11.09.15

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European Federation of Public Service Unions Pressures Dutch Prime Minister to Take Action Against the EPO’s Violations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPSU/FNV letter

Summary: A joint UPSU/FNV letter, in defence of the rule of law and human rights, calls for immediate action against the EPO with its inexcusable immunity

EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, and FVN, its Dutch affiliate, have just done something very important which can pave the way to serious political actions and interventions, like those that we saw earlier this year.

Shown above is an open letter to Dutch Prime Minister, titled: “Abuse of immunity by the EPO on the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The source of this letter accompanied it with a press release, titled: “European Patent Office does not live in a Dutch no man’s land” (original at http://www.epsu.org/a/11777)

For readers’ information, here is the accompanying press release as well, adding to recent pressure from the I.L.O. (which has had a lot of rulings against/regarding the EPO, including some high-profile examples [PDF]).


(EPSU/FNV Press Release, Brussels 06 November 2015) In a joint letter, EPSU, the European Public Service Union, and its Dutch affiliate, FNV, call upon the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to take action against breaches of fundamental workers’ rights at the European Patent Office based in the Hague, Netherlands.

“The media have reported on EPO’s unacceptable management led by its President, Mr Battistelli.”The European Patent Office’s core activity is the examination of patent applications and the grant of European patents.

The media have reported on EPO’s unacceptable management led by its President, Mr Battistelli.

In a ruling of 17 February, the Hague-based appeal Court instructed EPO to uphold the rule-of-law and social dialogue standards in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and ILO Conventions No87, on the right to organise in trade unions, and No 98 on the right to collective bargaining.

“The Dutch government must not tolerate these abusive practices on its own territory that bring back workers to the 19th century.”
      –Marieke Manschot
EPO responded that the court ruling was not executable on the ground that it enjoys immunity. The Dutch government is currently backing the EPO in a case before the Dutch constitutional court aiming at declaring the Dutch judiciary system as incompetent to issue such rulings.

“Refusal to cooperate with labour inspectors, repetitive threats towards union representatives, breaches of data protection rules, these are just examples of EPO’s managerial practices. The Dutch government must not tolerate these abusive practices on its own territory that bring back workers to the 19th century. There must be limits to immunity” says FNV union official Marieke Manschot

“They must accept the fact that they don’t live in a legal no man’s land.”
      –Jan Willem Goudriaan
“It is EPO’s whole governance that is deficient. European and international organisations must respect labour law and trade unions. They must accept the fact that they don’t live in a legal no man’s land. Immunity has been designed to facilitate international cooperation and protect those functions or people who need protection, not to abuse workers” says EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan

EPSU and FNV expect clear answers from Prime Minister Rutte on efficient and fast measures to remedy the situation at EPO.

See EPSU/FNV letter to Prime Minister Rutte sent on 04 November 2015 below.

Contact persons:
- Netherlands: FNV Marieke Manschot, mmanschot@abvakabo.nl
- Belgium: EPSU Nadja Salson nsalson@epsu.org


The EPO scandals are escalating in terms of severity because the EPO now resorts to militarism [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Tomorrow we will have some articles about the US and the European patent systems. A lot remains to be said.

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A Single Comment

  1. Dr.Guinness said,

    November 10, 2015 at 7:37 am

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    As you will understand that am I very happy with this letter and the accompanyingpress release, titled: “European Patent Office does not live in a Dutch no man’s land” of the European Federation of Public Service Unions and the Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (English: Dutch Federation of Trade Unions; FNV) in which the Dutch prime minister Marc Rutte is pressurized to take action against the many violations
    within the EPO. ¨¨Le feu sous les culs de l’équipage Battistelli devient maintenant un peu plus chaud¨. (The fire under the asses of the Battistelli crew becomes now a bit hotter). But also in Germany the EPO refuses to cooperate with external independent labour inspectors. So parallel pressure and actions also there should be intensified.
    The Dutch prime minister Marc Rutte and his minister of security and justice Ard van der Steur are of the same political party as the retired minister Opstelten, namely the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy – the ¨VVD¨. Opstelten took it simple and instructed the bailiff to not enforce the judgement of the The Court of Appeal in The Hague because the organisation enjoys immunity from enforcement under international law. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy – the ¨VVD¨voted against the motion that was voted on by the Dutch Parliament.
    “The House, having heard the deliberations, is of the opinion that the conduct of directors of international organisations which has no relationship to their international representation but which does result in a breach of national rules, should not be covered by diplomatic immunity; finds that in April 2014 the government presented a Plan of Approach with measures for taking more severe action against persons with diplomatic immunity who have breached the law of the Netherlands, finds that those measures only address traffic fines and criminal offences and do not address breaches of employee rights as established at the European Patent Organisation by the Court; requests the government, within the limits of the treaties, to do all that is possible to force the European Patent Organisation to adhere to international legislation, and proceeds to the order of the day.”.
    The results of the vote is in favour 98 votes and agaist 52 votes.
    Wait and see what these VVD ministers are doing now. Continuing protecting the BB-crew ? Morever what were the Administrative Council representatives of the Netherlands and Germany doing until now?

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