Communiqués


Munich, 28 October 2016

20th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 25 October 2016)

The Select Committee held its 20th meeting in Munich on 25 October 2016.

The Committee noted the results of a questionnaire on national measures accompanying the implementation of the Unitary Patent.

It further noted an oral report given by the Office on the technical, namely IT, implementation of the Unitary Patent and on pre-certification of the Unitary Patent under ISO 9001.

The Committee unanimously approved the Administrative instructions under Article 7 of the Rules relating to the Distribution of Fees amongst the participating member states and noted that this completed the legal preparation of the Unitary Patent.

Finally, the Committee noted that the next meeting would take place at the latest in March 2017 or earlier, depending on the development of the question of the entry into force of the UPP/UPC at the political level, within the framework of the European Union.

Select Committee Secretariat



Munich, 14 October 2016

149th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 12 and 13 October 2016)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 149th meeting in Munich on 12 and 13 October 2016 under the chairmanship of Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.

After the Chairman's report on the most recent meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the Council noted the activities report given by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli (to be published shortly on this website). The Council was pleased with the excellent results achieved by the Office in terms of efficiency and productivity but again stressed the need to be conscious of any possible impact on quality. The Council urged staff and management to use the momentum of the Social Conference, held just ahead of the Council meeting, in order to further the social dialogue and work together to find solutions.

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments and reappointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and a Chairman and of legally and technically qualified members of the Board of Appeals.

Later, under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard a status report on the Unitary patent and related developments, given by the Slovak delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2016.

The Council made the following appointments to the Boards of Appeal Committee each for a three-year term, starting on 13 October 2016

a) from among the delegations:

Mr Roland Grossenbacher(CH) and his alternate Mr Derk-Jan De Groot (NL),

Ms Patricia García-Escudero (ES) and her alternate Mr Jorma Hanski (FI),

Ms Bucura Ionescu (RO) and her alternate Ms Catherine Margellou (GR)

b) from among former or serving judges:

Mr Klaus Bacher (DE), Mr Justice Birss (GB) and Mr Are Stenvik (NO). Alternate members in this category would be appointed at the next Council meeting. The Council noted that the Board of Appeals Committee and the President would make a joint proposal for appointment of the President of the Boards of Appeal in time for the next Council meeting.

By way of further appointments to the Council's own bodies, in each case for a three-year term, starting on 15 December 2016, the Council:

-elected Mr Josef Kratochvíl (CZ) deputy chairman of the Council,

re-elected Mr Lex Kaufhold (LU) deputy chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; and

-elected Mr Vojko Toman (SI) member of the Board of the Administrative Council.

It also elected Ms Delfina Autiero (IT) member representing the Administrative Council within the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) with effect from 12 October 2016. 

On a proposal from the President, the Council decided to extend until 31 December 2018 the appointments of Mr Alberto Casado (ES) and Mr ZeljkoTopic (HR), Vice-Presidents in charge of Directorate-General 2 and 4 respectively.

Finally, the Council noted, as a first step in a longer process, comprehensive social and financial studies and had an exchange of views on reviewing the disciplinary procedures framework.

Council Secretariat  


1 July 2016

Communication from the Chairmen of the UPC Preparatory Committee and the EPO Select Committee dealing with the Unitary Patent

The work of the Preparatory Committee and the Select Committee is far advanced and expected to be completed before the end of the year. Last week's vote in the United Kingdom in favour of leaving the European Union has given rise to questions concerning the future of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent Protection.

At this stage it is too early to assess what the impact of this vote on the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent Protection eventually could be.

This will largely depend on political decisions to be taken in the course of the next months. It has to be recalled that for the time being the United Kingdom remains a Member State of the European Union and a Signatory State of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.

Pending more clarity about different possible scenarios the chairmen of the Preparatory Committee and the Select Committee are of the opinion that the work dedicated to the technical implementation should continue to progress as envisaged, in accordance with the mandate of both Committees and in line with the clear wish of the user community to bring the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent into operation as soon as possible.



Munich, 29 and 30 June 2016

148th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 29 and 30 June 2016)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 148th meeting on 29 and 30 June 2016 in Munich under the chairmanship of Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.

After having taken note of the chairman's activities report, the Council heard the President of the European Patent Office on the latest developments within the Office. The Council expressed its satisfaction on results achieved so far in various areas.

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments and reappointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, of Chairmen and of legally and technically qualified members of the Board of Appeals.

Mr Sandris Laganovskis, Head of the Latvian delegation, was elected Deputy Chairman of the Technical and Operational Support Committee with immediate effect.

The Council then appointed Mr Thomas Groffmann as Administrator of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security on a 5-year renewable contract.

The Council approved a comprehensive package of reform of the Boards of Appeal, submitted by the President following an extensive preparation conducted in close co-operation with the Board of the Administrative Council. The aims are to increase the organisational and managerial autonomy of the Boards and also their efficiency. The reform operates within the existing framework of the European Patent Convention, without requiring its revision.

This reform constitutes a landmark step for reinforcing the status, efficiency and long-term sustainability of the EPO's appeal system. It aligns the organisation and functioning of the Boards with national, European and international developments in the judiciary. It covers five main elements:a new institutional framework, a specific career system, the regulation of potential conflicts of interest, the allocation of a separate building and the improvement of the cost coverage of the appeal system. The corresponding Council decisions will be published in the next days.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Dutch delegation, representing the country holding the EU Presidency for the first half of 2016, reported on the latest developments concerning the Unitary Patent.

The Council then had an exchange of views on a disciplinary case involving a Council appointee and mandated its chairman to elaborate a proposal to be submitted at its next meeting.

The Council also had an exchange on the follow-up of its March 2016 resolution and decided to come back to the different topics addressed in that resolution at a next meeting. The Council reiterated its wish for an in-depth discussion on the social situation at the Office.

Concerning Financial and Budgetary matters, the Council, on the basis of the unanimous favourable opinion previously given by the Budget and Finance Committee, unanimously approved an amendment of the Rules relating to Fees (see Decision CA/D 4/16).

The Council, following the recommendation given by the Board of Auditors, unanimously approved the accounts for the 2015 accounting period and discharged the President and the Fund Administrator.

The Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the initial 2017 budgetary orientations presented by the President.

Finally, the Council paid tribute to two of its long standing members, namely Yves Lapierre, Head of the French delegation and Mihály Ficsor, Deputy Head of the Hungarian delegation.



Munich, 21 March 2016

19th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 15 March 2016)

The Select Committee held its 19th meeting in Munich on 15 March 2016.

The Committee discussed the basic specifications of the technical systems for the data transfer in relation to Unitary Patent Protection (UPP) between the EPO and the national Offices and noted that it would return to this topic on 20 May 2016 at a workshop.

The Committee had a first reading of the draft Administrative instructions under Article 7 of the Rules relating to the Distribution of Fees amongst the participating member states and gave its opinion on this first draft.

The Committee had an exchange of information on the possible implementation at the national level of a safety net provision in case of late rejection of a UPP request.

The Committee re-elected Jérôme Debrulle (BE) chairman of the Committee and elected Simona Marzetti (IT) deputy chairwoman, each for a term of three years with effect from 20 March 2016.

It noted that the next meeting would take place in September 2016.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 17 March 2016

147th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 16 March 2016)

The Administrative Council held its 147th meeting in Munich on 16 March 2016, with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's activities report, covering in particular the last two meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the Council noted the activities report given by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli. The Council was pleased with the excellent results achieved by the Office in terms of production and productivity but expressed concern about the social climate and discussed quality.

Following an in-depth discussion, the Council approved, in agreement with the President, a resolution on the social situation (see the document below).

The Council re-elected its chairman for a term of three years starting on 1 July 2016. It made two appointments to the Supervisory Board of the Academy and a number of appointments to the Boards of Appeal.

The Council noted information provided by the Office on the envisaged structural reform of the EPO Boards of Appeal.

The Council heard reports on the Select Committee 19th meeting (see separate report on this website) as well as on the unitary patent, the latter delivered by the Netherlands delegation representing the country holding the EU presidency in the first half of 2016.

Council Secretariat

 
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL ON 16 MARCH 2016

The AC,

in its capacity as supervisory organ of the EPOrg -

having repeatedly expressed its deep concerns about the social unrest within the EPOffice;

having repeatedly urged the EPOffice President and the trade unions to reach a consensus on an MOU which would establish a framework for negotiation between social partners;

noting that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against staff or trade union representatives have, among other reasons, made it more difficult to reach such a consensus;

noting that these disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are widely being questioned in the public opinion;

recalling the importance and the urgency of the structural reform of the BOA;

recognizing the important institutional role of the AC and its dependence on a well-resourced and independent secretariat;

Calls on both parties to the social dialogue to recognize their responsibilities and to work diligently and in good faith to find a way forward, and:

Requests the EPOffice President -

to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation

pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions;

to submit to the AC a draft revision of the Staff Regulations which incorporates investigation guidelines (including the investigation unit) and disciplinary procedures which have been reviewed and amended;

to achieve, within the framework of the tripartite negotiations, an MOU simultaneously with both trade unions, which would have no pre-conditions or exclude any topics from future discussions;

to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for immediate implementation of the structural reform of the BOA, on the lines of the 5 points agreed by the AC at its December 2015 meeting and of the legal advice given by Prof. Sarooshi, and taking into account comments from the Presidium of the BOA;

to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for reinforcement of the AC secretariat and a clarification of its position in terms of governance.


Requests the staff representation and the Trade Unions -

to acknowledge the importance of firm and fair disciplinary procedures; and to respond constructively to the initiatives set out above, in particular to work rapidly to an agreement on Union recognition without preconditions.


Munich, 21 December 2015

146th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 16 and 17 December 2015)

The Administrative Council held its 146th meeting on 16 and 17 December 2015 in Munich, with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's activities report, covering in particular the last meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office Benoît Battistelli gave an update on developments at the Office since the previous Council meeting. The Council was particularly pleased with the remarkable results achieved by the Office in terms of production, productivity and quality. It nevertheless again expressed concern about the deteriorated social climate and called for initiatives and genuine efforts from all parties involved to seek compromise solutions to end a situation detrimental to the proper functioning of the Office and the public image of the whole Organisation. The Council hoped that the independent, external social study to be launched at the beginning of 2016 would be a significant contribution to improvement.

The Council proceeded with a series of appointments, first to DG 3, with a member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and a number of members of the Boards of Appeal being reappointed, then to its Disciplinary Committee. The members of the Appeals Committee appointed by the Council were also reappointed for one year.

The Council then had an exchange of views on the envisaged structural reform of the EPO Boards of Appeal. It mandated its Board 28 to elaborate guidelines to serve as a basis to the President for the drafting of concrete proposals to be submitted for decision to the Council possibly at its March 2016 meeting.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard the report of the chairman of the Select Committee on its 17th and 18th meetings and was very pleased with the agreements formalised during the 18th meeting, the day before the beginning of the Council meeting (see separate report on this website).

The Council also took several decisions concerning fees (Biennial fee adjustment, Reduction of the fee for the supplementary European search where the international search report or supplementary international search report was drawn up by another European ISA, Adjustment of the concept underlying the reduction of the search price for specific categories of applicants from member states with working agreements on search co-operation).

Concerning Personnel/Policy matters, the Council approved 2 amendments to the Service Regulations, but rejected a proposal aiming at amending the tax adjustment system applicable to beneficiaries of pensions paid by the Office, the required qualified majority having not been reached.

Finally, the Council unanimously approved the Budget and Table of Posts for 2016. This budget includes the salary adjustments, which were also unanimously approved by the Council.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 15 Decmeber 2015

18th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 15 December 2015)

The Select Committee held its 18th meeting in Munich on 15 December 2015.

The Committee adopted the Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection, the Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection, the Rules relating to the distribution of fees amongst the participating Member States as well as the Budgetary and Financial Rules.

With the adoption of these Rules, the Committee has put into place a comprehensive and complete secondary legal framework for the unitary patent and has thus completed the implementation thereof.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 18 November 2015

17th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 17 November 2015)

The Select Committee held its 17th meeting in Munich on 17 November 2015.

The Committee adopted the distribution key for the repartition of the 50% share of the participating Member States in the renewal fee income among them. This means that the second main aspect of the financial implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection has been adopted, following the preliminary agreement in June 2015 on the level of renewal fees (True Top 4) for European patents with unitary effect.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 16 October 2015

16th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 13 October 2015)

The Select Committee held its 16th meeting in Munich on 13 October 2015.

The Committee welcomed Italy as the 26th participating Member State in the enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of Unitary Patent Protection. According to Article 331(1) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, the European Commission has on the 30 of September confirmed the participation of Italy in the enhanced cooperation. The decision of the Commission has been published on the 1st of October in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Committee made good progress on the remaining financial aspects of the implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection. It gave an opinion on the proposed distribution key which will determine the distribution of the participating Member States' share in the renewal fee income among them. It also gave an opinion on the draft Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection.

It is intended to present both items for decision at the next meeting of the Select Committee on the 17th of November.

Lastly, the Committee welcomed and supported a presentation from the European Commission on envisaged measures at EU level in order to make the Unitary Patent Protection more attractive for SMEs. The Committee encourages strongly the European Commission to continue its work on the envisaged measures which should facilitate access for innovative SMEs to the European Patent System.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 15 October 2015

145th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 14-15 October 2015)

The Administrative Council held its 145th meeting in Munich on 14 and 15 October 2015 with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's report on the most recent meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, presented his activities report (to be published shortly on this website). The Council congratulated the President, his management team and the Office staff for excellent results achieved in the period under review.

Later, the Council heard a status report on the Unitary patent and related developments, given by the Luxembourg delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2015.

The Council further heard the reports of the Chairman of the Select Committee on its 16th meeting, held just ahead of the Council meeting, and of the Chairman of the Committee on Patent Law on the Committee's 45th meeting.

Concerning "Legal and International Affairs" the Council adopted a set of amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC regarding handwritten amendments in opposition - Rule 82(EPC), on the one hand, and constitution, maintenance and preservation of files - Rule 147, on the other hand (the corresponding decisions CA/D 9/15 and CA/D 10/15 will be published shortly on this website).

The Council was informed of the results of a user consultation on the orientations for a structural reform of the EPO Boards of Appeal which had been presented to and endorsed by the Council at its 143rd meeting in March 2015.

The Council decided to initiate a review of the social situation at the European Patent Office after five years of reform setting and implementation.

Several measures could contribute to a possible progress in this context:

  • continuing the exercise aiming at staff union recognition, despite the difficulties met
  • aiming at the elaboration of a negotiation strategy preserving all the results already obtained
  • launching an independent external social study, in close co-operation with the President

The Council also dealt with the facts established by its Disciplinary Committee in a recent case involving a high-ranking EPO staff member having judicial functions. As to this case:

  • The Council took note of the assessment by the President of the Office of the seriousness of the misconduct at issue.
  • The Council observed that the Disciplinary Committee expressed the view that the relevant rules and general principles of law were correctly applied throughout the investigative and disciplinary procedure and assessed the facts brought forward during the investigation.
  • The Disciplinary Committee focussed on acts of unauthorised disclosure of non-public information and critical opinions relating to Board of Appeal activities outside the EPO, while using pseudonyms as well on activities of spreading accusations and attacks or threats against the EPO and its members, either directly or indirectly using anonymous statements and pseudonyms, both inside and outside the EPO. The Disciplinary Committee concluded that the appropriate sanction is dismissal pursuant to Article 93(2)(f) of the EPO Service Regulations.
  • The Council endorsed the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee that the appropriate disciplinary measure is dismissal. Pursuant to Article 23(1) EPC, the removal from office of a member of the Boards of Appeal is possible on a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal. Such procedure can be initiated by the Administrative Council in accordance with Article 12a of the Rules of Procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal.
  • As a consequence, the Council requested the Enlarged Board of Appeal to make a proposal for the removal from office of said staff member.

Munich, 29 June 2015

144th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 24-25 June 2015)


The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 144th meeting on 24 and 25 June in Munich, with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, holding the chair.

After the Chairman's activities report, covering in particular the last meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office gave an update of developments at the Office since the previous meeting. The Council was particularly pleased to note that reforms had started to produce results in terms of production and productivity. A debate took place on the social situation at the Office following the decision taken in March to resume the social dialogue with the concrete aim to reach the recognition of the trade unions. The Council expressed cautious optimism about the negotiation process initiated, and insisted on the necessity of genuine efforts from all parties involved.

The Council was also informed of the state of play regarding the disciplinary procedure against a Staff member appointed by the Council. The opinion and recommendation of the Disciplinary Council have been transferred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal in accordance with Article 23 EPC, and the Council will come back to the case for a final decision as soon as possible

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments, first to DG 3, with a number of chairmen and members of the Boards of Appeal being reappointed, then to its own bodies: Johannes Kärcher (DE) was re-elected deputy chairman of the Committee on Patent Law for a three-year term, starting on 25 October 2015. Gerald Pilz (AT) was appointed as member representing the Administrative Council within the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) for a three-year term, starting on 1 July 2015.  Otto Scharff (NO) was appointed member of Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation for a three-year term, starting on 1 July 2015.

Important decisions were also taken regarding the top management of the Office. On a proposal from the President, the Council decided to extend until 31 December 2018 the appointments of Guillaume Minnoye (BE) and Raimund Lutz (DE), respectively Vice-President in charge of General Direction 1 and Vice-President in charge of General Direction 5.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard the report of the chairman of the Select Committee (set up by the 25 EPC contracting states participating in the enhanced co-operation on unitary patent protection to supervise the EPO's activities related to the tasks entrusted to it in the context of unitary protection) on the 2 meetings of the committee held since the previous Council meeting (see Communiqués on the 14th and 15th meetings of the Select Committee on this website).

The chairman of the B+ Group then reported on recent developments in the area of Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation.

Concerning Personnel/Policy and Operational matters, the Council first took note of the Office's Social report for the year 2014. It thereby observed that thanks to excellent working conditions and a generous social package the Office remains an attractive employer.

The Council then approved transitional provisions for the implementation of the new career system for employees appointed in accordance with Article 11(3) of the European Patent Convention as chair or members of the Boards of Appeal. It was agreed that those transitional provisions will apply until any further decision has been taken on the matter of the structural reform of the Boards.

The Accounts for the 2014 accounting period were unanimously approved by the Council, which, following the Board of Auditors recommendation in their report, also decided to discharge the President and the Administrator of the Funds in 2014.

Finally the Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the initial 2016 budgetary orientations presented by the President of the Office.


Munich, 24 June 2015

15th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 23-24 June 2015)

The Select Committee held its 15th meeting in Munich on 23 and 24 June 2015.

The Committee took a preliminary decision on the EPO's True TOP 4 proposal for renewal fees for European patents with unitary effect. This proposal provides fee levels corresponding to the equivalent of the renewal fees which have to be paid for the four countries out of the twenty-five EU participating member states in which European patents are currently most often validated. This fee level will be attractive for business, in particular SMEs. The use of the Unitary Patent Protection for SMEs will be monitored and given specific attention.

Furthermore, the Committee made good progress on the draft Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection to which it will return at its next meeting after the summer break.

Finally, the Committee had a very fruitful exchange of views on the distribution key for the repartition of the share of renewal fees between the EU participating member states. It endorsed its aim to reach a final decision on the distribution key and the draft Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection in the autumn of 2015.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 28 May 2015

14th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 26-27 May 2015)

The Select Committee held its 14th meeting in Munich on 26 and 27 May 2015.

The Committee discussed two adjusted alternative proposals for the level of renewal fees submitted by the European Patent Office. These proposals foresee fee levels of respectively the equivalent of the renewal fees which have to be paid for the four or five countries out of the twenty-five EU participating member states in which most European patents are currently validated (a "true" TOP 4 and a "true" TOP 5- in contrast to the previous approach, the EPO's internal renewal fees are no longer taken into account). The "true" TOP 5 proposal in addition foresees a 25% fee reduction for the first ten years of the lifetime of the patent for specific entities such as SMEs, universities and public research institutions. Member States held an exchange of views with some Member States not yet able to take a concrete position on these proposals.

The Committee also noted documents submitted by the European Patent Office concerning a comparison of fees and external costs between a European Patent and a Unitary Patent, as well as Updated Unitary Patent cost estimates.

The Committee had a first preliminary exchange of views on the outline of possible provisions for the draft Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection.

The Committee continued exchanging views on the distribution key for the repartition of the share of renewal fees between the EU participating member states.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 27 March 2015

143rd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 25 and 26 March 2015)


The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 143rd meeting on 25 and 26 March 2015 with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

The Council addressed the issue of the social climate at the EPO. After an extensive debate, the Council decided to give the highest priority to the restoration of the social dialogue. On a proposal of the President, the Council agreed to address a long-standing issue at the Office – the formal recognition of the trade unions in the EPO legal framework. The Chairman and the President issued a joint statement, containing a call for such a renewed dialogue (see this website). The trade unions will be invited shortly for a kick-off meeting with representatives of both the Council and the Office, to be held in April already.

The Council had an exchange of views on an orientation document submitted by the President on a structural reform of the Boards of Appeal. The aim is to ensure the independence of the Boards and to reinforce the general perception of their autonomy, within the framework of the European Patent Convention. The Council gave its general support to the policy lines as presented. First concrete proposals will be elaborated for decision at the next Council meeting, in June 2015. These proposals will have to take due account of contributions received as a result of a broad consultation of stakeholders, to be launched shortly.

The Council established its Disciplinary Committee for 2015. Chairman is Sir Konrad Schiemann, a UK judge with both national and international substantial experience and reputation. The Council also unanimously approved amendments to the rules of procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, aiming at establishing the modalities of application of Article 23 EPC.

The Council approved a reform of the EPO sick leave regulations and invalidity scheme.

The Council stressed the importance of a transparent, efficient and consistent communication on the overall strategy defined to meet the challenges ahead. The Council decided to strengthen its efforts in this matter. The Chairman will develop a policy and instruments to this end.

Finally, the Council proceeded with a series of appointments, first to the Boards of Appeal, then to its own bodies. Christoph Ernst (DE) was elected chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, for a three-year term, starting on 27 June 2015; Borghildur Erlingsdóttir (IS) and Derk-Jan De Groot (NL) were elected as members of the Board of the Administrative Council for a three-year term, starting on 27 June 2015; Christian Bock (CH) was appointed Deputy chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) for a three-year term, starting on 1 July 2015; Hannes Schuh (AT) was reappointed as member of the Board of Auditors, for a five-year term, starting on 1 July 2015.

Council Secretariat 


Munich, 25 March 2015

13th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 23-24 March 2015)

The Select Committee held its 13th meeting in Munich on 23 and 24 March 2015.

The Committee discussed two alternative proposals on the level of renewal fees submitted by the European Patent Office. These proposals foresee fee levels of respectively the equivalent of the renewal fees which have to be paid for the four or five countries out of the twenty-five EU participating member states in which most European patents are currently validated (TOP 4 and TOP 5). The TOP 5 proposal in addition foresees a 25% fee reduction for the first ten years of the lifetime of the patent for specific entities such as SMEs, universities and public research institutions. Member States held a first exchange of views with most Member States not yet able to take a concrete position on these proposals.

The Committee also continued exchanging views on the distribution key for the repartition of the share of renewal fees between the EU participating member states. Member States exchanged views on the way the different criteria which compose the distribution key, should be defined and weighted.

The Committee exchanged views on the level of the compensation scheme for the reimbursement of translation costs of European patent applications filed in an EU official language other than an EPO official language.

Lastly, the Committee once more confirmed its commitment to take, by the end of June 2015, the appropriate decisions on the financial and budgetary aspects of the implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection.

Select Committee Secretariat

Munich, 15 December 2014

11th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 9 December 2014)

The Select Committee held its 11th meeting in Munich on 9 December 2014.

The Committee approved in principle the Draft Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection except for the draft Rule on financial issues which would be discussed later on in the framework of budgetary and financial issues. The consolidated version of the draft Rules will be made available on this website shortly.

Work on the level of renewal fees continued on the basis of additional simulations of fee level scenarios submitted by the Office.

The Committee launched preparatory work on the distribution key for the repartition of renewal fees between the EU participating member states.

Lastly, the Committee has agreed on the organisation of its work during the first semester 2015 in order to take by the end of June 2015 the appropriate decisions on the financial and budgetary aspects of the implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 12 December 2014

142nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 10 and 11 December 2014)


The Administrative Council held its 142nd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2014
with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's report on the last meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, presented his activities report. The Council expressed its clear satisfaction.

The Council then exchanged information on strategic matters within the Organisation and on the social climate and addressed a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC, reported separately on this website.

Further, the Council proceeded with a series of appointments and re-appointments to positions in the boards of appeal.

Later, the Council heard status reports on the Unitary patent and related developments as well as on substantive patent law harmonisation.

Lastly, the Council adopted a reform of the career system as well as the draft budget for 2015.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 12 December 2014

Communique on decisions taken by the Administrative Council at its 142nd meeting concerning senior employees and appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Appeal


The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 142nd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2014 under the chairmanship of Jesper KONGSTAD (DK).

The Council addressed a number of points concerning senior employees and the Boards of Appeal. Specifically, the Council addressed disciplinary arrangements applicable to senior employees appointed by the Council under Article 11 (1)(2)(3) EPC and, noting its obligations under Article 11(4) EPC, agreed to set up a Council Disciplinary Committee.

The Council took this opportunity to reiterate its full endorsement of and support for the principle of independence of the members of the Boards of Appeal, as specifically set out in Article 23 EPC and generally embodied in internationally recognised principles of judicial independence.  

The Council also made four re-appointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and Chairmen and legally qualified members of the of Boards of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(3) EPC, as well as a total of twelve appointments and re-appointments of legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(5) EPC.  

On a proposal from the President of the Office, the Council addressed and carefully considered a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC.  As a precautionary and conservative measure without anticipating any further steps which may ensue, the Council unanimously decided to suspend the person concerned from active duty on full salary until 31 March 2015. The Council requested the investigation to be completed as soon as possible, in order to allow it to decide on the next steps. The Council expressed its concern at an incident unique in the history of EPO.

Details of the appointments and reappointments as well as of other decisions taken by the Council at this meeting will be published separately.

Council Secretariat  


Munich, 29 October 2014

10th meeting of the Select Committee of EU Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (Munich, 28 and 29 October 2014)

The Select Committee held its 10th meeting in Munich on 28 and 29 October 2014.

The Committee approved certain technical adaptations to the Draft Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection and left one technical aspect for further discussion in December. The consolidated version of the draft Rules will be made available on this website following the December meeting of the Committee.

Work on the level of renewal fees continued on the basis of a presentation given by the Office on the estimated costs of unitary patent protection. This work will continue in December. The Committee also noted and discussed a simulation concerning fee reductions for SME's.

Lastly, the Committee agreed to launch work on the distribution key for the repartition of renewal fees between the participating member states.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 17 October 2014

141st meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 15 October 2014)


The Administrative Council held its 141st meeting in Munich on 15 October 2014
with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's report on the last meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, presented his activities report which will be published shortly on this website. The Council expressed its full support and clear satisfaction.

The Council then exchanged information on strategic matters within the Organisation and the social climate.

Further, the Council proceeded with a series of appointments. Matthias Bank (DE) was appointed chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security for a three-year term, starting on 1 January 2015. Salih BektaƟ (TR) and Gábor Németh (HU) were appointed deputy members of the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation for a three-year term starting on 15 October 2014.

Later, the Council heard a status report on the Unitary patent and related developments, given by the Italian delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2014.

Concerning substantive patent law harmonisation, the Council debated conclusions to draw from the Final Consolidated Report on the Tegernsee User Consultation. The majority of those who spoke were in favour of a multilateral solution and the so-called Group B + process.

Lastly, the Council adopted a set of amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC concerning, among others, postal services and electronic communication (the corresponding decision - CA/D 6/14 - will be published shortly on this website).

Council Secretariat


Munich, 24 June 2014

9th meeting of the Select Committee of Participating Member States in the enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent Protection (The Hague, 24 June 2014)

The Select Committee held its 9th meeting in The Hague on 24 June 2014.

The Committee has adopted in principle the Draft Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection, with the exception of some technical aspects that require further discussion and one rule relating to financial aspects that will be discussed after the summer holiday together with other financial issues.. These draft Rules concern the procedures that will be applied by the EPO in carrying out the administrative tasks relating to the European patent with unitary effect.

Work on the level of renewal fees which will have to be fixed by the participating Member States in the Select Committee continued on the basis of two further presentations given by the Office on simulations of fee scenarios and their financial implications for the Office. This work will continue in October.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 27 June 2014

140th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (The Hague, 25 and 26 June 2014)


The Administrative Council held its 140th meeting in The Hague on 25 and 26 June 2014
with Jesper KONGSTAD, Director General of the Danish Patent Office in the chair.

The Council elected Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ) as Chairman of the Technical and Operational Support Committee (TOSC) with effect from 26 October 2014 and Bucura IONESCU (RO) as deputy chairman of the TOSC with effect from 1 July 2014 as well as Patricia GARCIA-ESCUDERO (ES) and
Marco DINIS (PT) as members of the Supervisory Board of the Academy with effect from 26 June 2014.

In 2011 the Council adopted a quality/efficiency strategy to be implemented by means of five Roadmaps in the areas of IT, Co-operation, Human Resources, Buildings, and Quality.

At its meeting this week the Council discussed a set of updated Roadmap documents which described progress made so far and made specific proposals for further action in each area.

The Council fully endorsed the steps taken and the progress achieved so far and unanimously approved the proposals for further action in all five of the updated Roadmaps.

The Council further expressed support for the policies pursued in each area by the President of the Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI and decided to extend his mandate by three years, up to 30 June 2018, in order to bring the Roadmaps to fuller fruition.

In further developments, the Council noted the second Social Report on the social conditions prevailing at the European Patent Office, making the report available to the public. The Council also approved a revised salary adjustment procedure for permanent staff of the EPO.The method is based on established principles of parallel development with national salary scales and conservation of purchasing parity. The new method ensures greater oversight by the Council, with a closer link to macroeconomic conditions in the Contracting States. For the first time, full details on the working of the salary adjustment method will be made available to the public.

Finally, the Council approved the accounts for 2013, which showed an overall Budget surplus of
€ 317m, an all-time high and unanimously approved general orientations for the budget of 2015.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 28 May 2014

8th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 26-27 May 2014)

The Select Committee of the Administrative Council held its 8th meeting in Munich on 26-27 May 2014.

Preparatory work on the level of renewal fees, which had started at the 5th meeting held on 30 October 2013, continued on the basis of simulations of fee scenarios and their financial implications. On this subject, the Office gave several  presentations.

The committee held a first exchange of views on those presentations, with a view to continuing discussions at the 9th meeting, to be held on the 24th of June.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 28 March 2014

139th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 27-28 March 2014)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 139th meeting yesterday and today in Munich, with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office holding the chair.

After the Chairman's report on the last meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council, which assists the Chairman in preparing the Council's work, the President of the European Patent Office presented his activities report, setting out a comprehensive account of the Office's activities in 2013. The Council was pleased to hear that positive trends registered in recent years had been continuing in 2013. Outstanding results have been achieved last year in all areas. This included the implementation of measures outlined in the Human Resources Roadmap presented by the President and approved by the Council in 2011. The Council encouraged the President to maintain efforts to reforming the EPO social policy. This matter was again addressed at a later stage during the meeting, when the Council discussed and unanimously approved a proposal from the President, aiming at reforming the arrangements for staff representation at the EPO.

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments. Sean Dennehey (UK) was re-elected chairman of the Committee on Patent Law for a three-year term, starting on 30 March 2014. Several members and chairs of the Boards of Appeal were also appointed or re-appointed.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard the status report on latest developments concerning the Unitary patent, given by the Head of the Hellenic delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the first half of 2014, and the report of the chairman of the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court. The chairman of the Select Committee (set up by the 25 EPC contracting states participating in the enhanced co-operation on unitary patent protection to supervise the EPO's activities related to the tasks entrusted to it in the context of unitary protection) reported then on the committee's 7th meeting, held the day before the Council meeting (see Communiqué on the 7th meeting of the Select Committee).

Finally, the Council authorized the President to sign on behalf of the Organisation a new agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. This new agreement, amending the Agreement of 19 October 1977 between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Patent Organisation on the setting up of the Berlin sub-office of the European Patent Office, specifies the conditions under which the renovation of the Berlin sub-office will be performed and the premises made available to the European Patent Office after renovation.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 28 March 2014

7th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 26 March 2014)


The Select Committee of the Administrative Council held its seventh meeting in Munich on 26 March 2014. For the first time, observers from EPC Contracting States attended.

The Committee completed its second reading of the Draft Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection. These draft Rules concern the procedures that will be applied by the EPO in carrying out the administrative tasks relating to the European patent with unitary effect.

The Committee adopted the rules relating to the compensation scheme for costs for translations of applications filed in an EU official language which is not one of the official languages of the EPO, the reimbursement of which is available to patent holders obtaining a European patent with unitary effect. However, the financial aspects of the compensation scheme, including the amount to be compensated, will be discussed at a later stage.

The Committee exchanged views on possible measures at Member States' level which could accompany the Unitary Patent Protection.

Lastly, the Committee also adopted its work programme for 2014.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 18 December 2013

6th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 10-11 December 2013)

The Select Committee of the Administrative Council held its sixth meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2013.

The committee finished its first reading of the Draft Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection, noted comments on the rules supplied by delegations and users and began a second reading. These draft Rules relate mainly to the procedures that will be administrated by the EPO in carrying out the tasks that the Member States will entrust to the EPO in accordance with article 9.1 of the EU Regulation N° 1257/2012.

It discussed the future operation of the compensation scheme for costs for translations filed in an EU official language which is not one of the official languages of the EPO and reached consensus on a number of issues relating to the future operation of this compensation scheme.

The committee exchanged views on issues and possible measures at Member States level which could accompany the Unitary Patent Protection.

It also discussed the EPO's document of draft principles for the budgeting and accounting of the revenues from and the expenditure of administering the Unitary Patent Protection.

Finally, it decided to admit as observers the following EPC contracting states: Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, Albania, San Marino, Italy, Norway, Croatia, Monaco and Serbia. Other contracting states would be admitted upon request.

Select Committee Secretariat


Munich, 13 December 2013

138th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 12-13 December 2013)


The Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, Jesper Kongstad (Director General of the Danish Patent Office) closed the Council 138th meeting today, after two days of extensive debate.

The Chairman reported as usual on discussions on the last meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council (set up in application of article 28 EPC, the Board assists the Chairman in preparing the Administrative Council's work).

The President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, reported on the most recent developments at the Office. The Council was pleased to hear that positive trends registered in previous periods concerning output, productivity and finances were continuing. This gave rise to reasonable optimism for the future among delegations, despite all challenges ahead. The biggest challenge is perhaps reform and modernization in the social policy area. The Council reiterated its full support to the measures outlined in the Human Resources Roadmap presented in 2011 by the President, and called on the social partners to show a sense of responsibility, in order to achieve a real and fruitful social dialogue.

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments. Habip Asan, President of the Turkish Patent Institute, was elected member of the Board of the Administrative Council for a three-year term. Guus Broesterhuizen (NL) and Jørgen Smith (NO) were reappointed members of the Appeals Committee for the year 2014, together with Darina Kyliánová (SK) as alternate member. Four new members and a new chairman of the Boards of Appeal were also appointed.

The Council appointed Frédéric Angermann, Senior Auditor at the French Court of Auditors, as member of the Board of Auditors, with effect from 1 January 2014. Mr Angermann will succeed Michel Camoin, to whom the Council paid tribute.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard the status report on latest developments concerning the Unitary patent, given by the Head of the Lithuanian delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2013. The chairman of the Select Committee (set up by the 25 EPC contracting states participating in the enhanced co-operation on unitary patent protection to supervise the EPO's activities related to the tasks entrusted to it in the context of unitary protection) reported then on the committee's 5th and 6th meetings (see Communiqué on the 6th meeting of the Select Committee, to be published shortly on this website). The Council thereby noted that a number of EPC contracting states not taking part in the enhanced co-operation had been granted observer status on the Select Committee. Other EPC contracting states not taking part in the enhanced co-operation will henceforth also be automatically granted observer status upon request.

The Council also adopted a set of amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC. The first amendment extends the reimbursement possibilities of the appeal fee under rule 103 EPC. The second amendment limits the scope of application of the fee reduction under rule 6 EPC and its applicability to specifically defined categories of applicants, but at the same time increases the rate of reduction. (Corresponding decisions - CA/D 16/13 and CA/D 19/13 - will be published shortly on this website.)

Last item on the Council agenda - but not the least - was the Budget for 2014. The authorisation budget, amounting to € 2 078 895 000, was unanimously adopted. The staff complement will remain stable at 7 075. The adjustment of EPO salaries (with effect from 1 July 2013), as well as the biennal adjustment of fees and prices (with effect from 1 April 2014) are included in the budget.

Council Secretariat

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