EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.20.17

EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As with most headlines that have question marks in them, the answer might be “no” (with caveats)

Summary: Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)

WE are still on holiday (11,000KM from home), but we continue to receive new EPO leaks. Sooner or later we expect a lot of the ugliness to come out and be made public. But is this enough to save the EPO? Well, that depends on what “saving” means. Battistelli’s policies are going to make a lot of staff redundant and also cause great pain to European businesses (especially the smaller ones, i.e. the vast majority).

“The motion to fire Battistelli,” Petra Kramer wrote some days ago, “has been rejected, the motion evaluate the limits of immunity has been adopted.”

If Battistelli lost his immunity, that might serve to bring some justice, but is it not too late? Time is running out.

As SUEPO noted, workers’ bodies speak out about the European Court of Human Rights, but they never had any concrete/real leverage over Battistelli. He just ignores everyone who does not agree with him and if/when he can, he punishes too (firings, demotions, mental torture etc.). EPO has become like a consulate of Turkey in Bavaria, complete with its own sultan. Nominations for the Central Staff Committee closed about 5 days ago and only the brave ‘dared’ apply. No wonder…

“Two staff unions at the European Patent Agency,” said one statement, “filed a complaint against the Netherlands with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for violation of article 6 ECHR in combination with articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Convention.”

Another said: “The long-running conflict at the European Patent Office (EPO) over abuses of worker and trade union rights is now heading to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). SUEPO, the trade union at the EPO has filed a complaint against the Netherlands for failing to protect workers. The courts there ruled that Dutch law has no jurisdiction leaving the workers in a legal limbo. The workers have been supported by the FNV trade union and the matter has been taken up in the Dutch parliament.”

There is also this new PDF in SUEPO’s Web site, published several days ago to say:

Amsterdam 8 May 2017 – Today, two staff unions at the European Patent Agency, VEOB and SUEPO, filed a complaint against the Netherlands with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for violation of article 6 ECHR in combination with articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Convention.

The European Patent Organisation (EPO), which is located i.a. on Dutch territory, is infringing on the right of the unions to take collective action and to enter into collective negotiations. These are internationally recognized rights that are also guaranteed by article 10 (right to freedom of expression) and article 11 (right of freedom of assembly and association) of the ECHR. For years now, there has been a culture of intimidation by EPO-management that has severely affected the work environment. The EPO is making it impossible for the unions to effectively serve the interests of their members. Though an organization like the EPO ordinarily enjoys immunity from jurisdiction, this does not apply if the unions do not have an effective legal remedy through which to (internally) address the problems. According to standard ECtHR-case law, a national court can them assume jurisdiction.

In its judgment of 15 February 2015, the Appeals Court in The Hague held that the unions in and of themselves did not have an effective legal remedy within the EPO. The Appeals Court assumed jurisdiction and then ruled largely in favour of the unions. The EPO filed a cassation appeal, primarily in light of the dismissal of its immunity claim. The State of the Netherlands joined the cassation procedure as a party on the side of the EPO. In its judgment of 20 January 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that EPO enjoys immunity from jurisdiction after all. The consequence of this verdict for the unions is that they do not have a true legal remedy by which to address the violations of their ECHR-rights.

As state party to the Convention, the Netherlands is obliged to ensure that the ECHR is safeguarded on its territory. As this is impossible in the light of the Supreme Court judgment, the Netherlands is violating article 6 ECHR in combination with articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Convention.

The unions are represented by lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld.

There is some additional press coverage from what is typically a SUEPO-hostile site:

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) has brought the Netherlands to the European Court of Human Rights amid rising tensions and alleged abuse at the EPO.

In a blog post on 9 May, SUEPO said that it previously sought protection from the Dutch courts in the form of an injunction to prevent the violation of EPO workers’ rights.

But the Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld the EPO’s immunity, failing to “discharge their duty of care, thereby allowing a breach of fundamental rights on their soil and de facto condoning, if not endorsing, the EPO’s abuses”.

We have some new leaks coming and these ought to demonstrate not only why ECHR should take on the case but also why immunity must be removed and ILO be subjected to greater scrutiny. The deeper we look at this whole situation, the easier it becomes to see that ILO’s Administrative Tribunal is part of the problem. It gives the illusion of access to justice — something that it never delivers. ILO might as well tell the truth to Dutch authorities and ECHR; it has absolutely no control over labour rights at the EPO and at this stage, as a mater of urgency, immunity must be removed and Team Battistelli held accountable for very serious abuses, either as professionals or as civilians.

ECHR cases can take years to deal with (up to 3 years, their Web site states); that’s longer than it will take for Battistelli to totally destroy the EPO, culminating in mass layoffs. We don’t ever know what will be left of SUEPO and VEOB by that stage.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. What It Would Take for Linus Torvalds to Leave Linux Foundation Without the Linux Trademark and Without Linux

    It's nice to think that the founder of Linux can just take his project and walk away, moving elsewhere, i.e. away from the Microsoft-employed executives who now "boss" him; but it's not that simple anymore



  2. The Past Does Not Go Away, Except From Short-Term Memories

    People who are drunk on power and money (sometimes not even their own money) like to portray themselves as the very opposite of what they are; but in the age of the Internet it's difficult to make the general public simply forget the past and "move on..."



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 31, 2020



  4. Links 1/6/2020: OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 2020.05, Linux Lite 5.0 Release, FreeBSD 11.4 RC2

    Links for the day



  5. It's a Common Mistake and Common Misconception/Error to Treat Microsoft as Just Another 'Large Company' (or 'Big Tech')

    It's a Common Mistake and Common Misconception/Error to Treat Microsoft as Just Another 'Large Company' (or 'Big Tech')



  6. Lessons of Michael Arrington (About Microsoft)

    Microsoft and Bill Gates have a long history bullying their critics; the quote above (or below) shows how even people who advertise with Microsoft are becoming the target of abuse



  7. 'Best' of Both Worlds: GNU/Linux Freedom + Malware With Keyloggers and DRM

    Running a Microsoft-controlled GNU/Linux instance under Vista 10 ("Windows Subsystem for Linux") in the age of virtual machines, dual boot and containers makes as much sense as chopping some carrots to go with the veal meal to appease vegetarian diners



  8. First They Bribe the Employer, Media Lynch Mobs May Follow

    The 'cancel culture' lynch mobs, which leverage social causes (or marginalised groups), remain a convenient means by which to oust one's political/business opposition; but money too is a massive contributing factor and the more one has of it, the easier it is to control media narrative and subversive focus



  9. Upcoming Series Teaser: The Bribery Operation of William Henry Gates III

    Bribery goes a very long way when it comes to the megalomaniac who pays the media to portray him as the world's most generous person



  10. Windows Ransomware Must Not be Unspeakable When People Die in Large Numbers Due to That (and Windows Has Intentional Back Doors)

    Loss of electronic patient records, ransom and downtime among the severe consequences of deploying Microsoft inside hospitals; yet the media rarely names the real culprit (manslaughter charges theoretically possible) and nobody gets punished except those who offer real solutions



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 30, 2020



  12. Burning the House That Richard Stallman (RMS) Built: An Open Letter to GNU Maintainers Who Opposed RMS

    An open letter to people who petitioned RMS to step down and who outsource GNU projects to Microsoft (GitHub)



  13. Links 30/5/2020: Godot Editor Under Web Browsers, Alpine Linux 3.12.0 and EasyOS 2.3

    Links for the day



  14. EPO's Illegal Patents and Massive Corruption Go Unnoticed by Corporate Media and Sites That Cover Patent News

    Very major corruption scandals still emerge in Europe's second-largest institution and illegal patents get granted as well as promoted; somehow, perhaps miraculously, this no longer seems to bother anybody in the media (corruption and radical policies have been gradually 'normalised')



  15. Never Mind If GNU/Linux Works Better Inside Hospitals and Free Software Not Only Safer But Vastly More Efficient...

    With lives on the line one might expect hospitals to choose what's most secure and generally works best; but in practice there seems to be a leaning towards what bribes best



  16. Sick Alexander Ramsey is Using a Public Health Crisis to Lie About the Unitary Patent, Whose Fall Made Him Redundant and/or Obsolete

    Weaponised media continues to manufacture utterly ridiculous puff pieces for Team UPC, containing intentional lies from beginning to end



  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, May 29, 2020



  18. They Came, They Saw, He Died

    Microsoft is an inherently sociopathic company; today's story of AppGet is an important reminder that Microsoft has not changed and isn't changing (Maui is another week-old example of trademark-hijacking tactics by Microsoft)



  19. Microsoft-Connected CloudGuru Doesn't Care About GNU/Linux and Now It's Gradually Killing the BSD/Linux-Centric Jupiter Broadcasting (Bought by Linux Academy)

    Assuming Docker is being 'killed' by Microsoft (or at least hijacked to push Windows, Azure and so on) while the GitHub-hosted (Microsoft) CloudGuru, whose co-founder comes from Microsoft, ‘finishes the job’ with Linux Academy and its assets, it’s time to take stock of a pattern/trend that ruins the media too



  20. What Happened to Docker is a Cautionary Tale About the Not-So-New Microsoft

    It’s hardly shocking that Docker collapsed (mass-scale layoffs) after the company had gotten close to Microsoft and got rid of its very own founder (a Red Hat veteran) while the software is being killed off/co-opted by Microsoft (all over the news this week; we’ve omitted links by intention as it’s only puff pieces, no investigative journalism anywhere); we only ask one thing: is anyone paying attention and, if so, what are the lessons learned?



  21. If You Want to Support and Follow Us 'Properly', Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is Most Reliable and Robust to Censorship

    Our longstanding position on social control media (we reject it and don't participate in it) is only proven ever more justified now that the mere idea of fact-checking is seen as controversial if not illegal



  22. Links 29/5/2020: Genode OS 20.05 and FSF Video Conferencing Service

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 28, 2020



  24. Weaponised Media Promoting an Illegal Patent System (UPC), Exploiting Major Pandemic in the Process

    The whole 'unitary' scam/ploy (merely a Trojan horse for litigation and low-quality/invalid patents) is being promoted by Thierry Breton as EU Internal Market Commissioner (in spite of illegalities and constitutional issues), merely reinforcing the view that the EU is rather complicit in the abuses perpetrated by Team Battistelli; the media in the pockets of oligarchs and litigation firms (fronting for these oligarchs) plays along, as usual



  25. Links 28/5/2020: OpenSSH 8.3, New Mesa Release, Raspberry Pi 4 News, Fedora 32 Elections

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO Became a Very Radical Institution

    Projection tactics are doomed to say more about the people who utilise them than about anybody else; the EPO has become so autocratic and corrupt that corruption is seen as normal and workers who explain this corruption are framed as "irrational" or "crazy" or "radical"



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 27, 2020



  28. Allegations That Microsoft Will Ruin Besieged Clinics and Hospitals to Retaliate Against Those Who Name the Culprit

    With a broader picture coming into view, as per the above index, we're starting to wrap up the series while issuing a call for more stories and eyewitness testimonies, exposing the nature of attacks on hospitals (those almost always target Microsoft and others' proprietary software, which is technically unfit for purpose)



  29. Microsoft Has Ideas...

    Based on the pattern of media coverage, composed by Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft-affiliated blogs/sites, confusing the public about the meaning of GNU/Linux is reminiscent of an "Extend" phase



  30. ZDNet Proves Our Point by Doing Not a Single Article About Linux (RC7), Only About Linus and Windows Clickbait Junk

    It seems abundantly clear that nobody wants to cover the actual news about Linux and instead it’s all about which PC Linus Torvalds is using (gossip/tabloid); ZDNet‘s latest two articles are an example of this…


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