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29/08/2016

Bretton Woods Law legal opinions

The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, specialise in the Rule of Law, International Human Rights law and International Administrative Law.

At the request of SUEPO, Bretton Woods Law produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff.

In an Annex to the above document a number of the reforms are considered in the light of basic legal and democratic standards in Europe.

22/08/2016

August 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 July 2016.

18/08/2016

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 or August 2016.

08/08/2016

[USF] The Barroso case - open letter to President Juncker

The USF issued a Communiqué on 20 July 2016 in which they reproduce an open letter (EN, FR) sent to Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission about the Barroso case.

05/08/2016

[USF] WIPO - Stop union-busting and stop retaliation against whistleblowers

The USF published an article entitled “WIPO - Stop union-busting and stop retaliation against whistleblowers” (EN, FR).

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.

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 (translations available: DE, FR). 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?