12.18.21

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVIII: Ensnared in the Tentacles of the SAZAS Octopus

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki’s Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”
  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League – North Macedonia and Albania
  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League – Bulgaria
  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League – Romania
  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League – Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?
  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVI: A Trojan Horse on the Budget and Finance Committee
  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVII: Cypriot Complicity
  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVIII: Benoît and António’s Loyal “Habibi”
  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXXX: The EPOnian Micro-States – Monaco and Malta
  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXX: San Marino and the Perfidious Betrayal of Liberty
  31. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXI: The Abstentionists
  32. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXII: “Plucky Little Belgium”?
  33. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIII: Swedish Scepticism
  34. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIV: An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal
  35. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXV: Slovakian Scruples
  36. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVI: Serbian Sour Grapes
  37. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVII: Stubbornly Independent Slovenia
  38. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Ensnared in the Tentacles of the SAZAS Octopus

Jurij Zurej, Luka Novak, and Vesna Stankovic Juricic
“Constant changes” in the URSIL leadership between 2012 and 2015 (from l. to r.):
Jurij Žurej, Luka Novak, Vesna Stankovič Juričič.

Summary: In light of Slovenia’s moderate resistance to EPO dictator Benoît Battistelli (before the resistors were removed) we take a closer look at national affairs, which reveal the profound impact of ‘special interest’ lobbyists

In March 2015, shortly before the official announcement of Stankovič Juričič’s departure from the Slovenian URSIL, an article appeared [PDF] in one of the leading national daily newspapers Dnevnik under the headline “Intellectual Property Office: Third departure in three years due to pressure”.

This article explained how the URSIL was being “held hostage” by lobby groups as “evidenced by the constant changes in its leadership”.

The first of these short-lived Directors was Jurij Žurej who was appointed to the position in January 2010.

It would appear that Žurej was nobbled after he crossed swords with the powerful “Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for Copyright Protection in Slovenia” (known as SAZAS).

SAZAZ is a collective management organisation (CMO) or “collecting society”. It describes itself as an “organisation for the collective protection of music copyright” which is “empowered to collect and distribute standard contracts and agreements to composers and authors in Slovenia and abroad”.

“The first of these short-lived Directors was Jurij Žurej who was appointed to the position in January 2010.”The role of SAZAS in Slovenia is comparable to that of the Croatian Composers’ Society (ZAMP) in neighbouring Croatia, which was headed by Ivo Josipović between 1987 to 2000. Josipović subsequently became President of Croatia and is reputed to have been the main political "protector" of Željko Topić in his homeland.

In a manner which has echoes of the Croatian ZAMP affair, SAZAS is reputed to have exerted a nefarious influence over domestic politics in Slovenia, in particular over the affairs of the URSIL. In the Slovenian media, the people who call the shots at SAZAS have been portrayed as an “untouchable elite” who exercise an intransparent and unaccountable control over funds worth millions of Euros. Local copy with translation is available. [PDF]

Matjaž Zupan
President of SAZAS, the singer-songwriter and producer Matjaž Zupan, as depicted in the Slovenian media in 2016.

SAZAS has been on the radar of regulatory authorities in Slovenia since at least September 2007 when the then Director Biserka Strel, reviewed the CMO’s annual report for 2006 and found that a couple of key documents were missing which made it impossible to verify the legality of the society’s activities in relation to the collective enforcement of copyright.

This prompted the URSIL to call on SAZAS to submit the missing documents. It was a move that marked the beginning of a long drawn out power struggle between the regulatory authority and the CMO.

“This prompted the URSIL to call on SAZAS to submit the missing documents. It was a move that marked the beginning of a long drawn out power struggle between the regulatory authority and the CMO.”Sometime later in 2009, the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (UVK) initiated proceedings against SAZAZ for abusing its dominant position in the collective management market and enforcing music copyrights. The findings of the Competition Protection Agency [PDF] were later upheld by the Slovenian Supreme Court in 2014.

SAZAS for its part did its best to obstruct the efforts of regulatory authorities to bring it under control and it maintained “a well-coordinated team of lobbyists” for this purpose.

SAZAS lobbyists
The investigative website Portal Plus reported [PDF] on the SAZAS “octopus” in July 2016:
“As soon as a ‘dangerous’ law appears, a well-coordinated team of Sazas lobbyists is activated.”

An article published by the investigative website Portal Plus in July 2016, described SAZAS as a “hobotnica”, the Slovenian word for “octopus”. This article attempted to shed light on the lobbying activities of the controversial CMO, claiming that it was primarily responsible for the premature departures of URSIL Directors Jurij Žurej, Luka Novak and Vesna Stanković. It was also claimed that SAZAS had successfully managed to sabotage the planned reform of the Slovenian Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZASP).

“It was also claimed that SAZAS had successfully managed to sabotage the planned reform of the Slovenian Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZASP).”According to the article, following the drafting of amendments to the ZASP at the beginning of 2015 by the Ministry for Economic Affairs in cooperation with the URSIL, SAZAS initiated 41 recorded lobbying contacts in the national parliament in just one month. The relevant figures provided by the Anti-Corruption Commission placed SAZAS in the number one position in terms of lobbying activity.

The first victim to be strangled by the tentacles of this “octopus” was the URSIL Director Jurij Žurej. His well-intentioned attempts to reform Slovenian copyright law in order to improve the accountability and transparency of CMOs like SAZAS meant that his days at the head of the national “IP” office were numbered.

Žurej had only been in his new job at the head of the URSIL for six months when the General Assembly of SAZAS adopted a motion calling for his dismissal, as reported by the Slovenian media in June 2010. Translation here. [PDF]

Shortly afterwards, in July 2010, reports surfaced that SAZAS was under police investigation for allegedly subjecting Žurej to illegal covert surveillance measures and for compiling “social networking” dossiers on several other prominent Slovenians. Translation here. [PDF]

In other media reports (here and here), the persons accused of “shadowing” Žurej on the orders of SAZAS were named as Robert Lavtar and Bojan Bratuša.

“The first victim to be strangled by the tentacles of this “octopus” was the URSIL Director Jurij Žurej.”Lavtar is a “shaman” and founder of the “Gnostic Center of Alternative Altorion”. Bratuša is a less esoteric figure. He was the former head of the covert surveillance department of the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (SOVA) but he left by “amicable agreement” after it emerged that his diploma was a forgery.

Secretary of State Jožef Školč from the left-liberal LDS (a junior coalition partner) was also implicated in the surveillance affair.

Robert Lavtar and Bojan Bratusa
Slovenian “shaman” Robert Lavtar and former secret service agent Bojan Bratuša were accused of “shadowing” URSIL Director Jurij Žurej on the orders of SAZAS.

The conflict between Žurej and his adversaries in SAZAS and their political allies continued to escalate over the next year and a half and it finally came to a head in 2012.

“The conflict between Žurej and his adversaries in SAZAS and their political allies continued to escalate over the next year and a half and it finally came to a head in 2012.”In an article entitled “SAZAS dissatisfied with the work of Juri Žurej”, the Slovenian media reported that SAZAS had filed a complaint against Žurej which led to his suspension from official duty on 5 April 2012.

Following Žurej’s suspension, the management of the URSIL passed into a caretaker administration under long-serving senior official Janez Kukec Mezek, a chemist by profession and, in his spare time, a passionate amateur photographer and an active member of Fotoklub Ljubljana.

Janez Kukec Mezek photo op
Janez Kukec Mezek, a chemist by profession and a passionate amateur photographer, served as caretaker head of the URSIL following Jurij Žurej’s dismissal in May 2012.

Žurej hit back in an interview with Dnevnik in May 2012 in which he gave his side of the story.

In this interview published under the headline “The irony is that SAZAS was transferring money to Switzerland”, Žurej explained that as far as he was concerned, his suspension was politically motivated. He contended that his efforts to investigate suspected irregularities connected with SAZAS had resulted in the ongoing efforts to depose him:

“A serious problem could arise if it were revealed to whom this money was wrongly allocated. Who knows what could come out the moment that the leaders of SAZAS start defending their own interests in the proceedings. That is why I would argue that it is not in the interests of Slovenian politicians – left or right – for the people behind SAZAS to speak out about what happened to the money.”

Žurej stood his ground as best as he could. But the forces agitating for his removal had significant financial muscle and “a well-coordinated team of lobbyists” at their disposal.

In the end, as reported by Dnevnik, Žurej’s adversaries managed to ensure that his tenure at the head of the URSIL was prematurely terminated in May 2012.

“Žurej stood his ground as best as he could. But the forces agitating for his removal had significant financial muscle and “a well-coordinated team of lobbyists” at their disposal.”In the meantime, URSIL remained under the caretaker administration of Janez Kukec Mezek until the end of June 2012 when it was announced that the government had decided to appoint the author, publisher and “TV personality” Luka Novak as Director on an ad interim basis.

As noted in the last part, Novak’s close connections to the SLS party probably helped him to secure this position under the government formed after the 2011 election. The SLS was a junior partner in the centre-right coalition led by Janez Janša’s Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

Even if he may have been a “political appointee”, Novak appears to have done a reasonably good job in his new position at the head of the URSIL. On the international stage, as a delegate on the EPO’s Administrative Council, in stark contrast to most of his peers he certainly wasn’t a passive and compliant puppet of Battistelli. In particular he declined to give an endorsement to the “Strike Regulations” at the 136th meeting of the Administrative Council in June 2013.

But Novak’s days as head of the URSIL were numbered.

“…he declined to give an endorsement to the “Strike Regulations” at the 136th meeting of the Administrative Council in June 2013.”The Janša government fell in February 2013, following a vote of no confidence over allegations of corruption and an unpopular austerity programme imposed in the middle of a severe economic recession. The successor government formed in March 2013 was a centre-left coalition led by the Positive Slovenia (PS) party under Alenka Bratušek.

Novak was initially left in charge of the URSIL, but in August 2013 he was dismissed without warning.

Although no official reasons were given for his dismissal, Slovenian media described him [PDF] as another “victim of the lobbyists”.

The dismissal of Luka Novak
Following announcement of his dismissal, Novak was described as another “victim of the lobbyists”.

According to media reports, the Slovenian government originally planned to nominate the well-known singer-songwriter Andrej Šifrer, as the new Director of the URSIL. The appointment seemed to be in the bag but for some reason it fell through shortly before it was officially confirmed.

“It is suspected that there were last-minute concerns in political circles about the “optics” of such an appointment given the musician’s well-known connections to SAZAS.”Šifrer’s candidacy apparently encountered a “procedural complication” which was never really explained to the public. It is suspected that there were last-minute concerns in political circles about the “optics” of such an appointment given the musician’s well-known connections to SAZAS.

The Slovenian press described the situation as a “Staffing farce at the Intellectual Property Office”. English here. [PDF]

Andrej Sifrer
Staffing farce at the URSIL in 2013: The balladeer Andrej Šifrer almost became Director following Novak’s departure but his appointment fell through at the last minute, probably due to his all too obvious connections with SAZAS.

A politically acceptable successor to Novak was ultimately found in the person of Vesna Stanković Juričić.

“The Slovenian press described the situation as a “Staffing farce at the Intellectual Property Office”.”Stanković Juričić started her professional career at the Slovenian Ministry of Finance, where she drafted regulations in the field of banking and capital markets and, in particular, the establishment of supervision over financial institutions in the Republic of Slovenia during Slovenia’s accession to the EU. She later worked in the private sector as a director of the law office of Hermes SoftLab, one of the leading Slovenian software and IT solutions development companies, and later as head of the corporate finance department of the Sofgen Group, a global banking IT consultancy.

Vesna Stankovic Juricic on sofa
Novak’s successor was Vesna Stanković Juričić whose term of office also ended prematurely.

Stanković Juričić was initially appointed to head the URSIL on an ad interim basis in September 2013. Her appointment for a five year term was confirmed in January 2014.

“Stanković Juričić was initially appointed to head the URSIL on an ad interim basis in September 2013.”But less than a year and a half later, in May 2015, she stepped down.

In an interview published by Dnevnik in March 2015 under the title “Whatever you do at the Intellectual Property Office, somebody will be aggrieved”, Stanković Juričić spoke about her reasons for leaving.

She shared her views on the “intellectual property” system in Slovenia, in particular the still unresolved issues concerning the governance of copyright collecting societies.

“Intellectual property rights will only be meaningful and effective as long as there is good infrastructure, which supports these rights. And collecting societies are a key infrastructure in this area. They should act as an effective economic intermediary, collecting royalties from users on behalf of authors and sharing them. In our country, however, they are becoming states within the state. [...] Every interest is legitimate, but the laws are written by the state, which tries to balance the different interests. We cannot have a law that only satisfies those in charge of the management of the collecting societies. The copyright system is a triangle between the right holder (the author), the rights user and the public interest.

After Stanković Juričić’s departure, there was another temporary caretaker administration under Janez Kukec  Mezek between June and September 2015.

Janez Kukec Mezek
Following Stanković Juričić’s departure in May 2015,the passionate amateur photographer Janez Kukec Mezek, headed another caretaker administration until the appointment of Vojko Toman.

Vojko Toman was appointed as the next Director of the URSIL on an ad interim basis in September 2015 and his appointment was confirmed in September of the following year.

In the next part we will look at how the Slovenian URSIL fared on Toman’s watch.

11.22.21

Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VII — Nat Friedman, as GitHub CEO, Had a Plan of Defrauding Microsoft Shareholders

Posted in Deception, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists
  2. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement
  3. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud
  4. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IV — Mr. MobileCoin: From Mono to Plagiarism… and to Unprecedented GPL Violations at GitHub (Microsoft)
  5. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part V — Why Nat Friedman is Leaving GitHub
  6. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VI — The Media Has Mischaracterised Nat Friedman’s Departure (Effective Now)
  7. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Nat Friedman, as GitHub CEO, Had a Plan of Defrauding Microsoft Shareholders

GitHub: Where everything comes to die

Summary: The son of a financial tycoon probably engaged in embezzlement and maybe securities fraud; and this isn’t even the worst scandal, which directly impacts Free software

THE new CEO of GitHub has been on the job for only a week (as of today). As we explained in the past pair of parts, it’s safe to assume that ongoing scandals (not told by the press; it’s aware, but it’s suppressing publication) played a considerable role in that. This choice of CEO probably indicates where the company is going (more proprietary vertical integration) and was probably made in a rush, almost on the spot.

In later parts we’ll detail (with some evidence) the role played by the press, keeping these scandals under wraps by falsely assuming that women are liars and accused men need to be protected from embarrassment. Among the key culprits: Vox, Bloomberg, and Buzzfeed. What good are media outlets that are looking to appease sponsors and advertisers rather than the audience in need of journalism? What good is a corporate leadership that refuses to understand who it hires?

“In later parts we’ll detail (with some evidence) the role played by the press, keeping these scandals under wraps by falsely assuming that women are liars and accused men need to be protected from embarrassment.”“I don’t want to get involved” is not a legitimate excuse (direct quote by the way). If more information becomes available, we’ll also add some parts about the new CEO and what the past teaches us about the CEO’s future direction at GitHub, which is more like a trap than “free hosting”. As always, we encourage people to leave GitHub. The sooner, the safer. Make exit plans.

Nat Friedman should have known better, especially considering his father’s work. Friedman surely knew how this law works (he could ask dad), but he chose to ignore it; he got greedy (which wasn’t needed; he was very rich to begin with, even well before Microsoft). To put this in the correct context we’ll need to introduce readers, perhaps belatedly, to Friedman’s good friend, whom he used to get very badly drunk with (substance abuse will be the subject of much later parts in this series). The friend’s name is Alex and they’re pretty close. From their very own (still online) record:

Alex Graveley and Nat Friedman in Flickr

Alex Graveley and Nat Friedman

There’s more, but some of it is so old that it’s difficult if not impossible to find now. This pair goes well over a decade back.

We did not want to bring up Alex Graveley (or mention him by name), but that’s essential for those wishing to understand what’s going on. Or his current job title at Microsoft.

According to our source, Alex Graveley and Nat Friedman made a ‘pinky promise’; “he also said that the original plan for Copilot was Alex would start a company and work with Nat behind the scenes to build it to get acquired by Github, which sounds like securities fraud, but I’m not a lawyer…”

“So it seems like Friedman set him up for richness; but at whose expense?”Graveley and Friedman know who the source is, but that does not matter.

So it seems like Friedman set him up for richness; but at whose expense? By funnelling Microsoft shareholders’ money to a friend he likely breached several ethical rules (“make this company; do this thing; I will tell my bosses (Board and CEO of a company called Microsoft) to make this next move and we’ll give you lots of shares”).

If he instructs the employer to pay an old mate, that’s a very big deal. It makes one wonder what technical merit — if any — this thing has. It was acquired by means of nepotism, not really pragmatic interest, then hyped up in the media even though it’s worthless as a tool (some people have demonstrated this point). At Microsoft, they use that to push proprietary IDE (Visual Studio) and teach people not to worry about GPL compliance.

As our source stresses strongly, and more so repeatedly: “The original plan was to have Alex build it as a start up. And then Microsoft would acquire it. Which sounds a bit like fraud.”

“If he instructs the employer to pay an old mate, that’s a very big deal.”Well, that sounds illegal because it is. He’s playing with money that isn’t his own; he’s passing Microsoft shareholders’ capital to a friend, and maybe he can then get kickbacks off of him (one can only guess how the favour can be repaid).

Our source says that “this never happened, even if it was contemplated, [as] Alex was not in any place mentally to do this…” (based on texts, he had booze issues if not other, far more severe issues with heavy narcotics — a subject we set aside for later parts)

The Microsoft modus operandi has long been to attack Free software while giving the false impression that Microsoft means well and is a friend, a “co-pilot”. Don’t fall for it…

Securities fraud was in the books.

Wikipedia defines the term as follows: “Securities fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud, is a deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets that induces investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of false information, frequently resulting in losses, in violation of securities laws.

“…shareholders ought to know that they may have paid — or fallen — for a weak or defective product, merely for the benefit of the CEO’s friend.”It further notes: “Securities fraud can also include outright theft from investors (embezzlement by stockbrokers), stock manipulation, misstatements on a public company’s financial reports, and lying to corporate auditors. The term encompasses a wide range of other actions, including insider trading, front running and other illegal acts on the trading floor of a stock or commodity exchange.”

Assuming the above was true, as was heard directly by our source, Friedman sought to divert Microsoft shareholders’ money to a friend. Friend-man? Either way, shareholders ought to know that they may have paid — or fallen — for a weak or defective product, merely for the benefit of the CEO’s friend. This isn’t even the sole case of nepotism — a point we shall discuss later.

10.26.21

Romania’s Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 64c6fe24e7639654707f93b83b19ef5a

Summary: The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes

MOMENTS ago, a lot earlier than usual (around midday, not midnight like previous parts), we published the long part which concerns Romania's OSIM. We took stock of the people who were in charge between June 2013 and May 2021 (5 months ago). Judging by how long these people last, on average, Marian Cătălin Burcescu might have only a few months left. The video above focuses on some of the PDFs and background information about Romania (we wrote a lot about this country over the past 15 years). The people in charge of OSIM over the years are:

• Gábor Varga (until June 2013)
• Alexandru Cristian Ştrenc (ad interim);
• Ionel Muscalu (September 2013 to October 2014);
• Alexandru-Ioan Andrei (October 2014 to April 2016);
• Bucura Ionescu (May 2016 to March 2017);
• Adriana Aldescu (ad interim);
• Ionuţ Barbu (December 2017 to December 2019);
• Mitrita Hahue (ad interim); and,
• Marian Cătălin Burcescu (appointed May 2021).

“Tomorrow we’ll take stock and then proceed to other EPO member states, starting with Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey.”As I note repeatedly in the video, Romania has paradoxically low wages considering the number of talented engineers (especially in the field of software). This discrepancy between value proposition and reward causes ‘brain drain’ in the whole region (also Bulgaria and Hungary); there’s a disproportionate salary expectation. We saw the same thing in Baltic states, not just in the Balkan region. This generally makes countries in these regions easier to control (e.g. bribe) and manipulate as "voting fodder". Tomorrow we’ll take stock and then proceed to other EPO member states, starting with Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. EPO governance is really messy; to better understand the reasons we must investigate who’s part of this governance.

10.25.21

Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

Posted in Deception, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists
  2. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement
  3. YOU ARE HERE ☞ A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

GitHub: Where everything comes to die
It’s a real text message from a manager

Summary: Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)

THE first two parts of this series were mostly introductory and did not yet delve into the ‘meat’ of the series. We’ve already dropped some hints in the form of teasers, but we’ll try to keep issues partitioned and compartmentalised for the different aspects to be easily digestible, easier to follow and comprehend.

“GitHub is in effect a censorship platform that selectively removes people and projects.”The motivation of the series and the take-home message is, people should escape GitHub. The sooner, the better. It’s never “too late”. As this new comment shows, Microsoft seem to be silently killing projects and nobody is talking about it. They’re being killed either for Microsoft or for Microsoft’s partners. GitHub is in effect a censorship platform that selectively removes people and projects. It’s all about Microsoft's interests (financial, political, even personal). It’s about domination, both over particular races and over women — a subject we’ll get to much later in this series.

Before we proceed to internal stories and communications, here’s an overview of things to be covered in the next few parts.

GitHub’s CEO, Nat Friedman, is a friend of Alex Graveley (Team Mono), who has been put in a position of control inside a GPL violations machine, Copilot. “What’s alarming about this is Nat Friedman is well-aware of Alex’s character,” someone has told us, “yet [Friedman] put him in charge of the architecture and product engineering for Github Copilot and Codespaces.”

Friedman was warned in advance, but he chose to ignore the warnings.

“Alex’s reputation precedes him,” we’ve learned, “but I reached out to Nat a few months before this hire to make him aware of how Alex had treated me in hopes he would be a voice of reason for Alex. “Alex has changed” is not an excuse.”

Yet worse, as we shall explain later, there may be securities fraud. “From what Alex told me,” a source had told us, “the original plan was for Alex to develop Copilot independently with Nat’s product guidance and Github would acquire the company.”

That’s misuse of Microsoft shareholders’ money, in effect passing a lot of money to a friend. This part of the transaction merits its own lengthy discussion.

Another part will deal with plagiarism; maybe we should not be surprised that someone who encourages GPL violations (‘perfumed’ as “AI” or “ML”) was in fact plagiarising and making money at the backs of other people’s work. This also helps explain what brings such people to Microsoft, a company so notorious for this kind of behaviour.

There are many more issues to be covered, so we expect at least 20 parts in total.

10.23.21

Gangster Culture in the EPO

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 480c19795ac3655a865b4c336866e2bc

Summary: The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region

PART 21 is now published and the above video was recorded early in the morning. With upfront apologies for the strong language (could not help myself), bear in mind Croatia’s scandals are probably the reason we started writing so much about the EPO in the first place! The serial crook, the gangster, is still unpunished for all the things he had done domestically before doing the same (and worse) in Germany. He’s still living a lie, faking a diploma (if not his Masters degree, then certainly his EQE status). As we shall see later in the series, his corruption is connected to other nations as well, and moreover that corruption has helped rig outcomes at the Administrative Council of the EPO. Tomorrow we’ll look at North Macedonia and Albania.

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki’s Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. YOU ARE HERE ☞ The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

Balkan delegations
Balkan delegations that voted in favour of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.
Ljiljana Kuterovac (HR), Safet Emruli (MK), Safet Sula (AL), Gábor Varga (RO) and Kamen Veselinov (BG).
Bottom right: Kuterovac and her “mentor” Željko Topić at the WIPO General Assembly (2010).

Summary: The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe's expense!)

In this part we begin an in-depth examination of the “captured” delegations from the Balkan region and how they contributed to the rubber-stamping of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” at the 136th meeting of the Administrative Council in June 2013.

“The links between Battistelli and his Croatian “bulldog”, Željko Topić, go back at least as far as 2008 when, as heads of their respective national IP Offices, they signed a bilateral agreement between France and Croatia.”It has long been an open secret that the "Balkan Express" connection was a vital cog in Battistelli’s pan-European crony network.

The links between Battistelli and his Croatian “bulldog”, Željko Topić, go back at least as far as 2008 when, as heads of their respective national IP Offices, they signed a bilateral agreement between France and Croatia.

“Back in June 2013, the Croatian delegation was headed by Topić’s “protégée” Ljiljana Kuterovac, who was assisted by her deputy Ana Rački Marinković.”Topić – the self-proclaimed "doyen of IP in the region" – was reputed to be useful for drumming up support amongst the “Balkan League” delegations from the territory of the former Yugoslavia and its neighbouring states.

Back in June 2013, the Croatian delegation was headed by Topić’s “protégée” Ljiljana Kuterovac, who was assisted by her deputy Ana Rački Marinković.

On that occasion, Topić and his “accomplice” Kuterovac were able to “capture” an additional four votes for Battistelli from the following EPO member states:

• North Macedonia: head of delegation, Safet Emruli;
• Albania: head of delegation, Safet Sula;
• Bulgaria: head of delegation, Kamen Veselinov; and
• Romania: head of delegation, Gábor Varga.

Croatia's delegation
The Croatian delegation: Ljiljana Kuterovac and her deputy Ana Rački Marinković at the WIPO General Assembly in 2013.

Battistelli’s gratitude towards his Croatian “bulldog” was evident from the way in which he used the 136th meeting of the Council to present the delegates with the outcome of an “internal investigation” which had been stage-managed for the purpose of whitewashing Topić.

“…even the Croatian government was starting to be wary of Battistelli and they only sent a junior (deputy) minister to greet him.”Some years later, in December 2016 (warning: epo.org link), Battistelli turned up in Zagreb for a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Croatia’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). He used the occasion to plug the UPC and to pose for a photo-op with Topić and Kuterovac. By that time even the Croatian government was starting to be wary of Battistelli and they only sent a junior (deputy) minister to greet him.

Battistelli, Topic, and Kuterovac
Battistelli flanked by Topić and Kuterovac meeting with Deputy Minister of Science and Education Krešo Zadro in Zagreb for a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Croatian SIPO.

It would be naïve to suppose that the departure of Battistelli and Topić from the EPO means that the “Balkan Express” has gone away.

“It would be naïve to suppose that the departure of Battistelli and Topić from the EPO means that the “Balkan Express” has gone away.”It is still very much alive under Battistelli’s successor – albeit in a modified form. The current EPO President Campinos is fully aware of the benefits of cultivating his connections to this vital hub of the “European IP Network”.

That might explain why he hasn’t taken any action to sort out the ongoing affair surrounding the "doyen of IP in the region", former EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who continues to be permitted to pass himself off as an authorised European Patent Attorney despite the fact that he doesn’t appear to have passed the European Qualifying Examination. According to Article 134 (2) (c) of the European Patent Convention, this is a mandatory requirement for recognition as a professional representative before the EPO.

“In the meantime, Topić is now listed as a member of the epi Council.”As readers of Techrights will recall, Topić’s name mysteriously appeared on the EPO’s list of professional representatives in March 2019. In the meantime, Topić is now listed as a member of the epi Council. This is the governing body of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi), which is the professional body representing all European Patent Attorneys.

Kuterovac and Campinos
Just like his predecessor, Campinos is aware of the benefits of cultivating the “Balkan Express” connection.

It came as no great surprise to see Campinos turning up in Zagreb in February 2020 (warning: epo.org link) to attend an international conference on “challenges in intellectual property”.

“In the next part we will turn our attention to the delegations representing North Macedonia and Albania.”On this occasion, he was accompanied by an “EPO delegation” which included the Vice President in charge of International and Legal Affairs, the notorious Christoph Ernst. The duo were seen paying their respects to Kuterovac and her supervising Minister, Blaženka Divjak.

EPO and Blazenka Divjak
Campinos and Ernst paying their respects to Croatian Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, and SIPO Director Kuterovac at an international conference held in Zagreb (February 2020).

In the next part we will turn our attention to the delegations representing North Macedonia and Albania.

10.18.21

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. YOU ARE HERE ☞ The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

Friedrich Rödler with António Campinos
Friedrich Rödler (right) exchanging pleasantries with António Campinos (left) at the pan-European “good brother” network celebration to mark the centenary of the Estonian Patent Office (March 2012).

Summary: Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal

In this part we continue our in-depth look into the career of Friedrich Rödler, the head of the Austrian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council in 2013.

As already mentioned in the last part, Rödler managed to remain off the radar of public scrutiny for a few years following his reappointment as Director of the Austrian Patent Office in 2010.

“As already mentioned in the last part, Rödler managed to remain off the radar of public scrutiny for a few years following his reappointment as Director of the Austrian Patent Office in 2010.”However, in 2013, he was back in the headlines again when revelations surfaced about his management of serv.ip. This was a “partially autonomous” unit of the Patent Office which had been established prior to Rödler’s arrival as Director for the purpose of providing “intellectual property information services” on a commercial basis.

The serv.ip unit was initially set up without a proper legal basis. However, that particular problem was remedied retroactively by means of an amendment to the Patent Act in 2009.

“This second salary came on top of his already generous monthly remuneration as Director of the Patent Office, which amounted to € 8,900 (pre-tax).”Things started to get uncomfortable for Rödler following an audit of the Patent Office conducted in 2012, when it was revealed that since 2004 he had been receiving a second salary as managing director of serv.ip. The contract with serv.ip had been concluded in November 2014 when Rödler was acting as ad interim Director of the Patent Office.

This second salary came on top of his already generous monthly remuneration as Director of the Patent Office, which amounted to € 8,900 (pre-tax).

More precisely, Rödler’s contract with serv.ip granted him an additional monthly salary of € 6,250 (pre-tax).

These revelations prompted Gabriela Moser to submit a statement of facts to the branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office responsible for Economic Crime and Corruption, accusing Rödler of abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

“These revelations prompted Gabriela Moser to submit a statement of facts to the branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office responsible for Economic Crime and Corruption, accusing Rödler of abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.”The Public Prosecutor discontinued the proceedings against Rödler in February 2013, on the grounds that the accusation of a paid second job “did not merit prosecution”.

Rödler for his part proceeded to file a complaint against Moser for reputational damage. He also refused to comply with an order issued in June 2013 by his Minister, Doris Bures, instructing him to refrain from taking his second salary.

The affair was reported on by Die Presse in August 2013 in an article entitled “Peinliche Posse um das Patentamt” (“Embarrassing farce at the Patent Office”). English here. [PDF]

The SLAPP proceedings which Rödler had initiated against Moser were discontinued in July 2015 on the grounds that her statements were “permissible value judgments”.

“Rödler for his part proceeded to file a complaint against Moser for reputational damage. He also refused to comply with an order issued in June 2013 by his Minister, Doris Bures, instructing him to refrain from taking his second salary.”In the meantime, Moser proceeded to submit her third parliamentary question about Rödler [PDF] in September 2013. In this submission, she quoted in full the text of the article published in Die Presse and asked a number uncomfortable questions about Rodler’s second salary.

Rödler had some initial success in defending his claim to the second salary which he had awarded to himself as “managing director” of serv.ip.

The Social and Labour Court of Vienna delivered a judgment in his favour in December 2014.

However, this turned out to be a pyhrric victory for Rödler.

The public outrage generated by his audacious “double-dipping” at the expense of the taxpayer, resulted in a government decision against renewing his appointment when his second term as Director of the Patent Office expired in April 2015.

“The public outrage generated by his audacious “double-dipping” at the expense of the taxpayer, resulted in a government decision against renewing his appointment when his second term as Director of the Patent Office expired in April 2015.”In the meantime, in proceedings which took place before the Court of Appeal on 29 March 2016, the Ministry succeeded in overturning the first instance verdict which the Social and Labour Court of Vienna had returned in Rödler’s favour.

The “stern master of the Patent Office” took his case to the Austrian Supreme Court which delivered [PDF] its judgment on 28 July 2016 – and the outcome was not in Rödler’s favour. [PDF]

The Supreme Court found that Rödler’s contract with serv.ip was null and void because he lacked any lawful authorisation to conclude such a contract.

“The Supreme Court found that Rödler’s contract with serv.ip was null and void because he lacked any lawful authorisation to conclude such a contract.”His claims for over € 150,000 – based on the assertion that he had been unlawfully stripped of his remuneration as managing director of serv.ip at the end of 2013 – were dismissed.

On 25 August 2016, Garbriela Moser submitted her fourth and final parliamentary question about Rödler [PDF]. This time she inquired about a possible reclamation of his illegal remuneration in the light of the Supreme Court ruling.

The Minister in charge of the BMVIT, Jörg Leichtfried, responded with a terse statement to the effect that “all legally required steps would be taken”.

“To this day it remains unclear whether or not the Austrian state managed to reclaim the public funds which were misappropriated by Rödler between 2004 and 2013.”The story was covered in the Austrian daily Der Standard in July 2016 and a follow-up article appeared [PDF] in the Austrian edition of the Swiss Neue Züricher Zeitung on 3 November 2016 under the title “Der Beamte Rödler will mehr Geld vom Staat” (“The civil servant Rödler wants more money from the state”).

To this day it remains unclear whether or not the Austrian state managed to reclaim the public funds which were misappropriated by Rödler between 2004 and 2013.

But whatever about that, Rödler himself has long since sailed off into the sunset of retirement.

“But whatever about that, Rödler himself has long since sailed off into the sunset of retirement.”In addition to operating his own management consultancy business, Rödler-Consult, he occupies himself with worthy causes such as the Austrian Superbrands Council and the initiative “Rettet das Bargeld” which campaigns against restrictions on the right to make cash payments. He was also nominated by the FPÖ as a member of the University Council of the University of Vienna for a five year term of office starting from 1 March 2018.

Rödler is also a leading member of the Order of St. George, a European and non-partisan “order of chivalry” under the sponsorship of the Habsburg family, which supports the transnational idea of “Mitteleuropa” and enhanced cooperation between the countries of Central and Southeastern Europe.

Rodler and Habsburg family-funded Order of St. George
Rödler (centre) is a member of the Order of St. George under sponsorship of the Habsburg family.

In the course of his active retirement, Rödler has also occasionally found time to comment on EPO affairs.

For example, in June 2018 he published [PDF] a commentary about Benoît Battistelli‘s controversial "EPO Treasury Investment Fund" (EPOTIF), inspired by an article which had appeared in the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche.

“In the course of his active retirement, Rödler has also occasionally found time to comment on EPO affairs.”This commentary starts off by announcing that “the EPO is allowed to misuse Austrian funds for stock exchange speculation with the blessing of the SPÖ”. Although it raises a number of valid points of criticism about the EPOTIF, the main tenor of the piece is an attempt to settle scores on the domestic political stage.

Rödler’s most scathing criticisms are reserved not for the Machiavellian despot Battistelli – for whom he probably had a sneaking admiration – but rather for the SPÖ Minister Jörg Leichtfried and Rödler’s SPÖ-appointed successor at the Patent Office, Mariana Karepova.

It should be noted here that Leichtfried was the Minister who promised that “all legally required steps would be taken” to recoup the public funds which Rödler had misappropriated via his unlawful serv.ip contract. That might account for Rödler’s animosity towards him.

In fairness to Rödler it must be acknowledged that he was speaking from direct personal experience when it comes to the matter of speculation with public funds. That much is clear from an article published [PDF] by the Austrian news magazine Profil in January 2013 under the title “Friedrich Rödller: The strange dealings of the Patent Office boss”.

“Rödler’s most scathing criticisms are reserved not for the Machiavellian despot Battistelli – for whom he probably had a sneaking admiration – but rather for the SPÖ Minister Jörg Leichtfried and Rödler’s SPÖ-appointed successor at the Patent Office, Mariana Karepova.”In this article it was reported that Rödler indulged in highly speculative investments with public funds from serv.ip, which at the time in question held securities worth around € 3.95 million.

Rödler entrusted the Austrian Patent Office “treasury investment fund” to the prestigious Viennese private bank Gutmann which operates under the slogan: “Money. And How to Keep It”.

According to Profil, Rödler made decisions about the investment of the funds at his own discretion, even against the advice of his advisors at Gutmann. His investments included Turkish government securities and bonds denominated in Icelandic krona.

Rodler - Gutmann banking
During his time as head of the Austrian Patent Office, Rödler speculated with serv.ip funds using the services of the prestigious Viennese private bank Gutmann.

Rödler enjoys putting himself in the spotlight and seems to have something to say about almost every topic under the sun.

“According to Profil, Rödler made decisions about the investment of the funds at his own discretion, even against the advice of his advisors at Gutmann.”But so far he has kept “schtum” about his own role in supporting Battistelli’s “reign of terror” at the EPO during his time as head of the Austrian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council.

Given his long-standing and well-documented animosity towards the staff of the EPO, it’s hardly likely that he will break his silence at this belated stage to offer an apology for his complicity in Battistelli’s misguided efforts to trample on the fundamental rights at the EPO.

“Given his long-standing and well-documented animosity towards the staff of the EPO, it’s hardly likely that he will break his silence at this belated stage to offer an apology for his complicity in Battistelli’s misguided efforts to trample on the fundamental rights at the EPO.”It only remains to be noted that Rödler’s departure didn’t bring any change for the better, at least as far as EPO staff were concerned.

His successor as head of the Austrian Patent Office, Mariana Karepova, seems to be more style than substance. Her voting record as head of delegation on the Administrative Council indicates that she was just as supportive of Battistelli’s “reign of terror” at the EPO as her predecessor.

Mariana Karepova
Rödler’s successor Mariana Karepova, was just as supportive of Battistelli’s “reign of terror” as her predecessor.

At the 155th meeting (warning: epo.org link) of the Council in March 2018, Karepova was elected to the Board of the Administrative Council, the exclusive “inner circle” which carries out the preparatory work for Council meetings. Presumably this little sinecure was intended as a reward for her earlier collusion with “le système Battistelli”.

In the next part we will turn our attention northwards and take a look at the delegations representing the EPO’s Nordic states.

09.21.21

[Meme] The EPO-EUIPO “Good Brother” Network

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: [Meme] Mr. Casino Martti Enäjärvi | OHIM/EUIPO Giving Top Roles to Repeatedly-Convicted Fraudsters is Bad for the Reputation of the European Union

Campinos - Enäjärvi EUPIO Meme

Campinos - Enäjärvi EUPIO Meme

Campinos - Enäjärvi EUPIO Meme

Campinos - Enäjärvi EUPIO Meme Punchline

Summary: Jobs as bribes at the EPO and EU(IPO) are a lingering problem

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