03.22.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Summing Up: EPO Administrative Council Still Asleep at the Wheel

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:

EPO's council heads

Summary: AC chair Josef Kratochvíl (CZ) and deputy chair Borghildur Erlingsdóttir (IS) seem to be unperturbed by the sell-out of the EPO’s “digital sovereignty” taking place on their watch

For quite some time now it has been an open secret that the data protection framework at the EPO is not fit for purpose.

Back in the spring of 2014 the Bavarian Data Protection Commissioner, Dr Thomas Petri, carried out his own independent investigation into the matter following a complaint and he came to the conclusion that “nobody was really in charge”.

Together with his colleague the Federal German Data Protection Commissioner, Andrea Vosshoff, Dr Petri raised serious concerns about the state of data protection at the EPO. However, their urgent pleas for reform fell on deaf ears.

“So it’s difficult to see how such a manifestly deficient framework which hadn’t changed in the meantime could be considered meet the even more stringent standards imposed by GDPR in 2018.”When the EU GDPR came into effect in May 2018, Battistelli attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of the EPO’s stakeholders and the general public by issuing a self-serving communiqué (warning: epo.org link) proclaiming the EPO’s commitment to “ensuring the highest level of data protection” and announcing that “a recent audit report has confirmed a close alignment with the GDPR legal framework”.

The only problem here is that Dr Petri, a serious and well-regarded independent expert on data protection law found that the EPO’s data protection framework failed to measure up to pre-GDPR standards in 2014.

So it’s difficult to see how such a manifestly deficient framework which hadn’t changed in the meantime could be considered meet the even more stringent standards imposed by GDPR in 2018.

As a matter of fact, a report commissioned by the EPO staff union SUEPO from external legal experts in 2016 came to the conclusion that the EPO’s data protection framework was not compliant with EU data protection standards and was in urgent need of a radical overhaul.

It’s worth citing a few passages from that report for the record:

The European Union does, quite rightly, take data protection seriously. Yet the framework at the EPO gives rise to significant cause for concern, which has also been expressed by the national data protection authorities of the main host state – the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Guidelines for the Protection of Personal Data in the European Patent Office (‘EPO DataProtection Guidelines’ or ‘EPO DPG’), which were unilaterally adopted by the President and which entered into force on 1st April 2014. The current EPO DPG appear to fail to meet the standards of both EU data protection law and the national data protection laws of the Contracting States, in particular, the host countries of the EPO. As such, they do not provide a satisfactory framework for safeguarding the data protection rights of data subjects within the Office.

A key component of the EU data protection framework and which is reflected in the national data protection laws of all EU member states is the existence of an independent oversight body; yet this is conspicuously absent at the EPO. Indeed, the deficiencies in the existing system of data protection established by the EPO’s Data Protection Guidelines have come to the attention of the national data protection authorities in the host state of the EPO’s headquarters (Germany) and have even been the subject of a discussion in the Legal Affairs Committee of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag).

In the meantime, very little has changed at the EPO apart from the arrival of a new Data Protection Officer via “the talent pipeline from the EUIPO in Alicante” in April 2020 as previously reported by Techrights.

“Unfortunately for all concerned, the Administrative Council appears to have completely abdicated its responsibilities in this regard.”When all is said and done, the task of ensuring that the EPO’s data protection framework is fit for purpose is a matter of fundamental legal and political significance which lies within the responsibility of the governing body of the organisation, namely the Administrative Council.

This is not something which can be simply delegated to the EPO management to deal with on its own initiative.

Unfortunately for all concerned, the Administrative Council appears to have completely abdicated its responsibilities in this regard.

The Council gives the distinct impression that it is “asleep at the wheel” as the senior management of the EPO proceeds to sell out the organisation’s “digital sovereignty” to a US multinational corporation behind its back.

EPO cruise
Once again, the EPO’s Administrative Council seems to be asleep at the wheel

Of course the Council has only got itself to blame for the precarious and potentially disastrous situation which has now developed.

After all they were the ones who permitted their sense of judgement to be corrupted by the former Council Chairman Battistelli and agreed to follow his proposal to disband the independent Audit Committee in 2011.

With the benefit of hindsight it is now apparent that, by acting as an accessory to Battistelli’s Machiavellian intrigues and acquiescing in the disbandment of the Audit Committee, the Council followed a misguided course of action which has had far-reaching and detrimental effects on the integrity of EPO governance.

It comes as no real surprise to see that – having deprived itself of any genuinely independent source of advice by means of an ignominious act of self-mutilation at the urging of Battistelli – the Council is now unable to react in an robust manner to defend the EPO’s “digital sovereignty” and to ensure that the organisation’s data protection framework is fit for purpose and truly GDPR-compliant.

These are matters of fundamental importance and legitimate concern not only to EPO staff but also to all other stakeholders, including the general public.

Unfortunately the current Council under the stewardship of its chair, Josef Kratochvíl (Czech Republic), and deputy chair, Borghildur Erlingsdóttir (Iceland), does not appear to appreciate the seriousness of the issues and stake and seems unlikely to take appropriate remedial action unless and until something dramatic happens to jolt it out of its complacent slumber.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 04, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 04, 2022



  2. Links 05/10/2022: PL/Haskell 1.0 and RapidRows 1.0 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Links 04/10/2022: Introducing NVK, Kueue, Stellarium 1.0, WordPress 6.1 Beta 3, and OpenSSH 9.1

    Links for the day



  4. Linux Foundation Events Now 'Run' by Linux's Biggest Foe

    The Linux Foundation expresses gratitude, upfront, to only one company: Microsoft



  5. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 03, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, October 03, 2022



  6. Links 04/10/2022: Tor Project Board and Conflicts of Interest, More Politics

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft Windows Sinks to Just 16% of the African Market

    As we noted yesterday, Windows is down sharply this month (27.1% market share worldwide) and the decreases are very significant in Africa, where Android (Linux-based) is spreading fast. Here’s a chart for Africa, showing Microsoft’s decrease to about 16%.



  8. IRC Widgets Working Again

    After turbulence and technical issues at KiwiIRC we've managed to get a semi-working solution or some workaround



  9. Trolled by Microsoft's Lennart Poettering and Bought by Wintel

    Last week’s public appearance by Torvalds seemed reluctant and a tad embarrassing (the media pointed out the awkwardness, too); whose idea was that, the Linux Foundation‘s?



  10. Links 03/10/2022: Git 2.38.0 and cinnabar 0.6.0rc1

    Links for the day



  11. Links 03/10/2022: OpenMandriva ROME Gold Candidate and IceWM 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  12. Members of the Administrative Council of the EPO Are Asked to Summon a Conference of Ministers of the Contracting States Due to Violations of the Law

    The EPO has turned into a farcical operation that laughs at the law, abuses its own staff, and lies to both staff and "customers" in the official Web site



  13. European School The Hague (ESH) Faces a Crisis and Families of EPO Workers Are Harmed Profoundly

    The European School The Hague (ESH) is not functioning like it’s supposed to; people who migrated (seeking a job) along with family members for an EPO position aren’t pleased (to say the least) and they request if not demand to speak with EPO management



  14. [Meme] Lowering the Bar With Nations That Barely Have Any European Patents (Close to Zero)

    The EPO has totally lost the plot; it completely neglected its mission in pursuit of money and optics



  15. Links 03/10/2022: GNU Linux-Libre 6.0

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 02, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 02, 2022



  17. Update on SeaMonkey 2.53.14 and NoScript Crashes/Palefills Not Working

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  18. Links 03/10/2022: Linux 6.0 is Out

    Links for the day



  19. GNU/Linux and the GPL in Particular Are Under Attack Because They Spread Fast (Like a 'Cancer')

    The good news is that GNU/Linux continues to expand (widespread usage); the bad news is, it has come under a sheer magnitude of attacks and the media barely bothers to mention the obvious



  20. Windows Majority in Asia Down to Just Three Countries, All-time Low for Windows Worldwide This Month

    The decline of Microsoft Windows continues; sooner or later Android (Linux inside) will be dominant in almost every country in terms of its market share or number of users



  21. Links 02/10/2022: Debian on Firmware Policy and PostgreSQL 15 RC 1

    Links for the day



  22. Links 02/10/2022: KStars 3.6.1 and DjangoCon Europe 2022

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 01, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 01, 2022



  24. Fedora 37 and SeaMonkey 2.53.14

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  25. 'Linux' Foundation, While Hoarding Over $200,000,000 Per Year, Calls Itself 'Non-Profit'

    This video (10:55-11:28 above), which was published a few weeks ago, gives insight into how much money the Linux Foundation and its proxies raise per year while paying Jim Zemlin [cref =164412 probably about $1.4 million per year already] (because it’s all so charitable)



  26. GNU/Linux Rises to Record Highs in Africa This Past September

    According to this map and these latest plots (based on data from about 3,000,000 Web sites), Windows majority is long lost in Africa and (‘proper’) GNU/Linux usage keeps rising (not just Android, which uses Linux)



  27. Ongoing Efforts to Convince OSI to Drop the Microsoft Funding (Which Comes With Strings, Such as the OSI Attacking the GPL)

    It's becoming increasingly clear that buzzwords and hype get misused to misframe and distract from abuses; we're meanwhile trying to convince the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to drop Microsoft because it pays the OSI for a disinformation campaign (portraying large-scale GPL violations as "AI")



  28. Richard Stallman on Libre Software

    Richard Stallman on Libre Software from LispNYC on Vimeo.



  29. IBM's Lobbying for (and Stockpiling of) Software Patents is Ruining Fedora and GNU/Linux in General

    Fedora suffers from software patents, hence it removes features while IBM lobbies for such patents and gives software patents to patent trolls (in patent sales)



  30. Microsoft Doesn't Like Open Source; It's Badmouthing, Stereotyping, Attacking It (to Shift Blame)

    This week I found out that a dear old friend lost all his money (about 150,000 pounds) due to a Microsoft LinkedIn scam; watch how Microsoft blames unpopular nation states, “open source”, the victims, and attackers (basically anyone but Microsoft), just as it does when defects in its software go unfixed for months


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts