SUEPO (Staff Union of the European Patent Office) was born in 1979 out of the “Syndicat du Personnel de l’Institut International des Brevets” (SP- IIB) which was founded in 1969, following the creation of the European Patent Office (EPO) in 1977, and the merging of the IIB into the EPO.
In agreement with its 1979 Constitution (SC), SUEPO comprises four local sections, at the four EPO sites: Munich, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna. A Congress, a Central Bureau and an Audit Board were established as central bodies of SUEPO. Despite the existence of these central bodies, the local sections enjoy quite a lot of autonomy and can be considered as quasi-independent entities. Some of them have legal status under their respective national law, like SUEPO-TH under Dutch law.
As the acronym USOEB, the French name for SUEPO, clearly suggests, SUEPO was created with the intention of being a branch of USF. Presently two of the SUEPO local sections, SUEPO-TH and SUEPO-BE, are affiliated with USF. SUEPO-MU was also affiliated in the past. Today, SUEPO is by far the largest union of the EPO, and around 40% of all EPO employees are members of it. As for other unions in international organisations, SUEPO is involved with issues that go well beyond the scope of Staff unions at the national level.