People Power [1, 2] is power in numbers
Over 1 Million in Tahrir Square demanding the removal of the regime and for Mubarak to step down.
Photo source: Jonathan Rashad
Summary: Where things stand when it comes to the EPO’s standoff against publications and why it’s advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)
THERE is an occasional need for us to remind readers that the EPO besieges Web sites that upset its agenda, which judging by its priorities is to appease large corporations even when these are foreign (outside the EU). This is further exacerbated by privatisation of some key/core functions of the EU, such as litigation, investigation, and PR (the EPO has those internally, but it hires or contracts ‘reinforcement’ from the outside, where accountability is even worse or non-existent, and different laws may apply, e.g. in the US).
In the first two parts of this mini-series [1, 2] we showed how the EPO had been trying to silence us.
What has really become of the EPO? It doesn’t seem to behave like a public service run by public servants. It operates recklessly, misuses or poorly uses public funds, and has established a rogue reign of occupation over Europe, enjoying exemptions from laws and regulations that are consistent with human rights.
“How can it be?”
Some people actually ask that. They’re rather shocked by the very idea that this is even possible. But it is. Moreover, this rogue institution is becoming so threatening (menacing its opposition) that it sometimes seems untouchable even to European politicians. It’s like a very effective occupation of an institution, which revels in immunity/impunity and flaunts the privilege.
Back when the first batch of threats were no longer being dispatched I sent the following message to just a couple of people whom I trust:
A letter came in today. It seems like the EPO dumped their lawyers who sent me the bullying letters, perhaps realising that these did not comply with protocols and only caused an embarrassment to the EPO.
It looks as though the EPO is now approaching another firm; it’s not clear if anything will come out of it, but for the time being, I shall carry on writing as usual.
“Thanks for the update,” told me one person. “If they get better lawyers, those should understand proceeding is not a good idea.”
“The previous [legal] firm’s attempt did seem somewhat amateurish…”
–Anonymous“The previous firm’s attempt did seem somewhat amateurish,” told me another person, who is a professional in this field.
Please note that in our coverage no names have been mentioned, no sentences quoted from legal letters, no legal documents shown and so on.
For those who follow the EPO scandals, don’t expect legal documents to be published. I’m not getting down to the low level of the EPO’s thugs (who ‘leaked’ allegations from an ongoing ‘investigation’ to the media, in order to float the ‘armed Nazis’ narrative, thus discrediting critics). I am also not going to name people who are responsible for this, as that would make personal an institutional kind of abuse.
Judging by what I saw online two weeks ago, the vultures were still circling around me, as the following screenshot was taken from my LinkedIn account, showing that the EPO’s lawyers were keeping themselves occupied.
“Mishcons are an aggressive firm,” one person said to us. Well, the EPO itself is aggressive, so there’s no surprise there.
“Actions by staff (in the form of showing of public/internal backlash) help shield journalists and bloggers from retaliatory tactics, SLAPP, etc.”A little update from the EPO would be appreciated, but they refused to even supply the media with a comment, based on the WIPR article. They probably don’t know what to say as it can only make things worse. Basically, there’s no update and there has been no update for nearly a month. A legal firm (as above) said it had taken control of the matter, which probably meant the previous firm got dumped. It has been over 3 weeks now. I did notice that one secretarial (I think) member of staff at that firm was ‘checking me out’ in LinkedIn, but that too was almost three weeks ago; maybe an effort to get some additional ‘information’ on me or just innocent curiousness? Given the context, it is unpleasant curiosity. I haven’t added anything meaningful to LinkedIn since 2006 when a ‘friend’ had me set up an account there (I am in principle against such ‘social’ media, which gets more intrusive and privacy-infringing over time, after changing terms of services for people to waive away more their basic rights).
Given what Techrights has been writing and publishing recently (not to mention the EPO’s ‘spontaneous protests’) we hope they’ll realise that going after bloggers isn’t a wise decision. The math doesn’t add up as they have more points to lose than to gain in the long run. Actions by staff (in the form of showing of public/internal backlash) help shield journalists and bloggers from retaliatory tactics, SLAPP, etc. This is why we urge everyone at the EPO (except high-level management) to attend the imminent protests.
“They don’t seem to know what they are doing and what they’re up against, hence they hired peripheral union busters like CRG (Control Risks).”The EPO’s high-level management is really struggling these days; it took them no less than 4 days to come up with an answer to the basic question of who’s behind the SLAPP, as it was invalid a claim to begin with, so they had to try and use some dubious artistic interpretation of the law. They don’t seem to know what they are doing and what they’re up against, hence they hired peripheral union busters like CRG (Control Risks).
Tomorrow we start covering another (new) EPO scandal and we encourage staff to attend the public demonstration, at the very least to protect staff representatives if not journalists too. The more people attend, the more scared the high-level management will feel. It’s getting out of hand because they cannot just fire thousands of their highly-qualified specialist staff (examiners for example). Power comes from and is proportional to absolute numbers. █
“I am Legion, for we are many”
Send this to a friend
“A SLAPP is a lawsuit, filed for the improper purpose of trying to silence criticism, or to prevent someone from pursing their own right of redress. The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not care whether he wins the lawsuit, and often knows he has no chance of prevailing. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. As a bonus, if the SLAPP plaintiff can garner notice in the media, or even among the defendant’s circle, a SLAPP suit may also intimidate others from participating in the debate.”
Summary: Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO’s attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers
THE EPO‘s dubious attack on our free speech appears to be a lot more dubious than people even care to recognise because they don’t know about the EPO’s immunity and impunity (it’s effectively above the law, but just conditionally). UK Defamation Law does not permit the EPO to do what it threatens to do. As some of our readers pointed out to us:
We saw the article about the EPO’s legal threat against you.
Here are a few comments off the top of our heads.
First of all we noticed that the article objected to contained a reference to Grant Philpott. The “edit” to the WIPR article involved removing Philpott’s name (as he was named in the original WIPR report).
For what it’s worth, Philpott is British and he used to be in the British Army (many years ago). This is no secret. We have no idea what significance if any this might have to anything or if it’s just coincidental. [...] However, we think that all of this may (hopefully) backfire on Battistelli and his crew. [...] Our understanding of the situation is that if the EPO does go to court it will have to lift its immunity. That could be quite dangerous for them.
You need to be aware of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (PPI) [...] look at the PPI in particular Article 20: “(1) The Organisation shall co-operate at all times with the competent authorities of the Contracting States in order to facilitate the proper administration of justice, to ensure the observance of police regulations and regulations concerning public health, labour inspection or other similar national legislation, and to prevent any abuse of the privileges, immunities and facilities provided for in this Protocol.”
If the EPO decides to go to court, then it will be obliged under Article 20(1) PPI to “co-operate [...] with the competent authorities of the [U.K.] in order to facilitate the proper administration of justice [...] and to prevent any abuse of the privileges, immunities and facilities provided for in this Protocol.”
On that basis, we suppose that you could lodge requests for discovery of documents etc. and that the EPO would have to comply if they want to pursue any action against you.
They shouldn’t be allowed to misuse a UK (or other national) court in an attempt to prosecute you while at the same time being allowed to hide behind their cloak of immunity. Refer to the legal principle of “equality of arms” which should apply in a UK court.
If the EPO tries to get “serious” about court proceedings, then maybe you can request that the court obtains a binding undertaking from the EPO that it waives its immunity from jurisdiction and execution for all matters relating to the case including any counter-claims that you may make against them.
This could be the biggest mistake that Battistelli has made so far.
By trying to muzzle free speech outside the EPO he is moving outside of his normal “comfort zone” where he gets to make and break the rules as he pleases. There is also a high probability that this attempt to take legal action against a “blogger” could attract a lot more “mainstream” interest in the whole affair (à la Streisand).
We are sceptical that Battistelli really wants to go before a national court with stuff like this. It sounds more like scare tactics – but maybe he is sufficiently bonkers to try it…
We will be following developments with close interest. [...] we are not experts in UK defamation law but we had a quick look at the Defamation Act of 2013 and we noticed a few things that might be relevant for your situation.
Under Section 1 of the Act, “harm to the reputation of a body that trades for profit is not “serious harm” unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss.”
The EPO is not a “body that trades for profit” so it is not covered by that Section to begin with. Anyway, it’s doubtful that they could show any “serious financial loss” from Techrights publications.
We also noted that according to the Wikipedia page relating to the Defamation act: “Non-natural persons performing a public function do not have an action in defamation against any statement concerning that function.”
If that interpretation of the law is correct – which it seems to be – then it’s difficult to see how the EPO could possibly have any success in trying to initiate a defamation action against Techrights in a UK court.
That’s just our opinion but hopefully lawyers can confirm.
“You might find this amusing,” they added later, “click on the photo of the author at the top of the article.” (posted by this person just one week after the threatening letters started to come)
One person asked us: “Can you tell me if [this person] is on the EPO staff or if they have engaged an outside firm? It might be worth investigating the nature of his previous practice record.”
“Hitherto, external entities have become richer thanks to undisclosed budget from a public purse.”Well, what’s perhaps troubling here is that private companies are again being used by the EPO. The EPO already has its own (in-house) lawyers. Hitherto, external entities have become richer thanks to undisclosed budget from a public purse.
The above isn’t out of the ordinary. We recently learned that WIPO too tried to silence a blog with legal threats. It happened some years ago. The blog received, according to what we learned, “a phonecall from one of the Deputy Directors-General followed by two legal letters before action, only to discover that, as a body established under an international convention, WIPO didn’t have the legal power to sue or be sued in any national court. This may be so for the EPO, one way or other.”
Well, apparently, based on what PatentBuddy wrote in Twitter last week, WIPO also threatened Gene Quinn (another blogger) in a similar way. It happened not too long ago. Why the overreach? Was this SLAPP as well?
“By this point, we have written nearly 400 articles about the EPO (we have focused on deeper affairs for over a year now).”Well, many states in the US have anti-SLAPP laws (not all states, but see for instance California SLAPP Law). There are also things like blogger protections (depending on definition of journalist, blogger, forum etc. with salaried/non-salaried being a factor). Why are public bodies taking the risk of trying to keep bloggers quiet? Can they not foresee backlash?
By this point, we have written nearly 400 articles about the EPO (we have focused on deeper affairs for over a year now). There seems to be serious institutional abuse there and in recent months the British media too started covering these matters (in big numbers, citing Techrights). Private Eye picked up this story and publicised the scandals (using evidence from Techrights). That’s why the EPO must be so worried. English-speaking media has very broad reach, unlike Croatian media for example. We therefore assume that they just try to intimidate or silence the site. Well, the site is already BLOCKED (for the first time in history) from within EPO offices. They clearly try to keep it quiet, to keep staff unaware of it, but the harder they try, the more sources (whistleblowers) turn to to the site with new and explosive leaks. We even got some more earlier today… we’re now drowning in material.
“This behaviour from the EPO is intended to discourage writing (they start by nitpicking on one article, only to try others later).”Based on the wrong name being in the legal letter (they address me by a completely wrong surname*), they’re on some kind of a new campaign to silence the media. I’m not the only target and I was warned about this recently. More people now come out (privately at least) and speak about growing pressure from the EPO (see what was posted here last month, there is a long history to it and the story of
unitary-patent.eu may be one of very many). For reactionary leverage, some suppose, victims of EPO bullying could invoke the Streisand Effect and let people raise awareness of what EPO is attempting to do here. That kind of coverage would definitely annoy the majority of EPO workers (there are around 7,000 of them), and maybe lead to more effective and much broader a standoff/demonstration.
This behaviour from the EPO is intended to discourage writing (they start by nitpicking on one article, only to try others later). Based on the letters, this is action from the EPO itself, not an individual. SUEPO’s site was also recently silenced (back in September), probably using a similar kind of letter, maybe even from the same firm.
“There is an atmosphere of fear and terror at the EPO and we can’t help thinking of FIFA and Volkswagen for parallels.”We often wonder if, even after publication, a lot of publishers silently censor their articles (removing words or entire paragraphs) without us even noticing it. We started saving articles about the EPO for this reason (for later comparison, as recently shown here). Journalists and publishers are made afraid to the point where very serious violations can go on and on. People commit suicide and next month we are going to write about what motivates (at least some of) these suicides. We have more damning information about the EPO, but we keep it under the wraps because it’s so damning that it would put people’s careers at risk if published (the subject of the articles being at risk, not the sources). There is an atmosphere of fear and terror at the EPO and we can’t help thinking of FIFA and Volkswagen for parallels. █
* Wrong name being addressed to indicates they may have reused a template, as they have been muzzling other people as well (this other name too is German and the EPO is based in Munich).
Send this to a friend
The European Patent Office (EPO) is strong-arming bloggers
Summary: Using external legal firms (not the EPO’s own lawyers), the EPO has been trying — and failing — to silence prominent critics
THE EPO‘s war on journalists has been covered here for almost a week. 5 days after WIPR broke the story it is still the most popular topic at that news site and this story has since then attracted wider and further media attention. There are 5 large threads in Reddit right now, in five different sections, posted by numerous individuals and groups we don’t know and aren’t typically focused on legal matters. This is going mainstream!
We are starting to find out some interesting things from interesting people. Another news site told us, “you are not the only person coming under pressure from the EPO right now.” It also prudently responded and advised us by saying “do assume, if you are not already, that your private e-correspondence is being monitored and read.” Recall the following older articles of ours:
This article will present my solicitor’s response to the EPO’s lawyers, who are actually — like much of the EPO's staff these days — from a private company that we won’t even mention. What the EPO has done here is amazing. It’s amazingly stupid. They took a crisis that mostly involved the ‘IP’ community into a mainstream audience. The EPO is now a laughing stock in many circles and emergency funds are now being retrieved from the taxpayers’ pot to hopelessly undo the damage (it will only backfire again, we can guarantee it).
“They took a crisis that mostly involved the ‘IP’ community into a mainstream audience.”As we know that not only Techrights was subjected to legal bullying by the EPO, we wish to make as much information as possible widely available. It can help any future victims of EPO bullying, as it includes legal material which shows how to respond to the EPO and call their bluff.
I spent 6 hours this morning going through piles of material. I was hoping to get a full E-mail trail (in and out, incoming and outgoing) suitably picked and redacted where required. It all started with a legal letter from a firm contracted by the EPO. Readers are advised to remember that we start this chronology a month and a half ago (15/10/2015 onwards), so some of the text below should be treated and read in contextual relation to the time and what was known back in October, well before additional information got leaked and covered on the Internet.
“The original/seminal nastrygram from the EPO was sent at 22:57 (local time) on Friday.”THREE LEGAL LETTERS have been sent by the EPO’s first law firm and another by the second one. We’re not talking about one legal letter here, contrary to some belief (as witnessed on the Web). Today’s publication of facts will be split into 3 PARTS in order to better organise the material and make it easier to cross-reference in the future.
The original/seminal nastrygram from the EPO was sent at 22:57 (local time) on Friday. It was sent not just to one E-mail address of mine but to several, saying: “Please see attached legal letter for your urgent attention.”
How the legal firm found several of my E-mail addresses is itself a bit of a mystery, but either way, these people were very eager to ensure that I read this mail late at night on a Friday. We won’t name the firm or the people who sent those letters. Also, as they demand confidentiality in all of their letters, we cannot or will not publish them. We won’t break the rules like the EPO so habitually does. We leave the dirty tricks to the EPO. We’re cleaner than them.
“We won’t break the rules like the EPO so habitually does.”Techrights wishes to thank David Allen Green (Prieskel & Co.) not just for doing a sterling job but also doing this out of goodwill. “I should be able to do this one pro bono,” he wrote to us at a very early stage, “still finding out.” David Allen Green was upset at the EPO’s behaviour and was immediately engaged in helping us, even on a weekend (remember that nastygram was sent late on a Friday night). David asked me for permission to respond to the lawyers and state that: 1. the letter sent was not in accordance with the pre-action protocol; 2. it is denied EPO has capability to sue; 3. the post was taken down without any admission of liability; 4. you require 14 days to provide a substantive response.
We ask dear readers to carefully consider the situation these people put me in late on a Friday night. It’s a kind of entrapment. If David Allen Green didn’t jump in as early as Saturday, the course of action from the EPO would probably have been more severe, not because it’s permissible but because they can exploit lack of awareness of the law, or even misrepresent the law (a familiar EPO trick). Here is the first response sent to the EPO’s contracted (external) lawyers, who seem to have sent similar nastygrams to other people.
I have been approached by Roy Schestowitz in respect of your letter which was attached to the email below.
Your letter is remarkable. The letter does not accord with the relevant pre-action protocol. Indeed, it looks like that you are not even aware that there is a pre-action protocol.
But that is not the worst thing. The “urgent” letter was sent at 22:57 on a Friday, with a supposed deadline of noon the following Monday (that is, today). This is akin to simple legal bullying. It was clearly intended that Mr Schestowitz would be intimidated and be forced to act without proper access to legal advice.
It gets worse. Not only do you seem unaware of the pre-action protocol, you do appear to know that the Defamation Act 2013 is in force, which requires your clients to meet a test under section 1. You don’t even mention the appropriate statutory test, let alone attempt to show how your clients meet it.
And finally: the European Patent Office is a public body. Under the Derbyshire principle it would not be able to maintain an action in defamation.
I am currently putting the paperwork in place so that I can be formally instructed by Mr Schestowitz. As such this email is sent on his behalf but I anticipate to be formally acting for him very shortly. I am only writing now because of the misconceived deadline you selected.
It is not accepted that your letter is a valid letter of claim, and so my client’s position on this point is reserved. However, and without limitation to the foregoing sentence, you will now get a formal and substantive response to your letter within the 14 days set out in the protocol (that is, by 30 October 2015). In the meantime my client has taken the posts down without any admission of liability.
If your clients are daft and ill-advised enough to issue proceedings before receiving the formal and substantive response (and in breach of the protocol), I will advise my client to seek indemnity costs against your clients, in addition to his other rights and remedies.
My client’s position is reserved.
David Allen Green
The EPO’s goons then sent another nastygram. By that time, David Allen Green had already consulted specialists/domain experts, who brought up a legitimate point, so he responded as follows:
Thank you for this latest letter. I will take instructions.
In the meantime, I have now discovered the European Patent Office has no legal personality. If the EPO is not a legal person it cannot maintain an action in defamation or otherwise.
Can you please tell me exactly who your client is in respect of the threatened claim by EPO?
“They are becoming comical,” I said, at the very least “because yet another article which is factually correct they are trying to get removed now. Even large broadcasters serve to support my claim — hence they want to retaliate. They don’t like the bad publicity, which now [at that stage] reache[d] everyone in Munich.”
Remember that all of this was happening while the press was still hammering hard on the EPO for preferential treatment favouring large applicants. The EPO was hoping I would retract what I showed and perhaps help them censor the media (which was always linking to Techrights for evidence). Attempts to censor the original source of leaks or force a public apology/restraction is a classic censorship strategy. I just had to fight back.
Here is what my solicitor then wrote:
We have read the second letter, and I am still taking instructions and will reply substantially by the stipulated deadline tomorrow.
In the meantime, however, note the following, including the renewed request for information.
So far: you have sent an initial letter which did not mention the relevant protocol, including making a threat on behalf of one named client (“EPO”) who cannot maintain an action in defamation (under the Derbyshire rule) and does not even have legal personality. You also forget to set out anything at all about the section 1 test in the initial letter.
With respect, you do not seem to actually know what you are doing. It looks like you are dabbling in defamation law. You are making basic errors almost every paragraph.
You have now – desperately – come up with “malicious falsehood” and “confidentiality” – but you do not set out the bases of your claims in respect of either claim. You should have realised the significance of the Derbyshire rule before you sent your threatening letter. But you failed to do so, and now you are now threatening actions in “malicious falsehood” and “confidentiality” without even providing basic information about how you clients make out the elements of either cause of action. It just looks ridiculous.
I asked you earlier today at 10:40 (below) to set out who your “EPO” client was; and despite the supposed “urgency” I have not had a reply, some five hours later.
Please respond by 1700 today stating which legal person your “EPO” client actually is. Otherwise I will assume you actually do not know.
David Allen Green
A later letter stated:
Further to the below, this is the response to your second letter (of today’s date).
There is nothing whatsoever in the second letter to justify a deadline of tomorrow. So your client(s) can wait until the letter we are sending to you on or before 30 October 2015, in which we will deal substantially with both letters.
You said this morning this matter was “urgent”. I immediately sent you a straightforward query about the identity of one of your named clients, who is not even a legal person. Despite the purported “urgency” neither of you have bothered to respond at all, in over six hours.
In the interests of keeping costs proportionate, I do not propose to correspond further with you on either of the letters sent until the substantive response on or before 30 October 2015.
For completeness, and also in the interests of inter partes co-operation to control costs, I can tell you that my client reserves his right to plead a defence of truth to the claims, and this means that any pre-trial injunction you might seek would not be granted, pursuant to the rule in Bonnard v Perryman  2 Ch 269.
And, as I set out in the email below, if your clients are daft and ill-advised enough to issue proceedings before receiving the formal and substantive response (and in breach of the protocol), I will advise my client to seek indemnity costs against your clients, in addition to his other rights and remedies.
David Allen Green
Without much regard to the part about “keeping costs proportionate”, the EPO continued rather than relented with legal letters. Another one “came in on Friday,” my solicitor told me, “just an attempt to recover on the “no legal personality” point.”
Finally, here is the detailed letter sent to summarise all the points, including some of the above:
I refer to my email below. I have looked at your letters carefully, and I have also discussed the contents with specialist counsel.
As you are both aware, the purpose and intention of the pre-action protocol is to facilitate the early exchange of information, so that cases can be properly dealt with. Accordingly, I am writing this email so as to obtain additional information which we require to consider your claim.
1. Legal personality
In respect of the European Patent Office, I am still not clear as to which legal person is seeking to threaten and maintain an action in defamation. In your first letter you said you were acting for the European Patent Office. Now you are saying you are acting for the European Patent Organisation. (It is just as well they have the same initials!) But the position of the European Patent Organisation is not what you set out in your initial letters, and now the position is confused and nees further clarification, as I set out below.
2. EPO Immunity from suit, from and costs and disclosure orders
Is your “EPO” client (whoever it is) formally waiving its legal immunity to countersuit and, more importantly, to liability for any costs and disclosure (and other) orders? Are you even aware that your EPO client’s immunity from suit (and to comply with costs and final orders) is at stake here? The position on your “EPO” client’s immunity from costs orders needs to be clarified as a matter of urgency, as it affects the costs sanctions and disclosure regime.
In any case, the Derbyshire rule provides a complete defence to any claim your EPO client can bring.
If your “EPO” client is daft enough to put this trite proposition to the test, then I will seek indemnity costs from your client from the moment this obvious truth was pointed out to them. You say (in your 20 October 2015 letter) that you “reserve” your position on Derbyshire, as if some magical proposition will somehow appear which allows you to get around it. You will not get round it; your “EPO” client simply cannot maintain an action in defamation, as a matter of public policy.
In respect of alleged meanings, it is currently impossible to work out your clients’ respective positions. This is for two reasons.
First, as mentioned above, your letter of claim does not mention the European Patent Organisation, and nor do the words complained of. You need to set out how my client’s words refer or relate to an organization which is not named by him, and how you say the words complained of apply to the European Patent Organisation. There is an “identification” issue which you simply have not addressed.
Second, your letters do not separate out the potential claimants, and indeed your inconsistent use of the apostrophe when mention your clients’ (or client’s) makes it impossible for us (and the court) to work out which of your clients you are talking about at different parts of your letters. Perhaps you did not know; but this needs to be clear at the earliest possible stage.
5. Libel bullying and the public interest
Without limitation to any of the above, there remains the horrible and discrediting issue of libel bullying. Here I want to raise the issue of the public interest. The work of the EPO is a matter of legitimate public concern. There is, as your client knows, a significant public debate as to the work of the EPO; a debate to which the EPO is itself contributing, and which is taking The effect of sending libel threats such as yours will be to inhibit that debate.
This is plain in your demands that entire articles be taken down, rather than just the words complained of. This cannot be justified. In essence this appears to be an exercise by a public body to discourage public criticism.
6. Further information now required
In essence, before we can properly reply to any threat that either of your clients may wish to bring, we now need the following information:
a. Separate letters before action for each client in respect of defamation, separating out their respective alleged meanings and words complained of;
b. An explanation as to why the EPO is not covered by the Derbyshire rule;
c. Confirmation that your EPO client is waiving immunity from countersuit, and waiving immunity in respect of compliance with costs and disclosure orders and final orders (together with an executed legal instrument by the President of the European Patent Organisation confirming this formal waiver);
d. A separate explanation in respect of each client of how that client meets the section 1 test in respect of defamation;
e. An explanation as to why your clients were demanding entire articles should be brought down rather than just the words complained of, and how this does not constitute “libel bullying”.
Please provide this information within seven days, by 6 November 2015, so that the aims of the protocol can be achieved.
7. Next steps
Once we have the information requested, and subject to what it says, we can then in turn set out the relevant defences under sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Defamation Act 2013. Facts will be defended as facts; honest opinions will be defended as honest opinions; and a public interest defence will also be set out. My client intends to defend his words on the bases available to him under the Defamation Act 2013.
So that the protocol will be complied with, I would then provide the defence(s) to you within 14 days of your provision of the information requested above, that is by 20 November 2015. In the event that your clients issue proceedings immaturely, and before 20 November 2015, your clients are put on notice of the costs consequences. I am acting within the scope and spirit of the protocol so as to resolve this at pre-action stage, and so should your clients.
If you do not provide the requested information by 6 November 2015, then we will regard the matter as having come to a close.
My client’s position is reserved.
David Allen Green
In the next couple of parts we intend to show where things stand. It looks as though the EPO ran away with its tail between its legs. We thank David Allen Green (of Prieskel & Co.) for that. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls’ favourite weapon)
OUR primary concern about the EPO has always been the effort to expand the scope of patents to software (so as to make more money and help multinational oligopolies which constantly lobbied Europe for it).
“At the start of the 1980s, federal policy remained so hostile to patent monopolies that it refused even to grant patents for software. But then came a series of Supreme Court decisions and acts of Congress that vastly expanded the scope of patents and the monopoly power granted to patent holders.”
–The AtlanticIt has always been pointed out, on numerous occasions in fact, that patent trolls rely mostly on software patents. These trolls already knock on Europe's door, having been extremely damaging to the economy of the US, where they crushed a lot of small businesses. This new and very long article from The Atlantic recalls how things changed more than three decades ago, with so-called inventors like Martin Goetz. The article speaks of “dramatic changes in the treatment of what, in the 1980s, came to be known as “intellectual property,” combined with the general retreat from antitrust enforcement” (to benefit oligopolies).
The article says this “had the effect of vastly concentrating the geographical distribution of power in the technology sector. At the start of the 1980s, federal policy remained so hostile to patent monopolies that it refused even to grant patents for software. But then came a series of Supreme Court decisions and acts of Congress that vastly expanded the scope of patents and the monopoly power granted to patent holders. In 1991, Bill Gates reflected on the change and noted in a memo to his executives at Microsoft that “[i]f people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.””
Well, how ironic it must be that Microsoft is now the world’s biggest patent bully (in some respects) and it even managed to make the EPO more megacorporations-leaning.
“Well, how ironic it must be that Microsoft is now the world’s biggest patent bully (in some respects) and it even managed to make the EPO more megacorporations-leaning.”Public complaints in the US are mostly over patent trolls these days. The complaints rightly focus on East Texas, the trolls' docket. Another new article says: “East Texas is known for its Piney Woods, Caddo Lake, maybe for sweet potatoes. It’s also the patent lawsuit capitol of the country. More patent infringement cases are brought to Eastern District courts than anywhere else. There’s pressure to root out the so-called “patent trolls”.”
Published on the same day, this new article rightly observes that “software technology is becoming a treasure trove for Patent trolls.” To quote in context: “In furtherance to my recent post on Patent trolls or the Non Practicing Entities (NPEs), I would like to discuss here in this post about how software technology is becoming a treasure trove for Patent trolls. Cloud based business products are one of the major business fields today. Software-oriented platforms such as C (SaaS) providers are primary targets for the Patent trolls.”
It is vital to realise the strong correlation between software patents (patents on abstract concepts) and patent trolls in order to ensure that the failings seen in East Texas don’t reach Europe as well. █
“Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience.”
Send this to a friend
This now-infamous example, as shown below, isn’t an article but an EPO advertisement pretending to be an article (actually a recruitment puff piece)
Summary: With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won’t be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents
THE EPO did something very foolish two months ago. It did this secretly, naïvely assuming that the public would never find out. But it did. We broke the story here just before the weekend and we shall see if corporate media, i.e. the target of the EPO’s media campaign, will actually choose to cover it.
“Good reputation can not only be bought these days. It can be demanded.”Techrights has written extensively about the Gates Foundation paying a lot of the world’s media companies (to the tune of, an average, one million dollars per day) to say how wonderful Bill Gates is and promote companies that he is investing in, for profit. He turned a lot of publications into his mouthpiece and many journalists into propagandists for his political agenda. A recent article (a few days old) called it “Bill Chill” effect . Bribed-for coverage became rather normal when it comes to this area of coverage and objections or criticism subsequently marginalised, or drowned aside in a sea of puff pieces. Good reputation can not only be bought these days. It can be demanded. Attacks on opposing voices are possible too, e.g. by paying lousy legal firms to intimidate people.
Let’s face the simple reality that the EPO now has a reputation catastrophe. Thanks to our coverage, even Private Eye is now on the EPO's tail. What the EPO is doing here might not be unusual, especially among corporations that are in a similar crisis. Many large companies disseminate money or ‘soft’ bribes (e.g. gifts) to the media via PR agencies (see our pages about Microsoft PR agencies and AstroTurfing), but the EPO isn’t a private company. Well, it increasingly is, but that’s another big problem.
The New Scientist page from January says “Advertisement” on the right pane (see screenshot above), but it should also say so above the ‘article’ itself as it’s essentially an EPO-funded advertisement. This is clearly not an article, it’s a placement paid for by the EPO. “Even a blind cat would see that it’s only an ad,” wrote this one person in Twitter. “Even with a link at the end…”
“Attacks on opposing voices are possible too, e.g. by paying lousy legal firms to intimidate people.”“Advertisement is on an unrelated link,” wrote this person, “not on the article, which is a regular section (“careers”).”
Is there more coming? With a budget of €880,000? As we noted here before, the Les Échos débâcle [1, 2, 3] (now [cref 86571 Battistelli’s mouthpiece not just ‘media partner’) may be just the edge of a much larger iceberg. La Débâcle is now a better, more suitable name for Les Échos. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Despite its impact, few book-length assessments of the foundation’s work have appeared. Now Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Essex, is seeking to fill the gap. “Just how efficient is Gates’s philanthropic spending?” she asks in No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “Are the billions he has spent on U.S. primary and secondary schools improving education outcomes? Are global health grants directed at the largest health killers? Is the Gates Foundation improving access to affordable medicines, or are patent rights taking priority over human rights?”
As the title of her book suggests, McGoey answers all of these questions in the negative. The good the foundation has done, she believes, is far outweighed by the harm. In education, she maintains, most of its initiatives have either gone bust or failed to deliver on their promises. The foundation’s first great education initiative focused on creating small schools in place of big ones, on the assumption that doing so would allow students to receive more individualized attention. From 2000 to 2008, it spent $2 billion to establish 2,602 schools across the United States, affecting a total of nearly 800,000 students. Unfortunately, the experiment failed to improve college acceptance rates to the degree that the Gateses had hoped, and so they abruptly terminated it.
Instead, the foundation channeled its resources into a host of other initiatives — increased data collection on teacher effectiveness, the introduction of performance-based teacher pay, more standardized testing for students. The foundation has invested heavily in charter schools and vigorously backed the Common Core, which sets national reading and math standards. These are all key elements of the so-called school reform movement. Arne Duncan, as head of Chicago’s public schools, worked closely with both the Gates and Broad foundations, and as President Obama’s secretary of education he sought to implement many of their ideas.
McGoey (along with many others) is sharply critical of this movement. She cites studies that show that charter schools have performed no better or worse than traditional public schools, and she notes that the Gates Foundation itself has backed away from its once vocal support for assessing teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. While the willingness of the Gateses to change their minds in the face of evidence is admirable, McGoey writes, the reforms they championed “are now entrenched. For many teachers and students, their recent handwringing over the perils of high-stakes testing has come a little too late.”
On one point, however, McGoey is convincing — the need for more analysis of this powerful foundation and the man and woman at its head. Bill and Melinda Gates answer to no electorate, board, or shareholders; they are accountable mainly to themselves. What’s more, the many millions of dollars the foundation has bestowed on nonprofits and news organizations has led to a natural reluctance on their part to criticize it. There’s even a name for it: the “Bill Chill” effect.
That’s not to say that there has been no critical coverage of the foundation’s work. Diane Ravitch has excoriated Gates along with the rest of the school reform movement in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, as well as on her blog. The New York Times and other papers have offered occasional close examinations of Gates’ work. And Joanne Barkan, in a 2011 article in Dissent titled, “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools,” offered a thoroughgoing critique of the education work of Gates and its fellow foundations. In another Dissent article on “how big philanthropy undermines democracy,” Barkan complained that “the mainstream media are, for the most part, failing miserably in their watchdog duties. They give big philanthropy excessive deference and little scrutiny.”
That may be changing. Alessandra Stanley, writing in the Times in late October, offered a skeptical assessment of the outsized claims made by Sean Parker and other Silicon Valley philanthropists. “Tech entrepreneurs believe their charitable giving is bolder, bigger and more data-driven than anywhere else — and in many ways it is,” she observed. “But despite their flair for disruption, these philanthropists are no more interested in radical change than their more conservative predecessors. They don’t lobby for the redistribution of wealth; instead, they see poverty and inequality as an engineering problem, and the solution is their own brain power, not a tithe.”
We need more probing accounts of this sort. The power of the new barons of philanthropy is only going to grow. The risks they take and the bets they make will no doubt become bolder. If journalists don’t hold them accountable, who will?
Send this to a friend
Reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn’t show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)
HE EPO recently started a nasty war on journalism. To the megalomaniacs who now run the EPO (or serve the megalomaniac in chief) the goal is to saturate the media with bogus 'coverage' favourable to the EPO while silencing EPO critics. This isn’t some fossil fuel company we’re talking about here; it’s a public institution! It is being privatised piecewise.
“This isn’t some fossil fuel company we’re talking about here; it’s a public institution!”Speaking of piecewise, in a piecewise fashion we intend to publish responses to the EPO’s bullies, without revealing their names or even revealing their documents, which they insist are strictly not for publication. If they don’t want their documents published, this certainly does not prevent us from publishing our responses to them.
As stated last night, the EPO’s bullies tried to entrap me just before midnight on a Friday night. I needed to look for a lawyer as soon as possible, past midnight on a Friday night or early on Saturday (which is too hard a task). The first person to respond to me was a lawyer who wrote:
This is not legal advice, and I would speak to a lawyer as a matter of urgency, but it’s worth noting if the European Patent Office wish to sue you, then they ought to be aware of the Derbyshire judgment which makes it hard for public bodies from suing individuals for libel.
“I spoke to a fellow blogger,” I told this lawyer, one “who has been covering these matters for a couple of years and [the blogger] says something similar — that they don’t have the power to bring legal action. Judging the letter itself, a professional said it’s more like a “prank letter” (his words) written in an effort to intimidate (SLAPP), apparently not just me but other people too.
“Libel law was clearly being misused here.”“I believe that some time later this month this will go public; people who have received such threats (not just myself) need help from legal professionals here, as the EPO is clearly misusing its legal immunity (they are exempted from European law) to bully dissent/critics, even outsiders.”
Well, more than a month has passed since then. The lawyer said “these legal aspects are fascinating – and important” (quite unprecedented as some bloggers pointed out last week). This lawyer was eventually not the one representing me (I had contacted only two), but nevertheless their reaction was the same. Libel law was clearly being misused here.
“Something to be prepared for when writing about EPO,” I told the lawyer, “even as an outsider.” They are now bullies who don’t tolerate critics and actually take action against these critics.
“But then the EPO persisted in sending more threatening letters, clearly not walking away, not even relenting.”“They have been spying on me extensively (sources close to the EPO told me) for quite some time. I would LOVE to know if they use against journalists and bloggers the same sorts of tools (maybe intercepts from their mates in government, perhaps via CRG) that they got caught using against staff and visitors at EPO (hidden cameras and keyloggers).”
“This could make the news,” told me a person at the time, “if you don’t think the threat is credible – I could put you in touch with a journalist who would be interested in this story?”
Even back then I made clear to everyone that I’d be able to provide a lot of supportive information, having written about this on an almost daily for over a year. But then the EPO persisted in sending more threatening letters, clearly not walking away, not even relenting. The intention was clear. Chilling effect was quite likely the desired outcome.
“The very fact that the threatening letter was sent so late on a Friday night suggested to me that denial of access to a lawyer was likely the intention.”Even though some English-speaking journalists were at one point preparing to hammer on the EPO pretty hard, I decided to wait, as per advice from close friends of mine. At the same time, around mid October, Battistelli tried to ‘swing’ with journalists and now we know that he had signed a massive contract with a US PR firm. This may very well be related to the war on journalism because of the timing.
“Having read about the subject,” told me the high-profile lawyer who now represents me, “I am very concerned about what the EPO is doing, and I am now going to see if I can take this case on formally on a pro bono basis.”
My lawyer, David Allen Green, basically said (initial assessment) that the EPO’s letter in its form “is bullshit”. At first glance he called the letter “complete bullshit”, but it didn’t exactly shock me since I knew it was totally out of line. As I got it so late at night I was able to arrive at the same conclusion based on my basic knowledge of the relevant laws (it’s not my area, but I know the basics). The very fact that the first threatening letter was sent so late on a Friday night suggested to me that denial of access to a lawyer was likely the intention.
In my mind, Battistelli is a sociopath and it helps explain why the organisation as a whole has become so sociopathic. A fish rots from the head down. █
“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
Send this to a friend
Using sledgehammers or machine guns to tackle what could instead be properly addressed with just a scalpel
Disproportionate showing of force
Summary: A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO’s newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)
I AM quite frankly overwhelmed by the amount of public support that I’ve received ever since the EPO‘s bullying against me became public information. I wish to thank everyone who sent kind and encouraging words. Worry not, the EPO won’t succeed at silencing us. They only score an own goal each time they attempt to do so.
“This attitudinal issue evidently comes from the top (rotting from the head downwards).”This morning somebody sent us a link to yet another forum/news site discussing what the EPO had done. The author asks: “How many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by European Patent Office aggression against the media?”
We are still waiting for more people to speak out. We know about at least one person other than us. The EPO doesn’t like to make polite amendments/corrections/requests for comment. It’s too aggressive for that kind of approach. This attitudinal issue evidently comes from the top (rotting from the head downwards).
There are several observations I have been eager to make (for over a month now). Here they are itemised below.
1. IAM Magazine an EPO Mouthpiece?
A lot of people don’t know this, but our arch-foe IAM (often a tool for proponents of software patents and various patent maximalists) asked us for documents a month ago. These documents relate to the explosive story we covered; it was so explosive in fact that a lot of the European media covered it (citing Techrights) and this was the time that EPO kicked into action… legal action (or at least threats thereof).
“I personally believe that IAM was somehow complicit in helping the EPO here, not just in the ‘damage control’ sense.”I personally believe that IAM was somehow complicit in helping the EPO here, not just in the ‘damage control’ sense. I should probably have been more sceptical because they’re longtime foes of ours and they leaked two original documents that I gave them confidentially while twice telling them to absolutely not publish (they did anyway, potentially compromising my sources).
Take this as a word of warning. The role of IAM, as evident from their article, is to amplify EPO PR officials, helping them make a case against perceived opponents. I’ve asked around in popular legal media about their views of IAM. They don’t view IAM’s negligent (or worse — malicious) behaviour as intentional.
Watch out, EPO staff (e.g. examiners, clerical staff). IAM is not your friend. Worse — it may be your enemy.
2. Patent-centric Lawyers Called BS on EPO’s Tactics
Not only lawyers specialising in free speech were flabbergasted by the EPO’s behaviour (more on that in later posts). I was enormously relieved to speak to some patent lawyers and hear their take on this because it was very evident that even patent people were on my side, not the EPO’s side. The EPO’s management is very rapidly alienating people and eliminating even allies. How terrible is that?
“I rightly predicted at the time that the EPO would repeatedly send threatening letters.”Several people whom I trust have known about what the EPO did for a number of weeks. “Please don’t take this public,” I told them, “at least not yet, for I fear that this is just one among several such threats.”
I rightly predicted at the time that the EPO would repeatedly send threatening letters. That’s just what they did. A week later Capone even wrote a blog post about it. They were playing with fire and thought they would managed to burn down a blog.
“See who the letter is addressed to,” I told one lawyer. “It’s a name that’s not mine and it’s a German name, so I’m thinking either a member of SUEPO, which recently received such threats (e.g. to remove links to FOSS Patents and even Heise News) or some journalist in Germany.”
“At the time I already knew of a war on the media and bloggers; deterrence tactics had been used against a French blogger, who contacted me about it just days in advance.”That name, as we revealed several days ago, was Schneider. We haven’t been able to identify who exactly that was (it’s a very common surname, even inside the EPO).
At the time I already knew of a war on the media and bloggers; deterrence tactics had been used against a French blogger, who contacted me about it just days in advance. We are still hoping that more journalists and bloggers will come out and speak out. We need to understand just to what lengths these thugs will go in an effort to silent prominent critics.
3. Part of a New Campaign From Battistelli
Days before it happened the EPO spent a huge amount of money contracting a firm that specialises in public relation and legal strategies (like threatening legal letters). It’s a massive Washington-based firm called FTI Consulting, whose list of clients is rather revealing. The date on the contract is just about 2 weeks earlier!
“It wasn’t long before the staff representatives came under massive, unprecedented attacks.”Sources told me at the time that next week (the week after these threats) there may be some new Battistelli-led campaign intended to crush dissent in new, unprecedented ways. It wasn’t long before the staff representatives came under massive, unprecedented attacks.
Don’t think for a moment that these crackdowns have no relation to the FTI Consulting contract! It seems improbable and rather unreasonable to call this just a “coincidence”. Notice the timing.
“I don’t assume privacy in my E-mail,” I told a lawyer, “but anonymity tools and sometimes encryption keep the sources safe. Nobody, as far as I’m aware (and I’m checking), came under threats or problems due to communication with me.”
That statement still holds true as far as I am aware. Techrights never (to the best of my knowledge) caused complications for a source. Not even the EPO managed to change this, with help from FTI Consulting and CRG (Control Risks Group). All of them, including the legal firms, have large offices based in London.
“All of them, including the legal firms, have large offices based in London.”“I am still eager to establish, factually,” I said, “whether there is any link (personal, e.g. former employer) between Control Risks Group and GCHQ/CESG.”
I finally added: “I think this story may continue to develop for at least another year to come. I still have some very damning material in my possession — too damning to even publish at this moment.”
Well, that was more than a month ago. We still have stockpiles of material. This is perhaps why the EPO’s management is so panicky.
4. EPO Barks, But Won’t Bite
In articles that we shall publish in the future we are doing to further dissect what the EPO was hoping to achieve and rules that it probably broke in the process. EPO breaking rules?! No way!
“We are going to provide more such opinions in the future. These serve to show that all we have here is SLAPP.”We spoke to fellow journalists about these matters at a very early stage to find out more. “Glad you’ve been able to take legal advice,” one told us. “No-one in my team of writers knows much about defamation, though there is a feeling that an action would be hard-pressed to succeed under UK defamation law given the public interest dimension and the problems that the EPO would face in showing any loss. In addition, the EPO would expose itself to a good deal of unwanted publicity and to the disclosure for the purposes of litigation of information which it has not hitherto been willing to make available. This latter consideration might reasonably lead one to think that the EPO will not want to have its bluff called and face real litigation in England and Wales.”
We are going to provide more such opinions in the future. These serve to show that all we have here is SLAPP.
5. The EPO Has Much to Hide, Much to Fear
It quickly becomes ever more evident that the EPO is afraid because it knows that it has plenty to hide. In social media, at a later stage, I have called for people to leak any threatening letters which they received from the EPO, I.U. or any external legal firm/s. Many anonymous EPO-centric people are following me (although I cannot verify this, it’s just a gut feeling), so I was hoping some of them had something to share with Techrights in the coming week. Information has been pouring in since then and further accelerated (the pace of input) since it became known that the EPO was threatening me. The ban of Techrights inside the EPO had a similar effect. Why is the EPO so tactless? It merely legitimises its critics, insinuating that it is trying to hide something.
6. Techrights Only One of Many Victims
If the EPO was a cave, there would be a big pile of corpses at its entrance (not a reference to suicides but a metaphor in the context of character assassination and witch-hunting).
“Who knows how far the EPO’s attacks on critics go… they send these letters to activists/campaigners like myself, so I reckon to journalists too, not just staff, independent boards and unions. Even lawyers are now in the cross-hairs.”The EPO is intolerant to criticism and it actively work to crush critics. How widespread is this phenomenon really? Inside the institution? Outside of it? Have any MEPs who publicly complained about the EPO’s management (that’s over 100 MEPs) received letters accusing them too of defamation? That’s a question I asked someone more than a month ago, well before Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ made publicly-accessible the rude letter sent to him personally from Benoît Battistelli.
Who knows how far the EPO’s attacks on critics go… they send these letters to activists/campaigners like myself, so I reckon to journalists too, not just staff, independent boards and unions. Even lawyers are now in the cross-hairs.
Recently, Ms Hardon or colleagues (or fellow union leader) made it abundantly clear that the staff representatives are very much in the cross-hairs. This is hardly surprising, but for EPO to start abusing lawyers and journalists is very gross overreach. There is no room for such behaviour in a civilised country. The threatening letters sent to Ms Hardon and her response to it (via a legal firm), accusing the EPO is “institutional harassment”, as per definition of harassment, are really quite telling.
“The thing about legal letters is that it’s hard to properly anonymise such letters, so not many people come out or come forward to make their cases known/publicised.”Ms Hardon is not the only one facing such abuses, but to show evidence of it we’ll need to wait patiently. We know of other such letters. They’re already circulating and there is also a petition coming (we have seen it, but won’t publish it for now).
Going back to journalists, we still try to publicly urge for disclosure of threats, censorship etc. (like censorship by an editor, a phonecall from EPO officials and various acts of self-censorship). The thing about legal letters is that it’s hard to properly anonymise such letters, so not many people come out or come forward to make their cases known/publicised. We wonder how many people surrender and maybe even get manipulated (payment, apology); remember that the letter sent to me still had someone else’s name (a German name). It was clearly a rushed job. Maybe they did this in bulk in preparation for what I was told on Friday — earlier on the very same day — is “a new media strategy of Battistelli” (to start this week).
7. Topić and History of Censorship (or Self-Censorship)
I wish to remind readers that Topić (VP4) probably did what was done to us before, even back in Croatia. A blogger who exposed his alleged corruption (bribes) took down the article and posted an apology. It was very weird; there was almost definitely strong-arming. At the same time, a defamation case in Croatia (over the allegations in this article) was lost by Topić, giving credibility to this story. It was only months later! In the internal EPO site the ‘apology’ (placement) was linked as ‘proof’ of Topić being innocent, yet nothing was said about it shortly after he lost his defamation case in Zagreb.
“The authors in some Croatian media believe that Topić faces something like 6 criminal charges in Croatia, yet Battistelli found it possible to appoint him Vice-President and make him his right-hand man (EPO staff say he’s like the bulldog in the building now, taking down unwanted posters).”The authors in some Croatian media believe that Topić faces something like 6 criminal charges in Croatia, yet Battistelli found it possible to appoint him Vice-President and make him his right-hand man (EPO staff say he’s like the bulldog in the building now, taking down unwanted posters). Having been compelled to review Topić’s record, Battistelli’s people conducted a very bogus ‘internal investigation’ (we wrote about this a long time ago), so we reckon they see nothing wrong with his antics. No wonder they now do in Germany what some deem “Balkan standards”.
Remember that no less than 5 people in the EPO committed suicide in recent years. Given information that we have in our possession but have not published yet (it would cause chaos), we think the above abuse may have something to do with at least some of them. Should the EPO be held accountable for some deaths too?
We have so much more to say, but we shall leave it for another post because this one is already getting quite long. █
Send this to a friend
SLAPP is strategic lawsuit against public participation
Summary: Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment
SAVING the best for last (there’s a lot more to come), tonight I wish to only share some early experiences I had with the EPO's bullies. At a later point we will show the full legal dissection that includes point-by-point rebuttal and demonstrates that the EPO not only ignores the law when it comes to internal operations but also when it comes to outside engagements (external). These people are thugs and they are contracting goons from the outside (i.e. more privatisation).
“They wanted to ensure that I have no time to seek legal advice.”The EPO, in sending me threatening letters, did not follow the appropriate procedures. These letters were seemingly not sent from a professional in the field, either. They should give 14 days to respond, as a matter of law. It seems as though they are not even aware of how it’s done, but they did it at around 23:30 on a Friday night, showing utter disregard for their target and misuse of new defamation laws, which do not even permit this. Any emotional harm caused to a person who is criticised is not enough to merit litigation, especially since malicious intent or fabrications are required to make up defamation cases. More importantly they need to say who it’s published to and who they actually represent (otherwise there may be no capacity to take any action at all, in which case this all just amounts to harassment or trolling). When I received the first letter (there was more than one) I knew the EPO was trying to engage in a campaign of silencing, but it was too late at night (and beginning of a weekend), so reaching out for legal advice was extremely hard. This is probably what the EPO intended; how many lawyers actually work until midnight on a Friday? They wanted to ensure that I have no time to seek legal advice or that the longer it takes, the greater the liability. Not even silence was presented as an option (akin to Miranda rights).
What I wrote back to them was very short and I then passed the letter to my lawyer. The sender of the latter was possibly not a law specialist. My lawyer called it a “prank letter”. On the face of it, I could ask for at least 14 days to respond, but how would one know this without access to a suitable lawyer late on Friday night? They asked me to write back immediately (a trap) and they clearly don’t know what they are doing, or maybe they deliberately break the rules. Well, this is “SLAPP” — an action intended only to chill a person. It’s abusive. Such abuses of the law are a common theme inside the EPO, based on other stories (like that of Elizabeth Hardon).
“The EPO already has a history of trademark-trolling its critics.”The EPO, in the mean time, carried on sending ever more threatening letters, but this time I already had legal advice, hence I could not be easily fooled. Further to a phonecall or two (during the weekend), my lawyer sent a holding response, sent at my instruction. I had reread my own post and found it totally defensible, even by citing mainstream media interpretations of the leaks (original and authentic, definitely in the public interest). Only if something was incorrect in it would it be worth taking down the post. But I will not do so. Because it’s totally defensible. The EPO was clearly just trying to take down all my recent posts (at the time) because it suffered a major backlash in the corporate media, which cited my articles on the subject. The bullies were utterly desperate to salvage the EPO’s reputation; they even wanted a public “apology” as means of attempting to change history and portray the messenger as wrong, i.e. putting words in their critic’s mouth.
I decided that if the criteria for takedown (and apology) was as terrible as noted in that last threatening letter (worse an example than the first), then they can just libel-troll a lot of other articles, as they probably already do against other people (the totally wrong surname in the first letter potentially serves to confirm this). The EPO already has a history of trademark-trolling its critics. It uses fear (or terrorism, to use a mightier synonym) to silence dissenting voices.
This whole campaign of libel-trolling, which I presume is the frantic/panicky result of managers and others potentially risking the sack (for their actions and the resultant public outcry from European lawyers, i.e. the ‘clients’ of EPO), is ideologically indefensible. It shames the EPO even further as they juggle a whole lot of scandals. █
“There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral”
–Walter Lippmann (American Journalist, 1889-1974)
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »