04.15.21

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli’s Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli
  12. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst
  13. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?
  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…
  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door
  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 15: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  17. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 16: An Inimitable Duo
  18. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!
  19. You are here ☞ Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

Heiko Maas as guest of honour at the 2014 EPO Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin.
Heiko Maas as guest of honour at the 2014 EPO Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin.

Summary: “It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.”

During his stint as Federal Minister for Justice (December 2013 to March 2018), Heiko Maas was fond of spouting slogans about the need for zero-tolerance for “lawless zones” (“rechtsfreie Räume”), for example in debates about FIFA abuses or discussions about the need to tackle Internet “hate speech”.

“The overriding concern of Maas in relation to the EPO appears to have been to ensure that nothing happened which might interfere with the cash flow generated by the EPO for its contracting states in the form of national renewal fees on EPO-granted patents.”He was also fond of enjoining his fellow citizens to “get up off the sofa and speak up” and not to “duck away” from confronting xenophobic political extremism.

But when it came to the EPO, it seems that Maas was more than willing to turn a blind eye to what numerous commentators have called “the last dictatorship on German soil”.

Heiko Maas interview
Heiko Maas: Zero tolerance for “lawless zones” – except in the case of the EPO!

The Justice Minister was evidently unperturbed by the vicious and cynical excesses of Battistelli‘s managerialist “reign of terror” à la France Telecom.

In this case Maas was quite happy to remain comfortably seated on his own ministerial sofa and to “duck away” from his responsibility to tackle the rogue international organisation with offices located on German territory in Munich and Berlin.

Heiko Maas milking EPO
The Minister’s priority appears to have been to ensure that nothing interfered with the lucrative cash flow generated by EPO-granted patents.

The overriding concern of Maas in relation to the EPO appears to have been to ensure that nothing happened which might interfere with the cash flow generated by the EPO for its contracting states in the form of national renewal fees on EPO-granted patents.

It is recalled that the German slice of this “cake” in 2021 is estimated at around EUR 211 million.

“It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.”In the German media Maas was often portrayed as an arrogant and venal character. He gives the impression of being the type of self-preening politico who would have been all too susceptible to the blandishments of the oleaginous Battistelli.

It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.


Heiko Maas clapping along with Battistelli at the 2014 EPO Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin.

In the next part we will look at how the de facto media blackout concerning EPO affairs in Germany aided and abetted the Justice Minister in the evasion of his responsibilities in relation to EPO affairs.

04.11.21

Judge and JURI

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well, it's Supranational
Supranational ought not mean “above the law…”

Summary: The Committee on Legal Affairs, a.k.a JURI, meets the EPO tomorrow (in 24 hours); will abuses by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli be brought up?

THE LEGAL beset

Insert the cassette
Don’t be upset
Roll the film, let’s get set

“By all means serendipity!”The house has spoken
The EPO is broken
Bribery of token
Regulators awoken

Immunity!
Impunity!

EU, Immunity! EC, Impunity! Who's next?By all means serendipity!

“I didn’t know!”
“Benoît didn’t tell me!”
“Whoa, Nelly!”

The rule of law applied
Arresting those who lied
Management brushed aside
Nowhere left to hide

House ban in CEIPI
Escorted out by the city
The jury declares “guilty!”
Without a sense of pity

The dust may settle
Turn on the kettle
Back comes Merpel
To expose and to grapple

Kangaroo courts dismantled
Their composition was all meddled
Mrs. Bergot manhandled
Dr. Ernst has back-paddled

04.09.21

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. You are here ☞ The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

Christoph Ernst mugshot
Christoph Ernst, current EPO Vice-President in charge of DG5, formerly head of the German delegation to the Administrative Council.

Summary: The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him

In this part we turn our attention to the second member of the EPO-Federal Justice Ministry nexus which derailed the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s efforts to reform the EPO’s data protection framework in 2015.

“For the first decade and a half of his career at the Justice Ministry, Ernst languished in relative obscurity.”The person in question here is Dr Christoph Ernst who is another familiar figure to readers of Techrights.

Christoph Ernst was born 1954 in Bremen. After completing legal studies he started work as an attorney in Bremen, focusing on commercial, economic and taxation law. In 1989 he obtained the additional qualification of “Fachanwalt für Steuerrecht” (FAStR), which is a “specialist lawyer in tax law”.

Ernst joined the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection at the end of 1989 where he initially worked in the Accounting and Auditing Law Department.

For the first decade and a half of his career at the Justice Ministry, Ernst languished in relative obscurity. However, some time in the mid-2000s he was put in charge of a project to reform German corporate accounting law which led to the adoption in 2009 of the so-called Bilanzrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz (usually abbreviated to “BilMoG”).

Dr Christoph Ernst younger days
Prior to his involvement with EPO affairs, Ernst worked on the reform of corporate accounting law.

We leave aside, albeit locally retained for long-term availability, documents pertaining to IASC [PDF] and “BilMoG” [PDF]. The first is 6 pages long and entirely in English; the latter a 2-page German language document. Key parts highlighted below (about Dr. Ernst, not Ernst & Young, the giant firm that is mentioned there too).

“We shall return to Ernst’s activities in the area of corporate reporting standards and his public image as a “good governance” guru later on.”During this time his duties included acting as the German representative on various international bodies responsible for approving financial reporting standards, such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the Standards Advisory Council (SAC) of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

Dr Christoph Ernst at IASC
Ernst was German representative on various international bodies for approving financial reporting standards.

We shall return to Ernst’s activities in the area of corporate reporting standards and his public image as a “good governance” guru later on. However, for the moment we want to focus on the overall career progression which led to him to become head of the German delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council in 2011.

Following his success in leading the “BilMoG” project, Ernst was promoted in May 2010 to the position of Deputy Director General (“Ministerialdirigent”) in the Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Department of the Justice Ministry.

In this position he began to assume duties as the German representative on various international bodies dealing with IP matters.

In April 2011, shortly after Raimund Lutz had taken up his new post as EPO Vice-President, Ernst was appointed as his successor to head the German delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council.

11-EPO-OJ-2011: Ernst AC
In April 2011 Ernst was appointed to head the German delegation on the Administrative Council

Following the 152nd meeting of the Administrative Council (warning: epo.org link) in the Hague on 28 and 29 June 2017, it was announced that the Council had “unanimously elected Christoph ERNST (DE) to become Chairman of the Council for 3 years, starting on 1 October 2017″.

“These revelations came in the wake of persistent and credible rumours inside the EPO that Kongstad had been unlawfully placed on the EPO payroll by Team Battistelli.”In the German media, Ernst’s appointment as Council Chairman was described as a “rotation” (“turnusmäßigen Wechsel”) giving the misleading impression that it was a purely routine passing on of the baton inside the Administrative Council.

However, the reality is that back in March 2016 (warning: epo.org link) the Council had re-elected Jesper Kongstad as its chairman for a term of three years starting on 1 July 2016. From this it is very clear that the original game plan of the Council was that Kongstad should continue as Chairman until July 2019.

But the carpet was pulled out from beneath Kongstad’s feet by the publication of a series of articles in the Danish Press in October 2016, which revealed that he was under investigation by the Danish authorities following allegations of tax evasion.

These revelations came in the wake of persistent and credible rumours inside the EPO that Kongstad had been unlawfully placed on the EPO payroll by Team Battistelli. According to the rumours, Kongstad was in receipt of a secret tax-free five-digit monthly “emolument” equivalent to that of a Principal Director’s salary.

Some time later in May 2017 it was announced that Kongstad would be stepping down from his position as director of the Danish Patents and Trademark Office at the end of September 2017.

“Some time later in May 2017 it was announced that Kongstad would be stepping down from his position as director of the Danish Patents and Trademark Office at the end of September 2017.”Kongstad’s sudden and unexpected fall from grace in Denmark meant that the announcement of Ernst’s appointment as Council Chairman in June 2017 was anything but a purely routine passing on of the baton.

On the contrary, this was quite obviously a damage limitation exercise occasioned by the premature departure of Battistelli's Danish protector who had originally planned to stay around directing the Council until July 2019.

From the perspective of Team Battistelli, the purpose of this exercise from was to ensure that the EPO Balkan Express could be kept chugging along without undue disruption.

In the next part we will look at Ernst’s mysterious rise to prominence in the governance circles of the European Patent Organisation and review his disappointing track record as Council Chairman.

04.08.21

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. You are here ☞ A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff

Summary: “In any event, the “Nazi” jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”.”

Raimund Lutz was often regarded with awe and reverence by the more impressionable delegates of the Administrative Council.

However, within the European Patent Office itself he was almost universally despised and reviled among the rank and file of staff because of his perceived intellectual duplicity and moral vacuity.

“Raimund Lutz was often regarded with awe and reverence by the more impressionable delegates of the Administrative Council.”He was frequently at the receiving end of anonymous letters from disgruntled EPO staff.

As reported by Techrights back in August 2017, in one such letter he was depicted in unflattering terms as a “Nazi Officer” allegedly in charge of the EPO’s “Nazi Department”.

This kind of vituperation seems misplaced because Lutz probably had more in common with the kind of morally compromised socialist apparatchik who flourished in the former East German Democratic Republic than with the jackbooted “Nazi Officers” of the Third Reich.

EPO anonymous letter
Sun-King Battistelli and his senior management team as seen through the eyes of disgruntled EPO staff

In any event, the “Nazi” jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”.

“In any event, the “Nazi” jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”.”What does not appear to be widely known about Battistelli is that he suffered from what has been called the “Vichy Syndrome”.

Benoît Battistelli’s father, Michel, spent the duration of the Second World War safely cocooned in his grandparent’s house in Pradines (Department of Lot) in the territory of the Vichy State where he attended school at the prestigious Lycée Gambetta in Cahors.

Although several members of Battistelli’s family in the paternal line, including his grandfather Georges Henri Léon Battistelli, served in the French military during the First World War, there is no record that any family member served in the French Resistance or in De Gaulle’s Free French Forces.

As a matter of fact, it is known that Battistelli’s grand-uncle Charles Robert Battistelli, a cavalry officer who died in 1937, was closely associated with the ultra-nationalist, pro-monarchist and anti-Semitic group Action française.

AF (Action française) 22 May 1937 - Robert Battistelli

Action française was at its most prominent during the 1899-1914 period but it still enjoyed some prestige and support among conservative elites in the inter-war period. During the Second World War, Action française sided with the Vichy Regime of Marshal Philippe Pétain. This gives some idea of the political milieu in which Battistelli’s family was embedded.

A full exposé of Battistelli’s “Vichy Syndrome” would go beyond the scope of the present series but we hope to cover it in more detail at a later date. It is mentioned here en passant because it may help to explain the absurd theatrics which he indulged in by playing the role of the EPO’s “Nazi-hunter-in-chief” in defence of Lutz.

Battistelli’s actions in this regard seem to have been some kind of clumsy and deranged attempt to compensate in public for the private shame of his own Vichyist family background.

At any rate, it is clear that during Lutz’s tenure as Vice-President of DG5 he enjoyed Battistelli’s protection and favour as one of his master’s most loyal and subservient chamberlains.

In addition to regular excursions to Saint-Germain-en-Laye to attend Annual Trilateral Conferences and other junkets hosted there by deputy mayor Battistelli, Lutz was also able to indulge in frequent foreign travel on “duty missions” to IP extravaganzas around the globe from Berlin to Beijing and beyond.

Lutz talking
During his time as EPO Vice-President, Lutz was regular attendee at IP extravaganzas around the globe from Berlin to Beijing and beyond

Although Lutz had reached the statutory retirement age of 65 in 2015, Battistelli nevertheless prevailed upon the Administrative Council to grant him an extension (warning: epo.org link) to his original five-year appointment in order to allow him to remain at the EPO until the end of 2018.

“As Lutz departed from the EPO, staff were heard to emit an audible collective sigh of relief.”And so it came to pass that at the end of 2018 Lutz sailed off into the sunset with a well-padded retirement package: a juicy public sector pension from the German state for previous service in the Justice Ministry and Federal Patent Court, supplemented by a generous “top-up” courtesy of the EPO’s managerial compensation fund, in recognition of his seven-year stint as Vice-President of DG5.

As Lutz departed from the EPO, staff were heard to emit an audible collective sigh of relief.

However, their joy was tempered by the realisation that things were unlikely to change for the better as his successor entered the EPO premises via the organisation’s notorious revolving door.

“In the next part we shall turn our attention to this second member of the Tweedledum-Tweedledee duo responsible for derailing the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s efforts to reform the EPO’s data protection framework in 2015.”That successor was none other than Dr Christoph Ernst who – by a curious coincidence – had previously succeeded Lutz as the head of the German delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council almost a decade earlier. Ernst soon became a lapdog of António Campinos, whom he had failed to oversee at the Administrative Council. A reward?

In the next part we shall turn our attention to this second member of the Tweedledum-Tweedledee duo responsible for derailing the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s efforts to reform the EPO’s data protection framework in 2015.

04.07.21

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. You are here ☞ A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry

Lutz - Breakfast in Beijing
Breakfast in Beijing: Lutz together with his master Battistelli at an IP junket in the Nuo Hotel (November 2017).

Summary: “Lutz is also reputed to be closely linked to the German branch of the influential UPC lobby group centred around Prof. Winfried Tilmann.”

As head of the German delegation on the EPO‘s Administrative Council, Lutz is reputed to have been a key mover-and-shaker in the secretive backroom political machinations which took place during the controversial and protracted procedure (copy here [PDF]) to find a successor to EPO President Alison Brimelow in 2009/2010.

“During his time as Vice-President of the EPO’s Directorate of Legal and International Affairs (DG5), Lutz gained notoriety for being one of Battistelli’s most faithful and devoted lapdogs.”Lutz is believed to have been instrumental in securing the deal which led to Battistelli’s election as EPO President in March 2010.

It is also rumoured that an element of this deal included the understanding that Battistelli would subsequently see to it that Lutz was rewarded with a cushy sinecure as a Vice-President of the EPO.

Such upper management positions at the EPO are greatly coveted by senior German civil servants because they provide a lot of perks, including a generous tax-free salary and a convenient pre-retirement opportunity for the lucky winners to beef up their pension entitlements using the disproportionately generous compensation arrangements for EPO managers.

During his time as Vice-President of the EPO’s Directorate of Legal and International Affairs (DG5), Lutz gained notoriety for being one of Battistelli’s most faithful and devoted lapdogs.

“…whenever Battistelli had any dubious undertaking in mind, his standard modus operandi at meetings of the Council was to wheel out Lutz who could be counted upon to brush aside any reservations expressed by sceptical or dissenting Council delegates.”EPO insiders reckon that his role was even more sinister and corrosive than that of Željko Topić.

Topić basically played the part of a “placeholder” or “stub” Vice-President providing cover for Batistelli’s HR dompteuse, Elodie Bergot, who ruled the roost as the de facto “prima donna” of the EPO’s personnel department.

Lutz, on the other hand, was entrusted with the far more consequential task of ensuring that the EPO’s Administrative Council was supplied with the right kind of legal advice.

Thus, whenever Battistelli had any dubious undertaking in mind, his standard modus operandi at meetings of the Council was to wheel out Lutz who could be counted upon to brush aside any reservations expressed by sceptical or dissenting Council delegates.

By means of a carefully deployed smokescreen of bluff, bluster and legal sophistry, the Council delegates were repeatedly conned into rubber-stamping all sorts of questionable measures and at the same time dissuaded from asking too many awkward questions.

EPO insiders confirm that the catastrophic erosion of legal standards and the rule of law at the EPO during the Battistelli era was largely attributable to the intellectually corruptive influence of Lutz as the provider of phony “legal advice” to a gullible and naïve Administrative Council.

Lutz the Klutz
Lutz is reputed to be the author of the “legal fiction” of EPO compliance with the standards and requirements of European data protection law.

Of particular relevance to the present series is Lutz’s reputed role as the author of the “legal fiction” of EPO compliance with the standards of European data protection law.

For example at the 155th meeting of the Administrative Council in March 2018, Lutz made a statement about the impending entry into force of the GDPR in which he assured the Council delegates that “[t]he Office had its own data protection guidelines, at a level comparable to the new regulation” and that national offices could transmit their data to the EPO “without breaching the GDPR”.

Lutz also referred the Council to the “public interest” derogation under Article 49(1)(d) GDPR as a legal basis for data transfers to the EPO.

However, such reliance on Article 49 (1) (d) GDPR is at odds with the position of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

The relevant guidelines published by the EDPB (copy here [PDF]) state that Article 49(1)(d) GDPR should not be relied upon as a basis for data transfers which take place on a large scale and in a systematic manner. According to the EDPB, the derogations set out in Article 49 should not become “the rule” in practice. On the contrary, all data exporters (in particular public bodies) are encouraged to put in place appropriate safeguards in accordance with Article 46 GDPR rather than relying on the derogation as per Article 49(1) (d).

The EPOnian myth of GDPR-compliance created by Lutz has formed the basis a whole host of self-congratulatory EPO puff pieces such as “Linked data, secure data” (warning: epo.org link; copy here [PDF]), published by Battistelli in his presidential blog on 25 May 2018 – the day on which the GDPR entered into force – and carefully designed to pull the wool over the eyes of the public about the true state of the EPO’s data protection framework.

Lutz UPC marketing
Lutz at a UPC promotion event in Munich (November 2017)

Lutz is also reputed to be closely linked to the German branch of the influential UPC lobby group centred around Prof. Winfried Tilmann. In this connection he is said to have been responsible for recruiting Margot Fröhlinger to act as the EPO’s "Mrs UPC" in charge of unitary patent “marketing activities” at the EPO.

In the next part we shall see how Battistelli’s virtuoso of legal sophistry was almost universally despised and reviled among the rank and file of EPO staff.

04.04.21

The EPO Scandals Are Partly German Government Scandals, Too

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: We’re about to commence the second phase of the series about the EPO’s ‘collusion’ with the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection)

THE complete lack of oversight at the EPO is worse than endemic. Benoît Battistelli made it worse by eliminating one branch of oversight; António Campinos keeps himself invisible for the most part. Every now and then he shows his face to name-drop some buzzwords with accompanying photo ops.

“Maybe if the absurdity of the situation got exposed more widely (not that corporate media would participate; the EPO’s management proudly bribes a lot of publishers), the Government of Germany would be inclined to address this crisis of legitimacy.”The video above is a discussion of the first 5 parts of an ongoing series (index below) ahead of the next phase of publication. Tonight we’re planning to publish EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag. It is perhaps inevitable that after exposing EPO corruption questions will be raised about German government complicity. Someone out there ought to do something. But who is that someone? Certainly not Breton (EU).

Maybe if the absurdity of the situation got exposed more widely (not that corporate media would participate; the EPO’s management proudly bribes a lot of publishers), the Government of Germany would be inclined to address this crisis of legitimacy.

Previously in the series:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis

04.02.21

The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 1:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. You are here ☞ “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag

German Bundestag
The EPO has been the subject of questions in the German Bundestag on a number of occasions between 2015 and 2020

Summary: The EPO scandals and blunders have been brought up in the German Bundestag in the days of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; but no adequate answers were offered

As mentioned in the last part, when it comes to EPO affairs German politicians have been far more timid and reticent compared to their Dutch counterparts.

In the EPO’s main host state, politicians have – for the most part – preferred to refrain from getting involved in any scrutiny of the lucrative "Dukatenesel" with its headquarters in the Bavarian capital of Munich.

A rare exception to this general trend was found among the members of the “Freie Wähler” who took up cudgels on behalf of beleaguered EPO staff by filing motions in the Bavarian State Parliament (“Landtag”).

These motions were consistently voted down by the majority CSU party which gave the impression of being hell-bent on protecting Battistelli and shielding his excesses from unwelcome public scrutiny in the home town of the EPO’s headquarters.

“In the EPO’s main host state, politicians have – for the most part – preferred to refrain from getting involved in any scrutiny of the lucrative “Dukatenesel” with its headquarters in the Bavarian capital of Munich.”At a federal level there was never any significant effort in the German political arena to subject EPO affairs to parliamentary scrutiny.

A rare exception here was Jutta Krellmann of the socialist party “Die Linke” who asked a question in October 2015 following the publication of a report in heise.de about deteriorating working conditions at the EPO (Bundestag Printed Paper [PDF] no. 18/6301).

The response dated 8 October 2015 from the Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry for Justice, Christian Lange, was the usual kind of hand-waving waffle typically dished up on such occasions.

Lange’s response was strong on pious platitudes such as “A good working atmosphere at the European Patent Office is a very important concern for the Federal Government”. But it was lamentably weak in terms of meaningful substance.

Since Battistelli’s departure from the EPO in June 2018, it seems that some other German politicians have finally mustered up the courage to ask some serious questions about the EPO.

In one of his occasional contributions to the Kluwer Patent Blog, published at the start of March 2020, the German patent attorney, Dr Thorsten Bausch, reported on one such parliamentary intervention by members of the liberal party, “Freie Demokratische Partei” (FDP).

At the end of January 2020, a group of representatives from the FDP (Bundestag Printed Paper [PDF] no. 19/17383) had submitted a minor interpellation (“Kleine Anfrage”) containing a series of questions about the EPO and its activities.

“Rather than attempting any meaningful engagement with the substance of the matters raised by the FDP, the reaction of the government was to brush these awkward questions aside, citing reasons of “confidentiality”.”According to the procedural rules of the Federal Parliament (“Bundestag”), at least five percent of the members of a parliamentary group are required in order to put questions to the government on a particular topic in written form. The questions are transmitted to the President of the Bundestag, who forwards them to the Federal Government, requesting that they be answered. Minor interpellations are answered by the government exclusively in written form.

Under points 4. and 6. of the FDP’s “minor interpellation” reference was made to matters connected to the lack of effective data protection at the EPO (in translation):

4. Was the Government aware of the accusations published in the press that staff rights were being violated by surveillance and by labour law restrictions under the EPO’s previous management and what is its view thereon?

and

6. Was the Government aware of the accusation published in the press of employee surveillance by an internal investigation unit under the EPO’s previous management and what is its assessment thereon?

Dr Bausch concluded his article with the following remarks:

“Whether the representatives will get good (i.e. meaningful) answers back by the German Ministry of Justice, though, will remain to be seen. I would not hold my breath. But stay tuned, I will try to follow up on this. Transparency is important.”

Dr Bausch’s openly expressed scepticism about the likelihood of the FDP representatives being supplied with meaningful answers to their questions seems to have been entirely justified in view of the response of the German government dated 11 March 2020 (Bundestag Printed Paper [PDF] no. 19/17809).

Rather than attempting any meaningful engagement with the substance of the matters raised by the FDP, the reaction of the government was to brush these awkward questions aside, citing reasons of “confidentiality”.

The relevant passage of the response reads as follows (in translation):

Questions 4 to 7 will be answered together.
The questions relate to confidential disciplinary proceedings which the Federal Government will not comment on at present. This also applies to proceedings before the internal appeals committees.

Of course this is just pure and undiluted humbug.

“Unfortunately, there is no sign that Dr Bausch followed up on his declared intention to return to the topic. It would have been very interesting to read his comments on the response of the government to the FDP’s interpellation. It is difficult to imagine that he would have had anything complimentary to say about the manner in which the matter was handled by the Federal Ministry of Justice.”The existence of purportedly “confidential” disciplinary proceedings is no valid reason for refusing to enter into a discussion about the general principle of the use of covert surveillance measures. This is particularly so when such measures are deployed in the context of a deficient data protection framework which fails to provide adequate safeguards against abuse. It is very clear that discussion about the general principles governing such matters does not need to concern itself with the details of individual cases.

Unfortunately, there is no sign that Dr Bausch followed up on his declared intention to return to the topic. It would have been very interesting to read his comments on the response of the government to the FDP’s interpellation. It is difficult to imagine that he would have had anything complimentary to say about the manner in which the matter was handled by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

This was not the only occasion on which the FDP made a well-intentioned but unfortunately unsuccessful attempt to subject the activities of the EPO to scrutiny in the Federal Parliament. In the next part, we will look at an earlier parliamentary interpellation by the FDP which was submitted in 2019.

04.01.21

The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 1:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. You are here ☞ Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…

EU institution
Despite its “European” moniker, the EPO is not an EU institution and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the European Parliament

Summary: The EPO lacks oversight in Germany and elsewhere; Benoît Battistelli even openly bragged about this, unlike António Campinos

As is generally known, the EPO is an autonomous international organisation which is not subject to external oversight by any national or supranational parliamentary body.

In particular, the EPO is not an EU institution so the European Parliament has no statutory role in supervising it.

There is supposed to be an instrument of political supervision in the form of the ministerial conference of Article 4a EPC which, however, appears to be a purely mythical construct that only exists on paper.

Some readers will recall Battistelli’s interview given to the French press back in September 2012 when he boasted that in his new role as EPO President he had “never been so free”:

“I am not subject to any supervisory ministry, parliament, or government. We are the ones who set the rules, discuss them, negotiate them.”

The mysterious “we” to whom Battistelli referred on that occasion was the EPO’s Administrative Council which as is well known was more or less entirely subservient to his whims and vagaries.

Indeed it is reported that the majority of the delegations were quite literally in Battistelli's pocket as he obtained their favour by means of largesse dispensed in the form of “cooperation project” funding.

“There is supposed to be an instrument of political supervision in the form of the ministerial conference of Article 4a EPC which, however, appears to be a purely mythical construct that only exists on paper.”At the same time, since the entry into force of Article 4a EPC in 2007, the EPO Administrative Council has managed to evade political supervision in a sneaky and duplicitous manner by failing to convene a ministerial conference.

This has resulted in a situation in which the EPO is de facto managed as a self-service “smörgåsbord” buffet by the proverbial “quango” of unelected bureaucrats who are not subject to any effective political oversight and remain only nominally accountable for their actions to their supervising ministries and the national governments which appoint them.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
Questions about EPO governance have been asked in supranational parliamentary bodies such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Nevertheless, from time to time – much to the irritation and chagrin of the Administrative Council and EPO management – questions have been asked about EPO governance not only in supranational parliamentary bodies, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament, but also in the national parliaments of the organisation’s contracting states.

“In his home country, Battistelli was denounced as “a disgrace to France” in the National Assembly, in particular because of the witch-hunts which he instigated against elected staff representatives with the aid of his personal union-busting Pinkertons, the EPO’s notorious “Investigative Unit”.”In fact, this became quite a regular occurrence during Battistelli’s “reign of terror” as news of his managerialist excesses à la France Telecom gradually leaked out into the public domain.

In his home country, Battistelli was denounced as “a disgrace to France” in the National Assembly, in particular because of the witch-hunts which he instigated against elected staff representatives with the aid of his personal union-busting Pinkertons, the EPO’s notorious “Investigative Unit”.

In the Netherlands, the EPO’s number two host state, politicians spoke openly about the abuses of the despotic “système Battistelli” and condemned them on the floor of the national Parliament and in interviews with the Dutch media.

In the main host state Germany, where the EPO’s headquarters are located, politicians were far more timid and reticent and – for whatever reason – mostly chose not to get involved in scrutinising EPO affairs in any kind of meaningful way.

Maybe this has something to do with the large amount of national renewal fee income which the Federal Republic of Germany collects from patents granted by the EPO.

According the most recently available figures (see EPO Renewal Fee Estimates [PDF]), the estimated national renewal fee income accruing to Germany in 2021 from patents granted by the EPO is approximately EUR 211 million. These are the annual fees paid by patent proprietors to keep their patents in force in a particular national jurisdiction.

Overall, in 2021 Germany is estimated to receive a little over one third of the “cake” of EUR 611 million, representing the grand total all national renewal fee income generated by EPO-granted patents across all of the 38 contracting states.

It is also estimated that renewal fees on patents granted by the EPO account for almost half of the annual income of the German Patent & Trademark Office.

From these figures it becomes apparent that Germany is one of the main financial beneficiaries of the EPO’s activities. Germany also benefits indirectly from the fact that a substantial part of the income of active EPO staff in Munich and Berlin, as well as EPO pensioners resident in Germany, flows into the local economy.


German politicians tend to be reluctant to pry into the inner workings of the EPO “Dukatenesel”.

“However, as we shall see in the next part, from time to time a small but courageous minority of German public representatives have dared to table parliamentary questions about the EPO both at regional and federal level.”These facts may go some way towards explaining the reluctance of German politicians to start prying into the inner workings of this lucrative “Dukatenesel”.

However, as we shall see in the next part, from time to time a small but courageous minority of German public representatives have dared to table parliamentary questions about the EPO both at regional and federal level.

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