04.11.21

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli’s Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli
  12. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst
  13. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?
  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…
  15. You are here ☞ The Notorious Revolving Door

A revolving door
Christoph Ernst is one of the many beneficiaries of EPO‘s notorious revolving door arrangement.

Summary: The Benoît Battistelli-António Campinos shuffle left some people in the EPO’s upper management better off; they’re being rewarded for complicity, so there’s no incentive to do the right thing but to do the wrong thing

Like his mentor Raimund Lutz, Christoph Ernst is a beneficiary of the well-known – not to say notorious – revolving door arrangement between the Administrative Council and the senior management of the European Patent Office.

“The conflicts of interest which can arise as a result of this set-up became very clear in the case of Battistelli who was elected as Chairman of the Council for a three-year term starting in March 2009.”It has often been argued by EPO insiders and others that this arrangement is detrimental to the governance of the organisation and that it significantly weakens the Council’s exercise of its supervisory authority over the Office.

The conflicts of interest which can arise as a result of this set-up became very clear in the case of Battistelli who was elected as Chairman of the Council for a three-year term starting in March 2009.

Battistelli had hardly taken up this position when he decided that he wanted to be President of the Office after Alison Brimelow announced in May 2009 that she would not be seeking an extension of her appointment (due to expire at the end of June 2010).

The records of the Council show that, in June 2009, Battistelli was responsible for drafting the document which set out the details of the vacancy notice for the position of EPO President and the election procedure to be followed.

This document (CA/103/09) included the “candidate profile” and requested that all applications be sent directly to Battistelli in his capacity as Council Chairman – despite the fact that he was planning to enter the running along with the other contenders, including the "alpha males" of the Council, Roland Grossenbacher and Jesper Kongstad.

“The records of the Council show that, in June 2009, Battistelli was responsible for drafting the document which set out the details of the vacancy notice for the position of EPO President and the election procedure to be followed.”Battistelli’s conduct in this regard gave rise to a long and heated discussion during the marathon three-day 118th meeting of the Council held in Munich from 23 to 25 June 2009. Some minutes/extracts are archived here [PDF].

There were outraged protests from various quarters, including the Austrian delegation which announced that it was “perplexed that [the election procedure document] CA/103/09 had been drawn up by a potential candidate for the presidency”.

The Austrian delegation called for the Council to put on record that if its Chairman (Battistelli) and deputy Chairman (Kongstad) became candidates they could not perform their duties, not only for the actual election but for all agenda items at all meetings until the election was over.

In the end, the election procedure document drafted by Battistelli had to be revised twice – a first revision on 24 June followed by a second revision the next day – and the Council compelled Battistelli to step aside as its Chairman, at least until the election procedure was concluded.

After the selection of an interim Chairman – the head of the Spanish delegation, Alberto Casado Cerviño – a protracted election procedure involving several rounds of voting took place.

“In the end, the election procedure document drafted by Battistelli had to be revised twice – a first revision on 24 June followed by a second revision the next day – and the Council compelled Battistelli to step aside as its Chairman, at least until the election procedure was concluded.”In March 2010, after much intransparent backroom wheeling and dealing, Battistelli finally managed to secure the requisite three-quarters majority of Council delegates.

This was despite the fact that, at the time in question, he held elected public office in France as a municipal councillor and deputy mayor for culture, and was actively affiliated to a political party, namely “Les Républicains”.

It is recalled that at the time in question, this political party was led by Nicolas Sarkozy who in March of this year became the first former French President to receive a custodial sentence for corruption. Sarkozy is reputed to have strongly supported Battistelli’s campaign to become President of the EPO.

Battistelli’s holding of elected public office on a party ticket should have automatically disqualified him from being appointed to a senior managerial position in an international organisation.

But the Administrative Council remained oblivious to this unmistakable conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest
The Administrative Council appears to have difficulties recognising conflicts of interest.

Once Battistelli had secured the top job in the Office administration for himself, he proceeded to co-opt into his management team no less than three other members of the Council who had supported his candidature:

• Alberto Casado Cerviño, head of the Spanish delegation, who became VP1;
• Raimund Lutz, head of the German delegation, who became VP5;
• Željko Topić, head of the Croatian delegation, who became VP4.

At the same time, it is alleged by EPO insiders that Battistelli cemented his control over his successor as Council Chair, Jesper Kongstad. He reputedly did this by getting his HR dompteuse, Elodie Bergot, to place Kongstad on the Office payroll with a tax-free five-digit monthly salary equivalent to that of an EPO Principal Director.

A conflict of interest silo
The governance structures of the EPO create a situation with a huge potential for conflicts of interest.

As can be seen, the governance structures of the EPO together with the established practices of the Administrative Council create a very precarious situation in which there is a huge potential for unresolved conflicts of interest.

EPO bribes
The Council risks becoming overly preoccupied with divvying up the spoils.

The biggest risk here is that the Council as a whole may become so preoccupied with divvying up the spoils that ignores its statutory duty to attend to the proper governance of the organisation.

“It is abundantly clear that the existence of a revolving door arrangement between the Council and the upper ranks of the Office management creates a situation which is not at all conducive to “good governance”.”In addition to this, individual Council delegates who set their eyes on one of the available senior management positions in the Office administration run the risk of allowing their decision-making to become unduly influenced by their own personal ambitions. If this happens, it is likely that they will fail to exercise their role as members of the supervisory body in an appropriately objective manner.

As can be seen from the case of Christoph Ernst, the potential for such conflicts of interest is likely to be particularly acute when it comes to the Council Chair who is supposed to direct the meetings of the Council in a neutral and impartial manner and in the interests of the organisation as a whole.

It is abundantly clear that the existence of a revolving door arrangement between the Council and the upper ranks of the Office management creates a situation which is not at all conducive to “good governance”.

The problems inherent in the existing institutional structures and practices are aggravated by the lack of any effective system of checks and balances to safeguard against abuses.

The decision to set-up an Audit Committee in 2009 was a first step towards tackling these issues.

However, the Audit Committee which was established by the Council under the Chairmanship of Battistelli in March 2009, vanished from the face of the earth in 2011.

“Moreover, by agreeing to Battistelli’s misguided proposal to disband the Audit Committee, the Council left itself bereft of any independent source of advice and information.”As is well known, the disbanding of the Audit Committee took place on foot of a proposal submitted by the very same Battistelli who, in the meantime, had managed to reinvent himself as the President of the Office and liege lord of the Administrative Council.

Moreover, by agreeing to Battistelli’s misguided proposal to disband the Audit Committee, the Council left itself bereft of any independent source of advice and information.

The highly detrimental consequences of the Council’s supine compliance with Battistelli’s machinations in this regard are plain to see – at least for all those who are not inclined to turn a blind eye to them.

In the next part we will conclude our review of Christoph Ernst’s disappointing track record in the area of EPO governance and indulge in a little speculation about how someone with more integrity and backbone might have ended up as head of the German delegation during the Battistelli era.

For the record, here’s IAM’s puff piece about the new EPO President [PDF]. No criticism of course, as the EPO pays IAM through PR firms and the reciprocity complicity is seemingly endless.

IAM on new EPO President

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2021/04/11/bundestagate-part-14/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 7/5/2021: IPFire 2.25 Core Update 156 and Diffoscope 174 Released

    Links for the day



  2. The New Microsoft? No, the New IBM.

    Microsoft GitHub and IBM: a strategic alliance between a monopolistic duo



  3. The Audacity Takeover by Muse Group is No Cause for Celebration

    Audacity is now part of an entity called Muse Group and if it doesn’t take or suck freedom out of Audacity, it will certainly deny users rather basic concepts (or anticipation) of privacy



  4. King of Linux

    If the entire operating system is being called "Linux", then we fall for a publicity or misattribution stunt



  5. The Biggest Troll is the Linux Foundation, Still Looking to Provoke and Defame Free Software Communities in Order to Help a Monopolistic Takeover and to Shoehorn Tyrants Into Leadership Positions

    Contrary to what the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is trying to say, the most toxic element is itself; it’s maligning the real community while protecting abusive and racist corporations that profit from war and tribalism-motivated hatred



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 06, 2021



  7. “The Lolita Express” and Prince Bill

    “The Lolita Express” scandals return to haunt pool old Bill, as it turns out his wife was upset and it's quite likely the reason for their divorce



  8. Links 7/5/2021: GNU/Linux Preinstalled, Plamo 7.3, LibreOffice 7.1.3

    Links for the day



  9. The Latest Reports About Bill Gates Serve to Confirm or at Least Reaffirm Many People's Suspicions

    So, just as many people suspected, Melinda Gates did not appreciate her husband sneaking behind her back to meet someone who had trafficked thousands of underage girls for sexual exploitation and there are high-profile calls right now for greater transparency, seeing the impact on the world’s biggest tax evasion vehicle



  10. Disregard Web Sites That Call Themselves 'News' and Instead Promote Proprietary Software for Companies Like Microsoft

    Publishers like IDG have long been paid-for marketing in ‘article’ clothing, sometimes with the veneer of ‘reporting’ (as if they have some inside knowledge or insight, e.g. speaking with or for the company they secretly coordinate with or market for); but sadly we’ve been seeing some so-called ‘Linux’ sites doing the same thing, in effect acting like de facto Microsoft marketers



  11. [Meme] Who Needs Examination Anyway When There's 'Hey Hi' (AI)?

    The patent production line could do away with 'pesky' and 'opinionated' examiners who actually wish to scrutinise alleged 'inventions'



  12. Europe's Second-Largest Institution Corrupting the Media and Buying Expensive Puff Pieces

    As annual reports reveal, the EPO wastes an extraordinary amount of money on reputation laundering campaigns and it pollutes the signal by paying publishers; we examine this issue using the new 'reports' shown in the video above



  13. Links 6/5/2021: Fedora’s Compiler Policy and Celemony Software GmbH Adopting Free Software

    Links for the day



  14. Free Software Proponents Don't Fall for Bullshit (Same is True for EPO Examiners)

    There are parallels between what happens in the Free Software Movement and the EPO, where well-meaning people — and usually hard-working scientists — are besieged by people who never really contributed anything to society



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 05, 2021



  16. Lessons From Another Failed Coup Against the Free Software Movement

    The coup has very clearly failed and we should prepare for future attempts (they go in cycles); the monopolies really dislike software they cannot control fully (e.g. copyleft/GPL-licensed software)



  17. Links 5/5/2021: Mesa 21.1 Released and New Releases of Python

    Links for the day



  18. Links 5/5/2021: StarLabs, GNU Zile 2.6.2, Fedora i3 Spin

    Links for the day



  19. Phony 'Scandals' From Phony 'News' Site ZDNet

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols continues the coup against the FSF (trying to separate it from its founder, Richard Stallman), funded by IBM and Microsoft to engage in libel at a marketing company-owned ‘news’ site called ZDNet



  20. Links 5/5/2021: Windows Security Breaches and GNU Pokology Launched

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 04, 2021



  22. Links 4/5/2021: Taiwins 0.3, KDE Plasma 5.21.5 Released

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Already Wasting Money on Media Manipulation Campaigns for European Inventor Award

    An online-only European Inventor Award 'event' is being used as a pretext/excuse to flood European publishers with money they can rightly perceive as 'hush money'; everyone out there with no spine would likely buckle at the sight of EPO euros and just produce mindless puff pieces that serve to distract from EPO corruption



  24. The Timing of This Melinda Gates Tweet Was Always Curious...

    Remarking on her trip to Africa, where the Gates family lobbies for monopolies on seeds (for profit or course, notably through Monsanto/Bayer, which the Gates family heavily invests in), she posted pure fluff and old photos. And it’s hard to believe she had nothing better to do at the time (better than such nostalgia). As we noted last year: “The above tweet of a beach was posted [by Melinda Gates] on the date of the arrest/search of their employee, who was at their residence at the time.” He was arrested around the very same time this tweet was posted. As we wrote last year (based on detailed documents obtained from the police department): “This tweet was posted 2 hours and 40 minutes after the door was breached and incriminating evidence collected.” He was arrested later that morning at the mansion of Bill and Melinda Gates (the police records contain detailed timelines to confirm the chronology). Melinda’s first name was also in the CP 'stash'.



  25. Media Frenzy Around Gates Divorce Helps Distract From Bill's Crimes

    The distraction from many Gates scandals is cushioned by yet another personal fluff; we would rather see investigative journalism pursuing real answers about real scandals



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, May 03, 2021



  27. EPO Disregards Animal Welfare

    An often overlooked issue surrounding the second-largest institution in Europe is its impact on millions if not billions of animals; there's ongoing research into that



  28. Links 3/5/2021: Sparky 5.15, Bill Gates Divorce, Netflix Fraud

    Links for the day



  29. Links 3/5/2021: New in OpenBSD 6.9 and Audacity Acquired By Muse Group

    Links for the day



  30. Adding, Seaming Together, Merging, or Concatenating Videos From the Command Line With FFMPEG (Scripting for Streamlining of Workflows)

    In order to enrich the looks of videos with almost no extra time/effort (all scripted, no GUIs should be needed) use ffmpeg with the concat operator; but there are several big gotchas, namely lack of sound and need for consistency across formats/codecs and even sampling rates


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