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11/07/2016

July 2016 press articles

This document provides a non-exhaustive list of some articles, blog posts or videos published in July 2016 (sorted in reverse chronological order, not necessarily by relevance). Latest additions are highlighted in yellow. You may also want to access the list of articles for June 2016.

04/07/2016

June 2016 press articles

This document provides a non-exhaustive list of some articles, blog posts or videos published in June 2016 (sorted in reverse chronological order, not necessarily by relevance). Latest additions are highlighted in yellow. You may also want to access the list of articles for May 2016 or July 2016.

29/06/2016

Laurent Prunier suspended, pending dismissal

Dear SUEPO members, dear colleagues,

Battistelli is not only staring into the abyss. He has taken a big step forward.

After more than a decade of heavy involvement in SUEPO and staff representation, Laurent Prunier (current Secretary of SUEPO TH), has been suspended in the evening of 27/06/2016, pending dismissal. We refer to the article of NRC published on 29 June: “Vakbond wil opheffing immuniteit Battistelli”.

As if Laurent were a terrorist, the Office has imposed a house arrest and has forbidden him to enter the EPO premises “to protect the victim and witnesses as well as the integrity of the procedure”. What a farce - the grotesqueness would be funny if Laurent were not sick after having been tormented for months.

Laurent cannot share with us the details of the accusations, but he says the investigation procedure is demonstrably malicious, and the accusations fabricated.

Also the timing of the suspension is suspect: less than two days before the Administrative Council meeting, and a few days after SUEPO has filed an injunction (kort geding) to complain about the intolerable union harassment SUEPO officials have been facing for too long. We can already hear VP1 proclaiming “purely coincidental” ...

Enough is enough. We have instructed our lawyer to work towards the lifting of Battistelli’s immunity and of course we will keep you posted.

Please keep supporting us, and Laurent (su16011hp). 

Yours,

SUEPO Central

28/06/2016

Is Battistelli staring into the abyss?

Last week is not one upon which President Battistelli will look back with undiluted pleasure.

First, the Enlarged Board of Appeal decided to close the proceedings concerning the Judge accused of misconduct and in so doing not recommend his release from office. Following public accusations coming allegedly from the Office, the accused had requested a public hearing to clear his name. Although the Enlarged Board had granted his request, Mr Battistelli apparently did not like this turn of events and tried to forbid both the public hearing and the open questioning of key witnesses. You can read publications about this scandal in Juve, The Register and in IPKAT (which also provides a link to the full text of the EBoA judgment).

Then second, SUEPO and SUEPO-TH once again summoned the EPO before the Dutch Court. With this lawsuit, the unions complain of both severe union harassment and non-compliance with the Council’s resolution CA/26/16, as reflected in their claims. On 21 June, a bailiff tried to serve the summons in person on the EPO in Rijswijk, but the EPO refused to accept the papers. Unfortunately for President Battistelli, this does not stop the law from taking due course: the summons is nonetheless considered as served and the package was in any case delivered to the Office by registered mail the following day.  The court has set the date and venue for the hearing: 15 July at 9 am in the district court of The Hague. Apparently, despite being given fair notice, the President had not even bothered to alert the Council on this issue. We assume he must have been too busy, so our lawyer has done this service for him…

To summarise: nobbling of EBoA judges and attempts to pervert the course of justice; harassment of unions and of their leaders; contempt for the legal authorities of a host state. The picture that is emerging is of a deranged man who either has misunderstood the concept of “rule of law” or is willfully putting himself above it.  Should an organization that delivers juridical products and services for the European public be seen to be led by such a figure?

Quo usque tandem abutere, Benedicte, patientia nostra?

SUEPO Central

23/06/2016

Actions continue at the European Patent Office: next demonstration on 29 June 2016

SUEPO organises on Wednesday 29 June 2016 a demonstration in Munich in front of the EPO Isar building starting at 12.30h.

14/06/2016

[AMBA] Open Letter to all Stakeholders with an Interest in Maintaining the Boards of Appeal of the EPO as an Independent Judicial Body

The Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal (AMBA) sent an 'Open Letter' to all Stakeholders with an Interest in Maintaining the Boards of Appeal of the EPO as an Independent Judicial Body.

The letter specifies that:

After two years of work following the Enlarged Board’s decision R 19/12, the European Patent Office has produced a proposal for re-structuring the BoA.

[…]

The proposals represent a serious deterioration, as compared to the situation before that decision.

10/06/2016

Series of questions to the European Parliament

The Member of Parliament Agnes Jongerius (S&D) posed the following question (translations are available in French and German) to the European Parliament:

Today (Thursday, 7 April), staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) went on strike in order once again to draw attention to their difficult working conditions. The Court of Justice of the EU had previously called for these conditions to be improved, but nothing was done in response to that pronouncement. Conditions at the EPO have reached a nadir, but the EPO is not alone in this respect. At other EU institutions and agencies too, including the ECB and the Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna, infringements of the Staff Regulations of Officials have occurred in recent years.

1. Does the Commission agree with staff at the EPO that the industrial relations climate at the EPO is unacceptable and needs to be substantially improved?

2. The Commission is an observer on the EPO's Administrative Council. In that role, is it insisting that industrial relations at the EPO be improved?

3. How does the Commission try to remedy failures of compliance at other EU institutions and agencies which ought to abide by the Staff Regulations of Officials?

Previously, on 2 February 2016, another Member of Parliament, Marc Tarabella (S&D) posed the following question (original question in French):

Written Questions E-009256/2015 and E-010497/2015 drew the Commission's attention to the appalling situation at the European Patent Office (EPO).

Following the implementation of the 2010 plan to increase productivity, a ban on trade union activity, repeated privacy violations, harassment and unachievable productivity targets which make a mockery of European workers' rights have put the EPO's 7 000 staff in a very difficult position. Since 2012, four of them have committed suicide.

The Commission has a representative with observer status on the EPO's Administrative Council who rarely intervenes, despite the governance problems.

What is the exact role of the Commission representative?

Does he/she report back to the Commission on the management problems?

08/06/2016

Actions continue: next demonstration 9 June

During its March meeting, the Administrative Council (the Supervisory  Body) of the EPO passed a resolution making a number of requests to the Mr Battistelli, President of the EPO. None of the changes that Mr Battistelli will table to the June meeting of the Administrative Council (AC) comply with these requests.

The reforms proposed by Mr Battistelli - if adopted by the Council - will further increase the discretionary powers of the President over EPO staff and their representatives (new investigation regulations, new disciplinary procedures, post-service employment restrictions) and reduce the independence of the Boards of Appeals (reform of DG3). In short, the new proposals are bad for staff and bad for the EPO.

In spite of the many proposals tabled by SUEPO in the (recent) past and of the clear request of the Administrative Council, SUEPO - representing 50% of staff, was not even approached by the President to re-open discussions about a Memorandum of Understanding.

By acting this way, Mr Battistelli shows a blatant disregard not only for staff but also for the representatives of the EPO Member States. 

03/06/2016

All January Dutch video reports in one playlist

The demonstration in The Hague on 28 January 2016 led to an extensive media coverage in The Netherlands, including video reports that have now been grouped in a playlist in Youtube. All the video reports are now provided with translations in English, French and German (you simply need to activate subtitles in your preferred language):

The actual video reports of the playlist are the following:

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