EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.10.20

More Threats From Elodie Bergot: The EPO is Back in a State of Disarray and That Authoritarian Atmosphere of Fear

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who even/ever believed that António Campinos would turn things around (with Team Battistelli still in management and identical policies)?

SUEPO tomatoes

Summary: ‘Under the radar’ — so to speak — there have been further assaults and obvious deterioration at the EPO, where staff is being muzzled while robbed by people who gamble the EPO's money away

SO FAR this month almost all the ‘news’ about the European Patent Office (EPO) is regarding closures, deadlines and postponements. Most of last month’s news tended to be the same.

As for the EPO itself, the “news” section is all lies and puff pieces, bordering the outright ridiculous (greenwashing and exploitation of the dead). Elodie Bergot is well known for it. People bullied by her and her colleagues just ‘pass away’ and we already know that staff representatives have been led to nervous breakdowns, caused by gross malpractice, mistreatment and mismanagement. Well, here we go again:

Failed social dialogue on Salary Adjustment Procedure

8 April 2020

Dear SUEPO Members,
Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, your representatives participated in the last technical meeting to review the Salary Adjustment Procedure. Some hours before (!) the meeting, the President had already informed staff on the result of the consultation. He would put his proposal on the agenda of the Council for decision. We were thus confronted by a fait accompli.

We asked at the beginning of the meeting if there were still points to discuss. We did not get an answer, but felt threatened by PD 4.3 telling us that we had to attend the meeting: we were told it was our duty as staff representatives to listen to management and their consultants.

We know such statements from the Battistelli era. This situation was not pleasant at all. We informed management that due to this threat we felt obliged to stay in the meeting. Much has been stated about the Financial Study and the consequences on our salaries – we refer to our papers. They document our constructive proposals, our questions and our willingness to engage in social dialogue. All in good faith.

One thing is now evident: during this entire process, the administration has not moved an inch from their original proposal. Management remains hell-bent on their Salary Erosion Procedure, and they will send it to the June Council, irrespective of any circumstance. It has been acting in bad faith, all along. We are back to the times of Battistelli, which is actually no surprise given that the people did not change.

So where are we heading to? Under Battistelli we received the worst career system in International Organisations. Now under Campinos we are about to receive the worst salary adjustment procedure in International Organisations. What is next?

All this is continuing amidst the corona crisis, an unprecedented and disruptive period, a time which very much impedes any coordinated action against this madness.

We have no words for this kind of management. We will, however, not surrender and will try to find, with your support, a way to oppose this new attack against our salaries and pensions in the middle of a pandemic.

SUEPO Central

No doubt it is part of an international trend of attacks on workers, plunder by the rich, law-breaking (e.g. illegal patents), union-busting and exploitation of crises to ban mass gatherings, dissent etc. The EPO goes even further than most. SUEPO has taken note and it will be difficult for SUEPO to operate without access to the office, meetings, possible protests or even strikes. Campinos et al take advance of this crisis.

Mercer tax

Campinos Uses Donald Trump Associates to Attack the EPO’s Staff Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (Whilst Also Threatening Staff Representatives)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On leadership style

How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s Campaign

EPO in Breitbart

Summary: Mr. Blowhard “Breitbart” runs or does the EPO’s finances now; it doesn’t seem to bother EPO management that they’re relying on fraud — in fact, as one might suggest that this is exactly what they’re after (faking financial performance to implement unnecessary cuts)

THE “new” and “reformed” European Patent Office (EPO) is nothing like the Battistelli era Office. It’s worse. If one looks past the shallow nonsense (expensive PR, censorship, and charm offensives), one finds an even greater degree of corruption such as nepotism (e.g. António Campinos bringing all his mates from EUIPO), gross incompetence, technical absurdities (e.g. granting software patents in Europe using new buzzwords), not to mention financial absurdities. American allies of an American president now call the shots. Yes, Europe’s largest patent office is now being led by chronic liars employed by Mercer. It makes one wonder what exactly is still “European” in the European Patent Office (other than nationality of staff, whose level of qualifications rapidly decreased in recent years). Will examination be outsourced to “hey hi” (AI) of Google, just like the EPO’s automated translations? Will technology be procured by Microsoft, hosting be provided by Amazon and all official EPO communications relegated to a Twitter account?

Thankfully, most EPO examiners are still smart enough to know what’s going on and their representatives published the following document 4 days ago, based on a detailed analysis of the "hoax":

6 April 2020

What does Campinos’ SAP do?

This publication explains the impact of the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) envisaged by Mr. Campinos.
It should be clear to everybody that this SAP will cut the purchasing power of staff mainly when the EPO can afford to adjust the salaries, but has almost no impact in a period of crisis such as the Base 2 Scenario.
Indeed, Mr. Campinos’ SAP would have cut the salary scales by 7% or the equivalent of some 3 steps over the last six prosperous years (2014-2019) lagging the evolution of the cost of living in our Places of Employment by around 4%.
Contrary to that, from 2008-2013 the same method would have lagged the current method by less than 3%, despite the subprime crisis falling in that
period.
If Mr. Campinos was told that his method would bring an immediate impact, he should prepare for a surprise.
While the initial discussions took place in a friendly environment, we were disappointed by the style that management chose in the technical working
group where the salary adjustment procedure should be defined.
Shortly after we were asked for a further proposal in writing, management presented their method as an accomplished fact in extensive EPO TV
speeches. It is remarkable that these were recorded even before our previous meeting with management. And, they summarize our proposals in a way which we can only perceive as discrediting. We decided not to let drag us down to that style and continue with constructive proposals.

Setting the scene

Last year, the President commissioned a financial study1. It models four scenarios for the EPO’s finances: an Optimistic, a Base 1, a Base 2 and a Pessimistic Scenario. All four scenarios suppose that over the next 20 years, the fees, our only income, are not even adjusted in line with inflation. They all neglect the value of the buildings, some € 2.9

_________
1 CA/46/19


billion2, and on top of it neglect more than € 6 billion of future National Renewal Fees, which qualify as an asset3 from an economic point of view.

This consistent – wrong – approach suggests that Mr. Campinos’ has a concept of “asset” which is quite singular4. In a normal economic cycle, e.g. underlying the Base 1 Scenario, neglecting these roughly € 9 billion is not even enough to create a substantial gap.

The office went on to select the Base 2 scenario, an economic cycle starting off with a pitch black recession in Europe during 3 years5, something which didn’t happen since WWII – let alone since the existence of the EPO – and which is not even forecasted for the current COVID-19 crisis. In this scenario, the consultants then „found“ a gap of € 3.8 billion.
Nota bene: This is still far less than the neglected assets of € 9 billion, even when adding the Campinos’ Buffer of € 2 billion.

Eurostat data shows that a negative nominal GDP growth over two consecutive years6 was never observed in Europe since the beginning of the data available there. The period available in Eurostat covers both major crises of the recent past, namely the burst of the dotcom bubble (in 2001) and the subprime crises (in 2009).

Selecting the Base 2 Scenario should thus be done knowing that it is an extreme scenario which requires exceptional measures only if it does actually materialise.
Selecting this scenario as a regular case is, however, entirely unreasonable and illustrates that the EPO’s management has the sole intention to cut staff’s purchasing power.

The Base 2 Scenario
Mr. Campinos‘ consultants decided to analyse the financial situation starting from the Base 2 Scenario.
However, it should then be done consistently and in view that it is an extreme scenario. What the consultants (Mercer) did, is to start from this pitch black recession of the Base 2 Scenario, yet they combined it with estimates of the result of the current SAP, thus with adjustments of the salaries, allowances, pensions, etc., which in the past were seen only in a rosy economic environment.

The trouble with all the „simulations“ and “analysis” done by Mercer is that they actually did not simulate the salary development but rather applied a rough average over inflation

_________
2 CA/69/19 Table 3
3 Forgotten income of €6 billion in Financial Study and Decision not to include National Renewal Fees explained
4 Decision to forget €6bn in Financial Study – Some basics of assets and liabilities
5 three years in a row of nominal negative growth in whole Europe
6 June to June figures, consistently with the SAP


for the salary adjustment, thereby artificially inflating the salary mass, above what the current salary method would do.
In the last meeting, Mercer even stated that they are unable to model the salary adjustment.
However, past data shows that whenever Europe entered even a short recession, the civil servants saw no salary adjustments above inflation for the years following the recession7. The salary adjustment method currently in force, immediately reflects that in our salary adjustments too – which is what a proper salary method should do.

Confronted with this fact the consultants stated in a nutshell that this time is different8 and that assuming 0,5% salary increase above inflation, also during a period of pitch black recession, is just fine.
In other words, Mercer assumes that e.g. Germany, who just lifted the constitutional limit to take on additional debt, will go on to increase the salaries of their civil servants above inflation, contrary to the very purpose of these monies and also contrary to the accompanying law. And that something alike should be expected e.g. from Italy, Spain and the UK …

Since Mercer did not create a meaningful model for the salary adjustment, they can evidently not simulate any useful measure which becomes only effective in a crisis. Besides the fact that they largely overestimate expenditure and thus misstate the financial situation, it makes it close to impossible to show savings other than by systematically cutting the purchasing power, irrespective of the economic environment.

Prudently assuming, in line with past data, the salary development during and after a 3 years nominal recession, reveals that Mercer had overstated the expenditure for salaries by more than € 750 Mio9.
When this money would be invested in the RFPSS, at the return that Mercer assumes in their pitch black scenario, the overstatement of expenditures exceeds € 1.2 billion. This was eventually also confirmed by Mercer – but rejected as a valid approach because they claimed that this would change their model…
Nota bene: These € 1.2 billion in combination with the neglected EPO real estate of € 2.9 billion already adds to € 4.1 billion – much more than the gap of € 3.8 billion “found” by Mercer.

Despite the obvious lack for a need of salary cutting measures, even in the Base 2 scenario, the SR was willing to negotiate on measures which will become effective if a

_________
7 crisis in 1993: neg. or zero adjustment over inflation from 1993-1995; crisis in 2009: neg. adjustments over inflation from 2010-2013; the burst of the dotcom bubble did yield negative or very low adjustments over inflation from 2004-2008 despite the nominal EU-GDP did actually not shrink a single year
8 ‘this time it’s different’ are the most costly words in finance, according to Sir John Templeton. It’s the trap of self-declared smart people, in other words a bias known as overconfidence.
9 We did particularly not suggest any amendment to the EU GDP forecast, as suggested by Mr. Campinos in his latest letter. We are at a loss how he can publish such a statement.


Base 2 Scenario would effectively materialize, as additional clauses supporting the financial sustainability.

Measures, which become effective in extreme events, such as an unprecedented 3 year nominal recession in whole Europe, are covered in the SAP proposed by us under the chapter „Exception Clause“.

The statements by the consultants, that the savings from the proposals by the SR are inadequate and further not mentioning important conditions for our proposals, are thus entirely misleading for both the savings and the proposed method10.

The volatility of the adjustments
One of the major concerns raised by management was the high volatility of the salary adjustments because it complicates the predictability of the budget. These are driven by the volatility of the Specific Indicator11.
We have some sympathy with this concern and addressed it in our proposals.
When confronted with a volatile parameter, the first thing to do is to smoothen it without changing the long-term result.

Cutting, according to Mercer’s proposal, will not only reduce the volatility but also change the long-term result.

We proposed therefore an averaging mechanism as it is also done in the Coordinated Organisations, and which had reduced in the past 20 years the maximum change of the SI from one year to the next from 4.3% to 2.23%.
One could think of other smoothing methods like the one in place for the PPP of the rents12, which would bring down the maximum change of the SI from one year to the other to even 0.63%13.

Double counting
This mechanism avoids that increases in the contributions to social schemes would be counted twice, thereby affecting the principle of parallelism.
It is an important mechanism since social security and pension contributions in the EPO have increased a lot recently (to pensions, to healthcare insurance and to LTCI).

_________
10 Mercer’s assessment, page 8
11 The average salary increase of the national civil servants in real terms, thus without inflation.
12 Average over the past 6 years with successive decreasing weights: 25%, 21%, 18%, 14%, 11%, 11%.
13 from 1999-2019


Assume that all national civil servants had a 0% salary adjustment at 0% inflation. Assume further, that during this time both the national pension contributions and the EPO pension contributions were increased by 3%.
Since for the salary adjustment method only the net income is considered, this increase of the national pension contribution would translate into -3% salary adjustment for the EPO salaries. Combined with the 3% increase of our own EPO pension contributions at this same time, the overall effect is that our net salaries would have decreased by -6% while the salaries of the national civil servants would have decrease by -3%.
The mechanism against double counting exists to neutralise such effects of counting increases in pension and social security contributions twice.

We want to keep this mechanism: particularly now where contributions to social and pension schemes are on the rise everywhere.

Shifting the payout to January
The current SAP adjusts the salaries with effect of 1st July. Mr. Campinos proposes to change that to 1st of January.

We have some sympathy with that proposal as it improves the possibility to properly budget the results of the SAP. Indeed, this was also done in the Coordinated Organisations some time ago. Nevertheless, a delay in paying an adjustment must be properly compensated. In the Coordinated Organisations this delay was compensated by a one-off increase of the scales.

We asked also to be compensated for this delay in the same manner. After all, the immediate economic consequence is that the Office cuts the retroactive payment of the salary adjustment staff had so far, each year in December.

It appears that Mr. Campinos does not foresee any compensation for the shifting of the payout, resulting directly into a loss for staff.

Reversibility
Management now claims that the reversibility is reflected in the 6 year duration of the salary adjustment procedure. This isn’t reversibility but procrastination. A reversible measure is something which is reversed within the current method.

Despite the endless reiteration by management representatives, there is thus no reversibility in their proposal. Indeed, PD Finance stressed that these measures should be integrated in an SAP which in the long run – meaning over the coming 20 years – saves € 2 billion14,

_________
14 speech by the CFO, time stamp: 13s


again contrary to the President’s latest letter15, where he states that the SAP applies only to the coming 6 years.

Inflation16

In the Financial Study Phase II17, Mercer states the sensitivities of the different measures. In particular, when using a cap of EU-HICP18 + 0.25%, the savings are in the order of € 1.6 billion.
The proposed cap of 0,2% for achieving € 2 billion of savings, might appear for the trusting reader as reasonable, as it appears consistent with and as a compromise close to the low impact limit within the range disclosed in the financial study.

The current proposal is however, to use a cap of 0,2% over the Eurozone-HICP, not over the EU-HICP19.
The Eurozone-HICP was at an annual average of 1.72% over the last 20 years whereas the EU-HICP was at an annual average of 1.84% over this same period – thus 0.12% higher20.

Silently replacing the EU-HICP with the Eurozone-HICP is equivalent to reducing the cap of 0.2% to 0.08%.
This little detail will cut the salaries more likely by € 2.7 billion21 than the communicated € 2 billion – or another € 100,000 per person in loss of purchasing power.

Having said that, neither the EU-HICP nor Eurozone-HICP are in any way representative for the evolution of the cost of living in any of the Places of Employments. Indeed, over the last 6 years, in these cities, the cost of living as calculated by Eurostat for Munich and The Hague increased in total around 5% faster than EU-HICP, and almost 6% faster than Eurozone-HICP.

The switch of the relevant inflation can only be qualified as a clumsy attempt to fool staff pretending that the proposal is close to the lower range communicated earlier, anyway.

_________
15 Mr. Campinos letter published on EPO Intranet dated 31 March 2020
16 Data based on Eurostat figures
17 page 9
18 EU-HICP : Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices in the European Union which includes many more countries than the Eurozone.
19 Eurostat Data for HICP
20 It is highly probable that this trend will continue because the EU-HICP includes countries with higher economic growth than the Eurozone. Higher economic growth normally comes along with higher inflation.
21 linear interpolation between the central and the low impact case in CA/83/19 page 9, fist measure: €1.6 bn + (€ 3.2 bn – € 1.6 bn)/0.25%*(0.25%-0.08%)


Payout of withheld adjustments
Since the current proposal will lead to consistent cuts except during periods of severe crisis, such as the Base 2 Scenario, it foresees a cash payout of the withheld adjustment in non-pensionable cash to the employees22.

What this exactly entails, and how much money is actually paid out is entirely unclear. Where the Mr. Campinos’ SAP is clear is that it is subject to the Administrative Council’s approval – which means that the president must propose it in the first place.

These are a lot of “ifs” to expect from a President who started by neglecting some € 9 billion23 in assets, only to cut staffs purchasing power.

Conclusion
In a nutshell, Mr. Campinos’ SAP does not include a single proposal or idea coming from the SR, no matter how minor, anywhere, at all.

It is not how we understand “the middle of the bridge”.

Yet, it is now blatantly obvious what the President means with the middle of the bridge: either you cross it and you give me what I want – or I take it anyway.
Either way, you lose. We are back to Battistelli’s times.

We can only wonder what the impact on staff engagement will be, how this will affect trust in senior management.

And why all this? Because the President decided to disregard some € 9 billion worth of assets? We consider that management should ensure a balanced financing via reasonable fees, not through cutting salaries and pensions.

And please don’t forget, in all this, stay motivated in keeping up business as usual during the corona crisis, a time which very much impedes any action against this madness.

_________
22 Art. 10 of the SAP proposed by management
23 € 2.9 billion of real estate assets and more than € 6 billion of future national renewal fees

In the next post we’ll present the latest strongly-worded letter, which came out just before Good Friday. Who is it good for anyway? Are any EPO workers supposed to temporarily relax when the EPO attacks them from every possible direction on top of the pandemic-induced stress? The letter also shows that implicit threats are being made against staff representatives. How’s that for Easter/holiday spirit?

03.07.20

Financial and Legal Corruption Scandal in France (INPI) Implicating the Person Benoît Battistelli Put in Charge of the EPO’s Finances

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: EPO May be Financially Defrauding the Public and Its Employees

INPI corruption

Summary: The EPO is run by criminals and people who protect criminals; the legal system shows its shortcomings as it refuses to hold accountable the worst offenders, who ruin many lives and cause billions of euros in damages (at the public’s expense)

WELL, AS one can expect (and this was our expectation all along; right from the start or the nomination phase), António Campinos has done nothing whatsoever to hold his predecessor accountable. After all, he gave him this job. The corrupt president proceeded to heading a law school (yes, the irony!).

However, past actions continue to haunt the corrupt president, who was supposed to be in jail right now together with Alexandre Benalla. It’s a classic case where the superior, who does something illegal, is shielded from justice, whereas the low-level executioner takes all the blame. This exactly is what’s described in this French article from the publishers who exposed much of the Benalla scandal (critical components of it).

“Benalla is to Battistelli what the convicted person is to Frédéric Angermann, the person responsible for Battistelli’s financial abuses. They’re robbing the EPO while destroying it.”Well, somebody has just ‘leaked’ to us the translation published here along with additional (several more) articles regarding this matter.

Benalla is to Battistelli what the convicted person is to Frédéric Angermann, the person responsible for Battistelli’s financial abuses. They’re robbing the EPO while destroying it. It’s a miracle that neither has been sentenced to prison (yet) or simply another bit of evidence that the French legal system is corrupt (see how they let Lagarde off the hook following a conviction, allowing her to become head of Europe’s largest bank) and EPO immunity breeds criminality of the highest order.

Here’s an English translation of the article dated a month ago:

Serious dysfunctions within the financial justice system

By Laurent Mauduit
Article published February 4, 2020.

In a display of double standards, two contradictory judgements have been handed down for the same offences. The former Secretary General of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), who has since become a financial magistrate, was acquitted by the Budget and Finance Disciplinary Court (CDBF), while the public accountant who validated the payments from which he benefited was convicted in the Court of Auditors.

This story is currently making a lot of noise at the Court of Auditors and the Council of State, even though it has not received any publicity beyond these two institutions. And with good reason: it shows financial justice in an atrocious light. The former Secretary General of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), who has since become a Master of the Court of Auditors, was acquitted by the Court of Budgetary and Financial Discipline (CDBF). Meanwhile, the public accountant who allowed the disputed payments was convicted of the same type of charges by the Court of Auditors.

It is an understatement to say that the INPI file has been thoroughly examined by the Court of Auditors. For many years, financial magistrates have periodically plumbed the depths of this public institution’s accounts and each time raised numerous grievances, but to little effect. Within the Court, the Institute has long had a shambolic reputation.

In a referral dated May 27, 2019 (), addressed to Bruno Le Maire and Gérald Darmanin, the First President of the Court of Auditors at the time, Didier Migaud, underlined the recurrent problems within the INPI: “The persistence of dysfunctions within the INPI, even though these shortcomings and bad practices have long been the subject of criticism by the Court as well as other intervenors, is not acceptable. It is all the more unacceptable because the INPI must be above reproach, in terms of the exemplary nature of public management in general, and of patent management in particular, and its work must be carried out in of optimum efficiency and regularity, given its absolutely strategic nature for French economic competitiveness,” he wrote.

This is how the INPI once again hit the headlines and prompted two judgements for the same offences, one from the Court of Auditors, the other from the CDBF. The reason for the two judgements was that the two courts do not have the same jurisdiction. The Court of Auditors judges accounting officers who are responsible for verifying the regularity of expenditure (and not the authorising officers) under accounting regulations, in particular Article 60 of the Finance Act of 1963. It is this section that enshrines the noted rule: “Public accountants are personally and financially responsible for the collection of revenue, the payment of expenditure, and the custody and preservation of funds and assets belonging to or entrusted to the various legal persons governed by public law that have a public accountant.”

An equal number of members of the Court of Audit and the Council of State make up the CDBF, which judges the authorising officers on the basis of the laws and regulations governing public management.

Thus, new irregularities noted between 2008 and 2012 at the INPI gave rise to two separate proceedings. On the occasion of a public hearing on 28 September 2017, the Court of Audit judged the first of two successive public accountants. The judgement of the Court of Auditors can be read on its website or consulted below:

A reading of this judgement shows that the complaints there were numerous complaints against the two accountants. According to the complaints, the second accountant alone, for the years 2011 and 2012, was in debt to the INPI for considerable sums: 46,304 euros, then 109,257.87 euros, then 23,400 euros, then 2,860 euros, then 888 euros, all plus interest as of December 12, 2014.

The judgement does not make it possible to guess the identity of the INPI officials involved, but their irregularities are meticulously described. We learn that the Institute reimbursed “payments for ‘overnight stays’ at actual expenses and without a ceiling on the basis of INPI regulations which would institute a permanent derogation from the laws in force”; “payments of travel expenses without a travel order or with a permanent travel order, one of the payments without a travel order relating to a trip for a spouse”; “payments for transport booked at expensive rates”; “payment of taxi fares without prior authorisation, or for journeys to and from work”.

We also learn that “the accountants approved payment for visa expenses and a trip to China by the wife of the Director General on the basis of an administrative certificate signed by the Secretary General and endorsed by the State Controller”. And so it continues.

And then there is the second judgement, handed down on 23 January 2020 by the CDBF, against the same leaders of the INPI. The judgement can be downloaded on the Court of Auditors website or consulted below:

This ruling still does not make it possible discern which leaders were involved since they are anonymised. But the ruling can also be seen on the Légifrance website, and the identity of the three persons concerned can be found. They are Yves Lapierre, Director General of the INPI from 26 August 2010 to 6 October 2016; and Sophie Spilliaert, Administrative and Financial Director of the INPI from October 1, 2012, to January 30, 2016; and, finally Frédéric Angermann, Secretary General of the INPI from February 22, 2007, to October 31, 2012.

On reading the judgement, the irregularities committed by Frédéric Angermann are of particular interest. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, after his time at the INPI, he would become in 2012 a Master of the Court of Auditors, Deputy Rapporteur to the Constitutional Council and member of the Tax Infringement Commission (CIF). He is therefore one of the judges that the magistrates of the Court of Auditors, together with members of the Council of State, are judging in this ruling.

Furthermore, some of the irregularities may not involve large sums of money but are incongruous, to say the least. According to our information, the person concerned was living in Lille at the time—which he did not wish to confirm—and was therefore reimbursed for the “overnight stays” referred to above when he came to Paris to work and stayed at the hotel. He also routinely took taxis from the Gare du Nord train station to get to work, although this type of trip would not normally be reimbursed.

Above all, if he attracts attention, it is because he was acquitted by his peers. Amazing as it may seem, the accountant (this is the second one) was convicted for having validated some of these irregular payments to the Secretary General, but the Secretary General himself slipped through the judicial net. This suggests that financial justice is just not functioning properly.

This is all the more reason to believe that the grounds of the CBDF’s ruling come as a surprise to experts. We have interviewed lawyers who specialize in these cases as well as a professor of public law. All agree that the CDBF ruling is, to say the least, lenient and twists the law to arrive at an acquittal.

Sleight of Hand Around Financial Loss

Firstly, the judgement grants the former Secretary General of the INPI the benefit of a statute of limitations for many of the claims against him, using arguments that appear to be ill-founded in law. Indeed, the judgement considers that some of the irregular expenses are time-barred. However, it reaches this decision only after tortuous legal reasoning. First argument: “Under the terms of Article L. 314-2 of the Code of Financial Courts: ‘No action may be brought before the Court of Justice after the expiry of a period of five completed years from the day on which the act likely to give rise to the application of the penalties provided for in this Title has been committed’.” However, the judgement rightly points out the following: “The procureur général’s referral reiterates several times that ‘the Court has long accepted that a decision covered by the statute of limitations may lead to the liability of its author where it continued to have effect during the period not prescribed, in particular as regards remuneration’.”

In other words, if a bonus, compensation, remuneration or expenses have been improperly voted by the board of directors of an institution, the statute of limitations applies for the period beginning five years after that vote or decision. However, if the beneficiary of this irregular measure continues to receive the sums concerned during the non-prescription period, he is liable.

However, by an entangled legal reasoning, the judgement considers that in this case the provision, exceptionally, does not apply. Conclusion: “Since the breaches relating to procedural defects occurred during the prescribed period, it is no longer possible, due to the provisions of the aforementioned Article L. 314- 2, to seek the liability of the perpetrator on this count [...] It follows that, as regards the reimbursement of expenses without a travel order, the elements constituting the offences provided for in Articles L. 313-4 and L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts are not met.” Many of the complaints against the three INPI directors collapsed by the same token.

This decision of the CDBF on the statute of limitations is unprecedented. If it were not subsequently overturned by the Council of State, it would lead to a major reversal of case law in this area, prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of numerous irregularities.

But this judgement is even more surprising in that it defends the idea that the public accountant having previously been convicted for some of the charges also made against the Secretary General—in particular, the hotel nights in Paris, which was his place of work at the time—meant the Secretary General could no longer be prosecuted.

Here again, the legal reasoning is tortuous, because first of all, the judgement acknowledges that there was indeed an irregularity. It is so convoluted that, here again, the grounds deserve to be read carefully: “By two decisions of 11 and 16 January 2012, the Director General of the INPI decided that the Secretary General would be reimbursed for his accommodation and meal expenses in the jurisdiction of his administrative residence, on the basis of Article 19 of the regulation of 20 June 2011, according to which ‘Staff members who, by absolute necessity of service, are prevented from returning to their homes at the end of their working day will be reimbursed for their on-site accommodation expenses as well as for their corresponding meal expenses.’ The same article states that ‘The absolute necessity of the service shall be defined by the Director General of the institution and shall be the subject of a detailed decision.’ However, there is no provision in the Decree of 3 July 2006 for the reimbursement of accommodation costs when the staff member is at his or her administrative residence. On this point, the regulation adopted by the INPI contradicts the provisions of the Decree of 3 July 2006 and the two decisions mentioned above, taken in application of the regulation, are for this reason irregular.”

The favour granted by the Director General to the Secretary General is therefore indeed an irregularity. This is what the judgement confirms as follows: “In application of the principles set out in points 2 to 5, the irregularities affecting the payment of INPI travel expenses, adopted during the prescribed period, vitiate the decisions taken pursuant to the said regulation, namely the two decisions of 11 and 16 January 2012 which were made during a period which was not prescribed. The liability of their author, in this case the Director General of the INPI, may therefore usefully be sought, and the fact of having made those irregular decisions constitutes an infringement of the rules relating to the execution of expenditure within the meaning of Article L. 313-4 of the Code of Financial Courts.”

The judgement therefore recognizes that the Director General, who granted these favours, is at fault and that his liability is established. But the beneficiary of these favours is exonerated for this staggering reason—because the public accountant was previously convicted by the Court of Auditors for having allowed this expenditure: “However, for this failure to constitute an unjustified advantage granted to another person within the meaning of Article L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts, it must have caused financial damage to the INPI. However, by a ruling handed down by the Court of Auditors on 27 October 2017, the INPI’s public accountant was held liable for the same facts as those prosecuted before the Court of Budgetary and Financial Discipline, and was found to be in debt to the INPI for a sum corresponding to travel expenses paid irregularly. As the financial loss is no longer constituted, the elements constituting the offence provided for in Article L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts are therefore no longer present.”

One has to admire the judicial somersault: since the public accountant has been sentenced to reimburse the INPI out of her personal funds for the irregularities authorised by the Director General for the benefit of the Secretary General, the financial loss suffered by the INPI no longer exists. And therefore, there is no longer grounds for prosecution. An excellent game of three-card monte.

The sleight of hand is easy to spot. Article L313-6 of the Code of Financial Jurisdiction stipulates the following: “Any person referred to in Article L. 312-1 who, in the exercise of his duties or powers, in disregard of his obligations, has procured for another person an unjustified advantage, pecuniary or in kind, resulting in damage to the Treasury, the community or the body concerned, or has attempted to procure such an advantage, shall be liable to a fine of not less than 300 euros and not more than to double the amount of the gross annual salary or wages he or she was receiving at the time of the offence.”

Reading this article, it is clear that it applies with three reservations. Firstly, it must not be established that the person responsible for the irregularity was not aware of his or her obligations—which is clearly not the case here. Secondly, the irregularity must have generated an unjustified advantage—which in this case is clearly established. And thirdly, it must have caused financial damage to the body or institution concerned.

It is this third provision that the judgement plays on by means of what must be called a judicial sleight of hand. For, on reading the judgement, one question stands out: what did the public accountant do the day after her conviction? Did she not ask the minister responsible, in this case budget minister Gérald Darmanin, for a remission? We asked the accountant the question, but we could not get an answer. In any case, it is allowed by law and it is common practice: the budget minister frequently grants a remission, which can be substantial, to public accountants who request it.

But if that is what happened in the present case, the CBDF would not be justified in ruling that there is no longer any financial damage. The financial loss would still exist, but if an ex gratia remission has been granted, this loss would no longer be borne by the INPI but by the Treasury. Or by the INPI, if the Minister had decided it should cover the cost. However, the CDBF states that there is no longer any financial loss, but the ruling is not reasoned on this point—which, according to our public law experts, is a major
legal error, for by the same token, the CDBF would have had no reason to grant an acquittal.

This is precisely what happened. Mediapart questioned the budget minister, Gérald Darmanin, and he told us through a staff member that he had granted a remission to the two accountants concerned: “The accountants who were debited by order of the Court of Auditors have obtained remission of their debts, these remissions were borne by the INPI, without cost to the state budget,” we were told at Bercy. So, how can the CDBF ruling claim that the financial damage to the INPI has disappeared? To grant the acquittal, the CDBF therefore relies on an argument that is in fact false: the INPI has indeed always suffered financial damage.

The two rulings of the Court of Auditors and the CDBF are therefore not only very unfair, in that they afflict the public accountant and exonerate the Secretary General, but they also demonstrate a very serious malfunctioning of this financial jurisdiction. What is most worrying is that the court that has the power of cassation in this matter is the Council of State, which provides half of the judges in the CBDF. Clearly, the Council of State is judge and party, which is always unhealthy.

In this procedure, there is therefore no possibility of appeal. The only recourse, therefore, is an appeal in cassation to the Council of State. Questioned by Mediapart, the public prosecutor at the Court of Auditors, Catherine Hirsch de Kersauson, replied: “The deadline for appeal is two months, which gives me time for reflection. You will understand in this context that I do not wish to comment on the substance.” We also questioned the accountant, but she did not respond to our e-mail.

According to the professor of public law we consulted, there could, however, be many grounds for appealing this decision, particularly due to the error of fact on which it is based and the erroneous reasoning that results from it.

We have also submitted several questions to Frédéric Angermann, the former Secretary General of the INPI who has become a Master of the Court of Auditors.

These questions can be found under the “Go Further” tab associated with this article. The interested party did not wish to answer our questions precisely, but sent us some general
remarks, which can also be found under the same tab.

Go Further

Before this article went online, we submitted several questions to Frédéric Angermann. Here is the email we sent him:

“Dear Sir,
I will soon be writing an article on Mediapart about the two judgements of the Court of Auditors and the Court of Budgetary Discipline concerning the INPI. As I want to be as precise as possible and am very respectful of the rules of debate, I would like to reach out to you for your version of the facts and your observations.

I therefore take the liberty of submitting my questions to you, on the understanding that I will naturally publish any answers that you are kind enough to pass on.

- The CBDF’s judgement of 23 January 2020 anonymised the names of all the persons mentioned in the INPI case. But I imagine that the
Director General of the INPI in question is indeed you, correct?

- Can you confirm that at the time you were living in Lille while working in Paris, and that this is the reason for the ‘overnight stays’ and taxi expenses mentioned in the judgement.

- Do you think it is fitting that the public accountant was convicted on some of these grounds by the Court of Auditors and that the CDBF used that as an argument for considering that the damage was no longer constituted and therefore to acquit you?

- To what do you attribute this paradoxical situation in which the accounting officer was convicted and you were discharged? Could your status as a financial magistrate have contributed to this leniency?

- I see that you are the auditor of the European Patent Office, long chaired by Benoît Battistelli, your predecessor at the INPI. Is he the one who sponsored you to become an auditor? Is the proximity that you maintain with him likely to guarantee your independence?

Thank you, sir, and my best regards to you.”

In response, Frédéric Angermann sent us this email:

“Dear Sir,

I received your email with great interest and I apologize for the delay in responding, which is due to my professional commitments.

I do not at this stage intend to provide answers to your questions on points that were dealt with by the courts, which, in this context, do not concern me although their nature and structure seem to me to be such that they would be likely to appear relevant to you.

The courts have ruled on the various points you raise, and I have been acquitted of the sole charge against me. I would now like to turn the page on this case, particularly in view of the consequences that it has already had and is having on my personal and professional life.

I have three clarifications:

- A non-anonymised version of this judgement is available online on Légifrance, in particular via the Court of Auditors’ website and the following link:

https://www.ccomptes.fr/fr/publications/institut-national-de-la-propriete-industrielle-inpi-1.

Click on ‘read more’ on the home page.

- I was Secretary General of INPI from February 2007 to October 2012.

- The conditions of my appointment as statutory auditor of the European Patent Office (EPO), member of the college of statutory auditors: Mr. Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2018, never intervened in the process that led to my appointment, on December 12, 2013, by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of this institution—of which he was not a member.

I would like to inform you that I am and will remain vigilant in ensuring the preservation of my honour and reputation.

I shall ensure, if necessary, that I exercise my right of reply to any material you may publish on these matters.

Finally, with regard to any questions you may have on the general organisation of financial public policy and the various procedures involved, I can only refer you to the Court of
Auditors, which will be in a better position to answer them.

Yours sincerely

Notice the question: “I see that you are the auditor of the European Patent Office, long chaired by Benoît Battistelli, your predecessor at the INPI. Is he the one who sponsored you to become an auditor? Is the proximity that you maintain with him likely to guarantee your independence?”

He did not even respond to the actual question.

So basically, while defrauding the EPO Battistelli put in charge of oversight an old colleague of his, secured by ‘Team Battistelli’. This isn’t just an embarrassment to the EPO but to the French system as a whole.

Sometimes it seems like many criminals are in charge, whereas those who expose such criminals are being put behind bars or driven into bankruptcy/insanity.

03.02.20

Free Speech Isn’t Violence and Richard Stallman Isn’t an Offender (Nor Are His Supporters)

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abandoning the intellectually-dishonest argument that verbal offence or insult is like a physical assault

Freedom zero/Number one. Freedom number zero. Freedom to run the GNU Project, for any purpose.

Summary: Freedom is being squashed in the name of “protecting people”; this is no laughing matter because we’ve been seeing more of that in more and more Free software projects and communities

BEFORE we proceed to “Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part V” we’d like to respond to the tired old nonsense or stigma that people who defend Stallman’s role in GNU (and/or the FSF) are somehow “rude” or “condone violence” or “disrespect women” or whatever.

These stupid tricks don’t work anymore or they won’t work for much longer. People call these out. People are growing tired of these tricks. They cheapen the concept of offence or violence and they harm the cause of feminism (painting people with far too broad a brush, distracting from actual victims).

I get my share of rude responses (example here) for merely saying that it’s not OK for the FSF to suddenly pretend that its very founder does not exist. Does this make sense?

FSF and Stallman: Hello, I'd like to speak to Richard Stallman. Stallman? We don't know someone called Stallman. Wrong number?

As we’re going to show in weeks if not months to come, what happens in the FSF right now isn’t unique to it. It happens in Debian as well (several recent examples and some communication is being wrongly equated with “violence” or “aggression”). It’s not funny and it destabilises project rathers than making them more inviting. There were two new examples of it over the weekend (we’d rather not name the people, but there are some related links to our IRC logs [1, 2]).

I became a Free software advocate a couple of decades ago — as a teenager — not because I was a geek or male or white or whatever. I don’t even think in those terms. What matters is the technical substance and the potentially political goal, which strives to improve transparency, cooperation, collaboration, honesty and frank participation. ‘Workplace politics’ can often be avoided in the context of Free software projects and that’s a big plus for personal freedoms, including free speech.

Phone and Stallman: Ah, yes... Stallman... The guy who compares free software to free speech

Please, let’s be grown-ups. Most of our readers aren’t kids (even those old enough to be literate) and adopting a kindergarten-like mentality where people must be guarded from the potential of their feelings being ‘hurt’/’offended’ — and maybe even sobbing — would imperil us all (e.g. who’s feeling threatened by the simple verbal observation that Palestinians have rights too?). If we go down this route, then we pursue not Free software, not “Ethical” software, not “Open Source” but some kind of “Social Control” software. Like Social Control Media, where speech is policed and particular people are de-platformed by those who don’t share their worldviews.

Let’s remember that the price of freedom may be tolerating the freedom of others. When it comes to speech, this means allowing a platform to facilitate speech not everyone agrees with. This is not violence. It’s not aggression. Inciting towards violence is another matter — a matter well outside the scope of freedom of speech as that’s trumped by very explicit laws.

Speech isn’t inherently aggressive. Speech is sharing one’s thoughts, not fists. That’s what free speech is about. Taking that away from others will, inevitably, take that away from oneself. And just to be clear, Stallman promotes peace and never condones violence, unlike another Richard.

“‘Free software’ is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech,’ not as in ‘free beer’.”

Richard Stallman

02.15.20

Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Law, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: Did Battistelli ‘Steal’ ~100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

Illegally Gambles EPO Money and Loses 97 million euros in one year... Gets to Run a Law School

Summary: It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend

Today’s EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

These are the people who instruct the EPO on management of billions of euros it’s not supposed to even have

Mercer tax

Summary: Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes

THE NEXT batch of Daily Links will contain a bunch of ‘news’ items (we use scare quotes because the authors are law firms, not actual journalists) about “DABUS”, CRISPR and Brexit/UPC. The European Patent Office (EPO) has said nothing new in quite some time and António Campinos has published no photo ops for a number of weeks. The short story is, more CRISPR patents are being pushed onto the EPO, more software patents are rejected by courts (all software patents are likely invalid in Europe), Team UPC keeps lying to itself — to the point of hilarity — in the midst of Brexit, and IP Kat (now AstraZeneca) hopes for a reversal after BoA — in defiance of the spirit of a crook — said “no” to patents on CRISPR. Across the Atlantic it’s also more or less the same; 35 U.S.C. § 101 continues to crush software patents, Koch-funded scholars want a “STRONGER” scam, and the whole Coons-led effort turns out to have been a miserable failure (again, for the third year in a row).

“It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents)…”It is profoundly disappointing that EPO staff is still unable to find justice. It’s not entirely shocking or surprising; we should still aim higher. How are patent examiners expected to do their job properly when they clearly lack the liberty to apply the law as they see fit? Patent maximalists have hijacked key institutions and there’s no restitution.

It’s far too easy to grow tired of responding to the EPO’s inane tweets (almost a dozen of these every day), in which they promote a lie about 50% of the time (the rest are pure fluff or repetition). It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents) and days ago there was a meeting which discussed austerity measures implemented by Campinos while spending billions of euros on new (and unnecessary) buildings, not to mention gambling. Need we add that Mercer with his shiny ‘reports’ now decides how to run the EPO, based on a hoax?

“And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?”We couldn’t help but notice that SUEPO mentioned INPI scandals yesterday (it’s all in French). Don’t forget that many INPI people and their families are still in charge of today’s EPO, never mind its French-born and French-taught president Campinos, an old friend of Battistelli who owes a lot to him and would do anything to cover up his crimes. Ironically this criminal now runs a law school — the same one previously run by Campinos. Do they teach law there in order to train people to break it? And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?

02.03.20

Microsoft “Azure” (or “Cloud”) Results Are Most Likely an Elaborate Fraud

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft, Servers at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And it’s hardly shocking that Microsoft is reportedly shutting down some datacentres

Capone Commits the Crimes, Pays Slush Funds

Summary: Even Microsoft fans (who participate in Microsoft podcasts and censor Microsoft critics) aren’t buying the latest “sales figures for Azure”

THE criminals who run Microsoft apparently carry on with their long-running financial misconduct. Maybe they feel like they’re above the law. Maybe they feel shameless about it under the current president, who is himself known for con jobs and other things…

“Is he belatedly realising that Microsoft fakes Azure “success”?”The Microsoft propagandist and chief editor of the ‘defamation mill’ ZDNet (a tabloid of CBS that defames Free software people and whose editor is in bed with Microsoft, having fired Free software-centric writers) has just published “Dear Microsoft: It’s time to disclose some real sales figures for Azure” (it never does). We omit the link.

The opening paragraph says: “Microsoft delivered a blowout fiscal second quarter as its commercial cloud hit a $50 billion annual run rate, but in the end we know just as little about Azure sales as we did before. In other words, we know nothing about Azure sales so let’s put aside the breathless BS until Microsoft gives us some real data.”

We do know that most of it is GNU/Linux VMs. It’s not a business model but an entrapment strategy.

“Microsoft defrauds its shareholders by reclassifying everything “cloud” and pretending that it’s going great.”Is he belatedly realising that Microsoft fakes Azure “success”? Microsoft insiders spoke about this and a former one issued a complaint to the SEC. This is very serious stuff. Microsoft’s fictional market value may be based almost entire on a very major lie.

Microsoft defrauds its shareholders by reclassifying everything “cloud” and pretending that it’s going great. Details? No, thanks. That’s a secret. Ask again later.

It’s corporate cannibalism (competing against oneself or one’s old ‘products’). The people who promote this illusion are part of the fraud and one of them was arrested for pedophilia last year. All in all, be extremely sceptical of what Microsoft claims because even its biggest and loudest fans are now sceptical. Have they been so easily conned and co-opted into relaying lies which shareholders and sometimes pension funds are tied to?

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Gates animation

01.28.20

Don’t Let the Collapse of News Companies Be the Collapse of Information (or Ascent of Misinformation)

Posted in Deception, Finance at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As journalism and reporters jump ship (or jump the shark or get fired) the public may suffer informational homelessness and resort to/rely on any random piece of propaganda on the Web, in social (control) media, or YouTube

Old boat

Summary: We’re growingly concerned that the collapse of the mainstream media will entail reliance not on reliable and independent alternatives but corporate marketing agencies, charlatans and frauds, sometimes even deliberate falsehoods and state-manufactured bogus stories

THE ‘news’ houses were never brilliant. Their rich owners had agenda and they were always tempted to use these houses to propel them to power (or greater power). We see that a lot in presidential campaigns.

On homelessness; Someone's ShelterBut their collapse entails a certain risk — the risk that something even worse would capitalise on the new vacuum and general distrust/dissatisfaction. Plenty of people nowadays immerse themselves in YouTube videos with so-called ‘influencers’ who are actually marketers. We previously remarked on the downside of social (control) media and the opportunists who thrive in lying, partisan media (which can be akin to tabloids and more shameless about its biases). Think of the likes of Fox ‘News’ (Faux Noise).

In 2020 we’ve repeatedly noted that journalism about the European Patent Office (EPO) is more or less dead. António Campinos and Battistelli more or less ‘pacified’ their critics using bribes and threats. A decade ago we still saw many articles about the harms of software patents in Europe; we have found a single such article… in years! As for 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US, well… guess whose narrative dominates the media, eh? Of course the law firms’.

“In 2020 we actually spend a lot of time on each article as we work to ensure that we cover things 100% accurately.”We believe — but are happy to be proven wrong — that Techrights is one of the last if not the last to speak about these issues routinely. We specialise in this topic because long ago we identified the gap (in media coverage). Sometimes someone needs to speak for software developers and speak truth to power. The ‘old’ media certainly isn’t doing that and it arguably isn’t equipped financially to deal with detailed, long-term investigations. Instead it based entire articles on a Trump ‘tweet’ or Twitter ‘trending’ or some daily outrage, which is likely based on a misrepresentation or mob mentality (see what happened to Richard Stallman last year; the media still occasionally mentions this in 2020). In 2020 we actually spend a lot of time on each article as we work to ensure that we cover things 100% accurately. The accuracy can be assurd with evidence, which sometimes we keep private in order to protect sources. We also leave additional evidence in IRC (sometimes anonymised or partly redacted), where readers can always dig for additional information, views, opinions, and analysis. It’s not so well structured, not always coherent, but it is there and it is publicly accessible. We do not hide the gory details, we only demote them a little.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts