06.12.16

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Why Anonymous Dissent Against EPO on Google Platforms May be Risky

Posted in Europe, Google, Patents at 4:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From an EPO announcement…

Google Translate

Summary: A timely reminder that reliance on services from Google may come at the expense of anonymity and Google has a strong relationship with the EPO

FOR a number of years we have warned that EPO criticism from Google-owned (and Google-operated) platforms like Blogspot or Gmail may be a tad risky. It isn’t much of a problem for those who do this under their real name, as Catarina Holtz has just done (she does not have much to lose). The relatively high-profile Catarina Holtz (not to be confused with Alexander Holtz, the SUEPO lawyer) cannot be punished anymore, so she spoke her mind out this weekend.

One response to her said: “Awareness of the ECHR is high, hence our disbelief when VP1 said that the EPO complies with it – with a straight face, in his own language, but with a very nervous sip from a glass. Clearly, the EPO cannot, whatever it says, comply with the ECHR because this is unverifiable, and it is not subject to it. That’s the important part. In fact, Battistelli’s claim that he can do what he likes is absolutely true – and he did, showing the world precisely why the Convention was instituted in the first place.

“The relatively high-profile Catarina Holtz (not to be confused with Alexander Holtz, the SUEPO lawyer) cannot be punished anymore, so she spoke her mind out this weekend.”“But what is interesting is that most of the AC members, certainly the UK’s, are subject to the ECHR and are expected to comply with it in all of their actions on behalf of their respective governments. Why they do not (at least publicly) is a puzzle. But what EPO employee would dare take their AC member to court? It would only be a matter of days before they had no standing, by reason of summary dismissal.”

Also responding to Holtz was this comment that said: “I think that the original assumption was that the EPO would be managed with integrity and competence, under the active supervision of the Administrative Council.”

“The EPO has already gotten crazy enough to ban the site (it blocked IP Kat for a day and stopped because of the outcry and negative press), so why not send letters to Google?”Another person, anonymous as usual, said: “Obviously anonymous at 23:00 has not read the results of the staff survey where 0% staff (meaning not even the management) trusts Battistelli. Staff is afraid, under a lot of stress and pressure. 10% are even in psychological distress. If anonymous works at the EPO, then he does not seem to care about rights, ethics and fairness. Sounds quite like management talk to me. EPO staff were never and are certainly not lazy. They work hard and well – at least they try their best under the current situation. And they are continuously told that they achieved a lot but should produce x% more (x being 6, 10 or more…). Their efforts to maintain quality and service to the public need to be acknowledged. The SUEPO and staff rep also deserve to be praised for their work in this awful situation.”

Some EPO staff is still feeding a likely troll (or management AstroTurfing) [1, 2], but that’s not the point. The point we wish to make is that many people leave comments anonymously at IP Kat and risk is associated with Google, not with IP Kat writers. The EPO has already gotten crazy enough to ban the site (it blocked IP Kat for a day and stopped because of the outcry and negative press), so why not send letters to Google? Either threatening letters or love letters…

To use the words of a reader: “When you view a patent document in the EPO’s Espacenet service, you will be offered the possibility to obtain an automatic translation.

“Remember that Gmail and Blogspot are owned by Google.”“Guess who provides the translation…

“Guess who engineered the deal with the translation provider…”

A hint to the answer is included at the top of this post.

“Conclusion,” our reader said, is that “there is a quid pro quo between the EPO and Google.

“Here’s a purely hypothetical question: how would Google react should they get one day a phone call from the EPO Securitate requesting certain information, and hinting at unspecified consequences in case of non-cooperation?”
      –Anonymous
“The terms of the deal aren’t public” [1, 2] (warning: epo.org links)

Remember that Gmail and Blogspot are owned by Google. We mentioned this issue before. CRG/IU (Control Risks and the Investigative Unit it collaborates with) gained access to Google’s Gmail material in the past in order to press/bolster an indictment (we are not sure how exactly) and Blogspot has a history of giving away IDs of users once pressured, e.g. by a court.

“Here’s a purely hypothetical question,” our reader added: “how would Google react should they get one day a phone call from the EPO Securitate requesting certain information, and hinting at unspecified consequences in case of non-cooperation?”

Microsoft too operates a translation service and it is already extremely close to the EPO (see links below).

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