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Battistelli’s Furious Love Affair With French Power: Part V

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wine

Summary: Allegations that Mr. Battistelli “traveled from Paris to Bordeaux to meet the party (Rothschild) to whom he granted this decision in order to help them to defend their case”

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO scandals are not necessarily his first. In the first, second, third and fourth part of this series (together with the teaser) we delved into Battistelli’s history in France, including his days in INPI and Ecole nationale d’administration. The early parts focused on Christine Lagarde and her close ties to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, a large player in the French wine industry. The case of “Mouton Rothschild vs. Mouton” is therefore worth (re)visiting today. It’s not some obscure case as a lot has been written about it.

As background, we suggest the following readings.

Press reports – English

Press reports – French

There is of course a lot more, but that’s just a sample and a form of background.

“The comment on the French blog site was by a pseudonymous poster called “Mouton Noir” and it relates to an alleged intervention by Battistelli in a trademark dispute being conducted by the Rothschild Group.”We now return to the case of “Mouton Rothschild vs. Mouton” and its relevance to us. For the moment all we have is an allegation that Battistelli in his then role of Director-General of the French National Intellectual Property Office (INPI) made an inappropriate intervention on behalf of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Chateau Mouton Rothschild in order to advise them on how best to defend their business interests in the trademark dispute with “Domaine Mouton” (Laurent Mouton).

So far we don’t have any hard evidence to back this up. However, based on the available evidence of connections between Lagarde and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (covered in previous parts) and the fact that Largarde was Battistelli’s political boss at the time, the allegation seems plausible. In other words, the hypothesis that Largarde could have instructed Battistelli to give advice to Mouton Rothschild to help them out in a trademark dispute doesn’t appear to be completely off-the-wall. But we would like to emphasise that so far we don’t have any ‘smoking gun’ to prove that this actually happened. What we do have are the following comments and some contact/connection details. For readers’ information we will leave some leads to facilitate further investigation, overlapping our own work/investigation.

“It would appear from this that, in his capacity as Director-General of the INPI, Battistelli may have improperly intervened to assist the Rothschild Group in defending its claims to certain disputed trademarks.”We are currently investigating an allegation that Mr. Battistelli may have committed serious misconduct in his capacity as Director-General of the French National Intellectual Property Office (INPI) in a matter concerning the above dispute about trademarks in the French wine industry.

The investigation was triggered by a comment that was posted on the IP Kat site back in October. The IP Kat comment refers back to a comment posted on a French blog site in 2010 in response to a blog entry where a patent applicant was complaining about his treatment by the INPI. The comment on the French blog site was by a pseudonymous poster called “Mouton Noir” and it relates to an alleged intervention by Battistelli in a trademark dispute being conducted by the Rothschild Group.

The original comment in French reads as follows:

Bonjour,

je voulais apporter de l’eau à votre moulin.

Savez-vous que monsieur Benoît Battistelli est un élu UMP à St germain en laye ? Et qu’il est très apprécié de Christine Lagarde ?

Savez-vous aussi qu’étant impartial, quand il y a un recours contre sa décision, il fait le déplacement de Paris jusqu’à Bordeaux pour rencontrer la partie (les Rothschild) à qui il a donné raison et ce afin de l’aider à se défendre…

Toujours étant impartial, il renouvelle sans problème la marque Mouton Noir (des Rothschild) en 2000 et 2010 alors qu’il transmet parallèlement à la Cour la preuve que cette marque est annulée depuis… 1996. (confirmé en 2007 par la Cour de Cassation).

La Cour qui a confirmé en 1998 l’annulation de cette marque arrive pourtant aujourd’hui a reconnaître que cette marque est notoire et elle rejette l’argument selon lequel cette prétendue notoriété est illégale donc inopposable… Conclusion ????

Etonnant non ?

Si ça peut vous aider, vous pouvez toujours me contacter

Écrit par : MOUTON NOIR | 06/12/2010

Rough translation into English (with emphasis):

Hello,

I wanted to add some grist to your mill.

Do you know that Mr. Benoît Battistelli is an elected member of the UMP political party in St Germain en Laye?

And he is very much appreciated by Christine Lagarde?

Do you also know that being impartial, when there was an appeal against his decision, he traveled from Paris to Bordeaux to meet the party (Rothschild) to whom he granted this decision in order to help them to defend their case …

Always being impartial, he renewed the trademark “Mouton Noir” (Rothschild) in 2000 and 2010 without any problem while at the same time passing to the Court evidence that that trademark had been revoked since … 1996 (confirmed by the Court of Cassation in 2007).

The Court which confirmed the revocation of that trademark in 1998 now however decides to recognise that this mark is notorious and it rejects the argument that the claimed notoriety is unlawful and therefore unenforceable. … Conclusion … ????

It’s amazing isn’t it?

If it helps you, you can contact me any time.

Written by: MOUTON NOIR | 06/12/2010

It would appear from this that, in his capacity as Director-General of the INPI, Battistelli may have improperly intervened to assist the Rothschild Group in defending its claims to certain disputed trademarks.

“They submitted a demand for €410,000 in damages plus interest and also requested him to desist from using the family name “Mouton” on his wines.”We researched a bit further and it is reasonable to think that this allegation may indeed relate to the famous “Mouton vs. Mouton” case which got a lot of press coverage in France and was also covered in the UK. (Note: List of press articles in English and French have been prepended above)

The Domain[e] Mouton is a family-run vineyard located in Burgundy and is currently managed by Laurent Mouton who took over from his father Gérard in 2002. In 2013, Laurent Mouton found himself confronted with legal action from the Philipe de Rothschild Group and Rothschild SA. They submitted a demand for €410,000 in damages plus interest and also requested him to desist from using the family name “Mouton” on his wines. According to press reports from 2014, Laurent was defiant and intended to fight his corner.

“Along our efforts to corroborate we did find additional comments about the alleged connection.”We don’t have any more information at the moment, but our investigations are continuing. We ask readers for help in the form of any leads or other information of interest. None of the press reports below mention the alleged Battistelli intervention on behalf of the Rothschild Group, but we are trying to find out if there is any substance to these allegations. We have attempted to find out if Benoît Battistelli ever publicly commented on this, but came out empty-handed. We could not show direct connections between the Philipe de Rothschild Group and Battistelli, either, but maybe other people out there can produce some evidence we’re not aware of.

Along our efforts to corroborate we did find additional comments about the alleged connection. To quote one of them:

“The Dutch judgment was against the European Patent ORGANISATION, not against the Office. As such, Battistelli has no authority to decide what to do about the judgment – the Administrative Council must do that.

Has he once more overstepped the mark, as he did with the DG 3 house ban?”

Well spotted!

And once again someone – this time a Dutch Minister – has moved quickly to cover for him.

The man has friends in high places.

To find out more, if you can read French, Google “INPI et les Faux et usage de Faux”.

Scroll down the page and study the comments by “MOUTON NOIR” to see how well-connected BB is.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 10:17:00 GMT

It would be useful to get more than Internet gossip about it. This sounds a lot like the case of Rikard Frgačić and Željko Topić [1, 2, 3, 4], with Lufthansa trademarks being reassigned under highly controversial circumstances (it was still not a closed case the last time we checked and spoke to Frgačić over the phone).

The Benoit Battistelli “Mouton” story, like the Frgačić-Topić-Lufthansa story, misses hard evidence of intervention between the head of the local IP office and the very affluent stakeholder. We look forward to hearing from readers or errant observers.

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