EPO Director Says Keep Patent Harmonisation Multilateral; Defends Staff Moves 16/06/2015 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)European Patent Office President Benoît Batistelli, in an exchange with the Legal Affairs Committee (Juri) of the European Parliament today (15 June), recommended against including harmonisation of patent policy in bilateral negotiations like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He also defended his office’s actions on heated staff matters. But he did not address a breaking allegation of EPO surveillance of computers in its building. The EPO buildings, Munich Trade negotiations are “not a good vehicle to promote harmonisation, Batistelli said. “We should privilege multilateral fora for progress on this harmonisation.” The EPO president mentioned the efforts on substantive patent law harmonisation by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Another positive effort he mentioned was the IP5 initiative (among the patent offices of the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Europe) that recently endorsed a vision statement for five priorities with regard to the “global dossier” and “patent information.” With regard to the unitary patent of the European Union, Batistelli announced that the office expects to grant the first unitary patents in 2016. So far seven of the necessary 13 member states have ratified the agreement. A core disagreement is about the renewal fees for patents. The EPO, according to Batistelli, favours a “top 4” solution [pdf]. In this case, fees would be calculated on the basis of fees of the top four patent-validating countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Reporting on reforms of the administration of the Patent Office, Batistelli acknowledged that there “is a part of the staff which is not satisfied,” and that the dissatisfaction has “sometimes taken extreme forms.” But he said the reform had been well prepared and has the “unanimous support” of member states. Kostas Chryogonos, member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, asked a question about potential violations of international labour law with regard to limiting EPO employees’ right to strike. Batistelli answered that he supported some rules that ensured that strike was a means of last resource. Unfortunately, last year there were 22 days of strike with a participation of 12 percent. Strikes are not precluded, he underlined, and the organisation acted within International Labour Organization rules. There have been many court cases and the organisation has won them, he said. At the same time, he asked the members of the Juri committee to consider that the “social package we are able to provide is very generous.” Neither Batistelli nor the members of the Committee addressed the recent complaints about surveillance of workstations in a general area of the EPO at its premises in Munich (IPW, European Policy, 11 June 2015). Image Credits: EPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."EPO Director Says Keep Patent Harmonisation Multilateral; Defends Staff Moves" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.