04.01.18

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EPO is Untrustworthy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli’s predecessor disclosed her salary; Battistelli does not even allow anyone to see his new, secret office that he built for himself using secret budget destined for a 'burned' contractor in another country

Battistelli penthouse

Summary: The most corrupt President in the history of the EPO is leaving in 3 months; Thorsten Bausch recalls some of the lavish spendings and takes note of the disturbing lack of transparency

WE are trying not to write much before Tuesday, but yesterday came this long analysis by Dr. Thorsten Bausch — analysis that he had prepared for a while. Our posting style regarding EPO matters is different from his (frequent and very rarely long form). Here’s a portion about EPO spendings:

What should the EPO do with this incredible amount of money, taken away from applicants?

In my opinion, the best option would be to lower the official fees significantly so as to melt down this surplus and to give applicants (partly) back what is theirs. The second-best option would be to pay this money out to the contracting states to reduce their considerable national debt. A positive side effect of both options might be that nobody in a responsible position at the EPO would be brought to bad ideas. And if and when the EPO needs more money again (according to the above document, this will not be before 2036), the official fees may well be raised again according to the office’s needs. In the meantime, I see no justification for the EPO hiring (expensive) external experts to manage a (risky) portfolio of assets. This is not the EPO’s job, mission or vision.

First and foremost, however, we (the public) need to trust that the EPO will deal with this money responsibly.

Unfortunately, I must confess that I am currently lacking this confidence. To begin with, the EPO’s financial reports are not accessible to the public in any meaningful detail, which makes any objective evaluation impossible. However, what I and others have observed, for example, is that millions of Euro are being spent on lavish “inventor of the year” ceremonies every year. I am not against rewarding and praising inventors in general, but does one have to make a costly “event” out of that? And even worse, I suspect that further millions of Euros of “official” fees have been spent (or should I say, wasted?) to convert the office space of the 10th floor of the EPO’s main building on the Isar river into the President’s own private penthouse. You think this figure must surely be exaggerated? Okay, judge by yourself. Here are pictures of the stylish architecture of this penthouse. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned, but I think this is simply incredible.

I do not think I exaggerate much by voicing the opinion that the EPO and its Administrative Council have set “worldwide standards” in pampering its Office President, rather than in trust and/or public accountability. I would be extremely surprised to learn of any other patent office in the world where its President privately lives in a lavish penthouse on top of “his” office.

Which raises the six-hundred-thousand Euro question: Why did the Administrative Council allow this?

I would really like to know that – and much more – from the Administrative Council, but I am afraid I, and the public, will never receive an answer. I find it hard to imagine even in my wildest dreams that this penthouse in the 10th floor was necessary for the well-being or proper functioning of the European Patent Office. The President is entitled to a housing allowance of 3000 EUR per month according to the Service Regulations, which I find generous but still reasonable even though it comes on top of a basic salary that is higher than the one of the German Federal Chancellor. Be that as it may, at least in my opinion, the EPO President is not entitled to a full-fledged penthouse built for his private use at the expense of the EPO.

Based on the comments, Ernst “rumour has it he will soon go after VP5’s position” (held by another German at the moment).

Grandeur et décadence at EPO and this thanks to the active support of Dr C. Ernst (the rumour has it he will soon go after VP5’s position. Faites vos jeux).

What you describe Mr Bausch could be the tip of the iceberg.

With such level of transparency (read opacity), with amazing budgets of cash available at the hands of Battistelli’s trusted clique (http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/epo-people.pdf) and during eight years, this in the absence of any credible financial audit nor any check-and-balances, just try one sec. to figure out how much EPO money (read applicants’ fees) could have vanished on questionable actions totally remote from the public interest or that of the IP world.

Indeed according to information of well-placed EPO insiders, yes the luxury top-floor suite of the Isar 10th floor (Battistelli presidential suite) has cost several Mio EUR (not only due to architectural costs, expensive choice of exquisite materials and plenty of designer furniture and top-of-the-range high-tech features, but also due to the removal of three complete floors (with hundreds of staff to be removed) as a result of the decision of one narcissistic man.

In The Hague a prestige building by Pritzker priced architect Jean Nouvel will soon be inaugurated (few days before Battistelli’s departure end of June). During an interview on FR TV few years ago, Nouvel dared to declare that he cheats every tender to get it (and then the total costs explode afterwards).

This building is worth a modest amount of SEVERAL HUNDREDS of Mio EUR (of course without the Mio EUR needed for furniture, removals for over 1700 staff etc). But no worries: as you may expect all is clean with this real estate deal (since we are at EPO), deal next to which the “european inventor of the year” events are for beginners.

As US journalists famously put it: “follow the money”.

Corruption is like cancer: if you search for it, you may soon find it. As an example, few years ago by the Deutsche Bahn, the German state went after corruption: first it identified all money decision-makers (not that many in fact). Then it checked their living standards, that of their families and closest associates, and guess what : BINGO.

At EPO major contracts (worth several Mio EUR) are easy to earmark: real estate, IT, consultancies and international cooperation. Those who have the power to involve EPO funds are not even two handfuls.

But dear readers of Kluwer Patent Blog all RELAX: EPO is blessed by Gods. It is not only immune to justice, it is also immune to corruption. And remember as Battistelli always proudly puts it during Administrative Council delegations who seem to love to be fooled: “we have improved transparency”.

Enjoy the reading of a good old post by Foss Patents : http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/06/striking-structural-parallels-between.html

As we said before, Battistelli is going to receive a handsome bonus (2 more years of salary as EPO President as if he remains in the job until 2020) and also money (millions of EPO budget) directed to his town, where he’s holding a Town Hall job. The second (and last comment) speaks about that poetically:

Special announcement:

In gratitude for the distinguished services rendered to the EPO, the Napoleon of the 10th floor will receive the golden whip with diamonds as well as the medal of the empty file shelf at the ceremony of the vaste of money held in its castle of St Germain en Laye in June 2018!

He has shown that the trust put in him when taking over a well functioning EPO, and bringing it to where it is now,was fully justified. If it existed he should as well receive the title of bully of the decade. Nevertheless a lump sum commensurate with his merits in the matter has been guaranteed to him!

What a wonderful patent world we live in!

The dog wagged by the tail

Scottish Business News meanwhile reaffirms that it is not really a news site (like the many publishers in Europe which Battistelli already bribed in exchange for favourable coverage and silence about EPO scandals). It has just reposted a puff piece/spam from another site, essentially an advertisement for Marks & Clerk which parrots EPO talking points. IP Kat, which used to do a fine job covering EPO scandals, is still mute. In fact, another week without any coverage of the EPO situation went by and that’s to do with who runs the blog (Team UPC).

Neither staff nor stakeholders at the EPO trust the management. Bausch expresses some optimism at the end, but we do not share that optimism and we have good reasons to believe that Campinos will be merely continuation/perpetuation of the same autocratic style. He starts his job in exactly 3 months.

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