Working conditions at the European Patent Office (EPO) have been the subject of persistent criticism for years now. The trade union federation USF recently sent a letter to all 38 of the EPO’s delegations. In the letter, the USF’s chair, Dr Bernd Loescher, describes the situation at the EPO as ‘extreme’.
USF is the largest Federation of unions in the European international public service and has been following with great concern the situation at the European Patent Office (EPO) which deserves to be labelled as extreme. A number of shocking events around social policy and rule of law issues at the EPO were reported upon in various media over the last few years. These reports also reveal fundamental flaws in the institutional setup of the EPO taken in combination with its assigned jurisdiction, the ILOAT.
Several questions were arisen by a Danish MP :
1. What are the Commission’s views on the criticism that has been raised about working conditions at the EPO?
2. How is the Commission planning to follow up on the criticism about working conditions at the EPO?
Excerpt of an article on Kluwer Patent Blog :
Back to sad old days at the European Patent Office. Last Thursday, hundreds of EPO staff members protested outside the Portuguese Embassy in The Hague against the lack of justice and deteriorating working conditions at the EPO. They are also concerned about the way the management is pushing for reforms without proper consultation of staff representatives.
It was the first time a protest was held in The Hague under the presidency of EPO president António Campinos, who has the Portuguese nationality. Last month, a demonstration was organized in Munich around the meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Campinos has been in office since July 2018 after years marked by unrest and conflicts under his predecessor Benoit Battistelli. Despite many conversations with staff members and pledges to improve the social climate, his presidency has disillusioned many.