Bonum Certa Men Certa

Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

See part one, part two and part three for more background about this brewing European Patent Office (EPO) scandal

William Faulkner



Summary: This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?

AS the Kötter Group commemorates its 85th anniversary it seems rather petty-minded to rain on their parade.



But despite the best efforts to maintain a festive mood, some mean-spirited party-poopers have pointed out that the official Internet pages contain little or no information about the Group’s early history.

"It’s a bit like those gaps in a person’s CV that can lead to awkward questions at the job interview..."As a matter of fact, there is a rather conspicuous lacuna between 1934 when it was founded as "Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter" and 1966 when it started to operate as a provider of security technology in the post-war Federal Republic of Germany.

Koetter services 85



It’s a bit like those gaps in a person’s CV that can lead to awkward questions at the job interview...

As a matter of fact, back in 2008 some awkward questions were already being asked by the Federal Association of Prison Officers in Germany (Bundesverband der Strafvollzugsbediensteten Deutschlands).

"The BSBD pointed out that Kötter had been founded in 1934 as a family business under the name “Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter” and that state approval for establishing such an enterprise would most certainly have been required at the time in question."The BDSD is, as its name suggests, an organisation which represents the interests of officials working in the prison sector. It was reacting to an announcement from the Baden-Württemberg Justice Ministry about the results of a tendering procedure for the “outsourcing” of services at the Oldenburg state pentitentiary. On that occasion Kötter submitted the most competitive bid and was awarded the contract.

The BSBD pointed out that Kötter had been founded in 1934 as a family business under the name “Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter” and that state approval for establishing such an enterprise would most certainly have been required at the time in question.

It should be remembered that we are not talking about any old state here. This particular state had succumbed to totalitarian control just one year previously and its new leader proceeded to ruthlessly eliminate many of his domestic opponents during the infamous “Night of the Long Knives” at the end of June 1934

"Let’s have a guess: all the records went missing because there was a war on at the time? How convenient!"The BSBD concluded that “it would be interesting to find out what protective and security tasks the private company was entrusted with from that time until today.”

That is a question which has so far remained without a satisfactory answer.

The late Friedrich Karl Kötter (+ 2015), the son of the founder, wasn’t giving much away in a puff-piece published in the online industry journal Vernetzte Kompetenz im Sicherheitsmanagement (Veko online) in 2012 when made the following evasive comments about the company’s origins: “I was born on 27 February 1937 in the heart of the Ruhr area, in Wanne-Eickel, where I also spent my youth. Three years earlier my father Karl Friedrich had founded the company Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter, which was active not only in Germany but also in Holland. What exactly the field of work comprised at that time is no longer known.”

"You would think that the Kötters could have afforded to engage the services of a professional historian or two to properly research the Group’s corporate history for the occasion of its 85th anniversary."Well fancy that now. Let’s have a guess: all the records went missing because there was a war on at the time? How convenient!

“Westdeutscher Wach- und Schutzdienst Fritz Kötter ... was active not only in Germany but also in the Netherlands from 1934 onwards” ...

For anybody familiar with 20th Century European history, particularly the occupation of the Netherlands during WWII, this should be enough to trigger the alarm bells and signal the proximity of a potential minefield!

Minen Mijnen



You would think that the Kötters could have afforded to engage the services of a professional historian or two to properly research the Group’s corporate history for the occasion of its 85th anniversary.

"Their gut instincts may have told them that there were some skeletons in the family cupboard that were best left to rest in peace."On the other hand, it could be that the experiences of other German companies, such as the Bertlesmann Group back in 2002, made them wary about digging too deep into the history of the family business.

Their gut instincts may have told them that there were some skeletons in the family cupboard that were best left to rest in peace.

Skeleton in the closet



If this was the case, then their reliance on those gut instincts was not misplaced. According to informed sources, a preliminary trawl has confirmed that there are some rather disturbing cans of worms waiting to be opened in the relevant archives.

"...it would appear that he used the proceeds of his business activities for the purpose of acquiring a significant shareholding in at least one “aryanised” company in the retail sector."Hopefully Campinos and his management team are able and willing to look beyond the managerial bottom line and to realise that, to quote William Faulkner, “The past is never dead.”

Insiders confidently predict that if a rigorous in-depth UXO Risk Management Analysis isn’t carried out before a final decision is taken on this matter, then Campinos and his team could end up being well and truly blown out of the water.

Explosives in water



The evidence gathered so far suggests that the company founder made a small fortune for himself in the occupied Netherlands due to a close association with the military-industrial complex of the Third Reich. And it would appear that he used the proceeds of his business activities for the purpose of acquiring a significant shareholding in at least one “aryanised” company in the retail sector.

But what’s the point in doing all the homework for Campinos and his generously remunerated managerial dweebs? Surely it’s not too much to expect them to do a bit of “due diligence” for themselves?

"EPO staff, especially the large Dutch contingent among them (almost 500 at the last count), are unlikely to be favorably impressed if the deal goes ahead as currently planned."Before making any further revelations on this front let’s just sit back and see what they are able to come up with off their own bat between now and the BFC meeting later this month or at least before the Administrative Council takes the final decision at the end of June.

After the farcical “Nazi witch-hunts” of the Battistelli era, wouldn’t it be the height of irony to see the new EPO President signing off on a contract worth EUR 30 million which goes to a company having such a “flawed pedigree”?

EPO staff, especially the large Dutch contingent among them (almost 500 at the last count), are unlikely to be favorably impressed if the deal goes ahead as currently planned.

The writing is on the wall for everyone to see. If no effective pre-emptive action is taken on this one as a matter of urgency, then there is a very real danger that what started out as a routine tendering exercise will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot for Antonio the Unready and his loyal retainers.

Charlie Foxtrot



Let us hope that things do not come to such a sorry pass. But if they do, then he can’t say that he wasn’t warned in good time.

Nobody told me



On that note we conclude the Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia. An update in the form of an end-of-term report is planned for June.

Watch this space, folks...

Recent Techrights' Posts

In Malawi, Windows Down to 10%, GNU/Linux Growing
it's not a small country
[Meme] Featuritis
Newer is not always better
Ireland Last to Report Election Results
Daniel Pocock's involvement in Australian politics goes back to his university days
Never Sleeps, Never Slumbers
We're going to try to improve not just in quantity but also in quality
EPO Has Gotten So Bad That Workers Need to Ask to be Allocated a Desk (at Work)
Wow!!!! An “allocated workplace”!!
 
Nationwide Eventually Did Listen
Miles better than their original nonresponse
The Corruption of Open Source Initiative (OSI), a Front Group of Microsoft and GAFAM, Openwashing Proprietary Things and Even Plagiarism, GPL Violations
Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's staff that works with him) basically profits from anti-FOSS
"AI" Tech Bubble
How much "hype quotient" does this whole "hey hi" (AI) thing have left in it?
Links 13/06/2024: Science, Politics, and Gemini
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: The Rodent Revolution and Adding Twisty Puzzles
Links for the day
Links 12/06/2024: Ukraine War Updates and Many Patents Being Subjected to Squashing Bounties
Links for the day
[Meme] The Purpose of Life is to Find a Desk
dogs have desks
Tux Machines Parties Going Well Do Far
Cross-posted from Tux Machines
In Many Countries, Both Large and Small, Vista 11 is Losing Market Share (Despite New PCs Coming Preloaded With It)
One need not even consider large nations in isolation
By "Going Public" the Raspberry Pi Ensures It'll No Longer Serve the Public
It'll be owned and controlled by whatever people wish to control it
Dave Wreski Also Plays the Bot Game (Chatbot) at LinuxSecurity to Fake 'Articles' About "Linux"
How much longer can they fool search engines (SEO) and readers?
[Meme] Indisputable Success
MICROSOFT buys shares of MICROSOFT
Links 12/06/2024: 'Hey Hi' (AI) Bubble Imploding Already, Danish Media Threatens to Sue OpenAI
Links for the day
Links 11/06/2024: Floods in Germany and Brazil, Political Violence
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: Sketching Plants, OpenBSD Pubnix
Links for the day
"2025 the year of Linux on the Desktop"
Charlie Stross quote
In Bahrain, Historically Low on GNU/Linux Adoption, Things Change for the Better
They have some people who understand Free software
Daniel Pocock Received Twice as Many Votes as Andreas Tille (Debian Project Leader After 2024 Election)
From the media yesterday...
Debian is Built by Hundreds of Volunteers and 524 Irish People Voted for Daniel Pocock
524 in that area went to the polling station to vote Daniel Pocock (Ind)
[Meme] RMS is 'Too Old', Says Company Run by a Person 5 Years His Junior (Ginni Rometty) and 10 Years His Junior (Arvind Krishna)
Never again?
[Meme] Women in Computer Science
Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace etc.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Togo: GNU/Linux Growing Fast This Year, Now Measured at 6%
Sending Bill Gates with a suitcase to bribe African officials isn't enough anymore
Free Software Projects Need to Chase Away Men Who Attack Women Rather Than The Women Who Complain
A just society holds people accountable rather than covers up such blunders
Improving the Image of Women in Free Software by Hiring and Promoting the Proficient Ones
Million's shaman background isn't the problem, or even the superstitious ghost-chasing. The problem is that she has absolutely no background in Free software.
They Say Cash is King
People who value their freedom will pay with cash any time they can
'Team Microsoft' Wants to Leverage Our Popularity as a Weapon Against Us
In the past 2 days we published 64 articles and served over a million HTTP/S requests
[Meme] Microsoft Has Enough of Its Own Problems (Layoffs Abundant), It Won't Rescue IBM or Canonical
"It's OK, we're partners"
Know Your Allies, Know Your Enemies
The answer to censorship attempts is more speech, not less speech
Debian is Back to Taking Money From Microsoft, the Company That's Attacking Linux From the Inside
If Debian fails to understand what's wrong with it, that's a problem
Ghana: Windows Down From 97% to Just 15%
The doors are closing on Windows
Links 11/06/2024: Practice of Retaliatory Layoffs at Microsoft
Links for the day
Gemini Links 11/06/2024: GMID 2.0.5 and More
Links for the day
The United States Will Cut Off or Cull Firefox
It is only a matter of time
[Meme] Firefox Is Not an Alternative to Google, Only to Chrome (and It Has Become Proprietary or OSPS Like Chromium)
The illusion of remaining "choice" on the Web
No, the World Wide Web Isn't Open (and Hasn't Been for Years)
It's proprietary all the way now
The War on Free Software Reporters - Part VII - Groupthink, Censorship Demands, and Ultimatums
There's a lot of groupthink in the Free software community
Microsoft Told Us That LLMs Were a Boon for Azure and 'Clown Computing', But the Thousands of Layoffs This Month Prove That It Was a Lie All Along
Azure is collapsing
Why We Post Statistics About the Usage of Operating Systems Worldwide
We're hoping to see GNU/Linux at over 10% (on desktops/laptops) some time in the coming years
Winning Defamation Cases is Incredibly Difficult (for Plaintiffs), Even in the United States and the United Kingdom
SLAPP should always backfire
In Kuwait, Microsoft's Windows Fell From 97% to Just 15%
According to statCounter
GNU/Linux in Philippines Climbs to New Levels
This is an all-time high
Links 11/06/2024: Windows Outcry and Climate News
Links for the day
Tux Machines Was Always a Women-Run Site (the Real Voices of GNU/Linux, Not Political Props in Corporate Events)
Corporate "diversity" is more of a marketing/PR gimmick than real, genuine diversity
Macao: GNU/Linux Desktop/Laptop Operating System Market Share Rising Close to 7%
GNU/Linux Rises to Record High in Macao
FSF is Now 50% Female, Unlike Red Hat (Which Moaned About Lack of "Diversity" at FSF)
Isn't the hypocrisy just astounding?
Since COVID-19 Lockdowns Windows Fell From Almost 50% to Just 10% in Loas
According to statCounter
[Meme] Quantity Says Nothing About Worth, Value, or Quality
People will generally gravitate towards things of quality and reputation
Microsoft's Windows in Gabon: From 20% 'Market Share' Down to Around 10% in a Few Months
Gabon is not a small country
Meanwhile at canonical.com
Canonical knows exactly what Ubuntu users want
[Meme] Microsoft (and the NSA) Will Never Forget
The user trying to permanently disable 'recall'
Windows Falls Below 20% in United Arab Emirates This Month
According to statCounter
"Windows 11's Recall AI, known to take snapshots and recordings of user computers regularly, including key presses, was discovered to store all its information in an unencrypted local folder."
"You can copy the data from another user's "recall" folder as another user."
Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 Outsourced to Proprietary Spyware of GAFAM
Need to use proprietary software to participate
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 10, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 10, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Clown Computing is Better For...
Clown: they said clown computing enhances security
One in a Thousand Voters Chose to Vote Daniel Pocock (as First Preference)
He got about 4 times more votes than what had him win FSFE elections
Daniel Pocock on Good Performance in His EU Election Campaign: Thanking the voters of Midlands-North-West, Ireland
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
The 'IT Industry' is Already in Ruins
The "powers that be" do not want the "hoi polloi" to possess skills and systems
Microsoft's Windows is Sliding Away Into Minority Platform Territories, Even in Rich Countries With Affluent Computer Users
We seem to be striking a nerve at Microsoft every time we say this
Self-Hosting Should be Taught and Embraced, Outsourcing Creates More Problems (or Risks) Than It Solves
One can control one's destiny...