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I am very pleased to present the Annual report of the Boards of Appeal for 2018.
Topics covered in the 2018 report include the implementation of the structural reform, the measures taken to increase timeliness and reduce the number of pending cases, such as better performance management and a comprehensive revision of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal, and statistics on various aspects of the appeal procedure.
The Boards of Appeal have exceeded their objectives for 2018 and are ahead of plan. From 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018, production (i.e. settled cases) in the Boards of Appeal has increased by 22.6%. Productivity (i.e. cases settled with action divided by technical member capacity) has increased by 18%. Never before has it been possible in the Boards of Appeal to achieve such a strong performance improvement in such a brief period of time.
At the heart of our work as members of the Boards of Appeal is our independent rendering of final decisions on the granting of European patents. It is my firm belief that our hard work and commitment to continuously improve both efficiency and quality build the strongest foundation for our judicial independence.
The Administrative Council has endorsed my request for 23 additional technical member posts in the 2019 budget. 16 additional technical member posts are foreseen for 2020. Additional member capacity is necessary in order to be able to further increase timeliness and reduce the number of pending cases without any compromise in quality.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Boards of Appeal and the entire staff of the Boards of Appeal most warmly for their outstanding work and commitment.
President of the Boards of Appeal