156th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (The Hague, 27 and 28 June 2018)
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 156th meeting in The Hague on 27 and 28 June 2018 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST.
After the Chairman's report on the most recent meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council, the Council noted the overall presentation given by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI on his activities since 2010, including the final reports on the IT Roadmap, the HR Roadmap and the Building Roadmap, as well as the annual Social Report and the Quality Report. In the 155th meeting of the Council in March, the President had already reported on the Quality Roadmap and the Cooperation Roadmap.
This was for the Council the occasion to warmly bid farewell to the President, since the President-Elect António CAMPINOS is taking office on 1 July 2018. The Chairman and the President-Elect took the floor to emphasize the President’s eight years of courageous and successful actions, and to address the shaping of the future. Discussion allowed for a large round of additional comments and statements from delegations, observers and the staff representatives.
The Council welcomed the excellent results reported by the Office in terms of production, productivity, quality and finances, and thanked the President for his remarkable achievements and the transformation of the Office he had been carrying-out since 2010.
The Council amended aspects of the guidelines for the recruitment procedure in respect of Vice-Presidents, with a view to launch the recruitment of three Vice-Presidents of the Office. It expected a publication of the three vacancies at the beginning of July, for a period of 2 months from publication on the website, fulfilling all requirements listed in the guidelines.
The Council further noted the oral reports from the chairpersons of its various advisory bodies on their recent meetings: Technical and Operational Support Committee, Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security in its new composition, and the Budget and Finance Committee. It was further informed by the chairman of the Select Committee and by the delegations of Bulgaria, being the country holding until 30 June the Presidency of the Council of the EU, about the progress on the Unitary Patent in the participating Member States, especially in Bulgaria and in the United Kingdom.
The Council then proceeded with the election of Mr STRÖMBERG (SE) as alternate external member of the Boards of Appeal Committee for a term of three years. The Council also decided a number of appointments to the Boards of Appeal.
Under the heading of legal and international affairs, the Council authorised the Office to negotiate and to conclude an agreement on search cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of the UK. It further amended the Implementing Regulations to the EPC regarding issues related to reminders and time limit for payment of the annual subscription for professional representatives.
Turning to financial matters, the Council welcomed the outstanding results achieved by the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) in 2017, and discharged the Funds Administrator. The Council then unanimously approved the Financial Statements for 2017, together with the Board of Auditors' annual report on the 2017 accounting period, and discharged the President of the Office. It further delivered a positive opinion on the initial 2019 budgetary orientations.
On 27 June, the Council also had the opportunity to attend the official inauguration of the New Main building in The Hague. In a brief address the Chairman said that the event constituted a new milestone in the history of excellent relationships with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a founding member and host country. All felt deeply honoured by the King’s presence. Furthermore, the building was a symbol of a modern and future-oriented organisation. The European Patent Organisation was playing herewith a major role in serving not only the European economy, but also Europe as a whole.
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 155th meeting in Munich on 21 and 22 March 2018 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).
The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. The very positive results of the Office in 2017 were praised by several delegations which congratulated the management and staff. The Council also welcomed the final reports on both the Technical Cooperation and the Quality roadmaps, and a number of delegations expressed their great satisfaction with the achievements and feedback received from many users and stakeholders.
Turning to personnel policy matters, the Council addressed the Office's proposals regarding the modernisation of the employment framework. It confirmed its broad support for the principle of introducing more flexibility and for alignment of the employment conditions between different categories of staff. The delegations further considered that the outcome of previous discussions in the respective governing bodies had been reflected in CA/3/18 and Add.1, and approved the Office's proposals.
The Council further noted the oral reports by the chairpersons of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Boards of Appeal Committee on their recent meetings.
A series of elections and appointments was on the agenda. The Council elected Antti RIIVARI (FI) as Chairman of the Patent Law Committee, as well as Mariana KAREPOVA (AT) and Gerard BARRETT (IE) as members of the Board of the Administrative Council; Otto SCHARFF (NO) was re-appointed as member of the Supervisory Board of the Academy. The Council also decided on the appointment or re-appointment of chairmen of Technical Boards of Appeal and qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It also appointed or re-appointed technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal, in order to fill promptly the numerous vacant positions in these Boards; and, as per the new rules in force the Council also decided on a series of promotions and non-promotions of members of the Boards of Appeal.
In legal matters the Council noted the Office's announcement to defer the possible introduction of User Driven Early Certainty, and to arrange for further consultations, before a new proposal could be considered by the Patent Law Committee in the first instance.