No jurisdictional immunity for the European Patent Organization

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Amsterdam, 3 February 2014 - On 14 January 2014 the provisional relief judge of the district court of The Hague gave his verdict in summary proceedings against the European Patent Organization (‘EPO’), which had been initiated by the central Staff Union of the European Patent Organization (‘SUEPO’) and the local branch in The Hague (‘VEOB The Hague’).  On the one hand, the object of the proceedings was the realization of the internationally recognized right of the unions to enter into collective bargaining with the EPO. Until then, the unions had been denied that right. On the other hand, the unions demanded the suspension of the new rules on strikes that had been introduced by the EPO as of 1 July 2013. Those rules significantly limited the internationally recognized right to strike. The EPO took the position that the provisional relief judge had no jurisdiction to consider the case because the organization enjoyed immunity from jurisdiction. However, the provisional relief judge rejected that defense.

The unions are represented by lawyers Liesbeth ZegveldChristiaan Oberman (external) and Brechtje Vossenberg

Read the press release here.

Annex (in Dutch)

  • Judgment of 14 January 2014 by the provisional relief judge 

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