03.06.16

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Busted Battistelli: EPO President Publicly Lies About the State of the EPO, So What About His Secret Contract, Salary and Other Undisclosed Benefits?

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And how can a leader who is lying to the media be tolerated by the Organisation?

Benoît Battistelli: My relationships are excellent.

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s credibility is rapidly being diminished by dubious statements, semi-truths, truth-bending, and even outright lies

SQUIRMING to get himself out of a mess of his own creation, President Battistelli, soon to be just Mr. Battistelli, makes statements which he will find hard to defend (if properly scrutinised).

What Battistelli says about his “success” is untrue. We heard it from multiple sources, both inside and outside the EPO. People know that the data which EPO marketers brag about is at best spin. It’s not atypical to lie to staff of the EPO and even to journalists. It is a bad-spirited thing. It is a truly (or falsely) misguided strategy because sooner or later the recipients of lies find out, feel betrayed, and then get angry. Then they just stop believing the boy who keeps crying “wolf!” It’s thus a short-term strategy.

“It is a truly (or falsely) misguided strategy because sooner or later the recipients of lies find out, feel betrayed, and then get angry.”“I actually know lots of insider data,” told us one person, “but unfortunately it is too sensitive.” A lot of people have a lot to say, but people are afraid to say it. The emperor is naked but there’s expected punishment for those who say this to the crowd. Reprisal, with demonstrable effects (like dismissed staff representatives), prevents truth from getting disseminated. That’s when people increasingly need to rely on hearsay, or as the media calls it, “rumours”.

When will the “results” data of the EPO be publicly subjected to fact-checking? Are there any decent journalists out there? Prepared to embark on a harder project than just parroting the PR Team or editing E-mails from them (ghostwriting)? For instance, this new article from lawyers’ press mentioned the PR team‘s “Rainer Osterwalder, a spokesman for the EPO” and attributes to him these dubious figures. These people aren’t scientists, they’re marketers and this is what they’re paid to do.

Relating to something we published on Saturday (and have just translated into Spanish), one reader said that we missed the most interesting part of the IAM data (from the screenshots that speak about a survey of readers in an EPO-friendly niche site). In 2012 “68% or respondents stated that the EPO’s quality is either “excellent” or “very good”, that’s up from 62% in 2011.” However, in 2015 “the EPO did even better among private practice respondents, achieving 62% at either excellent or very good.” Not exactly sure how that agrees with Battistelli stating that: “More users have confirmed that they’re highly satisfied with the quality of our products.”

“The emperor is naked but there’s expected punishment for those who say this to the crowd.”That’s actually a fair point. However, we don’t believe Battistelli actually wrote that talking point. He just sat there in a studio on a chair, reading an English script with a photo of Munich superimposed on the background with some dynamic backdrops (Caesar of Germany in his own mind). Either way, the very fact that he spreads this misleading stuff and it comes from his buddies at IAM (they rub each other’s back) while calling this “independent” is in itself somewhat amusing. If not just comical, it’s outrageous. It damages Battistelli’s credibility (what’s left of it).

Battistelli’s salary is probably the subject many people are speaking about these days. What if the President has just hidden/concealed/canceled his bonuses (perhaps renaming the benefits package), got a new contract, and prayed nobody would find the old one/s? A lot of things are theoretically possible and without hard evidence people are left wondering.

“In April 2015 his salary was reported as 250k Euros,” noted a reader of ours, recalling this article titled "Truce at the Tax Haven of the European Patent Office".

“Battistelli’s salary is probably the subject many people are speaking about these days.”“If the earlier figure was correct this would presumably indicate that the “new” 300k figure refers to his salary following the extension of his contract in the summer of 2015,” this reader added. “What remains unanswered is what additional payments he gets on top of his basic salary. He denies getting any “bonus”. That might be formally correct because additional payments might not be officially designated as a “bonus” in the contract. The real problem here is the lack of transparency about the terms of his contract. Not even the Administrative Council who appointed him appears to have been allowed to inspect the contract.”

Well, Mr. Kongstad does know what’s in the contract. We pointed this out several times before. “IAM,” our reader added, “which is otherwise best known for its EPO puff pieces, got upset about the lack of transparency back in 2010″ and wrote: “The lack of transparency surrounding the selection of Benoît Battistelli as the next president of the EPO was never a good idea. Where senior appointments are made in the murk and without full explanation or disclosure there is always room for rumours to emerge. And that is exactly what is now happening.”

“Kongstad is one of the very few people who know (and apparently sign off) Battistelli’s salary.”Towards the end Mr. Kongstad too gets mentioned: “On top of this, not to make the terms public is entirely self-defeating. As the SUEPO newsletter states: “… it seems clear that if Mr. Kongstad feels he has to hide the contract that there is something to hide”. The simple fact is that if you are not transparent in your selection process, you leave room for doubt. We don’t know why Benoît Battistelli was chosen to be the next president of the EPO and we do not know under what terms he will hold the post. Most people inside the European patent bubble will probably think this is not a desirable state of affairs, but in the end they will just shrug their shoulders and get on with it. However, most Europeans are not inside that bubble and a good number of them are suspicious of or dubious about patents and those who administer the patent system. This seemingly total absence of transparency will not help to change their minds.”

Kongstad is one of the very few people who know (and apparently sign off) Battistelli’s salary. Maybe the rift is now partly motivated by self interest, namely Kongstad trying to secure/save his own job. As IAM pointed out 6 years ago, it’s just odd that the contract is kept secret; it suggests that they are hiding something. If Battistelli is willing to make statements about it to the media but still refuses to show the contract (including past contracts), then he is not telling the full truth. His predecessor did disclose her salary, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented a thing to do. It wouldn’t be defensible to hide under a rock; there’s no use of a valid excuse here because none exists.

“The uncertainty leaves people speculating, and it sometimes works against Battistelli. But it’s better for him to say nothing at all than to say something he might later regret (unless there’s not much time left for him anyway).”We could use confirmation (smoking gun, not hearsay) regarding the salary of Battistelli, but the answer to the question wouldn’t be so simple, definitely not as simple as Battistelli wishes for it to appear. We had a lot of people tell the number/s, but there is some variation there and it seems to vary depending on definitions. More people than just Kongstad know the actual salary, “but as you can imagine that is very confidential,” as one source put it. The uncertainty leaves people speculating, and it sometimes works against Battistelli. But it’s better for him to say nothing at all than to say something he might later regret (unless there’s not much time left for him anyway).

Back when we wrote about the unreasonable compensation demands we noted (to paraphrase a little) that this served to prove a lot of what we wrote before, but the part about Battistelli’s salary we very much doubted as it would serve to suggest that his ‘real’ salary was hiked to almost 2 million euros (per annum). Another possibility is that the number is not correct and that it’s actually 10 years’ salary, based on extrapolation of a much lower figure (salary). Either way, this is where Battistelli’s unacceptable secrecy about his salary (his predecessor disclosed hers) actually harmed him even more.

“Nothing to fear, nothing the hide,” says the billionaires’ media to us…

“Another thing,” told us a source, relates to the bogus letter of support.

“There have been so many leaks that I think soon it may be possible to get a list together about who signed and who refused to sign that stupid petition,” our source told us, and “that will be quite interesting. Very telling the reactions of the PDs.”

Well, those who signed it (or allowed it to be signed in their name) might regret this later (days/weeks down the line) because of an unnecessary/avoidable embarrassment, especially after Battistelli is history.

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