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06.25.18

Benoît Battistelli’s ‘Dowry’ From the Administrative Council of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It might not be the last, either

EPO budget
Image source

Summary: The dreadful state of the EPO, where one man controls everything and mismanages money (sending a huge amount of money to his other employer, giving himself a massive bonus or a “golden parachute”, allegedly paying for national delegates’ votes and gambling with EPO budget), won’t be improved until the entire organisation removes “Team Battistelli” (the manifestation of Battistelli’s 8-year rogue regime)

Battistelli’s very last day at work is this coming Friday. António Campinos will take over after that; he’s more or less Battistelli’s own choice and he too is French.

Another quarterly congregation of the Administrative Council of the EPO will commence in 2 days. Last time it was so secretive that it was hard to confirm that they had given Battistelli a massive bonus (like three years of additional work but without doing anything!).

“It is far worse than FIFA has ever been.”Isn’t it odd that the Administrative Council never said anything (at least not on the record) about Battistelli sending millions of euros (EPO budget) to his other employer? Well, thankfully (albeit very belatedly) German media says something about it (see “Die unheimliche Wette”, as mentioned in our recent post). Just a few hours ago SUEPO wrote: “Publication rights requested and awaiting confirmation…” (so expect an English (and probably French) translation some time soon).

Campinos, a former banker, will likely cover up Battistelli’s financial recklessness and misbehaviour. Remember that a person close to Battistelli (also French) is in the relevant committee. We last mentioned this aspect when dealing with the toxic loans scandals at Battistelli’s other employer. Don’t forget what was mentioned here before in relation to the Greek element in the Finance and Budget Committee (Loredana Gulino). The following comment brought it up again earlier this month. It said this:

What do you expect from someone [Battistelli] with a greek best friend in the Finance and Budget Committee until 2016 (for two years this greek guy was the head of the committee without even having a position in his own country!!!! …and every single one just covered it). However, rumor has it, that during his past tenancy in the greek patent institute (2005-2013) he was a master in bullying….

The EPO is corrupt to the core. It’s worth saying this again: at this stage, considering Ernst’s complicity and Campinos’ ‘selection’ (with Battistelli calling many shots), not to mention Team Battistelli remaining in tact at the very top, the EPO needs to be completely rebooted. High-level management needs to be ‘flushed’ and they need to start all over again to salvage the institution. It is far worse than FIFA has ever been.

05.04.18

Elizabeth Holmes Charged With “Massive Fraud” and Team Battistelli Rushes to Distance Itself From Her

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elizabeth Holmes might be the only person who stains the European Inventor Award more than Battistelli does

Theranos and EPO
EPO was so proud of Theranos…

Summary: Theranos in the headlines again… as the EPO tries to distance itself from its previous association with Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos and the EPO‘s top-level management are a good pair; corruption and fraud are becoming such a banal thing to be merely covered up, not tackled. Those who blow the whistle or complain politely are being punished and information about scandals is not being published. Media plays a role in the so-called ‘conspiracy’ (of silence or of PR). In the case of the EPO, it actively served to legitimise this scam. Battistelli is in some ways like Elizabeth Holmes, only a lot older.

Below are some thoughts and links sent to us by a reader earlier today (days after this scandal had been recalled again, even in relation to the EPO):


Theranos in the headlines again …
as the EPO tries to distance itself from its previous association with Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos has been hitting the headlines again recently.

In March there was this:
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Charged With ‘Massive Fraud’ — Here Are The Highlights
http://digg.com/2018/theranos-lawsuit-elizabeth-holmes-highlights

And more recently:
Theranos Losses A Drop In The Bucket For DeVos, Murdoch, Waltons And Kraft
https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2018/05/04/theranos-losses-a-drop-in-the-bucket-for-devos-murdoch-waltons-and-kraft/#242b45d627b2

The original Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall:
Theranos Cost Business and Government Leaders More Than $600 Million
https://www.wsj.com/articles/theranos-cost-business-and-government-leaders-more-than-600-million-1525392082

In the meantime it seems that the EPO has been busy trying to distance itself from its previous association with Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes who was a finalist in the European Inventor Award in 2015.

Back in April 2015 the EPO website contained this entry for Holmes (original webpage retrieved courtesy of the WayBack Machine):
https://web.archive.org/web/20150428054613/http://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

The original webpage contained a reference to three European patents granted to Theranos which list Holmes as co-inventor:

EP2205968
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20100714&CC=EP&NR=2205968A1

EP2018188

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20090128&CC=EP&NR=2018188A2

EP1662987
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20060607&CC=EP&NR=1662987A2

There was also a link to a “puff piece” in one of the EPO’ leading German “media partners” the Hamburg-based Handelsblatt:

EUROPÄISCHER ERFINDERPREIS: Revolution mit einem Tropfen Blut
http://www.handelsblatt.com/technik/forschung-innovation/europaeischer-erfinderpreis-revolution-mit-einem-tropfen-blut/11768208.html

According to the archives of the WayBack Machine the webpage still appeared with its original content as recently as 14 March 2018:
https://web.archive.org/web/20180314210306/http://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

In the meantime the entry for Holmes appears to have been “sanitized” by deleting the previous content including references to the granted European patents and the link to the Handlesblatt article and replacing it with the following “disclaimer”:

Important note: The nomination of Elizabeth Holmes for the European Inventor Award was put forward in 2014, and her selection as a finalist announced in April 2015. The nomination itself and material produced about Ms Holmes were based on the information available at that time. Serious concerns about the technology and its purported benefits have surfaced since then.
https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

The EPO’s original press release from 2015 mentioning Elizabeth Holmes can still be found online here:

The document is downloadable in Word format and in the file metadata the author is named as “Philipp Nisster”.

According to LinkedIn, Philipp Nister is the Head of Public Relations of the Echolot Group, a PR outfit based in Stuttgart:
https://de.linkedin.com/in/philipp-nisster-8b159693

https://echolot.de/


Echolot works for the EPO this year [1, 2] and we can recall it working for the EPO in the past, albeit more covertly. We wonder how big their contract is compared to FTI Consulting’s. If someone out there has access to the related document/s (contract etc.), please consider leaking these to us.

02.10.18

Lawyer Fraud and the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Fraud, Patents at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Advocates, barristers, solicitors, attorneys and lawyers are typically in it for the money (justice being a “nice to have”)

Solicitors

Summary: Ethical lapses in the profession which many wrongly assume to be law-abiding and further discussion about never-ending lies from Team UPC, which strives to undermine the law in order to profit from frivolous litigation

TWO years ago we were told about fraud at the EPO. We were told this by reliable sources (based on their track record), but nobody with access to evidential material is courageous enough to come out and leak it. Seeing how large publishers (corporate media) or “the press” mostly disregards/ignores EPO scandals, maybe it’s not perceived to be worth the risk.

“Seeing how large publishers (corporate media) or “the press” mostly disregards/ignores EPO scandals, maybe it’s not perceived to be worth the risk.”A few days ago, serving somewhat of a blow/shock to the so-called ‘IP’ industry, an ‘IP’ lawyer was sentenced for 7 years. It’s a fraud case. Articles about that, e.g. this one, do not name the person or simply use a paywall to hide it. The term ‘IP’ (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets etc.) is used extensively, so it’s hard to know if it relates to the USPTO (which does not deal with copyrights). The article says: “An IP lawyer with Big Law grooming now faces prison time after admitting to money laundering.”

We occasionally write about ethics in the patent world because we want to highlight, even to examiners, that there’s a lot of foul play. The other day David Hricik wrote about “Unethical Arbitration Clauses” (by which he refers to lawyer ethical rules). To quote:

This is a non-precedential Third Circuit decision, Smith v. Lindemann (3rd Cir. No. 16-3357 (Sept. 21, 2017), and it’s dicta, but it is worth noting because I have blogged about arbitration and awards that violate public policy, as set forth in lawyer ethical rules, before.

In this case, the client sought an order from the district court that her legal malpractice claim was not subject to arbitration because New Jersey prohibited agreements requiring arbitration of malpractice claims and, even if it were sometimes permitted, the client had to give informed consent.

Breach of duty, moreover, was noted just before the weekend in relation to another case:

Following a jury verdict of infringement and invalidity, the court granted in part defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law that plaintiff was equitably estopped from enforcing its anticoagulant patent.

Just to repeat (or put more emphasis on this), we are not suggesting that this whole occupation is scandalous and dishonest. Having said that, seeing the sorts of lies that come out from Team UPC we can’t help but feel like many lawyers are liars. That’s how they make money.

“Many people are led to believe that the job title “lawyer” implies adherence to the law; in practice, however, these people often use their skills to work around the law, to misrepresent the law, and engage in mischievous activity.”Case of point: CIPA et al (or Team UPC, UPC lobby or whatever one calls that cabal) is trying to mislead people like Sam Gyimah, conflating the EPO (or EPC) with UPC; the UK can remain in the EPO after Brexit (nothing new here), but not the UPC, as that introduces legal constructs that aren’t just unconstitutional and unconventional; why would a Britain outside the EU let British companies be subjected to court orders written in a language other than English in another country? There are many other issues.

Team UPC posted a link to outright delusional spin and lies from Bristows, basing on that some sort of insane vision which goes like this: “Start of UPC (ie, the PPA) in 2018 possible, but only if DE constitutional complaint declared inadmissible; certainly not if admitted for full trial (irresp. of whth Constitutional Ct refers to ECJ or not). If the latter, problem w approaching Brexit.”

“We don’t mind hurting the feelings of a few lawyers here and there if we merely name and shame a few of them (or some particular law firms).”First of all, it’s improbable that the complaint will be deemed inadmissible; we know enough about that and many parties approach by FCC did not even bother making a submission. Many inside Team UPC too have given up. And regardless of Germany, the UK cannot enter the UPC. It just cannot, short of mischief or violations of laws/constitution.

Many people are led to believe that the job title “lawyer” implies adherence to the law; in practice, however, these people often use their skills to work around the law, to misrepresent the law, and engage in mischievous activity. We don’t mind hurting the feelings of a few lawyers here and there if we merely name and shame a few of them (or some particular law firms). Not all lawyers are bad; far from that! But the presumption of innocence or honesty would be misplaced.

07.25.17

How the EPO’s Terrible Decisions May Implicate the Government of Germany and Lufthansa

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s also alleged that the EPO or Željko Topić bribed journalists

A. Matijevic and Topic by Lufthansa

Summary: The role played by German authorities throughout the scandal involving Željko Topić, a notorious Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)

FOLLOWING the weekend’s important article in English and in German (regarding Lufthansa and the EPO) we received more feedback from informed circles.

“Some people have been systematically discouraged if not intimidated away from covering the EPO scandals. Some observers choose to believe that it’s due to fear of exposure of even broader scandals.”There is certainly a very big scandal at the EPO, possibly bigger than the EPO itself (if it really does implicate the German government). Some people have been systematically discouraged if not intimidated away from covering the EPO scandals. Some observers choose to believe that it’s due to fear of exposure of even broader scandals.

For instance, if seemingly mundane EPO scandals like nepotism lead to potentially massive scandals implicating the German government, why would the German media not choose to keep quiet under pressure from large media owners? We previously wrote about the serious issue of media ownership in Germany. There's also diversion and lies, not just blackout. Remember that a German, with proven connections to his government, will become the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPO in a couple of months. So what are the chances that he will pursue a deeper look into all this (the Lufthansa affair and the Vice-President in question)?

“We previously wrote about the serious issue of media ownership in Germany.”Thanks to interested circles, we are gradually accumulating more information that every EPO worker should become familiar with. It can help explain some of the tensions at the upper echelons of management. Some comments and explanations about the “Lufthansa Affair” were handed to us along with translations.

These comments relate to “claims about allegedly criminal collusion between the former Director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office and a legal representative of Lufthansa,” our source explained.

“The comments and background information below,” our source continued, “might assist your readers in appreciating what went on in this case.”


The letter of 31 January 2007 is interesting because the lawyer acting for Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH acknowledges Rikard Frgačić as the lawful proprietor of the Croatian trademark Ž961074 and the international trademark 682268. The lawyer, Andrej Matijević, explains that the Lufthansa subsidiary is interested in getting Mr. Frgačić to waive his claim to the trademarks and he is invited to get in contact with them to discuss terms and conditions.

“…the lawyer acting for Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH acknowledges Rikard Frgačić as the lawful proprietor of the Croatian trademark…”In the second letter of 9 January 2008 which comes directly from the German head office of Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH, the company adopts a more patronising and dismissive attitude towards Mr. Frgačić. They refer to a pending trademark cancellation procedure and offer Mr. Frgačić a once-off payment of 1000 EUR if he can prove the legal validity of his trademarks and agrees to transfer them.

So what happened in between the first letter of 31 January 2007 and the second letter of 9 January 2008?

“…Lufthansa subsidiary filed its request on 16 December 2007 and Mr. Frgačić was informed about the DZIV’s intention to cancel his trademark on the very next day.”It seems that in December 2007 Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH initiated a procedure for the cancellation of the Croatian trademark.

According to Mr. Frgačić, the Lufthansa subsidiary filed its request on 16 December 2007 and Mr. Frgačić was informed about the DZIV’s intention to cancel his trademark on the very next day.

Given the usual slow pace of administrative and legal proceedings in Croatia the speed with which the DZIV took up and pursued the request from the Lufthansa subsidiary set alarm bells ringing for Mr. Frgačić.

“In its decision of 3 November 2009, the Board of Appeal found in favour of Mr Frgačić and it ordered the case to be sent back to the DZIV for correction.”The procedure initiated by Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH resulted in a decision being taken by the DZIV on 21 November 2008 in which the matter was decided in favour of the Luthansa subsidiary and against Mr. Frgačić.

Mr Frgačić had no intention of allowing himself to be cheated so easily.

So he appealed this first instance decision to the Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights which is an independent second-instance body that was set up in 2008. In its decision of 3 November 2009, the Board of Appeal found in favour of Mr Frgačić and it ordered the case to be sent back to the DZIV for correction.

Unfortunately it seems that instead of arriving at a happy ending as one might expect, Mr Frgačić has been “trudging through treacle” since then.

“The finger of suspicion for this state of affairs points mainly at the former Director of the DZIV.”According to what is known about the case from Croatian sources, the DZIV has done its best to stymie Mr Frgačić and to prevent a resolution of the case in his interest despite the ruling of the independent Board of Appeal in his favour. The finger of suspicion for this state of affairs points mainly at the former Director of the DZIV.

Because of his failure to obtain satisfaction at the DZIV, Mr Frgačić filed criminal complaints against those he suspected of being responsible for what he considered to be illegal acts and abuses of authority. However, due to the painfully slow and dysfunctional legal system in Croatia he does not appear to have made much progress there.

Mr Frgačić has also launched legal actions in Germany but the German courts seem to be using the administrative and legal deadlock in Croatia as an excuse for not taking any action. There may also be a question of protecting national interests as well as it would not be good for the image of German business if the allegations about Lufthansa’s subsidiary in Croatia were to be aired in public.

The “David versus Goliath” aspect of Mr Frgačić’s story captured the popular imagination in Croatia and it was the subject of a number of reports by the national television channel HRT [1, 2].

“Mr Frgačić has also launched legal actions in Germany but the German courts seem to be using the administrative and legal deadlock in Croatia as an excuse for not taking any action.”The story was also widely reported on in the Croatian media.

For example, in October 2010 an article appeared under the title “EXCLUSIVE Croatian police in anti-corruption action against Lufthansa”

This article drew forth an angry response from the then Director of the DZIV. He submitted a “request for correction” in which he tried to defend the DZIV’s actions in favour of the Lufthansa subsidiary. He also rejected Mr Frgačić’s claims that the DZIV had a covert policy of “deference” towards foreign big business interests such as Lufthansa.

The spectre of the “Lufthansa-Affair” continued to haunt the Director of the DZIV even after his departure to Munich following his highly controversial appointment as a Vice-President of the EPO in 2012. This led to the publication of a series of critical articles in the Croatian media which questioned the actions of the Croatian government in supporting the appointment.

“The spectre of the “Lufthansa-Affair” continued to haunt the Director of the DZIV even after his departure to Munich following his highly controversial appointment as a Vice-President of the EPO in 2012.”One of Mr Topić’s last acts as Director of the DZIV was to draft a “Press Release” which he ordered to be published on the official DZIV website on his last day of office at the DZIV on 30 April 2012.

In this “Press Release” he tried to settle accounts with his adversaries in his home country and to take the sting out of media reports that a number of criminal proceedings were pending against him in Croatia. Interestingly, the newly appointed EPO Vice-President did not deny that such criminal proceedings were pending against him. He just tried to dismiss them as “unfounded”:

“Concerning 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. …”

The “Press Release” went on to comment on specific cases including a first criminal charge filed by a former DZIV employee Zdenko Haluza alleging forgery of an official document by the Director which was described as the “malicious filing of a criminal lawsuit”. It was confidently predicted that due to “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.”

“Interestingly, the newly appointed EPO Vice-President did not deny that such criminal proceedings were pending against him.”A second criminal charge filed by former DZIV Assistant Director Vesna Stilin was also ridiculed in disparaging terms as an allegedly vexatious legal action by another disgruntled former employee.

The legal action pursued by Mr Frgačić was portrayed in similar terms as an unfounded action being pursued by a disgruntled applicant and user of the DZIV’s services:

“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 almost impossible to believe that the German Ministry of Justice is not fully informed about these matters.”The “Press Release” conveniently glosses over the fact that Mr. Frgačić had in fact won his case before the Board of Appeals for Industrial Property Rights in November 2009 and that the real source of his ongoing grievance was the subsequent failure of the DZIV to respect the decision of the independent Board of Appeals which had found in his favour.

It is almost impossible to believe that the German Ministry of Justice is not fully informed about these matters. But for some reason it does not seem to be prepared to take any action.

For example in October 2015 the German delegation seems to have colluded in a decision of the EPO Administrative Council to extend Topić’s term of office as EPO Vice-President until the end of 2018 as proposed by the EPO President Battistelli.

It can be speculated that the German authorities are worried about the possible repercussions if there was any detailed scrutiny of the “Lufthansa affair” and that they prefer to try to ignore it or sweep it under the carpet.

“It can be speculated that the German authorities are worried about the possible repercussions if there was any detailed scrutiny of the “Lufthansa affair” and that they prefer to try to ignore it or sweep it under the carpet.”Let’s not forget that German industry is still reeling from the fallout of the “Dieselgate” affair. On top of that come embarrassing revelations from a recent historical study which confirms collusion between Volkswagen and Brazil’s 1964-85 military government and shows that the German company worked hand in hand with the regime and helped it to identify and persecute its political opponents.

Under these circumstances it’s perfectly understandable that the powers that be in Germany might be keen to avoid exposure of a further potentially embarrassing scandal relating to allegations of corruption and unlawful manipulation of intellectual property rights in a smaller and economically vulnerable EU state.


Included below are translations of two letters (the originals in Croatian were published here days ago), namely a letter of 31 January 2007 from the attorney representing Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH in Croatia and a letter of 9 January 2008 which comes directly from Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH. Translations of these letters are included for future reference along with a copy of various documents referred to in the text above (either in-line or by reference).

2007 letter

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Mr. Rikard Frgačić
Kolorova 11
10000 Zagreb

Zagreb, 31 January 2007

Subject: The possibility of cancellation of the trademark “Air plus”

Dear Sir,

We are addressing you on behalf of our client Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH from Germany, which has been present for many years in Europe, offering services for planning, payment and analysis of travel expenses for business users. The company is a partner of leading European and world airlines, carriers and travel agencies.

By searching the international trademark data base we have determined that you are the holder of the right to “Airplus + Air+” Ž961074, and the international registration of the trademark 682268.

By writing this letter, we would like to explore the possibilities for voluntary cancellation of these trademarks from your side and we invite you to contact us to consider this possibility.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if anything is unclear.

Regards

Andrej Matijević

2008 letter

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH
P.O. Box 15 52 63235 Neu-Isenburg Germany

Mr. Rikard Frgačić
Kolorova 11
HR – 10000 Zagreb
Croatia

9. January 2008

Trademark “AirPlus”

Your letter of 20 December 2007, received here on 4 January 2008

Dear Mr Frgacic,

We are refer to your letter and we reply as follows:

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is neither the owner of the “AirPlus” trademark nor a party to the pending cancellation procedure against your trademark registration. Please, therefore, refrain from any future correspondence to Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The holder of the “AirPlus” trademark and the party to the cancellation procedure on our side, is exclusively ourselves, Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH.

As already attempted before the start of the cancellation procedure, we, Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH, would like to offer you an agreed settlement – without prejudice and without recognition of any legal obligation. This does not require a personal meeting and is as follows: You transfer your trademark registration entries, that is to say your Croatian trademark Ž961074 as well as your international trademark 682268 “AirPlus + A +” to us after you have proved the legal validity of these trademarks. In return, we will make you a once-off payment of € one thousand (1,000, -) gross to a bank account which you specify.

Best regards

Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH

Roland Paschek
Corporate counsel

Harry Schön
Director of Personnel & Legal Affairs

Appeal decision (2009)

Appeal decision

Appeal decision translation

TRANSLATION

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
THE BOARD OF APPEALS
IN THE FIELD OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Class: UP / Il -381-08 / 2008-010 / 0053
Docket No.: 559-09 / 1-09-008 / MHH
No. of appeal: VZ 20080053
Zagreb, 3 November 2009

The Board of Appeals appointed with the composition of Marija Šiša Hrlić, as Chair of the Board, and Krešimir Puškarić and Slavica Matešić, as members of the Panel, on the basis of Article 20 para. 2 of the Law on the Seal (Official Gazette 173/03, 76/07 and 30/09), on the occasion of the appeal of the applicant Rikard Frgačić, Kolarova 11, 10000 Zagreb, represented by the law firm Hraste & Partners from Zagreb, Ribnjak no. 40, and the appeal of the applicant Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH, Hans-Bockler-Strasse 7, D-63263 Neu-Isenburg, Germany, represented by the law firm Matijević from Zagreb, Kurelčeva 4, filed against the decision of the State Intellectual Property Office of 21 November 2008, in the procedure concerning the request for revocation of the trademark in administrative case no. Ž961074, issues the following

DECISION

1. The appeal of the applicant Rikard Frgačić, Kolarova 11, 10 000 Zagreb, is hereby accepted and the decision of the State Intellectual Property Office of the class: UP / I-381-04 / 96-010 / 1602, Urgent Number: 559-04 / 2-08-074 of 21 November 2008 is partially annulled, that is in that part which refers to point 1 and 3 of the order of the decision according to which the request of the applicant Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH, Hans-Bockler-Strasse 7, D-63263 Neu-Isenburg, Germany for the revocation of the trademark number 2961074 “Air plus” was granted.

2. The appeal of the applicant Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH, Hans-Bockler-Strasse 7, D-63263 Neu-Isenburg, Germany, is rejected as unfounded.

3. Pursuant to point 1 of the order of this decision, the matter shall be referred back to the State Intellectual Property Office for a reconsideration of the decision on the application for revocation of the trademark number Ž961074 in relation to services for which the trademark is revoked.

4. The first-instance decision referred to in paragraph 1 of the operative part is annulled in the part where the costs of the proceedings were decided.

The text of the press release from Željko Topić was published here in English two years ago.

07.23.17

STRASBOURG: Representative of Lufthansa Accused of Corruption

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[DE] STRASBOURG: Vertreter der Lufthansa wegen Korruption angeklagt

A. Matijevic and Topic by Lufthansa
Topić and Matijević

Summary: According to some international sources, it was on account of the corrupt and criminal tendencies with which he has been endowed by nature and which he used to assist international corporations in protecting dubious patents in the Republic of Croatia that Željko Topić was rewarded with a position at the EPO in Munich, although his skills and mindset indicate that he does not belong there. This is also indicated by the fact that this complex-ridden individual recently changed his place of residence in Zagreb.

On 20 July 2017 an action was submitted to the European Court in Strasbourg against the representative of the international airline, or more precisely against its legal representative in the Republic of Croatia, the lawyer Andrej Matijević. The complaint was dispatched by post, from a small town on the island of Korcula from where Ruža Tomašić, a Croatian MEP in Brussels, comes.

The complaint relates to a series of corrupt actions allegedly committed by the lawyer Andrej Matijević, together with the responsible official of the State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV), the former Director Željko Topić who is now a Vice-President of the EPO in Munich. Because of the lack of legal certainty and due to the ineffectiveness and corruption of the Croatian legal system, especially on the part of the Public Prosecutor (DORH) and the Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK), after more than 9 years of obstruction of the investigation the plaintiff in the proceedings has now decided to seek legal protection on an international level at the European Court in Strasbourg.

The most bizarre fact in the whole investigation procedure which has been going on for many years in Croatia is that apparently neither the representative of Lufthansa nor the former Director of the DZIV, Željko Topić, were ever summoned to an interview with the police or with the Croatian Public Prosecutor. Perhaps not without reason Croatia has been reported as one of the most corrupt states, according to the latest research from Transparency International.

Sources from the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg indicate that at least four proceedings relating to corruption and discrimination are pending against the EPO Vice-President Željko Topić. The extent of the high level corruption alleged against the Vice-President of EPO is indicated by the claim that he was able to bribe a well-known Croatian investigative journalist. When this journalist was exposed, he terminated his membership in HND (the Croatian Journalists’ Association) of his own motion because he was afraid of Croatian and international journalists’ associations. For the moment, one small detail remains unknown, that is whether or not the accused journalist received the “black” money personally from Željko Topić or whether he received it from the “caisse noire” of the EPO. The sum is estimated to be of the order of several thousand Euros.

After the legal representative of Lufthansa in Croatia did not succeed in lawfully purchasing the internationally protected Air Plus brand, which had been used in an illegal manner for many years by the Lufthansa subsidiary AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH, a ruthless operation of unlawful expropriation of the trademark proprietor from Zagreb (in plain language: theft) was started by the allegedly corrupt Željko Topić who, as Director of the DZIV, responded to the accused lawyer Matijević and by administrative means attempted to illegally delete the protected trademark from the official database the of Croatian DZIV.

Although this pair of criminal “Siamese twins” were exposed, they were never subjected to any sanctions. In fact, according to some international sources, it was on account of the corrupt and criminal tendencies with which he is endowed by nature and which he used to assist international corporations to protect dubious patents in the Republic of Croatia that Željko Topić was rewarded with a position at the EPO in Munich, although his skills and mindset indicate that he does not belong there.

This is also supported by the fact that this complex-ridden individual recently changed his place of residence in Zagreb. He has moved from the slums of the Croatian metropolis to No. 23 Zamenhofova Street and has now become a member of the recently formed and phony “nouveau riche” class.

The true identity of Mr. Željko Topić is perhaps revealed in the two texts below, which were published in the Croatian media [1, 2]. The reports are titled “Sjedi li u EPO krivi čovjek?” [Translation: Is the "wrong man" sitting at the EPO] and “Hrvatski patent za autorska prava” [Translation: The Croatian patent on copyright].

In any case the company AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH (www.airplus.com), headquartered in Neu-Isenburg, Germany, had an impressive turnover of EUR 14 billion in 2016, while at the same time serving a customer base of 49000 exclusively business class passengers, that is to say, passengers with very high purchasing power.

Therefore, it would hardly be surprising if Lufthansa had decided to take such corrupt step assisted by a dubious lawyer and corrupt banana republic officials such as Željko Topić, and attempted to illegally acquire the protected trade mark instead of purchasing it via civilised business practices according to which it should pay at least 2% of the annual turnover of its subsidiary which had been making unlawful use of a foreign trade mark for almost 20 years. In the end it is a question of large sums of money. According to unofficial information of the German lawyer representing the plaintiff in the proceedings, Mr. Constantin Mascher, it involves a claim for damages of at least 30 million Euros. Furthermore, in order to make things even more interesting, reports have appeared in the Croatia media according to which Lufthansa is rumoured to be a hidden owner of Croatia Airlines.


Constantin Mascher photo
Constantin Mascher


Luft Ponuda I 2008


Matijevic dopis 2007

01.02.17

Teaser: Corruption Indictments Brought Against Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Fraud, Patents at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More information to come out soon…

Željko Topić in Strasbourg

Summary: New trouble for Željko Topić in Strasbourg, making it yet another EPO Vice-President who is on shaky grounds and paving the way to managerial collapse/avalanche at the EPO

PRESIDENTIAL loyalists like Willy Minnoye (Vice-President of the European Patent Office), Ciaran McGinley and Lucy Neville-Rolfe are leaving and the Croatian gravy train (the 'Balkan Express') is close to crashing. We have received the following information from Croatia today. It looks plausible that one EPO Vice-President won’t just retire early but might actually end up behind bars like Ivo Josipović (former President of the Republic of Croatia). In the words of our source:

STRASBOURG – TWO CORRUPTION INDICTMENTS BROUGHT AGAINST ŽELJKO TOPIĆ

On 19 December 2016 the EU Court in Strasbourg received two indictments against Željko Topić, former Director General of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the Republic of Croatia in Zagreb and currently the right hand of Benoit Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. The indictments include a number of offences in support of corruption committed by Željko Topić as an accountable person during his DG office at the SIPO in Croatia. Namely, due to inefficiency of the Croatian justice and the political protection provided to Željko Topić in the Republic of Croatia, especially by the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH in Croatian) and the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK in Croatian), after more than 8 years of investigation, a party to the proceedings made a decision to seek legal protection within the international frameworks at the EU Court in Strasbourg. At any rate, Croatia has not been declared one of the most corrupt countries in the world for no reason according to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. The most tragic fact in the entire lengthy investigative proceedings in Croatia is that Željko Topić has never been called in for questioning by the police or the State Attorney’s Office. All this time Željko Topić has been receiving his pay from the EPO nonstop in the amount of EUR 18,000.- a month, and the parking space in the EPO car park in Munich has been adorned by his black Mercedes-Benz illegally appropriated from the SIPO in Zagreb, i.e. from the Republic of Croatia. The former President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, is listed as one of the potential political protectors of Mr. Topić. Using a possible criminal offence of influence peddling the former Croatian President has protected Željko Topić from criminal prosecution in investigative structures of the Republic of Croatia for a number of years for one reason only, which reason concerns the operation of the Croatian parafiscal musical association under the name of the Music Authors Rights Protection Office (ZAMP in Croatian). That is to say, by obstructing investigation and protecting Željko Topić the former Croatian President Ivo Josipović in fact has been protecting himself since there is a clear trail of corruption offences leading directly to him over the ZAMP and the SIPO. Moreover, the staffing of the SIPO of the Republic of Croatia is largely comprised of the ZAMP employees having disputable qualifications. The fear that Željko Topić might “squeal on him” during the investigation and the legal proceedings in fashion of the member of the Calabrian mafia has resulted in dropping of criminal charges against him, which in this particular case ended up in Strasbourg. The final act in this judicial play protecting the person and the action of corrupt Željko Topić was performed at the County Court in Zagreb and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia where the investigations against Topić were declared inadmissible. Therefore, and especially due to the unbearable stench of the judicial marshland, nobody in Croatia was surprised by the most recent statement given to the media by the new Minister of Interior saying that all judges of the Constitutional Court should hand in their resignations on account of corruption since they pose a direct threat to national security of the Republic of Croatia. In addition to the legal proceedings in Strasbourg, the party to the proceedings has also announced criminal prosecution against the leading persons in Croatian justice, and the DORH and the USKOK implicated in protection of Željko Topić. Those charges will also be brought in France, most probably at the Ministry of Justice in Albertville or Grenoble. Specifically, after Croatia joined the EU as a full Member State, the Croatian citizens also have a possibility to take criminal offences to courts beyond the Croatian borders. In conclusion, as learned off the record, there are at least 6 more criminal investigations carried out against Željko Topić in Croatia.

Yes, we already heard about those additional 6 criminal investigations against Željko Topić in Croatia. The man seems to be corrupt enough to match the job requirements of Battistelli and Bergot. And since he is so legally vulnerable they can probably better control him (e.g. by blackmail), too.

We shall post more information about the Strasbourg case in the coming days if not weeks.

The situation at the EPO is getting worse by the day. Published a few days ago by media in Luxembourg (looks like a French and German mix) was an article about the climate at the EPO. The purely automated translation (not edited) says:

The dispute between the President and the Suepo trade union, which represents the bulk of the 7,000-strong workforce, has been raging for more than five years. Minister Etienne Schneider is now responding to a parliamentary question by the LSAP deputies, Claudia Dall’Agnol.

The leadership style of President Benoît Battistelli, who took over this office in 2010, leads from escalation to escalation. Only recently did employees move through the streets of Munich and consulates. According to the statements of the trade unionists, Battistelli has for a long time sprawled the bow so far that the working climate is at its zero point. In the course of this year, three trade unionists from the Suepo were already set before the door. According to our information, the President has indicated very spurious causes of these cancellations, which are not to be attributed to the hair.

Full and accurate translation of the entire article will be appreciated.

11.15.16

Violations of Human Rights at the EPO in the Name of Fraud Prevention

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 1:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Very convenient a guise

Elmer news
Whistleblower ist weder Datendieb noch Erpresser

Summary: Whistleblowers at the EPO cannot speak and surveillance reaches extraordinary levels, the excuse being security, stability, justice and so on (surveillance classics)

EARLIER this year we wrote about rumours of fraud at the EPO and not too long ago we became witnesses to the pretext of “fraud” as as exploited to spy on staff and grossly violate their privacy or data security (in a way that no member state would tolerate). The members of the GCC who are members of the CSC wrote the following text: “We obviously do not support fraud and so consider it perfectly legitimate that some controls (checks and balances) are introduced in order to detect and/or prevent fraud also in the field of the healthcare insurance. However, this raises an additional big concern linked to the new contract and its external administrator: fraud control measures and the possible involvement of the EPO’s Investigation Unit. We are completely kept in the dark as to how the EPO intends to put in practice these controls. What will be the role of Cigna who are obviously best positioned (access to the data) to detect fraud)? Are they bound to respect national laws? What will be the role of the Investigative Unit? How will the different parties cooperate? How will medical secrecy be preserved? Which laws will apply at which steps? Why does the Office not collaborate with (local) national prosecutors since this would be compatible with Article 20, EPC? Not only have none of these questions been answered, we have not heard about any safeguards. We fear that this is an area that may raise serious problems in the future with possible damage to the EPO’s reputation. Although we have not been required to give an opinion despite the blatant impact that this new contract will have on staff employment conditions, we nevertheless recommend that the President should not implement the planned modifications as long as a joint Committee has not been established.”

“The way things work at the moment is a recipe for disaster because the Office already fails to attract top talent — the very kind of talent which it takes to deliver a good service and justify the high fees associated with EPs (grant, renewal, search etc.).”We often wonder how many violations it would take for Eponia to finally come under proper scrutiny from member states (beyond a slap on the wrist, at the very least a fine). The way things work at the moment is a recipe for disaster because the Office already fails to attract top talent — the very kind of talent which it takes to deliver a good service and justify the high fees associated with EPs (grant, renewal, search etc.). To make matters worse, a lot of key staff has been leaving and continues to leave the Office (the growing numbers of departures that we see are irrefutable). A new comment in IP Kat asked: “What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?” Here is the full comment:

“Anonymous” from Saturday, 12 November 2016 is trying to change the subject, isn’t he/she? The facts are quite simple: Battistelli got instructions from the Council not to fire staff members before new regulations are passed and did just the opposite.

That is the real problem here.

Battistelli is not doing what the Council wants. I asked what the Council can do and apparently the Council cannot do much because of the 3/4 of the votes clause. I said Battistelli just needs 10 countries to stay forever and follow his plans and nobody raised a credible objection. I don’t see how a ministerial conference could solve that problem.

So let us imagine that Battistelli stays another few years to continue his plans. The Council cannot do much because of this blocking minority. What would the effect be? What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?

It will be morally — maybe also fiscally — bankrupt (it’s said to be operating at a loss), more so assuming Battistelli continues along the same trajectory which renders examiners redundant in just two years. Will it be folded onto EUIPO? Serious intervention is needed to ensure that the EPO doesn’t just become a relic or a fossil from the past. The way things stand, based on what we are hearing from insiders, there is no promising future for the EPO (if any future at all).

09.11.16

USPTO Fraud Accusations and the ‘Coverup’ Attempt by USPTO Circles Inside the Corporate Media

Posted in America, Deception, Fraud, Patents at 7:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Distracting from the accusations

USPTO cash

Summary: The USPTO is found to have been burning taxpayers’ money and the patent microcosm, which profits from this entire sort of ‘racket’, is trying to defend or belittle these findings

THE USPTO has been dealt a serious blow which we mentioned here very briefly the other day (billing fraud, similar to what's alleged to be happening at the EPO).

It is no surprise that examiner misconduct and fraud is defended by IAM ‘magazine’, but having followed their sources we are left worried. Here is what IAM wrote to excuse/dismiss it all (the headline is “accusations against USPTO staff may have less meat than reported”):

But according to Matt Levy, patent counsel with the Computer Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the numbers from the OIG’s report should be put in context. Earlier this week, in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Levy claimed that the report exaggerated the scope of the problem. When broken down, he calculates that the waste amounts to an average of six minutes per examiner at the USPTO (he went into further detail in an IP Watchdog post here).

I reached out to Levy for a little more detail on his reasons for writing the letter. Here’s his response: “It seemed pretty clear that the OIG was making the problem look far worse than it was. I’ve written about the GAO’s report on quality, and I’ve been hopeful that it would garner some attention. Unfortunately, the scandal that the IG’s report created seemed likely to suck up all the oxygen. My goal was to bring a little perspective and, hopefully, help focus the conversation back on patent quality.”

Most patent owners would probably agree with Levy. That isn’t to denigrate the latest findings of the OIG but the more fundamental problem for the US patent system is the quality of the grants that it makes. That was certainly one of the main findings of IAM’s most recent benchmarking survey which was elaborated on by a more recent piece of research by Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University

Putting aside that last paragraph which is IAM's self-promotion (of propaganda), watch who they’re using to support their position. Remember which companies are behind CCIA, never mind Watchtroll (IP Watchdog) and other USPTO friends/buddies. It’s like a sort of coverup attempt because a lot of the above piggybacks Matt Levy from CCIA. It is a man whose wife works for the USPTO, i.e. his household receives a salary from the USPTO — something that should probably be mentioned (he personally asked me not to mention this again, but it’s hard given these circumstances and given that Levy gave away this potential conflict of interest himself, in his own blog). Watch what he wrote in response to the original piece (filed under “opinions”). His wife works for the USPTO, yet he does not disclose this in his letter to the editor (regarding the USPTO). How is one supposed to simply ignore this? The echo chamber in defense of fraud isn’t something that’s a minor detail that can be trivially overlooked. Found via this tweet are some vicious attacks on Florian Müller for bringing up the issue. A former IP Kat writer is slamming him for stating the obvious and he responds with: “Doesn’t matter due to fee diversion. Ultimately it is taxpayers’ money anyway.” Patent law firms too are against taxpayers now [1, 2, 3, 4]? Or implicitly in defense of billing fraud? How would that make them look? It is hard to explain to the patent microcosm its unwanted role (as it relates to practicing developers) [1, 2], but Müller did try and at the end he wrote a summary of his position as follows [1, 2, 3, 4]: “Some patent folks are being too emotional about USPTO fee diversion to think things through correctly. Let’s enlighten them now: Question was: if employees steal from USPTO, are taxpayers the ultimate victims? Yes. There are 2 independent ways to prove this. First, every $ less that the USPTO can send to Treasury (fee diversion) is a $ more that taxpayers have to contribute to pay for something. Second, fee diversion goes both ways: if theft contributed to a USPTO deficit, taxpayers would have to close the gap.”

“Slamming the watchdog isn’t easy (shooting the messenger which is independent) and if nefarious tactics are used to belittle the problem itself, what does that tell us about the accused (collectively) or their spouses?”I have exchanged quite a few E-mails about this subject since (Müller expressed some views) and it’s saddening to hear that patent law firms implicitly threaten alienation in retaliation for stating of the obvious. By doing so they probably risk only isolating themselves even further, turning software developers like myself and Müller into a foe.

For those who want to hear opinions from sites not run by software developers, consider reading “Patent office employees steal millions from American taxpayers”. To quote: “A new report from an independent watchdog found that employees of the Patent and Trademark office billed the government (AKA, the taxpayers) for 300,000 hours they never worked, costing the American people $18.2 million.

“Many employees work from home, and the report found numerous instances of time logged without any work being completed.

“The amount of wasted man-hours that could have been spent reducing the patent backlog is astounding, not to mention the millions of taxpayer dollars that were wasted paying employees for work they were not doing,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told the Washington Post.”

Working from home for the USPTO is something which Levy’s wife has been doing. It’s a shame that he did not disclose that in his letter of response to this piece from August 31st (“Patent office workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds”).

Slamming the watchdog isn’t easy (shooting the messenger which is independent) and if nefarious tactics are used to belittle the problem itself, what does that tell us about the accused (collectively) or their spouses?

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