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Media Blackout in Croatian Mainstream Media About Criminal Charges Against EPO’s Croatian Vice-President and EPO President’s Notoriety

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Croatian media gives Battistelli some puff pieces and UPC advertisements without mentioning anything at all about Željko Topić or the dire situation at the EPO

THE EPO has a lot of skeletons in its wardrobe (or closet) in Croatia, but nobody inside the EPO is brave enough to bring up the subject, having witnessed what happens to those who do. We have been writing about this since 2014.

“He is definitely promoting the UPC based on the headline and based on what we were told by Croatians over the weekend.”Earlier this week and over the weekend we wrote about the surprise visit of Battistelli who suddenly showed up in Croatia — a move that the EPO neither advertised nor even mentioned. Even DZIV didn’t mention it.

Well, quite belatedly, as sources told us we should expect (inevitably!), DZIV had this event mentioned and an EPO insider informed us of “Battistelli lobbying (again) this time in Croatia: I hope that Croatia would accept a single EU patent” (Battistelli: Nadam se da će i Hrvatska prihvatiti jedinstveni EU patent).

He is definitely promoting the UPC based on the headline and based on what we were told by Croatians over the weekend. We got some translations that helped confirm this.

Regarding this almost-secretive Battistelli trip to Zagreb, one reader decided to send us some photos from HINA. It looks like they had this prepared for a while (paying over a million Euros to FTI Consulting, which sometimes pays journalists/publishers, can probably help). Here are the pictures; they had a photoshoot, not just the traditional photo op.

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

Battistelli in HINA

In that second picture, albeit blurred, it looks like it might be Battistelli’s bulldog in the background, but it’s hard to be sure.

Battistelli looks so happy… like he’s about to explode or go on fire that even his daughter can’t put out. He could certainly used some smiling lessons.

Anyway, nitpicking aside for now.

Here is some more information and translations that have been made available to us.

“In that second picture, albeit blurred, it looks like it might be Battistelli’s bulldog in the background, but it’s hard to be sure.”It seems that during his trip to Zagreb Battistelli gave an interview to HINA which is the national government-owned news agency of Croatia. A press release is available on the HINA Web site, but the full text is only accessible to registered users.

Croatian: https://www.hina.hr/vijest/9375579
English: https://www.hina.hr/vijest/9375585

However, an English article based on the HINA press release can be found on the Web site of European Balkan Latest News (eblnews.com). “Battistelli calls on Croatia to join European Unitary Patent project” is the title and it reveals the real/covert/side motivation for Battistelli’s visit. To quote: “Croatia and Spain are the only two EU member states that have not yet joined the European Unitary Patent project, Benoit Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO), told Hina Friday. Battistelli, who was in Zagreb on Friday to attend the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the State Institute for Intellectual Property, said that that although it has a relatively low number of patent registrations, Croatia had met condition for the development of a quality patent system. The first step was made when Croatia joined the EPO in 2008, he added. The European Patent Organisation is a public international organisation created in 1977 by its contracting states to grant patents in Europe under the European Patent Convention of 1973. The European Patent Organisation has its seat at Munich, Germany, and has administrative and financial autonomy.”

This is citing HINA, which perhaps didn’t realise the track record of the person whom it gave a platform. In the meantime, another article about the SIPO event was published by the news portal Objektivno.hr: “Državni zavod za intelekutalno vlasništvo obilježava 25. godina postojanja”

An English translation can be found below. It was provided to us for publication:


The State Intellectual Property Office celebrates 25 years of existence

The challenges of modern society such as globalization, computerization and development of high technology increase the importance of intellectual property protection, said Ljiljana Kuterovac, director of the State Intellectual Property Office on Friday at the ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of this institute.

As she explained, during these 25 years the Office has passed through long path of development in close co-operation with international and European institutions which provide the financial and technical assistance to developing countries. “The development of the Office coincided with the development and dynamics at a European and international level,” she said.

Deputy Minister of Science and Education Kreso Zadro, stressed the importance of intellectual property for economic development and competitiveness as well as the need for inter-agency cooperation for the development and protection of intellectual property.

He pointed out that the University of Zagreb launched a postgraduate interdisciplinary specialist study called simply “intellectual property” and enrolled 26 students during the first year.

The audience was also addressed by colleagues from European and international organizations including Benoit Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office.

The SIPO then awarded prizes – in the category of seminar and final papers at undergraduate and graduate levels special recognition was earned by Relja Rajković and Luka Kušpilić for the work “Copyright protection fictional characters or: when the superhero and need protection”.

The winner in the category of professional and scientific papers was Romana Matanovac Vučković for the work “The implementation of Directive 2014726/EU on collective management and multi-territorial licensing of music rights in regulating the system of tariffs in Central and Eastern Europe”.

In the beginning the SIPO was called the National Institute of Industrial Property and the State Patent Office, and from 7 November 1996, when field of ​​protection of copyright and related rights came under its jurisdiction, it assumed its present name.

From the emergences of the modern system of intellectual property protection in the late 19th century up to the present day, a legal and institutional framework for the protection of intellectual property has been continuously present in the territory of today’s Republic of Croatia.

Upon entry to the European Union, Croatia became part of the common system of uniform law for trademark and industrial property rights for the entire territory of the European Union, and since 2008 it has been a full member of the European Patent Convention and the European Patent Organisation.

As a member in the vast majority of international agreements and intellectual property protection system under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Croatian national system is fully integrated into the global system of protection.

As of 2 December 2016, there were 133,480 industrial property rights in the register for the territory of the Republic of Croatia, of which 121,929 were trademarks, 6728 patents and 4,813 registered industrial design and of which 88 percent are also registered for foreign rights.

The article by Objektivno.hr reveals that during the 25th anniversary event the SIPO awarded a prize to Romana Matanovac Vučković, who was closely associated with Željko Topić and his previous “protector”, the former Croatian President Ivo Josipovic. But what is really interesting here is that neither the HINA press releases nor any of the published articles mention Topić’s presence in Zagreb alongside Battistelli! A source of ours insists “he can be seen in the background and out of focus in of one of the photos published on the HINA Web site.” (see the photo second from the top). We actually spotted the same thing independently. We have seen enough photos of Topić to suspect that it’s him with glasses on.

Our source says “it’s pretty clear that Topić was with Battistelli in Zagreb, but for some reason the Croatian media has decided not to mention it.”

“These projects are Battistelli’s main source of “carrots” for keeping the smaller member states on his side.”If that’s true, then what probably causes greater concern here is that nothing about Topić’s legal status was covered. Omission of convenience? Conditions imposed before interview? Hard to tell….

We remind readers that the last time Battistelli was scheduled to go to Zagreb with Topić in July 2015 he cancelled his trip at short notice and sent along Francois-Régis Hannart instead. Hannart is a member of Battistelli’s “inner circle” of former INPI employees. He used to be the Director of IT systems at the INPI and he is now the EPO’s Principal Director of European and International Co-operation. This means that he is responsible for overseeing the “cooperation projects” between the EPO and national IPOs. These projects are Battistelli’s main source of "carrots" for keeping the smaller member states on his side.

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