Benoît Battistelli meets Siemens
Summary: The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO’s crooked management
Now that the internal communications person (i.e. PR) is out and things are heating up against the EPO Vice-President (never mind Benoît Battistelli, the EPO President), the corporate takeover of the patent system in Europe can be slowed down. We have just learned from this European patents maximalism blog that “Philips is among the top-10 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applicants and the top-3 European Patent Convention (EPC) applicants. Owning about 64,000 patents and filing approximately 1,500 patent applications each year (with a strong focus on the growth areas of health and well-being), much is at stake for the company with the introduction of a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the Unitary Patent (UP). Philips’ principal IP Counsel Leo Steenbeek told Kluwer IP Law in an interview he hopes financial demands of UP member states won´t lead to unrealistic high renewal fees. Philips won’t opt-out patents when the UPC starts functioning.”
This helps remind us who the EPO really serves. It has become a “protection” apparatus for large corporations, largely at the expense of citizens of Europe. The Unified Patent Court would enable huge corporations to sue a lot of rivals or intimidate them. It would also help patent trolls.
Several months ago a source sent us some information about the neglected Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC), which might be of interest. Article 4a of the EPC deals with very fundamental rules. If any rule it is violated, then there is legal basis on which to file complaints.
As our source put it: “Another example of how the current EPO management (meaning Battistelli and the Administrative Council) has managed to avoid political oversight can be seen by consulting Article 4a of the European Patent Convention according to which: “A conference of ministers of the Contracting States responsible for patent matters shall meet at least every five years to discuss issues pertaining to the Organisation and to the European patent system.”
“This Article,” explained our source, “was introduced into the revised version of the EPC (“EPC 2000”) which entered into force on December 13, 2007.
“However, despite the statutory requirement to hold a ministerial conference at least once every five years, no such conference has been convened since the entry into force of the revised EPC in 2007. The first five year period expired on in December 2012, i.e. on Battistelli’s watch. (He was appointed EPO President in 2010.)”
This would not be the first time that Battistelli dodges or eliminates oversight, as we showed numerous times before. “If you can read French,” said our source, “it may be worth having a look at an interview Battistelli gave to a French magazine in 2012.
“In this interview he boasts (in French) of the “independence” that he enjoys as EPO President.” To quote the interview: «Je n’ai jamais été aussi libre, insiste-t-il. Je n’ai pas de ministère de tutelle, de Parlement, de gouvernement. C’est nous qui fixons les règles, les discutons, les négocions.»
In English: “I have never been so free, he insists. I have no supervisory Minister above me, nor any Parliament or government. It is we who discuss, negotiate and decide on the rules.”
In other words, he has got himself a tyranny. He does not even need to obey rules. “The “we” referred to here seems to mean Battistelli himself and the AC,” remarked our source. As we have demonstrated time after time, the Administrative Council is basically in cahoots rather than independent from Battistelli. It’s a banana republic’s status quo.
“However,” he said, “as can be seen from Article 4a EPC, Battistelli’s arrogant boast that he is not subject to any oversight by ministerial or governmental authority betrays a serious misunderstanding of the legal framework established by the revised EPC.
“Obviously, the intention behind article 4a is to provide for some measure of political oversight of the EPO at ministerial level. It is only by ignoring this provision, i.e. by not taking any measures to convene a ministerial conference despite the statutory requirement to do so, that the EPO President and the AC have been able to evade this kind of political oversight.”
“We wish to revive the petition, preferably not just from Croatia.”The rejected complaint (in the form of a petition) to the European Parliament is worth revisiting in this context, given that some European politicians continue to pursue action against the EPO. We wish to revive the petition, preferably not just from Croatia. There is a certain stereotype and a myth that Topić and his ilk exploit; it’s the myth only Croats are upset at Topić, supposedly because of envy. We need more involvement from people outside Croatia and by providing information in English we hopefully make more people aware of the issues and thus more able to communicate them. Any such communication in support of the previous petition from members of the general public could be useful to encourage the Petitions Committee to investigate the abuse as it would indicate to the Committee that there is a public interest in the issues raised by the Petition outside of Croatia (from where the original petition originates).
We have already written several times about the first petition calling for an independent investigation of Topić’s appointment. The petition was submitted to the European Parliament by a Croatian NGO called Juris Protecta. It stated that an independent (outside) investigation was needed, but none ever took place, even two years later. The petition goes back to 2013 and the reference number for the petition was (and still is) 2848/2013. The original petition contained a request for confidential treatment. This request for confidential treatment was subsequently withdrawn which means that the petition is now a public document. In the mean time, Vesna Stilin (another Croat) had submitted an application to join the Petition as a co-petitioner and she was taking other actions to address these matters, as mentioned in several older articles of ours. The previous meeting of the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament was scheduled for 11 November 2014 and the next one is at the end of this month, so there may be time to submit new petitions, something along the lines of the following words of ours (please don’t just copy). Here is some draft text which could be used as a basis for communicating and conveying thoughts to the Petitions Committee:
I/we refer to Petition 2848/2013  which has been filed with the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament and which calls for an independent investigation of the appointment of Mr. Željko Topić as a Vice-President of the European Patent Organisation. In December the petition was rejected not because it lacked merit but because it was claimed to be within the responsibility of other departments. This response is deeply problematic because the nature of the petitioner’s concerns and the core complaint is that those other departments have been gagged, suppressed, or even abolished by those who are supposed to be overseen. That, as some may argue, is how Topić got into his position in the first place. It means that the European Parliament is the last resort and the only body able to engage in a potent investigation. The European Parliament should consider revisiting these issues, among more issues such as the violation of the European Patent Convention (EPC) [see/refer above].
I/we hereby wish to express my/our support for the 2013 Petition and suggest that a new, more extensive investigation into these matters in undertaken. I/we would be grateful if you could acknowledge in due course that my/our support for the Petition has been registered with the Petitions Committee.
 Ref: Petition No. 2848/2013 filed by Juris Protecta (Croatia).
This is just a suggested draft for a letter to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament to express support for Petition No. 2848/2013 calling for an independent investigation of the appointment of Mr. Željko Topić as a Vice-President of the European Patent Organisation. We urge for expansion of the original complaint/petition, either by citation or by filing of a new petition (clarifying that it is a followup), as a lot more is known now than was known back in 2013. The European Parliament should be able to find plenty of relevant information in French, German, and English. Benoît Battistelli is quickly moving to crush any kind of oversight and if the European Parliament continues to refuse to intervene, it too would lose legitimacy and potentially be seen/perceived as complicit. Members of the European Parliament need to understand that.
For the moment we don’t know whether or not the petition 2848/2013 will ever be the agenda again. It might therefore be worth filing a fresh petition. We would like to point out here that, in principle, any EU citizen who is interested in this matter can write to the Petitions Committee to express support for petitions. Maybe some of our European readers would take leadership on this matter. Other readers would hopefully be interested in expressing their support for the petition or submitting a new one. Some contact details for the Petitions Committee are as follows:
- Ms Cecilia WIKSTRÖM:
- Mr Pál CSÁKY:
- Ms Rosa ESTARÀS FERRAGUT:
- Ms Roberta METSOLA:
- Ms Marlene MIZZI:
Secretariat of the Committee on Petitions
- Mr David LOWE, Head of Unit:
60 rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 – Bruxelles/Brussels
If you do choose to communicate with a petition, please consider sharing some information with us in the comments below, e.g. a reference number. Organising the action would make it more effective. █
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Summary: No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned
Battistelli does not have a monopoly on deciding which people must leave the EPO. He does not even need to throw people out because some are leaving on their own volition, at least based on what we can gather from our sources. Perhaps they realise that leaving the scandalous embarrassment that is EPO management would be better for their career.
Latest rumours from the EPO serve to show and at the very least reaffirm that the EPO is “burning”, as some have told us months ago. One source told us: “The latest rumour that we have heard is that the recently recruited Director of Internal Communication has “resigned”. We don’t have any details of the exact circumstances so we can’t say at this point whether he jumped or whether he was pushed.
“The person in question is Vincent Bénard who was formerly Head of Corporate Internal Communications at the Airbus Group. He had been widely tipped to take over from Oswald Schroder who departed under mysterious circumstances in October last year.
“If you look carefully at the recent internal EPO announcement concerning the “Public Apology to Zeljko Topic” you will see that it doesn’t bear any name for the “Author” which just given as “Internal Communication”.”
“Perhaps they realise that leaving the scandalous embarrassment that is EPO management would be better for their career.”For some background, see our recent articles about it. The censorship is backfiring. Mike Masnick dubbed it the “Streisand Effect”.
“The “Internal Communication” department is part of Directorate-General 4 and thus it comes under Topic’s direct control,” told us a source. “We suspect that Bénard had some kind of a “disagreement” with his boss i.e. Topic, over the publication of the “Public Apology” announcement on the EPO Intranet.”
This publication already led to some action that embarrasses Željko Topić and meanwhile, in response, Vesna Stilin is working hard to revoke the apology and restore the article from Zeljko Peratovic's 45lines.com. Imagine the size of the audience after restoration. The article that Topić wants to hide can be read here in English.
“All of this is just speculation on our part,” said our source, “but the rumour of Bénard’s departure at this particular juncture is a clear indication that all is not well on the upper floors of the EPO’s headquarters.”
We welcome sources to come forth with information if they have any that is relevant. We have never — in our history of nearly a decade — let down or got in trouble a source. The goal here is justice; if embarrassing those in positions of unjust power helps restore justice, then so be it. █
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Summary: Deb Nicholson’s LCA talk is now publicly accessible
Talk by the Open Invention Network’s Deb Nicholson; see “Software Patents: Trolls and Other Bullies” and this schedule. Direct YouTube link (for downloading applications).
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Summary: Željko Topić’s abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President
SEVERAL days ago we highlighted Željko Topić’s skeletons (in his closet), noting that Vesna Stilin, whom we mentioned in several older articles of ours (she is one of Topić’s victims), was trying to bring light to Topić’s past. In the future we intend to show more of the history of Stilin’s fights and arguments with Topić, but today we would like to focus on her call to retract a retraction.
This Croatian “request for rectification” has been submitted to the Croatian Web site 45lines.com, which is operated by Zeljko Peratovic. After Peratovic had written an expose about Topić it mysteriously got taken down, under circumstances that we explained on Sunday. Our guess is that Peratovic is unlikely to publish his article once again, at least based on our supposition that he was scared into removing it voluntarily.
Our readers sent us an English translation of Stilin’s letter to 45lines.com and it goes as follows:
Submitted by: Vesna Stilin LL.B
Subject: Request for rectification of published information
I refer to the article on the website 45lines.com titled “A wrong man sitting in EPO? – Apology to Željko Topić: Regarding the deleted article regarding EPO”, which was published in Croatian on 16 December 2014 and in English on 19 December 2014 on the aforementioned portal, and which contains some incorrect and incomplete information:
For the purpose of providing the public with objective and complete information, and in accordance with the provisions of the Article 40 of the Croatian Media Act (Official Gazette
59/04), I hereby kindly request you to publish the following rectification.
Motivated by the “Apology” of the journalist Željko Peratović to Željko Topić, former Director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), I would like to point out the following concerning the text of said “Apology” the accuracy of which is disputed:
The author of the “Apology”, Mr. Peratović, omits to mention the names of the three independent sources who, according to his claims, deceived him when he wrote the article “A wrong man
sitting in EPO” and which moved him to delete the original article and to apologize to Željko Topić by publishing a new article (i.e. the disputed “Apology”). Nevertheless, I consider that the following statement made by Mr. Peratovic in the disputed “Apology” implicitly refers to me:
“I have also wrote [sic] that it is a big corruption affair which grew outside the Croatian borders and that many criminal complaints have been filed and lawsuits led against him in Croatia. Now it is clear that all the criminal complaints that were initiated against Željko Topić are coming from the same source and that the only lawsuit is led for alleged slander. That lawsuit was completely refuted in court and he was completely acquitted of any responsibility.”
The above claim has been persistently and repeatedly made by Željko Topić, but it is untrue. In the disputed “Apology” Mr. Peratović restates this false claim in an apparent attempt to lend
credibility to it.
I am aware that, apart from myself, a number of other persons both from inside and from outside the SIPO have brought criminal charges and/or initiated civil proceedings against Željko Topić. With regard to matters concerning Željko Topić and myself, two private lawsuits are pending (in the first case I am the plaintiff, whereas in second case Mr. Topić is the plaintiff evidently encouraged by the lack of official oversight of the SIPO). With regard to the first private lawsuit which is the one referred to by Mr. Peratović in his “Apology”, following 6 court judgments (as a consequence of repeated remittals to the court of first instance following appeal) and what I consider to have been perjury on the part of Željko Topić’s deputy, the matter is now awaiting resolution before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. With regard to the second private lawsuit in which Željko Topić is the plaintiff, I expect the first instance judgment to be delivered by the end of this month (i.e. January 2015).
In addition, I have filed a criminal complaint against Željko Topić in connection with a number of allegedly criminal actions which should be prosecuted ex officio. Following a request which I made in December 2014 to expedite the proceedings, I received a response from the District Public Prosecutor in Zagreb which, in essence, states the following:
“In the criminal case in question ….. we inform you that the complicated process of checking your allegations, as well as allegations from other sources, is in progress in order to determine whether the actions of Željko Topić, in his capacity as the Director of the State Intellectual Property Office and the actions of other responsible persons in that Office or other government bodies comprise the essential features of criminal offences subject to public prosecution.”
“I intend to submit evidence to Mr. Peratović regarding the above statements and expect him to do his job as investigative journalist. I am confident that afterwards he will have to issue a further apology, but this time it will not be to Željko Topić.”In his professional capacity as an investigative journalist, it would be useful for Mr. Peratović to find out what “other criminal proceedings” (as indicated in the Minutes of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb – hereinafter MCC – from 4/5/2010, under No. K-163/09, in the Judgment of 31/5/2010 MCC, under no. K-163/09, and in the Judgment of 23/5/2011 MCC, under no. 34 K-238/10) were in progress against Željko Topić prior to his re-appointment as SIPO Director in early 2012 by the current Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, particularly in view of the fact that the competent supervisory Ministry of Science, Education and Sports does not appear to have reacted in spite of the warnings which it received. At the same time, there is an open question as to whether the Prime Minister Milanović was aware of the fact that the wife of his chef-de-cabinet Tomislav Saucha, i.e. Ms. Ivana Saucha, is a partner in the law firm which represents Željko Topić in court proceedings, and whether these circumstances might have had any influence on the Prime Minister’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Topić as the Director of the SIPO. Another question to be asked is why Mr. Topić reacted by filing a private lawsuit against me in April 2013, claiming inter alia that the Minutes of the MCC erroneously stated that he was “subject to a second criminal proceedings” given that he failed to react to this three years earlier when said allegation was noted in the Minutes of the MCC (4/5/2010) and in the aforementioned court Judgments (31/5/2010 and 23/5/2011). I note that the lawsuit which Mr. Topić filed against me in April 2013 has been decided in my favor in the meantime by both first and second instance courts.
I understand that the original documents reproduced along with the deleted article “A wrong man sitting in EPO?” are in the possession of a former Director of the SIPO, Mr. Hrvoje Junašević, and an official who worked as a representative at the SIPO, and that the aforementioned persons are willing to provide any explanation which may be required concerning the published documents.
I intend to submit evidence to Mr. Peratović regarding the above statements and expect him to do his job as investigative journalist. I am confident that afterwards he will have to issue a further apology, but this time it will not be to Željko Topić.
Pursuant to Article 41 of the Media Act, it is requested that this rectification be published in the same font size as the text and title and in the same section as the article to which it relates and that the rectification be linked to said article by a highlighted link.
VESNA STILIN LL.B
Date: 19 January 2015
This is not the end of it because we have just learned about a resignation, potentially resulting from some of these ugly affairs. We will write about it later this week. █
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Summary: Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won’t have it without a challenge
OUR recent posts about the EPO have had a profound impact and management of the EPO paid attention. We know this for a fact. Long-term readers of this site already know that we have a grudge not just because of abuses at the EPO but also a rogue agenda, which includes expansion of patent scope well beyond what is reasonable. The same goes for geographical expansion, transcending even Europe’s borders (see yesterday’s announcement titled “Morocco recognises European patents as national patents”). It’s like the military industrial complex in the patent sense, seeking to create itself more business; instead of promoting fear of terrorism to make money from, the EPO is promoting fear of lack of “protection” (as in protectionism) and other such stuff. It’s quite a coup d’état.
Several years ago we highlighted the possibility that Europe was opening its doors to patent trolls. A new report estimates that the U.S. economy lost $80 billion to patent troll lawsuits, so the last thing we need right now in the same in Europe. to quote the new report from a few days ago: “The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, today announced the formation of a coalition, United for Patent Reform. The broad-based coalition is designed to battle “patent trolls,” entities that use predatory legal tactics to sue for patent infringement. AH&LA is joined by a number of groups from the hospitality, retail, technology and construction-based industries, among others.
“This morning, the new coalition sent a letter to Leaders in Congress and Members of the Judiciary Committees in the U.S. House and Senate outlining the principles strong patent reform legislation should include. A copy of that letter is attached to this release.”
“What Europe needs is sharing, not protectionism.”In order to stop the plague of patent trolls, which usually use software patents, we need to keep the EPO in check. Like the military industrial complex, left unchecked it would expand infinitely and seek ways to justify this expansion, even to the point of costing trillions of dollars (in national debts, risking austerity everywhere). What Europe needs is sharing, not protectionism. The latter only serves few powerful corporations and makes them even stronger. It is a threat to democracy itself. Just watch the distribution of patents at the EPO; it doesn’t serve the “little guy” (or gal) but the rich and powerful.
Linux-backing players are increasingly dominant, but they face patent risk and are trying to embrace patents to defend against those who hoard patents (e.g. Nortel’s and Novell’s) to damage or tax the competition’s products, even in Europe where software patents are informally invalid. Nevertheless, EPO management, as corrupt as it has become, tries to legitimise software patents, e.g. with the unitary patent that we wrote about in past years. Here are some older articles of ours:
According to a new Unitary Patent analysis
[PDF] from Ingve, an attorney at law from Düsseldorf (Germany), the recent chaos at the EPO may play a considerable role. Ingve is practicing in the area of patent litigation and he regularly writes about the Unitary Patent, so he should know. “I follow closely your blog posts,” he wrote, “on the developments at the EPO.”
“I thought you might find it interesting,” he wrote to us, “keep up your good work!”
Even those who are in the patent business seek to stop the ‘patent industrial complex’ where they see it as threatening to the legitimacy of the EPO. Battistelli is extremely unpopular in many quarters, even among his staff, stakeholders, and fellow Frenchmen. █
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Summary: French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong
LAST week we wrote about Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong criticising Battistelli and Topić, calling for action against them. Thankfully, owing to our readers, we now have translations of his criticism. The European Parliament may not choose to resolve this, but others might take action and later this year we will publish texts of some formal complaints about the EPO.
Week log: Disquiet at European Patent Office
There may be days that you don’t think about the European Patents Office, but it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the news about this European organisation. The civil servants working there have revolted. Their actions are directed against, in their view, the dictatorial regime of the director of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli. I will be speaking with the representatives of the employees in the near future. Although the EPO is not an EU institution, the EU does intend to enter into some kind of partnership with it for new type of European patent. Situations where employee rights are trampled on and where there is a smell of nepotism relating to appointments and dismissals should not occur.
Just as their colleagues in Brussels, the civil servants of the EPO are extremely well paid. In addition, they are not promoted on the basis of performance but on the basis of years of service. Battistelli wants to cut costs, also because the patents approved by his organisation are expensive. He therefore wishes to get rid of a substantial number of employee privileges. There might be an argument for this but that does not mean that you can arbitrarily take away from your employees the right to participate or deny them a genuine, independent appeal procedure. Let alone that you introduce a culture of intimidation. And that, according to EPO’s civil servants union, is exactly what Battistelli is doing.
As the EPO is an independent international organisation, the employment conditions are arranged on the basis of the rules of the organisation itself. There is an EPO office in Rijswijk for example, but Dutch law does not apply there. Normally, international organisations look at what is usual for national civil servants where it concerns the right of employees to organise themselves in a trade union, to communicate with each other on employment rights and, if you are suspected of a breach of internal rules, to be able to appeal to an independent committee; but not so at the EPO.
According to EPO employees, all these rights have been completely or partially abolished. The trade union may not be active within EPO buildings and the existing works council has been abolished. An internal investigation body has been set up which often acts in an intimidating manner and encourages people to snitch on colleagues if they take a critical stance. There are also question marks relating to the integrity of Battistelli’s right hand man, the Croat Topić, who in his home country is accused of corruption and whose appointment was pushed through by Battistelli.
The participating countries, including the Netherlands, have the last say in the board of the EPO. However, they have recently reappointed Battistelli for a period of four years. Apparently the protest is not being taken seriously by any of these countries. This is first and foremost a matter for the House of Representatives but, due to the indirect involvement of the EU, also for the European Parliament. The civil servants with whom I am in contact, wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. But their case must be heard in Brussels. It appears there would be a better response than the answer from the EP’s petitions committee which, after a complaint from the civil servants union, referred the case back to the EPO’s internal appeals committee. This despite the fact that the complaints actually related to the fact that this committee can no longer operate independently but has been put under guardianship by Battistelli. As far as I am concerned, this is the core issue: trade union rights apply to everybody, including civil servants, even the extremely well-paid ones.
Weeklog: Onrust bij Europees Octrooi Bureau
Er zullen misschien dagen voorbij gaan dat u niet denkt aan het Europees Octrooi Bureau (European Patents Office, EPO), maar toch is het de moeite waard het nieuws over deze Europese organisatie in de gaten te houden. De ambtenaren die er werken, zijn in opstand gekomen. Hun acties richten zich tegen het in hun ogen dictatoriale bewind van de directeur van EPO, Benoit Battistelli. Binnenkort ga ik met vertegenwoordigers van het personeel spreken. EPO is dan wel geen EU-instelling, de EU wil er wel zaken mee gaan doen voor een nieuw soort Europees octrooi. Dan horen er geen toestanden te zijn waarbij werknemersrechten met voeten worden getreden en er de geur van vriendjespolitiek bij benoemingen en ontslagen heerst.
Net als hun Brusselse collega’s krijgen de ambtenaren van EPO een gigantisch hoog salaris. Bovendien worden zij niet op basis van prestaties maar op grond van dienstjaren bevorderd. Battistelli wil de kosten drukken, ook al omdat de octrooien die zijn organisatie goedkeurt, duur zijn. Dus wil hij af van een flink aantal privileges van het personeel. Op zich kun je je daar wat bij voorstellen, maar dat betekent nog niet dat je het recht op inspraak en op eerlijke, onafhankelijke beroepsprocedures zomaar van je personeel kunt afnemen. Laat staan dat je een cultuur van intimidatie invoert. En dat is precies wat Battistelli volgens de ambtenarenbond van EPO doet.
Omdat EPO een onafhankelijke internationale organisatie is, worden de arbeidsvoorwaarden geregeld via de regels van de organisatie zelf. Er zit bijvoorbeeld een kantoor van EPO in Rijswijk, maar het Nederlandse recht is niet van toepassing. Normaal gesproken, kijken internationale organisaties wel degelijk naar wat voor nationale ambtenaren gebruikelijk is, als het gaat om het recht je als werknemers in een vakbond te organiseren, met elkaar over arbeidsrechten te communiceren, en om, als je verdacht wordt van een overtreding van interne regels, in beroep te kunnen gaan bij een onafhankelijke commissie, maar niet zo bij EPO.
Al deze rechten zijn volgens het personeel van EPO geheel of gedeeltelijk afgeschaft. De vakbond is het verboden binnen de gebouwen van EPO actief te zijn en de bestaande ondernemingsraad is afgeschaft. Er is een interne recherche opgezet die vaak intimiderend te werk gaat en mensen worden aangemoedigd collega’s te verklikken, als die zich kritisch opstellen. Bovendien zijn er vragen over de integriteit van de rechterhand van Battistelli, de Kroaat Topic, die in eigen land beschuldigd wordt van corruptie, maar wiens benoeming er door Battistelli is doorgedrukt.
De deelnemende landen, waaronder Nederland, hebben bij het bestuur van EPO het laatste woord. Onlangs hebben deze Battistelli echter opnieuw benoemd voor een periode van vier jaar. Kennelijk wordt het protest door geen van deze landen serieus genomen. Dat is eerst en vooral een zaak voor de Tweede Kamer, maar door de indirecte betrokkenheid van de EU ook van het Europees Parlement. De ambtenaren met wie ik contact heb, willen anoniem blijven uit angst voor represailles. Maar hun zaak moet in Brussel gehoord worden. Dat lijkt me een betere reactie dan het antwoord van de verzoekschriftencommissie van het EP die na een klacht van de ambtenarenbond de zaak terugverwees naar de interne beroepscommissie van EPO. En dat terwijl de klachten zich juist o.a. richtten op het feit dat die commissie niet langer onafhankelijk kan opereren maar onder curatele is gezet door Battistelli. Wat mij betreft, komt hier de onderste steen boven: vakbondsrechten gelden voor iedereen, ook voor ambtenaren en zelfs voor duurbetaalde.
Wochenbericht: Unruhe beim Europäischen Patentamt
Es vergehen vielleicht Tage, an denen Sie nicht an das Europäische Patentamt (European Patents Office, EPO) denken, aber dennoch lohnt es die Mühe, die Nachrichten über diese europäische Organisation im Auge zu behalten. Die dort beschäftigten Beamten haben revoltiert. Ihre Aktionen richten sich gegen das in ihren Augen diktatorische Regiment des EPA-Direktors, Benoît Battistelli. In Kürze werde ich mit Vertretern des Personals sprechen. Das EPA ist zwar keine EU-Institution, die EU möchte jedoch mit dem Amt Geschäfte in Bezug auf eine neue Art von europäischem Patent machen. Dann dürfen keine Zustände bestehen, bei denen Arbeitnehmerrechte mit Füßen getreten werden und der Geruch von Vetternwirtschaft bei Einstellungen und Entlassungen herrscht.
Genau wie ihre Brüsseler Kollegen beziehen die EPA-Beamten ein gigantisch hohes Gehalt. Zudem werden sie nicht aufgrund ihrer Leistungen, sondern auf der Grundlage ihrer Dienstjahre befördert. Battistelli möchte die Kosten senken, auch weil die von seiner Organisation erteilten Patente teuer sind. Er will daher von einer stattlichen Anzahl Privilegien des Personals wegkommen. Eigentlich kann man sich dabei etwas vorstellen, aber es bedeutet noch nicht, dass das Recht des Personals auf Mitbestimmung und ehrliche, unabhängige Berufsverfahren ohne Weiteres gestrichen werden kann. Geschweige denn, dass man eine Kultur der Einschüchterung einführt. Und genau das tut Battistelli laut Aussage des EPA-Beamtenbunds. Da das EPA eine unabhängige internationale Organisation ist, werden die Arbeitsbedingungen durch die Regeln der Organisation selbst festgelegt. So besteht beispielsweise ein EPA-Büro in Rijswijk, aber niederländisches Recht ist nicht anwendbar. Normalerweise schauen sich internationale Organisationen durchaus an, was für nationale Beamten üblich ist, wenn es um das Recht geht, sich als Arbeitnehmer in einer Gewerkschaft zu organisieren, miteinander über Arbeitsrechte zu kommunizieren und, wenn man der Verletzung interner Regeln verdächtigt wird, bei einer unabhängigen Kommission Berufung einzulegen; nicht so jedoch beim EPA.
Alle diese Rechte wurden laut EPA-Personal ganz oder teilweise abgeschafft. Der Gewerkschaft ist es untersagt, innerhalb der EPA-Gebäude aktiv zu sein und der bestehende Betriebsrat wurde aufgelöst. Es wurden interne Ermittlungen eingeleitet, die häufig mit Einschüchterung einhergehen, und Personen werden ermutigt, Kollegen zu denunzieren, wenn sie sich kritisch aufstellen. Außerdem gibt es Fragen in Bezug auf die Integrität der rechten Hand Battistellis, des Kroaten Topiċ, der im eigenen Land der Korruption beschuldigt wird, dessen Ernennung Battistelli jedoch durchgesetzt hat.
Die teilnehmenden Länder, darunter die Niederlande, haben bei der Leitung des EPA das etzte Wort. Kürzlich haben diese Battistelli jedoch erneut für einen Zeitraum von vier Jahren ernannt. Offenbar wird der Protest von keinem dieser Länder ernst genommen. Dies ist zuallererst ein Fall für das niederländische Parlament, infolge der indirekten Beteiligung der EU jedoch auch des Europäischen Parlaments. Die Beamten, mit denen ich in Kontakt stehe, möchten aus Angst vor Repressalien anonym bleiben. Ihre Sache muss jedoch in Brüssel angehört werden. Dies erscheint mir als bessere Reaktion als die Antwort des EP- Petitionsausschusses, der die Angelegenheit nach einer Klage des Beamtenbundes an die interne Berufungskommission des EPA zurückverwies. Und die Klagen konzentrieren sich währenddessen u.a. gerade auf die Tatsache, dass diese Kommission nicht mehr unabhängig operieren kann, sondern von Battistelli unter Kuratel gestellt wurde. Was mich anbelangt, kommt hier der unterste Stein nach oben zu liegen: Gewerkschaftsrechte gelten für alle, auch für Beamte und sogar für hochbezahlte.
Info hebdo : Agitation à l’Office européen des brevets
Il se passera peut-être des jours sans que vous ne pensiez à l’Office européen des brevets (European Patents Office, OEB), mais il est toujours intéressant de garder un œil sur l’actualité de cette organisation européenne. Les fonctionnaires qui y travaillent se sont révoltés. Leurs actions s’opposaient au régime jugé dictatorial du directeur de l’OEB, Benoît Battistelli. Je m’entretiendrai prochainement à ce sujet avec les représentants du personnel. Bien que l’OEB ne soit pas une institution de l’UE, l’UE souhaite tout de même y jouer un rôle afin d’instituer un nouveau type de brevet européen. Il ne peut y avoir de situations dans lesquelles les droits des travailleurs sont bafoués et où règne le favoritisme dans les nominations et les licenciements.
Tout comme leurs collègues à Bruxelles, les fonctionnaires de l’OEB bénéficient de salaires incroyablement élevés. Par ailleurs, ils ne sont pas promus en fonction de leurs performances, mais sur la base du nombre d’années d’ancienneté. Battistelli désire parvenir à une réduction des coûts, notamment parce que les brevets approuvés par son organisation sont onéreux. Pour ce faire, il souhaite donc supprimer un grand nombre des privilèges du personnel. En soi, vous pouvez envisager différentes mesures, mais cela ne signifie pas encore que vous pouvez tout simplement ôter à votre personnel le droit à la parole et à des procédures de recours équitables et indépendantes. Sans parler du fait d’instaurer une culture d’intimidation. Et c’est, selon le syndicat des fonctionnaires de l’OEB, précisément ce que Battistelli est en train de faire.
L’OEB étant une organisation internationale indépendante, les conditions de travail y sont déterminées selon les règles de l’organisation même. L’un des bureaux de l’OEB est par exemple établi à Ryswick, mais le droit néerlandais n’y est pas applicable. Généralement, les organisations internationales se réfèrent donc aux conditions usuelles des fonctionnaires nationaux, notamment en ce qui concerne le droit des employés à se syndiquer, à discuter entre eux des droits du travail et, en cas de suspicion de violation des règles internes, à pouvoir faire appel à une commission indépendante ; ce n’est toutefois pas le cas au sein de l’OEB.
Selon le personnel de l’OEB, tous ces droits ont été partiellement ou entièrement supprimés. Le syndicat a reçu l’interdiction d’être actif au sein des bâtiments de l’OEB, et le comité d’entreprise existant a été dissous. Une enquête interne, souvent menée avec intimidation, a été mise en place, et les employés sont encouragés à dénoncer leurs collègues qui font preuve d’une attitude critique. Par ailleurs, des questions ont été soulevées quant à l’intégrité du bras droit de Battistelli, le Croate Topiċ, qui est accusé de corruption dans son propre pays mais dont la nomination a été fortement appuyée par Battistelli.
Ce sont les pays participants, parmi lesquels figurent les Pays-Bas, qui ont le dernier mot en matière de gestion de l’OEB. Il y a peu de temps, ces derniers ont toutefois réélu Battistelli pour une période de quatre ans. De toute évidence, l’absence de protestation de la part de ces pays a été prise au sérieux. Cette affaire concerne avant tout la seconde Chambre des États généraux des Pays-Bas, mais également le Parlement européen en raison de l’implication indirecte de l’UE. Les fonctionnaires avec qui j’entretiens des contacts désirent rester anonymes par crainte de représailles. Mais il faut que leur cas soit entendu à Bruxelles. Cela me semble être une meilleure réaction que la réponse fournie par la commission des pétitions du Parlement européen qui, après avoir reçu une plainte du syndicat des fonctionnaires, a renvoyé l’affaire à la commission de recours interne de l’OEB. Et cela même alors que les plaintes concernaient l’impossibilité de cette commission à fonctionner de manière indépendante, placée sous curatelle par Battistelli. En ce qui me concerne, c’est clair comme de l’eau de roche : les droits syndicaux s’appliquent à tout le monde, fonctionnaires y compris, même à haut salaire.
Many thanks to all those who have provided the translations above. We have a lot more coming. █
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Forgiving Topić for his abuses, covering up the embarrassments
Summary: Battistelli’s right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug’s reputation
“The Propaganda War at the EPO is escalating,” told us a source. Citing this piece/exhibit
[PDF], it sure looks like legal threats may have been made by Željko Topić, forcing a journalist to retract. Battistelli quickly exploits this. Two months ago we wrote about the disappearance of an important article about Topić (alas, one of very many articles). Allegations were made by people from Croatia that there had been something odd and that the article was probably removed with some pressure. Days ago we received “a quick update on EPO matters” from one of our many sources “as there have been some interesting developments on the Balkan front.
“As you might have heard,” said this source, “the second and final round of the Croatian Presidential election took place last Sunday (11 January).” The BBC’s article, a puff piece titled “Grabar-Kitarovic elected Croatia’s first woman president”, provides some background.
“Ivo Josipovic who has held office as President since 2010 was ousted,” stressed our source. “According to the Croatian press, Josipovic has been one of Topić’s key “protectors” in Croatia.
“The incoming news from Croatia seems to have unleashed a panic reaction on the upper floors of the EPO’s Isar building” and the latter about is basically some “Communiqué” from Battistelli which only “appeared [a week ago] (12 January) on the EPO Intranet.”
“Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Battistelli marched in Paris for free speech and freedom?”Time for whitewashing perhaps. Reusing old stuff, too.
The letter above refers to the recent “Apology to Zeljko Topic” written by Zeljko Peratovic — a free-lance Croatian journalist who operates his own personal blog site 45lines.com. In the “Communiqué” from Battistelli, Peratovic is described as “an editor-in-chief in Croatian media” [sic.] and this basically ignores dozens of other sources that wrote about criminal charges against Topić or explained his abuses. So, in other words, this is Battistelli’s latest publicity stunt. He is trying to pretend that Croatian sites that wrote about Topić’s crimes are all wrong. Sadly for Battistelli and his gang, we are going to work hard to bring into English many of the facts about Topić (translations to German and English would keep him awake at night), hopefully before he ends up ousted or in prison (in Croatia, with or without help from the German police).
“There is a lot of speculation about what exactly motivated Peratovic to publish this “Apology”,” wrote our source. “Some people are of the opinion that he was paid off, maybe from Battistelli’s “caisse noire” at the EPO. Others think that may have been put under pressure by Topić or his attorney. Amidst all the conjecture, one thing is certain: there is something very fishy about this “Apology”.”
A month ago a source told us more about this odd withdrawal of an article. A lot of people seem to have noticed it, including people in Croatia. “There has been a strange new twist in the Topić story at the EPO,” told us the source. Have a look at this part that says “I am ready to have this apology translated to English in order to point out the wrongful use of my persona in the dispute between The Union of EPO Employees and the current president Battistelli and vice-president Topić.”
Who would write such a thing unless under great pressure? Techrights has had that done to it in the past, with legal threats made against the site. The bullies want an apology printed in order for them to later link to it.
“We suspect that this is some kind of “paid advertising”,” told us a source. “We can’t say for sure but maybe someone in Croatia has more information,” the source added. “The Croatian version of his original English article which Peratovic claims to have been translated and published without his knowledge or permission is still freely accessible on the Internet and his name is still on it. It alleges corruption and presents documents.
Meanwhile, as noted by another blogger, Battistelli is collapsing/coalescing all independent bodies, ensuing there is no scrutiny at all and all opposition is ousted, intimidated, discredited, or perhaps even bribed (we cannot prove that last one but all the rest are factually true). “On the one hand,” says Merpel, “it is clear that Mr Battistelli, the President of the EPO, would like to bring the Boards of Appeal more within the ordinary management structure of the Office, according to his comments suggesting that “Alicantation” is the correct path forward” (for him at least).
Just half a year ago we saw Battistelli working hard to also abolish the rights of his staff, basically rejecting strikes:
In a letter sent to staff and seen by WIPR, EPO president Benoît Battistelli said it could not go ahead because it might “create confusion” at a time when new staff representatives are being elected.
Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Battistelli marched in Paris for free speech and freedom? Battistelli is not Charlie; he is more like the assassins, seeking to shut up the messengers by all means possible. Those who subscribe to the philosophy of Charlie would have to fight hard to stop him, even at risk to their careers (not lives). As for Topić, he has so much to be afraid of (a closet full of skeletons) that he cannot do much to defend himself; that’s just seemingly Battistelli’s spiel these days.
Incidentally, another source recently came forth to us, perhaps easily bamboozled by what Battistelli claims about Topić.
“The Croatian journalist revoked,” this source wrote, “as you know.” Well, but the revocation does not discredit any specific claims which were made. “I hope you are OK,” said the source, “and not put under pressure in any way.” To be fair to Topić and Battistelli, neither of them has threatened us. This may mean that they have no effective way to rebut what we have shown over the past 4 months. Our source sent us his/her “thanks for making the EPO more transparent.” He or she said that the “initiative hurts them.” Lastly, said this source: “Please make sure not to become a target yourself (by being too critical).”
“Before the article disappeared,” said a source of ours, someone “took the precaution of making a PDF copy.” Referring to the recent “Apology to Zeljko Topic” written by Zeljko Peratovic, one of our sources has just received information that a party in Croatia (Vesna Stilin) has submitted a rebuttal to Zeljko Peratovic’s 45lines.com website requesting that it be published and linked to the “Apology”.
At the moment, the text of the rebuttal is only available in Croatian but we expect an English translation to become available some time during the coming week, so we will publish a copy of the English version of the rebuttal when it becomes available.
The source can’t say whether or not there might be legal issues if we were to post the original article online as one presumes that Peratovic has the copyright on the original article. We have checked our rights and presumably he could ask us to remove it. An interesting detail here is that a Croatian version of the Peratovic article is still freely available online. Only the original English version of the article which he published on his 45lines.com blog site has disappeared. Why does the EPO’s management worry so much about the English text being available? Maybe because far more people can read English. “It seems that what Topic is really worried about is any kind of journalistic coverage that is accessible to an audience outside Croatia,” a source told us, so some folks have generated a PDF using the text of Peratovic’s article but “wrapping” it as a translation of the Croatian article on Metro Portal. Here is PDF version of the text below
[PDF] and the original with photos included
[PDF]. The article which the EPO’s management does not want to exist is below, excepting the images (see second PDF). █
A WRONG MAN SITTING AT THE EPO?
Date: 26 June 2013
The “Balkan Express” route of M.Sc. Željko Topić from Banja Luka to Munich via Zagreb.
The corruption scandal at the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the Republic of Croatia with M.Sc. Željko Topić, former Director of that Croatian institution in the main role, has crossed the administrative borders of the Republic of Croatia and is currently shaking the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, an international patent protection organisation, by an unprecedented affair to date.
The EPO with its headquarters in Munich is an institution of special importance for the EU. It has offices in The Hague, Berlin and Vienna and employs a considerable number of about seven thousand people. The basic EPO’s role is to regulate and strengthen cooperation among the European Member States in terms of protection of patent rights. In addition to 27 EU Member States, as well as Croatia from 1st July 2013, it also represents the patent interests of 11 non-EU Member States. When in March 2012 the EPO’s Management Board, with full support of President of the organisation, Benoit Batistelli, appointed a master of science from Banja Luka, Željko Topić, as one of the five Vice-Presidents, they probably did not have a clue who was coming to join them, a person with a number of criminal charges pressed against him and court proceedings in the Republic of Croatia and before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
NEW ADDITIONS TO ŽELJKO TOPIĆ’S BIOGRAPHY
In addition to all juicy stories published in the media about Mr. Željko Topić so far, there is also some new evidence, which characterises his work and actions at the Croatian Intellectual Property Office in Zagreb at the time as a sophisticated conflict of interest. More specifically, while Mr. Željko Topić was sitting, i.e. was working for the SIPO, in April 2002 he simultaneously founded an association called “Adepta” – Croatian Intellectual Property Association” and offered “cooperation” to the SIPO. He would send interesting “notes” to the then Director of the SIPO and propose cooperation but also ask for financial support for his “projects”. He introduced the association, falsely, as the first national association of its kind in Croatia, although the copyright protection had already been covered by the activities of the “Croatian Copyright Association” (CCA), whereas the intellectual property (industrial property and copyright with related rights) had been covered by the activities of a Croatian branch of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the so-called “AIPPI – Croatia” as early as 1999.
However, to make things even more bizarre, Topić’s “second” office was registered at the address of a nearby coffee bar in Plivska 27 in Zagreb, a mere 50-odd metres away from the SIPO’s building. Many SIPO’s employees witnessed Mr. Topić signing and stamping the letters of the Adepta Association during his working hours at the tables in the aforementioned coffee bar.
Off the record, practically the entire SIPO was aware of the activities of the main character in our story, but nobody took any action. According to our sources, Mr. Topić, allegedly had an intention to use the SIPO’s national database for private purposes via “Adepta”.
“Adepta”’s Vice-President Branka Ljubišić, who also became Topić’s first deputy in 2004 when he became Director of the SIPO for the first time, left him after they had worked together for about a year at the foregoing positions and publicly accused him of incompetence. It would be useful to find out if Topić, when he became Director of the SIPO, gave financial donations to his own association given the fact that former Director of the SIPO, Hrvoje Junašević, refused to do so with resentment.
Topić’s CV, which he personally uploaded on the Internet and which is visible on the portal of the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO due to his membership in its professional bodies, indicates that he is the president of the Croatian branch of the AIPPI, which is not true. He was hiding behind a minor “Adepta”. Topić’s CV is riddled with false facts. In particular, one can single out Topić’s claim that he worked as an Assistant Director of the SIPO for 11 years (1992-2003). According to the information from the SIPO, the first Director of the SIPO, Nikola Kopčić, assumed his powers from the Government of the Republic of Croatia for the period of ten years, his entire mandate (1992-2002) and himself appointed the SIPO’s officials (his assistants) instead of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Accordingly, Željko Topić worked as an Assistant Director of the SIPO for a short while, but not for 11 years, as stated in his CV. Furthermore, it is indicative that he attributes such nomination to himself as authorised nomination and simultaneously disputes identical nominations of others.
To our knowledge, it is still unknown if Mr. Batistelli, President of the EPO in Munich, is familiar with this important detail in the curriculum vitae of his assistant and if Željko Topić meanwhile followed the same pattern and set up a parallel association at an obscure kebab bar in the German territory, at the nearby Bahnhof (railway station) in Munich.
In his CV, Topić likewise indicated that he worked on the establishment of the national intellectual property system, that is, legislation of the SIPO of the Republic of Croatia, which is not true. It was the SIPO’s lawyers, and not him as an economist, who worked on that subject matter. He claimed to be an initiator, coordinator and main associate of the National Intellectual Property System Development Strategy in the Republic of Croatia, but it was a document he never observed, which can be demonstrated by his ignoring of the public lending right, a new right important for writers, whereby he caused them irreparable financial damage.
He claimed to be a national intellectual property coordinator in the EU accession process, but it was Professor Siniša Petrović from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb who had that role. He stated that he was a Croatian patent and trademark representative, but this function was attributed to him by his deputy (and vice versa) without any initial transparent procedure for others at the SIPO.
SIPO’S OFFICIAL AND SIPO’S REPRESENTATIVE AT THE SAME TIME
In addition to the „Adepta” Association, in March 2003 with Attorneys at Law Korper & Haramija from Zagreb Željko Topić founded a company called Korper, Haramija & Topić d.o.o. /a limited liability company/, whose activities inter alia also included representation before the SIPO. When in 2004 he became Director of the SIPO, his actions were illegal: the Korper, Haramija & Topić d.o.o. Company was not registered in the SIPO’s Register of Representatives since it would be a direct, visible conflict of interest. However, the powers of attorney submitted to the SIPO by that company for its representation of different entities together with the Topić’s name were processed, like any other case, represented by companies registered in the Register of Representatives. Only the companies registered in the SIPO’s Register of Representatives may engage in representation as an occupation, which excludes the Korper, Haramija & Topić d.o.o. Company and makes their powers of attorney invalid.
We are in possession of the powers of attorney of that company with Topić’s name and evidence of further proceedings, at the time when he was Director of the SIPO, as well as other documentation which corroborates our claims.
Additionally, if other representatives had found out that the SIPO’s Director represents other companies in line with the powers of attorney, they could have made a big legal scandal and pleaded a conflict of interest. Unlike the Adepta episode from the nearby coffee bar, some employees within the SIPO’s system must have been aware of this illegal business of Željko Topić since the foregoing documentation had to pass through their hands.
Whilst doing research into this topic, we also obtained some information that Mr. Željko Topić owns a document issued by the Croatian authorities that denies any serious proceedings instituted against him in the Republic of Croatia now or at least for the time being, that is, it indicates that all charges against him were dropped. This document is allegedly officially available at the EPO in Munich on its internal website signed by President of the EPO in February 2013. If this is true, then only the State Attorney’s Office (DORH) headed by Chief State Attorney Mladen Bajić could have issued that document to “master of science” Topić. At any case, it will be interesting to see how this story is going to develop after it has become established how this Balkan intellectual managed to go through the EU security system and get employed at the EPO in Munich. According to some unofficial German newspaper sources, Željko Topić enjoys the protection of President of the EPO, Benoit Batistelli. The motive or cause behind it is yet to be identified within the EPO’s security system.
As it is evident from the official website of the SIPO and the EPO, during the last year Željko Topić slowly started to recruit his resources systematically and to create his network within the ranks of the EPO: recently the current Director of the Croatian SIPO, Ljiljana Kuterovac, “suddenly turned up” there. A couple of months ago she was appointed as a member of the Supervisory Board of the EPO’s Academy in Munich for a three-year mandate. Many thus consider this international promotion of the current SIPO’s Director from Zagreb as a reciprocal favour to the person to whom Željko Topić assigned a private task to “watch his back” in court proceedings in Croatia and to be his informant on a daily basis.
EPO STARTS INVESTIGATION IN THE SRPSKA REPUBLIC
According to his official CV, Željko Topić started his career as a sales specialist at the Yugoslav Railways with headquarters in Banja Luka (former Yugoslav Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina) in the early 1980s, i.e. after he had finished his studies. He tried to get a job at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade before that, but he was rejected.
Off the record, according to the newspaper headlines and systematic internal reports at the headquarters in Munich, the EPO has started an official investigation in the territory of the Republic of Srpska, at the University of Banja Luka, to establish the credibility of his diploma, that is, his master’s degree. The findings of the EPO’s investigation team are still unknown, including the reasons why a master of science from Banja Luka when seeking employment at the EPO did not mention a number of criminal proceedings instituted against him in Croatia and two court proceedings in Strasbourg.
Before his arrival at the EPO, on a few occasions Željko Topić also tried to apply for a job at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, but he failed. He again falsified his personal data to embellish his CV based on unfounded and false facts.
Likewise, a mention should be made of the following piece of information: on his way to obtain the current position in Munich Željko Topić allegedly used some mysterious circles in Budapest. It is not known if the convicted former Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Ivo Sanader, also travelled with him on the same train with the “INA-MOL” file on his person.
On the eve of Croatia’s accession to the European Union an issue remains open if there is a corruption link between the structures of the Croatian state institutions, individual associations and the attorneys’ lobby. An investigation of this issue has been avoided to date by the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the State Attorney’s Office (DORH) and the Anti-Corruption Office (USKOK), the bodies regulated by the Croatian Constitution to protect the legal order and legal security of the Republic of Croatia. It is a small wonder then that our country has been given such an unfavourable ranking in the international Corruption Perceptions Index according to the latest international surveys and that one of the main Croatian export products to be offered is the unacceptable carcinogenic and deviant social behaviour in the form of “intellectual corruption”.
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“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” ~Upton Sinclair
Summary: The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour
Patent lawyers with their monkey business can lie all they want, but the matter of fact is — and the numbers speak for themselves — patent lawyers would be better off rewriting their resume/curriculum vitae (not the history of software patents and of Alice v. CLS Bank) and seek another type of job. The parasites are on their way out and their business is decreasing, making this space more crowded and more competitive. It will be getting hard to get away with a patent on [action] “over the Internet” or [action] “using a computer” because guidelines are being revised and junior patent examiners will grow into them, applying a stricter test of validity before endorsing something; a lot of applications will be thrown in the bin very quickly. The same goes for judges, who will phase in a better set of standards, potentially scaring everyone who wields patents in the courtroom (and can therefore have them altogether invalidated).
“It will be getting hard to get away with a patent on [action] “over the Internet” or [action] “using a computer” because guidelines are being revised and junior patent examiners will grow into them, applying a stricter test of validity before endorsing something; a lot of applications will be thrown in the bin very quickly.”Lex Machina was mentioned here years ago and Lex Machina continues to do a good job tracking patent litigation from a sceptical eye. The latest Lex Machina report says that “2014 has ended, though perhaps not yet for many court clerks who will continue entering paperwork from their backlog for another week or so, if history is a guide. These numbers are therefore preliminary and can be expected to rise slightly as the backlog is processed.
“441 new patent cases were filed in December, rising 32% from November 2014’s total of 335. These filings brought the total for 2014 to 5,010 new cases, an 18% decrease from the 6,083 new cases filed in 2013.”
In other words, placing some emphasis on the latter figure, for the second month in a row (if not for longer than this), post-Alice v. CLS Bank we see a very statistically-significant decrease in patent litigation. Steph from IP Troll Tracker said that even the pro-patents folks, “Dennis Crouch over at Patently-O and I AM reported the same thing, citing Lex’s numbers because why not? A 40% reduction in patent filings sounds all nice-like.”
Steph adds: “As I pointed out on Twitter, it’s not so much the number of suits that’s problematic, it’s who sues who and what it costs to defend. If there were only three patent troll lawsuits in a single year, but those lawsuits shut down three companies, if those three lawsuits cost hundreds of people their jobs because company owners were forced to deflect funds to lawyers (the only true winners in any litigation), would we be better or worse off?”
Well, all in all, given the size of the sample set (hundreds), it is safe to assert that the decrease is real. One could argue about the exact number and the way litigation is counted, but the statistically-significant figures are enough to support the conclusion and they apply the same definition to 2013 and 2014 litigations. The figures were assembled by a group that is academic (subjected to scrutiny from peers), not a bunch of software patents boosters or opponents. They profit from good research, not from selling an agenda of themselves (or a client).
Matt Levy, a lawyer who likes to focus on patent trolls, decided to spin it the other way, trying to (mis)use the aforementioned study not to compare year-to-year trends (as should be done), but month-to-month over consecutive months that are inherently different (December has holidays). He said: “According to Lex Machina’s data, there were 441 patent litigation filings in December 2014. The previous month, there were 335. That’s an increase of 32%!”
Complete misinterpretation of what was shown. That’s like comparing the sales of Christmas trees in November to the sales of Christmas trees in December. But nice try, Mr. Levy. █
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