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10.15.19

EPO Staff Resolution Against Neoliberal Policies of António Campinos

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last week: EPO Leak: António Campinos Announces Impending Cuts While Outsourcing to Private Firms Like Serco

EPO general assemblies resolution

Summary: “After Campinos announced 17 financial measures,” a source told us, “staff gathered at multiple sites last week for general assemblies. The meeting halls were crowded. The resolution was passed unanimously and without abstentions.”

10.14.19

“The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask her what she thinks of the status quo

Mariana Mazzucato
By Alex Taffetani. Own work, CC BY 3.0.

Summary: It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists

Economists sometimes speak negatively and critically about today’s patent systems, seeing how far patent scope has come and how much litigation this incurs. Only those with very deep pockets can endure and pursue real justice. The USPTO has been compelled to stop that, partly owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. The European Patent Office (EPO), on the other hand, persists like there’s no tomorrow and the sky is the limit when it comes to patent grants. António Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but “products”; “quality” has come to mean speed (or pendency).

“This is often being done in Europe by companies that aren’t even European!”Patents have moreover become an “asset” for legal departments and law firms, not scientists. Just check who’s best served by them, especially in Europe.

In a new article/interview an economist called Mariana Mazzucato spoke of loopholes for tax evasion — basically tricks that have made it “legal” for large companies with patent monopolies to not pay tax on large transactions. This is often being done in Europe by companies that aren’t even European! To quote some bits: [via]

But a narrative of innovation that omitted the role of the state was exactly what corporations had been deploying as they lobbied for lax regulation and low taxation. According to a study by Mazzucato and economist Bill Lazonick, between 2003 and 2013 publicly listed companies in the S&P 500 index used more than half of their earnings to buy back their shares to boost stock prices, rather than reinvesting it back into further research and development. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, for example, spent $139bn (£112bn) on share buybacks. Apple, which had never engaged in this type of financial engineering under Jobs, started doing so in 2012. By 2018, it had spent nearly one trillion dollars on share buybacks. “Those profits could be used to fund research and training for workers,” Mazzucato says. “Instead they are often used on share buybacks and golfing.”

That posed an urgent, more fundamental problem. If it was the state, not the private sector, which had traditionally assumed the risks of uncertain technological enterprises that led to the development of aviation, nuclear energy, computers, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the internet, how were we going to find the next wave of technologies to tackle urgent challenges such as catastrophic climate change, the epidemic of antibiotic resistance, the rise of dementia? “History tells us that innovation is an outcome of a massive collective effort – not just from a narrow group of young white men in California,” Mazzucato says. “And if we want to solve the world’s biggest problems, we better understand that.”

[...]

Soon, she became a regular visitor at Whitehall, advising both Cable and Willetts on policies such as the Small Business Research Initiative, which funded small and medium enterprises, and the patent box, which reduced the rate of corporate tax on income derived from patents (which she calls “the stupidest policy ever”).

Mazzucato knew that to influence politicians she would need to do more than just criticise. “The reason progressives often lose the argument is that they focus too much on wealth redistribution and not enough on wealth creation,” she says. “We need a progressive narrative that’s not only about spending, but investing in smarter ways.”

Patent policy as it currently stands needs reforming, but the EPO goes in the opposite direction. What it means by “reform” is making it worse, or making it more favourable to lawyers at the expense of scientists. Or programmers… after all, software patents are being granted in Europe in defiance of the law and against the will of actual programmers!

Notice how law firms refuse to speak out against software patents. They’re complicit. Quiet this weekend at IP Kat, as usual, except the article “2019 updates to the EPO Guidelines for Examination” — one of the latest such articles which we’ve mentioned lately (this blog is not the first to break down these changes).

“The exclusion of computer programs from patentability,” a section further down the bottom, speaks of “the [guidelines'] section relating the patentability of artificial intelligence and machine learning.” Rose Hughes speaks of what comes into effect in just over a fortnight from now:

The updated version of the EPO Guidelines for Examination is now available (here). The new guidelines come into force on 1 November 2019. The guidelines, as the name suggests, are a guide to the current case law and practise of the EPO and are not legally binding (see IPKat herefor a full discussion of legal precedent at the EPO and the role of the guidelines). The 2019 update to the guidelines incorporates some of the significant developments in the established case law of the Boards of Appeal. One key change to the guidelines this year is an update to the assessment of novelty of selection inventions. Other updates include clarification of the definition of “substance or composition” and a new section on the criteria of reasonable expectation in an assessment of obviousness for biotechnology inventions.

[...]

The patentability of software is another hot topic at the moment, and subject to its own referral to the EBA (IPKat: The patentability of computer simulated methods – another referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal). The 2019 guidelines include some updates to the section relating the patentability of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In particular, the guidelines now clarify that “[t]erms such as ‘support vector machine’, ‘reasoning engine’ or ‘neural network’ may, depending on the context, merely refer to abstract models or algorithms and thus do not, on their own, necessarily imply the use of a technical means. This has to be taken into account when examining whether the claimed subject-matter has a technical character as a whole (Art. 52(1), (2) and (3))”.

But EPO created loopholes for these words and terms, e.g. buzzwords (“hey hi”) and hype (“blockchains”), not to mention vague nonsense like “technical effect”. So the EPO gets to pretend that it obeys the law while in practice breaking it with impunity. It’s being justified using pseudo-novelty and obfuscation.

Things ought to change. But will they? Who has more ‘lobbying’ power? Captured media of the litigation ‘industry’ keeps gaming the news and setting up events with stacked panels. People like Mariana Mazzucato would not be invited.

10.11.19

If the EPO Plans to Go ‘Virtually’ Private (Outside Contracting), Then Failing It Would be Deliberate

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The same modus operandi has been used against the NHS, which is covertly being converted into a set of private firms

4-stage privatisation Chomsky

Summary: Sooner rather than later EPO workers need to entertain the possibility that so-called ‘plan Battistelli’ is to enrich a bunch of well-connected people rather than improve the Office or its services

YESTERDAY we published three articles about the European Patent Office (EPO). What’s most troubling to us, at least at this moment in time, is seeing the EPO 'sold' to private companies. The report we cited was soon followed by another which said: “OTE Group undertook, through an international competition, a five-year project to monitor and support the operation of the European Patent Office (EPO) network and information systems in The Hague.”

“At the moment we explore several means by which to restore justice at the EPO.”This happens in several other domains of the EPO. Work that used to be done ‘in-house’ is being outsourced. António Campinos did that at EUIPO, so why stop short of that a couple of years later, seeing he doesn’t need to be any better than Battistelli, just come across as ‘shy’ and ‘gentle’ (the soft power skills)? Might this help explain the EPO’s disregard for staff? Even some examination-related tasks are being outsourced (Serco Germany). Remember that people contracted to serve private companies are not civil servants and therefore are far more vulnerable (no safeguards such as ILO-AT)

At the moment we explore several means by which to restore justice at the EPO. Our goal is to rectify rather than destroy. We love workers of the EPO (many share the love back, so it’s reciprocal); high-level management with its hidden, corrosive agenda is another matter and it’s acting like a force of occupation, not inspiring and motivational people who strive to lead by good example.

10.10.19

Azure Apparently Losing Money and Microsoft Lies to Shareholders, in Effect Breaking the Law

Posted in Deception, Finance, Law, Microsoft at 1:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reprinted with permission from Mitchel Lewis

Azure

Summary: Decades down the line Microsoft continues to lie about its financial performance, as it did before, according to a former insider

New lines of business are seldom profitable out of the gate. Some take years to break even and cloud solutions are not exceptions to this. Although Amazon was able to extend its existing infrastructure to its customers with AWS which kept their break-even to a minimum, others such as Microsoft were not equipped to do the same with Azure and had to break new ground to meet would-be demand. As a result, Microsoft incurred substantial infrastructure and development burdens which dramatically extended Azure’s break-even to 5+ years.

However, Microsoft wasn’t only tasked with having to build out or lease new data center space to meet this demand. They also had to consider future demand and capacity restraints since it takes approximately 3 years to develop an enterprise-class data center beginning to end that meets today’s stringent compliance requirements. Although leasing space allows them to get up and running faster than building new, 9 months on average, it creates another man in the middle which eats away at precious margin and does not accrue equity over time, unlike the property that they own.

If Microsoft undershot on these projections and didn’t build enough data centers, then they’d have to lease out additional space and extend their break-even. But if they overshot, then they stood to lose margin building unnecessary data centers which would take years to offset while also extending their break-even just the same. Needless to say, even a small oversight on this tight rip could prove to be anywhere from profit prohibitive to completely self-defeating.

To do this successfully, Microsoft had to hit a moving target while being in motion themsef. Not only did they have to build out new data centers, they also had to build them in accommodation with hardware that didn’t exist yet in an effort to maximize efficiency and profit. Since server technology is constantly evolving to do more with less of a footprint as time goes on, Microsoft would be able to leverage newer iterations of their old servers to a great benefit. They naturally would be denser with memory and processor cores while reducing their footprint as time goes on. But that understanding alone wasn’t enough and Microsoft needed to know how much space they would need to achieve these efficiency gains.

In order to anticipate future core density and project the efficiency gains associated with them, Microsoft and presumably others banked on Moore’s Law in 2012 which predicted transistor and core density to double every two years. As such, Microsoft projected how core-dense racks of servers could be 2–4–6–8 years in advance just as they have done successfully in the past. While a single 1×20 rack of servers could provide Microsoft with 10,400 cores to sell on Azure in 2012, Moore’s Law projected that this same amount of rack space would be able to host 20,800 cores by 2014, 41,600 cores by 2016, 83,200 cores by 2018, and 166,400 cores in 2020 (roughly). But this did not happen.

Processor improvements were already stagnating by 2012 which continued midway through the decade and the predictions made by Moore’s Law were falling short with no end to this on the horizon. Many were beginning to realize that it wasn’t a law at all, but an observation instead. While racks of servers became more dense over time, they indeed achieved greater efficiency with regard to their energy burden and their reduced footprint but this was nowhere near the rate predicted by Moore’s Law. Consequently, where Microsoft was anticipating being able to host 83,200 sellable cores in a 1×20 rack in 2018, they were only able to host roughly 28,000 cores, less than 1/3 of their projections.

As a result of undershooting their projected capacity by such a large margin, Microsoft was way off on their capacity projections with Azure and only built roughly 1/3 of the data center capacity that was actually necessary. Consequently, they had to over-provision their existing data centers to the point of tripping the breakers and rapidly fill the gaps with an excessive amount of leased space to meet the demand that they projected. All of which effectively doubled the amount of leased space in their portfolio from 25% to 50%, extended their break-even to nearly a decade, and killed their hopes of profitability any time soon.

While an honest mistake and not being able to foresee the future is forgivable, knowingly omitting a mistake of this magnitude is criminal when considering how much Microsoft is hedging its future on Azure. On top of supplying misleading revenue metrics in their quarterly 10K filings to fortify a position of strength and being second only to AWS, Microsoft seems to be wary about reporting Azure’s individual performance metrics or news of these failings that would enable investors to conclude this for themselves. Instead, Microsoft appears to be averaging out Azure’s losses with their legacy mainstays that are profitable by reporting its revenue within their Intelligent Cloud container instead of itemizing it.

Their incentive for hiding such a failure is obvious since much of their future is hedged on Azure. If it was proven to be woefully inefficient and unprofitable, then clients would expect price hikes and an influx of hidden costs on the horizon along with the potential burden of having to migrate away prematurely. Hosting services on an inefficient platform also puts companies at a tactical disadvantage in comparison to those hosting their services on more efficient platforms. That said, I can see why Microsoft would prefer to keep this quiet and why Amazon isn’t in tears when their competition opts to host their workloads on Azure instead of AWS.

Names/email addresses have been redacted

Between these capacity failings and its embarrassing ARPA relative to AWS, it’s difficult to see how Azure could be profitable at the moment. Microsoft seems to be attempting to bury this by omitting statistics while relying on financial containers that serve no purpose other than being a means of deception. Whether this is lying by omission and misleading investors on matters regarding major mistakes that threaten the long-term viability of their investment or simply creative accounting practices at work is ultimately up to the SEC. As an engineer, I can only report my findings to them and offer speculation to the three people reading my blog; done and done.

09.09.19

Patent Charlatans and Frauds Are Doing a Disservice to Europe and to Europe’s Patent System

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance, Patents at 10:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thank you for smoking the EPO’s ‘free’ cigarettes

EPO's free cigarettes

Summary: Tax evasion and UPC lies aren’t going to help the integrity of the patent system; au contraire — those are becoming an existential threat to the system being exploited by law firms (and accountants)

IT OUGHTN’T be so hard to understand that the European Patent Office (EPO) relies on its credibility for survival. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) learned this the hard way and gradually adapted (e.g. respecting 35 U.S.C. § 101). With people like António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli in charge of the EPO, however, hope seems slim. They actively collaborate with predators and abusers. They choose the side of liars and trolls. They abuse truth-tellers and staff representatives. They ignore courts and attack judges. This won’t end well.

Yesterday we saw Accountancy Today moaning that tax evasion for the rich monopolists (via patents) is “still so low” — that’s in their headline!

Another parasitic occupation and a colossal scam? It’s just shameless self-promotion from “Mark Tighe, founder and managing director at specialist tax consultancy Catax” (come to me for your tax evasion needs! I shall figure out how to use patents to deny taxpayers your tax contributions…)

From the article, which was published in a British site:

Patent Box tax relief was phased in from 2013 with the full scheme in place by 2017, offering a reduced rate of corporate tax on all profits made from patents.

In fact, it offers a near halving of the rate of corporation tax paid on intellectual property (IP) related profits to just 10 per cent.

The aim is to incentivise the development of new patented inventions in the UK and build a competitive future economy.

[...]

Just over 1,000 Patent Box claims are made each year, compared to more than 5,600 patents granted on average every year between 2012 and 2017.

The 1,160 Patent Box claims made in 2015/16 had a total value of £754.3 million while the 1,025 recorded so far for 2016/17 are worth £942.5 million. This means the thousands of eligible companies who fail to claim are missing out on six figure sums.

[...]

Happily, patents secured via the UK intellectual property office (IPO) will not be affected by Brexit. More surprisingly, nor will patents obtained through the European Patent Office (EPO) because the EPO is not an EU organisation.

So companies holding patents registered via the UK IPO or the EPO can relax, knowing their patents are still protected and they will still qualify for the Patent Box tax relief.

This “Patent Box tax relief” is a major scam that we covered here many times before, usually in relation to other European countries.

Wouldn’t British Team UPC just love it? It’s not like these people have an integrity; we know whose interests they generally serve…

Regardless, only hours ago IP Kat (British blog) published this post that boosts Team UPC’s lies. IP Kat’s Riana Harvey ended up propping up nothing but the Bristows nonsense and Watchtroll. This comes to show what IP Kat has already turned into: lobbying of the litigation ‘industry’. The cited articles are all bad (under “Patents”); they’re dishonest propaganda and deliberate lies. Just check the comments. In response to the first one (we’ve mentioned this ridiculous piece days ago) one person wrote:

I agree that, if the BVerfG were to dismiss the constitutional complaint, there could be an interesting (theoretical) question about whether the Federal President would be obliged to sign into law the Geman legislation relating to the UPC.

However, I am not sure whether that is the whole story. Just because the Federal President could sign into law legislation that ALLOWS Germany to ratify the UPCA, does this necessarily mean that the Federal President would also be OBLIGED to deposit Germany’s instrument of ratification? Is that not a separate step that would need to be agreed and coordinated with the government?

Regardless of the technicalities of the role of the Federal President, I find it rather fascinating that anyone is still pressing for Germany to ratify the UPC under the current circumstances. This is because the current Brexit deadline of 31 October will have been and gone long before the earliest date that the UPC can possibly (or practicably) come into force. If the UK ceases to be an EU Member State after 31 October 2019, it is difficult to see how the UPCA, which REQUIRES the Participating Member States to be EU Member States, could EVER come into force.

This could turn into a chicken and egg situation, as the preconditions for the UPCA to come into force would not be met … but an amendment to the definition of the Participating Member States (to make the UPCA a valid Agreement again) could not be made until AFTER the unmodified Agreement enters into force.

In other words, it would be totally bonkers for Germany to press ahead with ratification under the current circumstances … and this does not even consider the still unresolved question of whether the UPCA is in accordance with EU law (either with or without the participation of the UK). The position of the German government therefore makes sense to me. What does not make any sense whatsoever is why a firm of attorneys (who, after all, tend to be a rather conservative breed) would advocate for such a reckless and irresponsible course of action. One can only speculate…

Lucky Luke then said that “the purpose of this piece is not about legal coherence. Some circles have long withdrawn from sensible legal discussion, instead resorting to the desperate spreading of wishful thinking…”

Here’s the full comment:

Missing in this remarkable construct is one minor aspect: Support from German constitutional law.

According to Article 59(1) of the German Grundgesetz, the Federal President is Germany´s sole representative in matters of international law, while the initiation of negotiations on the conclusion of an international agreement and the negotiations themselves (including the definition of political objectives and the contents of the agreement) are the sole responsibility of the Federal Government. The role of the Federal Parliament is limited to the legislative proceedings on the agreement’s ratification. A simple Google search will quickly confirm this legal situation.

Hence it is difficult to see why the Federal Government as well as the Federal President would not have full and unimpeded discretion on whether and how to proceed in terms of the UPCA, subject to the overall political situation.

But, yet again, the purpose of this piece is not about legal coherence. Some circles have long withdrawn from sensible legal discussion, instead resorting to the desperate spreading of wishful thinking, often disguised as pseudo-legal theories created out of the blue. Things must indeed be looking rather grim for the UPCA.

There are some more comments in there, providing more information and not lies, unlike the Bristows “articles” that IP Kat decided to cite (Bristows also has key positions in IP Kat itself).

In another thread boosted by IP Kat some hours ago “Concerned observer” wrote about “UPC-promoters bag of tricks to somehow drum up business for the UPC (and, by happy coincidence, for the litigation firms that will be handling the UPC litigation)?”

The full pair of comments:

Small problem – the UPCA cannot be amended unless and until it comes into force. Thus, if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement before the UPCA comes into force, then the UPCA will be dead on arrival – for the reasons discussed in my comment on the previous UPC-related post.

Also, I take issue with your comment that Article 38 of the Statute is “probably not a very important core article”. The reason for this is that the preliminary reference procedure is a cornerstone of the EU legal system and so is an ESSENTIAL prerequisite for compliance with EU law. In my view, there are already strong reasons to doubt the UPC’s compliance with EU law, even with a fully functioning Article 38 of the Statute. However, rendering that Article ineffective (at least for the UK) would make non-compliance with EU law an absolute certainty.

[...]

So there is no “safety net” even under consideration in the UK. This seems to me to be yet another strike against the UPC.

Who in their right mind would risk requesting unitary effect when the UK’s participation remains highly doubtful and when there is no obvious way of recovering rights in the UK for any EPUEs that might, after grant, suddenly cease to have effect in that territory?

This would leave the UPC with only those patents that are not opted out of the system. My understanding is that this would be slim pickings indeed. Thus, even if miracles happen and the UPC struggles into life, it looks like anyone who is inclined to sign up as a UPC judge will be twiddling their thumbs for at least a few years. Or can we expect something else to be pulled out of the UPC-promoters bag of tricks to somehow drum up business for the UPC (and, by happy coincidence, for the litigation firms that will be handling the UPC litigation)?

Well, it doesn’t matter what these pre-filtered comments say, Bristows/Kluwer/IP Kat will carry on pushing pro-UPC lies. Kluwer Patent Blog totally lacks integrity and sadly IP Kat turned away from truth-seeking, instead becoming a distorter of the truth.

This kind of reckless behaviour and sheer refusal to cover EPO abuses will doom these blogs if not the whole system. They’re incapable of telling the truth. This how justice too dies.

06.18.19

The Linux Foundation’s Business Model

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation's plan

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s plan, illustrated

06.08.19

Microsoft and Proprietary Software Vendors a Financial Boon for the Linux Foundation, But at What Cost?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following figures/chart was released two days ago

A salary chart for Zemlin PAC

Summary: The Linux Foundation is thriving financially, but the sources of income are diversified to the point where the Linux Foundation is actually funded by foes of Linux, defeating the very purpose or direction of such a nonprofit foundation (led by self-serving millionaires who don’t use GNU/Linux)

THIS past week we got a lot of attention and received unprecedented traffic levels partly because of our Linux Foundation coverage. Incidentally, only days ago ProPublica released new tax filings in huge quantities, including a new(er) one from the Linux Foundation. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. In ProPublica’s own words (it is one of my favourite sites):

On Thursday, we launched a new feature for our Nonprofit Explorer database: The ability to search the full text of nearly 3 million electronically filed nonprofit tax filings sent to the IRS since 2011.

Nonprofit Explorer already lets researchers, reporters and the general public search for tax information from more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, as well as allowing users to search for the names of key employees and directors of organizations.

Now, users of our free database can dig deep and search for text that appears anywhere in a nonprofit’s tax records, as long as those records were filed digitally — which according to the IRS covers about two-thirds of nonprofit tax filings in recent years.

How can this be useful to you? For one, this feature lets you find organizations that gave grants to other nonprofits. Any nonprofit that gives grants to another must list those grants on its tax forms — meaning that you can research a nonprofit’s funding by using our search. A search for “ProPublica,” for example, will bring up dozens of foundations that have given us grants to fund our reporting (as well as a few filings that reference Nonprofit Explorer itself).

Among the files published we have the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) finances. It’s a relatively old form. The salary of the FSF’s Executive Director is approximately 7 times lower than what Jim Zemlin pays himself at his PAC, but we’ll come to that in a moment (it’s not comparable in terms of the years and matching documents don’t exist in the public domain).

“Some people became very rich in this whole process, notably Zemlin and his ‘circle’. Now they’re all millionaires.”ProPublica has made it difficult if not impossible to fetch the filings as PDF files. Hopefully their copies of the files won’t go offline (some day they will; it’s inevitable). What these still show us is the great disparity in the “Linux” world; It pays to be Linus Torvalds, but it pays even more to be Jim Zemlin. The latter did not create anything, but he rides the coattails of the former to make a household income of about a million bucks a year (and they have just one child). Today’s business model at this PAC is that of a marketing company. They totally behave like one.

Calling this PAC “naive” would be an understatement (as the word implies merely misplaced intentions). It’s greedy, corruptible and bribed, not just infiltrated. Some people became very rich in this whole process, notably Zemlin and his ‘circle’. Now they’re all millionaires. They ‘sold’ Linux to billionaires. To the likes of Microsoft. It’s very cheap too (a few millions, taking Microsoft perhaps minutes to earn). Microsoft wants and will always try to be “boss” of everything, even GNU/Linux. The PAC was a vulnerability, not a strength, as it’s a dubious, profit-driven ‘nonprofit’ that could be easily bought by anyone over the past 5 years (no community members at the Board, seats are virtually for sale).

Microsoft nowadays does to this PAC (the “Linux” Foundation) what it did to Novell and to Nokia. That’s just what happens when people refuse to learn how entryism works and how to counter it. When everything is for sale those who are most financially able (deep pockets) can get anything they want. It’s just a question of price. People at the “Linux” Foundation, who don’t even use Linux themselves, are making about half a million bucks a year by saying “Linux!” (just saying it is enough)

“Microsoft nowadays does to this PAC (the “Linux” Foundation) what it did to Novell and to Nokia.”In our view, Zemlin is to Torvalds what Don King was to Mike Tyson and it’s only getting yet worse over time. Torvalds said that Linux was “just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu”; well, maybe It won’t be anything professional like GNU, but it will be something professional like WSL inside Vista 10. Microsoft does the versioning now. It even gets to decide whether to sign Linux or not for ‘secure boot’ (or which distributions are ‘safe’ to run, which ones to block). I recently spoke to FSF people, including RMS, about the issue (notably Microsoft’s threat to the direction of this PAC); one main barrier, however, is the perceived rift. I’m not sure FSF would mind if the PAC just sort of went away…

According to the more/most recent publication from ProPublica, the PAC grew its income from $61,085,552 to $81,616,265 in just one year (between 2016 and 2017). No reporting since 2017, it seems, but it’s probably well over $100 million by now (nothing for 2018, at least now, and in 2017 it’s limited as explained here: “Extracted filing data is not available for this tax period, but Form 990 documents are available for download.”).

“It’s like it totally monopolised GNU/Linux, with a budget two orders of magnitude greater than the FSF’s.”Can’t they hire a few GNU/Linux journalists? At $100 per article they can afford to do a million articles per year with this kind of budget. We’re going to say more about this in our next post.

Zemlin increased his salary to $700,000+, but he cannot offer to employ a handful of writers? Really?!?!

There are 12 nonprofit organisations associated with Linux, but Zemlin’s PAC is a lot bigger than all of them combined. It’s like it totally monopolised GNU/Linux, with a budget two orders of magnitude greater than the FSF’s.

05.24.19

EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can it ask for bailout like a private bank?

@schestowitz You‘re gonna love this: the EPO has a WiFi network here that is named EPO-CORPORATE. See screenshot. More in this morning’s tweet (with replies)

EPO corporate WiFi

Summary: The corporate ‘logic’ at the EPO follows the “shareholders’ value” propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public

READERS are (mostly) aware that António Campinos is a former banker — a scandalous, notorious bank we might add (we did a series about it a couple of years ago). What is his plan for the European Patent Office (EPO)? Granting loads of rubbish patents like software patents in violation of the EPC? Is that actually a legitimate plan? What else can be done in the name of so-called ‘efficiency’? Recall his last act as chief of the EUIPO. It’s just incredible.

Will Campinos lie to his own staff like his predecessor? Well, he already did. Manufacturing or faking a crisis for nefarious purposes and toxic agenda? Surely a possibility.

It’s not like the EPO will be bankrupt/insolvent because it’s not a private company, or is it?

Battistelli’s gambling with EPO money has already cost 100 million Euros in just one year, but don’t expect the person whom he gave the presidency to ever hold him accountable. Brimelow warned about it, seeing or claiming there were financial difficulties over the horizon. Does this justify breaking the law, attacking judges, refusing to obey court orders and so on? Of course not. Moreover, it is self-discrediting and merely serves to devalue European Patents as a whole.

For some time now we’ve been hearing about the EPO’s internal report regarding finances. This morning an anonymous person (Märpel) blogged about it, citing a document from the Central Staff Committee (CSC). As it turns out, based on the blogger, the CSC “has just published a document titled “The Financial Study: Yet another hoax”.” (with Donald Trump proximity, via Mercer, so one can expect sheer dishonesty)

Can someone send us the full document (from CSC and the report they allude to)? Here’s a portion from the blogger:

Dear colleagues,

In the EPO, financial studies tend to be a prelude to cuts in staff benefits. The latest study is no exception. The present publication explains one of the tricks used to make the Office look poor. More publications will follow.

The recently published financial study (CA/46/19) by Mercer and Oliver Wyman seems to indicate that more bad news is to come.

The studies’ conclusions …

The key message of the financial study (p 34) is:

“The EPO faces a structural operational gap, with costs increasing faster than revenues, leading in the future to significantly decreasing cash flows.

The EPO has greater control of cost levers than revenue levers which presents an opportunity to better meet its future obligations through careful cost management.”

In other words: the Office must be reducing costs – staff costs.

… and how they came about

The EPO’s main income is from fees. The Financial Study includes this 4% fee increase for 2020 but assumes that there will be no further fee increases from then on till 2038. On the other hand Staff salaries and pensions follow the normal increase. For any organisation – as rich as it may be – such an approach will lead in the end to budgetary gaps. According to our first calculations the alleged gaps could be offset by merely continuing the biennial 5% fee adjustments in place.

Märpel added that he or she “is no accountant but checked the study and it seems that the Central Staff Committee is indeed right and that the document was drafted on unreasonable assumptions chosen to make the financial situation appear catastrophic. In contrast, the proven historical records show that the EPO has a yearly surplus of over 350 millions Euros. It seems that President Campinos has decided to prepare for a new conflict. What other reasons could there be to publish such a blatant lie? A staff strike is planned for the next meeting of the Council.” A lot of things are happening quite fast this week, but the media is in general unresponsive; it’s writing nothing but puff pieces about a ‘study’ sponsored/commissioned by EPO/EUIPO and that stupid EIA (we’re going to just ignore these pieces as they’re little beyond PR).

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