7 July 2017
The Administrative Council of the EPO has extended the portfolio of activities of Vice-President Alberto Casado Cerviño. He will head the new Directorate-General Patent Granting Process at the EPO, which results from an internal reorganisation. The new directorate-general will be created by merging the EPO’s Directorate-General Operations (responsible for examining European patent applications and conducting opposition proceedings) and Directorate-General Operational Support (which is in charge of delivering support for the patent granting process to internal and external users of EPO services). The appointment took effect as of 1 July 2017. The merger will be implemented incrementally, with completion due by 1 January 2018.
The reorganisation of the two existing directorates-general will bring patent search, examination, and opposition divisions and the receiving section into a single directorate general, whereby the new VP1 will be the overall process owner. The move comes following an assessment of the Office's operation and support areas by external consultants BCG in 2016, and takes into account the imminent realisation of a fully digitalised patent-granting-process at the EPO. It is now set to increase efficiency and timeliness by implementing a true end-to-end patent granting process under the responsibility of one single Directorate General.
As part of the reorganisation, three Chief Operating Officers will also be appointed to each head three main domains in the new DG, namely Mobility & Mechatronics, Healthcare, Biotechnology & Chemistry, and Information & Communications. Dedicated Opposition Directorates will also be created in each of the three areas to streamline the process and foster the Early Certainty for Opposition programme launched in 2016.
As Vice-President of the new DG1 of the EPO, Alberto Casado succeeds Belgian Guillaume Minnoye who retired after 46 years of service at the EPO. Mr Casado Cerviño has extensive experience in IP. From 1978 to 1994 he held various positions at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, and from 2008 onwards he served as its Director-General. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice-President of the EU's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). Mr Casado Cerviño was also a member of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation from 1988 to 1994, and led the Spanish delegation to the Council from 2008.