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Parliamentary questions
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16 February 2015
E-002507-15
Question for written answer E-002507-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Rights of staff and ethical standards at the European Patent Office
 Answer in writing 

Reports are emerging of an unpleasant working environment and staff intimidation at the European Patent Office (EPO). Further information can be found on the EPO Staff Union website(1). Because of the importance of the EPO for EU patents legislation, the Commission cannot afford to ignore the problem.

1. Does the Commission still intend to work together with the EPO on the single European patent?

2. If so, what guarantees have been or will be given to the Commission regarding respect for the trade union and other rights of EPO staff?

In addition to the rights of staff members, a number of ethical issues are also arising within the EPO, including the recruitment and dismissal of senior officials. For example EPO President, Benoît Battistelli, has succeeded in dissolving the Audit Committee and replacing a number of executives with a team of his own choice that is suspected of corruption(2).

3. What guarantees has the Commission obtained to satisfy it regarding the integrity of the EPO?

(1)http://www.suepo.org/public/news
(2)See for example the ZAMP affair and controversies surrounding other questionable practices (http://techrights.org/2015/02/11/zeljko-topic-kopcic-and-sanader).

Original language of question: NL 
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