Report on the 144th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (24 and 25 June 2015)
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 144th meeting on 24 and 25 June 2015 in Munich, with Jesper Kongstad (DK) in the chair.
The meeting started as usual with the Council chairman's activities report, immediately followed by an oral report from President Battistelli on recent developments at the European Patent Office. The Council was particularly pleased to note that the reforms initiated over the last few years had started to deliver positive results in terms of production and productivity. Concerning the social situation at the Office, the Council expressed cautious optimism about the negotiation process initiated following the decision taken at its March 2015 meeting to resume social dialogue, with the concrete aim of reaching agreement on trade-union recognition. The Council stressed the need for genuine efforts from all parties involved. It also took the opportunity offered by the presentation of the social report for 2014 to observe that thanks to excellent working conditions and a generous social package the Office remains an attractive employer.
The Council was also updated on the disciplinary proceedings initiated against a staff member appointed by the Council. It will come back to the case for a final decision as soon as the proposal of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, to which the opinion and recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee have been transferred in accordance with Article 23 EPC, is available.
The Council then made a number of appointments and reappointments to the boards of appeal:
Bernhard Müller (DE) and David Rogers (GB) were appointed as legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal with effect from 1 July 2015 and reappointed as legally qualified members of the boards with effect from 1 October 2015.
Pascal Gryczka (FR), Giovanni Pricolo (IT), Joseph Riolo (FR) and Manfred Wieser (AT) were reappointed as technically qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and as chairmen of technical boards with effect from 1 January 2016.
The following were reappointed as legally qualified members of the boards:
- Marie-Bernard Tardo-Dino (FR), with effect from 1 September 2015;
- Petra Schmitz (DE), with effect from 1 October 2015;
- Dorothea Prietzel-Funk (DE) and Gérard Weiss (FR) with effect from 1 January 2016.
Bart Claes (BE), Christopher Donnelly (GB), Alain Dumont (BE), Stefan Krischer (DE), Christian Kunzelmann (CH), Luigi Li Voti (IT), Jacqueline Mercey (GB), Marc Paci (FR), Giuseppe Santavicca (IT), Jean-Claude Schmid (FR), Paul Scriven (GB), Alan Teale (GB) and Georges Zucka (BE) were reappointed as technically qualified members of the boards with effect from 1 October 2015, as was Rolf Gerdes (DE) with effect from 1 January 2016.
The Council also made appointments to some of its bodies. Johannes Karcher (DE) was re-elected deputy chairman of the Committee on Patent Law for a three-year term starting on 25 October 2015. Gerald Pilz (AT) was appointed as one of the Council's two representatives on the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS), for a three-year term starting on 1 July 2015. Otto Scharff (NO) was appointed member of the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation, also for a three-year term starting on 1 July 2015.
Important decisions were also taken regarding the top management of the Office. On a proposal from the President, the Council decided to extend until 31 December 2018 the appointments of Guillaume Minnoye (BE) and Raimund Lutz (DE) as the vice-presidents in charge of Directorates-General 1 and 5 respectively.
Under legal and international affairs, the chairman of the Select Committee reported on the two meetings it had held since the previous Council meeting (see the communiqués on the EPO website), and the chairman of the B+ Group reported on recent developments regarding substantive patent law harmonisation.
Under personnel/policy and operational matters, after noting the Office's social report for 2014 (as mentioned above) the Council approved transitional provisions for the implementation of the new career system for its appointees, under Article 11(3) EPC, as chairmen and members of the boards of appeal. It was agreed that these transitional provisions will apply pending a decision on the structural reform of the boards.
Concerning financial matters, budget and planning, the Council noted the oral report given by Lex Kaufhold, deputy chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, on the committee's 112th meeting (27 and 28 May 2015), and unanimously approved the 2014 accounts. In consequence, and as recommended by the Board of Auditors in their report on 2014, it unanimously discharged the President in respect of his implementation of the 2014 budget, and the Administrator of the RFPSS in respect of his fund management in 2014.
The Council then gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the Office's initial 2016 budgetary orientations.
All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be found under: