10.22.21

[Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Predecessor President Precedent; ILOAT: Illegal

Summary: The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?

10.19.21

[Meme] Giving the Knee

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kratochvìl “just doin’ his job”…

Kratochvìl: What are you looking at, Punk?

Summary: The 'knee' champion Kratochvìl and 'kneel' champion Erlingsdóttir are simply crushing the law; they’re ignoring the trouble of EPO staff and abuses of the Office, facilitated by the Council itself (i.e. facilitated by themselves)

10.18.21

Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

Posted in Deception, GPL, Law, Microsoft at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists
  2. YOU ARE HERE ☞ The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

GitHub: Where everything comes to die
Get out while you still can…

Summary: Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)

THE latest series we have is expected to last months, not weeks. Our in-depth investigation started yesterday as we began fact-checking and verifying claims. Some of them are quite astounding and the challenge will be splitting the revelations into separate logical bits.

As a bit of a teaser, last week we showed what Miguel de Icaza really thinks of the CEO of Microsoft GitHub (Nat Friedman, a rich spoiled boy like Bill Gates). Remember that it was Miguel de Icaza himself who more than 15 years ago worked on the wedding between Microsoft and Novell (the very reason this site exists in the first place) and it’s mostly about patents, enabling Microsoft to basically dominate if not commandeer GNU/Linux. Also, for those who are not aware, Miguel de Icaza met Nat Friedman as a Microsoft employee (intern); both still work for Microsoft and Miguel de Icaza actually co-founded GNOME after he had attempted to work for Microsoft (but failed for immigration reasons).

“They say a fish rots from the head down; here too, as we shall see, rich spoiled boy Nat Friedman is the mastermind.”This series won’t be focusing on aspects that we covered before, e.g. how GitHub renders Free software projects mere “slaves” of Microsoft (Microsoft is the master of everything in GitHub, no matter what it says about the word) or why it’s a huge danger (we consider it to be the biggest threat to Free software). Instead, we shall focus mostly on how GitHub is being weaponised against millions of Free software projects, especially those that use reciprocal licences. We’ll see who and what is behind that plot, based on insiders’ accounts. We don’t want to give any spoilers away. They say a fish rots from the head down; here too, as we shall see, rich spoiled boy Nat Friedman is the mastermind. He’s so vain that he’s blocking, not just stonewalling, many of his critics. He’s insecure if not paranoid because he has so much to hide.

“GitHub is another problem,” an associate of ours has explained, as “it was only half bad at first but after it got bought out / sold out then it is all bad. I figure it was a defensive maneuver by Microsoft to also gain surveillance over competitors, but more to shut them down and control them. Similar to Mojang.”

In the case of Mojang, think of the poor frog inside the warm/hot water that starts boiling and gradually kills the frog in a very cruel fashion. In the case of Minecraft (of Mojang), they stopped the Java version and made a variant of the flagship product that was Windows-only, then they went all in on that. Apparently they also require a Microsoft account to continue using the product. Bundling and social engineering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. In GitHub’s case, they try to steer people away from the GPL and change users’ practices; moreover, they promote a proprietary IDE, NSA-friendly hosting, and a “better” Git tool (basically pulling an E.E.E. on the original project, which was created by Linus Torvalds). The bundling increases over time. Use it the way Microsoft wants or be left behind..

Remember that ongoing scandal in .NET Foundation (as recent as this month). Microsoft constantly misuses its power in GitHub and it’ll only get worse in the future because the fist tightens. The currency is control [1, 2]. That’s just Microsoft being Microsoft. Robert X. Cringely once said that Microsoft “have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

GitHub does not make money, but it gives Microsoft a lot of unjust power that it is — as always! — happy to abuse/misuse.

“They’ll never recover that money,” our associate has said about GitHub and Mojang, “but they did shut down a gateway for kids to learn about GNU/Linux and the very existence of non-Microsoft systems.”

“Microsoft itself is only about 4/5 of the problem. On top of what it does itself, there is also the fact that various nation states exploit it as a vehicle for nefarious works.”

“Hence the continued bailouts via “contracts”, like JEDI.”

“Microsoft constantly misuses its power in GitHub and it’ll only get worse in the future because the fist tightens.”We casually mentioned this in yesterday's Daily Links. Expect this series to also cover Pentagon and/or NSA connections. They do exist. Microsoft is more about politics than about technology.

As we focus intensely on the EPO we cannot promise daily or even weekly posts in the GitHub series. But we certainly expect this series to go on for a very long time.

In Part III we’ll begin to examine some verified new evidence. In later parts we’ll name some of the players (culprits) and illuminate their dark past.

10.17.21

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. YOU ARE HEREEt Tu Felix Austria…

Friedrich Rodler and Andrea Scheichl
The Austrian delegation: Friedrich Rödler and his deputy Andrea Scheichl.

Summary: Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler

The Federal Republic of Austria is not a founding state of the EPO but it nevertheless plays a significant role in the organisation’s affairs due to the fact that it is the third host state. There is a small EPO sub-office located in Vienna (warning: epo.org link) which employs 87 staff and is mainly concerned with patent information and publication services.

“There is a small EPO sub-office located in Vienna which employs 87 staff and is mainly concerned with patent information and publication services.”In this part we will take a closer look at the delegation representing Austria on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013. At that time, the delegation was headed by the Director of the Austrian Patent Office, Friedrich Rödler, who was assisted by his deputy, Andrea Scheichl.

Rödler’s escapades during his time as Director of the Austrian IPO between 2005 and 2015 made the headlines in his home country and will be treated to an in-depth exposé here.

“Rödler’s escapades during his time as Director of the Austrian IPO between 2005 and 2015 made the headlines in his home country and will be treated to an in-depth exposé here.”Rödler never quite managed to make the grade as an “alpha male” silverback in the pecking order of the EPO’s Administrative Council, although he may well have had ambitions in that direction.

But back on his home turf in Vienna, he was permitted to run the show at the Austrian Patent Office without any effective ministerial oversight or control until he finally ran out of luck in 2015 as a result of his own hubris and greed.

The civil service in Austria is extremely “politicised” – in the sense that senior civil servants are typically card carrying members of a particular political party.

Rödler is a member of the Austrian FPÖ which was founded by Jörg Haider. This party presents itself as residing in the political “centre” but it is more generally perceived as “right-wing populist” and “national-conservative”.

Rödler was an unsuccessful candidate for the FPÖ in the Vienna regional elections in 2005 and 2015. He is also reputed to be connected to Masonic circles in Austria associated with the former FPÖ finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser who was jailed for corruption in 2020.

“The civil service in Austria is extremely “politicised” – in the sense that senior civil servants are typically card carrying members of a particular political party.”Rödler’s appointment as Director of the Austrian Patent Office followed an amendment to the Patent Act at the end of 2004 under Minister Hubert Gorbach (FPÖ). This amendment removed a previous restriction according to which only academically qualified staff members of the Patent Office were eligible to apply for the position of Director.

At the time of its adoption, the amendment was strongly criticised by opposition parties in Austria. In particular, it was criticised for opening the door to purely political appointments at the senior management level of the Patent Office.

Rödler’s subsequent appointment as Director of the Patent Office in 2005 showed that these fears were entirely justified.

Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that his ten-year tenure at the head of the Austrian Patent Office – from 2005 to 2015 – was continuously dogged by political controversy.

“The President of the EPO – Alain Pompidou – responded by stating that Rödler’s comments were “misleading in substance” and had been made in an inappropriate manner.”In 2007, Rödler launched his own private vendetta against the European Patent Office (EPO) and its staff when he issued a press release [PDF] complaining that he was “severely disappointed by the performance of the EPO” and claiming that he found “the discrepancy between salary level and output [of patent examiners] increasingly incomprehensible”.

The President of the EPO – Alain Pompidou – responded by stating that Rödler’s comments were “misleading in substance” and had been made in an inappropriate manner.

Rödler was not deterred and continued to draft further dispatches in a similar tone.

In the end, his supervising minister – at the time, Werner Faymann of the SPÖ – was obliged to intervene and apologise officially to the EPO and its staff. Faymann wrote that “Austria very much appreciates the EPO’s work” and he assured that he would “take care of an improved communication structure.”

Werner Faymann
The minister responsible for the Austrian Patent Office, Werner Faymann, felt obliged to publicly apologise for Rödler’s “misleading” and “inappropriate” attacks on EPO staff in 2007.

Even this intervention by his supervising minister wasn’t enough to stop Rödler who continued to issue misleading statements about a purported “debt quagmire” at the EPO.

“Even this intervention by his supervising minister wasn’t enough to stop Rödler who continued to issue misleading statements about a purported “debt quagmire” at the EPO.”Given his deeply entrenched hostility towards EPO staff, it’s unlikely that Rödler had any qualms about supporting Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” in June 2013. And it seems equally improbable that his submissive deputy Andrea Scheichl dared to express any contrary opinion on the matter.

However, by a curious twist of irony, just as Rödler was voting to trample on the rights of EPO staff in June 2013 he was becoming embroiled in what the Austrian media called an “embarrassing farce” back home in Vienna.

This affair revolved around a “second salary” which Rödler received in addition to his regular remuneration as head of the Patent Office and it would lead to his downfall in due course.

“This affair revolved around a “second salary” which Rödler received in addition to his regular remuneration as head of the Patent Office and it would lead to his downfall in due course.”To fully understand what was going on here it is worthwhile conducting a detailed review of Rödler’s career at the Austrian Patent Office starting with his appointment as Director in 2005.

At the time in question, Rödler was a senior civil servant holding the position of Secretary-General at the Patent Office’s supervising Ministry (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie – BMVIT).

Right from the word go, Gabriela Moser – an Austrian MP from the Green Party – was on Rödler’s case with a parliamentary question about the circumstances of his appointment to the top job at the Patent Office.

As a matter of fact, during the period between 2005 and 2016, Moser submitted no less than four parliamentary questions about Rödler and his activities in connection with the Austrian Patent Office.

“As a matter of fact, during the period between 2005 and 2016, Moser submitted no less than four parliamentary questions about Rödler and his activities in connection with the Austrian Patent Office.”In the first parliamentary question submitted in February 2005 [PDF], Moser referred to various suspected irregularities which occurred on Rödler’s watch as BMVIT Secretary-General. These suspected irregularities included inconsistencies in the award of public contracts connected with the relocation of the Patent Office from the city centre to an outlying suburb of Vienna.

Moser also referred to Rödler’s exceptionally well-endowed special contract as Secretary-General and she criticised the 2004 amendment of the Patent Act, which removed previous restrictions on prospective candidates for the position of Patent Office Director. According to Moser, the amendment was specifically tailored to permit Rödler to be installed into the top job by his political sponsors.

Gabriela Moser
Rödler’s nemesis, the late Gabriela Moser of the Austrian Green Party (front left), protesting against legislative plans to increase state surveillance.

In October 2009, Moser was back on Rödler’s case when she submitted a second parliamentary question [PDF] about his management style and his controversial track record as head of the Patent Office since 2005.

“More specifically, there were allegations of “intimidation” by Rödler, including unjustified disciplinary procedures against staff – in one case a private lawsuit against a staff member – and harassment of staff representatives, in particular one who had given support to an employee targeted by Rödler.”Amongst other things, Moser accused Rödler of stoking conflicts with the EPO and of an excessively confrontational management style at the Austrian Patent Office.

More specifically, there were allegations of “intimidation” by Rödler, including unjustified disciplinary procedures against staff – in one case a private lawsuit against a staff member – and harassment of staff representatives, in particular one who had given support to an employee targeted by Rödler.

In addition to this, questions were asked about Rödler’s involvement with serv.ip, a partially autonomous unit of the Patent Office which had been set up to provide “IP information services” on a commercial basis, apparently without a proper legal basis.

“In all of these cases Rödler was found to have acted in a manner that was “not in accordance with the law”.”The issues raised in Moser’s second parliamentary question were taken up in an article published [PDF] in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse under the title “Friedrich Rödler: The Stern Master of the Patent Office”.

In this newspaper article it was reported that the Staff Representation Supervisory Commission of the Austrian Federal Chancellery had investigated six complaints against Rödler in 2007.

In all of these cases Rödler was found to have acted in a manner that was “not in accordance with the law”.

However, despite the extensive allegations of misconduct against Rödler, the Minister in charge of the BMVIT, Doris Bures, was not deterred from renewing his appointment for another five years in 2010.

Friedrich Rodler and Minister Doris Bures
Rödler with Minister Doris Bures who renewed his appointment in 2010 before his “second salary” from serv.ip became a matter of public controversy.

As we shall see in due course, Bures probably lived to regret her decision.

“As we shall see in due course, Bures probably lived to regret her decision.”A few years later in 2013, Rödler was back in the headlines again. This time the renewed public scrutiny was linked to his role as “managing director” of serv.ip and, more specifically, to a second salary which he had awarded himself in this capacity.

In the next part we will see how this very public controversy eventually led to Rödler’s downfall in 2015.

10.15.21

Post About Whether Vivaldi is a GPL violation Was Quietly Knifed by the Mods of /r/uBlockOrigin in Reddit

Posted in GPL, Law at 4:58 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the originals [1, 2]

This is the most Reddit thing ever.

So I posted yesterday that Vivaldi Adblock is basically just a ripoff of Adblock Plus and uBlock-Origin code, and that code is licensed under the GNU GPLv3, which talks of “conveying” the software as part of a larger work.

Which is what Vivaldi does.

It’s really hard to write an ad blocker that works right, much less an entire web browser. Vivaldi admits that their browser engine is Chromium, but they’ve effectively plagiarized the ad blocker as their own by stamping a “Vivaldi Adblock” brand on it.

When you do this, your work becomes part of the whole, and must be under a compatible license. However, Vivaldi as a whole is proprietary, meaning it likely violates the licenses of Adblock Plus and uBlock-Origin.

However, when I posted to Reddit’s support forum for uBlock-Origin requesting a code review of Vivaldi’s source dump, they quietly changed it so that the only people who could see it are me and the moderators.

Have a look.

In Reddit on Vivaldi

Many GPL violators get away with it because none of the copyright holders bother to enforce their license.

If they’re not going to enforce their license, they should just go ahead and release it under a permissive license so that companies don’t get the idea that they can simply steal and misappropriate code and nothing will happen to them later involving the DMCA, similar laws, and court.

(Which is what those companies use against a single mother of 3 who downloaded 14 MP3 files.)

The copyright holders of the Linux kernel have never bothered enforcing their rights and so Linux gets stolen this way all the time. And yes, you can say someone stole/pirated Free Software if they misuse it against the terms of the license, assuming the concept of stealing/pirating software is a valid concept at all. The authors have as many rights as anyone else who releases a copyrighted work.

Companies who want to get away with “Free Software piracy” and not get dragged into court, like Sony, commission work to replace software where the author will assert their rights (like when Sony sponsored Toybox to replace Busybox), and they also discourage people from giving copyright assignment to entities that will use it to protect the software from being misused, such as how they attack the Free Software Foundation and make it seem unfair that they asked for assignment.

The result is, they are sometimes successful, and the project becomes hard to protect.

In the past, Jamie Zawinski worked for an employer called Lucid.

They forked Emacs because they wanted to add features to it without assigning copyright to the FSF. Some of them were good features, but the FSF had to implement them separately, without looking at “XEmacs”, and the two diverged, and eventually XEmacs faltered and died after Lucid went out of business.

That fork and the death of all of that code never would have happened had they agreed to give the FSF copyright assignment and work in a participatory fashion, instead of taking JWZ’s attitude that “the FSF is impossible to work with”, after they received more from GNU Emacs than they ever would have given back.

JWZ and others who encourage authors to strip the “or any later version” language from the LGPL and GPL licenses do the entire Free Software community a disservice years down the road, because newer versions of the licenses come out to address threats and harms to computing perpetuated by hostile entities such as Microsoft, Apple, and Sony, but people who find some software under, say, the GPLv2-only and the GPLv3 cannot legally convey them as part of a new work that takes the best of both and extends them, or “upgrade” the LGPLv2.1 to something compatible with the Apache v2 license, or any number of other possible combinations.

This ultimately leaves us all worse off because of lost potential innovation, and people should simple leave the “or any later version” alone and trust other users and developers to make the right decisions 10 or 20 years down the road, instead of watching their software become difficult to use in anything, and then dying. Do you want that for your software? Because you shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, Fedora and Red Hat are now part of IBM, and IBM attacks the GPL and FSF the same way Lucid and JWZ did, only they’re still a very large company who can do a lot more harm (on their own way down). The news has been overly kind to IBM, suggesting that they’re in anything other than some kind of a freefall, and I laugh when NPR is on in the car talking about IBM as if it has a bright future, then disclosing they take IBM money.


This is a blind paste from Reddit. Someone replied to my post about what would make Vivaldi Adblock a GPL violation and this is my response to that. The emphasis at the bottom, about extension store license policies is added to this blog for effect.

Well, the question has come up before in the context of the Linux kernel.

Their position is that the kernel exports “symbols” to drivers that are flagged “GPL-only” and ones that anyone can use. The programmers and lawyers decide which parts they feel are something that is “internal” and should be off limits to anything not under a compatible license.

Unless Vivaldi has changed something dramatically in how the ublock-origin or Adblock Plus code works, I believe it should be using WebRequest API.

Google’s (Chrome Extension) Manifest v3 didn’t go over so well because it wanted to set WebRequest API such that extensions can’t modify network requests and have to use a “DeclarativeNetRequest” API that has essentially been neutered to set an upper limit on the rules.

However, since these extensions can use tons and tons of rules, and Vivaldi Adblock reports success loading well over 150,000 rules, I think it’s probably still WebRequest.

Vivaldi said they were not happy with Google’s Manifest v3 and were moving ad blocking to an internal feature to safeguard against that. Obviously, if they don’t like the limitations on WebRequest, if Google decides to go through with them, Vivaldi can patch them back out and fork ad blocking to keep letting the user load as many rule sets as they like.

Of course, there are other concerns, like Vivaldi doesn’t have a large base of users, and at this point it would basically be them and possibly Firefox not going along with the neutered WebRequest, and are people going to maintain lists for browsers that don’t neuter the API?

Anyway, my point, I suppose, is if Vivaldi is distributing them as if it were two different programs and if they are just using WebRequest, that _might_ be okay as long as they release their modifications to the ad blocker code under the GPLv3.

However, if they move it, (or already have moved it) to use a special internal API (like Brave-Adblock does, which is okay because Brave wrote their own and licensed it under MPLv2) in the browser that is not generally available to other extensions (because it performs better or something), that’s really where *I* would think they’d be in non-compliance.

But I’m not a lawyer.

I’m just comparing this to the “Linux” model of “If it’s available to everyone, go for it.”.

Sniffing their description of “Vivaldi Adblock”, however, it seems they imply their built-in functionality performs better than an extension. If it uses WebRequest, then how does it perform better?

See: https://vivaldi.com/features/ad-blocker/

Note: They also border on slandering uBlock-Origin just because it’s an extension that they don’t bundle. Lots of extensions are shady, even if they end up in Google’s store, but Raymond Hill seems trustworthy and if you make sure to only install open source extensions, you’re probably okay.

In fact, one of the biggest downsides to Chromium browsers getting extensions from Google’s store vs. Firefox add-ons, is that Firefox lists what license you’re agreeing to, and Google doesn’t.

“Oh, you paid us five bucks? Yeah, sure do whatever! Toss your Chinese malware in there!” -Google

10.11.21

The 168th Meeting of the EPO Administrative Council as a Test of the EPO’s Oversight Mechanisms

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Press the image below for more

EPO voting datasheet
Gallery of ‘rogues’ (2013) compared to 2021 as image | Complete HTML version of the same (the above image is not complete but merely a preview)

Summary: The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation is having its 168th meeting this Wednesday and we expect no expression of remorse for illegally crushing EPO staff (almost 7,000 individuals and their families) for nearly a decade; some of the culprits (10 of them to be precise) are still their nation’s public face

As the EPO‘s Administrative Council gets ready for its 168th meeting this Wednesday – 13 October 2021 – it seems like a good idea to compare the current composition of the Council to that during the 136th meeting in June 2013 when Benoît Battistelli‘s “Strike Regulations” were adopted.

Since then many of the heads of delegation have changed. However, ten delegations are still headed by the same person as in June 2013:

- Czech Republic: Josef KRATOCHVÍL
- Croatia: Ljiljana KUTEROVAC
- Iceland: Borghildur ERLINGSDÓTTIR
- Ireland: Gerard BARRETT
- Malta: Godwin WARR
- Monaco: Jean-Pierre SANTOS
- San Marino: Silvia ROSSI
- Turkey: Habip ASAN
- Belgium; Jérôme DEBRULLE
- Italy: Mauro MASI

“The current governance crisis at the EPO – triggered by the recent ILOAT judgments which struck down the “Strike Regulations” – shows how important it is to expose the workings of the Administrative Council to public scrutiny.”Two of those delegations – namely Belgium and Italy – abstained from endorsing Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”. The other eight delegations voted in favour.

There are two further delegations where the previous head of delegation has been replaced by the person who was their deputy in June 2013.

- Finland: Antti RIIVARI (successor to Rauni HAGMAN)
- Estonia: Margus VIHER (successor to Matti PÄTS)

Both the Finnish and Estonian delegations voted in favour of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

The current governance crisis at the EPO – triggered by the recent ILOAT judgments which struck down the “Strike Regulations” – shows how important it is to expose the workings of the Administrative Council to public scrutiny.

“When exercising its legislative powers, the Council is supposed to respect the primary law of the EPC as well as international legal norms to which its contracting states subscribe.”The Administrative Council is the governing body of the organisation EPO which has been entrusted with a limited set of legislative powers. In particular, it can make amendments to the EPO’s internal employment law, codified in the “EPO Service Regulations”.

When exercising its legislative powers, the Council is supposed to respect the primary law of the EPC as well as international legal norms to which its contracting states subscribe.

However, in contrast to an elected parliamentary legislative body, the EPO’s Administrative Council is not subject to any meaningful form of public accountability if it should happen to abuse its legislative powers. It is only subject to very weak judicial oversight by the ILOAT.

As recently seen in the case of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”, it has taken eight years to strike down a flawed legislative measure which breached the fundamental rights of EPO staff.

It now remains to be seen how the Council in its current composition is going to react to the EPO’s governance crisis at its upcoming 168th meeting.

“It now remains to be seen how the Council in its current composition is going to react to the EPO’s governance crisis at its upcoming 168th meeting.”It can be safely assumed that Team Campinos – which appears to be in complete denial about the implications of the recent ILOAT judgments – is doing its best to feed the Council delegates a sugar-coated narrative, in the hope that they will fail to realise the seriousness of the situation.

A lot will depend on whether the Council delegates are capable of doing their own homework and thinking for themselves, or whether they just prefer to “go with the flow” and swallow the snake-oil being spoon-fed to them by António Campinos and his cronies.

10.10.21

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia

UKIPO
The delegates from the UKIPO certainly didn’t make life better for EPO staff.

Summary: Enablers of Benoît Battistelli and current enablers of António Campinos are explained based on their track record in the UK, Ireland, and Europe

As we have already seen, the delegations from the EPO’s main host states, Germany and the Netherlands, voted in favour of the controversial “Strike Regulations” in June 2013.

In this part we will take a look at the UK delegation which at the time in question was headed by UKIPO Director John Alty accompanied by his deputy, Sean Dennehey.

John Alty and Sean Dennehey
The UK delegation: John Alty and his deputy Sean Dennehey.

It’s worth recalling that the UK Patent and Trademark Office – as the UKIPO was previously known – was one of the first of Margaret Thatcher’s Next Steps agencies.

“As high-level mandarins in the post-Thatcherite UK civil service, Alty and Dennehey are likely to have been in sympathy with Battistelli’s plans to crush the EPO’s staff union.”Back in the day, proposals to fully privatise the Patent Office were discussed but ultimately rejected. The end result was an “executive agency” housed within the department of Trade and Industry, but with some degree of financial independence and a daunting array of “performance goals”.

Thus, the UKIPO was set up, complete with its own citizen charter, a well-paid chief executive officer, and most importantly, a license to operate outside of British civil service and other administrative rules.

As high-level mandarins in the post-Thatcherite UK civil service, Alty and Dennehey are likely to have been in sympathy with Battistelli’s plans to crush the EPO’s staff union.

After all, long before Battistelli, Thatcher’s policy advisors were referring to trade unions as “a politicised mafia” and were scheming to “erode trade union membership”. The Thatcherite era in the UK saw the introduction of some of the most constrictive trade union laws in the world.

It is known that the UK delegates met with UK staff at the EPO on the margins of the quarterly Administrative Council meetings and were fully briefed about the excesses of the Battistelli régime. But rumour has it that Battistelli managed to “soften up” the UK delegates with the promise of some kind of “bilateral cooperation activities”.

“For some time afterwards, Dennehey continued as Deputy Chief Executive of the UKIPO and in March 2018 he accompanied his new boss Tim Moss on a visit to Team Battistelli in Munich…”Alty left the UKIPO in July 2016 to become Director General of Trade Policy at the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) where he is now Interim Permanent Secretary.

Dennehey succeeded Alty as head of the UKIPO on an ad interim basis between July 2016 and May 2017 before the current incumbent Tim Moss took over.

For some time afterwards, Dennehey continued as Deputy Chief Executive of the UKIPO and in March 2018 he accompanied his new boss Tim Moss on a visit to Team Battistelli in Munich “to discuss recent developments in patents and co-operation between the two offices”. (warning: epo.org link)

Battistelli with Sean Dennehey
Requena, Lutz, UKIPO CEO Tim Moss, Battistelli and UKIPO Deputy CEO Sean Dennehey in Munich (March 2018)

Dennehey seems to be rather publicity shy and it’s almost impossible to find a photo of him on the UKIPO website.

“Whatever about his “services to intellectual property”, it’s clear that Dennehey didn’t earn any awards for trying to protect the fundamental rights of EPO staff.”But luckily the website of the National Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China (NCAC) provides some nice photos of him on a junket to the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Copyright Expo held in Guangzhou in December 2016.

Like Battistelli and Lutz, Dennehey seems to have been more at home rubbing shoulders with Chinese mandarins and their Communist overlords than complying with his duty of care towards EPO staff and his obligation to respect and uphold the rule of law in an international organisation like the EPO.

Dennehey retired from the UKIPO at the end of March 2018.

Earlier that year in January it was announced [PDF] that he had made it to the New Year’s Honours list where he had been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for “services to intellectual property”.

Sean Dennehey CBE
Sean Dennehey – awarded a CBE for “services to intellectual property” in January 2018.

Whatever about his “services to intellectual property”, it’s clear that Dennehey didn’t earn any awards for trying to protect the fundamental rights of EPO staff.

“Some time later in March 2018, Barrett was elected to the Board of the Administrative Council, the exclusive “inner circle” which carries out the preparatory work for Council meetings. Presumably this little sinecure was intended as recognition of his earlier support for “le système Battistelli”.”Before wrapping up, it’s worth mentioning the delegation representing the Republic of Ireland which joined the EPO somewhat later than the UK in 1992.

The Irish delegation generally tends to align itself with the UK delegation and this occasion was no exception.

Like his British counterparts, the head of the Irish delegation, Gerard Barrett acted in a typically pusillanimous manner by giving his assent to Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

Ireland's Gerard Barret
Following the lead of his British counterparts, the head of the Irish delegation, Gerard Barret, voted in favour of Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

Some time later in March 2018, Barrett was elected to the Board of the Administrative Council, the exclusive “inner circle” which carries out the preparatory work for Council meetings. Presumably this little sinecure was intended as recognition of his earlier support for “le système Battistelli”.

In the next part, we will turn our attention to the delegation representing another founding state which has traditionally played quite a significant role in EPO affairs, the Swiss Confederation.

10.09.21

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Luxembourgish Laxity

Lex Kaufhold
Do Lex Kaufhold and the other representatives of the EPO‘s founding states realise the damage that they caused by their cavalier rubber-stamping of the unlawful proposals submitted to them by Benoît Battistelli?
And do they have any intention of apologising for permitting serious breaches of the fundamental rights of EPO staff to persist over a period of eight years?

Summary: Today we look at the voting record of the small nation Luxembourg (population of 633,622 inhabitants as of March this year), a founding member state of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) that decided to violate the rights of all EPO staff; for comparison, total EU population is at 447,706,209 and EPO covers more than the EU, so the vote of Luxembourg weighs a lot, as much as Germany’s in fact, with only a thousandths of the total population covered

In the Benelux camp, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg followed its larger neighbour the Kingdom of the Netherlands and voted in favour of Battistelli’s Vichyite "Strike Regulations" in June 2013.

“During his visit to Luxembourg, Battistelli met with the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Etienne Schneider…”An interesting background detail here is the fact that two months earlier – in April 2013 – Battistelli had paid an official visit to Luxembourg to attend a conference marking the country’s 6th annual “Intellectual Property Day”. [PDF]

During his visit to Luxembourg, Battistelli met with the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Etienne Schneider, the Head of the national “IP” office, Lex Kaufhold, as well as with representatives of the national industry, the Business Federation of Luxembourg (FEDIL), and patent attorneys.

“After that “charm offensive” by the overlord of EPOnia, it is hardly surprising that the Luxembourg delegation agreed to endorse all of his proposals at the 136th Meeting of the Administrative Council which took place shortly afterwards.”Speaking at the conference to mark “Intellectual Property Day”, Battistelli acknowledged “the pioneering role of a founding member state of the European Patent Organisation, which is an important partner for the EPO.”

After that “charm offensive” by the overlord of EPOnia, it is hardly surprising that the Luxembourg delegation agreed to endorse all of his proposals at the 136th Meeting of the Administrative Council which took place shortly afterwards.

“In his official photo-ops, Kaufhold likes to project the image of a conscientious administrator who diligently studies his files.”The head of the Luxembourg delegation at the time in question was Lex Kaufhold, who continued to hold that position until the end of 2020. [PDF]

In his official photo-ops, Kaufhold likes to project the image of a conscientious administrator who diligently studies his files.

However, on this occasion he clearly failed to properly scrutinise the unlawful restrictions on the fundamental rights of EPO staff proposed by Battistelli.

Lex Kaufhold working
Head of the Luxembourg delegation, Lex Kaufhold, diligently studying his files. Unfortunately he seems to have overlooked some important details in connection with Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations”.

Kaufhold’s failure to perform due diligence in June 2013 may have inflicted serious moral injury upon the staff of the EPO, but it does not appear to have adversely affected his career in his home country.

In January 2021 he was promoted to a new position as a senior advisor (Conseiller de Direction 1ère classe) in the Office of the Minister for Economic Affairs. According to the official job description, Kaufhold’s new area of competence is advising on “assessment of risks, compliance and internal audit.”

“Kaufhold’s failure to perform due diligence in June 2013 may have inflicted serious moral injury upon the staff of the EPO, but it does not appear to have adversely affected his career in his home country.”Looking at his voting record on the EPO’s Administrative Council and his unqualified endorsement of Battistelli’s Vichyite "Strike Regulations", it’s not immediately evident that he would be the best person for that particular job. But who knows, maybe he has learnt a thing or two since June 2013?

Meanwhile, Kaufhold’s previous position as head of Luxembourg’s national “IP” office has been taken over [PDF] by Iris Depoulain who now represents the Grand Duchy on the EPO’s Administrative Council.

Prior to her promotion, Depoulain’s position at the Luxembourg “IP” Office was “Commissioner for Copyright and Related Rights”. So it’s not really clear how much she actually knows about patents. But hopefully she is a quick learner.

“…it’s not really clear how much she actually knows about patents. But hopefully she is a quick learner.”In any event, it remains to be seen whether or not the fresh-faced Ms Depoulain will prove capable of making a useful contribution to righting the wrongs which have been inflicted upon EPO staff by the Administrative Council during the Battistelli era when her predecessor headed the national delegation.

Iris Depoulain
It remains to be seen whether or not Iris Depoulain can help to steer the Council in the right direction and encourage it to right the wrongs which have been inflicted upon EPO staff during the Battistelli era.

In the next part we will take a look at the delegations representing the United Kingdom and its closest neighbour, the Republic of Ireland.

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