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Patent office woes hit Dutch agenda

The Dutch parliament will hold a debate on the “deteriorating social situation” at the European Patent Office, following months of disputes between EPO management and staff.

A proposal for a debate was put forward by the Dutch socialist MP Sharon Gesthuizen and has received support from a majority of the Dutch parliament. It follows the dismissal of Laurent Prunier, a leader at the Staff Union at the European Patent Office (SUEPO) who was based at the EPO’s office in The Hague, by EPO president Benoit Battistelli on 4 November.

There have been ongoing disputes between the EPO management and its staff in recent years, with the latter undertaking repeated strike actions. Three SUEPO leaders have been dismissed and another downgraded by the EPO management in 2016 alone. 

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