02.01.18

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Too Much to Cover Up at the EPO, the UN, and UN Agencies

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash cows to their host countries, so infringements of human rights are brushed aside

US Constitution

Summary: The post-Constitution, post-financial transparency, post-human rights phase that’s sweeping across the EPO (and the UN) gives room for concern

THE EPO and USPTO coverage from Managing IP has always been biased. Probably intentionally and by design. They know what their target audience wishes to believe and that belief itself can lead to certain outcomes.

“The week in IP” by “Guest author” was published earlier today and spoke of “German organisations’ support for dismissing a UPC complaint,” basically alluding to the patent microcosm. At Managing IP, as usual, the vast majority of the text is behind a paywall, so only the patent microcosm can see it and likely won’t scrutinise it (preaching to the choir again). Whatever…

Meanwhile, there’s this couple of new pages [1, 2] about a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC). He doesn’t think the UPC should even get off the ground and as someone put it earlier today or last night at IP Kat comments:

A speech and an article by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Broß, former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court of Karlsruhe.

Both documents also deal with the employment situation of staff members of international organisations. They are a available in English and in German.

The speech: “European Patent Convention, Unified Patent Court and the German Basic Law”

https://www.cohausz-florack.de/en/mehr/blog/article-en/news/detail/News/european-patent-convention-unified-patent-court-and-the-german-basic-law/

The article: “The modern constitutional state becomes a farce”

https://www.cohausz-florack.de/en/mehr/blog/article-en/news/detail/News/the-modern-constitutional-state-becomes-a-farce/

We maintain our assertion that Team UPC is either totally deluded or deliberately lying. Whichever it is, that’s bad. It harms their credibility and reputation.

There’s another interesting new comment on an article we wrote about last night, having covered the matter twice about a month ago [1, 2]. Germany’s cash cow at the EPO continues to raise questions.

Patently Transparent wrote:

There were some interesting comments about this matter in a publication issued by SUEPO in December 2017.

“To their credit, the German delegate (and Head of the German Patent Office) in the Budget & Finance Committee objected:
“We have submitted the proposals to the Federal Court of Auditors. Their assessment is that the risk is too high.
Capital preservation should be in the foreground. First, one should move closer to the RFPSS guidelines.
Provision should be made for cumulative risk of default. Sanction mechanisms should be provided.
Under g) in the RFPSS guidelines, there is a list of approved and unauthorized instruments of investment.
We cannot agree today. If contracts with the fund managers existed, we may be able to decide otherwise, but not yet today.”
(Translated from German, not verbatim)

Several Delegations (IE, IT, DK, UK, NO, CZ, HU, SI) and the staff representatives, too, voiced substantial concerns and called for prudence and strict governance. In the end, out of 32 delegations, 6 voted against, 2 courageously abstained – the rest (24) voted in favour (Italy requested a secret the vote with the apparent aim to prevent possible retaliation from Battistelli; So we do not know who voted what).

So much for transparency, prudence and financial accountability.

We wish Mr Ernst, the German Chair of the Administrative Council, good luck in explaining this fiasco to his own government and to the German Federal Court of Auditors.”

Those who are interested in following up the story could consider trying to obtain a copy of the opinion of the German Federal Court of Auditors, e.g. by making a freedom of information request.

Albertine replied: “Indeed, the question can also be summarized with “Cui bono?”. This is an eternally revolving question and will not be answered properly until the concept of “glasnost” is introduced in the operating rules of the EPO. Without transparency, operations involving billions in a context of a questionable governance will always give rise to suspicions.”

We’ll probably revisit it in the future. There seems to be more urgent matters where lives of people and entire families (not just money) are at stake.

Days ago we saw some coverage about the International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) protecting Battistelli, rendering itself almost complicit in alleged corruption (or coverup thereof) and violations of human rights. Earlier today WIPR wrote about that as well. To quote:

The International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) dismissed a series of complaints against the president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli, in its 125th session, held in October and November last year.

One of the dismissed complaints had been filed by Elizabeth Hardon, a former chairman of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO).

In May 2012, an EPO employee committed suicide. The Munich section of SUEPO sent a letter to Battistelli requesting an independent investigation into the circumstances that may have contributed to the suicide.

For ILOAT to become defensive of Battistelli’s abuses makes sense. In a way…

I once received some UN leaks showing similar abuses inside the UN itself (not just WIPO, where Battistelli nearly became the chief). We might get around to releasing these one day (source protection is an issue as it would become perfectly obvious who it concerns). We have just made contact with the source, primarily in pursuit of approval (for publication). For the time being, think of ILO/UN to EPO accountability along the lines of Gurry (WIPO/UN) to Battistelli accountability. Oh wait

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