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.
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.