Bonum Certa Men Certa

An EPO Administrative Council Exposé — Part III: A Longtime Associate of the Doyen

Series index:

  1. An EPO Administrative Council Exposé -- Part I: A New EPO Balkan Affair?
  2. An EPO Administrative Council Exposé — Part II: A Mysterious Fist-Bumping Masquerade in Skopje
  3. You are here ☞ A Longtime Associate of the Doyen


Topić and Emruli
Topić and Emruli concluded a "cooperation agreement" between the Croatian and Macedonian IPOs (Skopje, 21 May 2010).



Summary: "Visiting small EPO member states like North Macedonia was immensely gratifying for Battistelli and it allowed him to indulge his personal vanity because he usually got to rub shoulders with high level politicians rather than just "mere" civil servants in charge of the national IPO."

In this part we will take a look at Safet Emruli's role in EPO affairs over the last decade or so, in particular his close links to the EPO's former Vice-President from Croatia, Željko Topić.



"One year earlier, on 1 January 2008, Croatia - another constituent state of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - had been admitted to the ranks of the EPO club."As we mentioned in the introductory part of the present series, North Macedonia joined the European Patent Convention on 1 January 2009. Back in those days it was known by the unwieldy title of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", or in abbreviated form: FYROM.

One year earlier, on 1 January 2008, Croatia - another constituent state of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - had been admitted to the ranks of the EPO club.

It's hardly surprising that the representatives of these two new member states, which had joined the EPO in relatively close proximity to each other, developed a close working relationship over the next decade.

For example, the IPOs of Croatia and North Macedonia concluded a cooperation agreement [PDF] in Skopje, on 21 May 2010.

Some years later in 2018, North Macedonia's SOIP celebrated the 25th anniversary of its establishment with a "Month of IP".

"As a key member of “Team Battistelli” at the EPO, Topić was reputed to be useful for drumming up support amongst the "Balkan League" delegations from the territory of the former Yugoslavia and its neighbouring states."On 18 October 2018, the main event took place in Skopje in the form of "an international conference on the topic of technology transfer". The conference included "experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization, the European Patent Organization, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, as well as professors from our universities".

The special guest of honour on that occasion was none other than EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, the self-professed "doyen of IP" in the Balkan region.

SOIP at 25
In 2018, the SOIP celebrated the 25th anniversary of its establishment.



Topić and Emruli at SOIP
Topić and Emruli speaking at an event organised by the SOIP [PDF] in Skopje in October 2018.



Topić and Emruli at SOIP in 2018
More photos of Topić and Emruli at the SOIP's 25th anniversary event in October 2018.



It has long been an open secret that the "Balkan Express" connection was an important link in Benoît Battistelli’s pan-European network of corruption. As a key member of “Team Battistelli” at the EPO, Topić was reputed to be useful for drumming up support amongst the "Balkan League" delegations from the territory of the former Yugoslavia and its neighbouring states.

The North Macedonian delegate Emruli was a longstanding ally in this respect.

As is well known, the standard modus operandi of Team Battistelli was to cultivate the "goodwill" of its vassal states by means of "cooperation projects".

"As is well known, the standard modus operandi of Team Battistelli was to cultivate the "goodwill" of its vassal states by means of "cooperation projects"."The annals of the North Macedonian SOIP show that in March 2012, a four-member delegation led by Battistelli "paid an official visit to the Republic of Macedonia and the State Office for Industrial Property".

The delegation [PDF] included Battistelli's old INPI cronies, his "batman" Gilles Requena, and his "bagman" François Régis Hannart, the EPO Principal Director responsible for coordinating the distribution of Battistell's "largesse" to his vassal states in return for their votes on the Administrative Council.

"The delegation included Battistelli's old INPI cronies, his "batman" Gilles Requena, and his "bagman" François Régis Hannart, the EPO Principal Director responsible for coordinating the distribution of Battistell's "largesse" to his vassal states in return for their votes on the Administrative Council."Visiting small EPO member states like North Macedonia was immensely gratifying for Battistelli and it allowed him to indulge his personal vanity because he usually got to rub shoulders with high level politicians rather than just "mere" civil servants in charge of the national IPO.

This is confirmed by the EPO PR release to mark the occasion:

"On his first official visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, met high official representatives of the country, including Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Peshevski, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Poposki and Economy Minister Valon Saracini. He also took the opportunity to conduct an exhaustive overview of bilateral co-operation activities with Safet Emruli, Director of the State Office for Industrial Property (SOIP)."


Battistelli and Emruli
Battistelli (2nd from right) on his official visit to North Macedonia in March 2012. Emruli can be seen on the left.



The government in North Macedonia at the time was a coalition formed in July 2011 between the nationalist-conservative VMRO-DPMNE and the ethnic Albanian political party DUI.

We will take a closer look at the intricacies of Macedonian politics in the upcoming parts but for the moment we will just make a few observations about those in power back in 2011.

The leader of the coalition formed in 2011 was prime minister Nikola Gruevski (VMRO-DPMNE) who held this position in a number of different cabinets between 2006 and 2016.

"In November 2018 it was reported that Gruevski had fled the country to seek political asylum in Hungary, following his conviction on corruption charges and a two-year jail sentence handed down in May 2018."Gruevski's hold on power began to slip in 2015 as a result of mass protests and new government under the social democratic SDSM took over in 2017. In November 2018 it was reported that Gruevski had fled the country to seek political asylum in Hungary, following his conviction on corruption charges and a two-year jail sentence handed down in May 2018.

Gruevski's deputy who met with Battistelli in March 2012 was Vladimir Peshevski (VMRO-DPMNE). Peshevski (sometimes transcribed into English as "Pesevski") had a reputation for "getting physical" with male journalists and for acting in a primitive and intimidating manner towards female ones. He was also in the news in 2016 for failing to disclose his directorship of an active offshore Cyprus-based company, thereby breaching the law on conflict of interest.

"Gruevski's deputy who met with Battistelli in March 2012 was Vladimir Peshevski (VMRO-DPMNE). Peshevski (sometimes transcribed into English as "Pesevski") had a reputation for "getting physical" with male journalists and for acting in a primitive and intimidating manner towards female ones."When last heard of, Peshevski was awaiting trial as one of the co-accused in the "Trajectory" case which relates to allegations of large-scale corruption during the Gruevski era. More specifically, it's about alleged irregularities in tendering procedures for motorway construction projects. The financial damage to the state budget is estimated to be at least € 155 million.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Popovski managed to keep his hands clean during the Gruevski era and he currently sits on the governing body of the National Bank of North Macedonia.

As for the Minister for Economic Affairs Valon Saracini, he also managed to keep his hands clean and appears to have forsaken parliamentary politics for the presumably more lucrative private sector where he now presents himself as CEO of the LIMIVIA Consulting group.

It's worth mentioning in passing that Saracini was affiliated with the ethnic Albanian political party DUI. We shall see the significance of this in the later parts of this series.

"The financial damage to the state budget is estimated to be at least € 155 million."Getting back to the North Macedonian SOIP, some time later at the start of 2016 it had the additional good fortune to be the beneficiary of an EU-sponsored twinning project for “Strengthening the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights”. The project was implemented in conjunction with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) under the management of Keld Nymann Jensen, a direct subordinate of DKPTO boss Jesper Kongstad. [PDF]

SOIP and DKPTO
2016 "twinning project" between the Macedonian SOIP and the DKPTO.
Left: Safet Emruli (SOIP); Centre: Keld Nymann Jensen (DKPTO); Right: Bekim Neziri, Minister for Economic Affairs.



DKPTO staff
Keld Nymann Jensen, a direct subordinate of DKPTO boss Jesper Konstad.



In the next part, we will focus our attention on Safet Emruli, Battistelli's reliable "friend" in North Macedonia, and take a closer look at his political connections in his homeland.

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