referendum on the pertinence of social democracy. An organization, in order to survive, needs concord, dialogue, and decisions agreed, shared, and accepted. Such are, pending the meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO on 25-26 March, the positions and suggestions which I, as a member of parliament, am taking the liberty of drawing to the attention of the Government of France.

See the original PDF for the original French version as well as the German translation and Dutch translation.

The next file contains an English translation of the letter from Philip Cordery. Here it is in full and in English:

National Assembly

French Republic
Liberty – Equality – Fraternity

Philip Cordery
Deputy for the French of Benelux
Secretary of the Commission for European Affairs
Member of the Commission for Social Affairs
President of the Study Group for Cross-border Zones and Workers

Paris, 20 February 2015

Ref.: PC/AF/61

To the Director General, Dear Guy,

I am writing to draw your attention to the extremely deleterious social climate which has prevailed for some months at the European Patent Office (EPO).

This inter-governmental organization has more than 7000 personnel, recruited from 38 Member States, who carry out remarkable work and make a major contribution to innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth in Europe.

This excellent success is, however, being undermined by the social policy being applied within the organization. In effect, since 2012 the management body has, little by little, been introducing a large number of repressive measures which do not respect the fundamental rights of the employees

I was alerted to this matter by the trade union of the European Patent Office and by a number of members of staff, who expressly asked me to preserve their anonymity for fear of reprisals. A number of press articles have likewise been reporting on the situation in the local newspapers.

The facts speak for themselves. The exercise of the right to strike has been blocked, and threats of disciplinary sanctions have been abusively used to limit the rights of expression of the personnel.

The union has been muzzled, and disciplinary sanctions have been inflicted on close to a dozen union representatives. Certain employees have also been subjected to suspension and reduction in status for abusive and fallacious reasons.
As well as this, there have been three deplorable cases of suicide in the past 24 months, one at the workplace during working hours.

The management of the EPO is diverting the immunity of the international organization from its main purpose, and is using it as a lead weight, to crush without moral or legal consideration the fundamental rights of the employees, who are, as a result, particularly vulnerable, since they do not enjoy any national judicial protection in matters of labour law.

This social situation incurs a major risk in terms of affecting the role and the very effectiveness itself of the institution in its mission of public service, in Europe and internationally.

I would therefore be grateful if you, in your capacity of Director General of the International Labour Organization, would take action in order to facilitate a return to social dialogue and, for example, press for an external examination of the governance of the EPO.

I take the liberty of emphasising the urgency of the situation, given that the working conditions have become a matter of great concern to the vast majority of the 7000 employees of the EPO.

I am at your disposal to exchange views on the matter, and remain,

With best regards

Philip Cordery

Mr. Guy Ryder
Director General of the International Labour Organization
International Labour Bureau
4, Route des Morillons
CH-1211 Geneva 22
Switzerland

More translations and original text are in the PDF.

Another letter from Cordery addresses a Commissioner at the European Union and says:

National Assembly

French Republic
Liberty – Equality – Fraternity

Philip Cordery
Deputy for the French of Benelux
Secretary of the Commission for European Affairs
Member of the Commission for Social Affairs
President of the Study Group for Cross-border Zones and Workers

Paris, 20 February 2015

Ref.: PC/AF/62

I am writing to draw your attention to the extremely deleterious social climate which has prevailed for some months at the European Patent Office (EPO), the executive body of the European Patent Organization, the structural elements of which are based in The Hague, Brussels, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin.

I have been approached by the trade union of the European Patent Office and by a number of members of staff, who expressly asked me to preserve their anonymity for fear of reprisals. A number of press articles have likewise been reporting on the situation in the local newspapers.

Since 2012 the management of the EPO, under the aegis of the President, has been instituting a system of management which is authoritarian and repressive.
Communications from the union and the exercise of the right to strike have been drastically curtailed. Pressure, threats, and disciplinary procedures have been abusively used to restrain the expression of opinions by the staff and the union representatives. Certain employees have likewise been subjected to suspension and reduction in status for abusive and fallacious reasons.
As well as this, three cases of suicide by staff members of the EPO have occurred in the last 18 months, one at The Hague at the workplace and during working hours.

The majority of the measures taken by the management do not respect the letter of European law, which is totally unacceptable for an international organization based on the territory of the European Union.

Moreover, the 7000 staff members who work within the intergovernmental organization are particularly vulnerable, since they do not enjoy any national judicial protection in matters of labour law.

This social situation incurs a major risk in terms of affecting the role and the very effectiveness itself of the institution in its mission of public service, in Europe and internationally. The role of the EPO is preponderant within the framework of the reform of the unitary patent being conducted by the Commission, as well as in the context of innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth in Europe.

I would therefore ask you, in your capacity of European Commissioner, to intervene with the management of the EPO, to remind them of their legal and moral obligations to act with full respecting of European labour law.

I am at your disposal to exchange views on the matter, and remain,

With best regards

Philip Cordery

Ms. Elzbieta Bienkowska
European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s
European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200
1049 Brussels
Belgium

CC Ms. Margrethe Vestager
European Commissioner for Competition
European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200
1049 Brussels
Belgium

The German translation and original French text are in the PDF.

Finally, here is the press release targeting the EPO itself:

National Assembly

Press Release – 4 March 2015

Philip Cordery
Deputy for the French of Benelux
Secretary of the Commission for European Affairs
Member of the Commission for Social Affairs
President of the Study Group for Cross-border Zones and Workers

Antisocial policy of the EPO condemned by Court at The Hague

The European Patent Office (EPO) has been taken to court in the Netherlands by the EPO union, which is charging the Office with having introduced repressive social measures which contravene the fundamental rights of the staff. The Court of Appeal at The Hague, in its judgment of 17 February 2015, held the view that the rights of the union have been infringed, and has therefore ordered the EPO to amend its internal regulations.

Philip Cordery, Deputy for the French of Benelux, is pleased with the court judgment, which shows that the managerial policy adopted by the EPO directorate constitutes a genuine repression of union rights and is contrary to the laws in force in the Netherlands. The Hague Court in effect ruled that the procedures are illegal which relate to the exercise of the right to strike, and the conditions limiting the nature and duration of strikes, and has ordered that these be suspended immediately. The EPO is likewise required to guarantee union representatives free access to the EPO electronic messaging system, and no longer to issue threats of disciplinary measures for the sending of general communications to EPO staff. Finally, the Court has ordered the EPO to admit the union to collective negotiations.

Once again, the President has distinguished himself by rejecting a court decision from a democratic State, on the pretext that this would be contrary to the principle of immunity which the EPO enjoys. It is now a matter of urgency for the management to realise that the EPO cannot be an area where law does not prevail, and that it must respect international working standards and the European Charter on fundamental rights. It is in this spirit that Philip Cordery has recently called upon the Director General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, and the European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, to intervene.

The Deputy reiterates his support for the unions and for all the personnel at the EPO, and calls on the management to respect the decisions pronounced by the court, with the aim of re-establishing a calm social climate and restoring confidence among all the staff members.

Press contact:
Laure Delcroix
presse@philipcordery.fr
Mobile: +33 7 86 02 77 29

There is a lot more in the original PDF and there is a big load of material relating to the Dutch court which we shall cover in the future along with English translations of original texts (in Dutch).

MEPs from many countries are now openly complaining about the EPO and putting the feet of management to the fire. So the momentum is there and we do, by all means, expect justice to be attained and for Benoît Battistelli to be ousted (unless he pro-actively steps down). We are now coming to the point where Battistelli is more afraid of staff rather than the staff being afraid of Battistelli. It’s a tipping point. See the new article titled “European patent office under fire over ‘reign of terror’”; it was published in a major news site two days ago.

The next post will delve deeper into broader responses to Battistelli’s abuses.

03.23.15

Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The image below circulates around the EPO these days

EPOnia

Summary: Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has lured many powerful people, such as politicians, into probe of its scandalous behaviour. Don’t expect the managers of the EPO to stay there for much longer.

Interesting comments on IPKat help expose a high degree of corruption and one comment reveals something which is worth highlighting in a standalone article.

“The following comment,” said a source of ours about this comment, “recently posted on the IPKat site (purporting to be from a Director in the Directorate for patent examination i.e. DG1) appears to refer to how Battistelli “buys” support from the AC delegations.”

“DG1Director” (no way to confirm is this is indeed the DG1 Director) said: “What do you mean the control the president has over the members of the AC by whatever means ? The means are obvious: You don`t bite the hand that feeds you. The president controls the support to the national offices. No support for the president means no support for your office. Just ask the Polish delegate what she was told after the latest AC meeting….”

We asked for an interpretation of this and a source told us this: “We have no idea what exactly what was said to the Polish delegation but it would seem that they were given to understand that if they didn’t support the President they shouldn’t expect any “goodies” from the EPO’s treasure chest for “cooperation” projects.”

In the mean time, based on this recent article from IPKat, the Administrative Council is planning to chop off members of the Boards of Appeal. To quote Merpel: “Now, it seems clear that the discipline according to Article 11 must stop short of “removal” according to Article 23, but there is disagreement between Merpel, who believes that this “removal” means permanent removal (so that a wide range of sanctions including suspension would be envisaged under Article 11), and a commenter who thinks that “removal” under Article 23 includes suspension, so that the Article 11 disciplinary provisions (which can be proposed by the President and do not need a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal) must be rather limited in application.”

Benoît Battistelli has been dying to have total authority to just toss out everyone who is not loyal to him, even if that’s against the rules. In the coming day, ahead of important Administrative Council meetings, we are planning to speed up publication of Battistelli’s scandals. These Napoleonic (as in Napoleonic complex) people are truly destroying the EPO and the sooner they are tossed out, the better off EPO staff will be.

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO “breaches human rights and claims immunity,” says MEP

British flag

Summary: A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations

THE EPO has finally tilted itself into a death spiral because not only did it break the rules but it also suppressed workers who protested over it. It’s a tyrant’s suicidal recipe. There was a protest targeting the British Consulate one month ago (derailed by threats from Battistelli) and a response from EPO’s management was published on Friday although it was also commented on (or annotated) by Merpel or her colleagues, in order to address lies and distortion of facts in the statement. We really appreciate all that the British blog IPKat has been doing to raise awareness of the situation inside the EPO.

“After the Dutch socialists,” wrote a source of ours, “now it’s the turn of the UKIP to have a go at Battistelli in the European Parliament.” (a lot more is coming from the Dutch, but we are still catching up with a lot of documents and reports)

James Carver, an MEP from the UKIP party (this is no endorsement from us), spoke out on these issues and there is a video in there which we embed below (no browser cookies):

British blog IPKat has meanwhile chosen a reference to Chamberlain when it published an article titled “‘Peace for our time’, or another wasted trip to Munich?” (implying/insinuating that Benoît Battistelli is like Adolf Hitler).

This article links to EPO public relations and states the following:

From the European Patent Office yesterday came the news item that is reproduced in its entirety below, both for the benefit of those readers who may not have seen it and for the benefit of those readers who, having seen it, have not yet emailed it to this moggy on the basis that it might have escaped her attention. The subject matter is Wednesday’s visit of the UK Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, to the EPO.

This moggy is aware that a lot of readers had pinned their hopes on the Baroness being able to use this visit as an opportunity for her to express her Government’s concern at the level of disquiet — a disquiet which is not rumoured to exist but which is clearly in evidence — at both the governance of the EPO and the anxieties of its staff members, many of whom are rumoured to be British. Failing that, some hoped that the Baroness would at least take the opportunity to speak with, or just listen to, some of the union and staff representatives who have no clear route to take in their long and arduous journey to seek redress for what they plainly perceive, with some reason, to be serious grievances.

Others have been less optimistic. With the UK Government’s five-year term hurtling towards its close and with Parliamentary business being speedily wound up ahead of the Easter break and the following General Election, this was not an opportunity for a visiting Minister to do anything more significant than pose for photographs, shake hands and, when called upon, to kiss the occasional baby. In any event, like most ministerial visits, this one would have been scheduled months if not years ahead of its taking place so there was no reason to suspect that it was in any way connected with the current turmoil — for that is what it appears to be — in the EPO.

Watch Neville-Rolfe posing for photos with the tyrant (under the caption “UK Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe and EPO President Benoît Battistelli”).

It is worth noting that IPKat, which is based in a country where libel law is pretty bad (often extending to liability for the content of comments), is changing the policy of comments, maybe due to the threats regarding the site being “biased”, as recent articles serve to suggest. To quote one of many reminders at the bottom of articles about the EPO:

REMINDER: in respect of all EPO-related blogposts, no comment will be posted if it is merely ascribed to “Anonymous”. Any reader wishing to conceal his or her identity must adopt a pseudonym (which should not be obscene and should not be the name, or the mis-spelling of the name, of a real person). The pseudonym need not be an actual login name, as long as it is stated clearly at the beginning and/or end of the comment itself. This way, it will be easier for people who post later comments to identify and remember the earlier comment-poster and to recall the discussion string. Where, as has already happened on occasion, a string carries over from one blogpost to a later one on the same or a related subject, readers will be encouraged to use the same pseudonym for the sake of continuity.

A couple of readers have forgotten this rule. The blog team have assigned pseudonyms for their posts rather than lose their comments completely — but it’s better to choose your own pseudonym, since the blog team risk ascribing two or more pseudonyms to the same reader.

We sure hope that IPKat won’t be intimidated into silencing sources, especially those who pass information through blog comments. The EPO’s management sure is upset at IPKat, so it will do whatever it can to suppress publication.

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