The EPO’s Lobbying Chief Apparently Came From Saint-Germain-en-Laye 2 Years After Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO FIFA-approved graphic

Summary: French influx in EPO leadership (what some readers call “the metastasis” of “cancer” Battistelli) is being noticed also in the Brussels Bureau

THE nepotistical nature of hirings at the EPO has become so routine that it’s banal. It’s no coincidence that so many managers and key consultants are French; many are former colleagues of the nepotist in chief, Battistelli, sometimes their relatives too. It’s like the “Mafia model” (hiring within the family or one’s trusted circles).

Recently we’ve been taking about the millions of euros (EPO budget) that are set aside as money for Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Battistelli’s theatre (that he’s in charge of) is about to be drowned in EPO cash. Did they teach courses at ENA on how to pass money from one employer to another?

In the meantime, readers have taken note of Anne-Sophie de Brancion’s background, which she publicly discloses in Microsoft’s site, LinkedIn. 2 years after Battistelli became EPO President she became the chief lobbyist of the Office (“Head of Brussels Bureau” even). She studied at Lycée international de Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Institut d’Etudes politiques de Paris, where she specialised in “EU Lobbying” (2000 – 2005). “Look [and] guess where this EPO lobbyist has studied,” one reader told us, “coincidence or not?”

“Battistelli’s theatre (that he’s in charge of) is about to be drowned in EPO cash.”We’re still investigating whether there’s some connection other than Saint-Germain-en-Laye (maybe family, former colleagues etc.) though it’s worth noting that she attended the software patents lobbying event this week. “Back in Brussels after fascinating #PatentingAI conference with lots of new thoughts and questions on my mind,” she wrote about this charade of the EPO.

Speaking of past connections, the EPO has just stated that: “The Official Journal 5/2018 is now available online” (at the EPO’s Web site).

Here’s the direct link (warning: epo.org link) to the page and to the PDF (warning: epo.org link). Remember that the previous one was basically spam of Battistelli's next employer and the current one of António Campinos. In this current one they’re asking for submission in Microsoft Word’s proprietary format, then noting “If a filed document is infected with a computer virus or contains other malicious software, it will be deemed to be illegible. The office is not obliged to receive, open or process any document with such a deficiency.”

This is a hallmark of Microsoft Office. We already wrote many articles about the relationship between Microsoft and the EPO. Back then we also wrote about the EPO’s activities in Brussels.

Software Patents Are a Dying Breed of Patents Except in China (and Maybe EPO)

Posted in America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Patents at 11:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shen (SIPO), Lutz, Battistelli, and Lamy at the end of 2016 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

SIPO Lamy and Battistelli

Summary: The patent maximalists would like us to believe otherwise, but software patents are generally going away; even if they get granted by patent offices (to fake ‘production’ or game the numbers) the courts typically reject these

WHILE the EPO emulates China on human rights (or lack thereof) it also emulates China on patent maximalism, openly promoting software patents while the USPTO gradually moves away from these.

It’s important to recognise that with the exception of China and the EPO (we don’t say Europe because pertinent national patent offices across the European continent don’t apply) IP5 is not so interested in software patents.

There’s a new interview at Managing IP, a patent maximalists’ site. “Karry Lai talks with Michael Ding, ABB’s head of IP operations for Asia, the Middle East and Africa, about trends in software patents and trade secret protection in China,” says the summary. “From IP [sic] assets generation, extraction to risk mitigation, Michael Ding works with an IP team of more than 10 people to ensure that IP rights at ABB are well protected.” [sic]

Karry Lai, who is based in Hong Kong, published this behind a paywall, so we cannot see what’s said about software patents (the headline is “ABB’s Asia IP head on software patents and trade secrets”). We routinely emphasise that China is just about the only country that allows software patents these days (without even hiding that it’s about algorithms). The EPO still tries to mask this using buzzwords, maintaining some thinly-veiled perception of compliance with the law.

“The EPO still tries to mask this using buzzwords, maintaining some thinly-veiled perception of compliance with the law.”Software patents in Australia, as this new post serves to reveal (cross-posted elsewhere, e.g. Lexology), are also going away. Australia too has become rather intolerant of software patents, even before applying or taking into full effect recommendations from the Productivity Commission (it opposes software patents). Look below the somewhat misleading headline from the patent microcosm in Australia (Sam Mickan and Mattia Pagani from Davies Collison Cave). The court rejected software patents; not just once:

In Encompass Corporation Pty Ltd v InfoTrack Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 421, Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia found two innovation patents to be invalid for not involving a manner of manufacture, thus failing the Australian test for patentable subject matter.


Justice Perram, when considering the issue of patentability, acknowledged that the implementation by a computer of the combination of steps of the invention constitutes a new use of the computer, capable of enhancing the experience of a user. However, what the inventions failed to do, in his Honour’s view, was to cause an improvement in the computer itself.

Justice Perram noted that, in principle, any software could be said to cause an improvement in a computer, because without it, the computer would not be able to perform a certain task. The requisite improvement however was considered to be one that provides the computer with some new ability, previously unattainable. A case in point of the necessary improvement was IBM’s software for drawing curves without using floating point arithmetic.


This judgment by a single judge of the Federal Court represents a strict interpretation of the principles established by the Full Federal Court in Research Affiliates and RPL Central. It will be interesting to see whether the same strict interpretation is maintained on appeal.

This case demonstrates that it may be beneficial to link a discussion of innovative step (or inventive step) to that of a technical contribution (e.g., new functionality in a computer) despite the Australian requirements for inventive/innovative step and manner of manufacture being formally separate.

On this note, following a recommendation by the Productivity Commission in its Inquiry Report on IP Arrangements that “IP Australia should reform its patent filing processes to require applicants to identify the technical features of the invention in the set of claims”, there has been a public consultation by IP Australia, in which three options were put forward to improve the information available to Examiners when assessing inventive step. You can read more about that public consultation here. In response to that consultation, IP Australia has indicated that they propose to adopt a requirement that Examiners assess technical features through the inventive step requirements, and that this change will be implemented through changes to the Patent Manual of Practice and Procedure.

The above words, terms like “innovative step” (or “inventive step”) as well as “technical contribution,” are commonly (mis)used at the EPO. At the end, however, it’s for national courts to decide (there’s no UPC) and experience suggests they’re not particularly friendly towards such patents.

We look forward to the day the world as a whole can leave software patents behind, putting them deep inside the ashtray of “bad ideas we’ve abandoned.”

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is Becoming an Even Greater Part of the Problem, Embracing Software Patents Through Hype

Posted in America, IBM, OIN, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seeking to maintain a ‘benign’ (its own) patent thicket rather than eliminate it

Broken wall

Summary: Companies led by IBM are shielding only themselves while pretending to be shields for others; in the process they perpetuate the patenting of software, even in the post-Alice era

EARLIER this month we wrote about LOT Network as a semi-pseudo solution to a real problem. LOT Network — like OIN — has no intention of ending software patents, which are being granted by the USPTO when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) isn’t watching. We’ll say more about PTAB in the weekend.

“Just look at IBM’s patenting activity in the space, including the Hyperledger effort it got the Linux Foundation to manage for it (the Linux Foundation too is absolutely worthless when it comes to combating software patents).”PTAB is generally helping the crackdown on software patents far more than all those groups which claim to defend Free/libre Open Source software from patents. PTAB is therefore under many attacks from patent extremists; TechDirt was having a go at Watchtroll less than a day ago, but Watchtroll is an easy target because that site is insane. What about OIN though? Maybe a lot of people still think it is noble and we used to think the same thing about a decade ago. But the Open Invention Network (OIN) continues to support sofrware patents in rather blatant a way (even after Alice), just like IBM. They’ve been reduced to acting like a worthless IBM front. Even their Free software-friendly staff/people recently left.

Case of point? Blockchain hype. Well, this whole hype is software, typically some distributed database, which is many of today’s databases anyway. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (a law firm) basically promotes these software patents that are worthless unless you’re a patent troll going after poor (i.e. defenseless) people/firms. Here is what it wrote this week:

10 Considerations for Blockchain patent applications


2. Open Source issues? Many blockchain projects are fully open source. Open source allows for quick development as the source code is accessible and editable by everyone. In contrast proprietary code is often developed internally, which may lead to slower code development. It is important to determine not only which part of your blockchain project utilizes open source code, but also the licenses (e.g. GPL, BSD, LGPL, etc.) and/or restrictions (e.g. patents, copyrights, etc.) associated with the open source code. These factors may prevent someone from obtaining a patent or even forcing a granted patent to be freely licensed. In the blockchain arms race it may be beneficial to not patent all or certain aspects of your algorithm in order to take advantage of certain open source benefits. However, patent protection is often still available under most open source licensing schemes.

3. Alice issues. Improvements in the blockchain processing operations are generally directed to how the computers work, and thus should avoid Alice rejections as being abstract. New uses of blockchains may face rejections if the new uses only require a network of standard computers performing standard computer functions without significantly more. Tactics to avoid Alice issues include including in the claims security aspects (e.g. encryption, hashing, digital signatures), networking aspects (e.g. consensus protocols, smart contract protocols), and focusing on any distributed ledger features instead of the transaction features. Limit business and financial terms in the description to avoid going to art unit 3600, which has the highest rate of Alice-based patent eligibility rejections. Argue that the claims solve a problem rooted in computer technology, citing DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, 773 F. 3d 124 (Fed. Cir. 2014).

Well, these patents would likely be voided by Section 101/Alice, but only if the accused (or defendant) can afford a court battle or IPR at PTAB.

So does OIN oppose such patents? Not at all. Just look at IBM’s patenting activity in the space, including the Hyperledger effort it got the Linux Foundation to manage for it (the Linux Foundation too is absolutely worthless when it comes to combating software patents). Here’s what Keith Bergelt (OIN CEO) published a couple of days ago (sent to us by a reader yesterday). To quote:

Perhaps the greatest indication of blockchain’s value is the number of firms rushing to file DLT patents. While the core technology is open source and in the public domain, complementary and supplementary technologies are being patented and there has been a “land rush” to develop and secure DLT-related patents.


While it has experienced nearly exponential growth, the successful adoption and use of open source by banking networks, mobile phone manufacturers, telecom networks, smart cars, cloud computing and blockchain platforms, among numerous others, was not a foregone conclusion. In 2003, there was an IP-based attack on prevalent open source software project Linux.

While the claims underlying the litigation ultimately were found to be without merit in the court proceeding, it was a wake-up call to several IP-savvy companies as to the potential negative impact of patent aggression on the growth of Linux and open source software projects.

IBM, Red Hat and SUSE (then Novell) coordinated an effort with Sony, Philips and NEC to conceptualize and implement a solution designed to create a “patent no-fly zone” around the core of Linux. The entity charged with administering this patent no-fly zone, the Open Invention Network (OIN), utilizes a free license to require participant companies to forebear litigation and cross-license patents in the core of Linux and adjacent open source software. In the 12 years since its formation, the organization has grown into the largest patent non-aggression community in history with an excess of 2,500 participant companies which own upwards of 2 million patents.

So they’re basically defending these patents from the likes of us (our criticism); they continue to hoard such patents instead of antagonising them. Therein lies the core strategy and spirit of OIN. It will never pursue a true, longterm solutions, just a ‘corporate’ version of FOSS, wherein few corporations lead the pack, possess tens of thousands of software patents, and tell the “sole” developers what they can and cannot implement. Some might argue that this was the purpose of patents all along; it’s a mechanism of control over one’s competition and potential new market entrants.

Links 31/5/2018: Many Stable Kernels, Cutelyst 2.4.0, Cockpit 169, MAAS 2.4.0, Rust 1.26.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 open source tools for distraction-free online reading

    I’m willing to bet that you do some (probably more than some) reading in a web browser. That reading might include everything from blog posts, articles, and essays to long forum posts and more.

    The problem with reading in a browser window is that it’s full of distractions. Elements like navigation tools, headers and footers, ads, link boxes, and more can slow your reading and cause frustration.

    Let’s take a look at four open source tools that can get rid of those distractions.

  • Feeling secure enough to use open source for IAM projects

    Identity is big, really big, especially when it is customer-facing. There are a lot of moving parts to build, pieces to hook up, and external functionality to integrate. The whole makes the identity ecosystem which was once a dream of a few but is fast becoming a reality for many.

    Part of this movement towards a more all-encompassing and task-driven identity data system is the use of an API-approach to identity. These core functional API components are then augmented using open source code to add the bells and whistles. This extends the functionality of the service, quickly, cost-effectively, and easily.

    The thing is, as usual, with the swings come roundabouts. Identity data is a powerful engine that will drive our online transactions to new heights of usability and assurance. However, it comes with a serious price tag. Identity theft is at an all-time high. According to figures from Javelin, 2017 was a record year for stolen identity. In the U.S 16.7 million people had their identity stolen and fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated. One of the reasons for this is the increasing use of online identity, used for high value transactions, that has software vulnerability issues.

  • What’s coming in OpenLDAP 2.5

    If pressed, I will admit to thinking that, if NIS was good enough for Charles Babbage, it’s good enough for me. I am therefore not a huge fan of LDAP; I feel I can detect in it the heavy hand of the ITU, which seems to wish to apply X.500 to everything. Nevertheless, for secure, distributed, multi-platform identity management it’s quite hard to beat. If you decide to run an LDAP server on Unix, one of the major free implementations is slapd, the core engine of the OpenLDAP project. Howard Chu is the chief architect of the project, and spoke at FLOSS 2018 about the upcoming 2.5 release. Any rumors that he might have passed the time while the room filled up by giving a short but nicely rendered fiddle recital are completely true.

    OpenLDAP, which will be twenty years old this August, is produced by a core team of three members, and a “random number” of additional contributors. Development has perhaps slowed down a little recently, but they still manage a feature release every 12-18 months, with maintenance releases as needed. OpenLDAP version 2.4, which was first released in 2007, is still the production release; it is theoretically feature-frozen, having had only three releases in the past two years, but the commit rate is still fairly high and fixes, particularly in documentation, continue. Chu noted that despite it being feature-frozen, 2.4.47 will have some minor new features, but this is definitely the last time this will happen and 2.4 is now “absolutely, for-sure, frozen”. Probably.

  • Microsoft Previews Azure AD for Linux Virtual Machines Extension [Ed: Microsoft is trying to make GNU/Linux depend on Microsoft's proprietary protocols]

    Microsoft this month announced a preview of the ability to log into a Linux-based virtual machine (VM) running on its Azure public cloud service using Azure Active Directory credentials.

  • Open source SDN project could let network admins duplicate production environments

    Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an increasingly attractive option for organizations looking to automate more of their data center operations. However, SDN deployments typically accompany vendor lock-in, as hardware manufacturers such as Cisco provide proprietary software solutions to go with bundles of network hardware. Similarly, turn-key software defined data center (SDDC) solutions often rely on top-down vendor integration, or have similar limitations for using products from qualified vendors.

    One team is working to change that. Japanese software firm axsh is developing an open-\ source software stack—code named LiquidMetal—that combines their existing OpenVNet SDN software, with OpenVDC VM orchestration software.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Vancouver Defines Open Infrastructure Efforts
    • In Defense of Small Conferences

      We didn’t discuss this at the time, for obvious reasons, but the strategy behind that decision was damage control. In the event that the conference proved to be a disaster, which seemed like a real possibility, a small disaster would be preferable to a large one.

      Fortunately for everyone involved, the event was not a disaster, and we’ve been lucky enough to follow the original up with six more events with an eighth scheduled this fall. Having had some small success with the events, we get asked every year about the capacity: specifically, when we’re going to scale them up, make them bigger. In truth, the event today is bigger than it was that first time, but at a maximum headcount of 150 by any measure the Monktoberfest remains a tiny conference. Because some of the attendees seem to enjoy the experience, they ask us why that is.

      There are many answers to that question, the most obvious being logistics. We’re an industry analyst firm with no ambitions to be an event production company. The events that we run are very much labors of love, labors that we undertake on top of our day jobs on behalf of our community. Running dramatically larger events would alter that dynamic, inevitably.

      But that’s not the real answer. The truth is that the Monktoberfest is not much larger today because of a conversation I had in the wake of the first, deliberately small event. In discussing the experience, one of the attendees told me that he’d met more people at the Monktoberfest than at any event he’d previously attended, ever. And he meant it.

      Which floored me, frankly. How could that even be possible, given the tiny population? Next to the largest conferences in our industry, the Monktobefest’s attendance numbers are a rounding error, the kind of ticket allotment that a Platinum sponsor might get to a larger event by itself. At an OpenStack Summit several years back, HP sent five times as many employees to that event as we admitted in total to our own conference.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Happy BMO Push Day!
      • What to do when Firefox crashes under test automation with Selenium

        If you have the task to create automated tests for websites you will most likely make use of Selenium when it comes to testing UI interactions. To execute the tests for the various browsers out there each browser vendor offers a so called driver package which has to be used by Selenium to run each of the commands. In case of Firefox this will be geckodriver.

        Within the last months we got a couple of issues reported for geckodriver that Firefox sometimes crashes while the tests are running. This feedback is great, and we always appreciate because it helps us to make Firefox more stable and secure for our users. But to actually being able to fix the crash we would need some more data, which was a bit hard to retrieve in the past.

      • Neutrino: Deploying to Netlify

        Neutrino is my preferred tool to kickstart a React app and Netlify is my preferred SPA deployment service.

        Netlify makes it very easy to deploy your static sites, however, it needs some initial configuration.

        You won’t find Neutrino as one of the tools listed in their docs, thus, adding some docs in here. We’ll see if my instructions are right and maybe ask them to include them in their docs.

      • Firefox Performance Update #9

        Hello, Internet! Here we are with yet another Firefox Performance Update for your consumption. Hold onto your hats – we’re going in!

      • This Week in Rust 236
      • when an implementation monoculture might be the right thing

        It’s looking increasingly likely that Firefox will, in the not-too-distant future, build with a single C++ compiler across the four major platforms we support. I’m uneasy with this, but I think I’ve made my peace with it, partly as a result of writing the piece below.

        Firefox currently builds with three major C++ compilers across four platforms: Microsoft’s Visual C++ compiler (MSVC), GCC, and Clang. A fair amount of work has been done to deal with peculiar bugs in all three compilers: you can go search the source code and/or Bugzilla to find hacks that were needed for one reason or another. A fair amount of work has also been stalled or shelved because one or two compilers don’t quite measure up in some required area (e.g. standards support). As you might imagine, many a Firefox engineer has bemoaned the need for cross-compiler compatibility.

      • ARCEP report: “Device neutrality” and the open internet

        In February 2018, the French regulator, ARCEP, published a report on how device, browser, and OS level restrictions (under the broad label of “devices”) could be the ‘missing link’ towards achieving an open internet. In March 2018, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) also published a report on how devices can impact user choice, where it noted the possible incentives for providers with sufficient market power to allow for a “less open use of the internet.”

        It should not be possible for device, OS, and app store providers to leverage their gatekeeping power to distort the level playing field for content, to unfairly favour their own content or demote that of competitors. This could be done in a variety of ways, and the report highlights some of these: restricting device and API functions, unfairly discouraging the use of alternative app stores, or non-transparency in app store rankings. In this blog, we put forth a principles-based response to these concerns, and potential policy solutions put forth by ARCEP.

  • Databases

    • Redis 5.0 Nearing Release With New Streams Data Type

      For users of the Redis in-memory key-value database, the Redis 5.0 release candidate is out today for testing.

      This very popular NoSQL database has been working on many features for its Redis 5.0 release, the biggest of which is the Streams data type implementation. Redis Streams is modeled on a log data structure and intended to be an append-only data structure for purposes like logs. Details on this new Redis data type can be found on the Streams documentation.

    • DataStax: balancing yin & yang in the holistic dream

      Computer Weekly Open Source Insider talks to Patrick McFadin in his role as vice president for developer relations at DataStax.

      DataStax is a distributed cloud database built on Apache Cassandra – the firm is a key contributor to the Cassandra project and describes its technology as an always-on data platform.

    • IBM, GSA reach governmentwide agreement for database solutions [Ed: IBM still deploys proprietary databases instead of free/libre ones]
    • GSA inks governmentwide database deal with IBM

      Services on the new contract include IBM Db2 database software for Linux, UNIX and Windows, including versions of Db2 Developer Edition, Db2 Enterprise Server Edition and Db2 Advanced Enterprise Server Edition. The software, according to IBM, helps users manage databases across a variety of platforms, languages and data types.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Minifree Libreboot X200 Tablet now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

      This is the third device from Minifree Ltd to receive RYF certification. The Libreboot X200 Tablet is a fully free laptop/tablet hybrid that comes with Trisquel and Libreboot pre-installed. The device is similar to the previously certified Libreboot X200 laptop, but with a built-in tablet that enables users to draw, sign documents, or make handwritten notes. Like all devices from Minifree Ltd., purchasing the Libreboot X200 Tablet helps to fund development of Libreboot, the free boot firmware that currently runs on all RYF-certified laptops. It may be purchased at https://minifree.org/product/libreboot-x200-tablet/, and comes with free technical support included.

    • FSF Certifies Refurbished Lenovo X200 Convertible Notebook/Tablet For RYF
    • Red Hat Compiler Developer Working On Compiler-Assisted Performance Analysis For GCC

      Longtime GNU toolchain developer at Red Hat, David Malcolm, has announced the work he is pursuing on compiler-assisted performance analysis with GCC.

      David Malcom is hoping to make the GNU Compiler Collection produce more useful information about how the compiler optimizes code for GCC developers and advanced end-users. This would provide details about how an optimization could be improved or bugs fixed within GCC as well as for developers/end-users to understand what command-line flags are being used and how they could potentially rework their code for greater performance.

    • [parabola] Server outage

      One of our servers, winston.parabola.nu, is currently offline for hardware reasons. It has been offline since 2018-05-30 00:15 UTC. Hang tight, it should be back online soon.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: June 1st starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

      Help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. Every Friday we meet on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

      Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

      When a user comes to the Directory, they know that everything in it is free software, has only free dependencies, and runs on a free OS. With over 16,000 entries, it is a massive repository of information about free software.

      While the Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world for many years now, it has the potential to be a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help! And since it’s a MediaWiki instance, it’s easy for anyone to edit and contribute to the Directory.

    • Free Software Directory meeting recap, May 2018

      Every week, free software activists from around the world come together in #fsf on irc.freenode.org to help improve the Free Software Directory. We had an exciting month working on the Directory with our wonderful stable of volunteers. These folks show up week in and week out to improve the Directory. It’s also important to note the valiant efforts of those volunteers who can’t make an appearance at the meeting proper, but still plug away at Directory entries during the week.

  • Public Services/Government

    • A New Open-Source Framework for Government Projects

      The Louisville Metro Government recently recreated its traffic data warehouse in the cloud and open-sourced the code so any city can build the infrastructure nearly for free.

      Last year, Kentucky’s largest city won an Amazon Web Services grant to merge its traffic data with Google-owned Waze’s and then run predictive analytics in the cloud to better time traffic signals to manage flow.

      With the initial work complete, the city turned to local developer Slingshot to roll out a roadmap of new features.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • ​Tesla starts to release its cars’ open-source Linux software code

      Tesla is still a long way from fully releasing its cars’ full open-source programs and Linux operating system code, but it’s on its way.


      Tesla has been slowly working with the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) to release its code according to strictures of Linux’s Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). SFC leaders Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler wrote: “Conservancy has been engaging with Tesla on its GPL compliance since June 2013, when we advised Tesla that we had received multiple reports of a GPL violation regarding Tesla’s Model S. Customers who purchased Tesla’s Model S received on-board system(s) that contained BusyBox and Linux, but did not receive any source code, nor an offer for the source.”

      The SFC, and other open-source licensing groups, have been working with Tesla to convince its upstream software providers, NVIDIA and Parrot, to disclose complete, corresponding source (CCS) releases for all GPL’d binaries found in Tesla’s Model S.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why Do Open Innovation Efforts Fail? Scientists Want to Solve Problems Themselves.

      Open innovation processes promise to enhance creative output, yet we have heard little about successful launches of new technologies, products, or services arising from these approaches. Certainly, crowdsourcing platforms (among other open innovation methods) have yielded striking solutions to hard scientific and technological problems—prominent examples being the Netflix predictive recommendation algorithm and the approach to reducing the weight of GE jet engine brackets. But most R&D organizations are still struggling to reap the very real rewards of open innovation. We believe we’ve hit on an important hidden factor for this failure and that it holds the key to a successful integration and execution of open innovation methods.

  • Programming/Development

    • Spanning The Tree : Dr Radia Perlman & Untangling Networks

      As computer networks get bigger, it becomes increasingly hard to keep track of the flow of data over this network. How do you route data, making sure that the data is spread to all parts of the network? You use an algorithm called the spanning tree protocol — just one of the contributions to computer science of a remarkable engineer, Dr. Radia Perlman. But before she created this fundamental Internet protocol, she also worked on LOGO, the first programming language for children, creating a dialect for toddlers.

      Born in 1952, Perlman was a prodigy who excelled in math and science, and in her own words, “Every time there was a new subject or a quiz I would be very excited at the opportunity to solve all sorts of puzzles”. She graduated from MIT in 1973 and got her Masters degree in 1976.

    • Progress releases NativeScript 4.0

      Progress has announced the release of NativeScript 4.0, an open source framework for delivering cross-platform, native iOS and Android apps.

      NativeScript apps are built using JavaScript, or by using any language that ‘transpiles’ to JavaScript, such as TypeScript.

    • Shortening the Python release schedule

      The Python release cycle has an 18-month cadence; a new major release (e.g. Python 3.7) is made roughly on that schedule. But Łukasz Langa, who is the release manager for Python 3.8 and 3.9, would like to see things move more quickly—perhaps on a yearly cadence. In the first session after lunch at the 2018 Python Language Summit, Langa wanted to discuss that idea.

      Before he got started, though, he noticed his name in Larry Hastings’s schedule-display application started with the dreaded ▯ rather than Ł. That, he said with a grin, is the story of his life. Hastings dryly suggested that the font he was using predates the addition of the Ł character to Unicode, which elicited a fair bit of laughter.

    • Using GitHub Issues for Python

      In a 2018 Python Language Summit talk that was initially billed as “Mariatta’s Topic of Mystery”, Mariatta Wijaya described her reasoning for advocating moving Python away from its current bug tracker to GitHub Issues. She wanted to surprise her co-attendees with the talk topic at least partly because it is somewhat controversial. But it would complete Python’s journey to GitHub that started a ways back.

      Other Python projects are using GitHub Issues, she said, as are many popular open-source projects. Many people already have a GitHub account. When they run into a Python problem, they can immediately file a GitHub Issue, but might have to create a bugs.python.org (b.p.o) account before filing one there.

    • Pie Menus

      Today (May 15, 2018) is the 30 year anniversary of CHI’88 (May 15–19, 1988), where Jack Callahan, Ben Shneiderman, Mark Weiser and I (Don Hopkins) presented our paper “An Empirical Comparison of Pie vs. Linear Menus”. We found pie menus to be about 15% faster and with a significantly lower error rate than linear menus!

    • Vulkan for Qt on macOS

      Sometimes, development efforts align such that new use cases can be enabled with modest extra effort. The QtBase dev branch (which will become Qt 5.12) now has experimental Vulkan support, courtesy of MoltenVK and prior work in Qt. Let’s take a look at what has happened.

    • Qt 5.12 To Support Vulkan On macOS Via MoltenVK

      The latest project making use of the recently open-sourced MoltenVK that maps Vulkan atop Apple’s Metal graphics API for execution on macOS/iOS is now the Qt5 tool-kit.

    • Announcing Rust 1.26.1

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.26.1. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Mouse: A time-saving object system for smaller projects

      There are several great object systems for Perl, and Moose is one of them. But Moose comes with a compile-time penalty that smaller applications may not be willing to pay, particularly for certain CGI or command-line scripts. Moose is incredibly feature-rich, and you may not need all of those features all the time.

      Mouse to the rescue! Mouse is a lightweight object system with a subset of Moose’s features. The goal throughout its development has been to make it syntactically consistent with Moose so if you later need to switch to the heavier-duty Moose, you can just substitute ‘Moose’ for ‘Mouse’ everywhere in your codebase, and things should just work.

    • Introduction to the Pony programming language

      At Wallaroo Labs, where I’m the VP of engineering, we’re are building a high-performance, distributed stream processor written in the Pony programming language. Most people haven’t heard of Pony, but it has been an excellent choice for Wallaroo, and it might be an excellent choice for your next project, too.

    • 3 Python command-line tools

      Sometimes the right tool for the job is a command-line application. A command-line application is a program that you interact with and run from something like your shell or Terminal. Git and Curl are examples of command-line applications that you might already be familiar with.

      Command-line apps are useful when you have a bit of code you want to run several times in a row or on a regular basis. Django developers run commands like ./manage.py runserver to start their web servers; Docker developers run docker-compose up to spin up their containers. The reasons you might want to write a command-line app are as varied as the reasons you might want to write code in the first place.


  • Ars Asks: Are your company’s IT policies flexible, or nonsensical?
  • Science

    • Technology is driving us to distraction

      How often are you diverted from a task by the seductive lure of your mobile phone? And does it matter? In a landmark book, James Williams argues we’re losing the power to concentrate

    • Unluckiest man on the planet survived Pompeii eruption only to be crushed by a falling rock

      When Mount Vesuvius erupted way back in the year AD 79, it was one of the most catastrophic events that humans had ever experienced up to that point. The city of Pompeii was utterly devastated by the eruption, and the total death toll still remains unknown to this day. The countless deaths were the result of a number of different factors, including the molten rock being spewed into the air and the pyroclastic flow produced by the volcano.

  • Hardware

    • Apple might have an ARM-based touchscreen computer in the works

      A handful of Apple employees apparently have their hands on these devices for testing, though we have yet to get our peepers on any leaked pics. We’re guessing Apple gave them to trustworthy testers who can keep the mouths shut and avoid posting pics to Twitter.

    • Apple’s Star project could be an ARM-based touchscreen hybrid with LTE [U]

      We have been following information about the Star project for a few months, with sources in the supply chain. It is currently in prototype stage, with prototypes being manufactured by Pegatron, Apple’s partner in China which also manufactures other Apple iOS devices. A small number of units have been shipped to Cupertino for testing by Apple employees. These prototypes have been in production since at least January 2018.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Could New York Be the Next State to Legalize Marijuana?

      The New York Police Department regularly faces criticism over the disproportionate number of Black and brown people who are arrested for marijuana possession. The department’s constant refrain has been that officers go where they are called. They respond to complaints to the city’s 311 assistance line or calls to 911. Arrests, they say, flow naturally from those calls to action.

      But a New York Times analysis published this month threw that contention into serious doubt. As the paper reported, “among neighborhoods where people called about marijuana at the same rate, the police almost always made arrests at a higher rate in the area with more black residents.” An analysis by Politico New York in March also reached a similar conclusion. These reports have energized the campaign to legalize marijuana in the state.

      The disproportionate impact that marijuana arrests have on communities of color in New York City, the state, and the rest of the country is profound — and exceptionally well-documented. Nationwide, Black people are almost four times more likely than their white neighbors to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of consumption across racial and ethnic groups. In New York state, which has some of the harshest enforcement practices in the country, more than 80 percent of people arrested for marijuana possession were Black or Latino.

    • ‘This Is Really an Effort to Undermine People’s Access to Birth Control’

      People like to say, “The devil is in the details.” For its account of the Trump administration’s proposed changes to rules around family planning programs, the New York Times headline “Trump Rule Would Bar Some Abortion Advice at Federally Funded Clinics” suggests details might be where it’s at; it’s just some advice at some clinics. Even more so, the headline chosen by the Washington Post: “Is It a Gag Rule After All? A Closer Look at Changes to Title X Funding Regarding Abortion.”


      Coverage focused too hard on branch—the Post gives credulous attention to supposed distinctions between abortion “counseling” and “referral”—leaves untested certain unspoken premises: that abortion is not healthcare, and so it’s reasonable to segregate it; that women’s bodies, and especially poor women’s bodies, are ultimately socially owned, and so it’s reasonable for others to debate and decide what happens to them; and that, even though nearly one in four women in the US will have an abortion, it’s OK to leave the subject shrouded in stigma, suffering and misinformation.

      The changes around federal family planning funding offer as good as chance as any to recenter the conversation around reproductive rights. We’re joined now by Kinsey Hasstedt, a senior policy manager in the Guttmacher Institute‘s Washington, DC, office. She joins us by phone from DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Kinsey Hasstedt.

  • Security

    • Git v2.17.1, v2.13.7, v2.14.4, v2.15.2 and v2.16.4
    • A set of Git security releases
    • Announcing the May 2018 Git Security Vulnerability
    • Git Issues Batch Of New Releases To Fix Security Issues

      The other security fix is CVE-2018-11233 that could lead to reading random pieces of memory when running on an NTFS file-system.

    • ARM’s Spectre V4 Mitigation Updated, Speculative Store Bypass Disable

      ARM has updated their set of Linux kernel patches providing mitigation for last week’s disclosure of Spectre Variant Four.

      ARM is providing an ARM64 implementation of Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD) for mitigating Spectre V4. Last week they posted the initial ARM64 SSBD patches for this Speculative Store Bypass vulnerability that could lead to unauthorized information disclosure.

      The Intel/AMD CPU mitigation for Spectre V4 was merged last week while some loose ends remained to tidy the code up for 64-bit ARM. The revised patches have various fixes and other minor work, but overall it looks like soon it could be ready for merging. But it remains to be seen if this work will be merged ahead of Linux 4.17.0, which is expected for release next weekend, or held off until the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window and then potentially back-ported to existing stable series.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • The FBI wants you to do this one thing to your home router, now
    • FBI wants you to reboot your router: What you need to know
    • Did You Restart Your Router Like the FBI Asked?
    • The FBI is warning you to reboot your router to prevent a new attack — here’s everything you need to do
    • Mainstream Media Warns of ‘Russian Malware’, Ignores CIA’s Own Virus Development

      The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned hackers may have compromised hundreds of thousands of routers and other home network devices the world over with malware. Perhaps predictably, the Russians are said to be behind the ploy – but past experience suggests the true source may lie closer to home.

      In an official statement, the FBI said the virus — ‘VPNFilter’ — was being used to launch attacks on infrastructure and render electronic devices useless. Anyone possessing a router is strongly urged by the Bureau to reset their device — the malware works in three stages, and rebooting the router prevents the implementation of the latter two stages.

      “Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware,” the Bureau suggested.

    • Securing the container image supply chain

      The question of container trust hardly seems resolved at all; the available solutions are complex and would be difficult to deploy for Kubernetes rookies like me. However, it seems that Kubernetes could make small improvements to improve security and auditability, the first of which is probably setting the image pull policy to a more reasonable default. In his talk, Mouat also said it should be easier to make Kubernetes fetch images only from a trusted registry instead of allowing any arbitrary registry by default.

      Beyond that, cluster operators wishing to have better control over their deployments should start looking into setting up Notary with an admission controller, maybe Portieris if they can figure out how to make it play with their own Notary servers. Considering the apparent complexity of Grafeas and in-toto, I would assume that those would probably be reserved only to larger “enterprise” deployments but who knows; Kubernetes may be complex enough as it is that people won’t mind adding a service or two in there to improve its security. Keep in mind that complexity is an enemy of security, so operators should be careful when deploying solutions unless they have a good grasp of the trade-offs involved.


      Zephyr doesn’t use the Linux kernel. Its kernel comes from Wind River’s VxWorks Microkernel Profile for VxWorks. The first version of Zephyr, which was launched some two years ago, came out with a kernel, an IP stack, L2 stack, and few services. Then Intel decided to open source it. They took a saw to it and cleaned the code, then they started talking to industry leaders, especially The Linux Foundation. The project was launched with Intel, NXP, and Synopsis as launch members.

    • Victorian speed cameras hit by computer virus

      Independent report into WannaCry virus

      An unsuspecting contractor was blamed for introducing the virus into Victoria’s speed camera network sometime in early June 2017. The malware was first detected on 6 June 2017 when 20 cameras crashed along the Hume Highway and remained offline overnight.

      The infected cameras ran on Windows 7. Another company who used Unix-based cameras still suffered thanks to Windows operating system powered site control units. It wasn’t until 14 June that the true cause of the outages was found and over the next two days, engineers worked on a patch to secure the system. Finally, by 22 June, cameras were fully operational and virus-free again.

    • How the Zephyr Project Is Working to Make IoT Secure

      Zephyr doesn’t use the Linux kernel. Its kernel comes from Wind River’s VxWorks Microkernel Profile for VxWorks. The first version of Zephyr, which was launched some two years ago, came out with a kernel, an IP stack, L2 stack, and few services. Then Intel decided to open source it. They took a saw to it and cleaned the code, then they started talking to industry leaders, especially The Linux Foundation. The project was launched with Intel, NXP, and Synopsis as launch members.


      Fragmentation has been a big problem for IoT since the beginning. Companies were doing their own workarounds, there were no standardizations, and there was no collaborative platform that everyone could work on together. Various open source projects are working to solve this problem, but many factors contribute to the woes of IoT devices. Anas Nashif, Technical Steering Committee (TSC) Chair of the Zephyr project believes that software licensing can help.

      Nashif admits that there are already many open source projects trying to address the domain of embedded devices and microcontrollers. “But none of these projects offered a complete solution in terms of being truly open source or being compatible in terms of having an attractive license that would encourage you actually to use it in your product. Some of these projects are controlled by a single vendor and, as such, don’t have an acceptable governance model that breeds confidence within users,” said Nashif.

    • How to Secure Edge Computing

      The notion of edge computing is a relatively nascent one in modern IT. While end user, data center and cloud computing are well understood, Edge computing is still struggling to define itself – and come to terms with some significant security challenges.

    • OpenStack Operators Detail How They Patched for Meltdown, Spectre

      When the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed on Jan. 3, they set off a flurry of activity among IT users and cloud operators around the world. In a panel moderated by eWEEK at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, B.C., on May 24, operators detailed how they dealt with patching for Meltdown and why it was a time-consuming process.

      When it comes to OpenStack, no operator in the world is larger than CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and an OpenStack cloud infrastructure that has approximately 300,000 compute cores. Arne Wiebalck is responsible for the overall operations of CERN’s OpenStack cloud, and when vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre appear, it’s his responsibility to react and deploy the corresponding fixes.

    • How To Turn PGP Back On As Safely As Possible

      Previously, EFF recommended to PGP users that, because of new attacks revealed by researchers from Münster University of Applied Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum, and NXP Semiconductors, they should disable the PGP plugins in their email clients for now. You can read more detailed rationale for this advice in our FAQ on the topic, but undoubtedly the most frequently asked question has been: how long is for now? When will it be safe to use PGP for email again?

      The TL;DR (although you really should read the rest of this article): coders and researchers across the PGP email ecosystem have been hard at work addressing the problems highlighted by the paper—and after their sterling efforts, we believe some parts are now safe for use, with sufficient precautions.

    • OnePlus 6’s Face Unlock Can Be Fooled By A Photograph

      Do you own a OnePlus 6 or planning to buy one? If yes, you might want to read this one. So apparently, the OnePlus 6’s face unlock method can be tricked by a photograph. A video posted by a Twitter user, shows the phone getting unlocked by a cutout picture of his face.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 50th Anniversary of May 1968, Paris: Memories of an Illusory Revolution

      In France, reactions to the U.S. war in Vietnam, a former French colony, were viscerally linked to the war in Algeria, which was fresh in people’s memories. For those who had supported Algerian independence from France, achieved only six years earlier, the Vietnamese people’s struggle for independence was a natural follow-on.


      Within a week the entire Latin Quarter was in a state of siege. May 10 was the “night of the barricades”. I happened to be there, in the streets near the Pantheon, and was struck by what seemed to me a certain mimesis.

      All night, students around the Pantheon calmly built barricades, passing the paving stones from hand to hand with the same gestures they had seen in the 16-millimeter films of Vietnamese peasant women rebuilding bombed dikes.

      The next day, the streets were cluttered with debris from the police charge. The Latin Quarter was occupied by rows of armed CRS, and students who had been apolitical a few days before wandered in a new landscape, transformed into an oppressed people with an occupation army to overthrow. Was there some latent desire to be like the Vietnamese, who at the time were the object of widespread sympathy and admiration – even adoration?

      In between my library research and my part-time work for a movie dubbing studio, I followed those events unroll as closely as I could. I was present at many of the key happenings, the major skirmishes in the Latin Quarter, the orations at the Odéon theatre, the night of the barricades, the big marches, the speech at the Sorbonne of the student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit on his triumphant return after being expelled to Germany. I rushed to buy every edition of the daily “Action.” Yes, I was there.

    • CIA says North Korea won’t give up nukes, but might open a burger joint

      A new U.S. intelligence assessment has concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, three U.S. officials told NBC News — a finding that conflicts with recent statements by President Donald Trump that Pyongyang intends to do so in the future.

      President Trump is continuing to pursue a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even though the CIA analysis, which is consistent with other expert opinion, casts doubt on the viability of Trump’s stated goal for the negotiations, the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

    • How Do You Get Off the US “Kill List”?

      After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration created a secret “kill list” to step up the targeting of alleged terrorists for assassination. The criteria for inclusion on the list have apparently morphed over three presidential administrations, yet they remain elusive.

      Last year, two journalists filed a federal lawsuit against Donald Trump and other high government officials, asking to be removed from the kill list until they have a meaningful opportunity to challenge their inclusion. Both men claim to have no association with al-Qaeda or the Taliban, to have no connection to the 9/11 attacks, and to pose no threat to the United States, its citizens, residents or national security.

      Kareem and Zaidan Try to Get Off Kill List

      Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US citizen and freelance journalist, has survived five attempts on his life from targeted air-strikes. A Turkish intelligence official told Kareem that the US government is trying to kill him.

      Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, a citizen of Syria and Pakistan, is a senior journalist with Al Jazeera. He interviewed Osama bin Laden twice before the 9/11 attacks. Zaidan learned about his inclusion on the kill list from National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept.

    • Solving the mystery of the Hunt/Dallas CIA memo hoax

      In 1978, a JFK assassination hoax emerged that continues to fuel conspiracy theories and accusations against the Central Intelligence Agency. Two news stories began to circulate claiming that the House Select Committee on Assassinations had obtained an alleged 1966 CIA memo placing Howard Hunt, of Watergate infamy, in Dallas on the day of President John Kennedy’s assassination. Some conspiracy enthusiasts have tried to use the two articles to corroborate each other, unaware that they shared the same source. A review of over 1,000 pages of documents and testimony gives the story of – and dismantles – the HSCA memo hoax.

    • Narco-Corruption, ISIS 3.0 and the Terror Drone Attack That Never Happened

      For almost 20 years, U.S. drone warfare was largely one-sided. Unlike Afghans and Yemenis, Iraqis and Somalis, Americans never had to worry about lethal robots hovering overhead and raining down missiles. Until, that is, one appeared in the skies above Florida.

      But that’s a story for later. For now, let’s focus on a 2017 executive order issued by Pres. Donald Trump, part of his second attempt at a travel ban directed primarily at citizens of Muslim-majority nations. It begins: “It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.”

      That sentence would be repeated in a January report from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Meant to strengthen the president’s case for the travel ban, it was panned for its methodological flaws, pilloried for its inaccuracies, and would even spur a lawsuit by the civil rights organization, Muslim Advocates and the watchdog group, Democracy Forward Foundation.

    • The problem with Ukraine’s Arkady Babchenko assassination sting

      n Tuesday, Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko strolled into a Ukrainian press conference to prove that he is, in fact, still alive.

      Put another way, Babchenko proved that he was not in fact killed on Tuesday evening while returning to his Kiev apartment, as had been previously reported. News that Babchenko had been assassinated went viral across the world on Tuesday after Ukrainian authorities declared that he had been found dead. Now the Ukrainian authorities say that faking Babchenko’s death was necessary to draw out Russian assassins who had been ordered by the Kremlin to kill him. Those responsible for the plot are supposedly now in custody.

      This might appear like a cool spy game, but it is already looking like a pretty stupid gambit by the Ukrainians.

      By lying to its own people and to the world, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has damaged its credibility. Every statement that the SBU makes in the future, whether in relation to Russian threats on Ukrainian soil or other national concerns, will now be judged skeptically by those who hear it. This credibility deficit will also make it harder for the SBU to recruit sources in that those prospective sources will be unsure whether their SBU handlers are telling them the truth.

    • A Middle East with No Master

      Time was, the countries of the Middle East relied on the United States for patronage, protection, and guidance. Suez taught Israel, Britain, and France that without Washington’s acquiescence, their policies could not succeed. Egypt’s defection showed Russia the limits of its ability to compete for clients in the region. It was U.S. leadership that enabled Israel, Egypt, and Jordan to end the state of war between them.

      The standing of the United States in the region derived in part from its centrality to diplomacy aimed at finding a formula for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians and acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy by its Arab neighbors. Except on issues related to Israel, many Arab governments followed America wherever it led. The collapse of the Soviet Union erased Russian influence in the Middle East, as it did elsewhere.

      To recall this history is to underscore the extent of the geopolitical changes that have occurred so far this century. The United States no longer enjoys primacy in the Middle East. The former colonial powers need American military support to intervene in the region, but the countries of the region itself now act independently, confident that they can gain American backing for whatever they do. They do not seem to be wrong about this, judging from U.S. backing for Israel’s wars on its neighbors, Gulf Arab efforts to topple the Asad government in Syria, and the ongoing devastation of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Join the June 19 London vigil demanding freedom for Julian Assange!

      Emmy Butlin is part of a group that has maintained a solidarity vigil in defence of Julian Assange for six years outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks editor was forced to take asylum there in June 2012. On June 19, the Julian Assange Defence Committee is holding a vigil to mark the sixth anniversary of the date Assange entered the building.

      The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party is backing the vigil and working to secure maximum attendance. Emmy spoke to WSWS reporter Robert Stevens about the work of the group and the Julian Assange case.

    • The working class must mobilize to free Julian Assange!

      For nearly six years, Julian Assange, who exposed the crimes of the US military and intelligence apparatus, has been imprisoned in London, trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy under increasingly onerous and precarious conditions. For more than two months, he has been denied any contact with the outside world, unable to receive visitors, make phone calls or access the Internet.

      The perpetrators of this crime are not the governments routinely denounced as “rogue regimes” by imperialist powers and targeted for military aggression, but the imperialist powers themselves—principally the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

      Now, the Ecuadorean government of Lenin Moreno is in active negotiations with the UK to push Assange out. Following last year’s elections, Moreno has moved to seek a rapprochement with the US, which would involve handing the journalist over to the torturers and war criminals in Washington.

    • Julian Assange Case Update

      Today on Flashpoints: We bring you an update on the Julian Assange case. First up we’ll speak with Flashpoints correspondent and Live On The Fly hose, Randy Credico. And then, we feature an extended interview with filmmaker and activist, John Pilger.

    • Ecuador’s Moreno: Julian Assange’s Asylum Will Continue With Conditions

      President Lenin Moreno said granting the Ecuadorean citizenship to Assange was the foreign minister’s idea.

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno says his country will respect Julian Assange’s right to asylum but only if the Wikileaks founder “respects the conditions” his government has put in place for him to continue his stay at their London Embassy.

    • Mueller’s Team Grilled London-Based ‘Trump Defender’ About Interactions With Roger Stone And WikiLeaks

      Special counsel Robert Mueller asked a London-based American academic and self-described “Donald Trump defender” about his connection to Roger Stone, ABC News reports.

      Malloch was detained by federal investigators at Boston’s Logan Airport in March. He told ABC News Mueller’s team spent an hour asking about Stone.

      Malloch, a contributor to InfoWars and close ally of UK Independence Part founder Nigel Farage, is the author to a new book, “The Plot to Destroy Trump: How the Deep State Fabricated the Russian Dossier to Subvert the President.” In it, Malloch alleges the U.S. intelligence community is trying to undermine Trump’s presidency.

    • Safe UK landing is no surprise

      So how come “the puppet” gets a visa with an outstanding arrest warrant against her, yet Julian Assange has to be holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy?

    • Assange Must Comply with Conditions to Preserve Asylum

      Speaking in an interview Ecuador President Lenin Moreno said that Julian Assange’s actions were a cause of concern for the government

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno says his country will respect Julian Assange‘s right to asylum but only if the Wikileaks founder “respects the conditions” his government has put in place for him to continue his stay at their London Embassy.

      Speaking in an interview with German Broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Moreno said Assange’s actions were a cause of concern for the government of the South American country, but his asylum was not under immediate threat if he complied.

    • Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange, Ecuador & Threats to Press Freedom
    • Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange, Ecuador & Threats to Press Freedom

      WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange is at risk of being removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has taken refuge for nearly six years, CNN reports. If he is forced out of the embassy, Assange could face arrest by British authorities and extradition to the United States. The Ecuadorian government cut off Assange’s internet in March. Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told The Intercept that the government has also blocked Assange from receiving visitors, calling the tactic “torture.” Correa said that Ecuador was not maintaining “normal sovereign relations with the American government—just submission.” In other Assange news, last month the Democratic National Committee sued WikiLeaks for its role in publishing hacked materials relating to the 2016 election. We speak with Glenn Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro, who wrote last month for The Intercept that “the DNC’S lawsuit against WikiLeaks poses a serious threat to press freedom.”

    • In ‘Blistering’ Report, Journalism Watchdog Condemns DNC Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks as Severe Threat to Free Press

      Citing the concerns expressed by numerous First Amendment experts and journalists, CPJ’s Avi Asher-Schapiro contends that the DNC’s suit—which accuses WikiLeaks of conspiring with Russia and the Trump campaign to tilt the 2016 election by publishing a trove of hacked DNC emails—”goes against press freedom precedents going back to the Pentagon Papers and contains arguments that could make it more difficult for reporters to do their jobs.”

      “What the language in this suit is calling ‘conspiracy’ is the same thing journalists do all the time—report on leaked or stolen documents. Imagine if Trump had the power to go after ‘leakers’ for ‘conspiracy,’” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote in a series of tweets highlighting CPJ’s “blistering” report on Tuesday. “This case has potentially enormous consequences for the press as a whole.”

      “This precedent threatens all journalists,” added Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept.


      As Common Dreams at the time, free speech advocates raised alarm about the DNC’s suit when it was filed last month, arguing that it is both riddled with legal holes and full of dangerous implications.

      “I think that this civil suit goes well beyond what the First Amendment permits,” Barry Pollack, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who represents WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in criminal cases. “We have seen in DOJs under both parties, a willingness to at least bump right up against the line of pursuing journalists criminally. And that’s dangerous.”

    • UW settles suit against CIA over ‘top secret’ data on Salvadoran Army officer
    • CIA Releases Records After University of Washington Lawsuit

      The CIA has turned over 139 documents to settle a lawsuit brought by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights.


      The settlement, reached last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, brought the release of documents related to former El Salvadoran Col. Sigifredo Ochoa Pérez and his potential ties to the U.S. Some of the documents were formerly designated top secret, and some have never before been seen outside the agency.

      The Center for Human Rights’ director, Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, said she was pleased with the settlement.

    • Baruch Invited the CIA to Recruit on Campus, and Faculty Are Steamed
  • Finance

    • Grazie Günther!

      The European commissioner should have been applauded, not scolded, for speaking out on the crisis in Italy.


      After months of chest-beating by Yanis Varoufakis, the country’s Marxist finance minister, Greece’s already-dire economic situation worsened. Five months after the leftists took over, market pressure forced them to shutter the stock market, close the banks and implement capital controls.

      In an attempt to save face, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum over whether Greece should accept the bailout terms. The No vote won with over 60 percent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • UK Academic Called a Russian Spy Appears to Be British Agent Instead

      Joseph Mifsud, director of the now-defunct London Academy of Diplomacy, has been a key figure in Russiagate, accused of having high-level connections to the Russian government and helping connect the Trump team with the Russians. A new report by Elizabeth Voz turns that allegation on its head, saying Mifsud is more likely to be a UK asset.

      Voz, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Disobedient Media, joined Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik to discuss.


      Mifsud has denied the claim he was associated with Russian intelligence and insisted instead that he’s a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Foundation. Casting even more doubt on the claim, Mifsud was photographed next to Claire Smith in 2012 at a training program on international security organized by the London Academy of Diplomacy, where Mifsud was director. Smith belongs to the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, which oversees the UK’s spying agencies.

    • No, the President Was Not Stopped From Entering the Pushkar Temple

      “Even to reach the lake, there are few stairs but the couple and their daughter didn’t go down them and offered the prayers from the one of the stairs. …Whatever is in circulation on social media is fake news,” Surendra Rajguru, priest at the Pushkar lake told The Wire.

    • Trump, Explained

      Now, Roseanne admitted to similar insanity and claimed it was the effect of Ambien, a common sedative… Well, if Trump takes a dose to go to sleep and has been for many years, he might just be into the hallucinatory side-effects regime… So, now we have a conspiracy theory of our own explaining the irrational Tweets. It does not explain the doubling down on the nightmares of the previous night but that might be just laid at the feet of habitually refusing to apologize or to explain. Perfect, eh?

    • Greenwald: FBI Informant in Trump Campaign Once Ran CIA Spy Operation Helping Reagan Win in 1980

      A top House Republican has defended the FBI against a series of attacks by President Trump, who’s claimed without evidence that the bureau planted a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign. Rep. Trey Gowdy, chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee, said Tuesday that the FBI was acting properly when it deployed a confidential informant—Stefan Halper—to investigate Russian attempts to interfere in the election. We talk to Glenn Greenwald about Halper’s involvement in the CIA and the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan.

    • ‘Their Hedge Fund Wants These Massive Profits’

      Since hedge fund Alden Global Capital has taken control of the Denver Post, the paper has seen rounds of layoffs. The newsroom has gone from 200 or so people to more like 70, with 30 more jobs slated to be cut this summer. Journalists have been moved to the printing plant to further cut costs for Alden, whose founder, Randall Smith, describes himself as investing in “distress.”

      Denver Post workers protesting the unceremonious gutting of their newspaper were joined recently by journalists from some of the other 90-odd papers Alden controls, via ownership of Digital First Media, at a rally at the vulture fund’s HQ in New York City. In a New York Times account, the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez says, as reporters do, that she doesn’t like being the story, but, she adds, “If we don’t tell our own story now, I don’t know how long we’ll be able to tell our community’s.”

    • Wherein Facebook Messes Up Elections By Trying Not To Mess Up Elections

      A few months ago I suggested that calling Facebook a bull in a china shop might not be fair to bulls. I fear the suggestion remains apt, as Facebook throws its considerable weight around in ways that, while potentially well-meaning, leaves all sorts of chaos in its wake. The latest evidence of this tendency relates to its recent announcement of policies designed to limit who can place political ads on Facebook.

      The problem is, that’s what it’s done: limit who can place ads on Facebook. But according to the Verge, all it’s done is limit the ability for SOME people to post political ads. As in, only SOME of the candidates in any particular race.

      The Verge article notes that the Mississippi primary is set for June 5. But in one particular race for Congress, only the incumbent’s authentication paperwork is in order, so only he is able to buy ads. As the day of the election draws near, his challenger finds himself locked out of being able to advertise through the medium.

    • New Allegations Added to Lawsuit on How Facebook’s Targeting Tools Helped Advertisers Exclude Older Workers

      Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit have expanded the scope of their action, alleging that Facebook and other major employers violated federal and state anti-age bias laws by excluding older job seekers from seeing online employment ads.

      The Communications Workers of America and three older workers are suing on behalf of union members and others, who they claim missed employment opportunities because they never saw job postings after employers used Facebook-provided targeting tools and algorithms to direct ads to younger potential applicants.

      The original complaint was filed at the same time as a December ProPublica–New York Times report that raised concerns about online job ads discriminating against later-career workers. Facebook subsequently limited job advertisers’ ability to exclude users in some demographic groups — but not groups defined by age.

      In an amended complaint filed Tuesday with the federal district court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, CWA and the law firm added claims to those they made in December. Beyond enabling exclusionary ads, the new complaint alleges that Facebook lets employers craft ads for “lookalike audiences” that are demographically narrow or similar to people already working for the employers placing the ads, a move that the plaintiffs say marginalizes older workers.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Tommy Robinson is no free-speech martyr

      Free speech is too important for us to allow it to be consistently warped and slandered by both left and right. Free speech is about allowing a free and unhindered exchange of ideas. But, at the same time, we must recognise that the reason Robinson has a career is that we have become overly sensitive as a society to the kind of arguments he makes. He is a product not of too much free speech, but of too little. His arrest is not symbolic of a state conspiracy to shut him up. But it is at least connected to our continuing discomfort with discussing certain ideas.

    • FOSTA-SESTA is now law—where does that leave the Internet?

      In addition to being ineffectual, FOSTA-SESTA has dangerous consequences for Internet freedom: it marks an end to Section 230’s true “safe harbor” that saw the rise of today’s Internet. Though it may be difficult to prosecute, as the Department of Justice makes clear, it nonetheless creates legal uncertainty for sites that rely on Section 230 to operate. Though Facebook and Google may be able to afford the uncertainty associated with a weakened Section 230, small websites and startups cannot. As a result, FOSTA-SESTA will only help to engrain the current Internet monopolies.

    • Kenya: New Cybercrime Law Opens the Door to Privacy Violations, Censorship

      More and more Kenyans are connecting to the internet, most frequently from mobile devices like phones and tablets.

      There are, of course, big benefits to increased connectivity. These include the rise of mobile money transactions and access to loans. But there are downsides, too. The country has been targeted by hackers in several major attacks.

      In May 2018 the Kenyan government responded to these and other high profile cyber attacks by signing the Computer and Cyber Crime Act into law. This seems a strange decision, since legislation already exists that deals with these issues.

    • Kenya cybercrime law opens door to privacy violations, censorship
    • Reflecting on discourse, censorship after a quarter as Opinion Editor

      Last Spring Quarter, I wrote a column arguing that hate speech should not be free speech. I received a litany of nasty emails and comments calling me a fascist and saying that I didn’t deserve free speech if I opposed it for others. I’ll admit that the piece could’ve been worded better and that it didn’t represent the full scope and nuance of my argument. But I found it interesting that most people who contacted me addressed me as if I had single-handedly ripped the First Amendment from the pages of the Bill of Rights, as if I had shoved my column down their throats and forced them to read it. It was amusing and concerning to me that they felt my opinions were so significant and consequential that they warranted a response.

    • Canada ‘does not censor’ social-media posts in China: Foreign Affairs official

      Canada “does not censor” what it posts to Chinese social media, a Foreign Affairs official said, after a report raised questions about how countries communicate on the tightly controlled Chinese internet.

      Authorities in China routinely delete and otherwise restrict communications made by foreign embassies on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, whose reach to large numbers of Chinese people has made it a desired location for “weiplomacy.”

      But a report this week that documented the censorship taking place also pointed out countries whose Weibo posts are not being aggressively censored, including Canada, calling into question whether they are redacting themselves.

    • Dexter Navy, Liam Hodges, & Sukeban join anti-censorship t-shirt project

      “Time and time again, we’ve seen cases of brave human rights defenders in repressive countries being subjected to censorship.” So says Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK. She’s explaining the reason behind 50/50, a collaboration with global marketplace Everpress, exploring censorship. Consisting of 50 limited t-shirts, designed and produced by 50 different creatives, the project showcases independent artistry through highlighting some of the most intense manifestations of censorship across the globe. Over the years, Amnesty has protested against increased censorship, while also advising people to fight back against it online.

    • The myth of self-censorship

      As the media in Bangladesh wades through a quagmire of overt and covert censorship, journalists are often ‘accused’ of praticising self-censorship. It is with censure that they are said to ‘play safe’ and censor their own work. In fact, many journalists themselves ‘admit’ to self-censorship or, to put it bluntly, ‘saving their own skins’.

      But if truth be told, would any truly professional journalist practice self-censorship?

      It’s a reality. But the question is – is this actually self-censorship or just censorship, plain and simple?

    • Prosper High School Journalists Stand Up to Censorship

      “Censorship keeps our newspaper from covering all the issues that matter to us,” Copy Editor Isabella Abraham said in a press statement released on Thursday. “Just because the opinion is ‘inconvenient’ for the school, doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to voice it.”

      Named the 2009 National Journalism Education Association Adviser of the Year, Lori Oglesbee-Petter has led the student journalists to earn over 100 awards for their reporting. Yet, Prosper High principal John Burdett has reportedly opted to end Oglesbee-Petter’s contract in a move the students fear signals the end of the journalism program.

    • [CENSORED] was meant to celebrate freedom. Instead it exposes something darker

      In 1969 Australian government censors claimed a Swedish film playing at the Sydney film festival included an actual sex scene involving a heavily pregnant woman. The film could only play, they said, if the offending copulation were deleted. But the scene in question involved no sex whatsoever. The censors apparently couldn’t distinguish between an embrace and penetrative sex – and weren’t prepared to admit they were wrong.

      This wasn’t the first time the Australian government had tried to cut scenes from films showing in Australian cinemas – they had been secretly banning films and slicing out scenes as they came through customs for years. But the uproar over this particular film became the catalyst for reforming the censorship laws at the dawn of the 1970s.

    • No scope for censorship in modern world: PM

      The Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has reminded that in a modern world there is no scope for any censorship.

      “Such measures may bring temporary benefits, but they are never in the interest of a country and the nation in the long run,” the prime minister said while addressing 28th award ceremony of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) here Wednesday at the Prime Minister Office (PMO). The ceremony was also addressed by Dawn Media Group CEO and APNS President Hameed Haroon, Secretary General Sarmad Ali and federal information and broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb.

    • Censoring media not in national interest, says PM Abbasi

      Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that the social media has rendered censorship in the media redundant and urged the media organisations to ensure responsible reporting by exercising due diligence in verifying facts.

      Addressing an awards ceremony at All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) in Islamabad, the prime minister said the social media has transformed the media landscape by making all information available to anyone.

      “Media censorship may render short-term advantages but it is never in national interests, especially in the modern age,” he said.

    • Pakistan’s censorship model

      On May 12, Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most prestigious English daily, published an interview with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in which Sharif uttered four relatively oblique sentences: “Militant organizations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” He was referring, ostensibly, to Lashkar-e-Taiba’s involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attack. Lashkar and its leader, Hafiz Saeed, have not been held accountable, and the trial has stalled in an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan.


      No one doubts the military’s involvement in this censorship. It is the latest example of a steadily accumulating set of suppressive measures it seems to be taking against the media in recent months, to various ends: to control its own narrative and maintain its hold on the country, to control Pakistan’s global image, to weaken Sharif, and to try to meddle in the upcoming general election this July.

    • Media censorship is never in country’s interest, says PM Abbasi

      Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that his government did not believe in resorting to media censorship but urged the media to adopt a mechanism for self-regulation.

      Speaking at the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Awards ceremony in Islamabad, the prime minister said media censorship was not possible in today’s age of social media and the internet.

      Even in the past, he said, all efforts to censor the media did not prove to be fruitful.

      “You may achieve short-term gains by imposing censorship on media, but it never goes in the country’s interests,” he stressed.

    • Shutting down facebook in PNG is a reality

      Communications Minister Sam Basil said that the shutdown would enable the department and National Research Institute to conduct further research on how the social network was being used by users.

    • Papua New Guinea bans Facebook for a month to root out ‘fake users’

      Analysts will explore how fake news and pornography spreads, and assess whether country needs its own version of the platform

    • Papua New Guinea considers ‘temporary’ ban on Facebook, citing illegal use
    • Papua New Guinea bans its citizens from Facebook for a month
    • PNG to push out Facebook, taking a sharp turn into cyber censorship
    • Instagram’s Censorship of #Stripper Sparks Outcry from Sex Workers and Allies
    • Madmind Studio had to make a compromise with censorship in Agony
    • AGONY: The most controversial game since Grand Theft Auto has just been released
    • Republican congressional candidate Steve Toft accuses Facebook of censorship; ads restored after protest
    • New US sanctions target Iran for human rights abuses, censorship
    • U.S.: Treasury Department Sanctions Iranian Individuals, Entities Over Human Rights Abuses, Censorship
    • US sanctions Iran groups, Evin Prison for rights abuses
    • More Groups Call on Government to Reign in Tech Companies for Censorship, Nazi-like policies [Ed: Natural News is full of rubbish so for their rubbish being deranked they call tech firms "Nazis"]

      Mike Adams, the founder of Natural News, a science-based natural health advocacy organization, is demanding that the government regulate Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter “to halt malicious censorship and create a fair platform for public debate.”

    • Censorship Plague Infects America [Ed: It's pretty rich when Nazi-ish sites compare those who suppress their speech to Nazis...]

      On May 10, 1933, 40,000 pro-Nazi Germans gathered in Berlin to stage a gigantic book-burning bonfire. Exactly 85 years later, on May 10, 2018, philosopher and author Gilad Atzmon was barred from the Wil-Mar Community Center in Madison, Wisc. on the grounds that he was a supposed “Holocaust denier.”

    • Spotify’s Censorship Crisis is About Social Responsibility

      Spotify has been forced into something of a rethink regarding its hate speech policy. Spotify announced it was removing music from playlists of artists that do not meet its new policy regarding hate speech and hateful behaviour. R.Kelly, who faces allegations of sexual abuseand XXXTentacion, who is charged with battering a pregnant woman, were two artists that found their music removed. Now Spotify is softening its stance following push back externally and internally, including from Troy Carter who made it known that he was willing to walk away from the company if the policy remained unchanged. Spotify had good intentions but did not execute well. However, this forms part of a much bigger issue of the changing of the guard of media’s gatekeepers.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • GDPR & Your website – Guide to privacy and peace of mind

      One day, you’re a carefree blogger. The next, you’re suddenly dealing with this big, looming thing called GDPR. The EU has introduced a new privacy-focused regulation, GDPR, and it dictates important privacy, security and data transparency requirements for websites handling personal data. You’re asking yourself, does this affect me? And you’re worried. Today, this article will help you better understand who, what, when and how, and hopefully give you both the knowledge and the tools to become a carefree blogger once again AND be merrily compliant.

      Now, the one extra question that you maybe asking yourselves is: why are publishing this only now, AFTER the regulation came into effect? Well, the answer is, believe or not, most tools and services out there released GDPR-compliant updates only in the past week or so, and that finally allowed me to put this guide together. Let’s see what gives.

    • EFF and Other Groups Fight State Department Collection of Social Media Information … Again

      EFF and 54 civil liberties organizations joined comments this week written by the Brennan Center for Justice and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) standing up against the U.S. government’s plans to collect social media information from foreigners entering the United States. This is the fifth time we’ve fought this battle in the past two years.

      The U.S. State Department’s recent proposal is to collect social media identifiers, phone numbers, and email addresses used in the last five years from all visa applicants. This plan would apply to applicants seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States.

      EFF opposed the plan in April 2018 when it was first revealed. As we wrote then, “This questioning invades the free speech and privacy rights of foreign visitors to the U.S., as well as the rights of their American friends, families, and professional associates.” We also expressed concerns about the breadth of the program, which would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, according to the State Department.

    • A trip to the ER with your phone may mean injury lawyer ads for weeks

      Law firms are using geofencing in hospital emergency rooms to target advertisements to patients’ mobile devices as they seek medical care, according to Philadelphia public radio station WHYY. Geofencing can essentially create a digital perimeter around certain locations and target location-aware devices within the borders of those locations. Patients who unwittingly jump that digital fence may see targeted ads for more than a month, and on multiple devices, the outlet notes.

    • Trial begins for ex-CIA man accused of espionage for China

      A trial is under way for a former CIA case officer accused of giving top-secret documents to the Chinese.

      Kevin Mallory of Leesburg, Virginia, was charged last year under federal espionage statutes with delivering defense information to a foreign government.

      Prosecutors say they caught Mallory last year after he returned to the U.S. on a flight from Shanghai with more than $16,000 in undeclared cash.

    • US eavesdropping base in Yorkshire flouting UK law, claims group

      The information commissioner is to launch an investigation after a complaint by a campaign group that forces at the US’s largest eavesdropping centre in Britain are breaking the law.

      Reprieve said US forces at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire were failing to comply with the provisions of the UK Data Protection Act by collecting and processing personal data without registering with the information watchdog.

      Drawing on reports about how US surveillance operations identified targets for drone strikes, the charity said personnel at the base operated programmes that monitored and located communications, including mobile phone calls and wifi traffic.

      In a letter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Reprieve detailed the experience of the al-Manthari family in Yemen, who were caught up in a March 2018 US drone strike. While the US claimed the strike had killed members of al-Qaida, Reprieve alleges that its investigations revealed all the victims were civilians.

    • Apple’s Latest Transparency Report Shows Gov’t Still Not All That Interested In Seeking Warrants [Ed: Remember that so-called ‘Transparency’ Reports are a corporate PR opportunity. They are not obligatory, but companies and shareholders choose to release these, selectively showing some numbers that they then twist to tell misleading stories. PR stunts.]

      That being said, there’s a lot of detail in the report that isn’t found in transparency reports by other tech companies. The whole thing is worth reading, if only to marvel at the massive amount of data demands being made by US law enforcement. And it appears the FBI (and other federal agencies) still prefer writing their own paperwork, rather than subject themselves to the minimal judicial scrutiny subpoenas require. National Security Letters are, by far, the most popular way for the government to seek subscriber/customer data. Apple received more than 16,000 NSLs targeting ~8,000 accounts in the last six months of 2017 alone.

    • Email Privacy Act Comes Back Hopefully to Stay

      The Email Privacy Act is back. We hope it can stay.

      The House of Representatives passed a bill this week called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the nation’s military and defense programs. Earlier in the week, scores of Representatives offered amendments to this must-pass bill in hopes of ensuring that their ideas get a chance to become law.

      Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) used this opportunity to include as an amendment the Email Privacy Act, a piece of legislation long-favored by EFF. The Email Privacy Act would codify the rule announced by the Sixth Circuit—and now followed by providers nationwide—that requires government agents to first obtain a probable cause warrant when seeking the content of communications stored by companies like Google, Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and Microsoft.

      On Thursday night, the House approved the NDAA–including the amendment with the Email Privacy Act—in a 351-66 vote. We applaud the House’s inclusion of this important statutory language in the must-pass NDAA.

      Rep. Yoder’s amendment, which you can read here, is identical to the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) that EFF supported in 2017. The amendment is also a revival of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) that EFF likewise supported in 2016. That bill received unanimous support from the House of Representatives in a 419-0 vote.

      This is a battle we’ve fought for years. Rep. Yoder’s amendment is the latest chance for Congress to get it right.

    • Advocacy Groups Call On Retailers to Halt Sale of CloudPets Toys

      Civil liberties and child advocacy organizations are calling on Walmart, Target, and Amazon to halt sales of CloudPets, stuffed toys that allow the recording and sharing of voice messages, until the manufacturer addresses known security breaches and vulnerabilities—including a critical flaw that allows someone within bluetooth range to eavesdrop on, and send messages to, users of the toy.

      CloudPets may sound benign: stuffed unicorns, bears, monkeys, and other animals that double as voice messaging platforms, allowing children, parents, or friends of children to send recorded messages to and from each other via the toys. But the manufacturer, Spiral Toys, has a track record of failing to protect consumers—and those most likely to fall victim to these vulnerabilities, children. Researchers and others have contacted the toymaker about several flaws, but many of these concerns have gone unheeded.

      Read the letter from the coalition asking retailers to halt sales of CloudPets.

    • UK won’t have a say in European AI or data protection rules after Brexit

      The European Commission’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, has shot down the ICO’s suggestion that the UK have a seat at the decision-making table after the country leaves the Union.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nicaragua unrest: Government colluding with mobs, says Amnesty

      Amnesty International has accused the Nicaraguan government of colluding with paramilitary groups to suppress weeks of student-led demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega.

    • Ukraine blames Russia for shooting of journalist Arkady Babchenko
    • Ohio Wants to Make Sexting Illegal for Anyone Under 19

      Teen sexting may be unwise, but it should not be grounds to ruin young people’s lives.

      Oftentimes, when lawmakers don’t know how to make sense of something, or it scares them, they criminalize it.

      Exhibit A: sexting.

      Sexting is very common among teens, frequently referenced in pop-culture, and perhaps a mystery to people who didn’t grow up with a cellphone. Some may call it “unwise.” Friends may steer friends away from doing it. But one thing is for sure, sexting should not be criminal.

      After all, if teenagers decide to engage in some racy sexting, is it really the government’s place to punish them? If a photo or text conversation goes viral, sometimes the young person whose privacy was violated is punished in the court of law, which is just plain wrong. And all parties in these situations are young people who may not have the judgment to make the best decisions — so should they have the rest of their life ruined because of a bad decision?

      The answer should be no.

      Enter Ohio lawmakers, a group of (mostly) angry older white guys who are shaking their fists and bemoaning kids today while doing little, if anything, to understand the millennial generation. On May 22, members of the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee passed a “teen sexting ban.” This misguided and over-the-top legislation proposes to “ban sexting” for anyone under the age of 19. The full House is expected to vote on this bill soon.

    • The CIA and Pelé

      A 1975 memo from Henry Kissinger uncovered in the Central Intelligence Agency archives details the then-Secretary of State’s talking points for an upcoming Oval Office meeting with Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the Brazilian soccer phenom better known as Pelé.

    • Court Has No Problem With Multiple Invasive Probings In Search Of Drugs That Didn’t Exist

      If a government employee suspects you might be carrying drugs, be prepared to engage in a nonconsensual, highly-intimate relationship with the feds and their helpers. A New Mexico resident suspected of carrying drugs was subjected to multiple anal probings and enemas before law enforcement finally decided he wasn’t actually carrying any drugs on him (or in him). An 18-year-old Arizona woman was subjected to vaginal and anal probing when attempting to return from a short trip to Nogales, Mexico. Again, no drugs were found but the helpful medical “professional” decided to go from CBP accusation to painful probing, bypassing less intrusive options (x-rays, etc.) in his earnest desire to save America from illicit substances.

      Another incident with lots of probing and violations but zero drugs has landed in the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court. Gloria Bustillos (an American citizen) was attempting to return to El Paso, Texas after a visit to Juarez, Mexico when CBP agents decided she must be trafficking drugs. The indignities began immediately.

    • Pictures From an Interrogation: Drawings by Abu Zubaydah

      The CIA spent years trying to probe the mind of Abu Zubaydah, the first terror suspect it subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the aftermath of 9/11. The cables and reports that document the agency’s interrogations of Zubaydah fill thousands of pages; scores of those pages have since been made public in redacted form. Diaries that Zubaydah kept before his capture in Pakistan in 2002 have also been released, as have excerpts from a first-person account of his brutal treatment at the hands of CIA interrogators.

      Another glimpse into the mind of Zubaydah now emerges from a series of drawings he made during his years in U.S. custody. They are by turns haunted and bizarre, ranging in subject matter from graphic depictions of his abuse to creatures drawn from some indistinct mythology. The drawings were released to ProPublica in partial response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School.

    • Racist Jury Selection at the Heart of a 1977 Murder Conviction

      Racial bias continues to render death sentences unreliable and deny defendants equal justice.

      Johnny Lee Gates, a Black man convicted in 1977 by an all-white jury of murdering a white woman in Muscogee County, Georgia, is currently fighting for his right to a retrial free from racial discrimination.

      Despite strong evidence of racial bias in jury selection during the original trial, whether he will be granted a retrial is far from certain. New evidence from his decades-old case — evidence that was only turned over to Gates’ attorneys in March of this year — unquestionably reveals the racism guiding the juror selection process. The prosecution’s notes, for example, contain jury-selection notations of “W” next to white prospective jurors and “N” next to Black prospective jurors.

      These notes are reprehensible. They also illustrate exactly the kind of racial discrimination in capital jury selection that the U.S. Supreme Court addressed and correctly deemed unconstitutional in Foster v. Chatman in 2016.

      The Supreme Court has a long history of condemning racial bias in capital jury selection. In 1880, for example, it outlawed the categorical exclusion of Black people from juries in Strauder v. West Virginia. Yet that decision did not usher in an age of racial equality in jury selection. Today, 138 years later, discrimination against and exclusion of jurors of color continue in full force in courtrooms across America, including in the gravest of contexts: trials to determine if someone lives or dies.

      Weeding out jurors of color can impact the outcome of a trial, whether by robbing the jury of valuable perceptions on identifications across racial lines and policing, or by playing into the immeasurable other ways that implicit biases pervade our justice system.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ESPN Analysts Routinely Told Execs Not To Worry About Cord Cutting

      ESPN has long personified the cable and broadcast industry’s tone deafness to cord cutting and TV market evolution. The company not only spent years downplaying the trend as something only poor people do, it sued companies that attempted to offer consumers greater flexibility in how video content was consumed. ESPN execs clearly believed cord cutting was little more than a fad that would simply stop once Millennials started procreating, and ignored surveys showing how 56% of consumers would ditch ESPN in a heartbeat if it meant saving the $8 per month subscribers pay for the channel.

      As the data began to indicate the cord cutting trend was very real, insiders say ESPN was caught flat footed by the trend. Instead of adapting for the streaming era, the company spent years doubling down on bloated sports licensing deals and SportsCenter set redesigns.

      These decisions ultimately came back to haunt the “worldwide leader in sports,” resulting in ESPN losing 16 million subscribers over seven years (and an estimated 17,000 defecting viewers per day). As the accountability hammer began to fall, ESPN execs tried to pretend they saw this coming all along. ESPN subsequently decided the only solution was to fire hundreds of longstanding sports journalists and support personnel, but not the executives like John Skipper (since resigned) whose myopia made ESPN’s problems that much worse.

    • TV still king, but Finland’s media habits are changing, survey says

      At least half of respondents said they watch TV at least an hour a day, but media consumption habits in Finland appear to be splintering.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • No, Counting The Number Of Patent Infringement Lawsuits Is Not A Good Way To Quantify A Company’s IP Ethics

      Much has been made about Donald Trump walking back sanctions placed on ZTE, a partly state-owned Chinese cellphone manufacturer, for selling products to Iran and North Korea. (Fun fact: our law enforcement agencies still do business with tech companies that sell to blacklisted countries.) The company has already paid millions of dollars in fines to the US for these violations, even if the working theory is the company paid zero dollars and the Chinese government picked up the tab.

      The actual badness of ZTE is somewhere between the extremes resulting in sanctions and the trade war victim it tries to present itself as. Trump is a fan of trade wars, even if Pyrhhic stalemates are still considered righteous wins in the Trade War Game. Trump has decided to lift the US government boot from ZTE’s mostly-unbruised neck as a gesture of goodwill or something after slapping the world’s largest exporter of consumer goods with a bunch of tariffs that seem to be doing more harm than good on the home front.

      And, because it’s Trump lifting the sanctions, lots of people are claiming it’s unilaterally a bad thing for him to do. This has resulted in some really bad arguments for maintaining sanctions and there’s one being made at TechCrunch. It begins with a horrendous attempt to quantify the “terribleness” of ZTE by using an incredibly meaningless stat.


      Apple has been sued for patent infringement 296 times over the same period. It must be at least twice the egregious IP violator ZTE is, and no one (outside of the IPWatchdog staff) believes the US government should sanction it.

    • The smartphone wars may have been good for Samsung, but they were even better for Google

      The dying embers of the smartphone wars were back in the headlines last week as Samsung found itself on the wrong end of a $539 million jury verdict for infringing several of Apple’s patents. The decision was the latest twist in the long-running litigation saga between the two giant device manufacturers who have become the undoubted leaders of the smartphone age. Although the jury ruled against Samsung, as Joff Wild made clear on this blog over the weekend there’s a very strong case to be made that the South Korean company has emerged as the overall victor in the dispute.

    • Beijing High Court upholds China’s first-ever SEP injunction in Iwncomm v. Sony

      On March 28, 2018, the Beijing High Court issued its decision for Iwncomm v. Sony, a high profile case concerning infringement of a standard essential patent (SEP). The appellate court amended the trial judgment on some key findings, but still upheld a permanent injunction and damages of about CNY 9 million (USD 1.3 million). This case has received widespread attention and sparked discussion of both IP professionals and the telecommunication industry. The Beijing High Court’s reasoning and conclusions will be likely to impact on SEP licensing negotiations generally.

    • Analysis on SEP Infringement Case IWNCOMM v. Sony

      Beijing High Court issues a final judgment in March 2018 on a high profile SEP infringement case IWNCOMM v. Sony ((2017)Beijing Civil Final No.454). The judgment of first instance is made by Beijing IP Court in March 2017, attracting extensive attention in the whole IP field. Some legal issues in this case are rather controversial and pioneering, with few precedent cases. Although this final judgment affirms injunction and damages determined by the first instance judgment, opinions of Beijing High Court on some legal issues are different from those of Beijing IP Court.

    • Would the proposed “manufacturing waiver” really pass the TRIPS test?

      As most readers will know, yesterday the European Commission published a proposal to amend Regulation 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products (the “SPC Regulation”) aimed at introducing a so-called “manufacturing exemption for export purposes” (in short, a “manufacturing waiver”). The rationale behind it is that the introduction of this new exemption to the rights conferred by supplementary protection certificates (“SPCs”) would allegedly boost the European generics and biosimilars industry. It would bring all sorts of benefits to Europe. Thousands of jobs would be created. Europe would become the pharmaceutical industry’s paradise. There are even rumours that Real Madrid would no longer win the Champion’s League (by the way, congratulations to Real Madrid supporters). No such comparable benefits can be traced back in history since the time when Noah devised his famous Ark.

    • China extends drug patent exclusivity to 25 years

      China extends drug patent exclusivity to 25 yearsOn May 11th, the office of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a press release discussing aspects of President Donald Trump’s plans to lower the prices of drugs prescribed to United States citizens. Commissioner Gottlieb noted that the agency was increasing its efforts to implement the Drug Competition Action Plan by removing market barriers to generic pharmaceuticals. The press release also indicated that the agency would be calling out the actions of specific companies it believes are abusing the system “to reduce gaming of statutory and regulatory requirements to help ensure that drug companies don’t use anticompetitive strategies to delay development and approval of important generic drugs.”

    • A new exemption from supplementary protection certificates (SPC) in the EU

      On 28 May, 2018, the European Commission published its proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 469/2009 concerning supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products. Urged by the European Parliament, the Commission introduces a so-called manufacturing exemption for export purposes, also known as a “manufacturing waiver” to the protection conferred by the certificate.

    • EU Commission Proposes Softening Of SPC Law To Assist EU-Based Manufacturers

      The European Commission has proposed a “targeted adjustment” to intellectual property law with a view to reducing the restrictions on EU-based manufacturers of pharmaceuticals seeking to compete in global markets.

    • European Commission proposes manufacturing waiver for SPCs

      The European Commission has proposed to introduce an ‘export manufacturing waiver’ to Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) to ‘help Europe’s pharmaceutical companies tap into fast-growing global markets and foster jobs, growth and investments in the EU’.

      According to a press release of 28 May 2018, ‘Supplementary Protection Certificates extend patent protection for medicinal products which must undergo lengthy testing and clinical trials prior to obtaining regulatory marketing approval. Thanks to the waiver, in the future EU-based companies will be entitled to manufacture a generic or biosimilar version of an SPC-protected medicine during the term of the certificate, if done exclusively for the purpose of exporting to a non-EU market where protection has expired or never existed.’

    • Trademarks

      • Author Trademarks the Word ‘Cocky,’ Earns the Ire of Romance Writers Everywhere

        It’s a bad idea to come after romance authors’ favorite double entendres. Unfortunately, Faleena Hopkins, holder of a trademark on the word “cocky” and a shaky understanding of trademark law, fired a bunch of shots and not only missed the mark, but managed to turn her entire industry against her.

        Hopkins is the author of a series of romance novels about the “Cocker Brothers” which she has named “The Cocky Series.” Hopkins obtained a trademark for the word “cocky” on April 17, 2018. On May 7, 2018, Kevin Kneupper filed a challenge [pdf] to the trademark. That’s only three weeks, but a lot happened in that time.

        Hopkins filed for two trademarks. One is for the word “cocky” in a specific font. The second is just for using the word in a series of books, downloadable and regular, “in the field of romance.” Once Hopkins had that mark, things spiraled.

        Authors T.L. Smith and Melissa Jane were contacted by Audible about their upcoming book Cocky Fiancé, telling them they had received a notice that their title was infringing. They then got an email from Hopkins, followed very quickly, they told Vox, by a notice from Amazon about infringement. Seeing that Hopkins did have a registered mark, the two changed their book title to Arrogant Fiancé and ate the cost of the merchandise with Cocky Fiancé printed on it.

    • Copyrights

      • Vevo Flop Shows, Once Again, How Badly The Record Labels Underestimate Technology

        Just last week we wrote about how the big record labels have a hilariously long history of failing to grasp the importance of providing a good underlying technology service for music online and how they always overvalue the content, and assume that the technology and services are a commodity that is effectively worthless. And, yet again, that approach has failed them. The latest is the collapse and capitulation of Vevo, the service put together by a few of the major record labels to try to “take on” YouTube (even while using some of YouTube’s underlying technology). Earlier this week, Vevo announced that it was shutting down its own site and app, which basically no one used anyway. Instead, it’ll just focus on using YouTube, which was where everyone watched Vevo videos in the first place.

      • Copyrighting Software: Case Likely Heading to Supreme Court

        Google has now filed an en banc rehearing petition in its dispute with Oracle over copyrightability of the naming system for an application programming interface — namely Oracle’s Java API that Google copied. [Oracle Am. v. Google LLC Rehearing Petition]

        The basic issue here stems from Google’s program interface for Android App development. Rather than creating its own set of functions and methods, Google decided to mimic the method-calls of Java. At the time, Google’s third-party app marketplace was lagging far behind Apple’s, and the Java-API mimic was seen as a strategy to facilitate more rapid development of apps since the programming language was already so popular.


        Although Java was available for licensing, Google refused. Although Java’s originator Sun Microsystems was known for its lack of IP enforcement, that all changed when Oracle acquired the company.

        In the most recent iteration of the case, the jury found that Google’s use was a “fair use” and thus not an infringement. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed — finding the API the proper subject of copyright protection and not subject to a fair use defense in this case. As Jason Rantanan wrote: “the court’s analysis all but says (expressly so!) that fair use can never apply.”

      • WIPO Didn’t Want The Pirate Party To Observe Its Efforts, But Happy To Include A Group Whose Mission Is To Battle Space Lizards

        You may recall five years ago how WIPO — the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN body that is famous for its maximalist and expansionary approach to intellectual property — delayed and then rejected the Pirate Parties International request to become an “observer.” As we noted, the “observer” process is more or less a formality, and it’s pretty common to see everyone who applies get approved. So it was a bit odd that WIPO rejected the Pirates.

        And it’s even odder when you consider just who WIPO allowed in this year. As noted by Intellectual Property Watch, one of the organizations whose application was rubber-stamped this year to become a WIPO observer is that of the generically named “IP Centre.”

      • PUBG takes US game firm to court

        Korean game developer PUBG, a subsidiary of Bluehole, has filed a copyright violation lawsuit against U.S.-based Epic Games, asking a court to determine whether the latter’s “Fortnite” was copied from the former’s “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”

        A PUBG official said Friday that the firm filed an injunction, alleging copyright infringement, with the Seoul Central District Court against Epic Games Korea.

        “We filed the suit to protect our copyright in January,” said the official.

      • Epic Game’s Fortnite Sued By PUBG Makers Over ‘Copyright Violation’

        he makers of PUBG have filed a lawsuit against Epic Game’s Fortnite on the ground of copyright infringement.

        Last year, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gained massive popularity by introducing the battle royale shooter genre for the players. Seeing it gain traction, Fortnite came up with its own battle royale mode and now it stands as the most popular game on the planet.

      • New Organization Formed In South Africa To Promote The Rights Of Creators And Support Intelligent Copyright Reform

        Over the years, Techdirt has written about some pretty bad stuff happening in South Africa on the copyright front. For example, there was the Business Software Alliance using made-up figures in an attempt to revise copyright law in its favor. The South African music rights organization tried to put public domain works under copyright. And — most insane of all — the South African recording industry association ran a stupid “anti-piracy” campaign called “Shoot the Pirate”, which resulted in actual violence. So it makes a pleasant change to report on some good news from the country. A new organization of creators has been formed to press for a more balanced copyright system in South Africa. They call themselves ReCreate…

      • Pressure grows ahead of key parliamentary vote on major shake up of EU-wide copyright laws

        It is claimed that some committee members have been told of “possible repercussions” if they fail to support the proposal.

        They have allegedly been told that to “stay away” from the meeting if they intend to reject the new law, with substitute members, who are more sympathetic to the plans, lined up to vote instead.

      • Germany’s scientific texts were made free during and after WWII; analyzing them today shows the negative effect of paywalls on science

        Here’s the headline finding: “This artificial removal of copyright barriers led to a 25% decline in prices, and a 67% increase in citations. These results suggest that restrictive copyright policies slow down the progress of science considerably.”

      • Effects of copyrights on science

        Copyrights grant publishers exclusive rights to content for almost a century. In science, this can involve substantial social costs by limiting who can access existing research. This column uses a unique WWII-era programme in the US, which allowed US publishers to reprint exact copies of German-owned science books, to explore how copyrights affect follow-on science. This artificial removal of copyright barriers led to a 25% decline in prices, and a 67% increase in citations. These results suggest that restrictive copyright policies slow down the progress of science considerably.

        With digitisation, the costs of distributing new research, textbooks, and other types of knowledge has become negligible. In principle, people across the world could now have access to a new research paper within minutes of its publication. Yet copyrights, which grant publishers exclusive rights to content for nearly 100 years, create enormous access costs. These costs are high enough to prevent people outside of universities and wealthy institutions from accessing new research. If the creation of new science and innovation depends on access to existing science, as Scotchmer (1991) has argued, the social costs of increased access costs through copyrights may be immense.

      • FCC Republican asks Amazon and eBay to boost crackdown on pirate TV boxes

        Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, part of the FCC’s Republican majority, wrote a letter to the Amazon and eBay CEOs asking them to crack down on set-top boxes that violate FCC rules.

      • FCC Asks Amazon & eBay to Help Eliminate Pirate Media Box Sales

        FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly has written to the heads of Amazon and eBay with a request to eliminate sales of pirate media boxes which illegally display the FCC compliance logo. In a letter to Devin Wenig and Jeff Bezos, O’Rielly seeks the total removal of such devices, noting that their fraudulent labeling is exacerbated by the effect they have on the entertainment industries.

      • Hong Kong Customs Arrest Pirate Streaming Device Vendors

        On May 25 and 26, Hong Kong Customs carried out a series of raids against four retail outlets suspected of selling “fully loaded” set-top boxes which provided unauthorized access to movies and TV shows. Seven men and one woman were arrested and charged with copyright infringement offenses. Officials have warned that offenders could be imprisoned for up to four years.

      • PUBG Sues Fortnite over Copyright Infringement

        PUBG and Fortnite are two of the hottest games of the moment. While the games share some similarities, thus far they have managed to coexist without significant trouble. However, that is no longer the case since PUBG has taken Epic Games to court in South Korea over alleged copyright infringement.

The EPO is Demolishing European Law With Terms Like ICT, CII, AI, and 4IR

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Running over the law

Battistelli with Scud

Summary: The EPO continues granting patents in defiance of parliamentary directives, the European Patent Convention (EPC) and common sense; it’s like the EPO openly and arrogantly spits on the very laws which govern it

THE EPO‘s promotion of software patents in Europe has become pretty blatant and obvious. At the same time the USPTO accepts that such patents lack merit and rejects many of them (we shall cover that separately). Software patents in Europe do exist, but they’re not supposed to exist. Openly promoting them, moreover, is another new low for the EPO.

“Software patents in Europe do exist, but they’re not supposed to exist. Openly promoting them, moreover, is another new low for the EPO.”So-called ‘AI’ is just software, so the EPO basically organises (and people attend) the lobbying event of nefarious entities like pressure group (e.g. EPI). They push hard for software patenting (illegal in Europe) and reactions include:

I’m attending the conference ‘Patenting Artificial Intelligence’ organized by the European Patent Office @EPOorg in Munich, as member of the @patentepi EPI commettee EPPC-ICT pic.twitter.com/HnlR2g4zDx

The EPO was retweeting things like these yesterday. Also this one: “Participating @EPOorg Conference on Patenting Artificial Intelligence. Good discussions on what is patentable in Europe and on how to apply patents.”

More photos shared by the EPO: “”Patenting Artificial Intelligence” at European Patent Office @EPOorg pic.twitter.com/AZzuXFWBVx”

“So-called ‘AI’ is just software, so the EPO basically organises (and people attend) the lobbying event of nefarious entities like pressure group (e.g. EPI).”There’s more from that same account, e.g. here: “”Patenting Artificial Intelligence” Challenges and opportunities for #patent Offices @OEPM_es @EPOorg pic.twitter.com/KKXKF5XCRl”

The slides tell the general ‘spiel’ and the EPO itself wrote about it: “Clare Dillon speaking at EPO’s Patenting AI conference: ” #Patents and the EPO have a huge role to play in developing and accelerating the economic viability of #ArtificialIntelligence ” pic.twitter.com/BRHQQt0ceJ”

Dillon was later mentioned in the official ‘press release’ from the EPO (warning: epo.org link), which name-dropped “4th industrial revolution” and “ICT”, i.e. the usual. To quote:

The morning session focused on the current situation of patenting AI, with three keynote speeches, chaired by US patent attorney Rob Sterne. Technology “evangelist” Clare Dillon set the scene by outlining the latest trends and scope of the current “AI explosion” which is not restricted to the ICT industry but “impacts the scale and speed of innovation in every area”. Citing the main elements needed to make AI a success, she said: “Patents and the EPO have a huge role to play in developing and accelerating the economic viability of AI.”

Grant Philpott is, quite frankly as usual, mentioned quite a lot. He’s one of the loudest pushers for software patents and he also threatened to sue me. Here’s a tweet just about him: “”Patenting Artificial Intelligence” #patents Grant Philpott from @EPOorg : “Machine learning is already being used at EPO but it’s not the subject of this meeting”. pic.twitter.com/GmfbgLvoiW”

“Grant Philpott is, quite frankly as usual, mentioned quite a lot. He’s one of the loudest pushers for software patents and he also threatened to sue me.”Surely he knows that it’s all about software. I wrote Machine Learning algorithms 15 years ago.

Here is the EPO pimping Casado: “Vice President Casado opened the EPO’s 1st conference on patenting #AI: “The aim of today’s conference is to have an open exchange of views around the patenting of AI inventions.” pic.twitter.com/Y2sN9MK4iC”

These all come with photos by the way. Here’s another: “Over 300 IP experts gathering in Munich today for the EPO’s 1st conference on #ArtificialIntelligence http://bit.ly/epoAI2018 pic.twitter.com/tLh91gu5xF”

“Surely he knows that it’s all about software. I wrote Machine Learning algorithms 15 years ago.”Judging by the slides, they barely even hide their agenda. It’s just another one of those ‘orgasmic’ events wherein a bunch of patent maximalists celebrate software patents and come up with tricks for ‘dressing them up’ (e.g. “ICT”, “AI”, “4IR”). We suppose that managers like Casado and Philpott later demand — in a top-down fashion — that examiners grant patents if these buzzwords get used. This is institutional abuse.

Speaking of this whole “AI” hype, IP Watch has just said “AI software”. That was yesterday. They’re basically part of the problem, selectively calling algorithms “AI” when it suits them to essentially help patenting of virtually every algorithm (just say it’s “intelligent”).

“The EPO has been doing this blatant promotion of software patents (even while calling these “software patents”) for quite some time.”Earlier this week spoke to an old IBM employee, who worked there back when everything was done manually (when the EPO only got off the ground). “AI” is nothing new; it’s as old as computing. But this stupid hype keeps resurfacing everywhere this year; it’s like a disease now, and it’s exploited in various ways, including yesterday by Managing IP. We already wrote many articles about this whole “AI” hype, usually in relation to the US. Now it has officially come to Europe. The EPO basically tells people that if they pretend some “clever” algorithm is “intelligent” (as in “artificial intelligence”), then it’s a patentable “invention”. Who will enforce the EPC and the directive/s? The EPO has been doing this blatant promotion of software patents (even while calling these “software patents”) for quite some time.

IP Kat is Still Acting as a Propaganda Front for UPC (and EU Software Patents) Lobbying by US-Based Front Groups

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last week: Software Patents Advocacy and UPC Lies Go Hand in Hand

UPC KatSummary: The pro-UPC, pro-software patents agenda and tone of IP Kat are difficult to mask; in fact, it’s time to quit pretending that IP Kat still cares about patent justice, patent quality etc.

IT was one year ago that we noted Team UPC had 'taken over' IP Kat — a site that prior to that had covered EPO scandals. Nowadays, after the founder left, the IP Kat blog does not even produce much in terms of posts. Something just isn’t right and (former) writers left after they had seen things they did not like.

“Team UPC and those standing to benefit from UPC (lots of lawsuits!) are using their heavy pockets for constant brainwash, buying politicians, etc.”Nowadays, unfortunately, IP Kat is little more than a mouthpiece of Team UPC. In fact, some of the most prolific writers at IP Kat are in Team UPC. That helps explain quite a lot. Some took photo ops with Battistelli, which may help explain why the blog has no more coverage of any EPO scandals whatsoever. It’s like “vendor capture”; just because the blog used to cover something doesn’t mean it still will (especially with staff changes in the midst). Team UPC and those standing to benefit from UPC (lots of lawsuits!) are using their heavy pockets for constant brainwash, buying politicians, etc.

Tian Lu started writing for IP Kat not too long ago. Lu does not write much. Having already mentioned part 1 the other day, now comes part 2 about UPC lobbying in Europe by a patent extremists’ front group from the US, namely IPO. Even by US standards it’s pretty extreme — somewhere near Watchtroll levels. To call them patent maximalists would be an understatement. Obviously, as is common nowadays, IP Kat amplifies it. Not too long ago it deleted comments about the UPC complaint of Ingve Stjerna and yesterday it wrote this: “He discussed the German constitutional complaint filed by German attorney Dr Ingve Stjerna which, in short, concerned the facts that it was not accepted by 2/3 majority, and there was not sufficient democratic control because of Administrative Committee’s broad powers; judges are not independent, considering that they would be chosen only for limited period; UPC is contrary to EU law, etc. The outcome of this complaint still remains uncertain.”

“What’s worth noting is that IP Kat keeps amplifying such nonsense.”Who’s “He”? “An unelected lawmaker,” Benjamin Henrion explained, quoting: “Mr Willem Hoyng is also known as a member of the drafting committee of the Rules of Proceedings of the future Unified Patent Court (UPC) and member of the Advisory Committee of the UPC Preparatory Committee.”

So it’s the very core of Team UPC. How objective. “He recommended the audience to have a look at the Index for CII (computer-implemented invention) provided by EPO,” says the latter part (there are numerous people mentioned there). As usual, promotion of UPC and software patents comes under similar umbrellas. IPO does a lot of that in the US.

“How to get software patents in the EU,” Henrion added, quoting: “the 1st hurdle (Art. 52 (2) and (3) EPC) can be easily overcome by making the claimed method a computer implemented method.”

He had already left this comment to say: “Technical is technical is technical is technical. So much crap to get software patents in Europe.”

“That IP Kat is promoting such a ruinous (to Europe) agenda isn’t new or shocking to us. The same goes for IAM, which a couple of years ago set up a UPC lobbying event in the US sponsored by the EPO’s PR firm and supported by the EPO itself.”Yes, these are old tricks. “Circular Technical,” he called it, quoting: “it serves a technical purpose, i.e. to solve a technical problem in a technical field, and the technical purpose must be specific.”

What’s worth noting is that IP Kat keeps amplifying such nonsense. Software patents are not allowed in Europe, but patent lawyers profit from these.

That IP Kat is promoting such a ruinous (to Europe) agenda isn’t new or shocking to us. The same goes for IAM, which a couple of years ago set up a UPC lobbying event in the US sponsored by the EPO’s PR firm and supported by the EPO itself. We know to whose benefit. Yesterday IAM drew attention to an upcoming event for trolls, in which the sole “silver sponsor” is a patent troll, Finjan (a Microsoft-connected troll). As the record reveals, this troll has just paid the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, which helps explain the pro-troll bias. This sponsorship was topped only by “gold sponsor” Mintz Levin. What we’re trying to say is, IP Kat is becoming not too far adrift from IAM and maybe one day Battistelli or António Campinos will rub this Kat’s back like they do IAM’s. Yesterday IAM published this sponsored post for Mikkel Roed Trier (AWA A/S, Denmark). Their business model revolves around propping up the legal ‘industry’ rather than reporting/information. Hence the support from Battistelli.

“It’s far from “over” and the UPC itself might already be “over”. But they don’t want to admit that.”It should also be noted that Team UPC in the UK (notably Bristows) is now spreading the EUROCHAMBRES lies by paying lawyers’ media. They cross-post it to keep the flow of Kool-Aid going, maintaining this illusion that the UPC is coming soon. Team UPC in the UK pretends that Brexit is no barrier and at the start of May, for example, there was another example of it (only brought to our attention yesterday). “The UK’s recent ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement marked an important step towards a new system of unitary patent protection becoming operational,” said the summary. “The process has been lengthy and complex and is not over yet.”

It’s far from “over” and the UPC itself might already be “over”. But they don’t want to admit that.

On around the same date (also start of May) it turned out that UPC cheerleading could be seen even as far as Australia. The loud proponents of software patents everywhere, Shelston IP, published this nonsense, claiming that UPC was “a step closer” (to what? Brexit?). That around the time they were also pushing very hard for software patents (we last wrote about it a month ago).

The EPO’s aggressive push for software patents will be the subject of our next post.


Märpel Looks at Benoît Battistelli’s Toxic Financial Affairs at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 11:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Benoît Battistelli the Latest Example of Massive Bonuses Given to People Who Destroyed Their Own Organisation

Financial image

Summary: More and more people/circles raise serious questions about Battistelli’s financial dealings at the EPO

THE scandals at the EPO are greater in number and magnitude than it may seem. Some of them may take years to come to the surface. The USPTO, by contrast, has barely any scandals (we covered one yesterday, but those are rare).

Recently, the ‘gambling’ with EPO funds was brought up again (it happened around Christmas time when almost nobody paid attention). Märpel has just published this long post about it:

Now President Battistelli has decided he needed a blank check to play with that money on the stock and derivatives market. Apparently he did not learn about the toxic loans of Saint-Germain. Or maybe he knows them too well, Märpel cannot say. Usually money lost in risky investments is not lost for everybody.

The Council, in its rubber-stamping majesty, decided to approve the new investment guidelines last December. Lately the budget and finances committee cleared the small details. Interested readers having access to the EPO intranet may look for document CA/F 10/18.

Märpel finds difficult to believe what that document says. Apparently, the EPO is going to set aside “around 250 millions Euros” every year in the next 20 years and expects that the total treasury will reach EUR 12 billions Euros after a period of 20 years, which is lots of money even for cats. The expected long term return on the modelled portfolio is 4,0% and the annual risk is 15,1% of the Net Assets Value, which Märpel understands to mean that the EPO will invest in relatively high risk assets to get that level of return. Märpel’s compound interests calculator also notes that the figures do not match, even if the EPO would invest its complete cash reserve in that risky scheme (2.3 billions Euros) Märpel is short of some money. Märpel also notes that up to 75% can be invested in risk investments (equities, commodities, real estate and “alternatives”), which probably explains the 4% annual return in times when one is lucky to get 0.5%.

Nobody knows what the EPO is going to do with 12 billions Euros in 20 years. If the scheme succeeds (and that is a big “if”), the next-next-next-next President is going to have lots of money to play with. Or will he?

This subject was not too long ago tackled in a series of posts by Thorsten Bausch and recently by us as well. Bausch has just published this post about the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (not to be mistaken for FCC). He said:

The FCJ ordered that the petitioner must be granted access to the entire file wrapper. The objections raised by the plaintiff with regard to parts of the file which allow conclusions to be drawn on infringement proceedings conducted in parallel or which contain information on the designs challenged there were unfounded.

Bausch comes from a different world than yours truly because he works for a law firm, but judging by recent interactions he remains concerned about the financial dealings at the EPO. We’re now just one week away from the massive passage of EPO’s budget (i.e. stakeholders’ money) to Battistelli’s other employer in Saint-Germain. It remains to be seen what happens to all that money and whether Battistelli will be held belatedly accountable after his diplomatic immunity is voided (António Campinos had already enjoyed it under EU-IPO).

St. Germain’s “Système Lamy” and Its EPO Clone – Part 3: Shooting the Messengers and Defaming Opponents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Firing squad

Summary: How Battistelli emulated — sometimes using nearly identical words — “Système Lamy” and what’s coming up in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where Péricard and his Deputy Mayor for culture, Battistelli, seem to be getting ready for a large lump of EPO cash

In Parts 1 and 2 we looked at some of the features common to the “Système Lamy” in St. Germain-en-Laye and its EPO clone. In Part 3 we continue and conclude our study of the close political symbiosis between Battistelli and his fellow ENArque, Emmanuel Lamy.

Shooting the messenger and defaming opponents

“They have also showed themselves to be well-versed in techniques for defaming or “smearing” their opponents.”Both Lamy and Battistelli have demonstrated considerable enthusiasm and ability when it comes to “shooting the messenger”. They have also showed themselves to be well-versed in techniques for defaming or “smearing” their opponents.

Shooting the messenger

Lamy’s ad hominem attacks on Emmanuel Fruchard from the Saint-Germain Autrement opposition group in connection with the SIDRU “toxic loans” affair are illustrative of his style in this regard.

“The proposition that because Fruchard’s professional background enabled him to understand the technical details of the case he should have refrained from alerting the citizens of St. Germain to the risks of the “structured debt products” contracted by SIDRU is patently absurd.”In September 2011 Lamy used an interview with the local news paper, Courrier des Yvelines, as an occasion for a public attack on Fruchard [PDF] when he tried to discredit him by denouncing him as “a person who has participated in the design of so-called toxic products”:

“In this affair the Mayor of St. Germain denounces the attitude of the elected opposition councillor from St. Germain, Emmanuel Fruchard (Socialist Party) ‘I find it shocking that a person who has participated in the design of so-called toxic products is giving us moral lectures’, he says.”

CdY Lamy 14/9/2011

Lamy was evidently referring to Fruchard’s professional career as a quantitative mathematician and risk modelling expert which involved financial engineering and analyst positions with banks such as Credit Lyonnais and Lazard Frères & Cie in Paris as well as work in the area of financial software development as Director of Financial Engineering at Summit Systems in New York.

JSG 662, 13/2/2015

The proposition that because Fruchard’s professional background enabled him to understand the technical details of the case he should have refrained from alerting the citizens of St. Germain to the risks of the “structured debt products” contracted by SIDRU is patently absurd.

“Over at the EPO, Lamy’s acolyte “Sun-King” Battistelli has notched up an impressive hit-list of irksome “messengers” during the eight years of his unbridled “reign of terror”.”It just goes to show that Lamy was more interested in “shooting the messenger” than in responding to the problems to which Fruchard was trying to draw attention.

The following year during a meeting of the municipal council which took place in July 2012 Lamy accused Fruchard of causing harm to St. Germain because of his persistent attempts to investigate and clarify the details of SIDRU’s “toxic loans”:

“He accused Emmanuel Fruchard of turning the matter into a “personal fight” and uttered an incredible remark: by saying what you are saying, “you are causing harm to us”!!”

One of the most ridiculous accusations raised by Lamy against his political opponents came in September 2011 when he accused the members of the Saint-Germain Autrement group of “engaging in politics” – as if municipal councillors were prohibited from doing so!

The Saint-Germain Autrement group responded as follows:

“The Mayor accuses us of engaging in politics. Well yes indeed, derived from the Greek word politikos, politics covers everything that has to do with the governance of a community. And we will continue to express our vision and the aspirations we perceive about all matters concerning the life of our municipality, whether or not it upsets Mr. Lamy.”

Over at the EPO, Lamy’s acolyte “Sun-King” Battistelli has notched up an impressive hit-list of irksome “messengers” during the eight years of his unbridled “reign of terror”.

One of his first victims was Bernard Paye, the former head of Internal Audit at the EPO. According to reliable sources Paye was prominent in efforts among the EPO’s expatriate French community to canvass the French Administrative Council delegation against the endorsement of Battistelli’s candidature as EPO President in 2009.

If these stories are true, then they probably help to explain why Paye ended up as a prime target on Battistelli’s hit-list.

“Battistelli achieved international notoriety for the kind of vicious “smear tactics” he employed against his perceived opponents.”Paye’s openly stated opposition to Battistelli’s proposals for the abolition of the independent Audit Committee reporting to the Administrative Council led to his “elimination” as head of Internal Audit and to his subsequent forced assignment to a “fictitious” post as “Senior Advisor planning and preparation of the unitary patent” in October 2011. This vexatious transfer was later quashed by the ILOAT in its Judgment No. 3699 of 6 July 2016 and the Tribunal awarded Paye the sum of 12 000 Euros in moral damages and costs. See ILOAT 3699 [PDF].

Other more prominent and well-documented cases of irksome “messengers” who ended up as victims of Battistelli’s firing squad include staff representatives and staff union officials in Munich and the Hague, as well as a member of the Boards of Appeal.

Battistelli achieved international notoriety for the kind of vicious “smear tactics” he employed against his perceived opponents.

“It should be noted that Lamy — to his credit — never attempted to defame his political opponents as “Nazis”.”The title of one of his in-house EPO memos — “Defending our values”issued in October 2015 [PDF] bears a curious similarity to the style of language used by Lamy in the Journal de Saint Germain. By a strange coincidence Lamy used an almost identical title for one of his polemical broadsides directed against the opposition group Saint-Germain Autrement in 2007: “Fidèles à nos valeurs” (published in issue no. 512 of the JSG)


It should be noted that Lamy — to his credit — never attempted to defame his political opponents as “Nazis”. Perhaps such cheap and patently transparent “smear tactics” would not have had much resonance in a local municipal political context in France. Or perhaps Lamy was simply smarter than Battistelli and realised the risks of such dubious tactics backfiring as they ultimately did for Battistelli in the more sophisticated cosmopolitan environment of the EPO.

“The SIDRU “toxic loans” saga provides plenty of examples of Lamy’s modus operandi in this regard.”In any case the response of the EPO staff union to Battistelli’s “Defending our values” memo of October 2015 is still worth reading: “Not our values” [PDF].

Disclaiming responsibility for one’s own mistakes

Lamy and Battistelli have also shown themselves to be consummate masters of the fine art of disclaiming responsibility for one’s own mistakes and projecting the blame for any errors and failures onto others.

The SIDRU “toxic loans” saga provides plenty of examples of Lamy’s modus operandi in this regard.

From 2007 onwards Lamy appears to have been in a constant state of denial about the “toxic loan” problem and his own role in the affair.

In the beginning he simply denied that there was any issue to be discussed and made extravagant claims that the “structured debt products” which had been contracted under his chairmanship had resulted in impressive tax savings for the citizens of St. Germain-en-Laye.

Such claims were easy to make because the applicable accounting regulations for municipal and intercommunal associations like SIDRU assumed that such public bodies did not dabble in speculative financial products and consequently did not require the official accounts to include figures for the longer-term projected liabilities of such “structured debt contracts” (that is to say, the so-called “latent” or estimated losses over the lifetime of the loan).

Towards the end of 2010, as reported in the current affairs magazine L’Express in September 2011 [PDF], the competent local public audit body (Chambre Régionale des Comptes d’Île de France) began an investigation into the management of SIDRU and it published its report in May 2012.

Amongst other things the report [PDF] of the Chambre Régionale des Comptes (CRC) found that “SIDRU has taken risks that are incompatible with the principle of prudence that governs all public management” and spoke of “…an unpredictable speculation operation with unlimited risk”. Referring to the consequences of the dramatic rise in the applicable interest rates which occurred in 2011 the report noted that: “From 2011, [the toxic loans] will be transformed into net financial charges, to the point of jeopardising SIDRU’s financial equilibrium”.

The Saint-Germain Autrement opposition group issued a press release summarising the findings of the CRC report and noting that it had confirmed their warnings about the “toxic loan” time-bomb ticking away at SIDRU.

Lamy responded by publishing a statement on behalf of the UMP majority group in issue no. 611 of the Journal de Saint Germain under the title: “Gestion de nos déchets – du positif!” [Translation: “The management of our waste – positive news!”].

JSG 611, 6/7/2011

In this statement the CRC report was presented in terms which suggested that it had vindicated the management of SIDRU! Amongst other things, it was claimed that the report did not put the management of SIDRU into question and that it had “validated SIDRU’s accounts”. According to the statement the CRC report also “endorsed the measures which [SIDRU] had undertaken to secure the two swaps”.

A further milestone in SIDRU’s “toxic loan” saga was reached with the first instance judgment relating to the DEPFA loan which was delivered by the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) on 29 January 2015 [PDF].

“Unfortunately Lamy’s optimism proved to be unfounded as the appeal proceedings before the Court of Appeal of Paris ended with a complete rout for SIDRU.”The TGI found that the DEPFA Bank had been at fault due to a failure to comply with its duty to warn SIDRU of the risks inherent in the loan contract. Nevertheless it rejected SIDRU’s request for an annulment of the contract and ordered it to pay outstanding loan amounts of the order of 10 million Euros.

The opposition group Saint-Germain Autrement published a detailed analysis of the TGI judgement on its website and concluded that it was a significant defeat for SIDRU.

Lamy’s response to the TGI judgment was to publish a “puff piece” in issue no. 611 of the JSG claiming “a first victory for SIDRU” along with a “spin-doctored” statement on behalf of the UMP majority group announcing that an appeal would be filed to ensure a final legally binding judgment in favour of SIDRU.

Unfortunately Lamy’s optimism proved to be unfounded as the appeal proceedings before the Court of Appeal of Paris ended with a complete rout for SIDRU.

“At the next meeting of the municipal council of St Germain on 16 November 2016 Lamy was obliged to defend himself in the face of questions tabled by opposition groups.”In its judgement of 4 November 2016 [PDF] the Court of Appeal revised the first-instance judgement to the further detriment of SIDRU and found it liable for all claims by DEPFA which in total amounted to just over 20 million Euros!

The Court of Appeal also underlined Lamy’s personal responsibility in the affair:

“The SIDRU is an informed party to the contract, whose director, Emmanuel Lamy, Mayor of the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, ENArque, head of mission for general economic and financial control for the Ministry of Finance, had all the skills required to understand and analyse the possible consequences of both a strong rise in the Euro against the Dollar and a strong rise in the Swiss Franc against the Euro even if such a scenario had been presented as unlikely”.

In a statement published in the “Free Opinion” forum of issue no. 697 of the JSG the Saint-Germain Autrement group spoke in terms of a “damning judgment” against Lamy: “SIDRU: le jugement accable E. Lamy”.

JSG 697, 18/11/2016

At the next meeting of the municipal council of St Germain on 16 November 2016 Lamy was obliged to defend himself in the face of questions tabled by opposition groups.

According to a commentary written by Jean-Claude Merle, a former municipal councillor of the neighbouring municipality Marly-le-Roi, Lamy basically tried to dodge the question of his personal responsibility in the matter by referring to the collective responsibility of the 15 municipal councils that were the stakeholders of SIDRU as well as the roles of other authorities such as the regional prefect and the regional Chamber of Auditors.

“The public record indicates that Lamy remained in a state of denial about his personal responsibility for the SIDRU toxic loan crisis right up to the very end.”In a further “spin-doctored” statement on behalf of the UMP majority group in issue no. 697 of the JSG published on 18 November 2016, Lamy again tried to suggest that everybody else apart from himself was to blame for the débâcle. He even suggested that the real problem was that in contrast to other European countries French courts were too lenient with regard the “excesses” of banks in such cases!

In December 2016 the Agir pour Saint-Germain conservative opposition group which had become increasingly vocal in its criticism of Lamy’s role in the SIDRU affair published a statement in the “Free Opinion” forum of the JSG in which they deplored the fact that despite repeated calls for him to account for his role in the affair he had not seen fit to offer an apology for his mistakes nor had he even made any attempt to explain himself:

“And yet, in the City Council as in the Community Council, the Mayor having been questioned by our group about his mistakes and his responsibility did not deign to make amends, nor even explain himself.”

The public record indicates that Lamy remained in a state of denial about his personal responsibility for the SIDRU toxic loan crisis right up to the very end.

The EPO “Sun-King” Battistelli has shown a similar propensity to dodge responsibility for his own mistakes and to project the blame for problems and failures at the EPO onto any convenient scapegoats.

“The EPO “Sun-King” Battistelli has shown a similar propensity to dodge responsibility for his own mistakes and to project the blame for problems and failures at the EPO onto any convenient scapegoats.”Battistelli’s preferred official narrative is that he is the “good guy” who has been the hapless victim of a relentless “defamation campaign” organised by the EPO staff union SUEPO as claimed for example in an interview published in World Intellectual Property Review in September 2014 [PDF] (“AIPPI 2014 Battistelli accuses EPO union of defamation”).

EPO insiders can provide innumerable examples of Battistelli’s attempts to divert attention away from his own mistakes and to ridicule or belittle well-founded criticisms of his failures and excesses by independent observers.

One prominent example should suffice to give a flavour of the “Sun-King’s” modus operandi in such matters.

Following the judgment of the Hague Court of Appeal in favour of the EPO staff union SUEPO in February 2015 Battistelli used the EPO’s official website to issue a public denial that the EPO was violating fundamental human rights. (warning: epo.org link)

“Battistelli’s legal “enforcer” at the EPO, Raimund Lutz, can also be seen lurking in the background in one of the photos.”The statement opened with a rather bizarre reference to “a strange rumour [which] has recently spread across Europe in some media, political circles and even with national judges: that the EPO has not been respecting fundamental human rights.”

At that time the IPKat website was still publishing articles on EPO affairs and the pseudonymous Merpel was inspired to conduct a critical review of the EPO’s statement: “[A]s will be clear from her comments … she does not agree with much of the substance of the EPO post, and indeed finds the title quite astonishing.”

A close political symbiosis

The close political symbiosis between Lamy and his fellow ENArque Battistelli was plain to see during the hosting of the annual EPO-SIPO Heads of Offices meeting which by a strange and unexplained stroke of good fortune took place in St. Germain-en-Laye on 5 October 2016 [PDF].

“The 2016 SIPO event appears to have been a “dress rehearsal” for the 2018 European Inventor of the Year Award which is soon to be held in St. Germain-en-Laye.”The event was celebrated in an extensive “puff piece” [PDF] which appeared in issue no. 695 of the JSG complete with colour photos of Battistelli and Lamy and Commissioner Shen of the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office. Battistelli’s legal “enforcer” at the EPO, Raimund Lutz, can also be seen lurking in the background in one of the photos.


SIPO Lamy and Battistelli

The 2016 SIPO event appears to have been a “dress rehearsal” for the 2018 European Inventor of the Year Award which is soon to be held in St. Germain-en-Laye.

It would appear that Battistelli’s collaboration with the Mayor of St. Germain in such matters is continuing via Lamy’s successor, Arnaud Péricard.

“In particular, the inimitable duo seem to be taking great care to ensure that there is not too much advance publicity about the extravaganza in the local media and in the municipal council perhaps in order to avoid unwanted public scrutiny and awkward questions as to how exactly St. Germain came to be chosen as the venue a mere three years after the event had been held in nearby Paris.”All the signs indicate that the new Mayor, Péricard, and his Deputy Mayor for culture, Battistelli, are colluding closely in the preparations for the Inventor of the Year Award which is scheduled to be hosted in the municipal theatre, Théâtre Alexandre Dumas, on 7 June 2018.

In particular, the inimitable duo seem to be taking great care to ensure that there is not too much advance publicity about the extravaganza in the local media and in the municipal council perhaps in order to avoid unwanted public scrutiny and awkward questions as to how exactly St. Germain came to be chosen as the venue a mere three years after the event had been held in nearby Paris.

We suppose that readers of the “local Pravda” can look forward to another extensive “puff piece” with convenient photo-ops for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in due course.

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