Communiqués 2015


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

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