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02.19.15

Željko Topić’s History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another deep look at Željko Topić’s background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli’s most controversial attack dog

OUR SECOND ARTICLE in this series (part of a much broader series) looks at the case of Rikard Frgacic and another of Ivan Kabalin. These cases help highlight the malicious conduct of the Croatian SIPO, which the current Vice-President of the EPO came from and also managed. Željko Topić does not want the European public to know about all this. He relies on much of this being accessible only to people who are fluent in Croatian. We strive to change this by providing translations, documents, and detailed explanations, having studied these cases for months.

“It is not possible for the EPO to just carry on when a thug and a cheater serves as Vice-President.”EPO matters will surely be impacted by this. It is not possible for the EPO to just carry on when a thug and a cheater serves as Vice-President. Today we present some background information about other Croatian cases that would be of interest to the European public.

“For your information,” told us a reliable source (we shall refer to our sources collectively for their protection), “[w]e have heard from our sources in Zagreb that some people in Croatia may try to contact you to provide information about other allegations of corruption against the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office during Topić’s tenure as Director-General (from 2004 to 2012).

“To try and help you to make some sense of all this let’s recap that so far the information which has been provided from our side has mostly related to the Vesna Stilin story and her conflict with Topić as an Assistant Director of the SIPO.

“It seems that a number of “external users” of the SIPO’s services also had problems. Two cases in particular have received journalistic coverage in Croatia. As far as we can work out, the people who might try to contact you to provide additional material are connected with those cases [and] the cases in question are as follows.”

This is a good point in time to clarify and strongly stress that in Techrights we have never let our sources down (and we have had many sources over the years). Those who have material to show to us can rest assured that they will be treated with utmost confidentially and material will be examined based on merit before publication (we ensure there is no identifying details in published documents, just in case). Today’s new documents are as follows:

  1. PRESS RELEASE 30-04-2012-EN [PDF] – Translation of a “Press Release” dated 30th of April 2012, which was published on the Web site of the Croatian SIPO (in Croatian only). The original version (i.e. in Croatian) can be found here [PDF].
  2. PLR-EN [PDF] – Translation of an article from dnevno.hr which includes a claim that Željko Topić was the author of the SIPO “Press Release” dated 30 April 2012; refer to the section entitled “Official or private website?”

Our first case deals with Mr. Rikard Frgacic.

“Mr. Frgacic is involved in a dispute with a subsidiary of Lufthansa in connection with a trademark “AirPlus”,” said a source to us. “Frgacic claims that the trademark registration in his name was mysteriously and improperly cancelled by the Croatian SIPO and re-assigned to Lufthansa (or, perhaps more precisely, a subsidiary of Lufthansa). He has been involved in litigation against the Croatian SIPO (in Croatia) and against Lufthansa and/or its subsidiary in Germany. As far as we can work out, he has also filed criminal charges against Topic in Croatia. At the beginning, Lufthansa offered him 1000 Euro to settle the trademark dispute but he refused the offer (as he considered that there was considerably more at stake).”

This is probably just one of many criminal charges against Željko Topić in his home country.

“According to what we have heard,” said our source, “he has had a partial victory in Croatia where a court issued an order for the SIPO to re-open the case of the trademark reassignment. However, the SIPO seems to be dragging its feet in the matter. It also looks like the litigation in Germany against Lufthansa and/or its subsidiary is stayed pending the outcome of the re-examination of the trademark re-assignment by the Croatian SIPO. From what we have understood, there seems to be a risk that if the SIPO blocks the re-examination of the case for long enough in Croatia, he may run into some kind of statute of limitations problem in Germany. But we only have this information via second-hand sources so we can’t say for sure what the exact state of play is.”

So, in summary, this case is not finished. Moreover, as we have explained before, there is a pattern of coverup for misconduct in SIPO. We wrote about that last week.

The second case involved Mr. Ivan Kabalin, whose letter we published some days ago (he too alleges coverup).

“Mr. Kabalin is a Croatian engineer who invented an improved type of safety razor and submitted a patent application for his invention to the Croatian SIPO,” our source explained. “Kabalin claims that his idea was subsequently pirated by Gillette and marketed as its “Gillette Sensor Excel” product. It seems that when he tried to pursue legal action against Gillette he found out that his patent application had not been properly processed by the SIPO. We are not sure of the exact details about this, i.e. whether they rejected the application or just left it hanging as a “pending application”. Whatever the exact story there, it turned out that he couldn’t obtain any effective legal enforcement against Gillette.”

Kabalin’s story has been covered in the Croatian press for many years now. NISTA_EN (published earlier this month) is a translation we have received of an article from 2013. Here is it as HTML. It’s a translation of an article from tjedno.hr which starts off with the Kabalin case before moving on to report about other matters relating to Željko Topić’s record.

“More recently it has received renewed coverage,” said our source, citing this page (publication date is 7th of November 2014, but no translation is available). The headline on that article, as we have been told, reads: “THE GILLETTE AFFAIR: One of the biggest heists in Croatian history is still continuing!”

Some older articles can be found here and here (no translations available) and in this interview with Kabalin from 2012 (again no translation available) the headline quotes him as saying that the whole of the SIPO “should be sent to Remetinec” (i.e. the main jailhouse in Zagreb).

We have heard something similar from Frgacic, who said in a recent interview that German authorities ought to arrest Željko Topić.

Our source added the following important disclaimer about the aforementioned cases: “We want to emphasise that we only know about the Frgacic and Kabalin cases from second-hand sources. These guys obviously have axes to grind with the SIPO but we are too remote from their cases to make any comments on the merits of their claims.

“However, the “David versus Goliath” aspect of these stories seems to have struck a chord with the popular imagination in Croatia and both cases have got a significant amount of media attention there. We also note that the ongoing controversy about Topić’s appointment at the EPO also seems to have regenerated interest in these “cold cases” in Croatia. Understandably, the people involved in these cases are interested in obtaining some exposure on an international level.

“As you might expect, the official “party line” of the SIPO (i.e. Topić) is to dismiss these people as disgruntled “cranks”. For example, the Frgacic case is mentioned in a press release from the Croatian SIPO dated 30 April 2012.” (see PRESS RELEASE 30-04-2012-EN and refer to the first paragraph on the last page).

Here is the full text of the press release, which is alleged to have been written by Topić:

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA

STATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE

Zagreb, 30 April 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Following a series of articles in the media, among which “Jutarnji list” and the Internet portal Index.hr have been particularly prominent, and in which arbitrary allegations have been levelled in an outrageous manner against the former Director General of the State Intellectual Property Office, Mr Topić, and against the activities of the Office as an institution, the State Intellectual Property Office is publishing the following press release with the aim of objectively and truthfully informing the public and preventing further misrepresentation by the media.

The so-called “affair” relating to Director General Topić is nothing more than the product of unprofessional journalism which, in its search for a sensational story, publishes incomplete information, unverified information and even complete disinformation, to which a completely arbitrary and tendentious interpretation is applied.

The main source of accusations against the Office and against Mr Topić personally is the unprecedented campaign conducted by Ms Vesna Stilin, who was dismissed from service in the Office at the beginning of 1999 by the then Director due to unauthorised absence from duty for a duration of 34 consecutive days. For over 12 years she has been exerting unrelenting pressure on the competent government and judicial authorities in an attempt to realise her own unfounded ambitions and interests while trying to depict the matter as a struggle against illegal activities of the Office. We emphasise that from 1999 until the present day Ms Stilin has instituted dozens of court proceedings against several directors of the Office, the Office as an institution and the Croatian state in which inter alia she has claimed huge sums of money which are purportedly owed to her by the Office and the Croatian state. Ms Stilin’s arbitrary and malicious allegations concerning irregularities in the Office’s operations have, unfortunately, fallen on fruitful soil created by the current atmosphere of public distrust towards state institutions due to the intensified fight against corruption in recent years. In addition to this, arbitrary allegations by malicious individuals driven by questionable motives are published uncritically as facts by an unprofessional media and without any prior verification or objective analysis.

In the context of the aforementioned unprecedented campaign by Ms Stilin who, on an almost daily basis for the past 4 years, has been filing various absurd submissions, including criminal
charges, against Mr Topić and the Office with government and judicial authorities, a report relating to a budgetary inspection of the Office’s operations conducted in 2008 has been published. The contents of this report have provided the basis for media misrepresentation concerning alleged financial malpractices at the Office.

The aforementioned report has been interpreted in an arbitrary manner, without any appreciation of its contents and context, which we now elaborate upon with the aim of clarifying this matter.

Due to the monopolistic nature of intellectual property rights and the complex procedures for their protection, and in accordance with generally accepted global standards, it has been prescribed that not only the usual state duties are to be paid in connection with these procedures, but, additionally, fees for granting and maintaining the validity of these rights. In many countries, pursuant to the terms of international intellectual property agreements which in principle stipulate that the income from procedural fees for the granting and maintenance of such rights be used for the further development of the intellectual property protection system, this income is classified as the “proprietary revenue” of the competent intellectual property office. Such a practice also existed in Croatia from 1991, when the Office was established, until 2007, when the process of establishing the state treasury and the associated systematic regulation of revenue and expenditure in the central government budget led to a re-interpretation of the concept of “proprietary revenue” of government bodies. In other words, prior to 2007 the revenue from fees for intellectual property rights granting and maintenance procedures falling under the Office’s responsibility was remitted to a special sub-account of the government budget, from which the Office settled a part of its operating costs directly while unspent funds accumulated in the same sub-account and were visible in the prescribed financial reports of the Office.

That such operations were in conformity with the law is confirmed by an audit report from 2004 in which they were not called into question in any way whatsoever. However, according to the interpretation of the aforementioned budgetary inspection from 2008, the changes that had taken place in the meantime in relation to the definition of “proprietary revenue” of government bodies and in the context of the overall process of introducing a regulated government accounting system, resulted in a situation in which the Office’s revenue from fees for procedures for granting and maintaining the validity of intellectual property rights was henceforth to be considered as part of the general revenue of the central government budget. At this point it was requested that the funds which had hitherto been accumulated in the so-called “proprietary revenue” sub-account of the Office should be transferred into the central government budget account and that the planned expenditure from the central government budget for the operating costs of the Office be increased by a corresponding amount. The Office subsequently complied with this request. However, despite the detection of certain accounting irregularities in relation to the consistent management of expenditure between the so-called “proprietary revenue” sub-account and the central government budget account, the disputed budgetary inspection did not reveal any actual misuse of the financial resources.

The Office wishes to point out that the media reports concerning this matter and the allegations made by Ms Stilin systematically omit to mention that all detected irregularities were subsequently resolved and clarified, and that the competent authorities which had the disputed budgetary inspection report at their disposal evidently did not consider the established irregularities to merit further investigation. In every detailed audit of the operations of any legal entity a certain number of irregularities are almost always detected and the competent authorities subsequently undertake corrective measures depending on the objective gravity of the detected irregularities. It is emphasised that 8 identical copies of the disputed budgetary inspection report were compiled and submitted to the competent authorities in accordance with the applicable regulations on budgetary inspection.

The Office also wishes to draw attention to the misrepresentation concerning a “multi-million amount of fees” which the Director General allegedly paid out to himself and his “cronies”. The sum referred to corresponds to approximately 10% of the total amount that was paid out for the regular services of the Office employees over the same period, and it relates to payments made on various grounds to 42 of a total of 104 employees of the Office, including several months of full-time contract employment for a few individuals. It has also been omitted to explain that the only fee which was paid out to Mr Topić was for professional services on the examination committee for certified representatives in proceedings conducted by the Office and which was transparently and legally regulated and paid out in the same manner to all members of the examination committee. With regard to allegations about the fees for the committee members not being fully covered by the examination fees paid by applicants, we would like to point out that prior to the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia in 2011 abolishing compensation due to civil servants for membership of expert committees, such fees paid to civil servants for services provided to expert committees in numerous state administration bodies were paid in full from the central government budget account, and that subsequent to the disputed budgetary inspection the Office aligned the examination fees with the level of compensation due to the examination board. The Office would also like to emphasise that in accordance with the results of the Feasibility Study on the Restructuring of the Office into a Self-Financing Organisation, which was carried out by independent experts, it was determined that the central government budget revenues arising from fees for the granting and maintenance procedures for intellectual property rights which were a direct result of the operations of the Office in 2007 and 2008 exceeded the total operating expenditure of the Office by approximately 800,000 HRK.

Concerning the fabricated “affair” about the allegedly illegal procurement of an official Mercedes vehicle and its “concealment” in the Office archives, all unfounded allegations based on malicious anonymous submissions by staff members were publicly refuted by the Office with counter-arguments immediately after their initial publication in 2009, a detail which the media now writing about this matter systematically omits to mention. They also fail to refer to a clear and unambiguous statement in the report of an administrative inspection conducted by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports according to which it was established that there had been no irregularities in the procurement and usage of official vehicles at the Office.

With regard to the aforementioned criminal charges filed against the Director General of the Office, a key fact has been omitted: criminal charges can be filed by anyone, regardless of the merits of the case and the competent authorities are obliged to start investigative proceedings in relation to any criminal charges filed, no matter how unfounded they may prove to be after the investigation has been carried out. With regard to the specific criminal charges referred to here, the Office wishes to draw particular attention to the following facts.

The criminal charges brought by the employee Zdenko Haluza for the alleged forgery of an official document by Mr Topić are based on the date of entry into force of the Regulations on the Internal Organisation of the Office, which was incorrectly stated in the Decision concerning the transfer of Mr Haluza from an abolished position to a new position at the same level of competence and with identical associated rights. Mr Haluza has been trying to challenge the aforementioned transfer without success since 2008 and he refuses to carry out the duties associated with the new position to which he was transferred. After the legality of this transfer and the irrelevance in this regard of the incorrectly stated date were confirmed, Mr Haluza had exhausted the available means of redress in his proceedings against the Decision of the Office and he therefore resorted to the malicious filing of a criminal lawsuit for the forgery of an official document as the only remaining way of challenging the transfer. In the meantime, this lawsuit has been dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office. However, under the Croatian Criminal Code, a plaintiff can pursue the proceedings as a private plaintiff after the claim has been dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office, which is what Mr Haluza has done. In view of the evident absurdity of the criminal charges, it is more than certain that the outcome of the aforementioned proceedings will be in Mr Topić’s favour.

The second criminal charge against Mr Topić “by the employees of the Office” is the one filed by Ms Stilin as a private plaintiff which relates to the allegedly defamatory content of one of several proposals made by Mr Topić to relieve Ms Stilin of her duties as an Assistant Director. The alleged libel relates to a memorandum explaining the unsatisfactory performance of the duties of Assistant Director on the part of Ms Stilin due to which her dismissal from these duties was proposed. The media articles have systematically omitted mention of the fact, which Ms Stilin has confirmed in her public statements, that in the court proceedings in this criminal case Mr Topić has already been acquitted twice on the basis of two non-binding decisions, [i.e. first instance decisions that are not finally binding]. Based on previous experience it is certain that Ms Stilin will continue these proceedings until she has exhausted all available legal means, and thereafter by using other forms of pressure.

The third criminal charge is the one filed by Mr Frgačić in the so-called “Lufthansa-Affair”. The Office emphasises that it conducts more than 10,000 procedures a year in connection with requests to grant intellectual property rights, a significant part of which are terminated by a decision not to grant the requested right because the prescribed requirements have not been met. There thus exists the inherent possibility that an applicant will be dissatisfied with the decision of the Office no matter how well supported by arguments and based on law it was. The character of the dissatisfied party will determine which legal remedies they rely on to pursue their interests and this does not exclude filing arbitrary criminal charges and making accusations about the alleged corruption of officials.

It is also known to the Office that the obligatory investigative actions are being conducted as prescribed in relation to criminal charges the content of which makes it evident that they are based on malicious accusations originating from the habitual arsenal employed by Ms Stilin in the daily submissions with which she exerts pressure on the government and judicial authorities.

With regard to the so-called ZAMP-Affair (Protection of Music Copyright), the Office has already issued a press release and on this occasion emphasises once again that all allegations of irregularities concerning the collective management of these rights are completely unfounded and that this has been recognised in the meantime by a good part of the objectively-minded public.

From the fact that Mr Topić is portrayed by the media in turns either as a confidant of President Josipović or as “Sanader’s apparatchik”, the absurdity of all speculation about his appointment as Director General being due to some kind of political patronage becomes apparent.

Apart from a year-long break when he worked in the private sector, Mr Topic held various professional and managerial functions in the Office more or less from the time of its establishment until he left the position of Director General to take up his appointment as Vice-President of the European Patent Office. It is evident from this that he was appointed as Director General based solely on professional rather than political considerations. The only person who has invoked party membership in an attempt to secure her own interests has been Ms Stilin who in her numerous absurd accusations against Mr Topić stated inter alia that her dismissal was a consequence of his discrimination against her because of her membership of HDZ.

Mr Topić’s selection as a Vice-President of the European Patent Office has also been the subject of outrageous misrepresentation by the media. The aforementioned position is awarded solely on merit and it is not a political appointment. Moreover, Mr Topić obtained the position on the basis of a publicly advertised competition for which he applied along with three other candidates. Mr Topić was chosen following the presentation of his candidacy to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, of which the European Patent Office is the executive organ, and after he had received the votes of a majority of the representatives of the 38 member states during the first round of secret voting on the four candidates, and it was not due to any kind of political lobbying by Croatian diplomacy.

In conclusion, the Office wishes to express its grave concern about the fact that such extremely unprofessional media manipulation based on malicious accusations from a small number of people obviously driven by questionable motives can cause the reputation of a state institution and its Director to be called into question in such an outrageous manner, despite the notable results achieved by the Office and its professional reputation in the relevant national and international professional circles, which is incontrovertibly confirmed by the official reports of the European Commission, the international awards presented to Mr Topić and his appointment to a high executive function at the European Patent Office based inter alia upon the results achieved during his many years as the head of the Office. We particularly regret that the competent institutions have also succumbed to this unprecedented pressure and have subordinated their actions to individual interests rather than objective reasoning based on relevant facts.

This so-called ‘press release’ reads like an ad hominem blog post, throwing accusations mostly at Ms Stilin. Sadly enough for Topić, his lost as SLAPP case and Stilin not only won but Topić is liable to pay all her legal fees. The judge basically smashed Topić’s narrative to pieces. The EPO’s ringleader, Battistelli, probably hopes that his staff will never find out about that. Battistelli relied on this case when supposedly ‘dispelling’ ‘rumours’. But we have English and German translations of this recent ruling.

“Just for information,” added our source, “the Croatian media have claimed that Topić authored that press release himself (i.e. the original Croatian version) and ordered it to be published on the official website of the SIPO.”

That’s in itself a serious indication of Topić’s crooked mind.

Refer to the translation in PLR-EN — an article published by dnevno.hr in April of 2013. Here is the full translation of the text passed to us:

DISCLAIMER: The text which follows is a translation from the original Croatian. The accuracy of the translation is not guaranteed. The original article can be found at: http://www.dnevno.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/85582-bivsi-ravnatelj-dziv-a-zeljko-topic-zakinuo-jehrvatske-knjizevnike-za-milijune-kuna.html

Croatian writers claim that former DZIV Director Željko Topić cheated them out of millions of Kuna

SIPO article

Written by: Mladen Prenc
Sunday, 28 April 2013

“For the common good and in order to provide complete information to both the Croatian and international public, we have decided to speak out on the subject of the threatened existence of Croatian writers, and also journalists, publishers, illustrators and other related professions. Starting in 2007, writers were supposed to receive financial compensation from the state for the lending of their books in public libraries based on the so-called Public Lending Right, but to date they have not received a single cent”.

This appeal has been issued by anonymous sources from the Croatian Writers’ Association* [Društvo hrvatskih književnika / DHK] who have contacted the news portal Dnevno. After remaining silent for a number of years, the writers have finally decided to speak out about the alleged injustice done to them, and for which they blame the former long-time director of the State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV), Željko Topić, who now holds the position of Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. The writers ask the following question: Why didn’t the Copyright Act in Croatia become operational for writers and other artists in the same way as it did for musicians (within the framework of the Protection of Music Copyrights – ZAMP)?

Instead of including writers, only members of ZAMP were protected

They claim that the DZIV was appointed to act on behalf of the State as the coordinating body for the implementation of the above-mentioned Public Lending Right (PLR) based on the National Strategy for the Development of the Intellectual Ownership System in the period from 2005 to 2010. This Strategy was developed by DZIV itself, and the year 2007 was established as the deadline for PLR implementation. At the 4th European Public Lending Right Conference held in Budapest in April 2007, a proposal was made to hold the next European Conference in Croatia in order to provide writers in our country with support in relation to the implementation of the new right, which had already been introduced into Croatian legislation in 2003 by means of the Copyright and Related Rights Act which was based on the EU Directive 92/100/EEC.

The writers explain how Željko Topić continued to ignore all of the initiatives associated with the organisation of the European Public Lending Right Conference in Croatia for over a year, before finally turning down the request of the Conference organisers on 2 April 2008. His argument was that the Croatian state agency responsible for the matter, i.e. the DZIV, lacked the financial means to bear its share of the Conference costs – a ridiculously small sum of 100,000 HRK, or approximately 15,000 EUR. The balance was to be provided by the Conference organisers. However, the story of the DZIV’s empty coffers, which Topić used as a convenient excuse, is contradicted by the official remuneration disbursement schedule for the year 2007, which clearly shows that the DZIV had ample funds at its disposal. As evidence of this claim, we publish the 2007 disbursement schedule as an annex.

According to the schedule, additional remuneration was paid out to certain permanent employees of DZIV on top of their regular salary. It is interesting to note that this additional “contract work” appears to have been carried out by those employees during their normal working hours using the resources of the DZIV thereby effectively amounting to a form of illegal income. In any case, the former Director of the DZIV rejected the request of the Conference organisers because of an alleged lack of funds, while at the same time paying out generous additional remuneration to selected staff inside the DZIV. At this point it is necessary to emphasise that the aforementioned schedule does not include payments to external collaborators, travel expenses or other financial gems of the notorious crew resident at Vukovarska 78 in Zagreb [i.e. the DZIV]. Moreover, our sources from the Croatian Writers’ Association claim that in
parallel to the DZIV’s obstruction in the case of the Public Lending Right for authors, the development and monitoring of rights protection for certain other forms of copyright, in particular those relating to ZAMP [i.e. musical royalties], were receiving a completely different and privileged level of support from this state agency.

The DZIV Vehicle Fleet

Apart from generous additional remuneration for himself and certain favoured employees of the DZIV, the information available to us indicates that Željko Topić was also capable of financing the cost of six official DZIV vehicles: three older ones – an Audi 6, an Audi 4 and a Skoda – as well as three completely new ones – a Mercedes, an Audi 6 and a Skoda. The new Audi 6 was for the then Minister of Science Dragan Primorac, who was responsible for the DZIV at the time; the new Mercedes, i.e. “Merc” and the older Audi 6 for Topić himself, the older Audi A4 for his deputy Romana Matanovac, and the new Skoda for the assistant Director Ljiljana Kuterovac. All of this was in addition to the documented amount of 1,033,182.28 HRK, clearly visible in the schedule annexed to this article, which was paid out as additional remuneration for the year 2007 (on top of the regular salary) to around half of the DZIV employees, with the “duo” consisting of Željko Topić and Romana Matanovac topping the list of beneficiaries. In a Budgetary Audit Report relating to the DZIV dated 15 January 2008 and carried out by the Ministry of Finance, this amount is listed as improper expenditure in contravention of the Labour Act, the Collective Agreement for Civil Servants and Employees and the Budget Act. The aforementioned Report notes that Topić’s actions in this respect constitute an offence subject to sanction by a fine in the amount up to 100,000 HRK pursuant to the Budget Act. Notwithstanding a legal obligation to do so, for reasons known only to themselves neither the inspectors from the Ministry of Finance nor the Minister with responsibility for the DZIV at that time, Dragan Primorac, saw fit to initiate civil or criminal proceedings against Topić.

Are Croatian writers finally about to take action against the former DZIV director Željko Topić by way of a collective lawsuit or by alternative legal means, in an effort to call him to account for causing them significant financial damage by abusing his position and authority and neglecting his official duty to facilitate the implementation of the new Public Lending Right? Thanks to him they have still not received a single cent of financial compensation which is of existential importance for writers and for other related professions as mentioned above. To what extent Mr Topić and the socalled “clique of intellectuals” at the DZIV have forearmed themselves against the eventuality of legal action on the part of Croatian writers has yet to be ascertained.

Official or private website?

We would also like to remind our readers that Željko Topić made use of the official DZIV website last year to settle accounts with persons who had pressed criminal charges against him as well as with the media outlets that had drawn the attention of the public to his violations of the law. Although he had moved to Munich in the meantime after voluntarily handing in his notice at the DZIV to take up the position of Vice-President of the EPO in the Bavarian capital, in April 2012 he suddenly returned to Zagreb on the last day of the month. As the working day was drawing to a close he ordered a surprised employee of the DZIV IT department to publish a controversial exculpatory “press release” on the official DZIV website*. In other words, having no possibility to obtain publication of such a self-serving statement in the press or on the Internet portals that had reported piquant details about him, he abused his position and influence inasmuch as he effectively requisitioned the website of a state agency for a private purpose, i.e. to publish a rejoinder in his own defence.

In addition to that, as part of his efforts to discredit the published articles disclosing the illegal actions carried out during his time at the DZIV, Topić filed a complaint with the Croatian Journalists’ Association, accusing the journalists who had written the articles of violating the journalistic code of honour by publishing unverified and defamatory information about him. The Press Council of the Croatian Journalists’ Association rejected Topić’s accusations and published its reasoned findings on its official website **.

Whether by coincidence or not, the Croatian law firms that represent Željko Topić in the criminal proceedings pending against him were at the same time also representing those who had indicted him – at least until such time as this was inadvertently revealed. In this way, they had access to privileged information concerning the other party. The lawyers who represent Mr Topić in criminal legal matters in Croatian courts are the law firm Silvije Hraste and the law firm Gajski-Prka-Saucha and Partners d.o.o. Affidavits bearing stamps of these law firms have been deposited in all criminal cases concerning Željko Topić. Our editors are in possession of copies of these documents.

Finally, it should be pointed out that the aforementioned law firms are at the same time officially registered as the legal representatives of the DZIV in Zagreb. In this way the circle is closed.

Contentious appointment and DZIV audit

In the course of conducting an audit of the DZIV and its then Director Željko Topić in 2012, the Ministry of Science under the control of Minister Željko Jovanović omitted to analyse a key document of the Croatian Government from which it plainly follows that Romana Matanovac, who was at the time employed by the state agency DZIV, was ineligible to be appointed as a member of the Board of Experts for Copyright and Related Rights [due to a conflict of interest].

Matanovac’s transgressions include approving the payment of some 300,000 HRK by the DZIV in 2008 for the ALAI Congress [held in Dubrovnik], under the stewardship of Professor Igor Gliha otherwise known as a close friend of Ivo Josipović, the Croatian President, instead of providing funds for the Public Lending Right Conference, despite the fact that the DZIV had a whole year to prepare for the latter event and was under an official obligation to organise it. Out of approximately 110 permanent employees of the DZIV, the only ones who appear to have benefitted from the exclusive privilege of receiving multiple additional perks were Romana Matanovac and Ljiljana Kuterovac both of whom evidently enjoyed the special confidence of the former Director Topić.

In conclusion we note that Croatian writers are still searching for answers to a number of unsolved riddles. For example, why did Ms. Romana Matanovac not adopt the same professional approach to the implementation of the Personal Lending Right as she did in the case of Josipović’s ZAMP [i.e. music royalties]? And what exactly is it that makes Croatian musicians worth more than writers?

_______________________________________________
* The press release referred to is available on the DZIV website (in Croatian only):
http://www.dziv.hr/files/File/novosti/Priopcenje_za_javnost_30042012.pdf
** The findings of the Croatian Press Council in the case of Željko Topić vs. Slavica Lukić may be accessed here (in Croatian only):
http://www.hnd.hr/hr/Zakljucci7sjednice2012/show/66192/

Expenses

The writers explain how Topić continued to ignore all of the initiatives associated with the organisation of the European Public Lending Right Conference in Croatia for over a year, before finally turning down the request of the Conference organisers on 2 April 2008. His excuse was that the DZIV lacked the financial means to bear its share of the Conference costs. However, at the same time Topić was paying himself and certain favoured DZIV employees generous amounts of “additional remuneration” as evidenced by the official disbursement schedule.

Readers, including those outside of Croatia, are advised to read the above text, especially the parts about bribery using vehicles, intimidation by Topić using SLAPP litigation, and apparent misuse of his position in SIPO. It’s quite revealing and we are increasingly convinced that Topić knows damn well that he has done so much wrong, hence he is trying to silence those who speak out, even if this involves years in courts and much in lawyers’ fees (for both sides). Topić knows the abusive arts of litigation. It’s his field. It’s what he’s best at, based on his track record.

We asked a source if Topić is indeed likely to have turned SIPO into his blogging platform (sort of). “This sounds plausible to,” told us this source, “because, according to official government records, [it appeared] following his appointment to the EPO Topić’s term of office as Director-General of the SIPO expired on 30 April 2012 (i.e. the date of the “Press Release”). So according to official records, he was still the Director-General of the SIPO when the “Press Release” was published.”

In the coming days we are going to cover the sham ‘investigation’ from Benoît Battistelli and his cronies. They are not interested in finding out the truth about Topić, only in defending him (so as to cover their own behinds).

01.30.15

Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Marijan Bertalanič
Judge Marijan Bertalanič, photo from vecernji.hr

Summary: The legal loss of Željko Topić laid bear for the public to see even outside Croatia

THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY we learned that Željko Topić had lost his case in his home country, Croatia (where he is facing many criminal charges). Surely he hopes that nobody outside Croatia will find out, let alone have access to the text in a language like French, German, or English. But thanks to our sources we now have precisely that. It’s a ruling from Judge Bertalanič (pictured above).

Here is the relevant (original) document [PDF], which is a summary judgement (in Croatian). As promised a couple of days ago we now have this recent judgment of the Municipal Criminal Court of Zagreb relating to the defamation complaint which Mr. Topić filed against Ms. Vesna Stilin (classic gag attempt in our humble assessment because that would be a classic manoeuvre where one sues the messenger to intimidate and create an illusion of equality).

“The full judgement,” says our source, “including a detailed statement of the grounds is expected to become available in February.

“The summary judgment basically states that the accused (i.e. Ms. Stilin) has been “acquitted of the charges” ["OSLOBADJA SE OPTUZBE" in Croatian]. It then goes on to list the charges under items 1. and 2.

“The charges were based on the contents of two letters sent in 2010 by Ms. Stilin to the then Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (with copies to various Ministries).

“The paragraphs in italics are passages from the letters which were alleged to be defamatory.

“Of particular interest is the accusation that Mr. Topić literally “purchased” his second term of office in 2008 by providing an Audi to the Minister at an estimated cost of 500.000 HRK (ca. EUR 66.000).”

Here is the relevant part:

“Topić Željko kupio je svoj drugi mandat ravnatelja DZIV-a, plativši cca 500.000,00 kuna MZOŠ u razdoblju od preko 2 godine (od svibnja 2007., kada je potpisan navedeni Ugovor, do srpnja 2009., kada je Primorac otišao iz Ministarstva), što spominjem, uz ostalo i u Ustavnoj tužbi br.: U-III 5023/08 koja je još u rješavanju, gdje osporavam Topićevo imenovanje za ravnatelja… …..Naime, podnijela sam kandidaturu za ravnateljicu Zavoda nakon što je isti krajem 2007. potajno… ukinuo moj sector …”

“The court found that the assertions which Ms. Stilin made about Mr. Topić were not defamatory,” said our source for this. “The summary judgment concludes by stating that the plaintiff (i.e. Mr. Topić) is to bear all costs.

“It would be interesting to know whether EPO funds are going to be used for this purpose.”

This last remark alludes to the fact that when Topić travels to Croatia to face justice he labels it business trips or something along those lines. The last thing he wants is informed colleagues who know where he is coming from. Sooner or later we might see this man in prison, not just outside the top floors of the EPO. Battistelli has got quite a liability in his hands.

01.20.15

Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Željko Topić’s abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President

SEVERAL days ago we highlighted Željko Topić’s skeletons (in his closet), noting that Vesna Stilin, whom we mentioned in several older articles of ours (she is one of Topić’s victims), was trying to bring light to Topić’s past. In the future we intend to show more of the history of Stilin’s fights and arguments with Topić, but today we would like to focus on her call to retract a retraction.

This Croatian “request for rectification” has been submitted to the Croatian Web site 45lines.com, which is operated by Zeljko Peratovic. After Peratovic had written an expose about Topić it mysteriously got taken down, under circumstances that we explained on Sunday. Our guess is that Peratovic is unlikely to publish his article once again, at least based on our supposition that he was scared into removing it voluntarily.

Our readers sent us an English translation of Stilin’s letter to 45lines.com and it goes as follows:

Submitted by: Vesna Stilin LL.B

Subject: Request for rectification of published information

I refer to the article on the website 45lines.com titled “A wrong man sitting in EPO? – Apology to Željko Topić: Regarding the deleted article regarding EPO”, which was published in Croatian on 16 December 2014 and in English on 19 December 2014 on the aforementioned portal, and which contains some incorrect and incomplete information:

http://45lines.com/isprika-zeljku-topicu-osvrt-na-obrisani-tekst-o-epo-u/

http://en.45lines.com/apology-zeljko-topic-regarding-deleted-article-regarding-epo/

For the purpose of providing the public with objective and complete information, and in accordance with the provisions of the Article 40 of the Croatian Media Act (Official Gazette
59/04), I hereby kindly request you to publish the following rectification.

Motivated by the “Apology” of the journalist Željko Peratović to Željko Topić, former Director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), I would like to point out the following concerning the text of said “Apology” the accuracy of which is disputed:

The author of the “Apology”, Mr. Peratović, omits to mention the names of the three independent sources who, according to his claims, deceived him when he wrote the article “A wrong man
sitting in EPO” and which moved him to delete the original article and to apologize to Željko Topić by publishing a new article (i.e. the disputed “Apology”). Nevertheless, I consider that the following statement made by Mr. Peratovic in the disputed “Apology” implicitly refers to me:

“I have also wrote [sic] that it is a big corruption affair which grew outside the Croatian borders and that many criminal complaints have been filed and lawsuits led against him in Croatia. Now it is clear that all the criminal complaints that were initiated against Željko Topić are coming from the same source and that the only lawsuit is led for alleged slander. That lawsuit was completely refuted in court and he was completely acquitted of any responsibility.”

[Source: http://en.45lines.com/apology-zeljko-topic-regarding-deleted-article-regarding-epo/]

The above claim has been persistently and repeatedly made by Željko Topić, but it is untrue. In the disputed “Apology” Mr. Peratović restates this false claim in an apparent attempt to lend
credibility to it.

I am aware that, apart from myself, a number of other persons both from inside and from outside the SIPO have brought criminal charges and/or initiated civil proceedings against Željko Topić. With regard to matters concerning Željko Topić and myself, two private lawsuits are pending (in the first case I am the plaintiff, whereas in second case Mr. Topić is the plaintiff evidently encouraged by the lack of official oversight of the SIPO). With regard to the first private lawsuit which is the one referred to by Mr. Peratović in his “Apology”, following 6 court judgments (as a consequence of repeated remittals to the court of first instance following appeal) and what I consider to have been perjury on the part of Željko Topić’s deputy, the matter is now awaiting resolution before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. With regard to the second private lawsuit in which Željko Topić is the plaintiff, I expect the first instance judgment to be delivered by the end of this month (i.e. January 2015).

In addition, I have filed a criminal complaint against Željko Topić in connection with a number of allegedly criminal actions which should be prosecuted ex officio. Following a request which I made in December 2014 to expedite the proceedings, I received a response from the District Public Prosecutor in Zagreb which, in essence, states the following:

“In the criminal case in question ….. we inform you that the complicated process of checking your allegations, as well as allegations from other sources, is in progress in order to determine whether the actions of Željko Topić, in his capacity as the Director of the State Intellectual Property Office and the actions of other responsible persons in that Office or other government bodies comprise the essential features of criminal offences subject to public prosecution.”

“I intend to submit evidence to Mr. Peratović regarding the above statements and expect him to do his job as investigative journalist. I am confident that afterwards he will have to issue a further apology, but this time it will not be to Željko Topić.”In his professional capacity as an investigative journalist, it would be useful for Mr. Peratović to find out what “other criminal proceedings” (as indicated in the Minutes of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb – hereinafter MCC – from 4/5/2010, under No. K-163/09, in the Judgment of 31/5/2010 MCC, under no. K-163/09, and in the Judgment of 23/5/2011 MCC, under no. 34 K-238/10) were in progress against Željko Topić prior to his re-appointment as SIPO Director in early 2012 by the current Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, particularly in view of the fact that the competent supervisory Ministry of Science, Education and Sports does not appear to have reacted in spite of the warnings which it received. At the same time, there is an open question as to whether the Prime Minister Milanović was aware of the fact that the wife of his chef-de-cabinet Tomislav Saucha, i.e. Ms. Ivana Saucha, is a partner in the law firm which represents Željko Topić in court proceedings, and whether these circumstances might have had any influence on the Prime Minister’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Topić as the Director of the SIPO. Another question to be asked is why Mr. Topić reacted by filing a private lawsuit against me in April 2013, claiming inter alia that the Minutes of the MCC erroneously stated that he was “subject to a second criminal proceedings” given that he failed to react to this three years earlier when said allegation was noted in the Minutes of the MCC (4/5/2010) and in the aforementioned court Judgments (31/5/2010 and 23/5/2011). I note that the lawsuit which Mr. Topić filed against me in April 2013 has been decided in my favor in the meantime by both first and second instance courts.

I understand that the original documents reproduced along with the deleted article “A wrong man sitting in EPO?” are in the possession of a former Director of the SIPO, Mr. Hrvoje Junašević, and an official who worked as a representative at the SIPO, and that the aforementioned persons are willing to provide any explanation which may be required concerning the published documents.

I intend to submit evidence to Mr. Peratović regarding the above statements and expect him to do his job as investigative journalist. I am confident that afterwards he will have to issue a further apology, but this time it will not be to Željko Topić.

Pursuant to Article 41 of the Media Act, it is requested that this rectification be published in the same font size as the text and title and in the same section as the article to which it relates and that the rectification be linked to said article by a highlighted link.

VESNA STILIN LL.B

Date: 19 January 2015

This is not the end of it because we have just learned about a resignation, potentially resulting from some of these ugly affairs. We will write about it later this week.

01.13.15

Microsoft Wastes Taxpayers’ Money by Fighting IRS After Evading Tax for Decades

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An accounting calculator

Summary: The nerve of Microsoft wasting taxpayers’ money in addition to evading tax, costing many billions of dollars to the US economy and countless billions outside the US while bullying regulators who dare to investigate the matter

ONE of Microsoft‘s very many abuses is avoidance of tax, not only in the US but also in Europe, Asia, and so on. The company hardly has a track record of obeying the law, so why make an exception when it comes to taxes?

“Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness.”Microsoft really showed how arrogant it is when it attacked the IRS for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job). It’s unprecedented bullying that one can expect from no company other than Microsoft because Microsoft has a past of criminal tax violations. It bribed people to make the charges go away and eventually settled with the investigators. Even Microsoft whistleblowers get bribed by Microsoft. Rich companies can get away with just about everything, provided they have government connections and enough money to bribe with.

Based on this new report, Microsoft is already abusing the IRS to the point where the IRS needs to spend millions of dollars on lawyers:

The software behemoth is battling the agency over whether it pushed profits offshore to skirt taxes. It’s the latest case to test IRS firepower in cracking down on similar tax maneuvers by other technology companies, which can save hundreds of millions using the tactics.

Both are playing hardball: The IRS, which is spending $2 million on outside legal guns to fight the case, also issued a summons to compel former CEO Steve Ballmer to testify, while Microsoft shot back with legal demands of its own, accusing the agency of hitting it with a “fusillade.”

The legal fees paid by the IRS are basically derived from tax budget. The bills are passed to the very same taxpayers which Microsoft deprived; so by attacking the enforcer over tax violations (over its own crimes) Microsoft basically wasted yet more tax money. How insidious is that? In Spain, a banker sued the judge who punished him for his crimes. This is even worse because the public pays the legal bills. Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness.

11.28.14

Microsoft Found to Have Broken the Law in China (Tax Evasion), Just Like Practically Everywhere

Posted in Asia, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Things must be grim when China is upholding the law whereas the West refuses to

HK, China

Summary: China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft’s notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million

NOW THAT Microsoft has been found to be evading tax (a crime, but not one that executives of large corporations often go to jail for) and fined for it in a nation as large as China (just like in India half a decade ago, as well as in other places) is the US going to follow suit? Last week we showed that the IRS was on this case, so Microsoft began bullying the IRS (the vanity of corporations that control their government).

“”Remember when Microsoft China offices were raided (just earlier this year on numerous occasions and its patent extortion plot was targeted by the Chinese authorities? Well, it sure seems like China enforcing the law against massive criminals like Microsoft, setting a good precedent that US and Europe should follow. To quote the new report: “Microsoft has reportedly been issued with a charge for £87 million in back-taxes following an investigation into alleged tax evasion by the Chinese authorities.”

For those who still associate Microsoft with something other than crime and corruption, the news report above can serve as a valuable wake-up call.

11.26.14

US Government Finally Probes Microsoft Over Financial Fraud, Microsoft Then Bullies the Government With a Lawsuit

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How DARE the government investigate us?

Law badge

Summary: Microsoft is finally being investigated — perhaps properly too — for its well-known tax abuses that have so far proved that Microsoft is “too big to jail”; Microsoft is suing the investigator, exerting its abusive power to discourage further investigation

MICROSOFT’S track record of dirty tricks [1, 2, 3, 4] is not the same as its track record of crime because one thing should have executives put in prison, whereas the other one cannot. Laws and ethics often intersect, but not always.

Microsoft with its above-the-law and criminal-minded attitude continues to surprise nobody. It turns out that it is suing the government of the US, like that banker in Spain who sued a judge for ruling against him for his crimes.

Microsoft’s tax abuses are well documented and many. Now that the IRS is finally going after a huge criminal, Microsoft, the monopolist responds with a defensive lawsuit — a strategy which often gets used to obscure the burden of guilt.

The Register deserves credit for this report that says: “The US Internal Revenue Service has been digging into Microsoft’s tax records from 2004 through 2009, and Redmond has filed a lawsuit against the government to find out why.” As Robert Pogson put it, Microsoft is “used to extorting money from users with audits [and] is now being probed by IRS for the way it shifts money around the globe to dodge taxes. It would be a big hit if IRS could prove the money was earned in Redmond, WA and they were due a decade of triple income-tax.”

It’s quite obvious why there is a probe to those of us who have watched and covered Microsoft for a number of years. We wrote dozens of articles on this very topic. IRS is merely doing its job in this case — not political witch-hunts but going after corporations with a bad track record. Microsoft was caught engaging in financial fraud, whereupon it bribed those who reported it to make the trouble go away, back in the 1990s. Nothing has changed since then, except perhaps the fact that many Microsoft executives entered the government (around the time of antitrust action).

10.06.14

Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some fingerprints

Summary: More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft’s dirty assault on Free software in France

Bribes can be passed in all sorts of ways (e.g. promise of a job for a spouse, revolving doors, nepotism with verbal contracts). We have given many examples of Microsoft bribes over the years and last year it was reported that Microsoft had bribed officials in some of the largest countries in Asia and there was an investigation into it; maybe Microsoft bribed or somehow silenced the investigators too has we have not heard anything about it since then (some of these countries, however, have in the mean time shunned Microsoft). Some of the bribes we covered involved OOXML, a deeply monopolistic ’cause’ which had bribes given to officials in many countries including Romania, where Microsoft routinely uses infiltration as a strategy. For Microsoft to impose NSA back doors on the whole world takes some audacity and it shows that no strategy is beyond the acceptable; just watch how the NSA took a whole country (Syria) offline, cracked the network of a national technology giant (Huawei), and actively supported assassinations, even of US informants. No nation should ever even consider using Microsoft anywhere in its infrastructure, but what happens when bribed are introduced? Now we have yet another example of Microsoft corruption in Romania:

‘Microsoftgate’ scandal rocks Romania

The Romanian National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) is currently seeking approval to begin criminal investigations for office misconduct and corruption in an unfolding scandal the press has dubbed ‘MicrosoftGate’. EurActiv Romania reports.

The accusations are related to public procurement procedures for Microsoft licenses intended for schools. Ministers are suspected of having taken bribes for facilitating the conclusion and ensuring the continuation of an illegal contract with Fujitsu Siemens Computers for leasing Microsoft licenses at over-inflated prices.

The case started last summer after the Control Body of the Prime Minister was notified about the existence of a series of irregularities at the Ministry of Information Society and the Ministry of Education concerning the leasing of IT educational licenses.

Several former ministers, heads of the Secretariat-General of the government, as well as Microsoft officials, have been questioned by Romanian prosecutors. More recently, the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA requested that the general prosecutor of the office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice seek approval from the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the Romanian president and the European Parliament to start criminal investigations against nine former Romanian ministers.

Microsoft is not quite a “company” per se; it is almost like a crime syndicate that uses rogue (tainted) contracts for revenue and bribes officials for them. A government delegate once compared Microsoft's methods to “Scientology cult” and this new TV programming from France shows just how far Microsoft “lobbying” goes.

Thanks to the working group transcripts of April we managed to get an automated translation too English. Transcript below:

Journalist : France today begins its digital. So we have to buy hardware: tablets, computers, interactive whiteboards, but also virtually non-existent in the hexagon educational software. The British market, however, is overflowing already. We are in London, BETT, the show for educational technology. Everyone from digital to school has given them appointment.

English students in uniform, singing around shelves.

Journalist : We find Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot, the new head of digital in Education.

Speaker : I present the company Education City.

Journalist : It came out what could soon equip our schools.

Jamie Southerington, commercial Education City : Let me show you what we can offer in French. We have activities for students of three years. If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, it was the software that allows children to learn the alphabet by singing. Well, just press here.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot, responsible for the direction for the educational digital : I am very surprised by the richness and diversity of what is proposed by the vitality of small businesses that are there and really trying to adapt to the needs of the teaching community.

Reporter : Today the Department of Education is ready to provide all children in tablets?

Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot : The Department is not ready to buy for all, it would be impossible, can you imagine the price that would be! However it is ready to partner, to imagine consortia with communities and businesses, perhaps, perhaps! I do not know if we’ll do it, but we will try to do that, to effectively we can encourage, facilitate equipment.

Journalist : Partnerships who dream because the industrial market to win is huge. Globally, it is estimated at 100 billion euros and growth forecasts give the spin: more than 1500% in the next decade.

Today, the market leader in educational tablet is Apple. Yet the brand has no official stand on the show, preferring to highlight its suppliers of content, the famous educational software.

Why is Apple company absent the show?

Mark Herman, Albion : Because we no longer need to explain what an iPad. Everyone knows what it is. However one has to take people by the hand and let them demonstrations to show them the educational potential of our software. Then they can decide if they are interested or want to buy from our competitors and that is where we are useful. We are here to advise schools not to force their hand. But you know, we have equipped schools, there has been incredible changes and it’s a real motivation for us.

Reporter : For industry, this software is the best way to attract customers in their nets. Once purchased, you become dependent on their computer system. In most cases, your Mac software is usable by a computer or a Mac tablet. Ditto for the PC. We went to the other giant digital, Microsoft. To discover their marketing strategy, they invite us into a showroom software and educational materials to Paris. This place was named immersive class.

Teacher : That’s it. You sit in the pit there.

Journalist : Set up two years ago at the company’s headquarters here the teachers and students are invited to discover tomorrow’s school according to Microsoft.

Nao Robot : Hello. I’m Nao, a humanoid robot. I come from the planet Saturn.

Journalist : That day, a retired teacher, hired by the multinational, we made ​​a small demonstration in front of some guinea pigs.

Prof : What is it?

Kids : It’s the land.

Prof : We’ll have to write the names of the planets. You take this pen, here you choose a color.

Journalist : The goal: to seduce the students and their teachers to schools to sell a classroom of the future, turnkey.

Prof : Let’s go get a picture of a book.

Children : Oh! Lava and smoke!

Prof : Well, that comes out. After it comes out of where?

Journalist : The man who had the idea of this showroom is Thierry de Vulpillières, education manager at Microsoft France.

“…the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products.”Thierry de Vulpillières, head of Microsoft France Education : We at Microsoft. Our subject is to help the passion for the education of teachers and students. 55% of French children are bored in school. It’s a shame. Well it’s because we will move the way we teach and we will involve more students these tools come naturally fit into this new way of learning. What we want is that indeed all students can benefit from digital. I would love there to be 11 million tablets in the hands of every student.

Journalist : The difficulty of Thierry Vulpillières: the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products. The man who found out about roses is Alexis Kauffmann, a math teacher. In 2008 he went to the site Innovative Education Forum, a forum sponsored by the National Education, where teachers have educational projects. Alexis discovers a photo that plot, that of this little Asian girl sitting in a classroom.

Alexis Kauffmann, math teacher : I was able to show that the site of the first forum of innovative teachers using the images we found on the official websites of Microsoft. You could tell they were a little sloppy, they have not even taken the trouble to make up the task of changing images.

Journalist : Oh yes, they reversed.

Alexis Kauffmann : Yes they reversed.

Reporter : Alexis wants to know why a photo is featured on the Microsoft site. He then discovers that the multinational is behind these forums and continues to fund discreetly.

We went to the last forum for innovative teachers. This year it is held at the Regional Council of Aquitaine. In the lobby, teachers present their projects.

Teacher : There is no class, in fact, it is a space that is completely open to life. One lot in life …

Journalist : On the platform of representatives of teachers, the Regional Council and the Ministry of Education

Jean-Yves Capul, Deputy Director of Digital Development, Education : Management of Digital Education was wanted by the Minister as a direction for educational purposes. This is the pedagogy and not technology that is the heart of this direction, even if the aim was to combine the two aspects, education and information systems and technology.

Journalist : In the audience in the front row, sitting behind the plant, Thierry de Vulpillières, Mr. Microsoft. Alexis Kauffmann came asking for more transparency in the financial involvement of the multinational forum.

Alexis Kauffmann : What is the sum allocated by Microsoft for this type of event, for example?

Thierry de Vulpillières : Me I do not give a number. The sum is marginal today on the organization of this forum. Unfortunately. I’m glad you ask me …

Alexis Kauffmann : Since the first time, Serge Pouts-Lajus launched a number, it was almost 50% of the budget.

Thierry de Vulpillières : I think it has never exceeded 50%, but actually it was in the order of 50%.

Alexis Kauffmann : It’s hard, even when enough!

Thierry de Vulpillières : Absolutely! And we are very proud to support that event.

Alexis Kauffmann : Okay.

Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières will not say more. Sponsorship remains discreet. Some teachers do not even have knowledge.

This is an event that is largely funded by Microsoft. It inspires you what?

Christophe Viscogliosi economics professor : That I did not know already, first. And secondly it would have been better than the national education fully fund this type of forum.

Journalist : Why?

Professor of Economics : There is a potential conflict of interest. I did not necessarily want to be forced to use Microsoft products in progress.

Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières is the only industrial digital world present here. From stand to stand, it maintains its network with faculty.

Thierry de Vulpillières Laurence June This is not the first forum.

Laurence June, Professor of French : No.

Thierry de Vulpillières And paradoxically it seems that we are in a stand of handicrafts. You see son and wool. This is a teacher who was one of the first teachers to use Twitter.

Professor of French Twitter that allows students to communicate, that is to say we are in a classroom, but it opens. We did projects where communication was contacted politicians, writers and journalists. Short exchanges, which led us to do larger projects, meetings, writings and exchanges.

Journalist : Adept Internet, the teacher becomes a target for Microsoft representative. This morning he offered his ten tablets Professor of French class was fortunate to have five computer stations, this is not the case all the time. Perhaps we will have tablets.

Journalist : Microsoft?

Laurence June, a French teacher : Yes.

Thierry de Vulpillières : Small areas will land home.

Professor of French : The good news. The forums also allow these exchanges there.

Journalist : Ten tablets offered to try to take the market in an establishment of seven hundred students. Microsoft has set up a well-rehearsed with faculty and hierarchy lobby. We were able to get that invitation sent to certain officials of the Ministry of Education. The Academy of Paris invites them to discover digital innovation at Microsoft headquarters. Program immersive class. Remember, the showroom Microsoft invented for the promotion of the classroom of the future. Alexis Kauffmann is the neutrality of the school that is harmed.

Alexis Kauffmann : What is outrageous is that academic information day, training, study, around digital is found in Microsoft. It has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, simply. Do we imagine the Ministry of Agriculture organize study days at Monsanto for example? No!

Journalist : We went to present the invitation to the new director of digital education.

On May 28 there was the Academy of Paris organized a day of innovation at Microsoft headquarters.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, the rector of Paris made ​​the event at Microsoft headquarters.

Reporter : You do not see that it’s a bit much, it may be a collusion of interest.

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, I found out the same day.

Reporter : Were you there?

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Ah, I was not there! I would not go there because I think there is a confusion of genres. I do not disagree with the President, I think there is a kind of naivete that there was no will to promote Microsoft. Reporter: But you are against?

Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : I am neither for nor against. I think it is not a policy of the Ministry of Education to organize that, with Microsoft in particular, things of that guy, and it will actually fit. It’s also one of the immediate projects I have in opening this direction is clearly align our corporate partnerships.

Journalist : Multinationals have powerful lobbies and nothing seems to stop them in their conquest of the school of the future. Recently they attacked an amendment to the law of rebuilding the school. The amendment proposed that our school prioritizes the use of free software. Free software is the bane of high-tech enterprises. They can be created, shared, and modified by anyone and they are almost always free. A system that competes digital giants. It’s Green MP Isabelle Attard offering this amendment to the Assembly in favor of free software.

Isabelle Attard, MP for Calvados : This amendment has been fully validated by the Culture and Education Committee for first reading in the Assembly, the Senate also. And when the text comes in second reading in the Assembly, we see that the union of the digital sector, Syntec, just sent a press release to alert precisely this amendment accepted by the Assembly and the Senate, on the overhaul law school.

Reporter : Here’s the press syndicate of digital companies. A very alarming statement: “These provisions will handicap seriously most firms already in this industry.” He was sent to the press, all members and to the Minister of Education at the time, Vincent Peillon. While Isabelle Attard amendment would have allowed the state to make significant savings, Vincent Peillon back.

How do you explain this?

Isabelle Attard : Because there is a lobby and incredible pressure from the largest proprietary software and, as I said, Microsoft is the biggest.

Journalist : We have tried repeatedly to contact the former minister for him to explain his reverse. He refused.

Anyone who still treats Microsoft like an ordinary company does this at his or her own peril. Microsoft is a criminal organisation and it should be regarded as such.

09.22.14

European Patent Office/Organisation – Suspicion of Improper Collusion Between EPO President and Chairman of the Administrative Council: Part III

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Inner circle of Battistelli

Inner circle of Battistelli [PDF]

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 Techrights article 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).

One person told us on Diaspora that “Richard Stallman has said that the EPO is corrupt a few times, before this man [Topić] was put in charge.

“Thanks for bring up the issue.

“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.

“Here is a link to an interview with Mr. Paul Ernst,” said our source, “who was a member of the (now abolished) EPO Audit Committee.

“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 point to note here,” says our source, “is that the French Government is fully informed about the various problems at the EPO but it nevertheless supported Battistelli’s re-appointment in June of this year.”

Nationalism first.

“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.

The documents are as follows:

  • CA-140-08-EN – 2008 – Audit Committee: possible models
  • CA-32-09-EN – 2009 – EPO Audit Committee: draft terms of reference
  • CA-33-09-EN – 2009 – Draft decision setting up an Audit Committee
  • CA-D9-09-EN – 2009 – Establishing an Audit Committee of the Administrative Council
  • CA-100-11-EN – 2011 – Internal appeal against CA/D 4/11
  • CA-D4-11-EN – 2011 – Decision of the Administrative Council
  • CA-55-11-EN – 2011 – Disbanding the Audit Committee

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.

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