03.29.15

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When the EPO Came Under Fire From the Netherlands and Before Systemic Corruption Was Revealed

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dutch landscape

Summary: Questions that targeted the Dutch Minister of Justice amidst EPO abuses against staff and a shameful failure to enforce a court’s decision

WE HAVE MISSED some very important developments due to absence (holiday), but fortunately enough we have loyal readers who sent us material in the interim, chronicling the earlier stages of the Dutch scandal which Battistelli had stepped into.

“For your information,” said one source, “[f]ollowing the attempt of the Netherlands Justice Minister to prevent execution of the recent judgment against the EPO, two members of the national parliament (Tweede Kamer) have now put a series of questions to the Minister (see here). The European Patent Office (EPO) sure paid attention to the following questions, put forth to the Netherlands’ Minister of Justice by Members of Parliament. As we shall soon find out (or at least cover later this week), there was a cover-up supported by crooks.

“An approximate translation,” said our source, “is given below.

“Both members are from the Labour Party (PvdA) that currently forms a coalition government with the Liberal Party (VVD).”

For context, based on our source (see the original PDF which is in Dutch): “In July 2014 they posed the earlier questions referred to in Question 2 which were answered in August. On that occasion, the answers mainly referred to the EPO’s immunity and the possibility for its employees to appeal to the ILOAT. Interestingly, the minister of social affairs answering those questions did seem to agree, referring to Art. 20 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, that the EPO should comply with relevant Dutch legislation. However, the Dutch labour inspection could do nothing without permission of the EPO’s president.”

Here are the questions put to the Netherlands Minister of Justice by Members of Parliament:


Question 1. Are you aware of the article “Opstelten: Judicial ruling does not apply to European institution” ? (Volkskrant – 26 February 2015)

http://www.volkskrant.nl/politiek/opstelten-bureau-mag-vakbond-weren~a3873491/

Question 2. Do you remember the earlier questions regarding the working conditions at the EPO? Is it true that the tense situation continues to exist, including the restriction of the right to strike?

Question 3. Is it true that the EPO refuses to revoke the controversial measures in accordance with the appeal court’s judgment? If yes, what are the reasons therefor?

Question 4. Is it true that you are not willing to enable the judgment’s execution as is usual in The Netherlands? If yes, can you explain your position? What is the legal basis of your power to prevent the judgment’s execution? How often have you made use of this power in the last five years?

Question 5. On which legislation and international treaties does your decision to block the judgment’s execution rely? Have you considered a more dynamic application of the existing legislation?

Question 6. Can you give an overview of recent European and Dutch jurisprudence relating to conflicts between immunity of international organisations and judgments of domestic courts?

Question 7. What is your reaction to the opinion of experts that your position is at odds with the rule of law and that you prioritise immunity over human rights? What is your reaction to the statement that this erodes the authority of the courts? What is your reaction to the statement that this leads to a further worsening of the existing problem of international organisations that place themselves above the law?

Question 8. What do you mean when you say that the matter has “our attention” and “that of other member states”? What does this attention consist of and what is it aimed at?

Question 9. Is it possible that one of the parties appeals to the Hoge Raad (Dutch Supreme Court) or that “cassation in the interest of the law” is requested? Do you intend to request cassation in the interest of the law?

Question 10. Have you taken note of the recent ILO agreement between employers and employees regarding the right to strike and ILO Convention 87? Can you explain how the situation at the EPO relates to ILO Convention 87?


“Battistelli’s reaction to the Dutch court decision,” jokes our source (“just for fun”), would be something like the following:

  • “Je m’en fous!” which means “I don’t give a damn!”
  • “L’Office c’est Moi” which means “The Office, that’s ME.”

We eagerly wait to share some press articles (translations take time to produce and process) about embarrassing news that led the Battistelli and the EPO to a frantic retreat. Probably as means of saving face only — for we have no evidence of practical changes — they now acknowledge of some staff rights, at least the very least a right to organise. It wouldn’t have happened without political involvements across Europe.

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