Also: the special role played by IAM 'magazine' in this weird kind of predictable spin
Picture from FFII, which really just opposes software patents
Summary: Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO’s management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)
THE management of the EPO has deliberately conflated UPC critics — that’s us [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] — with other critics (we covered this some days ago, linking to a letter from the President, having previously seen this spin used against a suspended judge as well) while doing a lot in recent days to actively promote UPC (warning: link to
epo.org, enabling tracking by EPO spies). As a recent guest post stated, a lot of patent examiners had already been supportive of UPC. To accuse unions such as SUEPO of having an anti-UPC agenda is ludicrous, yet it’s actually happening, usually behind closed doors or in private letters (where there is no chance for anyone to rebut such bogus accusations).
“As a business we have received sponsorship from the agency [European Patent Office] [...] IAM will be accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the EPO”
–IAM ‘magazine’The EPO’s management, which seemingly serves large corporations as a matter of priority (never mind privatisation of the EPO itself), likes the UPC. It has repeatedly lobbied for the UPC. So have some major international corporations, which probably hope that this would trivialise international/global patent actions, such as injunctions (embargoes), irrespective of local laws and domestic interests (e.g. a British company being frivolously sued by a non-British company over patents in Britain). See this new post from IAM which also conflates EPO disputes with “anti-patent campaigners”. This is nonsense. Watch how the post begins: “Full disclosure: IAM has collaborated with the European Patent Office on many occasions. As a business we have received sponsorship from the agency, we have also worked with it as a (non-fee paying) supporting organisation on some of our event [...] we are proud of our relationship with the EPO [...] IAM will be accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the EPO” (the spending of nearly a million dollars in one single year on PR won’t inspire confidence, either).
This reaffirms if not confirms what we wrote earlier today about IAM essentially behind in cahoot or in bed with the EPO. Watch how they’re attacking SUEPO’s credibility.
As IBM’s chief patent guy, Manny Schecter (proponent of software patents, just like his employer and like IAM), put it the other day, the UPC may make a difference. Well, to whose advantage really? Surely it would be desirable for IBM to sue European companies everywhere in Europe in one fell swoop, or demand higher ‘royalties’ (‘damages’ being another euphemism for penalties or fines, maybe taxes).
“More importantly, be very sceptical of IAM. They’re not like a ‘media partner’ of the EPO.”Schecter links to this article, whose author is pretending UPC is already here and cannot be stopped (many patent lawyers do the same thing and the British government prematurely allocated physical resources to it). Here we have a legal blog saying that “we can expect the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) reforms” (as it they’re inevitable, even though they’re not).
Watch out and be wary of patent lawyers’ spin, especially those who are in the business of protecting or attacking on behalf of large multinational corporations. They know where their money comes from. More importantly, be very sceptical of IAM. They’re not like a ‘media partner’ of the EPO. █
“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”
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This now-infamous example, as shown below, isn’t an article but an EPO advertisement pretending to be an article (actually a recruitment puff piece)
Summary: With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won’t be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents
THE EPO did something very foolish two months ago. It did this secretly, naïvely assuming that the public would never find out. But it did. We broke the story here just before the weekend and we shall see if corporate media, i.e. the target of the EPO’s media campaign, will actually choose to cover it.
“Good reputation can not only be bought these days. It can be demanded.”Techrights has written extensively about the Gates Foundation paying a lot of the world’s media companies (to the tune of, an average, one million dollars per day) to say how wonderful Bill Gates is and promote companies that he is investing in, for profit. He turned a lot of publications into his mouthpiece and many journalists into propagandists for his political agenda. A recent article (a few days old) called it “Bill Chill” effect . Bribed-for coverage became rather normal when it comes to this area of coverage and objections or criticism subsequently marginalised, or drowned aside in a sea of puff pieces. Good reputation can not only be bought these days. It can be demanded. Attacks on opposing voices are possible too, e.g. by paying lousy legal firms to intimidate people.
Let’s face the simple reality that the EPO now has a reputation catastrophe. Thanks to our coverage, even Private Eye is now on the EPO's tail. What the EPO is doing here might not be unusual, especially among corporations that are in a similar crisis. Many large companies disseminate money or ‘soft’ bribes (e.g. gifts) to the media via PR agencies (see our pages about Microsoft PR agencies and AstroTurfing), but the EPO isn’t a private company. Well, it increasingly is, but that’s another big problem.
The New Scientist page from January says “Advertisement” on the right pane (see screenshot above), but it should also say so above the ‘article’ itself as it’s essentially an EPO-funded advertisement. This is clearly not an article, it’s a placement paid for by the EPO. “Even a blind cat would see that it’s only an ad,” wrote this one person in Twitter. “Even with a link at the end…”
“Attacks on opposing voices are possible too, e.g. by paying lousy legal firms to intimidate people.”“Advertisement is on an unrelated link,” wrote this person, “not on the article, which is a regular section (“careers”).”
Is there more coming? With a budget of €880,000? As we noted here before, the Les Échos débâcle [1, 2, 3] (now [cref 86571 Battistelli’s mouthpiece not just ‘media partner’) may be just the edge of a much larger iceberg. La Débâcle is now a better, more suitable name for Les Échos. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Despite its impact, few book-length assessments of the foundation’s work have appeared. Now Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Essex, is seeking to fill the gap. “Just how efficient is Gates’s philanthropic spending?” she asks in No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “Are the billions he has spent on U.S. primary and secondary schools improving education outcomes? Are global health grants directed at the largest health killers? Is the Gates Foundation improving access to affordable medicines, or are patent rights taking priority over human rights?”
As the title of her book suggests, McGoey answers all of these questions in the negative. The good the foundation has done, she believes, is far outweighed by the harm. In education, she maintains, most of its initiatives have either gone bust or failed to deliver on their promises. The foundation’s first great education initiative focused on creating small schools in place of big ones, on the assumption that doing so would allow students to receive more individualized attention. From 2000 to 2008, it spent $2 billion to establish 2,602 schools across the United States, affecting a total of nearly 800,000 students. Unfortunately, the experiment failed to improve college acceptance rates to the degree that the Gateses had hoped, and so they abruptly terminated it.
Instead, the foundation channeled its resources into a host of other initiatives — increased data collection on teacher effectiveness, the introduction of performance-based teacher pay, more standardized testing for students. The foundation has invested heavily in charter schools and vigorously backed the Common Core, which sets national reading and math standards. These are all key elements of the so-called school reform movement. Arne Duncan, as head of Chicago’s public schools, worked closely with both the Gates and Broad foundations, and as President Obama’s secretary of education he sought to implement many of their ideas.
McGoey (along with many others) is sharply critical of this movement. She cites studies that show that charter schools have performed no better or worse than traditional public schools, and she notes that the Gates Foundation itself has backed away from its once vocal support for assessing teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. While the willingness of the Gateses to change their minds in the face of evidence is admirable, McGoey writes, the reforms they championed “are now entrenched. For many teachers and students, their recent handwringing over the perils of high-stakes testing has come a little too late.”
On one point, however, McGoey is convincing — the need for more analysis of this powerful foundation and the man and woman at its head. Bill and Melinda Gates answer to no electorate, board, or shareholders; they are accountable mainly to themselves. What’s more, the many millions of dollars the foundation has bestowed on nonprofits and news organizations has led to a natural reluctance on their part to criticize it. There’s even a name for it: the “Bill Chill” effect.
That’s not to say that there has been no critical coverage of the foundation’s work. Diane Ravitch has excoriated Gates along with the rest of the school reform movement in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, as well as on her blog. The New York Times and other papers have offered occasional close examinations of Gates’ work. And Joanne Barkan, in a 2011 article in Dissent titled, “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools,” offered a thoroughgoing critique of the education work of Gates and its fellow foundations. In another Dissent article on “how big philanthropy undermines democracy,” Barkan complained that “the mainstream media are, for the most part, failing miserably in their watchdog duties. They give big philanthropy excessive deference and little scrutiny.”
That may be changing. Alessandra Stanley, writing in the Times in late October, offered a skeptical assessment of the outsized claims made by Sean Parker and other Silicon Valley philanthropists. “Tech entrepreneurs believe their charitable giving is bolder, bigger and more data-driven than anywhere else — and in many ways it is,” she observed. “But despite their flair for disruption, these philanthropists are no more interested in radical change than their more conservative predecessors. They don’t lobby for the redistribution of wealth; instead, they see poverty and inequality as an engineering problem, and the solution is their own brain power, not a tithe.”
We need more probing accounts of this sort. The power of the new barons of philanthropy is only going to grow. The risks they take and the bets they make will no doubt become bolder. If journalists don’t hold them accountable, who will?
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Reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn’t show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)
HE EPO recently started a nasty war on journalism. To the megalomaniacs who now run the EPO (or serve the megalomaniac in chief) the goal is to saturate the media with bogus 'coverage' favourable to the EPO while silencing EPO critics. This isn’t some fossil fuel company we’re talking about here; it’s a public institution! It is being privatised piecewise.
“This isn’t some fossil fuel company we’re talking about here; it’s a public institution!”Speaking of piecewise, in a piecewise fashion we intend to publish responses to the EPO’s bullies, without revealing their names or even revealing their documents, which they insist are strictly not for publication. If they don’t want their documents published, this certainly does not prevent us from publishing our responses to them.
As stated last night, the EPO’s bullies tried to entrap me just before midnight on a Friday night. I needed to look for a lawyer as soon as possible, past midnight on a Friday night or early on Saturday (which is too hard a task). The first person to respond to me was a lawyer who wrote:
This is not legal advice, and I would speak to a lawyer as a matter of urgency, but it’s worth noting if the European Patent Office wish to sue you, then they ought to be aware of the Derbyshire judgment which makes it hard for public bodies from suing individuals for libel.
“I spoke to a fellow blogger,” I told this lawyer, one “who has been covering these matters for a couple of years and [the blogger] says something similar — that they don’t have the power to bring legal action. Judging the letter itself, a professional said it’s more like a “prank letter” (his words) written in an effort to intimidate (SLAPP), apparently not just me but other people too.
“Libel law was clearly being misused here.”“I believe that some time later this month this will go public; people who have received such threats (not just myself) need help from legal professionals here, as the EPO is clearly misusing its legal immunity (they are exempted from European law) to bully dissent/critics, even outsiders.”
Well, more than a month has passed since then. The lawyer said “these legal aspects are fascinating – and important” (quite unprecedented as some bloggers pointed out last week). This lawyer was eventually not the one representing me (I had contacted only two), but nevertheless their reaction was the same. Libel law was clearly being misused here.
“Something to be prepared for when writing about EPO,” I told the lawyer, “even as an outsider.” They are now bullies who don’t tolerate critics and actually take action against these critics.
“But then the EPO persisted in sending more threatening letters, clearly not walking away, not even relenting.”“They have been spying on me extensively (sources close to the EPO told me) for quite some time. I would LOVE to know if they use against journalists and bloggers the same sorts of tools (maybe intercepts from their mates in government, perhaps via CRG) that they got caught using against staff and visitors at EPO (hidden cameras and keyloggers).”
“This could make the news,” told me a person at the time, “if you don’t think the threat is credible – I could put you in touch with a journalist who would be interested in this story?”
Even back then I made clear to everyone that I’d be able to provide a lot of supportive information, having written about this on an almost daily for over a year. But then the EPO persisted in sending more threatening letters, clearly not walking away, not even relenting. The intention was clear. Chilling effect was quite likely the desired outcome.
“The very fact that the threatening letter was sent so late on a Friday night suggested to me that denial of access to a lawyer was likely the intention.”Even though some English-speaking journalists were at one point preparing to hammer on the EPO pretty hard, I decided to wait, as per advice from close friends of mine. At the same time, around mid October, Battistelli tried to ‘swing’ with journalists and now we know that he had signed a massive contract with a US PR firm. This may very well be related to the war on journalism because of the timing.
“Having read about the subject,” told me the high-profile lawyer who now represents me, “I am very concerned about what the EPO is doing, and I am now going to see if I can take this case on formally on a pro bono basis.”
My lawyer, David Allen Green, basically said (initial assessment) that the EPO’s letter in its form “is bullshit”. At first glance he called the letter “complete bullshit”, but it didn’t exactly shock me since I knew it was totally out of line. As I got it so late at night I was able to arrive at the same conclusion based on my basic knowledge of the relevant laws (it’s not my area, but I know the basics). The very fact that the first threatening letter was sent so late on a Friday night suggested to me that denial of access to a lawyer was likely the intention.
In my mind, Battistelli is a sociopath and it helps explain why the organisation as a whole has become so sociopathic. A fish rots from the head down. █
“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
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Using sledgehammers or machine guns to tackle what could instead be properly addressed with just a scalpel
Disproportionate showing of force
Summary: A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO’s newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)
I AM quite frankly overwhelmed by the amount of public support that I’ve received ever since the EPO‘s bullying against me became public information. I wish to thank everyone who sent kind and encouraging words. Worry not, the EPO won’t succeed at silencing us. They only score an own goal each time they attempt to do so.
“This attitudinal issue evidently comes from the top (rotting from the head downwards).”This morning somebody sent us a link to yet another forum/news site discussing what the EPO had done. The author asks: “How many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by European Patent Office aggression against the media?”
We are still waiting for more people to speak out. We know about at least one person other than us. The EPO doesn’t like to make polite amendments/corrections/requests for comment. It’s too aggressive for that kind of approach. This attitudinal issue evidently comes from the top (rotting from the head downwards).
There are several observations I have been eager to make (for over a month now). Here they are itemised below.
1. IAM Magazine an EPO Mouthpiece?
A lot of people don’t know this, but our arch-foe IAM (often a tool for proponents of software patents and various patent maximalists) asked us for documents a month ago. These documents relate to the explosive story we covered; it was so explosive in fact that a lot of the European media covered it (citing Techrights) and this was the time that EPO kicked into action… legal action (or at least threats thereof).
“I personally believe that IAM was somehow complicit in helping the EPO here, not just in the ‘damage control’ sense.”I personally believe that IAM was somehow complicit in helping the EPO here, not just in the ‘damage control’ sense. I should probably have been more sceptical because they’re longtime foes of ours and they leaked two original documents that I gave them confidentially while twice telling them to absolutely not publish (they did anyway, potentially compromising my sources).
Take this as a word of warning. The role of IAM, as evident from their article, is to amplify EPO PR officials, helping them make a case against perceived opponents. I’ve asked around in popular legal media about their views of IAM. They don’t view IAM’s negligent (or worse — malicious) behaviour as intentional.
Watch out, EPO staff (e.g. examiners, clerical staff). IAM is not your friend. Worse — it may be your enemy.
2. Patent-centric Lawyers Called BS on EPO’s Tactics
Not only lawyers specialising in free speech were flabbergasted by the EPO’s behaviour (more on that in later posts). I was enormously relieved to speak to some patent lawyers and hear their take on this because it was very evident that even patent people were on my side, not the EPO’s side. The EPO’s management is very rapidly alienating people and eliminating even allies. How terrible is that?
“I rightly predicted at the time that the EPO would repeatedly send threatening letters.”Several people whom I trust have known about what the EPO did for a number of weeks. “Please don’t take this public,” I told them, “at least not yet, for I fear that this is just one among several such threats.”
I rightly predicted at the time that the EPO would repeatedly send threatening letters. That’s just what they did. A week later Capone even wrote a blog post about it. They were playing with fire and thought they would managed to burn down a blog.
“See who the letter is addressed to,” I told one lawyer. “It’s a name that’s not mine and it’s a German name, so I’m thinking either a member of SUEPO, which recently received such threats (e.g. to remove links to FOSS Patents and even Heise News) or some journalist in Germany.”
“At the time I already knew of a war on the media and bloggers; deterrence tactics had been used against a French blogger, who contacted me about it just days in advance.”That name, as we revealed several days ago, was Schneider. We haven’t been able to identify who exactly that was (it’s a very common surname, even inside the EPO).
At the time I already knew of a war on the media and bloggers; deterrence tactics had been used against a French blogger, who contacted me about it just days in advance. We are still hoping that more journalists and bloggers will come out and speak out. We need to understand just to what lengths these thugs will go in an effort to silent prominent critics.
3. Part of a New Campaign From Battistelli
Days before it happened the EPO spent a huge amount of money contracting a firm that specialises in public relation and legal strategies (like threatening legal letters). It’s a massive Washington-based firm called FTI Consulting, whose list of clients is rather revealing. The date on the contract is just about 2 weeks earlier!
“It wasn’t long before the staff representatives came under massive, unprecedented attacks.”Sources told me at the time that next week (the week after these threats) there may be some new Battistelli-led campaign intended to crush dissent in new, unprecedented ways. It wasn’t long before the staff representatives came under massive, unprecedented attacks.
Don’t think for a moment that these crackdowns have no relation to the FTI Consulting contract! It seems improbable and rather unreasonable to call this just a “coincidence”. Notice the timing.
“I don’t assume privacy in my E-mail,” I told a lawyer, “but anonymity tools and sometimes encryption keep the sources safe. Nobody, as far as I’m aware (and I’m checking), came under threats or problems due to communication with me.”
That statement still holds true as far as I am aware. Techrights never (to the best of my knowledge) caused complications for a source. Not even the EPO managed to change this, with help from FTI Consulting and CRG (Control Risks Group). All of them, including the legal firms, have large offices based in London.
“All of them, including the legal firms, have large offices based in London.”“I am still eager to establish, factually,” I said, “whether there is any link (personal, e.g. former employer) between Control Risks Group and GCHQ/CESG.”
I finally added: “I think this story may continue to develop for at least another year to come. I still have some very damning material in my possession — too damning to even publish at this moment.”
Well, that was more than a month ago. We still have stockpiles of material. This is perhaps why the EPO’s management is so panicky.
4. EPO Barks, But Won’t Bite
In articles that we shall publish in the future we are doing to further dissect what the EPO was hoping to achieve and rules that it probably broke in the process. EPO breaking rules?! No way!
“We are going to provide more such opinions in the future. These serve to show that all we have here is SLAPP.”We spoke to fellow journalists about these matters at a very early stage to find out more. “Glad you’ve been able to take legal advice,” one told us. “No-one in my team of writers knows much about defamation, though there is a feeling that an action would be hard-pressed to succeed under UK defamation law given the public interest dimension and the problems that the EPO would face in showing any loss. In addition, the EPO would expose itself to a good deal of unwanted publicity and to the disclosure for the purposes of litigation of information which it has not hitherto been willing to make available. This latter consideration might reasonably lead one to think that the EPO will not want to have its bluff called and face real litigation in England and Wales.”
We are going to provide more such opinions in the future. These serve to show that all we have here is SLAPP.
5. The EPO Has Much to Hide, Much to Fear
It quickly becomes ever more evident that the EPO is afraid because it knows that it has plenty to hide. In social media, at a later stage, I have called for people to leak any threatening letters which they received from the EPO, I.U. or any external legal firm/s. Many anonymous EPO-centric people are following me (although I cannot verify this, it’s just a gut feeling), so I was hoping some of them had something to share with Techrights in the coming week. Information has been pouring in since then and further accelerated (the pace of input) since it became known that the EPO was threatening me. The ban of Techrights inside the EPO had a similar effect. Why is the EPO so tactless? It merely legitimises its critics, insinuating that it is trying to hide something.
6. Techrights Only One of Many Victims
If the EPO was a cave, there would be a big pile of corpses at its entrance (not a reference to suicides but a metaphor in the context of character assassination and witch-hunting).
“Who knows how far the EPO’s attacks on critics go… they send these letters to activists/campaigners like myself, so I reckon to journalists too, not just staff, independent boards and unions. Even lawyers are now in the cross-hairs.”The EPO is intolerant to criticism and it actively work to crush critics. How widespread is this phenomenon really? Inside the institution? Outside of it? Have any MEPs who publicly complained about the EPO’s management (that’s over 100 MEPs) received letters accusing them too of defamation? That’s a question I asked someone more than a month ago, well before Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ made publicly-accessible the rude letter sent to him personally from Benoît Battistelli.
Who knows how far the EPO’s attacks on critics go… they send these letters to activists/campaigners like myself, so I reckon to journalists too, not just staff, independent boards and unions. Even lawyers are now in the cross-hairs.
Recently, Ms Hardon or colleagues (or fellow union leader) made it abundantly clear that the staff representatives are very much in the cross-hairs. This is hardly surprising, but for EPO to start abusing lawyers and journalists is very gross overreach. There is no room for such behaviour in a civilised country. The threatening letters sent to Ms Hardon and her response to it (via a legal firm), accusing the EPO is “institutional harassment”, as per definition of harassment, are really quite telling.
“The thing about legal letters is that it’s hard to properly anonymise such letters, so not many people come out or come forward to make their cases known/publicised.”Ms Hardon is not the only one facing such abuses, but to show evidence of it we’ll need to wait patiently. We know of other such letters. They’re already circulating and there is also a petition coming (we have seen it, but won’t publish it for now).
Going back to journalists, we still try to publicly urge for disclosure of threats, censorship etc. (like censorship by an editor, a phonecall from EPO officials and various acts of self-censorship). The thing about legal letters is that it’s hard to properly anonymise such letters, so not many people come out or come forward to make their cases known/publicised. We wonder how many people surrender and maybe even get manipulated (payment, apology); remember that the letter sent to me still had someone else’s name (a German name). It was clearly a rushed job. Maybe they did this in bulk in preparation for what I was told on Friday — earlier on the very same day — is “a new media strategy of Battistelli” (to start this week).
7. Topić and History of Censorship (or Self-Censorship)
I wish to remind readers that Topić (VP4) probably did what was done to us before, even back in Croatia. A blogger who exposed his alleged corruption (bribes) took down the article and posted an apology. It was very weird; there was almost definitely strong-arming. At the same time, a defamation case in Croatia (over the allegations in this article) was lost by Topić, giving credibility to this story. It was only months later! In the internal EPO site the ‘apology’ (placement) was linked as ‘proof’ of Topić being innocent, yet nothing was said about it shortly after he lost his defamation case in Zagreb.
“The authors in some Croatian media believe that Topić faces something like 6 criminal charges in Croatia, yet Battistelli found it possible to appoint him Vice-President and make him his right-hand man (EPO staff say he’s like the bulldog in the building now, taking down unwanted posters).”The authors in some Croatian media believe that Topić faces something like 6 criminal charges in Croatia, yet Battistelli found it possible to appoint him Vice-President and make him his right-hand man (EPO staff say he’s like the bulldog in the building now, taking down unwanted posters). Having been compelled to review Topić’s record, Battistelli’s people conducted a very bogus ‘internal investigation’ (we wrote about this a long time ago), so we reckon they see nothing wrong with his antics. No wonder they now do in Germany what some deem “Balkan standards”.
Remember that no less than 5 people in the EPO committed suicide in recent years. Given information that we have in our possession but have not published yet (it would cause chaos), we think the above abuse may have something to do with at least some of them. Should the EPO be held accountable for some deaths too?
We have so much more to say, but we shall leave it for another post because this one is already getting quite long. █
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SLAPP is strategic lawsuit against public participation
Summary: Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment
SAVING the best for last (there’s a lot more to come), tonight I wish to only share some early experiences I had with the EPO's bullies. At a later point we will show the full legal dissection that includes point-by-point rebuttal and demonstrates that the EPO not only ignores the law when it comes to internal operations but also when it comes to outside engagements (external). These people are thugs and they are contracting goons from the outside (i.e. more privatisation).
“They wanted to ensure that I have no time to seek legal advice.”The EPO, in sending me threatening letters, did not follow the appropriate procedures. These letters were seemingly not sent from a professional in the field, either. They should give 14 days to respond, as a matter of law. It seems as though they are not even aware of how it’s done, but they did it at around 23:30 on a Friday night, showing utter disregard for their target and misuse of new defamation laws, which do not even permit this. Any emotional harm caused to a person who is criticised is not enough to merit litigation, especially since malicious intent or fabrications are required to make up defamation cases. More importantly they need to say who it’s published to and who they actually represent (otherwise there may be no capacity to take any action at all, in which case this all just amounts to harassment or trolling). When I received the first letter (there was more than one) I knew the EPO was trying to engage in a campaign of silencing, but it was too late at night (and beginning of a weekend), so reaching out for legal advice was extremely hard. This is probably what the EPO intended; how many lawyers actually work until midnight on a Friday? They wanted to ensure that I have no time to seek legal advice or that the longer it takes, the greater the liability. Not even silence was presented as an option (akin to Miranda rights).
What I wrote back to them was very short and I then passed the letter to my lawyer. The sender of the latter was possibly not a law specialist. My lawyer called it a “prank letter”. On the face of it, I could ask for at least 14 days to respond, but how would one know this without access to a suitable lawyer late on Friday night? They asked me to write back immediately (a trap) and they clearly don’t know what they are doing, or maybe they deliberately break the rules. Well, this is “SLAPP” — an action intended only to chill a person. It’s abusive. Such abuses of the law are a common theme inside the EPO, based on other stories (like that of Elizabeth Hardon).
“The EPO already has a history of trademark-trolling its critics.”The EPO, in the mean time, carried on sending ever more threatening letters, but this time I already had legal advice, hence I could not be easily fooled. Further to a phonecall or two (during the weekend), my lawyer sent a holding response, sent at my instruction. I had reread my own post and found it totally defensible, even by citing mainstream media interpretations of the leaks (original and authentic, definitely in the public interest). Only if something was incorrect in it would it be worth taking down the post. But I will not do so. Because it’s totally defensible. The EPO was clearly just trying to take down all my recent posts (at the time) because it suffered a major backlash in the corporate media, which cited my articles on the subject. The bullies were utterly desperate to salvage the EPO’s reputation; they even wanted a public “apology” as means of attempting to change history and portray the messenger as wrong, i.e. putting words in their critic’s mouth.
I decided that if the criteria for takedown (and apology) was as terrible as noted in that last threatening letter (worse an example than the first), then they can just libel-troll a lot of other articles, as they probably already do against other people (the totally wrong surname in the first letter potentially serves to confirm this). The EPO already has a history of trademark-trolling its critics. It uses fear (or terrorism, to use a mightier synonym) to silence dissenting voices.
This whole campaign of libel-trolling, which I presume is the frantic/panicky result of managers and others potentially risking the sack (for their actions and the resultant public outcry from European lawyers, i.e. the ‘clients’ of EPO), is ideologically indefensible. It shames the EPO even further as they juggle a whole lot of scandals. █
“There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral”
–Walter Lippmann (American Journalist, 1889-1974)
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European taxpayers now subsidise Washington-based PR agencies
Summary: The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation
Battistelli is in China at the moment as tyrants unite. The Chinese state councilor meets the EPO‘s President, based on Chinese media, but what goes on in Europe? We think that the next big scandal is brewing and this will be the subject of tonight’s (late night) articles.
“The organisation which proclaims to be public is now contracting foreign private entities to help manipulate public perception of the organisation.”Two nights ago we started looking for an important document and then made a request for it. It very quickly yielded this document, which proves that the EPO was meddling with the media.
The European Patent Office ought to be called the European Private Office because essentially this op-called ‘public’ body is privatising parts of its ‘business’ while ensuring that people with occasional connections to the management can potentially make a lot of money (risk-free profit) at the expense of European taxpayers. The organisation which proclaims to be public is now contracting foreign private entities to help manipulate public perception of the organisation.
“FTI Consulting deals with “litigation consulting, strategic communications” and various other areas, which seem to match the EPO’s current media strategy](silencing opposing voices with legal threats while manipulating the media).”A firm which was commenting on the recent Volkswagen scandal and according to the Wall Street Journal “provides legal, financial and public-relations services”, has just been paid close to a million dollars by the EPO.
FTI Consulting is basically, according to its Web site, something rather mysterious and only superficially (on the surface) benign. Wikipedia says “FTI Consulting is a business advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC.” With 4,400 employees and $1.76 billion in revenue last year (and rising), this is quite a giant and it is publicly traded as FCN (NYSE). It’s a decade younger than the EPO (1982) and about my age. FTI Consulting deals with “litigation consulting, strategic communications” and various other areas, which seem to match the EPO’s current media strategy (silencing opposing voices with legal threats while manipulating the media). “In January 2014, FTI Consulting acquired London-based TLG Partners,” which gives them presence in Europe. The EPO has already signed a contract with the London-based Control Risks Group (CRG) — a subject which we covered in the following posts:
While we are not sure if it’s factually true (Maggie Thatcher isn’t our area of expertise, unlike some UK-IPO-related issues), one new comment in IP Kat says that “Maggie [Thatcher] attempted to privatise the UK Patent Office in the late 1980’s”
Notice just how much of the EPO is now being privatised for profit (external agencies), just like Blackwater in relation to the US Army. First CRG, now PR firms… what next? Tax money from Europe is being shipped to large private companies overseas. And for what? Gaming the European media? █
“[A]fter analysing a five-day working week in the media, across 10 hard-copy papers, ACIJ and Crikey found that nearly 55% of stories analysed were driven by some form of public relations. The Daily Telegraph came out on top of the league ladder with 70% of stories analysed triggered by public relations. The Sydney Morning Herald gets the wooden spoon with (only) 42% PR-driven stories for that week.”
–“Over half your news is spin”
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“What we’re really after is simply that people acquire a legal license for Windows for each computer they own before they move on to Linux or Sun Solaris or BSD or OS/2 or whatever.”
Summary: A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people’s privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo
THE topic we have neglected as of late is Vista 10, which is still doing pretty poorly in the market. Its whole purpose seem to be data collection and Microsoft will not tolerate barriers to: 1) adoption of Vista 10 and 2) data collection from each Vista 10 user.
Microsoft is aggressively trying to impose downloads of Vista 10, even without consent from users. One ought to wonder, when will there be class action lawsuits? Microsoft pretended this was done in error, but later it became clear that this was not an accident. Microsoft is really desperate to make everyone adopt this malicious spyware, which acts as a keylogger with a lot of other nasty features.
According to reports from earlier this week, Microsoft’s special ally Dell helps snooping on users in more than one way. Not many reports mention this, but it’s a problem that affects Windows only , just like in the case of Lenovo, which took all the blame for Microsoft's bad behaviour.
According to reports from the British media, Microsoft is now overriding users’ preferences not only when it comes to downloading Vista 10. It not only ignores privacy settings, either. Microsoft is now using Windows updates to actually alter privacy settings , showing once again that anything privacy-related is a farce under Windows . Remember that Microsoft works closely with the NSA.
One article rightly recalled Microsoft’s hypocritical AstroTurfing against Google and wrote: “Microsoft spent millions portraying Google as a greedy and amoral data marauder. Redmond doesn’t need to read your email, it told everyone. The Scroogled campaign positioned Microsoft itself as the ethical alternative; the occupier of the moral high ground.”
As one person put it in Twitter, “now that they’ve apparently “given away” Windows 10, the die is cast. Vast majority of people have no idea of privacy loss/laws” (it is only a ‘free’ ‘upgrade’, it is not “given away”).
The press will likely find yet more of Dell’s serious privacy violations , including this second one [5,6], but rarely will it bother to mention that only Windows is affected. This whole bunch of stories comes to show that Dell and Microsoft Windows are more like NSA incorporated. They are designed to erode privacy. Surveillance is a built-in goal. Just like in the case of Lenovo, however, Microsoft received none of the blame. Lenovo and Dell get all the negative publicity, but it is a Windows issue, not just a Lenovo or a Dell issue.
We wish to remind readers that now is a good time to leave Windows. The decks in the proprietary software world are stacked against privacy. They guard the watchers, not the users. Windows sometimes puts people in prison [1, 2]. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
News came out on Tuesday that since August Dell computers have been coming out-of-the-box with a root certificate preinstalled that is an “unintended security vulnerability.” The source of the quote, by the way, is Dell itself.
And you thought all you had to worry about was Superfish, the adware Lenovo installed on its computers that left users vulnerable to man-in the-middle attacks — even when running Linux. At least the latest dumb move by Dell seems to be Windows specific, meaning most readers of FOSS Force can breath easy and repeat the official Linux mantra rewritten from an old Dial soap campaign.
According to Redmond on Tuesday, “when the November update was installed, a few settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained for advertising ID, Background apps, SmartScreen Filter, and Sync with devices.”
Fair play to Microsoft for shedding light on the blunder. Basically, its operating system allowed apps to access people’s unique advertising ID numbers; the SmartScreen Filter that sends executables to Microsoft servers to analyze was enabled; software was allowed to run in the background; and settings and passwords would be backed up the cloud. If you previously disabled any of those, they would be reenabled by the MCT-derived upgrade over a previous Windows 10 install.
Microsoft pulled a major update for Windows after it blew away the user’s privacy settings, allowing app developers and advertisers to glean the user’s identity.
But that’s only part of the story, which gets murkier by the day.
We already knew Windows 10 Threshold deleted third-party data monitoring tools and cleanup tools, including stalwarts like Spybot and CCleaner. It even disabled Cisco’s VPN software. Just a bug, said Microsoft.
Two bugs would be a puzzling coincidence – but something else makes it altogether more troubling.
This year Microsoft introduced background tracking services called DiagTrack, or the Diagnostics Tracking Service. It was added to Windows 8.1 installations as well as betas of Windows 10. It arrived without much fanfare in May 14, in the shape of a patch, KB3022345.
It was just one of several slurping enhancements added via the back door.
Microsoft spent millions portraying Google as a greedy and amoral data marauder. Redmond doesn’t need to read your email, it told everyone. The Scroogled campaign positioned Microsoft itself as the ethical alternative; the occupier of the moral high ground.
Dell customers have turned up a second root certificate installed on some Dell machines, which could make them easy prey for malicious attacks on public Wi-Fi networks.
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Like history’s most genocidal regimes, the EPO’s management started an aggressive information warfare campaign this autumn
Summary: A dissection of the EPO’s current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views
THE EPO is doing more malicious things than we have time to cover. As noted in the previous post, DDOS challenges aren’t helping (lost 2 hours this morning) and the EPO’s expensive distortion of the corporate media is well under way, with Battistelli sending to influential people articles from his greased up ‘media partners’, Les Échos for instance [1, 2, 3] (now Battistelli's mouthpiece, his master’s voice).
“The EPO is now using public money to sue or threaten to sue journalists, activists etc. via dubious tactics and dubious people with a name like “Capone” (yes, it’s a real name!).”One important observation that we wish to point out very quickly (I must rush and dash outdoors really urgently if not soon) is that the EPO bullies bloggers at the same time that it is greasing up the corporate media (look at the dates on the leaked letters and see they’re just weeks apart). The EPO is now using public money to sue or threaten to sue journalists, activists etc. via dubious tactics and dubious people with a name like “Capone” (yes, it’s a real name!).
The EPO is clearly fighting an information war (read the Wikipedia article on “information warfare”) right now, combined with psychological warfare that mostly takes its toll on staff representatives. It wants to deprive its opposition of a voice while literally buying its own voices. This is the hallmark of imperialistic behaviour that must not be tolerated but at the same time can be difficult to crush (those who can end it are subjected to constant brainwash which only a lot of money can buy).
“This is the hallmark of imperialistic behaviour that must not be tolerated but at the same time can be difficult to crush (those who can end it are subjected to constant brainwash which only a lot of money can buy).”Contrary to media reports, the EPO did not bully me over one single article. It did this repeatedly. I later received another threatening from the EPO, regarding yet another article. That’s an outrageous sign that the EPO’s goal was to systematically remove a lot of articles — if not all articles — which I ever wrote about the EPO. As per advice that I received, maybe at the end I’ll just take legal action and charge for illegal takedown attempts — takedown of stuff that is factually correct. Such action is in itself illegal. It’s akin to bogus DMCA takedown requests (censorship). But wait, does the EPO even care what’s legal? Remember that the EPO is effectively above the law. It exploits that. Even when losing cases in court the EPO refuses to obey the rulings.
Believe it or not, Mr. Capone (yes, real name!) was the person doing legal bullying for the EPO. They seem to have gotten a cheap and unprofessional ‘lawyer’ (grossly abusing the law, which he does not even seem to understand) because a serious lawyer would laugh them out the door, fearing that the legal firm itself can be sued for SLAPP and bullying.
“Remember that the EPO is effectively above the law. It exploits that.”No public word on this situation yet, but please understand that the EPO seemingly dumped their lawyers and moved to a more aggressive firm. It’s all about intimidation and as we revealed in our first post on the subject, this seems to be a widespread campaign. Do not assume that Techrights is the only site under attack. We know that it’s not because we spoke to another blogger, the person who built a site opposing the Unitary Patent. The EPO bullied him (trademark-trolling). Sometimes, especially nowadays, I fail to see how Europe is safer than China for journalists…
These people have no shame; they describe a false scenario or a misrepresentation of the law in an effort to compel for action based on misinformation. Similar tactics were reportedly used against staff representatives while their lawyers were absent. The EPO’s bullies sent me threatening letters just before midnight on a Friday night, probably for similar reasons (more on that in future articles). We are going to expand on that some other day and provide more proof of our allegations, for I’ve run out of time and I must leave. █
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Further Recent Posts
- The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'
Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)
- The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO
With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents
- EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)
The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)
- What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism
A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)
- EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night
Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment
- The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors
The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation
- Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident
A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo
- When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles
A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views
- Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires
Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires
- Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)
The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)
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Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”
- Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue
Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”
- Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)
Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads
- A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.
An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media
- European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”
Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws
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The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour
- The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe
The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists
- Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician
Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention
- The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions
Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin
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An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)
- Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO
A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs
- Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers
Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)
- Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC
Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on
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The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)
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The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions