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02.18.15

EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO

HALF A YEAR ago we began investigating the rot at the EPO’s management, whose time has come to leave. Here are the articles we have published about it:

  1. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources
  2. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible
  3. English Translation of Süddeutsche Zeitung Article About Benoît Battistelli, Željko Topić, and EPO Tyranny
  4. Amid EPO Scandals, Call to Dissolve the EPO and Start All Over Again (With New Management and New Direction)
  5. FFII and the American IP Law Association Comment on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Envisioned by EPO
  6. English Translation of Article About Protest at Danish Consulate Over EPO Abuses
  7. EPO Staff to March to British Consulate to Protest Against the Administrative Council (AC)
  8. The EPO’s Digital War (Censorship) Against Staff Web Site
  9. Cyberattacks on SUEPO Server Raise More Questions
  10. The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) is Again Protesting Against EPO as More Crackdowns by EPO Management Reveal Depth of Abuse
  11. English Translation of Ruling Against Željko Topić (EPO VP) in Croatian Court
  12. German Translation of Ruling Against Željko Topić, the EPO’s Vice-President
  13. More Press Coverage From the Danish Media About EPO Abuses and Protest at Danish Consulate
  14. Benoît Battistelli and Jesper Kongstad Continue to Blame Everything on SUEPO
  15. Catarina Holtz From the EPO Boards of Appeal Explains Bad Behaviour of the Management With Regards to EPC 2000
  16. The EPO’s Paid Propaganda Campaign in the Media
  17. Media Coverage of Demonstration Against Jesper Kongstad of the Administrative Council (EPO)
  18. Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)
  19. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Employees-Strong Legion Engulfs Danish Consulate to Protest Jesper Kongstad’s (of Administrative Council) Protection of Benoît Battistelli
  20. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia
  21. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO’s Abuses is Needed
  22. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations
  23. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)
  24. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls
  25. Battistelli’s Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić’s Many Criminal Charges Don’t Exist
  26. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)
  27. Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong, Criticising Battistelli and Topić, Calls for Action Against EPO Management
  28. EPO Misdirections Debunked: Refuting Battistelli’s Nonsense and Bogeyman Theory
  29. The EPO Connection Now a Liability as Administrative Council Has Become a Laughing Stock, Jesper Kongstad to be Targeted by EPO Staff Protests
  30. Investigation Unit a Complete Farce Inside the EPO
  31. Just in: Fresh Call From Croatia to Arrest EPO Vice-President Željko Topić
  32. EPO Under Fire From European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW)
  33. Intellectual Property Judges’ Association (IPJA) Speaks Out Against EPO Tyrant Battistelli
  34. EPO Imploding: Battistelli Throws a Fit at EPO’s Investigation Unit
  35. EPO and UPC in Europe Now the Hope of Patent Maximalists, China Too is Assimilating
  36. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli’s Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations
  37. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution
  38. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli’s Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council
  39. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance
  40. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO
  41. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses
  42. EPO Corruption: Battistelli Augments His ‘Loyals’ Circle With Frederic Angermann and Charm Offensive in Patent Lawyers’ Sites
  43. EPO Breaking News: The European Parliament Dismisses Complaint About EPO Abuses
  44. EPO Staff Protests to Continue in the New Year, Techrights to Release New Material
  45. The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch: Part XVI
  46. Corruption at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office Which Željko Topić Came From: Part XV
  47. The EPO Shaken by Croatian Revelations: Part XIV
  48. The EPO’s Vice-President Željko Topić and the Case of Ivan Kabalin: Part XIII
  49. France Gets Involved in Battistelli’s Abuses in the EPO – Part XII
  50. Vesna Stilin’s Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI
  51. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić
  52. How the EPO’s Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X
  53. How to Complain About the EPO to National Delegations in Europe: Part IX
  54. The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part VIII
  55. The EPO’s Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII
  56. The EPO’s Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI
  57. Benoît Battistelli’s Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V
  58. European Patent Office Disorganisation: Problems With the Audit Mechanisms – Part IV
  59. European Patent Office/Organisation – Suspicion of Improper Collusion Between EPO President and Chairman of the Administrative Council: Part III
  60. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II
  61. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

There is a lot more to come, so stay tune (or keep subscribed).

02.17.15

Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ivan Kabalin
Photograph of Ivan Kabalin, one of Topić’s alleged victims

Summary: Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic’s so-called “apology” which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)

NOT TOO long ago a man known as Željko Peratović, relying on key sources, published an important exposé about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić. Peratović later removed that piece, letting down not only his sources but also many Croatian people. Techrights has already covered this in length, e.g. here, here, here, and here.

We lay out the following text for readers’ information (see original [PDF]), highlighting once again the suspicious and controversial nature of the so-called “apology”:

Ivan Kabalin, dipl. ing.
Nartska 11
10000 Zagreb
E-mail: kabalin42@gmail.com

FOR THE ATTENTION OF
THE EDITOR 45LINES.COM
ZAGREB

Subject
In response to the published article “Apology to Željko Topić: Review of the deleted text on the EPO” (http://45lines.com/isprika-zeljku-topicu-osvrt-na-obrisani-tekst-o-epo-u/) on the website of the portal 45lines.com on 16 December 2014 by Željko Peratović.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the common good, and for the people from the union of employees of the EPO as well as many others, I have been trying to shed some light on “the person and work of Mr. Zeljko Topić, M.Sc”. Unfortunately, in this context a media person also happened to appear on the scene who may well have some serious mental health problems as he seems to be under the delusion that he has attained “enlightenment” and that he is
obliged to publicly say all the best about Željko Topić (without the need to provide any arguments, of course).

I have explained to the local and international public who Željko Topić is and have described his actions in the Croatian Intellectual Property Office over a number of years in the interview available at:

http://tjedno.hr/cijeli-dziv-treba-u-remetinec/

[Headline: “The whole of the DZIV should be sent to Remetinec (i.e. the main state penitentiary in Zagreb)”]

So, the former Director of the State Intellectual Office, Mr. Željko Topić, should not and cannot be protected from criminal prosecution because he inflicted far greater damage on the Republic of Croatia than the corrupt and convicted former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, about which OLAF will soon have the final say under the case number OF/2005/ 0390.

Since the domain of patents and intellectual property is the field where significant values are decided upon, it is very important that the positions of responsibility in the media are occupied by impeccable persons. Therefore, I feel the need to point out that in this case, a so-called investigative journalist Željko Peratović appeared who is now publicly repenting and apologizing for the revelation of some new details about Željko Topić and who is now praising him to the heavens.

In conclusion, a public question need to be asked:
Why and what are the motives for the mocking and attempt silencing of credible sources and
whistleblowers by the journalist Zeljko Peratovic in the “Topić affair”?
In particular, it should be taken into account that the aforementioned person ran for the prestigious position of the President of Croatian Journalists’ Association several years ago.

Zagreb, 15 January 2015.

Ivan Kabalin

Some of our readers went as far as insinuating that the EPO could have gone as far as paying Peratović. The EPO might be good at compensating staff financially, but the same can be said about the NSA, yet this does not excuse the NSA and the likes of it. The EPO used the so-called ‘apology’ from Peratović for PR. It tries to give Topić the ‘von Braun treatment’. This apology is being challenged right now from several directions that suspect collusion, coercion, or even worse things (Topić intimidates critics, costing them a fortune using SLAPP). Peratović ought to speak out and explain his motives.

Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) is officially above the law, as neither its own overseers (whom Battistelli is rapidly crushing) nor the European Parliament itself are able to carry out an investigation

Benoît Battistelli is shredding the law, tearing apart oversight mechanisms, and effectively surrounds himself with ‘loyal’ people while ousting those who are not carrying water for him. His tyranny has come under fire from more directions than we’re able to keep track of, but we keep trying to get hold of what’s publicly available. The case of Rikard Frgacic and the case of Ivan Kabalin (which we shall elaborate on later this week) help show that Battistelli surround himself with corrupt folks so as to possibly better mask his own corruption (it sure serves to distract from his own abuses).

A couple of months ago a petition was rejected by the European Parliament not because there is lack of basis/merit/substance but because nobody seems to want to touch Battistelli’s dirty laundry. These people in the PEO’s management are sworn bullies and a new petition ought to be filed, bolstering the previous one. It needs to address those who are bureaucratically powerful enough not to be intimidated by Battistelli and his thugs (who are themselves well connected in their home countries, as we demonstrated in the past, e.g. Battistelli in Ecole Nationale d’Administration).

“Benoît Battistelli is shredding the law, tearing apart oversight mechanisms, and effectively surrounds himself with ‘loyal’ people while ousting those who are not carrying water for him.”We have just learned about the previous petition going astray. A source passed us a copy of a letter that was recently sent from the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal to some folks in Croatia [PDF]. For those who haven’t been following it closely enough, Battistelli and his minions are now plotting to send the EPO’s Boards of Appeal into exile in Berlin, having already ousted (against the law) people whom Battistelli et al. deemed “enemies” for just daring to ask questions.

To paraphrase our source, the letter is undated but we understand that it was sent some time during the last few days. Our regular readers may recall that these people from Croatia filed a Petition with the European Parliament.

“The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament,” as our source explains, “dismissed the Petition and suggested that the petitioners contact the EPO’s Boards of Appeal in the matter. It now turns out that the Enlarged Board of Appeal doesn’t have any competence to look into the matter either. The conclusion here seems to be that there is nobody competent to investigate questionable senior management appointments at the EPO. How reassuring.”

Here is the body of the letter in question (the PDF has more text):

Dear Ms Stilian and Mr Zeljko,

I refer to your e-mail of 24 January 2015 to the Chairman and the members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Organisation.

I regret to inform you that pursuant to the European Patent Convention and notably Article 22 thereof, the Enlarged Board of Appeal has not been given authority to take the question formulated in your e-m ail and the annexes thereto.

Yours sincerely,

W. van der Eijk
Chairman

This is truly disturbing because it shows that the EPO has indeed ascended above the law. It’s a country within a country within a continent, managing without scrutiny the law of the entire continent and bringing software patents into Europe without veto rights. This is as undemocratic as it can get and if Battistelli gets his way, Europe will be doomed not only by so-called ‘trade’ agreements but also a patent (monopolies) regime from abroad and from the richest 1% (or less). It’s an attack by globalists — the likes of those whom Battistelli went to school with and goes dining with (Battistelli is now protected by bodyguards). As one comment from IP Kat put it the other day: “Readers, when using the words “overlook” and “oversee” just bear in mind that, for many of those who have English as a foreign language, when they read “oversee” they think “overlook”.”

To which the response was: “That is why nobody can really complain if you say that the the Administrative Council is doing a great job “overseeing” the actions of the President.”

The Administrative Council, led by a Dane, is very much complicit. It’s like a sad movie plot. It’s a coup d’état by few very rich people who exploit the transition to a European union to fill their own pockets (and their friends’).

The software patents problem continues to get worse according to this one source and unless Battistelli and his minions can be stopped, this too will come to haunt Europe’s industry:

Figure 1: January 2015 had 36% more District Court cases initiated than last year and 3% more than last month.

[...]

Figure 3: NPE litigation made up 56% of January 2015 initiated District Court cases, compared to 48% in January 2014 and 65% in December 2014.

The EPO is out of control and it needs to be scrapped. Battistelli made it a laughing stock, symptomatic of the rogue ‘IP’ elements we find in ACTA, TPP, and so on.

02.15.15

Chart of the Day: The Worrisome Rise and Domination of Software Patents in the United States

Posted in Patents at 7:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Source: The Atlantic

Summary: Algorithms being patented in the United States a growing trend prior to Alice ruling, which can invalidate many or most of them

WE often highlight the danger of following the US model of patenting, where abstract ideas and mathematics become eligible for a patent monopoly, not physical inventions.

The chart above speaks volumes (it’s part of a broader chart going further back in time). As the accompanying article put it: “The overall story, Bhattacharya told me, follows the shift from “atoms to bits”—from the loud world of trains and cars in the 19th century to the invisible life of software. But within that meta-narrative (and this is where the colors come in handy), you can see moments where one industry dominated the patent literature—like chemistry (black) in the 1930s, medicine (red) in the 1980s, and computers (green) in the last few decades.”

“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens, Fosdem07 Interview

Amid EPO Scandals, Call to Dissolve the EPO and Start All Over Again (With New Management and New Direction)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) under the tyranny of Benoît Battistelli is losing credibility and lacking consent from European citizens, who are becoming better informed of the real motivations and the civil rights violations

IN this increasingly global patent system, where software patents in Europe are on the verge of becoming an undisputed reality, we must fight back to contain the out-of-control patent monopolies (protectionism) system. The EPO is now interfering with non-EU members too (even some in north Africa) and it is organising events in an effort to legitimise its activities, despite its disturbingly tyrannical nature. The sad thing is that the European Union is now moving closer to software patents, whereas in the US, the breeding ground of software patents, the highest court, having been wrestling some of with biggest cases like Bilski and Alice, finally got the US patent office to demote software patents.

“The EPO’s management is pushing hard for a sloppy process that devalues EU patents and enables bad actors to take advantage, potentially causing a lot of financial damage to law-abiding and honest actors.”We know from our sources that Benoît Battistelli and his cronies are truly desperate amid calls to demolish (or dissolve) the EPO and start all over again (this one call is from Dr. Glyn Moody, who is widely known across Europe for TPP opposition these days). Benoît Battistelli is trying to manufacture positive publicity even if by essentially bribing publications (a very unscientific thing to be doing).

Over the past few months we have shown how Boards of Appeal were being put in the firing line of Battistelli after he had abolished other independent mechanisms of overnight. Current and past Boards of Appeal members are fighting back, highlighting that fact that the European Patent Convention (EPC) is being violated by Battistelli.

Merpel’s series about the EPO carries on with preparatory post about “meeting of Board 28 and the future of the European Patent Office Boards of Appeal” and then some bits and pieces about the meeting, including the following important observations about the EPO:

Remaining with SUEPO for a moment, this moggy is aware that the union is concerned, as its recent release mentions, that the EPO is seeking to drive up productivity. There is a view that forced increases in productivity targets for patent examiners will inevitably lead to “bad” patents being granted. This moggy thinks any examiner, when required to deal with a case under pressure of time, would rather refuse a “good” patent than grant a “bad” one (to use the terminology employed by SUEPO). There is a danger in being pressed into refusing good patents: this is that the number of appeals will increase and that a truly independent Board of Appeal will not hesitate to send the case back to the examining division, irrespective of the latter’s productivity targets. However, reducing the independence of the Boards of Appeal inevitably makes them more sensitive to any political pressure not to push the output of a hasty and perhaps defective examination process back on the examiners; indeed, the Boards may face pressure themselves to dispose of their own cases with less detailed scrutiny. Accordingly any push by management to bring the Boards into line, if it works, should have a real pay-off in terms of getting everyone, willingly or not, onto the same message of increased productivity and clearing away any awkward oversight of examination standards.

There are some very interesting anonymous comments in there. The EPO’s management is pushing hard for a sloppy process that devalues EU patents and enables bad actors to take advantage, potentially causing a lot of financial damage to law-abiding and honest actors. This isn’t what Europe needs and since EPO is tied to all member states — with or without consent — a complaint should be made either as a petition or local action (National Delegations) by any EU citizen.

English Translation of Süddeutsche Zeitung Article About Benoît Battistelli, Željko Topić, and EPO Tyranny

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Summary: A recent report from Süddeutsche Zeitung explains the great degree to which Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić exercise total control over the EPO

We quickly enough (more than we had expected) received an English translation of the article from Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Techrights story that we published earlier today will be greatly helped by the following article’s text (coherent translation):

Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 268, Friday, 21 November 2014

[English translation]

Uprising in the Realm of the Sun King

Benoît Battistelli is President of the European Patent Office; now his staff are challenging him on the streets. Their accusation: The Boss is overstepping the limit with all the powers at his command

By Katja Riedel and Christopher Schrader

Munich – More and more people are gathering this Thursday lunchtime in front of the European Patent Office (EPO) building near the Hackerbrücke in Munich. At first they’re about a hundred, and then in their hundreds. Since that Thursday, about half the staff have been on strike – and the issue is not money. It’s a matter of basic rights, as the people on the megaphones emphasise: “Yes to reform, no to this President”, so the slogans run.

This President: That’s Benoît Battistelli, 64 years old, boss of the Office since 2010. The protest, during which the demonstrators are aiming to march to the French General Consulate, marks a new climax in a conflict which has been festering for more than two years at the EPO, whose headquarters are located in Munich, and in which both sides, both the Union and the President, have wheeled out the heavy artillery.

“The EPO has 38 Member States and its offices are not subject to local laws – it is effectively “a state within a state”. And it’s state in a state of war.”Until just before Christmas, according to their direst threats, the staff are intending to gradually bring the institution to a stand-still if the President does not signal that he is ready to negotiate. In that respect, in March this year Battistelli was still brimming with confidence: “In my view, the conflict has reached a peak. I am sure that in six months things will look different,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung at that time. He seems to have been mistaken.

In the mini-state there were many privileges – then the new boss brought a new broom

It all started with Battistelli’s arrival in 2010. The Frenchman, a graduate of the elite administrative academy ENA, was elected by a narrow majority on the Administrative Council to the top job at the international organization. The EPO has 38 Member States and its offices are not subject to local laws – it is effectively “a state within a state”. And it’s state in a state of war.

Originally, Battistelli was supposed to remain in office until July 2016 but this summer the Administrative Council extended his contract despite all the furore. Battistelli took over in July 2010 to remove the privileges which had become established in this mini-state, in Munich as well as at the other locations in Berlin, The Hague, and Vienna. He wants a leaner organization, fewer perks for the staff, who earn 121,000 Euro a year – on average. “We’re sitting very pretty here,” says an insider. Two years after taking office, however, sharper words were being exchanged between the President and the staff representatives. So much so, in fact, that even those who support his aims at reform are now accusing Battistelli of being brutal in his management style.

They’ve come up with a nickname for him – the “Sun King”. His opponents accuse him of exploiting the enormous range of powers which come with his position. In fact, the President has the power to decide on all minutiae related to personnel, in the remotest corner of the Office. He only needs the agreement of the Administrative Council for his proposals for reform, which determine the rights of the personnel.

And what gets discussed at those meetings, at which the representatives of the Member States take part, most of them chief executives of national patent organizations, not necessarily empowered in every state, is behind locked doors: The minutes of the debates are secret, and only some of the decisions are published.

“This summer Battistelli also dismissed the elected staff representatives, and announced a new election – based on his own rules. The EPO management does not recognise the Staff Union as a negotiating partner, and Union officials were recently forced to vacate their rooms in the Office. Battistelli has also reserved the right for himself to approve any ballots concerning strikes.”The staff union SUEPO, which has now called the third strike this year, is not pulling its punches either. Even the festivities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Office last year were interrupted by a chorus of catcalls from critics outside the hall. SUEPO looks after the welfare of just under 7,000 staff members, and it’s getting clear majorities for its calls to strike. As far as Battistelli is concerned, though, the union is only fronting for a small radical minority, as he told the SZ.

The conflict has escalated this year, behind closed doors. A number of events have caused irritation for Mr. Battistelli: For example, the Dutch Vice-President, Wim van der Eijk, was declared to be in a conflict of interest by an internal Board of Appeal, and, much to the annoyance of the management, he is no longer permitted to take part in proceedings about patent oppositions. In addition to that, there have been ugly rumours circulating for the last two years about the Croatian Vice-President Željko Topić and his former activities. Croatian newspapers have reported accusations which relate in particular to his time as the Director of the Croatian State Office for Intellectual Property. Topić disputes these reports and Battistelli has taken a stand against the rumour-mongering. In a memorandum sent to all staff members in February 2013 he declared that all the accusations were groundless. Critics expressed some surprise at this “unconditional amnesty” issued by the President months before the conclusion of an internal inquiry.

This September, the long-time press chief and senior management figure Oswald Schröder, departed from the EPO under mysterious circumstances. Officially it was stated that this was a separation by mutual agreement.

And now the reason why this Thursday the demonstrators were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Hands off Aurélien”. At the beginning of November, a French patent examiner in Munich was suspended and escorted from the building by security personnel.
Neither the management nor the attorney representing the person concerned were prepared to comment on the details of the accusations which had led to his suspension after a long time working on an internal board of appeal. Employees of the EPO do not have legal protection via national courts and only have recourse to this body. In the event of disciplinary proceedings, employees do not have the right to legal counsel nor are they allowed to remain silent with regard to accusations.

This summer Battistelli also dismissed the elected staff representatives, and announced a new election – based on his own rules. The EPO management does not recognise the Staff Union as a negotiating partner, and Union officials were recently forced to vacate their rooms in the Office. Battistelli has also reserved the right for himself to approve any ballots concerning strikes.

All in all, these are decisions which according to expert opinion are in contravention of European Human Rights. The management, however, exonerates itself from criticism by referring to decisions of the Administrative Council: “All we are doing is implementing the
reforms,” says an official from Battistelli’s office.

On the other hand, the reforms which have been adopted allow the President to decide a lot of the details for himself. Those who want to contest his decisions are in a weak position: According to internal rules, the only recourse available is via the International Labour Organization Tribunal in Geneva, which is so overburdened that it takes many years to rule on the cases that come before it. By the time that any of Battistelli’s decisions are subject to legal scrutiny, it is more than likely that the man will already be drawing his pension.

Caption: Stormy times for Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO in Munich.

Later this week we are going to elaborate on SIPO scandals, continuing what started with the case of Rikard Frgacic and the Ivan Kabalin story.

The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch: Part XVI

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LH-Angebot-2008
Click for full-sized version

Summary: The EPO branch and the authorities in Germany are facing increased pressure to take action against Željko Topić as German newspapers cover the unprofessional background of Topić and more information about his dodgy behaviour is gradually becoming public knowledge

LAST year, before Željko Topić lost his defamation case (much to the regret of Benoît Battistelli, who blindly defended him), a source had passed us interesting information about Topić’s dirty affairs in his home country, where he he faces many criminal charges. The loss of this latest case serves to legitimise many of the allegations against him, some of which are very serious (bribery for example).

We are worried about the EPO’s management not just because today’s EPO promotes software patents in Europe but because it is deeply corrupt and it attacks its own staff, even breaking the rules in the process. There is also alleged coverup that mirrors what was seen in SIPO, which Topić came from (see the Ivan Kabalin story). As more German papers and some of the English press pick up and grasp these stories we are likely to see increased pressure for Topić to resign (or be ousted). Almost everyone in Europe can read English and Topić works in Germany.

“As more German papers and some of the English press pick up and grasp these stories we are likely to see increased pressure for Topić to resign (or be ousted).”Today we wish to share more stories about SIPO, the Croatian authority responsible for patents and other monopolies. This story relates directly to Germany as well, so there are plenty of reasons for the German press to cover it.

“In case you might be interested,” wrote a source to us, “here’s a sub-story of the Topić saga which concerns allegations of irregularities and corruption at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in relation to trademarks during Topić’s time as Director General there. The story has a “David versus Goliath” aspect which makes it interesting.

“Unfortunately, most of the source material is in Croatian or German but you can find a short report in English.”

To quote part of this report from the Croatian Times:

Croatian entrepreneur Rikard Frgacic is suing German air carrier Lufthansa for illegal use of his brand for the last 12 years.

Frgacic, a former owner of a travel agency, filed suit against Lufthansa at Zagreb Commercial Court this week.

The daily Slobodna Dalmacija has reported that Frgacic has sued “Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH” for using his brand illegally since 1998.

“To put you in the picture,” wrote our source, “here’s a summary: Rikard Frgacic is a Croatian entrepreneur who is involved in a number of legal actions against Lufthansa and the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). According to our information, the actions relating to the SIPO include criminal charges against Topić (some sort of corruption or abuse of official authority charge).

“Frgacic, who is involved in the air travel business, claims that he had registered the trademark “AirPlus” with the Croatian SIPO some time around 1996. He became involved in a dispute with Lufthansa over the use of the trademark by its wholly-owned subsidiary AirPlus International.

“At some point in 2009 or thereabouts he discovered that his trademark rights had been cancelled by the SIPO and the contested trademark had been re-assigned to AirPlus/Lufthansa with remarkable speed in response to a request from that quarter.

“The “David versus Goliath” aspect of the affair captured the popular imagination in Croatia. There was even a website entitled “We are all Rikard Frgacic” (“svi-smo-mi-rikard-frgacic”) which can be accessed here. [It's all in Croatian but it's possible to get the gist using Google Chrome in translation mode]

“Obviously, we are not in position to judge the merits of Frgacic’s claims but the information which we have from our Croatian sources about the current state of play is as follows: In the case relating to the disputed reassignment of the trademark, Frgacic seems to have won a partial victory insofar as a Croatian court ruled that the matter should be remitted back to the SIPO for re-examination where it is still pending.

“Concerning his proceedings against AirPlus/Lufthansa in Germany, these are effectively stayed pending resolution of the disputed reassignment matter which was remitted back to the Croatian SIPO. The problem for Frgacic here is that in the German case some kind of statute of limitations is due to kick in around 2016.

“So if the Croatian SIPO blocks (e.g. due to political pressure and/or corruption) that would basically have a knock-on effect which could screw him as far as the proceedings in Germany are concerned.

“One interesting detail in this whole affair is that back in January 2008 Airplus/Lufthansa tried to settle with Frgacic for EUR 1000. There is documentary evidence of this in the form of a copy of a letter making the offer which is [shown above] (it’s in German). The fact that they made such an offer seems to indicate that Frgacic’s grievance is not completely unfounded. Otherwise why would they have tried to buy him off like that?

“We can provide an e-mail contact for Frgacic if anyone is interested in contacting him. The problem is that we don’t know how good his language skills in English are although we understand that he knows German.

“Rikard Frgacic’s e-mail address is as follows if anybody is interested in getting more details about his side of the story: rikard.frgacic@zg.t-com.hr

“However, as we mentioned, we are not sure to what extent he can communicate in English (although we believe that he has a knowledge of German). According to our information, Frgagic spoke to German journalists from the Süddeutsche Zeitung in October 2013, but in the end they did not publish anything about the alleged trademark corruption affair involving Lufthansa. It seems to be another case of “self-censorship” by the corporate media.

Next week my wife and I fly with Lufthansa (to Singapore), so this story leaves us with a bad taste. Indeed, as Frgacic was offered money by Lufthansa (see the letter at the top, click for a larger version thereof) we can assume that his case has merit and Lufthansa is just using its weight to get its way.

Thankfully, some of the Germany press is no longer passive or apathetic. An article was published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the 21st of November (just over 3 months ago) and we asked our source for an explanation of it.

“Just for your information,” said one of ours sources at the time, “the Munich-based “Süddeutsche Zeitung” finally decided to break its silence on the Željko Topić affair at the EPO.

“In the context of a long article about current social unrest and a strike at the EPO, they included a brief mention of the controversy surrounding Topić’s appointment.

“No translation available yet, but here’s what they wrote in the original: “Zudem kursieren seit mehr als zwei Jahren üble Gerüchte über den kroatischen EPA-Vizepräsidenten Željko Topić: Kroatische Zeitungen berichten über Vorwürfe, die sich vor allem auf seine Vergangenheit an der Spitze des kroatischen Amtes für Geistiges Eigentum beziehen. Topić bestreitet sie. Und Battistelli ist gegen jegliche Kolportage vorgegangen. In einer Mitteilung an alle Mitarbeiter machte er im Februar 2013 deutlich, dass alle Anschuldigungen jeglicher Grundlage entbehrten.

“Kritiker wunderten sich über diesen pauschalen Freibrief – den der Präsident Monate vor Abschluss einer internen Untersuchung ausstellte.“

Again we kindly asked any of our German- (native) speaking readers to provide an English translation so that we can publish it here, making it accessible to a broader audience.

“We obviously can’t say for certain,” said our source, “but we have a very strong suspicion that it was the recent extensive coverage of these matters by techrights.org that finally prodded them into putting something into print (after being informed in detail about what was going on for the last two years).

“So, we really have to say “Well done!” to all at techrights.org.”

In the midst of our articles about Željko Topić a source told us that it “looks like Battistelli is gearing himself up to take on the “muckrakers”.” (citing this now-unpublished 2014 job ad)

“Better watch out in 2015.”

The ones who ought to watch out in 2015 are Battistelli and Topić, not people who complain about them. Topić may even end up in prison.

FFII and the American IP Law Association Comment on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Envisioned by EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money still buys policies in Europe

Euros

Summary: European civil rights groups call for the elimination of expanded patent scope, whereas lawyers from another continent call for Europe to expand scope and lower cost of patent monopolies

THE EPO‘s euphoric (for itself) vision of software patents in Europe can be traced back to patent maximalism and pursuit of profit, all at the expense of patent quality. Benoît Battistelli and his cronies have no masters except their plutocrat buddies; the interests of European citizens are side issues at best. This works well for large corporations, which also seek to reinforce their occupation — internationally — over society through various so-called ‘trade’ agreements. The Unified Patent Court, which we have written about for years, is part of the master plan to internationalise monopolies, rewriting law in the bureaucratic process, usually in a fashion that favours multinationals (be it copyright law, taxes, and so on).

“The internationalisation of law, or the leaning of the legal process towards few globalists, is not unique to patents.”Yesterday we found this new analysis from the the FFII’s Ante Wessels. He writes that: “The UPC proposal has a twist; it tries to minimise the role of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU). [...] The EU member states want to minimise the role of the CJEU by moving substantive patent law provisions from an EU regulation to an international agreement – the UPC Agreement.”

The internationalisation of law, or the leaning of the legal process towards few globalists, is not unique to patents. As the first addendum in this new document serves to show, lawyers now view Europe as a country, the largest country in terms of GDP (see the misleading chart). This document is essentially a letter in which AIPLA comments to the EPO regarding the Unitary Patent post-grant fees.

As a source had explained it to us (before we read the document in full), this text has useful “information about current developments concerning the EU Unitary Patent” because it is new and it reveals the workings behind the scenes. “The document referenced,” explained our source, “is a letter from the American IP Law Association to the EPO on the subject of post-grant fees for the Unitary Patent.”

Retrieved via their official Web site (perhaps to be made accessible to those whom the American IP Law Association represents, namely lawyers), it helps show the lobbying efforts. “These are the annual fees that have to be paid post-grant to keep a patent in force,” explained our source. “As far as we are aware, the fee scheme for the Unitary Patent has not yet been officially agreed, i.e. it is still under discussion.”

What we have found in this letter is the President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association speaking for patent lawyers and their clients (large corporations), conducting what we can describe as “lobbying” (to put it politely) if not corporate legislation laundering, making it cheaper to acquire and enforce monopolies Europe-wide (even from abroad) for a lower overall cost. Here is the full letter:

February 11, 2015

Dr. Margot Fröhlinger
Principal Director
Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich, GERMANY

Via email: mfroehlinger@epo.org

Re: Unitary Patent Post Grant Fees

Dear Dr. Fröhlinger:

I am writing on behalf of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) to follow-up on our January 28, 2014, letter to Mr. Jérôme Debrulle, Chairman of the Select Committee (copy attached), and our February 3, 2015, video consultation with you and others at the EPO regarding Unitary Patent post-grant fees.

AIPLA is a national bar association with approximately 15,000 members who are primarily lawyers in private and corporate practice and government service and in the academic community. AIPLA’s members represent a wide and diverse spectrum of individuals, companies, and institutions, and are involved directly or indirectly in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law. Our members represent both owners and users of intellectual property.

We thank you and your colleagues for the February 3rd consultation and for having sent us background materials on past validations and renewals of European Patents, and on Unitary Patent renewal fee models being considered by the EPO.

We applaud the steps that have been taken to create a Unitary Patent system in the European Union. In order for the Unitary Patent to be a success, it should make “access to the European patent system easier, less costly and legally secure,” and “eliminate costs and complexity ….,” as promised in EU Reg. No. 1257/2012, Recital (4).

As we stated orally and presented in our slides during the consultation, our discussions with members representing U.S. owners of European Patents and applications (“Users” of the
European Patent system) in the year since our earlier letter indicate that the primary consideration for most Users in deciding the countries in which to validate and maintain European Patents is the budget available for the patent owner’s patent grant and annual renewals.


Almost all Users have limited budgets for patent validations and renewals. Different Users have different patent validation and renewal policies and different tactical decisions within those policies, case-by-case and year-by-year. Validation and renewal policies typically depend upon the nature and value of the products and businesses that are or will be protected. The cost and benefit are typically reviewed with each annuity payment. Users very carefully examine the cost and benefits of patents in each jurisdiction when deciding to file applications, pay granting costs, validate European Patents and national patents, and renew them, particularly after the tenth year from first filing date.

We are not aware of sufficient demand for broad territorial protection in Europe that would overcome or loosen these budgetary constraints.

European patents are perhaps the most difficult of all patents to justify on a cost-benefit basis. In particular, European Patent renewal fees do not compare favorably with renewal fees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other major patent offices. The EU states participating in the Unitary Patent have a collective GDP less than that of the United States (see Addendum, slides 1-2), yet the current renewal fees for only the top three patenting states in Europe are substantially higher than for all of the United States (slide 3).

Our research indicates that Users are not likely to significantly increase their European patent budgets to take advantage of Unitary Patents. Instead, Users feel pressure to direct an increasing share of patent budgets to other jurisdictions. GDP is growing at a faster rate outside Europe than within. In the 40 years since the EPO was established, Japan and the Republic of Korea have become major states in terms of patenting. China, India, Russia and Brazil (the “BRIC” states) have also become increasingly important. The World Intellectual Property Organization data provided on our slide 4 reflect the large number of patent applications filed in China in 2014, and that the patent offices in Brazil, Russia and India are now among the top 10 offices for patent filings.

1. Viable Alternatives

Unlike the situation in the United States, where there is only one option for a U.S. patent, Users have several alternatives in Europe. Direct-filed national patents and national validations of European Patents offer protection tailored to the perceived needs of Users. The Unitary Patent will offer another alternative. Users will likely continue to evaluate each of these alternatives based on costs.

Users have become comfortable with limited territorial patent coverage in Europe. They can obtain sufficient coverage to deter broad competition by patenting in a few key states that are members of the London Agreement. In most cases, litigation in one European state leads to resolution of multi-state disputes.

The data you provided to us indicates that in 65% of the cases, U.S. Users validate in 1 to 3 states. We expect that almost all of these validations are in the top three (Germany, France and


Great Britain), which are parties to the London Agreement. These states do not require the specification to be translated, in contrast to the requirements for a Unitary Patent (see discussion in Section 2 of this letter). Users desiring protection in seven other Unitary Patent participating states, including the Netherlands and Sweden, need to translate only the claims.

Therefore, depending on the level of Unitary Patent renewal fees, validation in London Agreement States only may be a more attractive option because of lower costs, availability of selective abandonment to control costs, and availability of a choice of enforcement forum, for example, in the Unified Patent Court in English, or in a national court at presumably lower court costs.

2. The User’s Decision at Grant

The key decision to be made by a User following receipt of the EPO’s decision to grant a European Patent will be whether to elect a Unitary Patent, validate the European Patent as one or
more national patents, or abandon the application. That decision will depend primarily on the potential costs perceived at that time, as compared with viable alternatives, and any procedural obstacles.

As shown by your data, 23% of European Patents granted to U.S. Users in 2011 were only validated in 1 or 2 states. We suspect that the Users did not believe that the costs of validation and prospective renewal fees justified validation in additional states. The majority of US-origin cases (58%) were validated in 3 or 4 states. These cases likely would be the principal candidates for Unitary Patents.

We appreciate that there will be no official fee for electing a Unitary Patent. We have assumed for comparative purposes that the fees of a European Patent Attorney or annuity payment service for recording the Unitary Patent election and filing the specification translation will be comparable to the average fee for validation in one state. Those facts are favorable to electing a Unitary Patent.

We believe that the cost of the required translation of the Unitary Patent specification may be an obstacle for many Users. It has been suggested that the cost could be very low, because a machine translation or the same translation prepared for Italy or Spain could be used. However, European Patent Attorneys are advising that a human translation is required, because EU Regulation No 1260/2012, Recital 12 states: “Such translations should not be carried out by automated means….” Although we understand that there is no provision for examination of this translation by the EPO or participating states, we expect that Users will follow the advice of their European Patent Attorneys, resulting in increased translation costs. Also, it appears that the majority of U.S. Users do not validate in Italy or Spain. Therefore, until such time as the Select Committee declares that machine translations are acceptable, at least into one language other than English for this purpose, Users are likely to include the cost of a human translation in their evaluation of the cost of a Unitary Patent. We suggest that the EPO and its Select Committee should do the same in their cost models.


Further, the fact that the deadline for electing a Unitary Patent and filing a translation of the specification is earlier than the deadline for validating as national patents is likely to reduce use of the Unitary Patent. While our consultation participants understand that Users will have a long time to reach their decision, we believe that many Users will continue to focus on the national patent deadline, and may miss the earlier Unitary Patent deadline. It would be helpful if Unitary Patent Rule 7 could make it clear that Users may have at least until the same date as the national patent validation deadline within which to file the Unitary Patent specification translation.

3. Renewal Fees

The prospective costs of renewal are a major consideration for Users in deciding where to file patent applications, where to validate patents, and where to renew patents. Typically, Users conduct annual reviews to decide which patents to maintain and which to abandon in the context of their business objectives and patent budgets.

As we explained in the consultation, selective abandonment of patents in some states is a key tool in managing renewal costs. The lack of the ability to selectively abandon parts of a Unitary Patent will be a deterrent to electing Unitary Patent protection, which can only be overcome by making the costs reasonable for a majority of Users. Selective abandonment is probably considered in 80-90% of the renewal decisions beginning a few years after grant.

EPO representatives have suggested, prior to and during our consultation, that selective abandonment is not important because it is not exercised frequently, pointing to data from the TOP 3 states. However, the actual exercise of selective abandonment is not a good measure of the effect that its unavailability may have on elections of a Unitary Patent. Rather, the important consideration for Users is the ability to consider selective abandonment when making renewal decisions. Any evidence that selective abandonment is not exercised frequently in the TOP 3 states suggests that the TOP 3 Unitary Patent renewal fee model might be attractive to those now validating in the TOP 3. However, the inability to consider selective abandonment could very well be a deterrent if the Unitary Patent renewal fees are higher.

4. The EPO’s Cost Models

The EPO has suggested consideration of several cost models, called TOP 3, TOP 4, etc., apparently based on the sum of the renewal fees of the most selected Unitary Patent participating states chosen for validation in 2011.

We suggest that use of the EPO fees through the median year for EPO grant (which we believe is year 6) would improve the models. Also, the models appear to be based solely on validations and do not take account of abandonments, including selective abandonments. We suggest that when the models are compared, differences in abandonments should be considered.


The TOP 3 model, based on renewal fees in Germany, France and Great Britain, appears to be otherwise accurate, at least for U.S. Users. When 3 states are selected, those are the states usually selected.

We do not believe that the TOP 4 model is representative of all cases in which Users have validated in 4 states. In particular, the EPO’s TOP 4 includes the Netherlands, which is in fact included in 4 state validations less than 50% of the time and has very high renewal fees. Validations in the Netherlands are much less frequent than in Germany, France and Great Britain, and the reasons for many Netherlands validations appear to be based on the patent strategy of specific User groups.

5. Our Suggestions

In general, we suggest that the EPO recommend and the Select Committee adopt a fee schedule that will attract a majority of European Patent cases, namely those of the type that were validated in 3 or 4 of the participating states in 2011. As we explain below, for the Unitary Patent to be attractive to most Users accustomed to the existing European Patent validation system, we recommend the TOP 3 cost model for annuity fees.

In our consultation, we discussed some of the comparative costs in the frequently chosen London Agreement states and for Unitary Patent. We suggest that the EPO should recognize that the need to pay for a human translation of the specification at the time of election will be a deterrent. The EPO should seek to overcome that deterrent, for example, by making the renewal fee schedule more attractive.

We further suggest that, when comparing the costs of national validations and renewals, the EPO should use the typical charges of the major patent annuity service companies (identifiable by an Internet search). They are typically used for post-grant services by Users with more than a few patents and are much less expensive than the renewal service fees charged by most European Patent Attorneys.

We appreciate the concern of EPO management and the Select Committee over receiving adequate renewal fee revenue to comply with the requirements of EU Regulation No. 1257/2012, Article 12 that the renewal fees be set at a level that will cover Unitary Patent costs and assure a balanced EPO budget. It appears, however, that setting the Unitary Patent renewal fees too low should not be a concern. We believe that there are three reasons for this. First, any such concern appears primarily to be based on the idea that some Users would elect a Unitary Patent for cases of the type they now validate in many states and maintain for many years, resulting in much lower renewal fee income for the EPO. We do not expect that Users pursuing the multi-state and/or long term strategies will select Unitary Patents. They are most likely to want the advantages of individual national patents, including the opportunity for selective abandonment and lack of central attack, including the ability to opt-out of the Unified Patent Court. Second, we suggest that the choice between a Unitary Patent and national validations is likely to be revenue neutral, at least as a first order approximation in most cases. That is because the amount


available in budgets for renewal fees in a given year for Europe is likely to be constant. Third, that choice will have a relatively small effect on the EPO’s total renewal fee income in early years of the Unitary Patent, because election of the Unitary Patent probably will grow slowly for 2-3 years and because the fees are relatively small in early years.

Finally, we offer our specific suggestions regarding the level of renewal fees. Although the TOP 3 compares unfavorably with renewal fees in the U.S. and elsewhere, current validation data suggests that it could be attractive to a significant number of Users.

We recommend against adoption of the TOP 4 model. It compares unfavorably with renewal fees elsewhere, appears to be higher than what Users selecting 4 Unitary Patent states are now paying, and lacks the important tool of selective abandonment.

It is difficult to project User behavior that may affect the Unitary Patent choices and resulting fee income. Rather than setting the renewal fee schedule now at a high level in an attempt to increase fee income, which may deter use of the Unitary Patent, we suggest that the EPO and Select Committee review the fees after 5 years and adjust them if necessary (preferably only for latergranted patents).

* * *

Thank you again for the opportunity to consult with you and your colleagues on this important
issue. We welcome the opportunity for further discussion on this and other matters of interest to
potential users of the Unitary Patent system.

Sincerely yours,

Sharon A. Israel
President
American Intellectual Property Law Association

[Addenda omitted]

The goal here is to reduce the cost to corporations in the States (and increase profit for lawyers in the States) while increasing the risk and passing the cost to European citizens. It’s just looting. It’s passage of wealth.

Aspirations like these lead us all closer to ‘harmonisation’ of US and EU patent law, almost certainly exporting USPTO monopolies to Europe and legitimising software patents, not only bringing trolls across the Atlantic ocean. The USPTO is still patenting life as this new article serves to remind us. “For many years,” writes TechDirt, “we’ve been covering the story of Myriad Genetics, the biotech company that has a test for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (often an indicator of a higher risk for breast cancer). The company argued that because of its patent on those genes, no one else could test for those genes. Back in 2013, the Supreme Court did the right thing and finally rejected the concept of gene patents, despite years of the USPTO granting such patents. As the court noted, allowing gene patents created a perverse situation in which a single company could have the exclusive right to isolate a person’s own genes — and that’s just not right.”

Well, insanity is ‘sane’ when corporations decide so. If they get their way with the crooked management of the EPO, then we’ll become even more helpless in the face of corporate power from abroad. That’s just an attack on European democracy and a descend into fuedalism, where science cannot be practiced without permission from (or a tax paid to) few global ‘masters’.

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