Reports on meetings of the Administrative Council
Report on the 44th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (2 to 5 June 1992)
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 44th meeting in Monaco from 2 to 5 June 1992 under the chairmanship of Mr Jean-Claude Combaldieu (FR). The Deputy Chairman was Mr Max Engels (NL).
The Council unanimously elected Mr José Mota Maia (PT), President of the Portuguese Patent Office and Head of the Portuguese delegation, to the position of Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Council. He will take up his duties on 1 December 1992 for a period of three years.
Mr Klaus Marder (DE) was elected Vice-President of the Office (DG4) with effect from 1 January 1993 to succeed Mr Hans-Peter Dornow (DE).
The President of the Office presented the 1991 Annual Report. He also reported to the Council on the Office's activities in the first half of 1992.
The President noted that the filing figures were once again on the increase; from the beginning of January until the end of April, 15 532 direct European applications and 7 530 Euro-PCT applications were filed (3.4% more than in the same period last year). He said, however, that the situation would have to be monitored and that in any event a tight rein would continue to be kept on expenditure and posts.
The President also mentioned the round table on patent offices' examination practice which was held in Munich on 6 and 7 April at the suggestion of the Danish and Swedish delegations. Taking part were representatives of the national Offices of nine Contracting States, the EPO, EPI and IFIA. Topics discussed included Professor Leberl's study concerning the assessment of inventive step and the clarity of claims, which was the subject of a full and frank exchange of views. All participants felt the talks should be continued.
Moving on to international affairs, the President said that the Lisbon Conference on the Community Patent had not achieved the desired political breakthrough needed for the Agreement relating to Community patents to enter into force, which would normally put an end to hopes of the Agreement's entering into force on 1 January 1993. He once again stated that the costs associated with the Community patent system's introduction did not constitute a valid reason for failing to bring the Agreement into force. The Office had made all the preparations necessary for adjusting its practice to accommodate the CPC at very little cost.
Successful cooperation with the Contracting States had again been a feature of the period under review. Contacts established between the Office and CEIPI in Strasbourg with a view to drawing up a joint training programme had been strengthened. A number of training exercises, chiefly involving the countries of central and eastern Europe, had already been conducted under the direction of an EPO employee who was now in charge of CEIPI's international section. The President also mentioned cooperation with the Spanish Patent Office and WIPO in the production of a CD-ROM containing the cover pages of the patent applications of 18 Latin American countries. This development, known as "DOPALES-PRIMERAS", had been a notable technical and political success. The "Patinnova" congress, organised by the EC Commission's Directorate-General XIII "Telecommunications, Information Industries and Innovation", had taken place at the invitation of the Portuguese Government. It had been dedicated to promoting awareness among small and medium-sized firms of the importance of industrial property in a competitive world, an objective which would be pursued further in conjunction with DG XIII.
The President also said that the existing Contracting States would be joined by Ireland on 1 August 1992, thus crowning the efforts of the Irish Government over the years. All 12 Member States of the European Community would then belong to the European Patent Organisation. He had noted encouraging developments in Norway too. A Norwegian delegation had visited the Office and discussed the prospect of Norway's future accession to the Convention and closer cooperation with the Office.
The Administrative Council approved an amendment to the EPC Implementing Regulations. The new provisions are designed to standardise the representation of sequences of nucleotides and amino acids in European patent applications by requiring sequence listings to be filed and to enshrine in the EPC the protest procedure provided for in the amended PCT (see this issue of OJ EPO, p. 342). The Council also decided to raise fees for the European procedure by approximately 3% with effect from 1 October 1992. The increase applies only to the fees for grant, appeal and opposition. It further decided to increase the amounts of the international search fee and the international preliminary examination fee with effect from 1 October 1992 (see this issue of OJ EPO, p. 344).
On a proposal from the President, the Council made an appointment to the position of Chairman of the Legal Board of Appeal and appointed a new member to the Boards of Appeal.