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12.25.17

Raw: Philip Cordery Urged France to Withdraw/End Battistelli’s Presidency at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pieyre-Alexandre AngladeIt remains to be seen what his successor (since June of this year), Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade (shown to the left), will do as the next EPO President (June next year) is also French

Summary: Translation of a letter composed by Philip Cordery about four years ago when there was an opportunity to salvage the EPO by removing Benoît Battistelli

For the attention of the Minister

Dear Sir,

I am writing to draw your attention to the extremely deleterious social climate which has prevailed for a number of months at the European Patent Office (EPO), the facilities of which are based at the Hague, Brussels, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin.

I have been approached by the staff union of the European Patent Office and by a number of French officials, who have expressly requested me to safeguard their anonymity in fear of reprisals, with regard to failure to respect the fundamental rights of the employees. A number of articles in the press have likewise been reporting on this in local newspapers.

The facts speak for themselves. The exercise of the right to strike has been violated and threats of disciplinary sanctions have been abusively applied in order to limit the right of
the staff to express themselves. The union has been muzzled, and disciplinary sanctions imposed on a dozen union representatives. Certain employees have likewise been subjected to suspension and demotion in status for reasons which are both abusive and fallacious. Two cases of suicide have even occurred in the past few years, one at the Hague during working hours.

The situation has become a matter of extreme concern for the vast majority of the 7,000 employees who work within the EPO without enjoying the protection accorded by national law in matters of the right to work, which has rendered them particularly vulnerable. A number of decisions taken recently by the organization are contrary to French and European law, which is totally unacceptable for an international organization based in the territory of the European Union.

This incurs the risk in due course of affecting the role and efficiency of the institution itself, in its mission of European and international public service. This antisocial policy, pursued by a former French functionary, is seriously damaging the image and reputation of France on the international level, far from enhancing it.

I would therefore ask you to instruct the French representative on the Board of Administration of the EPO to demand expressly that all the abusive disciplinary sanctions be lifted which to date have been imposed on the representatives of the personnel, and not to vote in favour of the changes to the rulings regarding the designation and organization of the representatives of the personnel, which are shortly to be submitted to the Board of Management.

In addition to this, in view of the facts described, I call upon you to reconsider France’s support for the renewal of the appointment of Mr. Battistelli to the Presidency of the EPO, which is due to be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of the Board of Management on 27 and 28 March or 25 and 26 June 2014.

I am appending to this letter all the documents in my possession, and I would inform you that legal action against the management of the EPO is currently under way.

I take the liberty of emphasising the urgent nature of the situation, and I am at your disposal to meet you and exchange views on this matter.

Yours faithfully
Philip Cordery

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