https://www.epo.org/en/node/2023

Communiqués 2023

177th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 13 and 14 December 2023)

30th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council (Munich, 18 October 2023)

176th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 6 October 2023)

175th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 28-29 June 2023) 

29th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council (Munich, 31 May 2023)

174th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 22 March 2023)

 


Munich, 14 December 2023

177th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 13 and 14 December 2023)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 177th meeting in Munich in a hybrid format on 13 and 14 December under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ).

The Council was presented with a quarterly report on the Office’s activities, as well as a Sustainability Report covering the Office’s overall performance for the period 2019-2023, with reference to key performance indicators under each strategic goal, and closing its Strategic Plan 2023 (SP2023). The Council, the Chairperson and the President of the Office thanked staff for their commitment and the excellent results. The Council also congratulated the Office on the extensive and positive impact of SP2023’s implementation, and exchanged views on the strategic direction of the Office over the next five years on the basis of a blueprint of the Strategic Plan 2028 (SP2028), which was the result of a comprehensive consultation process conducted in 2023 with many stakeholders. The Council agreed to decide on consolidated versions of SP2028 and the corresponding Annual Work Plan 2024 in its March meeting.

As part of the modernisation of the EPO’s external governance proposed by the Chairperson, the Council unanimously approved amendments to its Rules of Procedure, providing a revised policy for publication of and a policy for access to Council documents as well as changes enhancing legal certainty and more accurately reflecting the role of the President of the Boards of Appeal. The Council welcomed the Chairperson’s report on the implementation of operational and IT measures.

The Council unanimously approved the amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal to further enhance the timeliness of appeal proceedings.

Regarding appointments, the Council unanimously decided to appoint:

  • Mr Franck HERVIO as the new French-speaking member of the Board of Auditors for a term of office of five years with effect from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028;
  • Mr Manoj SACHDEVA as Vice-Chair of the Appeals Committee for a term of office of three years, with effect from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2026.

The Council also decided on the re-appointment of members of the Boards of Appeal, based on proposals by the President of the Boards of Appeal. 

As regards legal changes, the Council approved:

  • the amendments to the Regulation on the European Qualifying Examination;
  • a second basket of legal changes supporting digitalisation and simplification of the patent grant procedure;
  • the setting for a further three-year period of the fees payable under all current and future working agreements with Contracting States and the continuation of the existing support scheme for small entities for all Contracting States with working agreements on search co-operation in force.

As regards personnel matters, the Council adopted:

  • the extension of the recognition of registered partnerships;
  • the update of the contribution rates for the pension, health and long-term care schemes; and
  • several decisions related to the yearly adjustments of salaries, allowances, pensions and the transfer of €213m and €4.8m respectively to the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security and the Salary Saving Plan.

The Council expressed a unanimous favourable opinion on the paper on recruitment and workforce planning 2024. Turning to financial and budgetary matters, the Council was presented with a comprehensive financial study update and welcomed the independent assessment of the EPO’s current financial situation and its future evolution. The Council adopted a review of the fee policy and fee-related support measures for micro-entities, as well as a new Ansera-based search tool pricing policy. The Council unanimously approved the Organisation's 2.3 bn budget for 2024.

Furthermore, the Council noted the reports of the respective Chairpersons of the Select Committee; the Budget and Finance Committee; the Technical and Operational Support Committee; the Committee on Patent Law; and the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security.

Finally, an update on Unitary Patent protection was presented by the Office and by the Belgian delegation, Belgium being the country to hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first half of 2024.

 Council Secretariat


Munich, 18 October 2023

30th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council

The Select Committee of the European Patent Organisation held its 30th meeting in Munich online on 18 October 2023 under its Chairperson Mr Jérôme DEBRULLE (BE).

At the outset, the Chairperson emphasised the importance of the meeting, the first to take place after both EU Regulations on the Unitary Patent (UP) Protection became applicable.

The Committee applauded the successful launch of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and noted the report by the Chairperson of the UPC Administrative Committee on the current state of play. It also noted the report by the Registrar of the UPC on the latest UPC developments, including aspects related to transparency, the Court’s staff and the Case Management System.

Secondly, the Committee welcomed the detailed update on the operational and budget implementation of the UP system. It expressed high satisfaction with the first indication of positive trends regarding the take up of Unitary Protection and the use of this new system by European users and in particular by European SMEs, and warmly congratulated the Office on the smooth implementation of the UP system since the launch on 1 June 2023.

The Committee then gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the draft statement on income and expenditure with regard to the implementation of the tasks relating to unitary patent protection.

Furthermore, the Committee was provided with a comprehensive update on UPP-related communication activities carried out since its last meeting. The Committee warmly thanked the Office for its essential contribution to communication and awareness-raising projects and activities related to Unitary Patent protection.

Finally, the Committee was presented with an update on the most important national measures accompanying the implementation of the European patent with unitary effect in the participating member states, and welcomed a demonstration on how to retrieve the relevant information on a country-by-country basis as set out in the HTML version of the EPO’s booklet “National measures relating to the Unitary Patent”. It also took note of the call made by the Chairperson to the member states to provide the Office with updated information. In particular the Chairperson called on those member states who have in the meantime implemented the safety net to indicate such information, and on those member states who have not yet implemented the safety net to do so as soon as possible, and inform the Office.

In closing, the Committee noted the information provided by the Chairperson on developments relating to the modernisation of the EPO’s external governance.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 06.10.2023 

176th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 6 October 2023)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 176th meeting in Munich in a hybrid format on 6 October 2023 under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ). 

The Council heard the Office's activities report in the form of a presentation, which summarised the achievements of the past months, including the launch of the first EPO Campus Days, the developments in registration of patents with unitary effect, the official launch of the EPO Observatory on Patents and Technology and the further progress made in various areas of co-operation with member states as well as in reinforced partnership and validation agreements. Many delegations and observers congratulated the President, his management and staff. Delegations also had an exchange of views on the Office’s quality dialogue as well as on a number of strategic developments also related to SP2028. The Council also praised the Office for the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the EPC on 5 October.

Turning to strategic decisions, the Council unanimously authorised the President to open negotiations on a validation agreement with the Republic of Costa Rica.

Regarding appointments and selections, the Council

  • unanimously decided to appoint Ms Karin ŽVOKELJ (SI) as deputy chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee;
  • elected Mr Margus VIHER (EE) as member of the Board of the Administrative Council;
  • unanimously decided, in closed session, to renew the term of office Mr Are STENVIK as member of the Boards of Appeal Committee;
  • unanimously decided, in closed session, to re-appoint Mr Martin Paul WAGNER as external member to the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS;
  • unanimously decided, in closed session, to renew the terms of office of Mr Hans VAN HOUTTE as vice-chairperson as well as Mr Per FOSS and Ms Leonor TRINDADE as members of the Appeals Committee;
  • unanimously decided to renew the term of office of Sir Nicholas FORWOOD as chairperson, Mr Markus MOHLER as deputy chairperson and also Mr P.H. BLOK, Ms Alicja ADAMCZAK, Mr Lanfranco TENAGLIA and Mr Simon THORLEY as members of the Council Disciplinary Committee.

The Council also decided on the appointment, re-appointment and promotion of members of the Boards of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, based on proposals by the President of the Boards of Appeal. 

Furthermore, the Council noted the activities reports of the Chairperson and the President of the Boards of Appeal, as well as the report of the chairperson of the Boards of Appel Committee.

The Council also noted the oral report given by the Office on the current status of the Unitary Patent.

Finally, as part of the implementation of the second set of Basket I measures related to the modernisation of the EPO’s external governance, delegations exchanged views on aspects of a proposed policy for the publication of and access to Council documents, so that a revised proposal can be presented at the next Council meeting.

Council Secretariat 


Munich, 29.06.2023 

175th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 28-29 June 2023)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 175th meeting in Munich on 28 and 29 June 2023 under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ) in a hybrid format. 

The Council was presented with the Office's activities report in the form of a comprehensive video conveying the major achievements of the past 18 months in the implementation of SP2023. Welcoming the Office’s continued progress over the previous year, the Council also noted the presentation of the very positive results of the 2022/2023 User Satisfaction Survey. Many delegations and observers congratulated the President, management and staff for the remarkable achievements, including the successful launch of the Unitary Patent. In the course of a rich exchange of views, delegations discussed various aspects of the Office’s reporting, patent quality and the New Ways of Working. They praised the Office’s strategic approach and the Office’s commitment to quality. They also saluted the EPO’s environmental and financial sustainability. 

Turning to strategic decisions, the Council unanimously approved the amendments to its Rules of Procedure and to the composition of its Board as part of the modernisation of the EPO’s external governance proposed by the Chairperson, and noted the working arrangements for the preparation, organisation and conduct of the meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies. Meeting in closed session, it also expressed its views on the implementation of further measures and gave guidance for the next steps.

Turning to future appointments and selections, the Council unanimously decided to re-appoint Mr Pascal FAURE (FR) as Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee. Furthermore, meeting in closed session, the Council unanimously decided to re-appoint Mr Michel LIND (NL) as external member and as Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and to approve the launch of a call for candidates for a new French-speaking auditor of the Board of Auditors in June 2023, as well as the composition of the corresponding selection board.

The Council unanimously approved:

  • the draft working agreement on search co-operation with Slovenia and authorised its conclusion and signature by the President;
  • the further development of the career system for members and chairs of the Boards of Appeal (BoA).

The Council also noted the future outlook of the premises of the EPO sub-office in Berlin and welcomed the additional information provided in the course of the debate.

Turning to financial matters, the Council noted the opinion of the Board of Auditors and approved their report, along with the EPO's accounts for 2022 and therefore, discharged the President under Article 80(5) FinRegs and the Fund Administrator under Article 7(1) RFPSS Regs and Article 80(4) FinRegs. It also gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the initial budgetary orientations for 2024.

Furthermore, the Council noted the reports of the respective Chairpersons of the Select Committee, the Technical and Operational Support Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, and of the RFPSS Supervisory Board - with the complementary presentation by the Fund Administrator. As regards the latest developments concerning the Unitary Patent, the Council noted the oral report by the Office on the uptake of the Unitary Patent system during the first weeks since its launch, as well as the oral report by the Deputy Chairperson of the UPC Administrative Committee, together with the detailed update on the EPC 50th anniversary celebrations in the form of a video provided by the Office.

Finally, the Council decided on the appointment, re-appointment and promotion of members of the Boards of of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, based on proposals by the President of the Boards of Appeal. 

Council Secretariat 


Munich, 31 May 2023

29th meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council (Munich, 31 May 2023)

The Select Committee of the European Patent Organisation held its 29th meeting in Munich in hybrid mode on 31 May 2023 under its Chairperson Mr Jérôme DEBRULLE (BE).

At the opening of the meeting, the Chairperson and EPO Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs Christoph Ernst highlighted the importance of the historical event represented by the entry into application of the two EU regulations on the Unitary Patent protection and the entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on 1 June 2023.

The Committee then first saluted the comprehensive update provided by the Office on the Unitary Patent package (UPP) related supporting activities and thanked the Office for the careful organisation of the UPP launch event.  It also welcomed the successful promotion of the EPO’s transitional measures to support users  in the early uptake of the Unitary Patent and the Office’s commitment to continuing to provide users with  the flexibility to file requests for unitary effect at an early stage.

Secondly, the Committee was provided with an update on the national measures accompanying the implementation of the European patent with unitary effect, and acknowledged the very positive feedback received from users of the related EPO booklet. The Committee took note of the subsequent actions planned also on the basis of the information provided by the member states concerned.

Furthermore, the Committee noted the update provided by the Office and the representative of the Commission following the signature of the working arrangement with the European Commission under Article 14 Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 on 22 February 2023.

Finally, the Committee unanimously approved the introduction of a data protection framework for the Select Committee of the Administrative Council.

In closing, the Committee noted the Chairperson’s proposal to plan a meeting in the autumn, principally for the purposes of delivering an opinion on the  budget related to the Unitary Patent.

Council Secretariat


Munich, 22 March 2023

174th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 22 March 2023)

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.

Council Secretariat