04.11.21

All EPO Articles Are Available Over Gemini Protocol

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gemini Protocol
Graphics by Uoniss Evernou (apparently)

Summary: For lighter and more privacy-preserving access to Techrights use the Gemini capsule instead of the Web site

HAVING just done a quick tally, there are now 4,070 articles in the EPO wiki (this one included), with some of them being translations or items which only partly cover the EPO, so let’s say about 4,000 in total. We’ve posted a lot; published over 30,000 blog posts in total, so 4,000 is over 10%, not taking post length — or depth of coverage — into account.

“We’ve posted a lot; published over 30,000 blog posts in total, so 4,000 is over 10%, not taking post length — or depth of coverage — into account.”All the EPO posts are in Gemini, with a simple URL substitution enabling access to them.

For http://techrights.org/2021/04/11/juri-poem/ (just published), for instance, use gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2021/04/11/juri-poem/ in a Gemini client of choice or a Web proxy.

BombadilloBombadillo on the right may seem retro and “Brutalist”; but some Gemini clients are almost indistinguishable from a Web browser and they render pages very neatly while adding neat navigation effects, sometimes even images.

Lagrange has plenty of features and Moonlander is promising (still alpha stage). I’ve recorded my very first experience with the former just to show how simple it is to wrap one’s head around everything. The Gemini (gemini://) protocol is vastly simpler than HTTP/HTML/WWW, so the learning curve isn’t steep.

Judge and JURI

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

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

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

THE LEGAL beset

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

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

Immunity!
Impunity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

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

The compliance masters
Ernst was billed as one of the top speakers at a “Compliance Masters” conference in Berlin (2008). Original: Compliance Masters [PDF]

Summary: Before becoming an absent-minded Vice-President of António Campinos Christoph Ernst was posing as the very opposite of what he would become (see “Anti-Kurruption” above)

As we saw in the last part, Christoph Ernst’s career in the Justice Ministry started to gain traction following his appointment as head of a legislative reform project in the area of German accounting law, the Bilanzrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz or BilMoG.

It is worth noting here that – in addition to accounting regulations – the BilMoG also contains a series of provisions aimed at improving “corporate governance”.

“Because of his leading role in the BilMoG project, Ernst soon found himself in great demand as a guest speaker at various business networking events and as a guest contributor to corporate accountancy journals.”In particular, the BilMoG prescribes that the Supervisory Board of a company has to guarantee the effectiveness of the company’s internal control systems, check the internal audit function and evaluate the risk management system. To assist the Supervisory Board in this regard, an Audit Committee which reports to the Board is foreseen.

Because of his leading role in the BilMoG project, Ernst soon found himself in great demand as a guest speaker at various business networking events and as a guest contributor to corporate accountancy journals.

For example, at the end of 2007 he contributed an article [PDF] to the “Audit Committee Quarterly”, a newsletter published by the German branch of KMPG’s Audit Committee Institute. In this article he expounded on the topic of BilMoG – a milestone for the strengthening and efficiency of German accounting law”.

Audit Committee
Dr Christoph Ernst, the “corporate governance” guru: Passionate about Audit Committees – as long as they remain outside the EPO!

In September 2008, he was billed as one of the top speakers at a “Compliance Masters” conference which took place in Berlin. On that occasion he was lined-up to speak on the topic of “The Challenge of the EU Audit Directive” in a presentation focused on “New Corporate Governance Requirements”.

“If Ernst had pressed for badly needed reforms and improvements to the governance and oversight structures of the EPO he could have made a valuable contribution in this area. Unfortunately his track record over the last decade shows that he failed to live up to that particular promise.”It would appear that back in those days Ernst greatly enjoyed basking in his public image as a “good governance” guru. He seems to have been keen to present himself at every available opportunity as an “audit committee expert” and “compliance master”.

Because of this it is reasonable to suppose that he could have put his knowledge of such matters to good use in the context of the EPO.

If Ernst had pressed for badly needed reforms and improvements to the governance and oversight structures of the EPO he could have made a valuable contribution in this area. Unfortunately his track record over the last decade shows that he failed to live up to that particular promise.

Amongst other things, he failed to bring any detectable level of passion and commitment to the EPO Audit Committee debate. This is in stark contrast to his apparent enthusiasm for the subject when dealing with accounting standards bodies such as KMPG’s Audit Committee Institute.

In the end it would appear that the only real talent which Ernst showed as a “compliance master” during his tenure as Chair of the Administrative Council was his ability to masterfully comply with the whims and vagaries of “Il Capo” Benoît Battistelli – the very person that he was supposed to supervise!

In this way Ernst effectively made himself an accessory to the vicious and cynical excesses of Battistelli’s managerialist “reign of terror” à la France Telecom.

“…the Council – under Ernst’s stewardship – was too timid and supine to enforce its authority over the rogue President (who had formerly been Chairman of the Council).”Ernst’s inability to face up to his own responsibility in this regard was revealed in an interview which he gave to the German law magazine JUVE in November 2017. (Local copy [PDF])

Referring between the lines to the intense social conflict inside the EPO, Ernst openly admitted that the verdict on the reforms which had been implemented during the preceding years would “certainly be clouded by the fact that President Battistelli has overseen a very rigid regime with a heavy-handed approach.”

He then went on to state that he “would have occasionally liked to see more compromise and more understanding for differing interests.”

EPO worship
Under Ernst’s stewardship the Council was too timid and supine to rein in the rogue President Battistelli.

“In the next part we shall look at how the notorious revolving door arrangement between the Administrative Council and the senior management of the European Patent Office may have contributed to this unfortunate state of affairs.”This is a piece of mealy-mouthed prevarication which deliberately glosses over the relevant facts. Namely, that Battistelli – in his capacity as EPO President – was subject to the authority of the Administrative Council which he apparently refused to obey. And that the Council – under Ernst’s stewardship – was too timid and supine to enforce its authority over the rogue President (who had formerly been Chairman of the Council).

In the next part we shall look at how the notorious revolving door arrangement between the Administrative Council and the senior management of the European Patent Office may have contributed to this unfortunate state of affairs.

Challenging Times for EPO Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A discussion of the status quo at Europe’s second-largest (but scarcely-understood) institution, subjected to a JURI hearing tomorrow afternoon

THE dictators of the EPO will come under growing levels of scrutiny. Benoît Battistelli was already pushed out for his abuses, albeit his successor and friend (António Campinos) had a ‘grace period’ for a while. His dialogue with the staff broke down earlier this year (more formally, as it had already been on the rocks for years) and as we pointed out yesterday [1, 2, 3] the uncomfortable-to-answer questions keep coming up and it’s possible that tomorrow the EU/EP will bring up those questions at a more official capacity. We certainly hope that the EPO can repair itself before it just completely collapses (the latter is almost guranteed to happen unless things change, according to longtime insiders).

04.10.21

[Meme] Bundestagate Series Spoiler

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

German spoiler: It came from das cloud

Battistelli spoiler

Summary: The chain of command/s at the EPO typically leads to major tragedy

Breaking News: Campinos to Appear Before the Legals Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Monday 12 April

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:57 pm by Guest Editorial Team

From the original document: [PDF]

JURI EPO

Summary: “Some MEPs have been briefed about ongoing governance deficits at the EPO, in particular the lack of GDPR compliance and the sell-out of "digital sovereignty" to Microsoft, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will dare to bring these issues up during the hearing.”

THE EPO President António Campinos is scheduled to appear before the Legals Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (known as the JURI Committee) on Monday 12 April.

The part of the session dealing with the EPO is scheduled to take place some time after 15:15 Central European Time (14:15 UK Time) and should be streamed live on the website of the European Parliament.

“…it is not clear what exactly this “exchange of views” is supposed to cover.”According to the draft agenda, the purpose of the hearing is an “Exchange of views with European Patent Office (EPO)”. However, it is not clear what exactly this “exchange of views” is supposed to cover.

The last time the JURI Committee of the European Parliament took an interest in the EPO was back in 2015 when the UPC project looked like it was ready to take off.

On that occasion, in May 2015, a delegation of MEPS from the JURI Committee went on a junket to visit the EPO headquarters in Munich where they were wined and dined by Benoît Battistelli and "Mrs UPC" Margot Fröhlinger.

Of course the MEPs didn’t make any effort to speak to EPO staff or to the Staff Union SUEPO so all they got was one-sided PR spin from Team Battistelli.

Some time later in June 2015, Battistelli appeared before the JURI Committee. (warning: epo.org link)

“Some MEPs have been briefed about ongoing governance deficits at the EPO, in particular the lack of GDPR compliance and the sell-out of “digital sovereignty” to Microsoft, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will dare to bring these issues up during the hearing.”Battistelli was given a very easy ride by the MEPs most of whom didn’t appear to have much of a clue about what was going on at the EPO.

The only critical question came from the Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, who asked about the state of labour relations at the EPO.

Battistelli just brushed this aside with his usual bluff and bluster. A recording of that hearing is available on the website of the European Parliament.

Battistelli appeared for a further hearing before the JURI Committee on 23 March 2017 [PDF] to report on “The Unitary Patent: state of play”. Once again Battistelli was given a very easy ride by the MEPs.

JURI UPC

So it will be interesting to see what happens on Monday when Campinos appears before the JURI Committee. Will it be business as usual or is somebody finally going to start asking the questions that need to be asked?

Some MEPs have been briefed about ongoing governance deficits at the EPO, in particular the lack of GDPR compliance and the sell-out of "digital sovereignty" to Microsoft, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will dare to bring these issues up during the hearing.

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

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

Christoph Ernst money series
Ernst’s professional background is in taxation law and corporate accounting standards.

Summary: We examine the role of Christoph Ernst in EPO management, both in the Benoît Battistelli era and the António Campinos era (plenty to hide)

Christoph Ernst’s sudden rise to prominence in the governance circles of the European Patent Organisation is somewhat enigmatic in view of the fact that his professional background and expertise lies in the area of taxation law, corporate accounting and financial reporting standards.

“…there is no indication that he had any prior involvement with IP and patent law matters before 2011, when his name first crops up in the records of the Administrative Council as the new head of the German delegation following the appointment of Raimund Lutz as EPO Vice-President.”Puff pieces which have appeared the IP media have regularly claimed that Ernst has “extensive knowledge of intellectual property”. However, there is no indication that he had any prior involvement with IP and patent law matters before 2011, when his name first crops up in the records of the Administrative Council as the new head of the German delegation following the appointment of Raimund Lutz as EPO Vice-President.

We remind readers that during the first decade and a half of his career at the German Justice Ministry, Ernst had languished in relative obscurity as a humble Undersecretary (“Ministerialrat”) working in the area of financial reporting and accounting standards.

Back in those days his public profile was limited to occasional appearances as an guest speaker at the annual symposia of little-known academic discussion groups for economic policy wonks such as the Ulm Forum for Economic Studies (“Ulmer Forum für Wirtschaftswissenschaften”).

Christoph Ernst in 2006
Ernst as a guest speaker at an obscure policy wonks’ symposium in 2006.

Ernst’s career at the Justice Ministry started to take off following his appointment as head of the BilMoG project. From 2007 onwards he was suddenly in great demand as a guest speaker at various corporate accounting events [PDF] sponsored by the likes of Handelsblatt and Price Waterhouse Coopers. His newly acquired popularity in these circles was due to his insider knowledge of the impending reform of corporate accounting law.

Christoph Ernst banking
Due to his insider knowledge of the BilMog, Ernst was in great demand as a guest speaker at corporate accounting events sponsored by the likes of Handelsblatt and Price Waterhouse Coopers.

In May 2010 Ernst was promoted to the position of Deputy Director General (“Ministerialdirigent”) in the Justice Ministry´s Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Department.

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

After that whenever Lutz turned up for a photo-op at some IP junket or EPO extravaganza, Ernst was almost certain to be seen in close proximity, grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat.

The pictures below show Lutz with Ernst at a junket organised by the German Federal Patent Court in 2011 and with Boards of Appeal President (Carl Josefsson) and the Mayor of Haar (Gabriele Müller) at the formal inauguration of the new Boards of Appeal premises in Haar in December 2017. (warning: epo.org link)

Christoph Ernst and Lutz
Ernst was frequently seen in the company of EPO Vice-President Lutz (these photos are from 2011 and 2017, left and right respectively).

For EPO staff, Ernst’s tenure as Chair of the Administrative Council was hugely disappointing because he turned out to be every bit as subservient to Battistelli as his predecessor, Kongstad.

Although Ernst was described as a “moderate critic” of Battistelli by JUVE in June 2017 (copy here [PDF]), it soon became clear that he was – as Techrights put it – "just a megaphone of Battistelli’s EPO" and – just like Kongstad – another one of "Battistelli's protectors".

Indeed it hardly seems to be an exaggeration to say that following Ernst’s appointment as Chairman of the Council, Battistelli ended up with not just one but two subservient German “Duckmäuser” at his disposal: one in-house, in charge of his Legal and International Affairs Department, and the other conveniently in charge of the Organisation’s governing body.

In June 2018 – as Battistelli’s departure from the EPO was imminent – Kluwer Patent Blog published a farewell article about the “tarnished reputation of an EPO President”.

At around the same time Techrights reported on calls for Ernst “to be forced by national politicians to step down with immediate effect”.

However, it would appear that the main concern of Ernst’s boss, Justice Minister Heiko Mass, was to preserve the German share of the “loot” from the EPO’s "Dukatenesel". Maas would never have dared to upset the apple cart by calling his “Ministerialdirigent” to account.

And Ernst, for his part, had no intention of falling on his own sword voluntarily.

Au contraire, as he approached the statutory retirement age in 2018, he allowed himself to be rewarded by his buddies on the Administrative Council with a cushy little sinecure [PDF] as the next EPO Vice-President for International and Legal Affairs.

Christoph Ernst revolving doors
In 2018, Ernst was rewarded by his buddies on the Council with a well-paid sinecure as EPO Vice-President.

Thus, in addition to his entitlement to a generous public sector pension for previous service in the Justice Ministry, Ernst is now in receipt of a juicy five-digit monthly tax-free salary as an EPO Vice-President.

Unfortunately, his track record as Vice-President so far has been every bit as disappointing as his earlier track record as Administrative Council Chairman – although cynics might be inclined to say that he is indeed a worthy successor to his mentor Raimund Lutz.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ernst was rarely seen on EPO premises. During 2019, he seems to have spent most of his time on “duty missions” travelling to attend various IP junkets and boondoggles around the globe, particularly in the Far East.

He has also been implicated in the "Doyen for a Yen" scandal where the former Vice-President Željko Topić managed to become a European Patent Attorney without passing the European Qualifying Examination.

As reported by Techrights, Topić’s bogus application to be registered as a European Patent Attorney must have been rubber-stamped by EPO Directorate 5.2.3 which falls under the responsibility of Christoph Ernst as Vice President of DG5.

Furthermore, Ernst has conspicuously failed to press for the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure that the EPO’s data protection framework is truly fit for purpose for the twenty-first century.

Instead of doing what badly needs to be done in this regard, Ernst seems to be content to sit on his hands and continue peddling the untenable EPOnian myth of GDPR-compliance which he inherited from his mentor Lutz.

In the next part we will continue our review of Ernst’s role in EPO affairs by looking into the failed promise of a self-styled “good governance” guru.

USPTO for Monopolies, Keeping GNU/Linux in the Dark

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Growing evidence of gross discrimination against GNU/Linux (or Free software, even BSD/UNIX) users at the USPTO is too hard to ignore; some people out there challenge the Office over this travesty

“On Wednesday,” one reader told us after we had published “Conflict of Interest: Microsoft and IBM Controlling the USPTO and Leaving GNU/Linux Users Shut Out (in the Cold),” action was taken. He shared letters with us, adding: “I mailed the report to people in Congress who might be able to do something, or at least might be interested. I also sent it to the Antitrust division of the Department of Justice, and to the Anticompetitive Practices Division of the Federal Trade Commission. Waste of time and money, because they won’t do anything, but did it anyway.”

“It will be interesting to see if they respond at all.”“Adobe is making millions and millions of the US government,” he added, “and forces Americans to use Microsoft or Apple.”

We’ve received and have decided to publish the two letters below; if there’s any follow-up or response, we’ll probably receive a copy and reproduce it at a later date.

April 6, 2021

Mr. Richard A. Powers
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Powers:
Your webpage https://www.justice.gov/atr says this: “To view PDF files on this website you need the free Adobe Reader.” But, de facto, Adobe is not free, because it does not work with the free operating system: Linux. It requires proprietary software: either Microsoft Windows or the Apple operating system for laptops. See Attachment D in the enclosed 38-page report about the USPTO.

If you look at Attachment F in the report, you will see that the White House and various parts of the military and federal government use Linux; and, if you look at Attachment G, you might think it reasonable to believe that perhaps 7.5% of the computers in America run on Linux.

Adobe is making millions upon millions peddling stuff to the US government, and they discriminate against maybe 7.5% of computer users. And, something is extremely rotten at the USPTO, when IBM and Microsoft takes over and institutes an “Electronic Filing Incentive.”

Why don’t you demand that Adobe work with Linux? Why don’t you demand that the USPTO stop requiring inventors to use Microsoft? And, please don’t suggest they use the much more pricey Apple. If you want more information, you can contact me at ████████████, or at ██████████.

Best regards,

████████████████

The second letter:

April 6, 2021

Federal Trade Commission
Anticompetitive Practices Division
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

To whom it may concern:
I would like to ask you why I am being punished by the USPTO for using the Linux operating system, and why this sorta-government, sorta-not-government agency – which had people from IBM and Microsoft in its leadership – is trying to force me to use Microsoft.

The issue of Linux and IBM and Microsoft begins at page fourteen in the enclosed report about the USPTO, which I am circulating in DC, so, maybe, somebody might ask you about it, so here’s your chance to read it, and make yourself look informed. And, why don’t you go ahead and act on it, and make yourself look smart and responsible?

I was born in the District of Columbia, and I studied accounting at George Washington University, and I am a self-taught inventor who was in the Patent Office in 1980 when it was in Crystal City, so I know what I am talking about.

If you want more information, please feel free to contact me at ████████████, or at ██████████.

Best regards,

████████████████

It will be interesting to see if they respond at all. I sent several letter to the Federal Trade Commission over the years, but all I got was a generic response saying they had received my complaints. Nothing more, or barely anything of substance (just saying they’re looking into it). No evidence of actual progress, just template-like acknowledgements.

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