01.31.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

MEP Konstantina Kouneva (Former Trade Unionist) Again Takes Action Against the European Patent Office for Union-Busting Actions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Konstantina Kouneva
Konstantina Kouneva in 2015, photograph courtesy of Left.gr

Summary: Bulgarian-Greek politician Konstantina Kouneva (or Kostadinka Kuneva) is getting actively involved in EPO affairs once again, in order to support and protect unionists like she once was (before entering politics)

THE political interventions right now, e.g. [1, 2], are part of a much broader thing. After intimidation against delegates the delegates have been a lot more receptive to critics. Battistelli and his team are rapidly alienating everyone in the Office and everyone in the Organisation, too. Politicians too are starting to weigh in and they are not afraid because they’re no longer a vocal minority. Quite a few politicians in quite a few countries speak out in unison about EPO abuses. It is becoming the norm, so Battistelli's efforts to isolate and attack them individually won’t work. Battistelli et al are on the retreat right now and criticising them is a safe thing to do. It’s a smart (political) career move.

“Quite a few politicians in quite a few countries speak out in unison about EPO abuses. It is becoming the norm, so Battistelli’s efforts to isolate and attack them individually won’t work.”“FYI,” told us one reader today, “The Greek MEP Konstantina Kouneva (also known as Kostadinka Kuneva) has just issued a statement in Greek about the EPO.”

Here is some background information about the person behind the statement, Konstantina Kouneva, who is a “cleaner turned trade unionist turned MEP”.

Copies of the statement in the original Greek [PDF] and an English translation [PDF] are included. Here it is as HTML:

English translation of:

«Να πάρουν θέση τα κράτη μέλη του Ευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού Ευρεσιτεχνίας»

http://www.syriza.gr/article/id/63958/K.-Koyneba:-Na-paroyn-thesh-ta-krath-melh-toy-Eyrwpaikoy-Organismoy-Eyresitechnias-.html#.Vq3ymFLLdx8

30 January 2016

K. Kuneva MEP

“The Member States’ of the European Patent Organisation must take a stand”

Staff of the EPO trade union react to persecution with large demonstrations in The Hague and Munich.

Yesterday (28 January) over 900 employees of the European Patent Organisation Employees (EPO) participated in a demonstration organized by their union (SUEPO) in the Dutch city center. The demonstration was the response of the union to an unprecedented attack which had been unleashed by the administration of EPO on trade union rights and staff representatives which culminated in the dismissal of two elected union officials and the downgrading of a third from the EPO’s main office in Munich.

A similar demonstration in Munich on 20 January was a huge success and well- attended by EPO staff.

It noted that the European Patent Organisation (European Patent Office) employs approximately 7,500 employees in offices in five European cities with the largest number of employed in The Hague (approximately 2,500) and Munich. It examines and grants thousands of patents from industries responsible for 40% of the EU GDP and 35% of employment. In 2014 it received 274 174 applications for patents amounting to an increase of around 3.1% from the previous year.

Led by the current President, Battistelli, as part of its strategy to promote institutional reform of the organisation with the stated aim of improving quality and reducing costs, in 2010 the EPO commenced a concerted campaign of violating trade union rights, terrorising, intimidating and persecuting its staff. The most tragic consequences of the climate of oppression which prevails are the five suicides of employees which occurred over the last three years.

Despite the appeals of the employees to justice (both Dutch and German courts), the administration of the EPO hides behind the mantle of the judicial immunity of international organizations, so as not to be held accountable to anyone for the violation of fundamental rights at the heart of Europe.

Konstantina Kuneva submitted a question on this subject to the European Parliament which was signed by 14 MEPs from many countries and many political groups.

The attempted changes in the institutional framework and operation of the EPO, along with the promotion of the Unitary Patent and Unitary Patent Court, bear obvious similarities to the secretive consultations surrounding TTIP and ISDS [the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and associated Investor-State Dispute Settlement for resolving disputes between investors and states] and reveal the strategy of the EU leadership and business lobby for the empowerment of fully autonomous organizations which operate beyond the pale of any democratic institutional framework and are characterised by intransparency, secrecy and immunity.

To this end it is considered necessary on the one hand to restrict the applicability of national regulations and on the other hand to eliminate democratic workers’ rights (fundamental labour standards, trade union rights, etc.) which are regarded as a “bureaucratic hindrance” to opening up new markets for transnational conglomerates.

In response to the demonstrations in The Hague and Munich, SYRIZA MEP Konstantina Kuneva said: “The workers EPO in Munich and The Hague deserve for their impressive mobilisation and vigorous defence of their rights. The situation has now gone out of control. The intransparent governance, authoritarianism and immunity of “autonomous” international organizations, must end. The governments of the Member States which are represented on the Administrative Council of the EPO must finally take a stand against the violation of trade union rights and the employment rights of staff.”

“FYI,” added the same reader, “here is the link to the question submitted to the European Parliament by Kostadinka Kuneva and other MEPs in May 2015.” The question from Kuneva is mentioned above.

To quote the whole thing (public domain probably), which we quoted only in part at the time:

The Dutch appeal court recently ruled (case number 200.141.812/01/17-2-2015) that the European Patent Organisation (EPO) violated workers’ labour rights deriving from the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Consequently the Dutch court, exceptionally, has not accepted the immunity EPO enjoys as an international organisation, since this immunity cannot allow for human rights violations. Nevertheless EPO declared it would ignore the ruling pleading execution immunity.

— Does the Commission agree with this ruling, according to which, as regards guaranteeing fundamental rights, the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights prevail over bilateral and multilateral agreements, including those providing immunity to organisations such as the EPO?

— If so, what does it intend to do to prevent the abuse of immunity rights and defend the EU citizens’ and employees’ rights and the community acquis in organisations such as EPO which while exercising judicial functions is at the same time breaching the European legal order rules?

— How does the Commission scrutinise that the positions EU Member States’ representatives take in the administration of EPO are compatible with the rights enshrined in the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights — taking into account that the EU Member States constitute the majority in the organisation?

There are more political actions, but we’ll leave them masked for the time being.

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”

Thomas Paine

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] Cannot Get a Phone to Work... in 2022

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ wasted hours of workers’ time just testing the phone after it had moved to a defective system of Google (proprietary); instead of a rollback (back to Asterisk) the company doubled down on the faulty system and the phones still didn’t work properly, resulting in missing calls and angst (the company just blamed the workers who all along rejected this new system)



  2. [Meme] Modern Phones

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is mistaking “modern” for better; insecurity and a lack of tech savvy typically leads to that



  3. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Corporation Demonstrates a Lack of Understanding of Security and Privacy

    Sirius ‘Open Source’, emboldened by ISO ‘paperwork’ (certification), lost sight of what it truly takes to run a business securely, mistaking worthless gadgets for “advancement” while compelling staff to sign a new contract in a hurry (prior contract-signing scandals notwithstanding)



  4. Links 26/01/2023: LibreOffice 7.4.5 and Ubuntu Pro Offers

    Links for the day



  5. Links 26/01/2023: GNU poke 3.0 and PipeWire 0.3.65

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 25, 2023



  7. Companies Would Collapse Upon Abandoning Their Original Goals (That Attracted All the Productive Staff)

    Staff with technical skills won't stick around in companies that reject technical arguments and moreover move to proprietary software in a company that brands itself "Open Source"



  8. [Meme] Listen to Your Workers, Avert Disaster

    Companies that refuse to take input from staff are doomed to fail



  9. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Understand the Company's Value Proposition (Building Systems) and Rejects Security

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything



  10. Links 25/01/2023: NuTyX 23.01.1 and GNU Guile 3.0.9 Released

    Links for the day



  11. Links 25/01/2023: Stratis 3.5.0 and Many Political Links

    Links for the day



  12. New Record Low: Only One 'Linux' Article in ZDNet in More Than Two Weeks

    Only a few years ago ZDNet published about 3 “Linux” stories per day (mostly FUD pieces); now it’s a ghost town, painted in ‘alien green’; considering ZDNet’s agenda (and sponsors) maybe it’s better this way



  13. Links 25/01/2023: Pale Moon 32.0 and DXVK 2.1

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 24, 2023



  15. ISO Certification Hardly Tackles Any of the Real Issues

    The real-world threats faced by private companies or non-profit organisations aren't covered by the ISO certification mill; today we publish the last post on this topic before proceeding to some practical examples



  16. [Meme] Medical Data Sovereignty

    What happens when your medical records/data are accessible to a company based abroad after a mysterious NDA with the Gates Foundation? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not mind.



  17. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Open Wash Ltd. and Medical Data/Projects at Risk/Peril

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was good at gloating about “ISO” as in ISO certification (see our ISO wiki to understand what ISO truly is; ISO certification needs to be more widely condemned and exposed) while signing all sorts of dodgy deals and lying to clients (some, like the Gates Foundation, were never mentioned because of a mysterious NDA); security and privacy were systematically neglected and some qualified as criminal negligence (with fines/penalties likely an applicable liability if caught/reported)



  18. Links 24/01/2023: Wine 8.0 is Ready, FSF Bolsters Copyleft

    Links for the day



  19. Azure Has Layoffs Again, Microsoft Still Cutting

    Even supposed ‘growth’ areas at Microsoft are being culled (this growth is faked, it is a lie)



  20. Links 24/01/2023: Tails 5.9 and ArcoLinux v23.02

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/01/2023: GStreamer 1.22 and Skrooge Gets New Site

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 23, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, January 23, 2023



  23. The Inside(r) Story of ISO 'Certification' Mills

    Based on my experiences inside Sirius ‘Open Source’ — as I was there for nearly 12 years — I finally tell what I’ve witnessed about ISO certification processes (see ISO wiki for prior experiences)



  24. [Meme] ISO Selling 'Reputation' to Small Businesses (for a Large Fee)

    As we’re hoping to demonstrate throughout the week, ISO certification is, in practice, worse than worthless (just a waste of small businesses’ resources, much like patents); call it the ‘ISO tax’, an artificial barrier to entry that boils down to money



  25. [Meme] ISO Certification for Paying for Certificates on Time

    ISO is a phony authority; it makes business by issuing mostly worthless paperwork that wastes people’s time and accomplishes nothing (except making ISO in rich Switzerland even richer)



  26. The ISO Train Wreck at Sirius 'Open Source'

    Before we proceed to showing how Sirius ‘Open Source’ blatantly ignored security and privacy we wish to show how ISO (see ISO wiki) basically ‘sold’ a certificate to Sirius — this is like a “diploma mill” but something that’s for businesses, not individuals



  27. Sirius Lying About ISO to Justify Giving the Technical Staff Some Classic 'Bullshit Jobs' While Censoring/Covering Up Incompetence

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has long used “ISO” — and sometimes “GDPR” — as catch-all excuses for all sorts of nonsensical policies; does ISO realise the degree to which it is being misused by incompetent 'box tickers'?



  28. Links 23/01/2023: mozilla.org's 25th Anniversary and IceWM 3.3.1 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Report: The So-called 'Linux' Foundation is Reducing Focus on Linux

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is reducing its focus on Linux and is instead busy promoting Microsoft, Facebook, and other interests that GNU/Linux users strongly dislike



  30. Links 23/01/2023: Fwupd 1.8.10

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts