Summary: A preliminary look at Battistelli’s reign and how regulatory powers got abolished, leaving the EPO reckless and largely unaccountable
THIS is our third (hopefully among many) outline of EPO abuses. It’s the third instalment in a multi-part series about the European Patent Organisation/Office, which is rotten to its core. EPO — like Google — has enjoyed positive public perception for too long. It’s time to shatter the myths of professionalism and innovation.
Having studied dozens of documents and articles about this topic (usually translations because the English-speaking press mostly overlooks these issues), we are shocked to see just to what extent the EPO engages in dirty tactics, conflicts of interest, and revolving doors. It’s no better than the FCC or CAFC.
Readers who saw the first Techrightsarticle on this topic (focusing on Topić’s appointment) sent us some valuable feedback. Alex Weir, for example, told us: “I read with interest your piece on corruption in the EPO, from my personal experience there have been questions regarding the EPO and corruption in relation to EC contracts and relations with China since the late 1990s, I am sure if you dig you will come up with more evidence.”
Today’s article focuses on Battistelli, the EPO’s President. As we keep getting sent more dirt about the EPO it is hard to say just how many future articles will revolve around his own scandals, which are unique because they show how abuses can go all the way up to the top (EPO President is the highest position).
“It seems to be the fault of the European Commission,” he added, citing this as an example. Quoting Stallman: “The EU administrators said they would let each country decide whether to allow genetically modified crops, but the proposed implementation is a trap. It has legal flaws, so these one-country bans might then be overturned.
“It is not unusual for the European Commission to make treacherous proposals. For instance, the “computer-related inventions” directive was written so it would appear to rule out software patents, but in fact would have authorized them. ”
“He wrote a lot about the EC’s nasty trick at the time,” said the person about Stallman. We too covered it for years, in video form also. The EPO derives its power from an administration which in its own right is relatively immature (like the Union) and ripe for abuse.
So let’s take a look at what Battistelli is not so well known for.
“His comments on the function of the Audit Committee and its abolition may be of interest.”
Here for example (with emphasis added) is what he said about the Audit Committee:
The dissolution of the Audit Committee at EPO was justified with the argument that the Audit Committee’s tasks are already carried out by Internal Audit and the Board of Auditors (BOA). What is your view on this?
Paul Ernst: The reasoning behind the decision reveals a lamentable ignorance of the fundamental role of an Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee can be seen as an answer to the famous question „who audits the auditor?“
The Audit Committee reports directly to the Administrative Council, whereas Internal Audit reports to the President and has no right to address the Administrative Council directly.
The Audit Committee protects the independence of both audit functions and observes the coordination between Internal Audit and External Audit, and the follow-up given to audit recommendations. The Audit Committee should also raise its voice if a significant conflict of interest is discovered, e.g. a close relationship between a member of the BOA or the Internal Auditor or the Chair of the governing body and the chief executive. There is no other institution that plays a similar role. These are significant differences that demonstrate that the Audit Committee does not duplicate the work of the Internal Auditor nor the Board of Auditors.
“Note,” said our source about Battistelli, quoting the following part: “The Audit Committee should also raise its voice if a significant conflict of interest is discovered, e.g. a close relationship between a member of the BOA or the Internal Auditor or the Chair of the governing body and the chief executive.”
“This is precisely the situation that exists between Battistelli (chief executive) and Angermann (member of the BOA),” explains our source. “However, as there is no longer any independent Audit Committee, it cannot raise its voice in the matter … how convenient for Battistelli.
“The problems of EPO governance arising from the abolition of the Audit Committee have been noted by the French Senator Jean-Yves Leconte in an open letter which he sent to French Ministers earlier this year.”
To quote: “En supprimant de facto l’indépendance de l’audit externe des comptes (budget de l’organisation 2 000 M€) la transparence sur les évolutions de l’OEB ne sera plus de mise. Et ceci sera aggravé par l’absence de contrôle interne crédible lié à l’évolution des relations internes à l’institution” (full text of the letter is available in French).
“The problems with the EPO’s audit mechanisms were mentioned briefly in a report by WIPR in June of this year,” said our source, pointing us at the article “EPO staff in Battistelli fight”. The article states: “Staff have also claimed that the “overall governance” structure has been weakened by the audit committee being abolished without the administrative council knowing, and that Battistelli has put a “previous collaborator” from the French Patent Office in the “key post” of external auditor.”
Full details of this were made available to us in the form of copies of the Administrative Council documents referred to above (for readers’ information and for future reference).
“These documents are not classified as confidential so in principle they can be made publicly available,” explained our source.
Notice the trend based on the chronology. Audit no more!
Next week we are going to show the ‘special relationship’ between Battistelli, the notorious Topić (known for corruption in his home coutry), and other administrative elements that seemingly collude to keep themselves and their networks in power, feeding off the European economy to do a disservice to Europe. In parts 4 and 5 we are going to shed more light on how the EPO was captured by hawks and wolves — people who should have never acquired such positions of power where they exploit a public institution for power and greed. █
That kind of money, repatriated to the United States, could underwrite prenatal care for low-income women, provide early childhood education for all low-income children, underwrite medical clinics in low-income communities, and save public education in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, where it is in dire peril. Imagine $550 billion invested in the well-being of our children! Imagine using that money to reduce our child poverty rate, which is currently the highest among the advanced nations of the world.
The comments are worth seeing too. To quote the first comment: “Perhaps it’s time for Bill Gates teflon coated self be put in jail for tax evasion, after he coughs up back taxes…..One can have hope or fantisize”
The other comments focus on Gates’ corrupt characters and are hardly any favourable than the above. █
Summary: Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC
Several years we saw ALEC getting exposed, thanks in part to activists around the Web. We then saw the faces of people and corporations that were attacking the people of the world by corrupting politicians and writing laws by proxy.
Bill Gates was funding ALEC, one of the most notorious lobby groups in the US. It turns out now that Microsoft too has been funding ALEC, but no more. Microsoft “is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and has stopped funding the group.”
ALEC has been incredibly notorious for a number of years. What drove Microsoft to ALEC’s arms and why did it take Microsoft so much time to stop funneling money into this systemic corruption? The negative publicity was probably outweighed by benefits that Microsoft got (tomorrow we will provide an example of massive tax evasion by Microsoft). This is not an exception by the way; Microsoft has funded other ugly groups that even help deny climate change, so this whole thing is no reason for surprise or even a cause for shock. Two crooks get along.
In other news, Opera steps into bed with the crook. “Opera Mini will become the default web browser for Microsoft’s existing feature phones and Asha phones portfolio, as part of a new deal announced today,” says a report. While it means MSIE is dying, this also means that the company which once complained about Microsoft’s abuses to European authorities is now selling out. Why? Money.
Corruption is systemic and those with the money typically manage to get away with everything, including crimes. If the rich write our laws (sometimes by proxy), then it’s expected that they will almost never be sent to prison. Impunity is attained this way. █
Apple just hit a stumbling block in its second U.S. patent infringement case against Samsung thanks to a Patent and Trademark Office ruling that rejects some of the iPhone and iPad maker’s claims. The ruling targeted the summary judgement Federal Judge Lucy Koh issued ahead of Apple and Samsung’s trial this spring, and relates to infringement claims for Apple’s autocomplete patent.
Now that Android commands the lion’s share of the key market (85% of all sales, according to one source) all that Apple can do is lie and rely on trolls who claim “Apple’s resurgence” for some hits/clicks bait. Here is a new example:
In recent weeks, a drumbeat has grown among tech analysts that Apple’s iPhone is poised for massive uptake while Android smartphone sales may have peaked in developed nations. Also, Android is threatened in the developing world from a Google creation called AOSP, which strips out Google’s services (where Google makes its money) and lets any device maker avoid paying Google service royalties. This is especially significant in China, the world’s biggest emerging market, where AOSP is the top-selling mobile OS and which accounts for 20 percent or more of global “Android” sales. At the same time, various analysts have noted that Samsung is being squeezed by both Apple and AOSP, and Samsung may have already peaked in mobile, with 2012′s Galaxy S III representing the high point.
This is all speculative mambo-jumbo bearing the headline “Android has good reason to fear Apple’s resurgence”. Thankfully there is already a rebuttal to this, which says:
Partisan holy wars are part of the history of technology, and there have been few as bitter as Android versus Apple. While Android has had an amazing run of success over the last few years, some analysts are beginning to think that an Apple resurgence is at hand that could do serious damage to Android.
However, I also understand the need for a horse race in the media. Writers are under pressure to deliver traffic and page views, and a platform battle between Google and Apple certainly offers articles with compelling clickability for readers. And many analysts simply seem to go whichever way they think the wind is blowing without looking deeper into what’s actually happening.
Just remember that a lot of these analysts probably predicted Apple’s doom over the last few years, and now they’ve switched to predicting Android’s doom. So take everything they say with a gigantic grain of salt. I’m sure they’ll flip back over to the other side at some point in the future if they think it will get them attention, clicks and traffic.
Apple is not doing well and even people inside Apple (or fans of Apple) know this. The recent revelations about iOS back doors, the China ‘ban’, etc. are just some of the symptoms and contributing factors/causes. Hopefully, as Apple continues to lose market share, its ability to just sue with patents (frivolously) is going to diminish and the same goes for Microsoft, which is doing what Apple did a couple of years ago (suing Samsung with crappy software patents). █
Summary: News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft’s crimes in China
THE WORLD is moving away from Microsoft. It starts with countries like China, which makes its own hardware (as well as much of the world’s), and then there’s Russia, which abandoned x86 (Wintel) and will make its own chips on which only GNU/Linux will neatly fit. We covered all that earlier this year and it’s clearly not just rhetoric; these things are already happening as the wheels are in motion. Microsoft is desperate to keep up with the changes, but Wintel is like an order of magnitude more expensive than Linux with ARM. It’s game over. Android is dominating many areas, along with its derivatives or other Linux-based operating systems.
Not content to blow both feet off with a shotgun, Microsoft is going for the kneecaps now by blackmailing it’s customers. If you are still dumb enough to use Windows, you are about have your wallet shaken down by Microsoft in a familiar yet still unwelcome way.
We don’t feel the need to sugarcoat this much because the company’s behavior is so blatant and uncaring it is almost staggering. Worse yet the victims, that would be almost all Windows users, have only themselves to blame because the pattern has been well laid out for years now. Microsoft has been unapologetically blackmailing users for years, anyone who bought one of their products in the last few years should have known better.
China has an issue like this; even in the UK the NHS has faced similar issues and is constantly being pressured by Microsoft, as we showed some weeks ago. Office (online) and Windows (the platform for Office on the desktop) are both banned by the Chinese government now.
Leading Chinese media, the New York Times (trend-setting in the US) and BBC (trend-setting in the UK) covered this and have ended coverage by now, so we saw no urgency to point out the news immediately (unlike some bloggers), only to add some background information which has been omitted by the media. A year after Microsoft came under investigation in the US (over allegations that had bribed Chinese officials) it got a visit from Feds, so what is the likelihood that these raids are at least partly related to criminal activity? Microsoft bribery in China is nothing new; it’s how Microsoft does business and the investigation dealt with numerous countries in which Microsoft was alleged to have bribed officials. The BBC says:
Microsoft has confirmed that officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce – the body responsible for enforcing business laws – have visited some of its offices.
Microsoft Corp’s biggest reduction in company history could cost China more than 1,000 jobs, analysts warned on Friday.
Apple too is laying off employees, 200 people in fact, so let’s not treat Microsoft alone as the problem. Moreover, based on today’s (and yesterday’s) news [1-7], Russia may be close to banning or kicking out Apple and SAP, due to the fact that their software is secret (proprietary) and thus cannot be trusted. █
Russia has suggested that IT-giants Apple and SAP disclose their source codes to Russian state specialists in order to clear up information security issues after the chain of spy scandals undermined trust in foreign products.
Summary: Reports from the European Commission’s Web site reveal the degree to which OOXML is successfully derailing migrations to Free/libre software in the public sector
SOME of the criminals involved in the OOXML festival of corruption have already left Microsoft (e.g. Oliver Bell, who joined a Gates-funded Gates grooming operation) or joined Microsoft (e.g. Peter O’Kelly), so holding them accountable would be hard, especially now that years have passed and conditions have changed. Microsoft got away with a lot of crime, including bribery. Nobody was sent to jail or even put on trial. Microsoft is above the law, no doubt. It’s an international problem that we find also in the case of large banks, not just software companies with strong ties to the NSA for example.
According to this new report from the European Commission’s Web site, “Open source [is] hindered by OOXML incompatibilities” (as intended and planned by Microsoft). To qoute: “The mixing of outdated and incompatible versions of OOXML, an XML document format, is hindering implementation in open source office alternatives, according to a study published on the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR) today. The different OOXML versions also pose difficulties for public administrations that use different proprietary office suite versions, and the inconsistencies are causing problems with older documents. The OOXML document format is hindering the interoperability of suites of office productivity tools.”
“Does not even mention ODF,” pointed out one of our readers about this article. “When M$ forced it’s XML file-format on the world for office suites it deliberately created lock-in,” wrote Pogson.
This once again reminds us why Microsoft went as far as criminal activities. It sought to prevent people all around the world from taking their data to better platforms or even create new data in formats that would continue to make the data accessible. To us at Techrights is has always been somewhat of an outrageous mystery that nobody was sent to jail for it. It shows that the system which purports to uphold justice is very arbitrary and unjust, with Microsoft positioned on the side of immunity while it helps secret agencies illegally violate rights of citizens. █
Summary: Canada among the countries where Microsoft or its partners are caught bribing officials in exchange for pricey deals and lock-in
TECHRIGHTS has been writing a great deal about Quebec because Microsoft corruption seemed quite common there. Here aresomememorableexamples. The latest example was reported by a Microsoft site, which said: “Both face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and breach of trust.”
The Public Security Ministry is involved, too. “No doubt they came bundled with M$’s favourite OS,” writes Pogson (Canadian blogger), “and an ubiquitous office suite… The contract was for $3.3million CAD and the kickback was $400K CAD. I wonder what M$’s share was. They must have had a ton of software on those computers to justify such a large kickback. Do you think the item would be covered by “promotion” or “cost of sales”?”
Microsoft bribing government officials is not news (even direct bribes). There are some ongoing investigations in numerous countries. Catching the involved people red-handed is important because Microsoft likes to deny charges based on uncertainty or settlements. █
Summary: A story from an insider is shared with Techrights, shedding light on abuses and coverup (with NDA)
OUR VERY MANY GATES-THEMED POSTS which outline lesser-known facts about the Gates Foundation have occasionally led to us receiving mail from people who saw the same facts from the inside. They agree with the analysis and they want to say more even though they are often unable to do so, due to gag orders. Some of them, understandably enough, do so anonymously and some ask for their identity not to be publicly known (except by the NSA of course, for it is spying on everyone).
It is rather evident that more and more people are catching up and waking up to the facts. Here for example is a new public petition titled “Bill Gates: Stop investing in the private prison industry!”
It says that “[t]he Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has invested more than $2 million in GEO Group, one of the largest and most abusive private prison corporations in the United States,” but it seems not to know that this practice is quite common for Gates, who also invests in G4S and even worse companies whose role is to crush society on behalf of plutocrats like Gates himself. Gates, an NSA proponent, actually profits from this. So what’s not to like? Profiting and oppressing at the same time.
The plot of Gates will suffer (for a change) when even people from within his camp decide to defect. There are numerous such people who came out (on the record, publicly), but obviously that’s not enough because Gates continues to hoard and expand his personal wealth at an alarming rate (at other people’s expense while pretending to give away his wealth).
Here is a redacted portion of correspondence I have had with one such person (redaction intended only to hide the identity of the person). This is only days old:
> Dr. Schestowitz,
> If I knew about a Gates-backed NGO that was intentionally wasting
> funds to try to reinvent technology rather than expanding it for
> malaria and clinics in low-resource settings, what would I do about
> This group has burned through maybe [redacted] a year with zero
> viable technology to help international clinics or even licenseable
> products which would be consistent with the organization mission.
> The bottom line of this is PHDs right out of school who have never
> seen clinics in the 3rd world or how simple technologies must be to
> work there, and too arrogant to ask the people in the field or
> spend time in those countries to build something that can help.
> What do you recommend?
I covered such examples over the years. I wrote ~200 articles about
the Gates Foundation. If possible, can you provide more details from
which I’ll be able to construct an article? There is scarce
documentation of the failed cases because Gates spends, on average,
around 300 million dollars per year on press alone (i.e. on PR),
beating the criticism only with a staggering amount of puff pieces
from blogs, news sites and panels that he pays for this.
> Thanks for the reply. I have an NDA with this group and don’t want
> to be sued. That is part of their power.
> The did directly throw away a technology that had been proven to
> work in international clinics for probably the most important
> disease and decided that because they were PhD’s newly out of
> school that they could build a viable product without consulting
> the people in African/Asian/Indian clinics, people from other NGO’s
> that have actually rolled out products that are making a
> difference, rewriting years worth of incredibly complicated
> algorithms, using a device that costs [redacted] that would never work
> or be affordable by clinics, etc.
> Is there a group that oversees the Gates funds. I work with a
> leading NGO also in [redacted] that uses their much inferior funding
> to truly achieve impact in low resource areas, looks for meaningful
> teammate organizations to ensure success, etc.
> What I saw from this Gates group that’s mission statement is to
> achieve impact and working technology to help in needful areas is
> nothing short of fraud or misappropriation of funds.
> Is there any group that oversees these guys?
Thanks for the additional information.
Gates Foundation is accountable mostly to itself, AFAIK. Over the
years I saw many groups, including former partners, complaining about
allocation of funds. This is documented by the press, too. In many
cases, the funds disguise interest in patents and monopolisation of
so-called solutions for the crowd Gates does not understand (can the
richest person from the richest background since childhood really
speak out for the poor and grasp their woes?). In some cases, the
Gates Foundation claims “transparency” and releases face-saving
reports when partners (or former partners) complain. For this too I
can provide lots of references as I covered it at the time. I no
longer have time to keep up with Gates, but last I saw he kept looking
for ways to lobby politicians to pass taxpayers money to his pet
projects, including GMO and GSK-connected patent-boosting
investments/clinical trials on poor people.
Anyway, accountability assumes that there is separation between the
corporate side and the federal side, and that one can monitor the
other. But the boundaries have been blurred and there is now a
marriage of tax-exempt ‘charity’, politics, and industrial partners. I
fear that the only way to fight back is to inform civil rights groups
and inform the public. Over the years I found that more and more
people recognise the Gates Foundation for what it really is. It
doesn’t get a free pass.
If you want to shed light on this anonymously, without revealing your
identity, the product, and company names, that would probably be
possible. As you did not encrypt your messages or used a remailer, you
can assume the intel’ community is already aware of this
communication, but that does not automatically extend to the private
I am eager to shed light on this without exposing any identity. I have
done this dozens of times over the years and never caused any
retribution/trouble my sources. It is up to you how you want to deal
with the situation, but all I can say at this stage is, the system has
been set up in such a way that there is no credible body to report
this to. A lot of institutions/non-profits blindly assume benevolence
on the part of those who fund them*. The only time I see foundations
being held accountable is when there’s real journalism, such as what
LA Times did 7 years ago.
*Some institutions/non-profits, including USAID for example, are de
facto partners of these foundations, helping not only GMO monopolies
but also the overthrow of “bad” leaders in Latin America.
> You know that any use of packet sniffing to intercept personal
> email is illegal and not usable, anyone could spoof an email
> Your interest in telling the truth about such a goliath is very
> admirable, so I decided not to hide my email to you. I have used
> relay servers, etc. to send feedback to the Gates Foundation.
> It is simply too dangerous for an individual to tell the truth when
> the reality of these funds has nothing to do with their mission
> statements and they have no interest in results, honesty, or
> One example is the multiple millions spent on “setting up laser
> fences over all of Sub-Saharan Africa”, not doing any research on
> the practicality of putting such devices all over a continent, or
> that the vector for the disease evolves so quickly that going under
> or over the fences would happen very quickly.
> It would have been more practical to spend the millions on a time
> machine to try to go back in time to the beginning of the disease.
> Unless there are investors in these funds who want actual returns
> or any even occasional auditing to look at funds spent versus
> tangible results, it appears that it is just a tragic loss for the
> people of the world who could be helped.
> No money is spent on researching what works in the field, and the
> “engineers” or “scientists” frittering away the funds and the
> years without doing any research on what works in a low resource
> So, you have never had contact with any fund investors, governing
> bodies, individuals at the parent Gates Foundation that audit
> individual funds, etc.?
> If you do find those kind of people I would give them some
> information. Unfortunately I don’t think that a single newspaper
> article would make a difference.
No single article can make a huge difference, but every little helps.
Due to the disproportionate distribution of wealth, few people now
control the press and can overwhelm real journalism with a barrage of
puff pieces and placements (paid for). The NSA leaks showed that even
nearly a year of leaks with huge impact on public views hardly changed
anything in policy (there is now, finally, talk about ‘reform’, but it
is a bogus reform).
The Gates Foundation has shown over the years that it is very
sensitive about critics. It spies on them and keeps track of coverage.
There is dedicated staff for it; usually it’s called “advocacy”
(euphemistically) and “communication” (meaning PR). I have seen cases
where criticism has been so effective that the foundation changed its
strategy (e.g. won’t support tobacco anymore) or stepped out (e.g.
Melinda leaving Washington Post board after being disgraced for
conflict of interests).
I think that assessors of grants, proposals etc. are hired by Gates to
often align with financial interests (investments) of the foundation,
e.g. people from Monsanto, GSK, and so on. So in order to reach out to
those whose hands are in the cookie jar you’d probably have to go into
the territories of the foundation. There is no proper separability or
What PR agencies are able to do is basically ‘plant’ a lot of fake (ghostwritten) stories in the press (which Gates pays around $300,000,000 per year) to marginalise the true stories (from insiders and direct eyewitnesses), such as the story above. █