10.16.15

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The ‘Sherlocks’ of EPO/Spin-Doctoring Pretend That All of the EPO’s Problems Boil Down to One Disgruntled Person (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If only…

Pussy Riot
Anonymity/masking often the last resort in a tyrant’s self-governed territory (like EPOnia).
Credit: AP Photo, 2014

Summary: Nasty ad hominem tactics, like those which Benoît Battistelli has used against Ms Elizabeth Hardon for several years, are also being used to discredit a judge/official critical of Željko Topić, essentially personifying the EPO’s problems (collectively) and pretending they are all reducible to one single person

WHEN THE CIA or our own British Prime Minister (through the RAF) sends out drones to kill British people (assassination without trial) they wrongly assume they can crush problems by crushing one single person. It’s sometimes known in the intelligence community as “decapitation”. When British authorities waste over $20 million just besieging Julian Assange in an embassy in London they wrongly assume his activism will stop or that he will be forced out (due to health issues) and then Wikileaks will come to an end (because he became a public figure and he is now widely regarded as the face of this courageous site). Nothing and nobody is 100% censorship-resistant and anyone can be driven to suicide given enough torture (even mental alone).

When the EPO’s management singles out and then viciously attacks members of the boards or members of the unions it assumes pretty much the same thing — that it can crush or silence both by bullying or eliminating (firing) their leaders, if not just perceived leaders. There is also scapegoating at play. They try to introduce a model of deterrence and they even hired people who worked in counter-terrorism operations in the middle east, as if EPO staff is the equivalent (in the risk sense) of Islamic terrorism. One day we hope to show just what kind of thugs and goons the EPO hired for the notorious, vindicative Investigative Unit (I.U.).

Earlier today we sought a translation of an article in Dutch and now that we have a full translation we see just how convenient a narrative the EPO presents to corporate media. Using alarming headings like “Nazi Propaganda”, the EPO is perhaps hoping to blame all the issues on one person and then, by generalisation, discredit the EPO’s entire opposition. Here is the English translation of the new article:

High Employee Sabotaged European Patent Office (EPO)

A member of one of the boards of appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) ran a campaign for the past few years, presumably with help from others, with a goal to put the institution in a bad light. The highest administrative body of the EPO wishes, therefore, to dismiss him and possibly file a complaint against him, but it cannot do so for now, because of his independent position.

On Thursday, the administrative council, in which all of the 38 EPO member states are represented, decided to ask the coordinating enlarged board of appeal to confirm the dismissal. Earlier on, the administrative council had refused to do so. This institution, of other members of the courts of appeal and independent members, must formally request the dismissal.

Campaign of Sabotage

The EPO confirmed on Thursday that the high-ranking official, who is an IT specialist, was found guilty of ‘serious misconduct and illegal activities’, after extensive internal investigation. Among other things, he conducted a far-reaching smear campaign against the EPO and its leadership. He also leaked confidential internal information on a matter that was brought before a court of appeal, to a German lawyer specialised in intellectual property issues.

According to EPO sources, with his slander, the official in question, whose identity and nationality are not being disclosed, would have attempted to sabotage the introduction of the European unified patent. He did this either anonymously, or through the use of pseudonyms. The investigation continues to look for accomplices, both inside and outside of the organisation.

Arms and Nazi Propaganda

The investigation on the misconduct, which comprises over 1000 pages, was verified by a British former judge of the European court of justice, who found it to be solid. Furthermore, in the Munich office of the official in question, arms were found, as well as nazi and neonazi propaganda. He was already sent on leave last December, pending the outcome of the investigation.

The EPO has a total of 28 technical boards of appeal, where disputes on (violations of) patents are handled, with 152 members. The EPO has, among others, a major location in Rijswijk, with 2700 employees.

Actually, addressing the headline in this case, the person who is sabotaging the European Patent Office is Battistelli — the very same person whom people are complaining about (Battistelli and his ilk use projection/reversal to paint the saboteur as the victim). Let’s recall how it all started. Looking at SUEPO’s Web site, we have an old interview that reminds us what happened several years ago. From an interview with Kongstad (Administrative Council or AC for short): “A more personal goal for me is that working with the new President of the Office, we will be able to create a much closer cooperation between the AC and the management of the Office, between the AC and staff, and indirectly between management and staff…”

That’s not what’s supposed to happen. Battistelli also crushed the Audit Committee and now he tries to crack down on the boards. To quote SUEPO’s site from around that time:

With an annual operation budget of close to 1.5 billion Euros the European Patent Organisation needs a strong governance mechanism to guarantee good practice and transparency. This is particularly important since due to its immunity the EPO is not subject to the checks and balances common in most national systems.

In order to improve the existing governance, the previous President, Ms Brimelow, proposed the introduction of an Audit Committee (see CA/140/08).

The Administrative Council, at the time chaired by Mr Battistelli, approved the proposal (see CA/D 9/09).

As President of the EPO, Mr Battistelli recently proposed to abolish the Audit Committee (CA/55/11).

The Council, once again, approved.

The Staff Union of the EPO considers the abolition of the Audit Committee premature and instead argues that further measures to strengthen good governance such as the introduction of a whistle-blower policy and a Code of Conduct are necessary before removing existing mechanisms.

The problem for the EPO began well before this judge or official even became anything like an issue. In the Dutch article, the author merely repeats the claims from the EPO’s management, citing their shoddy ‘investigations’ that are more of a sham (recall the so-called 'internal investigation' and see the letter recently sent to Kongstad et al from Ms Hardon’s solicitors about the witch-hunt/vendetta, cynically framed as “investigation”). The EPO is now associating opposition to the EPO’s abuses with Nazi sympathy. Godwin’s Law springs to mind, although it doesn’t quite apply here.

Reminiscence and read up on the politics of character assassination. This fits nicely here, with headings that say “Arms and Nazi Propaganda”.

Better than making “rape” accusations/allegations (Julian Assange) or bogus “child porn” claims (Matt DeDart) to keep supporters away and ensure the media is hostile, eh? This is an attack on people’s dignity. We don’t know what exactly they mean by “nazi and neonazi propaganda” (too vague a term, it’s definitely not memorabilia), but considering the fact that Battistelli now struts around with private bodyguards and hired ‘British Blackwater’ (he signed a contract with this shady firm), the possession of weapons in the office of someone who was illegal fired (on ‘house ban’, whatever that means) can almost seem understandable. Remember that 5 people working for the EPO were found to have committed suicide in just a few years (allegedly a tenfold growth). The EPO isn’t a safe place to be in; EPOnia has a high crime and corruption rate, especially among the very wealthy (the management). There seems to be an effort here to incite the readers and associate a judge (based on some sources it’s a judge) with radicalism, as if he’s just some Nazi gun nut (which is rather unlikely given his high position).

At Battistelli’s EPO, blowing the whistle on misconduct is equated with sabotage, even for claiming — correctly on the face of it — that a person faces many criminal charges (as is often alleged to be the claim spread by the suspended judge). To quote the way SUEPO put it at one point (citing us): “An article titled “Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO)” describes the controversial appointment of Mr. Topić as vice-president of the EPO. Since his appointment in March 2012, Mr. Topić has become the subject of a number of critical news reports in the Croatian media: Mr. Topić appears to have a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption.”

Since then there has been a court ruling which serves to defend and reinforce our claims. It looks like Topić bribed people to get where he got. Saying so isn’t libelous and isn’t defamatory, based on a judge who studied the case for a very long time.

The person who should be on ‘house ban’ and under grilling/interrogation (euphemistically called “investigation”) is probably Topić, not people who question his integrity. If it’s “defamation” to merely say something about the background of an official, then Europe is no better off than China.

Back in past years SUEPO linked to numerous papers (see these [PDF] 2 PDFs for example [PDF]) critical of the central patent system (before it was even widely referred to as “unitary patent”), so pretending all the trouble started because some single person from the board is pure fiction. Battistelli and his right-hand man, Topić, are just trying hard to get this judge illegally removed, by putting pressure on his colleagues to terminate him. This would help silence everyone else (fear is a strong motivator). According to this new report, his colleagues continue to defend him, like EPO workers defend Ms Hardon (seems like a divide-and-rule endeavor by the ever-so-charming Battistelli). According to this new article from WIPR (published this afternoon):

The supervisory body of the European Patent Office (EPO), the Administrative Council (AC), has resisted an alleged request by president Benoît Battistelli to dismiss a member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) and instead asked that body to make a formal request for dismissal.

In a communiqué released by the EPO on its website yesterday, October 15, the AC said that “pursuant to article 23 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), the removal from office of a member of the EBA is possible on a proposal from the EBA”.

The communiqué was published following the conclusion of the AC’s 145th meeting, held from October 14 to 15.

However, the AC said it believed that the member should be dismissed for the “unauthorised disclosure of non-public information”.

[...]

On Wednesday, October 14, WIPR reported that Battistelli had asked the AC to bypass the EBA and dismiss the member for allegedly spreading defamatory material about the EPO.

That’s hilarious; “defamatory material about the EPO.”

As if the EPO is a person with feelings…

Battistelli has become petty and so has his ilk. They are now acting like a bunch of manipulative bullies, just like Sepp Blatter and his aides. It’s starting to become akin to organised crime.

According to another new WIPR article, in spite of Topić's shameless attempt to crush the protest in Munich (like Cossacks did Pussy Riot in Sochi last year), 900 people are said to have attended the protest. That’s 900 plus around 400 (or more) in Holland, making it over 1,300 in total. To quote WIPR‘s report:

Around 900 people attended a demonstration against the alleged harassment of a member of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO).

The demonstration took place on Wednesday, October 14, in front of the EPO’s Isar Building in Munich and was in support of Elizabeth Hardon, chair of SUEPO Munich, who is in a dispute with EPO management.

[...]

According to SUEPO, the protestors were denied the right to protest on the EPO’s office grounds by management. SUEPO said the EPO’s decision was “utterly irresponsible”.

Because the demonstration could not take place on office grounds, SUEPO said staff and police ended up on the road in close proximity to moving traffic.

[...]

SUEPO said it has tentatively planned another demonstration to take place on November 18.

So in EPOnia (the EPO treats itself like it’s a country within a country, pretty much lawless), not only basic human/worker rights like sick leave are abandoned but also the right to protest. No wonder someone in IP Kat called the president “Battistalinelli” some time yesterday.

Update: “The FD article is a hatchet job,” told us a reader, “and a regular character assassination which doesn’t address the institutional and legal issues of the case.”

This reader gave us yet another translation of the same article (prepared at the same time as the entirely separate translation shown above). “My comments are interspersed in square brackets,” he explained.

Title: High-ranking official sabotaged EPO

[Nothing less!]

ORIGINAL: Een lid van een van de raden van beroep van de Europese Octrooi Organisatie (EPO) heeft de afgelopen jaren, vermoedelijk met hulp van anderen, een systematische campagne gevoerd om de instelling in een kwaad daglicht te stellen. Het hoogste bestuurorgaan van EPO wil hem daarom ontslaan en mogelijk aangifte tegen hem doen, maar kan dat nog niet vanwege zijn onafhankelijke positie.

TRANSLATION: A member of the EPO BoA conducted in the last years a systematic smear campaign against the Organisation, with the probable help of accomplices. The Administrative Council wants to fire him and possibly lay charges against him, but is impeded by the independence of his office.

[Immunity and independence is a fine and absolute principle when Battistelli is involved, but an unacceptable hindrance whenever anyone else is concerned.]

ORIGINAL: Donderdag besloot de beheersraad, waarin alle 38 lidstaten van EPO zijn vertegenwoordigd, om aan de overkoepelende uitgebreide raad van beroep te vragen om in het ontslag te bewilligen. Die weigerde dat eerder nog. Deze instantie, van andere leden van raden van beroep en onafhankelijke leden, moet formeel om het ontslag vragen.

TRANSLATION: The AC, in which all 38 member states are represented, resolved on Thursday to request the Enlarged Board of Appeals to approve the dismissal. The EBA declined. A request for dismissal must formally originate from this instance.

1) [I didn't translate "van andere leden van raden van beroep en onafhankelijke leden", which is refers to the role and composition of the EBA.]

2) [What the EBA apparently stated in essence was: *WE* are the ones to determine how and when someone should be fired, and if and when WE reach a decision, WE are the ones who are to send a request to the AC for implementation, as provided by Art. 23 EPC, and not the other way around. There is no basis in the EPC for YOU to suggest US what we ought to do, or for YOU to ask US to confirm YOUR decision.]

ORIGINAL: EPO bevestigde donderdag dat de hoge functionaris, een IT-specialist, na uitvoerig intern onderzoek schuldig was bevonden aan ‘ernstige misdragingen en onwettige activiteiten’. Hij heeft zich onder meer een wijdverbreide smaadcampagne tegen EPO en de leiding gevoerd. Ook lekte hij vertrouwelijke interne informatie over een zaak die aanhangig was bij een raad van beroep aan een Duitse advocaat, een specialist in intellectuele eigendom.

TRANSLATION: The EPO confirmed Thursday that the high-ranking civil servant, who is an IT specialist, was found after an internal investigation to be guilty of ‘serious misbehaviour and illegal activities’. He led a widespread defamation campaign against the EPO and its leadership. He has also leaked confidential internal information on a case pending before the Boards of Appeal to a German IP attorney.

[An investigation can seek to gather facts, which are then eventually submitted as evidence in a second step to a legally constituted court, which appraises it and determines guilt at a trial. The party is presumed innocent until proven guilty of having violated some legal standard, which must be pre-established. The charges must be identified at the outset of the proceedings, which are not to be a fishing trip trawling for anything that may eventually stick. Here the guilt seems to have been decided at the outset at the "investigation". The leak accusation is a new one, and unrelated to the events which are purported to have triggered the scandal. If the alleged "defamation" was widespread, how and where was it made public? And there is the reference to the EPO "leadership", probably meaning its President and associates. Who decided that whatever was communicated constituted "defamation"? Is there an absolute prohibition on discussing EPO management with anything but laudation?]

ORIGINAL: De betrokken functionaris, wiens identiteit en nationaliteit niet worden prijsgegeven, zou volgens EPO-bronnen met zijn verdachtmakingen geprobeerd hebben om de invoering van het Europese eenheidspatent te saboteren. Hij deed dat anoniem of door gebruik te maken van pseudoniemen. Het onderzoek gaat nog verder naar mogelijke medeplichtigen binnen en buiten de organisatie.

TRANSLATION: According to EPO sources, the civil servant in question, whose identity and nationality weren’t given, attempted to sabotage the introduction of the European community patent through his insinuations. He did this either anonymously or through the use of pseudonyms. The investigation is probing for further accomplices internal and external to the organisation.

[No, we won't name the individual, but identifying his technical field of expertise is no problem for us. The alleged "sabotage" of the Community patent is a rather odd accusation. But regardless of whatever may have happened — or not: since when having an opinion on this legal contraption worthy of Heath Robinson, and expressing it, anonymously or not, a crime? This institution isn't in place yet, doesn't concern directly the EPO, and rests on arguably shaky grounds. Its many flaws have been underlined by many people who aren't necessarily avowed adversaries of the patent system.]

ORIGINAL: Wapens en nazipropaganda — Het onderzoek naar de misdragingen, dat meer dan 1000 pagina’s telt, werd getoetst door een Britse oud-rechter van het Europese hof van Justitie, die concludeerde dat het deugdelijk was. Ook werden in de werkkamer van de betrokken functionaris in München wapens gevonden en nazi- en neonazipropaganda. Hij werd vorig jaar december al op non-actief gesteld in afwachting van de uitkomst van het onderzoek.

TRANSLATION: Weapons and nazi propaganda — The investigation report into the misbehaviour, with contains more than 1000 pages, was reviewed by a British former judge of the ECJ, which concluded to its validity. Furthermore, weapons as well as nazi and neo-nazi propaganda was found in the office of the civil servant in question in Munich. He was suspended last December while awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

[The judge merely "reviewed" the investigation; it isn't stated that a decision was rendered in a judicial context. This seems an attempt at purchasing credibility. Then comes the association in the same paragraph with "weapons" and "nazi AND neo-nazi propaganda". This is yet another new and deeply shaming accusation. Was this material also "reviewed" by the august magistrate, or does it constitute separate motives? Both "nazi" from "neo-nazi" propaganda? What is the distinction?]

ORIGINAL: EPO heeft in totaal 28 technische raden van beroep, waarin geschillen over (inbreuk op) octrooien worden beslecht, met 152 leden. EPO heeft onder andere een grote vestiging in Rijswijk, waar 2700 mensen werken.

TRANSLATION: There are 28 boards of appeal at the EPO, with 152 members, that adjudicate disputes relative to patents (or their infringement). The EPO has one of its major sites in Rijswijk, where 2700 people work.

[The EPO has nothing to do with infringement proceedings.]

ORIGINAL: Ulko Jonker
Correspondent Den Haag. Geneigd alles te willen weten. Zelden overtuigd. Journalist sinds 1976. ‘Stick to Facts, sir’.

TRANSLATION: Ulko Jonker, correspondent at The Hague. With an inclination to want to know everything. Rarely convinced. Journalist since 1976. “Stick to Facts, Sir”.

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