Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO Bubble — Part VIII — The “Algerian Skirmisher” Replaces the “British Grenadier”



Overview: [Teaser] The EPO's Deflating Patent Bubble and Pursuit of Illegal Software Patents (With Kangaroo Courts, UPC, and Bullied Examiners)

Series parts:

  1. The EPO Bubble — Part I — An “Unprecedented Surge”
  2. The EPO Bubble — Part II — Signs of a Deflating Bubble?
  3. The EPO Bubble — Part III — Dividing Up the Spoils...
  4. The EPO Bubble — Part IV — A Cashflow Problem Looming on the Horizon?
  5. The EPO Bubble — Part V — Propping Up the Bubble?


  6. The EPO Bubble — Part VI — From Humble Examiner to CO€³
  7. The EPO Bubble — Part VII — A Multifaceted Man of Letters
  8. YOU ARE HERE ☞ The “Algerian Skirmisher” Replaces the “British Grenadier”


Razik Menidjel, Grant Philpott
In December 2019 it was announced that Razik Menidjel would be replacing Grant Philpott as the EPO’s "Chief Operating Officer" for Information & Communications Technology.



Summary: An oversensitive proponent of European software patents was in effect 'ejected' (first demoted), but given his replacement it's no reason for jubilation

As we saw previously, Razik Menidjel’s career at the EPO began to take off during the Battistelli era when he was appointed to a position as Head of Office for the Vice-President of DG1 (Patent Examination) in 2015.



Under the new EPO President António Campinos, Menidjel continued to enjoy preferment when he was appointed as "Special Advisor to the President" in 2018.

"In October 2019, Battistelli’s successor Campinos decided that it was time for a "rotation" of COOs."His next big break came in December 2019 when it was announced that he would replace Grant Philpott as Chief Operating Office in charge of ICT in December 2019.

Captain Grant Rodney Philpott who was an engineering officer in the British Army for 9 years before joining the EPO in 1989 will be a familiar figure to readers of Techrights.

Back in July 2017 Philpott was appointed by Benoît Battistelli as one of three "Chief Operating Officers" (COOs) responsible for overseeing patent examination activities. At that time Philpott was assigned responsibility for the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Grant Philpott mugshot
In July 2017 Battistelli appointed the "British Grenadier" Grant Philpott as COO with responsibility for the ICT sector.



In October 2019, Battistelli’s successor Campinos decided that it was time for a "rotation" of COOs.

Karin Seegert, until then in charge of "Healthcare, Biotechnology & Chemistry", was moved to the President’s Office. Roberta Roman-Götsch was moved from "Mobility & Mechatronics" to replace Seegert and Philpott was moved from ICT to replace Roman-Götsch.

To fill the vacancy left by Philpott, Campinos chose his "Special Advisor", namely Razik Menidjel, who took up his new position in December 2019.

Grant Philpott et al
In October 2019, a "rotation"of COOs was announced. Karin Seegert moved to the President’s Office and Razik Menidjel replaced Grant Philpott as COO for ICT.



At the time in question Philpott was off on an "IP jolly" in China. To be more precise, he was participating in the 2019 Zhongguancun Forum-Intellectual Property Parallel Forum, sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Intellectual Property Office, Zhongguancun Development Group and the Bank of Beijing.

"According to insiders, the EPO’s "British Grenadier" was "not amused" when he was informed by his superiors via a telephone call from Munich that he had been "dethroned" as COO ICT without any prior consultation."Philpott attended the event as a guest speaker and he delivered a speech entitled "Ensure Legal Certainty through Commitment to High Quality Patented Products and Services" which reportedly "outlined the EPO's initiatives to improve the quality of patent examinations".

According to insiders, the EPO’s "British Grenadier" was "not amused" when he was informed by his superiors via a telephone call from Munich that he had been "dethroned" as COO ICT without any prior consultation.

Grant Philpott in China
Philpott was reportedly "dethroned" as COO ICT without any prior consultation while he was on an "IP jolly" in China.



Less than a year late in September 2021, Philpott decided that it was time to cash in his chips at the EPO. He sailed off into the sunset of "early retirement" to pursue a new career as a director of the Trusted Technology Network (TTN). We'd like to raise the importance of TTN not being a law firm and instead an entity shrouded in a bit of mystery.

TTN is an "IP consultancy" which describes itself as "a new ally on the innovation landscape" offering "independent, impartial advice on all aspects of technology-related IP".

"Less than a year late in September 2021, Philpott decided that it was time to cash in his chips at the EPO."The company calls itself as "a single point of contact [to] connect and facilitate, solving highly specialised challenges through unparalleled technological and IP expertise", while emphasising that it is "not a law firm, nor … affiliated to one" and that it "does not undertake representational work".

It’s not entirely clear what exactly TTN does for its clients and how it "connects" and facilitates". Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that one of the co-founders of Philpott’s new venture is a gentleman by the name of Nick Watson who - according to the company website - was formerly a partner in the "professional services firm" Hakluyt & Co.

Hakluyt - a nebulous "corporate investigations" outfit - was founded by Fitzroy MacLean, a former MI6 operative. It has been described as "one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world" and "a retirement home for ex-MI6 officers".

"A further "consolidation" took place in April 2022 when, in the course of the most recent EPO "reorganisation", the three "Chief Operating Officers" (COOs) responsible for different technical sectors were replaced by a single COO with global responsibility for patent examination "Operations"."Meanwhile, back at the EPO, Philpott’s departure in September 2021 opened the way for the "Algerian Skirmisher" to expand the scope of his command inside DG1 by assuming ad interim responsibility for Philpott’s portfolio ("Mechatronics & Mobility") in addition to his own ICT domain.

A further "consolidation" took place in April 2022 when, in the course of the most recent EPO "reorganisation", the three "Chief Operating Officers" (COOs) responsible for different technical sectors were replaced by a single COO with global responsibility for patent examination "Operations".

As a result of this "consolidation", Razik Menidjel succeeded in copper-fastening his hegemony inside DG1. He is now the sole COO responsible for patent examination in all technical sectors from "Agri-Food", through "Mobility and Space Technologies", "Electronics and Physics" to "Materials and Production".

Razik Menidjel the master of none
And then there was one: in April 2022, Razik Menidjel copper-fastened his hegemony inside DG1 as the sole remaining COO with global responsibility for all "Operations" relating to patent examination and granting.



According to insiders, this is a clear sign that EPO management is gearing up for a drive towards increased "harmonisation" across disparate technical fields.

"In the next part we will take a closer look at Razik’s Faustian pact with the EPOnian "deep state" as a prelude to examining the contents of a leaked e-mail that provides some clues as to the direction in which António’s intrepid [sarcasm intended] "Algerian Skirmisher" appears to be leading his troops."This managerial initiative is expected to take the form of a carefully orchestrated campaign for higher grant rates in selected areas under the guise of "harmonisation". The main target of the campaign is predicted to be the ICT sector.

In the next part we will take a closer look at Razik’s Faustian pact with the EPOnian "deep state" as a prelude to examining the contents of a leaked e-mail that provides some clues as to the direction in which António’s intrepid [sarcasm intended] "Algerian Skirmisher" appears to be leading his troops.

The Central Staff Committee's (CSC) empty letter
Gag orders or something akin to NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) affect the meeting regarding "harmonisation" (longtime euphemism for expanding patent scope or lowering the standards in the name of "unity") according to the latest from the Central Staff Committee (CSC). The nature of the "harmonisation" across fields is no trivial matter. We're occasionally hinting/reminding readers as to its nature because that term gets used to justify "compromises" or breaches of law, e.g. UPC.

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