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03.17.16

Institutional Failure and Dirty Tricks: Benoît Battistelli Seemingly Gets Support Like Microsoft Gets Support

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When all votes count as equal…

Arūnas Želvys, Director of the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania, and EPO President Benoît Battistelli sign the agreement
Published only hours ago. Where next? Croatia?

Also see: Benoît Battistelli: “An Earthquake Would be Needed for the Administrative Council... Not to Support My Major Proposals.”

Summary: Today’s reminder that Battistelli is not at all monitored or ‘bossed’ by the Administrative Council, which he not only comes from but also offers incentives to (days after waving EPO money at Dutch politicians in an effort to influence them to place the EPO above the law)

BACK in the days — nearly a whole decade ago — we used to thoroughly cover Microsoft’s use of corruption to make Microsoft Office an ‘open’ ‘standard’. Given enough money, power, connections etc. one can conceivably achieve anything, especially in poor countries where even dental treatment is a massive treat. Remember that Microsoft offered financial incentives to entire countries (or politicians’ own cities) in an effort to buy their votes. Conversely, sometimes blackmail gets used (“do what we say, or else…”). We covered examples of that. Well, Microsoft still relies on bribes (to officials) to get business 'done'.

The EPO, which is especially close to Microsoft, is hardly any better. Rather than label itself a private or ‘public’ (in the shareholders sense) corporation it is an international body that acts like a corporation and enjoys exemptions from the law. It even calls itself “European”, even though the only European thing about it is the staff. The EPO is connected to some very powerful people from all over the world and therefore it guards powerful people, obviously at the expense of ordinary Europeans. Battistelli is a good example or a symptom of this, for reasons we covered here many times before. Battistelli often looks more and more (at least appears to outsiders) like he’s carrying out the orders or instructions of somebody else (or many somebodies). The way I personally look at it (yes, personally), Battistelli is the first domino piece to fall and serve as a deterrence against those who follow his footsteps and implement so-called ‘reforms’ that abolish human rights, commonwealth, etc. Next on the list might be Kongstad, e.g. for protecting Battistelli for many years and then hiding his contract. EPO workers need Kongstad to get Battistelli out, but they won’t see it any time soon because Battistelli is Kongstad’s predecessor and the latter now acts more like his guardian (we first pointed this out in 2014). In order to implement popular change (not corporate/billionaires’ change) at the EPO, the Administrative Council too needs to be tackled. They’re mostly lawyers from national patent offices, they’re not scientists or examiners. They too need to be shaken a bit. Then, staff may move on to other culprits (whose power if not reputation as well will be simpler to destroy based purely on their unethical actions, as they’re low-profile people compared to Battistelli and Kongstad).

“Well, Microsoft still relies on bribes (to officials) to get business ‘done’.”The EPO scandals will surely outlive Battistelli and Kongstad, so EPO staff should be prepared for a longer struggle before sanity is restored, the EPC is obeyed, human rights are respected and so on.

As one reader put it the other day: “It can be a course of events, but I am afraid the domino effect might not be as automatic as we wish. For sure active pressure, e.g. by media and union action, will be needed and still well organized. Laws in and about EPO are murky, so that no matter how unreasonable and indefensible some managers’ behaviour might be, they might still get away with it.

“Another key factor would be to get ever more examiners getting out of the dark when showing support and denouncing abuses. This could set the beginning of an end, so to say.

“Another key factor would be to get ever more examiners getting out of the dark when showing support and denouncing abuses.”
      –Anonymous
“If Battistelli’s and/or Kongstad’s ditching takes longer than this year, we might lose the momentum, with examiners retreating their heads in their necks and Union back in its self-referential playing of pretending to be Machiavellis they never were, and as if they have a hundred years to play about.”

Earlier today some people’s hearts sank because they came to realise that the Administrative Council is not on their side. Doctored results and fake union recognition at EPO apparently fooled those who wished to be fooled. This didn’t surprise us at all, but it’s only an expected step, probably to be followed by strikes.

In the mean time, as there is a personal aspect to my activism/reporting in this area (I am a software engineer worried about software patents), I decided to also take personal action and therefore contacted some delegates. I sent them the following message a few days ago:

I am writing to you as a concerned European and as a software professional based in the UK. As you may know, the management of the EPO is under heavy attack for its mistreatment of staff, which even led to an imminent Office-wide strike and resulted in staff suicides (see TV coverage from earlier this month in Germany). However, I am a lot more concerned at the moment about a parade of misinformation, intended to distract from this and also mislead delegates of your country, who shall soon be attending the Administrative Council meeting in Munich. I want to keep this short, so let me highlight two kinds of lies you may be told by the EPO. The first lie concerns so-called union recognition. There is no such thing at the EPO, except a quasi-staged signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with a tiny union that hardly represents even 1% of staff at the EPO (the real union represents about half of all staff). This is intended to lull delegates into the illusion that relationships between staff and management have improved. It’s far from the truth. In fact, over 91% of staff which voted on a strike last week voted in favour. EPO workers are unwilling to tolerate the abusive management, in spite of their salary and despite the risk of voting in favour of a strike (the ballot provides no real privacy). The second point I must stress is that when the EPO claims improved performance, efficiency, results etc. these claims must be regarded as dubious/questionable at best. Numerous people, professionals in the field in fact, have already demonstrated that the EPO uses misleading statistics in order to give an illusion of success. This, in their minds, is intended to distract from (or justify) the aforementioned abuses and consequent unrest.

Over the past few months I’ve covered examples where the EPO lies not only to staff but also to journalists. In a desperate effort to salvage their reputation they are now creating an alternate reality. Sceptical analysis of EPO claims thus becomes a survival skill.

I want to see the EPO repaired. I wish to see it serving the European people and European interests. Right now the EPO is merely being used by very few people to advance their personal interests and this is unsustainable. It will, over the long run, damage Europe’s science, technology, and reputation.

My sincere regards,

Roy Schestowitz

Judging based on the message from John Alty today (UK-IPO), whom I contacted a few days ago, there’s no pleasant surprise, just the expected complicity. “Just back from @EPOorg Council meeting,” he wrote. “Strong statement of Council’s expectations to encourage improved social engagement.”

“Amid abuses that are widely recognised both at the EPO and outside of it the ‘opposition’ sounds like not even a slap on the wrist (hardly even that).”It’s hardly a strong statement. Amid abuses that are widely recognised both at the EPO and outside of it the ‘opposition’ sounds like not even a slap on the wrist (hardly even that).

Earlier today one anonymous person sent us a stream of messages about the outcome of the Administrative Council meeting. Among them:

  • “Unfortunately hard measures against Battistelli are off the table! The AC welcomed the impressive results for production & quality.”
  • “In order to address the social issues, the AC and Battistelli jointly agreed to launch a programme of actions to be implemented in the coming months.”
  • “The revision of the investigation guidelines, which was launched by the office in January, and the revision of disciplinary proc.”
  • “of course they do however the supreme question here remains unanswered, that is… who is the axis of evil? BB of the AC?”
  • “That was the biggest mistake ever and I warned in the past. Clearly a conflict in interests.”
  • “well it isn’t over yet, we need to wait till the end of the day to get a real picture of the situation, let’s keep our fingers”
  • “that is in preparation and the next logical step. Sad to say that a few thousands of staff members will be downhearted today!”

“It was rather unlikely all along that Administrative Council folks would be the ones to take serious action against Battistelli; not therein lies redemption anyway (the Administrative Council is simply too self-absorbed to care about EPO staff).”My response to the above was, EPO workers should go on strike and denounce not only EPO management but also the Administrative Council for being supine, complicit, and disinterested. It was rather unlikely all along that Administrative Council folks would be the ones to take serious action against Battistelli; not therein lies redemption anyway (the Administrative Council is simply too self-absorbed to care about EPO staff). This one comment which we received earlier today put in context this EPO announcement (warning: epo.org link) that we had noticed hours earlier. There is also this post-meeting hogwash (warning: epo.org link) for those who believe what the EPO says to the media. The latest EPO propaganda now tries to paint the Office as poor-friendly/SME-friendly (a total lie amid PACE propaganda in Twitter today, as well as more from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) and also serves to highlight what may have happened behind the scenes. In the words of the commenter:

I see Mr. Battistelli has signed an agreement to subsidize searches carried out for Lithuanians as for “Cyprus and other member states”. Only a cynic would suggest that this is a mechanism to encourage these states to support him in the AC.

EPO link: http://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2016/20160317.html

Some believed that Battistelli had "bribed" lower management for support (like Microsoft did for OOXML at ISO) and now again some interpret that as a bribe. This is not sufficient evidence, but still, it cannot count for nothing at all. There is at the very least a perception that Battistelli gave some gifts and got one back. Remember Battistelli’s money-waving strategy when dealing with Dutch politicians. It hardly works in rich countries.

There is already an article about this latest development. It comes from NRC. Human-corrected machine translation of this article was provided, as usual, by Petra Kramer, who put it as follows:

EPO Member States want fair sanctions

[Kramer: They changed the headline. First it was “After criticism EPO workers now getting fair sanctions”
see: http://drimble.nl/overige/business/34514479/na-kritiek-krijgen-werknemers-europees-octrooibureau-nu-eerlijke-sancties.html]

Majority votes for compromise over sanctions

The controversial punitive measures for employees of the European Patent Office, with among others an office in Rijswijk, are to be reviewed. With 12 abstentions 26 of the 38 Member States of the office Wednesday in Munich have voted in favour of fair sanctions, sources confirm.

The international organization (7,000 employees) accepts patent applications and grants European patents. The position of the President of the Agency, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli (65) is under pressure because of his “authoritarian” management style. During a critical interview in early March with State Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs, Labour Party) which Battistelli left in anger, this newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Governing Council, the highest body consists of the 38 member states, including the Netherlands, have great concern about the dismissal and demotion of three members of SUEPO trade union and the works council. So far Battistelli showed not to be very receptive to this criticism. In leaked minutes of February, the board of the Management Board described the situation as “a crisis.”

The council, which met Wednesday and Thursday in Munich, would rather an external investigation into the sanctions. In today’s resolution, which today is made public, that demand has been weakened. Battistelli must now consider an investigation or intervention through mediation or arbitration. The management board calls the patent office and the trade union to resume social dialogue and to reach an agreement. The president has embraced the content of the resolution, according to the patent office.

As an international organization the patent office claims not to be bound by national labour law. Battistelli does not recognize SUEPO union, which represents half of the total staff, either. The patent office has its own disciplinary procedures and an internal investigation service to screen workers. The method of this investigation service and the penalty rules are to be revised.

It is unclear what will happen to the trade unionists who are punished because of a “corruption campaign.” The Dutch Elizabeth Hardon, chairman of SUEPO in Munich, was fired and her pension was reduced. Her predecessor Ion Brumme was fired and the treasurer of the union, Malika Weaver was cut in her salary. Other members of the union have received official warnings.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld of the union calls Battistelli to undo the dismissals and demotion. “Battistelli abuse of his authority and power as he decides to expel the three union officials in Munich,” said Zegveld. “He is thus acting in blatant contradiction with the express wish of the Member States to improve social conditions and to protect the union.”

Notice that the above cites/quotes documents we leaked last night (at around 2 AM).

Is the EPO peaceful now? No.

“For the second day in a row in Twitter, the EPO lobbied for software patents (using the weasel word “ICT”) and will do the same tomorrow.”There will almost certainly be strikes soon.

Is the EPO’s propaganda over? No.

For the second day in a row over at Twitter, the EPO subtly lobbied for software patents (using the weasel word “ICT”) and will do the same tomorrow [1, 2]. The EPO arrogantly stomps on the EPC as nobody seems to be able to stop it. These liars keep citing their own bunk 'statistics' today [1, 2, 3], even when there are demonstrable issues with these. IAM ‘magazine’, which unwittingly uses a survey to give Battistelli his usual propaganda/ammunition, is now offering gifts in exchange for participating in the latest round of propaganda (maybe SUEPO's surveys scare Battistelli a little too much).

Links 17/3/2016: 3 Stable Linux Releases, Elive 2.6.18 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Slack smackback: There’s no IRC in team (software), say open-sourcers

    Open-source software is not possible without collaboration and collaboration is not possible without communication. Collaborative communication in open source projects typically means some form of distributed chat.

    In the past, and indeed the present for most projects, that has meant IRC. IRC has some disadvantages, though, and developers love a shiny new toy, which is part of the reason more than a few projects have moved to Slack, the startup attracting crazy amounts of venture investment and equally crazy valuations.

    [...]

    There are ongoing efforts to improve IRC, notably the IRCv3 project, but if you’re looking for a solution right now, IRC comes up short.

    And there’s no question that Slack is a very well designed, easy to use chat system. But it’s closed source, which makes it a questionable choice for open-source projects. Still, if good old IRC really isn’t working any more – and I would suggest your project take some time to really evaluate that question before proceeding – there are open-source Slack imitators that can also solve some of the problems with IRC, but are self-hosted and FOSS licensed.

  • TP-Link blocks open-source router firmware to comply with new FCC rules

    If you’re a fan of third-party software that adds functionality to a Wi-Fi router, your options just got smaller. The Federal Communications Commission has new rules designed to make sure routers operate only within their licensed frequencies and power levels. TP-Link is complying by blocking open-source firmware like the Linux-based OpenWRT and DD-WRT from its routers. That’s the easiest way for router manufacturers to comply.

  • 4 projects for building an open source arcade

    You may have heard the news recently that the MAME project has been licensed under the GPL version 2.

    MAME, which originally stood for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, is probably the largest and most complete game emulation systems ever created, with the ability to emulate many original gaming systems, largely from the 80s and 90s. While primarily developed for Windows, MAME also compiles easily for Linux, and can be ported to other operating systems as well.

  • 4 open source tools for writing your next screenplay

    While I was putting together slides for my lightning talk at Great Wide Open (happening March 16-17), Not that Weird: Open Source Tools for Creatives, I remembered that in the last half of 2015 we had a bit of a loss from our open source creative toolbox. I think I was little late to the game in realizing this—after all, the last official stable release of Celtx (the open source, desktop version) was in 2012—but for folks paying attention, it’s been a long time coming.

  • Events

    • Open source is center stage at Open Networking Summit

      Open Networking Summit (ONS) kicked off in Santa Clara this week, the first event since becoming part of the Linux Foundation.

      Guru Parulkar, Nick McKeown and Dan Pitt started the Open Networking summit back in 2011. Yesterday, Parulkar said in his keynote that they started the summit as a small event to highlight the latest developments in software defined networking (SDN), and to accelerate SDN adoption by network operators and service providers.

      But as almost everything is become software defined and adoption is increasing, ONS became an important event for the industry and community. The immense adoption of open source led the team to increase focus on open source and open source platforms.

    • Great Wide Open Day One in Twitter Pics
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird’s defective method of enabling anti-virus software to scan incoming POP3 e-mail messages

        Thunderbird’s method of enabling anti-virus software to scan incoming e-mail messages is explained in the mozillaZine article ‘Download each e-mail to a separate file before adding to Inbox‘ and in Mozilla bug report no. 116443 (the bug report that resulted in the functionality being implemented). It is my contention that the design is deficient and is actually not a solution. In this post I explain why I believe this to be the case. Although here I will discuss Thunderbird in Linux, I believe the deficiency applies to Thunderbird in all OSs.

      • User Security Relies on Encryption

        Security of users is paramount. Technology companies need to do everything in their power to ensure the security of their users and build products and services with strong security measures in place to do that.

        At Mozilla, it’s part of our mission to safeguard the Web and to take a stand on issues that threaten the health of the Internet. People need to understand and engage with encryption as a core technology that keeps our everyday transactions and conversations secure. That’s why, just days before the Apple story broke, we launched an awareness campaign to educate users on the importance of encryption.

  • Databases

    • Crate Built a Distributed SQL Database System To Run Within Containers

      Crate Technology has designed a database system for supporting Docker containers and microservices. The technology stresses ease of use, speed and scalability while retaining the ability to use SQL against very large data sets.

      Crate was built to run in ephemeral environments, said Christian Lutz, Crate CEO. It was the ninth official Docker image in the Docker Registry and has been downloaded more than 350,000 times in the past six months. It can be managed with Docker tools, or with Kubernetes or Mesos.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Tips for LibreOffice newbies

      Li Haoyi has written an excellent blog post entitled “Diving Into Other People’s Code” about diving into an unfamilar codebase (HN discussion here).

      I think this is really very helpful for anyone who wants to look at the LibreOffice source for the first time. Many of the things he mentions are directly relatable to LibreOffice – in particular getting your dev environment setup is particularly relatable.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Share your Insights in the 2016 Future of Open Source Survey

      The interesting thing will be to see if the results continue to accelerate at the same rate or even faster. You can see results of last year’s survey here. Follow the 2016 Future of Open Source Survey on Twitter at #FutureOSS and @FutureOfOSS, and stay tuned to Linux.com for future updates and results.

  • BSD

    • AsiaBSDCon OpenBSD papers

      This year’s AsiaBSDCon has come to an end, with a number of OpenBSD-related talks being presented. Two developers were also invited to the smaller “bhyvecon” event to discuss vmm(4) and future plans.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source Learning

        The U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen program is an initiative to use openly licensed educational resources in the classroom. Chesterfield schools have a national reputation as a pioneer in the use of these programs, and is one of six school districts nationwide to be named a #GoOpen Ambassador District, to mentor other school systems in implementing the program.

  • Programming

    • The Deep Roots of Javascript Fatigue

      When I was more active in the frontend community, the changes seemed minor. We’d occasionally make switches in packaging (RequireJS → Browserify), or frameworks (Backbone → Components). And sometimes we’d take advantage of new Node/v8 features. But for the most part, the updates were all incremental.

      [...]

      On the other hand, Brendan Eich, now the Mozilla CTO, argued for the changes. In an open letter to Chris Wilson, he objected to the fact that Microsoft was just now withdrawing support for a spec which had been in the works for years.

Leftovers

  • Yankees’ Dumb Ticket Policy Turns Soccer Match At Yankee Stadium Into A Ghost Town

    You may recall that we discussed the New York Yankees’ bumbling attempt to institute a new ticket policy for Yankee Stadium that disallowed print-at-home tickets. Dressed up as a policy designed to combat fake tickets being sold by scalpers, the policy was actually designed to be a warm hug to the team’s partner Ticketmaster and a slap to Ticketmaster rival StubHub, as well as all of the other secondary market resellers out there. Still, some people probably shrugged, assuming that this would only have an effect on Yankees fans, a group that might find the soil of sympathy barren.

  • Science

    • Why Haven’t We Met Aliens Yet? Because They’ve Evolved into AI

      While traveling in Western Samoa many years ago, I met a young Harvard University graduate student researching ants. He invited me on a hike into the jungles to assist with his search for the tiny insect. He told me his goal was to discover a new species of ant, in hopes it might be named after him one day.

      Whenever I look up at the stars at night pondering the cosmos, I think of my ant collector friend, kneeling in the jungle with a magnifying glass, scouring the earth. I think of him, because I believe in aliens—and I’ve often wondered if aliens are doing the same to us.

    • Ben Goldacre on why a ban on researchers speaking to politicians and policymakers fails the taxpayers who fund them

      Last month it was quietly announced that anyone receiving research grants from the state will be banned from lobbying “government and Parliament” on either policy issues or funding. The rule is said to be aimed principally at charities, but who knows the truth: in any case it covers all government grants “related to research and development”, and that means academics like me.

    • Rather than banning “lobbying” by academics, UK government should encourage it

      The UK government has passed rules banning academics who receive public funding from “lobbying” ministers and MPs about their research, meaning that the people whom the government pays to acquire expertise in matters of public policy aren’t allowed to speak to policy-makers anymore.

      The problem, from the UK government’s perspective, is that it wants to do things that scientists understand to be stupid: impose austerity as a means of stimulating the economy, give tax breaks to the rich as a means of stimulating the economy, limit migration as a means of stimulating the economy, and, of course, deny climate change.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What Americans Don’t Get About Nordic Countries

      When U.S. politicians talk about Scandinavian-style social welfare, they fail to explain the most important aspect of such policies: selfishness.

    • Another Big Turnout For Second Public Dialogue Of UN High-Level Panel On Medicines Access

      Today in Johannesburg, South Africa, the second of two public dialogues was held by the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, drawing another packed room and many ideas, experiences and suggestions for solutions.

      The archived livestream of the 17 March Johannesburg dialogue is available on the HLP website here. At press time, it appeared part of the webcast might be missing. The agenda of the event is available here [pdf]. Today’s public segment was preceded by a closed session yesterday.

  • Security

    • Big-name sites hit by rash of malicious ads spreading crypto ransomware [Updated]

      Mainstream websites, including those published by The New York Times, the BBC, MSN, and AOL, are falling victim to a new rash of malicious ads that attempt to surreptitiously install crypto ransomware and other malware on the computers of unsuspecting visitors, security firms warned.

      The tainted ads may have exposed tens of thousands of people over the past 24 hours alone, according to a blog post published Monday by Trend Micro. The new campaign started last week when “Angler,” a toolkit that sells exploits for Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and other widely used Internet software, started pushing laced banner ads through a compromised ad network.

      According to a separate blog post from Trustwave’s SpiderLabs group, one JSON-based file being served in the ads has more than 12,000 lines of heavily obfuscated code. When researchers deciphered the code, they discovered it enumerated a long list of security products and tools it avoided in an attempt to remain undetected.

    • VMware fixes XSS flaws in vRealize for Linux

      VMware patched two cross-site scripting issues in several editions of its vRealize cloud software. These flaws could be exploited in stored XSS attacks and could result in the user’s workstation being compromised.

    • VMware patches severe XSS flaws in vRealize software

      VMware has patched two serious vulnerabilities in the firm’s vRealize software which could lead to remote code execution and the compromise of business workstations.

      In a security advisory posted on Tuesday, the Palo Alto, California-based firm said the “important” vulnerabilities are found within the VMware vRealize Automation and VMware vRealize Business Advanced and Enterprise software platforms.

    • Get ready to patch Git servers, clients – nasty-looking bugs surface

      A chap who found two serious security bugs in Git servers and clients has urged people to patch their software.

      The flaws are present in Git including the 2.x, 1.9 and 1.7 branches, meaning the vulnerabilities have been lurking in the open-source version control tool for years.

      It is possible these two programming blunders can be potentially exploited to corrupt memory or execute malicious code on remote servers and clients. To do so, an attacker would have to craft a Git repository with a tree of files that have extremely long filenames, and then push the repo to a vulnerable server or let a vulnerable client clone it from the internet.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drones, drugs and death

      The war on terror’s methods of mass surveillance and remote warfare are not unique. The US is also addicted to covert tools in its ‘war on drugs’, with disastrous consequences.

    • Russian Anti-Torture Activist Assaulted in Chechnya

      One of Russia’s leading human rights activists, Igor Kalyapin, was assaulted in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on Wednesday night by masked men who beat him and doused him in eggs, cakes and green paint.

      Kalyapin, whose nongovernmental group, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, is known for investigating abuses in the region, was in the city to meet a member of the Chechen Human Rights Council, Heda Saratova, and some journalists, according to his colleague Dmitriy Piskunov.

      The activist had just checked in to the Hotel Grozny City when “employees of the hotel, accompanied by armed police officers, forced Kalyapin out of his room and onto the street just outside of the hotel,” Piskunov wrote in an email to The Intercept.

    • Evidence Mounts That U.S. Airstrike on ISIS in Libya Killed Serbian Diplomats
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • TPPA at risk as the US political pendulum swings towards trade isolationism

      Whatever the outcome of the United States presidential primaries, let alone the presidential election later this year, there is no doubt that we are watching the strongest challenge to the 30-plus year consensus on the benefits of globalisation.

      That pendulum is swinging, embodied in the strength of the campaigns by two ‘outsider’ candidates – Donald Trump on the mercantilist right and Bernie Sanders on the protectionist left – in the US.

      From New Zealand’s perspective, their most significant impact may be their capacity to push the US back to the isolationist roots that characterised its engagement with the rest of the international community in the first half of the 20th century.

      That isolationism could take many forms, but its greatest appeal to a generation of American workers who feel left behind by globalisation is in its impact on trade policy.

      Both Sanders and Trump are, in their own way, wanting to pull up the drawbridge on the last 30 years of global trade liberalisation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When graded on tech issues, 2016 presidential candidates don’t do well

      On the same day that five key states voted in the presidential primaries, startup lobbying shop Engine took a close look at where the candidates stand on important tech issues like privacy, net neutrality, and patent reform. If your views on those issues align with Engine’s, you won’t find their 2016 Candidate Report Card an encouraging read.

      After taking a look at the candidates’ records in four policy areas, Democrat Hillary Clinton got the highest overall grade: a B+. Her challenger Bernie Sanders got a B, while Republican candidates ranked lower: C+ grades for Marco Rubio and John Kasich, a D for Ted Cruz, and straight F’s for Donald Trump.

    • The curse of “inevitability”: After Hillary Clinton’s big wins, the media is already ignoring Bernie Sanders

      Bernie Sanders is still in the Democratic presidential primary race, but Hillary Clinton did her best on Tuesday night to pretend that he isn’t.

      Clinton used her election night rally to bask in her blowout victories over Sanders in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, and ignore much closer races in Illinois and Missouri. She paid tribute to Sanders’s “vigorous campaign,” the kind of condescending line that translates into “I won and he lost.” She noted that she has won more votes than anybody from either party so far—a valiant, if not particularly successful, attempt to cast her campaign as the kind of mass movement currently mesmerizing both the Democratic and Republican grassroots. And she spent a lot of time going after Donald Trump, the night’s other big victor and the man who will be the Republican nominee if he can avoid being deposed at the GOP convention.

      “Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it,” she said. “When we have a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong.”

      [...]

      Sanders has plenty of money and plenty of support. He has a real base within the Democratic Party. He will keep winning states. He has had a seismic impact on the 2016 race. But his biggest battle now will be to overcome the twin forces of establishment pressure on him to drop out and a loss of media interest in his candidacy. Both forces were in evidence on Tuesday. Sanders and his supporters will be told repeatedly that the time has come to unite behind Clinton, that the primary race is done. Trump is an exceedingly dangerous candidate on just about every level; the clamor to craft an opposing message to him as early as possible will get louder and louder. The lack of media attention will only grow. It will be a very high tide for Sanders to swim against.

    • Remembering Journalist & Media Critic Ben Bagdikian, Author of “The Media Monopoly”

      Journalist John Nichols pays tribute to the investigative journalist, media critic, editor and educator Ben Bagdikian, who has died at the age of 96. Bagdikian wrote the 1983 book “The Media Monopoly,” about how the consolidation of media outlets by a small number of corporate owners threatened free expression and independent journalism. In 1971, as an editor at The Washington Post, Bagdikian received the Pentagon Papers from whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and transferred them to Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who entered them into the Congressional Record.

    • Adam Johnson in NYT Debate on ‘Sanders Taken Seriously Enough?’

      FAIR contributing analyst Adam Johnson was invited to write a piece for the New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” feature–on the topic “Has Sanders Not Been Taken Seriously Enough?”

    • Bernie Sanders Had to Overcome Media Consensus Around Hillary Clinton

      Who is and isn’t a “serious” candidate in our modern public relations-driven democracy is largely tautological. Whoever the news media say is important early on typically becomes the most important. This leads to a feedback loop that anoints the “frontrunner” in the “invisible primary,” where success is measured by name recognition, money raised, party insider support and a host of “serious” accomplishments, all before the most essential of feedback has been provided: actual voting.

      This dynamic helped create the artificial consensus around Hillary Clinton early on. According to one tally of nightly broadcast network news during the 2015 primary season, Sanders received a total of 20 minutes of coverage, compared to Clinton’s 121 minutes and Trump’s 327. This gap would narrow once Sanders began to gain parity in early primary states, a feat Sanders achieved not because of media coverage but despite it.

      That “frontrunner” status prejudices both viewer and pundit alike when news media presents delegate totals, often including the unearned “super delegates,” despite the fact that their declared preferences are not binding, and could only reverse the will of the voters at the risk of throwing the election. This makes it appear as if Clinton’s lead is more insuperable than it actually is — a vestige of the invisible primary that occurred months before anyone voted.

  • Censorship

    • The real reason all the big social networks have introduced filtered feeds

      First it was Facebook, with the filtered News Feed that shows you as few as one in three of the posts that your friends make.

      Then it was Pinterest, which — a year ago — began displaying pins by “relevance” instead of chronology.

      Just last month, Twitter provoked an outcry of its own when Buzzfeed reported that it too would introduce, though not compel, an algorithmically ordered feed.

    • Interview: Zhao Liang Talks Behemoth and Censorship

      Zhao Liang’s Behemoth blurs the lines between video art and documentary, visually exploring multiple open-pit coal mines in the sparse hinterlands of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The film, loosely inspired by Dante’s Inferno, forgoes the spoken word completely. It stylistically melds poetry and performance art to portray the lives of various coal miners and iron smelters as they struggle to produce raw material fast enough for China’s ever-growing economy. The largely plotless film draws one in through the sheer juxtaposition of its monstrous, inhuman-sized landscapes and the intimate close-ups of miners’ soot-covered faces. Though banned from being screened inside China, the film was shown to a packed house in an underground screening room on the outskirts of Beijing this past February. The next day, we sat down in Zhao’s Beijing art studio, where the filmmaker was as wry in his humor as he was cynical, discussing everything from his views on censorship to the relationship between art and activism.

    • Is there compromise to be had over film censorship?

      I still remember one of the first times I went to watch a movie after I moved back to the country. I went to see an independent film on a whim with friends. After barely an hour and a half in the theatre, we emerged with absolutely no idea what had happened. The actual runtime was supposed to be two hours. The evening left me feeling like I had wasted my time and money.

      My issue is not necessarily with the censorship itself, but rather with the inconsistency of it. For example, I have watched some movies where scenes have been cut for explicit language but heard that same language in other films. I understand that there are cultural sensibilities to be mindful of and I honestly have no problem when, for example, gratuitous nudity that doesn’t add to the plot is cut. But if part of the storyline or dialogue (even minor bits) is gone, it creates a break that is quiet jarring for the viewer.

      When I watched movies at the Abu Dhabi film festival, I noticed the movies were uncut. If it is acceptable for films to be screened in full during festivals, what changes when they go on to be released nationwide?

    • Headless board delays film censorship

      Censorship of as many as 10 films, including the trailer of Goutam Ghose’s ‘Sankhachil’ starring Prosenjit Chatterjee, has got stalled in absence of a regional officer at the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) Kolkata office.

    • A professor in Iran came up with an ingenious method for criticizing the government without getting imprisoned

      In the final years before the 1979 Iranian revolution, political freedom in Iran was so restricted that professors caught criticizing the Shah’s regime risked imprisonment.

      The repressive environment forced one professor to come up with a very creative way to speak his mind.

      “You couldn’t criticize the regime directly – you had to be discreet about it,” Dr. Abbas Milani, a former assistant political science professor at the National University of Iran from 1975 to 1977, told Business Insider. Milani is now the director of Stanford University’s Iranian Studies program.

    • Minds in Malaysia, other Muslim countries ‘under yoke of censorship’, Turkish writer says

      urkish author Mustafa Akyol, whose book on Islamic liberalism was translated into Malay in Malaysia, has criticised censorship here and in other Muslim countries that he said are now languishing intellectually.

      Akyol, who was recently in Malaysia to promote the publication of the Malay edition of his book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, pointed out that Putrajaya has outlawed more than a thousand books translated into Malay, including Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species and Karen Armstrong’s Islam: A Short History.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Defense Department Agencies Have Been Operating Drones Domestically Without Cohesive Guidelines

      It’s amazing how much stuff government agencies “take seriously” and claim they’re handling in accordance to all sorts of secret, but presumably strict, guidelines… once their actions have been exposed.

    • Pentagon admits it has deployed military spy drones over the U.S.

      The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.

      The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.

    • The Great Certainty

      America will have a President who supports apartheid, land grab and the continual murder of children.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How a former lobbyist became the broadband industry’s worst nightmare

      After all, Wheeler had been the top lobbyist for both the cable and cell phone industries, having worked for the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) from 1976 to 1984 and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) from 1992 to 2004. Though he had left those jobs years before, people wondered if a former lobbyist would properly regulate the industries he once represented.

      “Obama’s Bad Pick: A Former Lobbyist at the FCC,” said the headline in The New Yorker on the day after Wheeler’s nomination. Consumer advocacy groups such as Free Press and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute publicly doubted whether Wheeler would be tough on his previous employers.

    • Canadian Cable Companies Make A Mockery Of Government’s Push For Cheaper TV

      So far, the Canadian government’s attempt to force innovation and lower prices on the Canadian TV industry doesn’t appear to be going so well. As previously noted, the government has demanded that all Canadian cable TV operators begin offering a so-called “skinny” bundles of smaller, cheaper channels starting this month, and the option to buy channels “a la carte” starting in December. But this being the cable industry, companies are finding all manner of ways to tap dance over, under and around the requirements.

    • ISPs Are Blocking Google Fiber’s Access To Utility Poles In California

      And while this is generally an idea that would benefit all broadband providers, it would benefit new providers like Google Fiber the most. That’s why companies like AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been blocking this pole-attachment reform, in some cases trying to claim such policies violate their Constitutional rights. The ISPs figure that if they can’t block Google Fiber from coming to town, their lawyers can at least slow Google Fiber’s progress while they try to lock customers down in long-term contracts.

  • DRM

    • Apple ‘AceDeceiver’ DRM Flaw Allows Malware To Install Itself On Non-Jailbroken iPhones

      Security researchers from Palo Alto Networks uncovered a new iOS malware family that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in Apple’s DRM software and can infect non-jailbroken devices. The researchers called the malware “AceDeceiver.”

      AceDeceiver uses a novel way of attacking iOS devices by managing to install itself without any enterprise certificates. Instead, it exploits design flaws in Apple’s “FairPlay” DRM mechanism that allow the malware to be installed on non-jailbroken devices.

      Apparently, this “FairPlay Man-In-The-Middle” attack was identified for the first time in 2013, but so far Apple still hasn’t fixed it. It’s been used to spread pirated iOS apps so far, but now malware makers seem to be taking advantage of it as well.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Two Brazilian Restaurants Battle Over Trademark For Logos Because Both Include Fire

        For whatever reason, we’ve seen all kinds of trademark actions over logos that are claimed to be very similar, but which aren’t. Most often these disputes center on the use of a single identifying thing within the logo, such as the umbrella in the Travelers Insurance logo, or the apple in the logo of, well, Apple. These disputes take trademark law, chiefly designed to aid the public in discerning between brands, and reduce it to slap-fights over the attempted ownership of images of everyday items.

        But in the trademark spat between two Brazillian restaurants, Fogo De Chao and Espirito Do Sul, we see this sort of thing sink to a new low as the former is threatening to sue the latter over the use of fire in its logo. Yes, fire. You know, one of the first things early mankind was able to manipulate in order to start down the road of societal progress.

      • Bacardi files amended complaint in Havana Club trade mark dispute

        Bacardi has filed an amended complaint with the US District Court for the District of Columbia in the dispute over the Havana Club run brand and trade mark in the US.

    • Copyrights

      • Powerman5000 Takes To Facebook To Complain About Similar Sounding Final Fantasy Song, Fans Rebut Them

        I imagine, as a musician, it must be common to come across other music that sounds somewhat similar to one’s own. I would think that not all genres of music are created equal in this respect. Jazz, for instance, while sharing common elements across the genre, seems to have enough instruments and space within the music for unique expression that perhaps similarities occur less often or are less severe than, say, industrial rock, which seems to have some more rigid common core elements. How much similarity is there in songs from Ramstein and Nine Inch Nails, for instance, or in songs from Nine Inch Nails and Powerman5000? Or in songs from Powerman5000 and Final Fantasy XIV…wait, what?

      • “Open WiFi Operators Are Not Liable for Pirating Users”

        Restaurants, bars and shops that offer their customers free and open Wi-Fi are not liable for pirating users. This is the advice Advocate General Szpunar has sent to the EU Court of Justice in what may turn out to be a landmark case. While there’s no direct liability, the AG notes that local courts may issue injunctions against Wi-Fi operators and long as they are fair and balanced.

      • EU Court Of Justice Advocate General Says Open WiFi Operators Shouldn’t Be Liable For Infringement
      • EU court: Public WiFi providers are not responsible for the actions of their users

        IN A PRELIMINARY OPINION, a bunch of sage European legal bigwigs have decided that public WiFi hotspots are not responsible for the actions of the general public.

        Let’s face it, who would want to be responsible for the actions of the general public?After all, they can get up to all sorts of very silly things, like ride hoverboards or agree with Katie Hopkins.

      • Napster Founder’s Movie Plan Will Fuel Torrent Sites, Theaters Say

        If Napster co-founder Sean Parker’s plans come to fruition, the latest movies will be available for viewing from day one in the home via a set-top box. But despite support from big name directors, not everyone is happy. According to a 600 theater chain, Screening Room will only provide quick, quality content for torrent sites.

      • Pirate Party to Dominate Iceland Parliament, Survey Finds

        The Pirate Party would dominate Iceland’s parliament if elections were held today. That’s the conclusion of a new survey which found that the Pirates appear to be maintaining an impressive lead over their rivals, with around 38% of voters saying they will be voting for the party and kicking the ruling coalition out of power.

Investigation Into Working Conditions at the European Patent Office Will Commence

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Martijn van Dam goes ahead with the plan

Martijn van Dam, Staatssecretaris van Economische Zaken. Portret voor ministeriepagina op Rijksoverheid.nl

Summary: Increasing acceptance and acknowledgement of the human/labour rights issues inside the European Patent Office (EPO), as recognised even by host nations such as the Netherlands

THE EPO turns out to be a terrible place to work at/for. A TV program previously explained why, helping those who don’t actually work at the EPO get a glimpse from the inside (witnesses were anonymised).

Benoît Battistelli nearly had an opportunity to de-escalate, but he blew it and exploded with his notorious temper. Human-corrected machine translation of this article has been provided to us by Petra Kramer. It covers this week’s encounter/rendezvous involving Martijn van Dam and Benoît Battistelli.

Fruitless conversation with controversial patent boss

THE HAGUE / RIJSWIJK (Reuters) – CEO Benoît Battistelli is accused of conducting a reign of terror at the European Patent Office, but a “firm” interview that Secretary Martijn van Dam (Economic Affairs) held with the highest boss yielded nothing. The European Patent Office is an international organization with 38 Member States, including all members of the European Union. Rijswijk is is home to one of its offices.

“The call, to my disappointment, has not led to any new perspectives,” Van Dam wrote Wednesday to the House of Commons. The House, as the government, is deeply concerned about the leadership of the patent boss which has been described as a “tyrannical”. Those concerns have been brought over in vain by Van Dam on 4 March.

There will be an investigation into the working conditions at the Patent Office, Van Dam announced earlier this year. When workers protested against poor working environment and against the dismissal of colleagues who criticized the Frenchman Battistelli. The agency is to reorganize and the government and parliament already have made it known that it should implement those reforms more carefully.

As the latest staff survey comes to show, staff is suffering and the working conditions have deteriorated severely. An external probe is desperately needed now.

Patents Roundup: Software Patents After Alice, Apple and Samsung, Jawbone and Fitbit

Posted in America, Apple, Patents, Samsung at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Bilski Blog chart
Credit: Bilski Blog

Summary: A bunch of stories of interest regarding the USPTO, which is the world’s most dominant patent office

THIS is the latest update regarding the US patent system, which increasingly shows some positive signs (getting tougher on software patents) but still facilitates a lot of avoidable aggression, and not just by patent trolls.

AliceStorm Versus Software Patents

“The US patent system (or Congress) needs to reconsider whether software patents should be issued at all.”Bilski Blog calls/dubs "AliceStorm" the phenomenon of patent squashing after Alice (2014). A lot of these are software patents, which are abstract. Looking at some of the latest posts about this [1, 2, 3] (the last one was cited here before), we now have the chart at the top. It shows that most of the time, by a large margin, Alice successfully buries software patents. The USPTO needs to heed the warning from courts (not just the Supreme Court but dozens more). The US patent system (or Congress) needs to reconsider whether software patents should be issued at all.

Apple and Samsung

Apple started attacking Samsung several years ago because Apple cannot compete based on merit. Apple wants to make Android more expensive and also Apple’s cash cow. That is similar to what Microsoft has been doing. “Samsung and Apple Were Top Targets for Patent Suits in 2015″ says a new headline from Fortune, noting:

The country’s two most popular phone makers, Apple AAPL and Samsung, are still getting smacked by dozens of lawsuits from so-called “patent trolls,” which are shell companies that make no products.

Meanwhile, a single district in Texas, which the late Justice Antonin Scalia once branded a “renegade jurisdiction,” continues to occupy an outsize role in this ongoing patent pileup.

Those are two of the most notable takeaways that can be found in a new report on U.S. patent trends in 2015. Published by patent analytics firm Lex Machina, the report adds new grist to a debate over U.S. innovation policy at a time when patent reform in Congress has foundered once again.

“With Alice still fresh in people’s mind (although apparently forgotten by some Justices, based on newly-circulated rumours), Apple is likely to lose.”“Blame Texas for the latest patent pile-up falling on Apple and Samsung,” says this person, cited by Florian Müller who added this Friday watchlist alert. Müller wrote: “Earlier this month (on Friday, March 4), the Supreme Court of the United States already had Samsung’s December 2015 petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) in Apple’s design patents case on its agenda. It’s nothing unusual for a case to be relisted, and it happened in this case. There was no weekly conference last Friday, so this cert petition will be discussed this week, and we’ll know the decision (unless there’s another relisting) on Monday morning.”

It is possible that SCOTUS will deal with at least one case that Apple brought against Samsung. With Alice still fresh in people’s mind (although apparently forgotten by some Justices, based on newly-circulated rumours), Apple is likely to lose.

Jawbone and Fitbit

Involving some more design and software patents, the Jawbone and Fitbit story was covered here several times in the past. Here is the latest on that: “For nearly a year Jawbone and Fitbit have been in the courts and Jawbone just threw down new allegations. In a motion to amend the original filing, Jawbone wants to add a new defendant to the case that formerly worked at Jawbone but defected to Fitbit, bringing a host of confidential information along with her. Jawbone also now contends that this person, along with previously named defendants, lied under oath that they had returned all confidential Jawbone information prior to leaving the company.”

“Nobody wins except the lawyers. These cases drag on for ages.”There is a lot more coverage about it this week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and it comes to show just what a sordid mess patent wars have become. Nobody wins except the lawyers. These cases drag on for ages.

Miscellany

A new article by Dennis Crouch says about a particular low-profile case that: “The original panel found that the sale constituted an invalidating on-sale bar. Of interest here, the “sale” was Ben Venue’s “sale of services” to manufacture the patented product-by-process rather than sales of the product themselves. The original panel found no principled distinction between these concepts – thus applying the on sale bar. Because the ‘sales’ at issue were associated with MedCo’s ‘validation batches,’ the patentee has also now argued experimental use.”

“If patents are about common good rather than protectionism for a few, then China should follow the will of its people, not of its patent lawyers (whose clients are often foreign).”Notice how far patents can go; even “sale of services”, not just manufacturing or sale of manufactured goods. How far can this go? Western patents, as this article from MIP suggests, can also be imposed on manufacturing giants/superpowers such as China. Why would China even entertain this? It’s not in the interests of China, that’s for sure, as most companies already manufacture everything in China. They hardly have a choice. “In determining the scope of patent protection in China,” MIP wrote, “the question of support for the claims has come into focus, particularly for bio-medical inventions. Wenhui Zhang and Stephen Zou review some recent decisions” (from China).

As we noted in relation to India the other day, patents on medicine are in no way beneficial to the interests of a large population such as China’s. If patents are about common good rather than protectionism for a few, then China should follow the will of its people, not of its patent lawyers (whose clients are often foreign).

In the Mainstream Media, the European Patent Office is Already Becoming Another FIFA, Lies Aplenty as Last Remaining ‘Damage Control’ Strategy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only thing left for the EPO to do is lie to the media as a media strategy

EPO FIFA Sepp Blatterstelli

Summary: Parallels or similarities between the FIFA scandal and the EPO scandal are becoming ever more evident as the EPO resorts to fictitious versions of reality, where all the problems basically boil down to some violent vocal minority and management is merely the victim of a smear campaign

THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING media cannot ignore this for much longer (we’re not speaking about patents-centric niche sites). The EPO scandals are mainstream news in central Europe and it’s not looking good for the management of the EPO, which is consistently being blamed.

“Ms. Hardon’s lawyer, who also represents the unnamed Irish judge, denies the accusations against both, calling them “invented allegations.””
      –Handelsblatt
There are at least 4 articles about it in German (mentioned yesterday), plus several more today in the German media (some behind paywalls) and Dutch media [1, 2] (same here and here). Surely there is a lot more, but we’re not able to detect it (instead we see press releases about the EPO in English).

One German newspaper, Handelsblatt, has just published this article in English. “Daggers Drawn at European Patent Office” is a somewhat odd title (article’s headline), implying a two-sided battle. Only the EPO’s PR team portrays staff as violent and it’s a fictitious narrative. The article says that “In some cases people were even threatened with violence.” Battistelli et al uses defamatory innuendo against Hardon, as if she's some violent, aggressive person. They try to ruin her good reputation while at the same time frame themselves as the victims (a rather Orwellian reversal, that's for sure).

“Hardon’s lawyer,” according to the article below, “also represents the unnamed Irish judge” and “denies the accusations against both, calling them “invented allegations.””

“Battistelli et al uses defamatory innuendo against Hardon, as if she’s some violent, aggressive person.”Battistelli lives in his own fantasy world where whistleblowers and representatives/judges are basically just Nazis and criminals. For those who are baffled by what Battistelli keeps telling the media about EPO, consider the possibility that an alternate reality was chosen and he is now self-deluding, surrounded by an echo chamber that only ever tells him what he wishes to hear, irrespective of the harsh reality. This Napoleonic President of the EPO won’t go away without a fight and definitely not without lying to the media (we wrote about this last night). To quote the publicly-accessible text from Handelsblatt:

The European Patent Office is wracked with conflicts, as its tough-minded French chief executive looks to put down union unrest and bizarre plots.

[...]

The European Patent Office, also known as the EPO, is witnessing a power struggle between its tough-minded French president, Benoît Battistelli, and the employee organization SUEPO. The battle of wills is escalating in the run-up to Wednesday’s crisis session of the organization’s administrative council.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, Mr. Battistelli accused a senior SUEPO figure, Elizabeth Hardon, of running a campaign of defamation. “She intimidated elected staff representatives,” he said. “In some cases people were even threatened with violence.”

At the beginning of the year, Ms. Hardon, an EPO patent examiner, was fired at Mr. Battistelli’s insistence. Internal investigations, he said, had revealed severe breaches of EPO staff regulations. As part of the investigations, an Irish patent judge was also suspended from his position after two truncheons were discovered in his office, in addition to Nazi propaganda pamphlets. Ms. Hardon’s lawyer, who also represents the unnamed Irish judge, denies the accusations against both, calling them “invented allegations.”

The administrative council had asked Mr. Battistelli to defuse the conflict at the Patent Office, one of Europe’s most lavishly funded administrative organizations. But the president, who has been restructuring the office to cut runaway costs and speed up patent processing times, has refused to allow the trade union SUEPO to exercise a veto over his decisions. He insisted Ms. Hardon’s dismissal must stand.

SUEPO has responded by calling for a protest demonstration outside Wednesday’s council meeting in Munich.

The rest of this article is behind a paywall. We have some translations on the way, but we need more help with that.

03.16.16

Survey Confirms What Board 28 Already Admits: the European Patent Office is Deep in a State of Crisis Since Benoît Battistelli Took Over

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English slides (finish to start):

English slides

French slides:

French slides

Summary: Central SUEPO Committee releases the results of a survey which a high proportion of staff took a part in (nearly 40%)

BOARD 28 says there's a crisis at the EPO and the new survey (outlined above) shows that this is an understatement at best. No, this isn’t a survey from Sun King (EPO President, Battistelli) or the Administrative Council but a survey that comes from the staff itself because the circle of Sun King manufactures propaganda and something that’s misleadingly named "social study" (more like socialist or Communist type of ‘study’, i.e. propaganda for supporting the party line). Rumours suggest that the Spaniard Jesús Areso was the subject of union-busting ‘investigations’ for merely trying to arrange a staff satisfaction survey — one that’s not controlled by Sun King and his party (or circle) for self-glorification purposes.

“These are self-explanatory and simple enough for anyone aged 10 or above to interpret and understand.”Using the GIMP (GNU software) I have generated animated slideshows that summarise all that’s in the PDFs in English and in French. These are self-explanatory and simple enough for anyone aged 10 or above to interpret and understand.

“There used to be a staff survey which was abolished by Battistelli,” one reader told us. “Why ask people’s opinion when it’s obvious that staff is entirely happy and fully behind their beloved leader, except a few disgruntled felons who will be disposed of in due course…

“SUEPO ran on its own the survey with the essentially same questions as the earlier ones.

“SUEPO ran on its own the survey with the essentially same questions as the earlier ones.”
      –Anonymous
“Surprise! The results are even worse than the earlier ones…

“I’m not sure that the AC [Administrative Council] will be impressed.”

Judging by how many people voted for a strike, there’s consistency here. There’s no happiness at all, just increasing anxiety and stress. Does this help explain the surge in suicides? Watch the (dis)trust rates towards both Battistelli and the Administrative Council. It’s virtually zero. Here is the covering letter, so to speak:

Zentraler Vorstand . Central Executive Committee . Bureau Central

16/03/2016
su16044cp – 0.2.4

Preliminary results of the EPO Staff Survey 2016 (run by Technologia)

Dear colleagues,

The 2016 Staff Survey is now completed. Thanks to all of you who participated!

Some preliminary results are accessible in English and in French. They will be also brought to the attention of the Delegations of the Administrative Council today.

The final results and analysis will follow in due course.

As you know, this year’s survey asked the same questions as the previous surveys held in 2010 and 2013, in order to be able to compare the results and secure reliable benchmarks. Although we await the complete assessment by Technologia, it is already manifest that there has been a deterioration in our collective experience of work at the EPO.

We thank you for your trust and support. Rest assured of our commitment to trying to improve the situation.

Your Central SUEPO Committee

Remember this: nothing hurts the tyrants at the EPO as much as transparency and facts. The management is lying to staff and to journalists these days. That’s how terrible things have gotten. It’s going to further erode trust, both internally and externally, damaging the image of both the Office and the Organisation unless things radically change — and fast!

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

Exclusive: New Leaked Document Shows Board 28 Surprised Battistelli and Had a Long Unilateral Argument With Him Over Union-Busting (‘Disciplinary Cases’), Called It a “Crisis”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Helping and serving to refute some of the lies Battistelli has told the media as of late

EPO crisis
In their own words…

Summary: A truly revealing leaked document (aged one week) shows that there is a deep disagreement between the Board and the President (for now) of the EPO

BOARD 28 is secretive, but sooner or later — just as in the case of TPP and TTIP or ACTA — we get lucky enough to see what’s inside. The EPO‘s management has a lot to hide, but it’s not hiding it too well (except perhaps Battistelli’s ultra-secret contract). One concise summary was published here recently in English and in Spanish. An additional document, released a week ago as well (but confidential nonetheless), has landed on our lap and here it is. Our remarks on the text can be found below.

E28/2/16

Orig.: en

Munich, 09.03.2016

SUMMARY

OF

CONCLUSIONS

of the

70th meeting of the

BOARD OF THE
ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL

Munich, 2 February 2016

SUBMITTED BY: Council Secretariat

ADDRESSEES: Administrative Council (for information)


This document has been issued in electronic form only.


1. The Board of the Administrative Council (“the Board”) held its 70th meeting in Munich on 2 February 2016, with Mr Kongstad in the chair
Mr Grossenbacher had in formed the Chairman that he was not able to attend.

2. The Board adopted the provisional agenda set out in B28/1/16 e, with the addition of a new item on the recent disciplinary cases.

3. The Board focused on the disciplinary cases. An in-depth discussion shows controversial and sometimes conflicting views between the Board members and the President on both the legal elements and the political background. The social dialogue has clearly been brought to a halt, and the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency. The Board qualified the situation as a crisis – a view challenged by the President.

4. The Board made proposals in order to assist the President in his handling of the situation. Mechanisms were proposed in order to prepare the next B28 meeting, and an informal meeting with the President was decided.

5. Due to time constraints, the Board decided to postpone the other items on the agenda to its next meeting.

6. On the issue of the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal, Mr Battistelli stressed that the B28 should not conduct hearings of administrative units of the Office — institutional aspects are here of utmost importance. In view of this position of the President, the Board agreed to invite, jointly with the President, some representatives of the BoA for an exchange of views ahead of its next meeting.

Grossenbacher was absent (he is often seen as a defender of Battistelli, as we explained before). The Board added “a new item on the recent disciplinary cases” by essentially changing the agenda that was expected by one like Battistelli (unpleasant surprise to him for sure, but he didn’t storm out in anger like earlier this week). “The Board focused on the disciplinary cases,” so this is what took the lion’s share of the time and basically prevented much of the rest of the agenda from being reached at all. They disagreed on “both the legal elements and the political background” and there is no indication of anyone in the Board siding with Battistelli.

“They disagreed on “both the legal elements and the political background” and there is no indication of anyone in the Board siding with Battistelli.”“The social dialogue has clearly been brought to a halt,” it says, so clearly they too realise that the whole ‘union recognition’ was nonsensical theatre.

The above adds that “the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency.”

“The Board qualified the situation as a crisis,” which probably refutes what Battistelli has been telling the media since then. This is a “view challenged by the President,” so he clearly chooses to live in a world of his own.

“The above adds that “the matters under examination are to be addressed as a matter of absolute urgency.””It should be noted that “an informal meeting with the President was decided.” We don’t know the date yet (if any was agree on already).

The crisis is so big in fact that “the Board decided to postpone the other items on the agenda to its next meeting.” The item added to the agenda at the 90th minute was treated as so urgent that everything else got thrown aside. And Battistelli still insists that everything is under control? Who is he kidding?

“And Battistelli still insists that everything is under control?”The last item above speaks of the Boards of Appeal and says they’ll invite “some representatives of the BoA for an exchange of views ahead of its next meeting.”

Maybe they should invite that judge whom Battistelli illegally suspended (on 'house ban') and learn from that judge about Željko Topić, in case they don’t know enough already (everyone seems to be aware by now), whereupon they may finally get down to the core of many of these issues that keep escalating.

Battistelli No Sorprendio a Nadie al Rechazar la Oportunidad para Salvar su Status, Huelga de la EPO Probablemente Procederá Pronto

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en Europe, Patents at 5:04 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Train strike

Sumario: El resultado de la reunión de hoy con Benoît Battistelli resultó en la imminente initiación de la acción de huelga, a la que Battistelli continua tratando de demorar/bloquear

El Comité Central de Personal extendió una rama de olivo a Benoît Battistelli, pero el se cagó en la noticia. Es tan terco y orgulloso de sí mismo, ya que toma la ley entre sus manos (de las manos de aquellos calificados para hacerlo).

El reportje en la reunión de hoy esta disponible y aquí está como HTML:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Comité Central de Personal

15.03.2016
sc16045cp – 0.2.1/0.3.2

Queridos Colegas,

La reunión entre el Comité Central de Personal y el Presidente acaba de terminar. Duró poco más de dos horas. El Presidente estuvo acompañado de VP 1, VP 2, VP 4, PD 4.3 y otros consejeros.Algunos otros miembros de Comité Local de Personal también estuvieron presentes, pero – como declararón sin intervención – sólo en calidad de observadores. Aunque todos los puntos de la Agenda fueron discutidos y CSC hizo propuestas constructivas, el Presidente no tuvo voluntad de ceder de ninguna manera a nuestras peticiones.

Como su interlocutor en el reciénte llamado a la huelga (91% de empleados votaron a favor), preguntamos al Presidente tomar una posición las siguientes preguntas. Sus respuestas estan sumarizadas abajo:

● ¿Levantará Ud. los castigos disciplinarios contra Elizabeth Hardon, Ion Brumme and Malika Weaver?

El Presidente dijo que estaba estrictamente atado por las reglas: por los castigos disciplinarios, primero una revisión gerencial debe ser llenada, y el procedimiento de ley (ultimamente revizada por ILO-AT) seguirá. El Presidente no aceptó las propuestas del CSC compatibles con las reglas existentes para recibir consejo y reconsiderar sus desiciones. Tampoco, a pesar del largo tiempo para un procedimient ante ILO-AT, el Presidente no aceptó nuestras propuestas a sujetar las decisiones a una revision externa e independiente al involver renombrados expertos legales. Tampoco supo que una revisión gerencial ya ha sido llenada; sin embargo, PD 4.3 confirmó que este fue el caso.

● ¿Levantará Ud. los castigos disciplinarios contra los previos miembroos del Comité Interno de Apelaciones?

De nuevo el Presidente declaro que estaba atado por las reglas. En este caso el tiempo para una revisión gerencial expiró y el no tiene la intención de revisar las respectivas decisiones.

● ¿Detendrá Ud. las amenazas disciplinarias, investigaciones y retalaciones contra más representantes de los Empleados?

El Presidente no comentó en esta pregunta.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado a revisar las Guías de Investigación junto a la Representación de Empleados basado en un mandato acordado por ambas partes?

El Presidente declaró que consideraría una futura revisión. Sin embargo, consideró cualquier clase de revocación legal y políticamente imposible y rechazó hacer tal proposición al Consejo. Más aún, cualquier emmienda resultante de una futura revisión no puede ser implementada retroactivamente. La CSC estresó que decisiones favorables pueden tener efecto retroactivo. El Presidente no aceptó trabajar junto a Representantes de Empleados bajo un mandato acordado, ya que este implicaría ser usado como derecho de veto a la opinión del Presidente.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado para adaptar las regulaciones de huelga de acuerdo al juicio de la Corte Holandesa?

El Presidente dijo que hubieron muchas decisiones contrarias entregadas por las cortes nacionales que cuestionaron la materia de inmunidad. El Presidente resaltó que la pregunta en cuestión ya ha sido referida a la Corte Suprema con apoyo del gobierno Holandes.

● ¿Está Ud. preparado para revisar las regulaciones de salud, permiso por enfermedad junto a los Representantes de Empleados basado en un acuerdo mutuo?

El Presidente reconoció que revisiones son necesarias y están en progreso. Refiriéndose a un estudio social que viene, el Presidente declaró que esto sería un útil indicador de cambios necesarios. Por lo tanto, no puede contemplar una mayor revisión antes del Otoño.

● ¿Qué otras concesiones Ud. se ofrece a hacer?

No propuestas fueron hechas.

El Presidente no estuvo de acuerdo que la Oficina esta en crisis. Era de la opinión que tenía apoyo pleno del Consejo de acuerdo asu punto de vista. Por lo tanto CSC no puede ver alguna razón de postponer la huelga. Sin embargo, nuestra decisión final en esta materia únicamente será tomada de acuerdo con el resultado de la reunión del Consejo Administrativo.

Su Comité Central de Personal

Si Battistelli ¨no estuvo de acuerdo que la Oficina está en crisis,¨ esta claro que él esta delirando, probablemente viviendo su auto-engaño cuando fué publicado esta tontería hoy en Munich. Una persona online lo llamo ¨DEPRIMENTE & DISGUSTANTE!!! Nada pero MENTIRAS!¨ (¿Qué esperaban de Pinocho?)

Si alguién por favor pudiera enviarnos una traducción, podríamos preparar una respuesta. Hay una gran campaña PR y si lo dejamos así ENGAÑARÁN a mucha gente en Munich y más alla.

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