10.04.16

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Introduction to Jesper Kongstad, EPO Chairman of the Administrative Council

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Part of a series

Jesper Kongstad's mansion

Summary: A look at the professional life of the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, including the lesser-known aspects of Jesper Kongstad’s farmhouse/mansion in Denmark (shown above)

Jesper Kongstad is the current Director of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. He is also a member of the Board of the Nordic Patent Institute.

“Kongstad rejected this suggestion and claimed that the redundancies which he defended as “just sound management” were a justifiable reaction to the downturn in applications.”In 2009, Kongstad put his name forward as a candidate for the position of President of the European Patent Office which was due to be filled on 1 July 2010. In December 2009, he withdrew his candidacy allegedly as the result of some kind of secret deal with Battistelli.

Kongstad was subsequently elected as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation on June 29, 2010. He took up office on 1 July 2010 for an initial period of three years, which was later extended to six years in March 2013. He was re-elected for a further period of three years in March 2016.

Kongstad has been the Director of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) since 2003. In 2009 it was reported that the DKPTO had laid off 35 members of staff after seeing a slump in applications due to the global recession. This layoff amounted to somewhere around 15% of the total workforce of the DKPTO. It was criticised is some quarters as “a very drastic approach” and it was suggested that the DKPTO was using the crisis as an excuse to cut certain services. Kongstad rejected this suggestion and claimed that the redundancies which he defended as “just sound management” were a justifiable reaction to the downturn in applications.

“Despite the Scandinavian tradition for transparency and accountability, Kongstad is ironically an outspoken opponent of transparency rules for IP trading.”It’s also interesting to note that during 2009 and 2010 the DKPTO was involved in an EU twinning project with the Croatian State Intellectual property office (SIPO). This is where Željko Topić had worked before he started abusing EPO staff like he did at SIPO.

Despite the Scandinavian tradition for transparency and accountability, Kongstad is ironically an outspoken opponent of transparency rules for IP trading.

From his CV which appears on LinkedIn it can be seen that Kongstad began his professional career in Denmark as an administrative officer in the Ministry for Industry (1984-1990). In 1990 he began working at the Statens Serum Institute where he remained in various roles until 1999. Statens Serum Institute is a public enterprise under the Danish Ministry of Health. After that he switched to the private sector where he was CEO of a biopharmaceutical startup company called Astion A/S.

“He is rumored to have strong connections to the conservative-liberal Venstre party which was in government at that time. It has been speculated that his political connections might have assisted him in securing his position at the DKPTO but this cannot be confirmed.”In 2003 Kongstad returned to the public sector when he was appointed as Director of the DKPTO. He is rumored to have strong connections to the conservative-liberal Venstre party which was in government at that time. It has been speculated that his political connections might have assisted him in securing his position at the DKPTO but this cannot be confirmed.

Some sources alleged that the Kongstad family used to live in a fashionable upmarket suburb of Copenhagen, but the Kongstads did not live directly in Copenhagen as originally believed but rather in Rungsted which is an affluent suburban neighborhood in Hørsholm Municipality on the Øresund coast, north of Copenhagen. In 2013 they suddenly relocated to a farmhouse in Valby, Helsinge in the Gribskov municipality which is situated about 80 km north-west of Copenhagen. The source for this is an article published in February 2014 in a Danish Farmer’s Magazine called “LandbrugsAvisen”. The article is entitled “Fra villa til chinchilla” – From the villa to chinchillas.

According to publicly available data on Danish real estate websites, the house in Valby boasts an impressive 240 square metres of floor space and the property includes around 22 hectares of agricultural land. One recent evaluation put the property value at 4.6 million DKR (about 620k Euros at current exchange rates).

“Whatever about that, the move to the farmhouse has given Kongstad’s wife, Majbritt, the possibility to reinvent herself as a chinchilla-breeder and director of a fur farming operation which was reportedly inspired by a dinner table conversation with Torben Nielsen, the then Chief Executive of Kopenhagen Fur. “In Danish press articles which reported on the Kongstad family’s move from Rungsted to a more pastoral setting in Valby, the move was said to be motivated by a desire for a change in life-style. But some people who have looked into the matter think that there may be more to it than just this. As far as can be determined, the purchase of the farmhouse was financed mostly by credit (mortgage). At the same time, it is unclear what exactly happened to the proceeds of the sale of the previous upmarket suburban house which could have been expected to yield some gains due to the rise in property prices in the Rungsted area over the years. It has been speculated that at least some of the proceeds from the Rungsted house sale might have been used to cover losses in one or more of the various private businesses operated by Mr. Kongstad and his family.

Whatever about that, the move to the farmhouse has given Kongstad’s wife, Majbritt, the possibility to reinvent herself as a chinchilla-breeder and director of a fur farming operation which was reportedly inspired by a dinner table conversation with Torben Nielsen, the then Chief Executive of Kopenhagen Fur.

Note: For those unfamiliar with the fur industry, Kopenhagen Fur is the largest fur skin auction company in the world. Recent research has also uncovered some interesting connections between Kopenhagen Fur and allegations of attempts to buy influence in Danish politics including a donation to the Venstre party which we hope to look at in more detail later on.

In future articles we intend to take a closer look at Mr. Kongstad’s political masters in Denmark and the rumoured connections to the Venstre party. We would also like to examine his various private business ventures and the questions which these raise about potential conflicts of interest.

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