Rumour: The European Patent Office Intends to Sack Staff Representatives at The Hague Like It Did in Munich
Being above the law, even at The Hague, helps the autocracy of Battistelli and his praetorian guard
Summary: The unaccountable, unregulated Patent Office continues its union-busting activities and is expected — some believe — to decapitate even SUEPO The Hague (representing perhaps a thousand members of staff)
THE EPO‘s management continues to behave as though it’s above the law (any country’s law and even international law). The President, for instance, is allowed to break even his own rules. That’s classic autocracy, contrary to the principles of the Rule of Law.
“The problem is, the Administrative Council has become a lapdog, not a watchdog, and we’re rather pessimistic about it. It’s now complicit.”Recently, judging by the Dutch media, EPO management found an ‘ally’ in the Advocate General, Mr. Vlas, who is similar to an Attorney General (AG) in other countries. This may depend on who’s translating and how. The management of the EPO must be happy as it means that the high court’s decisions in January will quite likely be against SUEPO, not on grounds of legitimacy of their complaint but based on technical grounds or legitimacy of enforcement, i.e. the EPO being above the law and exempt from Dutch law (even though it resides on Dutch soil).
Someone has passed us some thoughts on the matter of this legal case in the Netherlands, stating:
The Attorney General of the Netherlands has issued his opinion on the immunity of the EPO in the context of the EPO’s breaches of fundamental rights. The AG did not in the least contest the findings of the violations, and went as far as stating that “honouring the claim to immunity of jurisdiction from the national judge does not in the least mean that violations of material rights are permitted”. However, in the specific case of SUEPO’s claims, he adopted the position that as long as individual EPO employees can have recourse to the ATILO, the route to the Dutch judge is barred. SUEPO does not understand this point; SUEPO cannot see how the ATILO can enforce a union’s right to collective bargain through individual complaints about violations of individual rights. SUEPO’s lawyers are studying the matter and will consider submitting a supplementary brief. The Court will hand down its decision (which may or may not follow the opinion of the AG) on 20 January 2017.
The above suggests that this is far from over. In the mean time, a source told us that witch-hunting in The Hague continues — something which we already knew about and wrote about. “The Attorney General’s opinion comes at an unusual juncture,” we learned, “and (in spite of its conservative stance) may well push the EPO and its Administrative Council to do something about the respect of fundamental rights.”
The problem is, the Administrative Council has become a lapdog, not a watchdog, and we’re rather pessimistic about it. It’s now complicit.
“This in its own right should be cause for massive demonstrations at The Hague next week.”We learned from our source that things have escalated even further. One “should remember,” to quote, “that the council has adopted resolution CA/26/16, which the President has completely ignored. Since then, as anyone can read from the minutes of the Board 28, there are “three current investigations/ disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague”. Clearly, the witch-hunt of SUEPO officials is going on, this time in The Hague. One of the targets is Laurent Prunier (Secretary of SUEPO The Hague, and member of the CSC), who has been suspended since 27.06.2016, and whose disciplinary hearing towards dismissal (and more) has just taken place on 28 and 29 September. No comment can be provided without risking compromising Laurent’s defence.”
Some people have in fact been informed that “his name has been expunged from the internal phone book even before the proceedings are closed.”
They “thus fear for the worst.”