08.25.21

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EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part III – Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part I – More Captured Delegates?
  2. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part II – Old Wine in New Bottles…
  3. You are here ☞ Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”

Martti Enajarvi and Bogash (WIPO)
Martti Enäjärvi (centre) in 1992 flanked by WIPO Director-General Arpád Bogash (left) and his predecessor as head of the Finnish PRH, Timo Kivi-Koski (right).

Summary: An enabler of Benoît Battistelli, Martti Enäjärvi, as seen from the eyes of suppressed Finnish journalists

Finland enjoys a reputation as a country blessed with a low level of corruption.

For example, Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index rated Finland as the third-most-transparent country in the world (after Denmark and New Zealand).

“Finland enjoys a reputation as a country blessed with a low level of corruption.”While it is generally accepted that there is little direct corruption in Finland, it is also recognised that there is a significant amount of hidden structural corruption which relies on what the Finns call “hyvä veli-verkosto” or the “good brother” network.

The Finnish “good-brother” network is the Nordic equivalent of the British “old boy” network and it is basically a by-word for cronyism in business and political circles.

“The Finnish “good-brother” network is the Nordic equivalent of the British “old boy” network and it is basically a by-word for cronyism in business and political circles.”As we shall see in due course, such networks played a significant role in the career of Martti Enäjärvi, both inside Finland and beyond.

Finnish Picardia: EPO dictatorship? I like!Enäjärvi was at the helm of the Finnish Patents and Registration Office (PRH) for 24 years.

Finland acceded to the European Patent Convention in 1996 so this means that he spent 14 years of his tenure on the Administrative Council of the EPO.

Finland had also joined the EU a year earlier in 1995 and this led to Enäjärvi becoming heavily involved with the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO for many years.

“Finland had also joined the EU a year earlier in 1995 and this led to Enäjärvi becoming heavily involved with the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO for many years.”Between 1998 and 2001, he served as deputy Chairman of OHIM’s Administrative Board (the equivalent of the EPO’s Administrative Council) and between 2004 and 2007 he was the Chairman of the Board.

As we shall see later on, Enäjärvi’s retirement from the Finnish PRH didn’t end his relationship with the EU trademark agency. As recently as 2018 he was still active as a “Special Advisor” to the executive director of EUIPO, António Campinos.

Enäjärvi’s departure from the PRH in 2010 was deemed worthy of a mention in the Annual Report [PDF] of the national patent office in neighbouring Estonia:

There was a change of generations in the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland. The Director General Martti Enäjärvi, a good friend of Estonia and a steady cooperation partner, retired. Here I would like to express my sincere gratitude for everything he has done for the Estonian Patent Office! We hope that the successful cooperation of almost 20 years will continue. This is our wish.

Martti Enajarvi and PRH
In 2017, the PRH included a tribute to Enäjärvi in a publication celebrating its 75th anniversary.

In a publication [PDF] celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2017, the Finnish PRH also included a short tribute to its former Director-General which reads as follows (in translation):

The lawyer Martti Enäjärvi, followed Timo Kivi-Koski at the helm of the PRH. His career is the longest of any Director General of the PRH, starting in early 1986 and ending with his retirement in August 2010. Martti Enäjärvi came to the PRH from his position as Director of Public Relations at Kymi Strömberg.

He led a reform programme to overhaul the organisation of the PRH, reduce processing times and improve advice and customer service. The agency moved to results-based budgeting, management and governance. Labour productivity increased significantly and customer satisfaction improved. New activities were transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the PRH in the area of associations and foundations.

Mr Enäjärvi was President of the WIPO General Assembly from 1989 to 1991 and Chairman of the Board of the EU’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) from 2005 to 2007. He continues to hold a position of trust even after retirement, as a senior advisor to the EU Intellectual Property Office (formerly OHIM).

As you might have guessed already, these official encomia omit the most interesting facts about the career of this elder statesman of the “European IP network”.

But with the help of publicly accessible material from Finnish news archives it becomes possible to fill in at least some of the gaps …

Martti Jaakko Juhani Enäjärvi was born in Helsinki on 14 August 1942. His father was Jaakko Eljas Eklund, a lawyer and senior civil servant who later became a member of the Finnish Supreme Court and served as Chancellor of Justice from 1965 to 1970.

“It’s not clear what motivated him to do this, but Eklund is a Swedish name and he may have thought that having a more Finnish sounding name would improve his career prospects in the newly independent Finland.”For some reason Jaakko Eklund decided to change the family name to Enäjärvi in 1922. It’s not clear what motivated him to do this, but Eklund is a Swedish name and he may have thought that having a more Finnish sounding name would improve his career prospects in the newly independent Finland. Enäjärvi is the name of a lake in the municipality of Vihti, near Helsinki, where Jaakko Eklund was born.

Martti Enäjärvi studied law and after graduation he worked for some time as the Director of Public Relations at Kymi Strömberg. This was an electromechanical manufacturing subsidiary of the Kymmene Corporation, an industrial conglomerate, at that time owned by the Finnish magnate Caisimir Ehrnrooth.

In 1986, Enäjärvi was plucked from obscurity and placed in charge of the PRH by the then Minister for Labour, Urpo Leppänen from the Finnish Rural Party, a predecessor of the contemporary True Finns party.

“In 1986, Enäjärvi was plucked from obscurity and placed in charge of the PRH by the then Minister for Labour, Urpo Leppänen from the Finnish Rural Party, a predecessor of the contemporary True Finns party.”Twelve years later, in the autumn of 1998, an anonymous whistle-blower contacted the police in Helsinki to inform them of suspected irregularites in which Enäjärvi was allegedly implicated.

The anonymous whistle-blower also tipped off the crime reporter Harri Nykänen who wrote for the leading Finnish daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat (HS).

Harri Nykanen
Investigative journalist Harri Nykänen from the Helsingin Sanomat tried to put the spotlight on Enäjärvi in 1998, but his efforts were obstructed by his bosses.

Nykänen started investigating the allegations against Enäjärvi. By the end of October 1998 [PDF], he had established the background and had written an article about the case for the HS.

The article explained how a rental contract for PRH premises had come under investigation by the Finnish tax authorities.

“…Helsinki Criminal Police had opened a preliminary investigation against Enäjärvi on suspicion of bribery as a public official due to his role in the negotiation of the rental contract.”The disputed lease was for more than FIM 250 million with a real estate company Merita Kiinteistöt Oy. Enäjärvi led the lease negotiations on behalf of the PRH and was advised by his friend Martti Jokinen. Merita Kiinteistöt paid Jokinen’s company a sum of FIM 240,000 for his assistance and Jokinen did not declare the income to the tax authorities. This led to an official investigation by the Corporate Tax Office.

In a follow-up article published in December 1998 [PDF], Nykänen described how the Helsinki Criminal Police had opened a preliminary investigation against Enäjärvi on suspicion of bribery as a public official due to his role in the negotiation of the rental contract.

Nykänen’s attempts to cover the case were frustrated by his bosses at the HS who barred him from reporting on it while the police investigation was in progress.

“But Enäjärvi was now on the public radar and – as we shall see in the next part – he was soon being subjected to renewed scrutiny by the Finnish media.”Nykänen gave his account of the affair in an interview with the Finnish student magazine Ylioppilaslehti, published [PDF] in March 2000.

In the end, it seems that Enäjarvi was let off the hook by the public prosecutor because – according to the official story – there was not enough evidence to indicate any wrongdoing on his part.

But Enäjärvi was now on the public radar and – as we shall see in the next part – he was soon being subjected to renewed scrutiny by the Finnish media.

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