US-EPO – Den Haag2023-03-23T16:25:03+01:00


SUEPO, a union in the patent world

SUEPO stands for Staff Union of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO has sites in Berlin, Munich, The Hague and Vienna. Likewise, SUEPO is made up of four local sections at the four sites. Approximately 50% of the staff of the respective sites are members.

Because SUEPO effectively has four working languages (English, French, German and Dutch in The Hague) it also has French (Union Syndicale de l’Office Européen des Brevets -USOEB) and German (Internationale Gewerkschaft im Europäischen Patentamt – IGEPA) names. All employees of the EPO are free to become members of SUEPO, since the fundamental right of “freedom of association” is guaranteed by the EPO-Codex for every employee.

Since 1969

Just as the EPO evolved from the Institut International des Brevets (IIB), SUEPO was born in 1979 out of the Syndicat du Personnel de l’Institut International des Brevets (SP-IIB) which was founded in 1969.

We represent staff interests

In the first instance, SUEPO represents the interests of its members.

SUEPO takes particular care to maintain acceptable working conditions for the Staff of the European Patent Office. This concerns not only remuneration, but also a wide range of everyday aspects of working conditions at the EPO, such as working time, working pressure and ergonomics.

Unlike Labour Law in national civil services, the rules dictating employment conditions and rights at the EPO are determined by the Office’s Administrative Council, a group of national representatives who oversee the running of the Office. These rules and rights in turn are set down in an internal Codex. The result is that a wide range of aspects of labour law normally regulated by national parliaments is determined by an organ with only limited accountability, be it only because of the fact that the supervision of the functioning of the Administrative Council is the responsibility of the parliaments of the Contracting States.

The result is that the Staff Union of the EPO is involved with issues which go beyond the scope of activities that are normally the work of Staff Unions at a national level.

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office is affiliated to the Union Syndicale Fédérale, which is a federation of staff unions which are active in institutions of the European Union as well as in other European and international organisations.

We also represent the public interest

Why?, you may ask. There are a number of reasons:

Public interest is our interest. The keyword is innovation. Innovation is the driving force behind the European economy and provides employment for our members. We are in the best position to do it. Patenting is a complex issue and citizens must be better informed of the functioning and the relevance of patents.

Contact us

SUEPO / VEOB The Hague

Chairman: Mr. Dirk Dobbelaere

Veraartlaan, 8
2288 GM Rijswijk ZH
The Netherlands
Telefon: +31 (0) 70 412 9391

22 March 202322 March 2023

Letter of Support to the Chair of the Administrative Council of EPO

By |22 March 2023|Categories: EPO, ILOAT, SUEPO|

The petition launched in October 2022 by  Union syndicale in the European Patent Office (EPO)  has met with no response. A petition to the Administrative Council of the EPO expressing the view that a Conference of the Ministers of the Contracting States provided by Art.4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) is now long overdue. Therefore, Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) wishes to support and to join the SUEPO (Staff Union of the EPO) claim to convene a Conference of the Ministers of the Contracting States under Art.4a of the EPC.  Read the letter of support from Nicolas Mavraganis, the [...]

27 September 202127 September 2021

Right of strike breached at the EPO

By |27 September 2021|Categories: EPO, Fundamental rights, SUEPO, Syndcical rights|Tags: , , |

Historical Judgments of the Administrative Tribunal  of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT) on the fundamental right to strike breached by the European Patent Office (EPO). On 7 July 2021, the ILOAT ruled that the EPO strike regulations put in place since 1 July 2013 created a regime placing several limitations on the exercise of the right to strike which was unlawful because it violated the fundamental right to strike. After 8 years of breach of a fundamental right at the EPO (including 3 years under the mandate of a new President), it is now time to take the consequences and [...]

10 December 202010 December 2020

EPO staff goes on strike on 15th December

By |10 December 2020|Categories: EPO, OEB, SUEPO, USF - Union Syndicale Fédérale|Tags: , , , |

EPO staff  goes on strike on 15th December After two and a half years of presidency of Mr. Campinos, the situation is again tense at the European Patent Office. Many of the issues inherited from the previous administration have not yet been solved, or only partially solved. In particular staff at the EPO is still denied a fair career progression and a fair and transparent reporting system. Respect for staff and staff representation, people-oriented management, decrease of work pressure and genuine social dialogue are still empty promises that have failed to materialize so far. The cases of some of the [...]

07 July 202007 July 2020

Settlement agreement reached at the EPO concerning Laurent Prunier

By |07 July 2020|Categories: EPO, Social Rights, Solidarity, Syndcical rights, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

In recent years, social dialogue at the European Patent Office has been badly damaged. Since 2014, the EPO has been strongly criticised for its directives which go against the rights and interests of employees. Legal actions have multiplied as the suffering of staff members has increased. Today, a settlement agreement has been reached at the EPO concerning Laurent Prunier . Excessive production pressure, a climate of fear, intimidation, harassment, abusive disciplinary procedures against staff and trade union representatives, censorship and non-respect of the right to strike shook the institution in particular during the mandates of Benoit Battistelli. USOEB-SUEPO*, the trade [...]

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