The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 174th meeting in Munich on 22 March 2023 under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ) in a hybrid format using for the first time Zoom together with Linkando as voting tool.
The Council was presented with an extensive report on the Office’s activities, featuring a goal-by-goal update on progress in the first quarter of 2023 and the approaching completion of SP2023. The Council, together with the Chairperson and the President of the Office, thanked staff for their engagement and results. The Council then praised the Office’s continuous efforts towards long-term sustainability, its agile recruitment strategy, the numerous initiatives undertaken in particular in the area of digital transformation, and the continued focus on quality and timeliness in the patent granting process. Delegations also welcomed the Office’s focus on supporting micro entities and SMEs and the fee policy review, the Office’s fruitful co-operation with national offices and its continued dialogue with users. The Council also noted the management report of the President of the Boards of Appeal (PBoA) for 2022 and warmly thanked the Board’s staff for their outstanding results.
Turning to key strategic decisions, the Council:
• meeting in closed session, gave a favourable opinion to the Basket 1 of measures for the modernisation of the EPO's external governance proposed by the Chairperson
• approved the introduction of a data protection framework for the Administrative Council and its subsidiary bodies.
Turning to future appointments and selections, meeting in closed session, the Council took note of the future steps regarding appointment and re-appointment at the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and at the Board of Auditors respectively.
The Council subsequently discussed several other matters and unanimously approved the recommendation for a common practice as regards claim drafting and structure, as well as the recommendation for a common practice as regards the examination of computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence.
Furthermore, the Council noted the reports of the respective Chairpersons of the Committee on Patent Law and of the Boards of Appeal Committee. An update on Unitary Patent (UP) protection was given by the Swedish delegation on behalf of the country holding the EU presidency for the first half of 2023 and by the Chairperson of the Select Committee. The Council in particular took note of the recent adjustment of the date of the upcoming meeting of the Select Committee in spring of 2023.
Finally, the Council decided on the appointment, re-appointment and promotion of members of the Boards of Appeal, based on proposals by the PBoA.
In closing, the Council and the President congratulated the AC Deputy Chairperson, Ms Borghildur ERLINGSDÓTTIR (IS), for chairing part of the AC meeting and reflecting the importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Organisation.