Bonum Certa Men Certa

This Month's Statement From Staff of the EPO in Den Haag (Rijswijk), Composed on Behalf of Thousands of Europeans Working in The Netherlands Under Unlawful Conditions and Work Demands (Patent 'Production')

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Feb 11, 2024

A collection of photographs from the Scheveningen Beach area in Den Haag, Holland, Netherlands

Leaks related to The Netherlands coming soon

The Local Staff Committee The Hague had a General Assembly last week. It had planned to discuss - to paraphrase just a little - Recruitment and Job groups 5&6; Objective setting and vote on a resolution; Reminder appraisal reports; Update on Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP); Update on New Pension Scheme (NPS) litigation.

It is expected that related material will emerge later, resembling what EPO representatives in Munich presented a couple of weeks earlier.

Here is the resolution put forth (in relation to objective setting). It's worth noting that some words are overlapping some points brought up 12 months earlier.

DRAFT RESOLUTION on objective setting

Staff of the EPO in Den Haag (Rijswijk), gathered in a General Assembly,


• That production targets1 and work pressure have increased relentlessly in the last decade,

• The low level of staff engagement and high incidence of psychosocial risks,

• The mounting criticism from industry on patent quality2, Fears the effects of the above on:

• the health of EPO staff and their commitment to the task of the Organisation;

• the capacity of the organisation to deliver on its mission of granting legally sound patents, and

• European industry;

Further noting that:

• EPO management culture instrumentalizes the employment framework (5-year contracts, Young Professionals), the career and performance management systems to put pressure on staff to produce quantity at the expense of quality of the final products (Search, Examination, Opposition);

• the policy of reducing the workforce is at odds with the trend of increasing workload;

Urges EPO top management to:

• Implement genuine bottom-up planning which takes into account the input of staff, the true available work capacity and the time needed for peripheral but essential tasks (training, chairing, classification, etc…);

• increase recruitment of staff, especially performing core tasks (examiners and formalities officers);

• reinstate a robust and genuine quality management (DQA);

• revise the career and performance management systems to transparently recognize, incentivise and reward delivering EPC compliant, legally sound patents; and

• prioritize the task of the organisation to grant legally sound patents meeting the requirements of the EPC.

Rijswijk, 6 February 2024


1 Official average targets have increased from 79,6 to 96 products/examiner/year from 2013 to 2024, see here and p.5 and 17 of the 2024 budget

2 See also: press articles from November 2023, September 2023, July 2023

This is a concise summary of what's wrong. There are more aspects.

The Netherlands will be a recurring theme and focus for us until the month's end, just as we promised last week.

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