5 January 2016Patents

SUEPO to hold demo in support of suspended members

A staff body at the European Patent Office (EPO) will organise a demonstration this month in an attempt to pressure senior management into lifting the suspension of a number of union members.

Organised by the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO), the protest, due to be held on January 20, will begin at the Isar building at the EPO’s Munich office and finish at the Bayerische Staatskanzlei, the office of the Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer.

The protest is in solidarity with three members of SUEPO who were suspended on November 17. Elizabeth Hardon, chair of SUEPO’s Munich branch, is one of the suspended members.

Hardon has been accused of organising a harassment claim against an employee at the EPO’s office in The Hague, a claim that SUEPO has denied.

According to a SUEPO leaflet, a petition urging the suspension to be revoked has attracted almost 3,500 signatures, which has defied alleged claims from management that the three members only have the support of a “minority of staff”.

SUEPO intends to hand the petition to Seehofer.

In the leaflet, SUEPO said it will keep up the protests “until the EPO is back on track: with its staff policies (respect for fundamental rights) and with its patent policies (quality)”.

The latest development follows three other demonstrations in support of the suspended members, held on November 18, December 4 and December 10 last year.

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More on this story

8 December 2015   The European Patent Office’s staff union has said it will be holding a third demonstration in as many weeks, to tie in with the first day of a disciplinary hearing for three suspended members.
18 January 2016   European Patent Office president Benoît Battistelli has dismissed two members of the office’s staff union.
22 January 2016   More than 1,000 staff members at the European Patent Office took part in a demonstration in support of two sacked workers, it has been claimed.