Official Journal July 2016

Citation: A60
Online publication date: 29.7.2016

ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL

Report on the 148th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (29 and 30 June 2016)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 148th meeting on 29 and 30 June 2016 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 the President of the European Patent Office about recent developments at the Office. The Council welcomed the results achieved in several areas, but once again expressed concern about the continuing stalemate on the social front. It therefore reiterated its wish for an in-depth discussion on the social situation at the Office.

The Council then had an exchange of views on a disciplinary case involving a Council appointee and mandated its chairman to draw up a proposal to be submitted at its next meeting.

A major topic on the agenda was the structural reform of the boards of appeal. The Council approved a comprehensive proposal submitted by the President and drawn up in close co-operation with the Council's Board 28. The reform aims at increasing the boards' organisational and managerial autonomy and their efficiency, and can be implemented without having to revise the European Patent Convention.

Under appointments/elections, the Council first made a series of appointments and reappointments to the boards of appeal:

  • Eugène Dufrasne (BE) was reappointed as a legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and chairman of a technical board, with effect from 1 January 2017
  • Michael Harrison (GB) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board and chairman of a technical board, with effect from 1 August 2016
  • Marie-Bernadette Tardo-Dino (FR) was reappointed as a legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board with effect from 1 November 2016
  • Ingo Beckedorf (DE) was reappointed as a legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board and of the boards of appeal, with effect from 1 January 2017
  • Paolo Ammendola (IT) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016
  • Denis Boulois (FR) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016
  • Alphonsus Maaswinkel (NL) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016
  • Damien Marquis (FR) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016.
  • Renate Morawetz (IT) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016
  • Konstantinos Poalas (GR) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 October 2016.
  • Raquel Pérez Carlón (ES) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 January 2017
  • Thomas Rosenblatt (DE) was reappointed as a technically qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 January 2017
  • Paola Acton (IT) was appointed as chairwoman of a technical board (mechanics) and as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board, with effect from 1 July 2016
  • Ernst Bendl (AT) was appointed as chairman of a technical board (chemistry) and as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board, with effect from 1 July 2016
  • Christian Kunzelmann (CH) was appointed as chairman of a technical board (electricity) and as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board, with effect from 1 July 2016
  • Richard Lord (GB) was appointed as chairman of a technical board (electricity) and as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board, with effect from 1 July 2016
    and
  • Daniele Semino (IT) was appointed as chairman of a technical board (chemistry) and as a technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board, with effect from 1 July 2016.

The Council then appointed Thomas Groffmann as Administrator of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS), on a renewable five-year contract. It also appointed Anthony Valentin (FR) as alternate member representing the Council on the RFPSS Supervisory Board.

Sandris Laganovskis, head of the Latvian delegation, was elected deputy chairman of the Technical and Operational Support Committee for a three-year term taking immediate effect.

Lastly, the Council noted that decisions would have to be taken at forthcoming meetings on a number of high-ranking positions due to fall vacant in the near future, namely the vice-presidencies DG 2 and 4 and the higher management of the boards of appeal.

Under legal and international affairs the Council unanimously approved a draft working agreement on search co-operation with the Republic of Latvia and authorised the President to draw up and sign it on behalf of the European Patent Organisation.

The Netherlands delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the first half of 2016, then reported on latest developments concerning the unitary patent. The chairman of the Select Committee indicated that work on this project would continue until political decisions were taken following the United Kingdom's recent referendum on EU membership.

The Council also noted reports on the latest meetings of the Committee on Patent Law and Technical and Operational Committee, given orally by their chairmen.

For the first time, the Office submitted an environmental report. The Council took note of it.

Under personnel/policy and operational matters, the Council noted the Office's social report for 2015. It also unanimously approved a draft decision enabling the Office to switch to self-insurance for health care.

Concerning financial matters, budget and planning, the Council noted the oral report given by the chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee on the committee's 114th meeting (24 and 25 May 2016), at which it had in particular given a unanimous favourable opinion on a proposed amendment of the Rules relating to Fees. On that basis, the Council unanimously approved the amendment, concerning Article 11 and more specifically refunds of the examination fee if an application is withdrawn.

The Council then unanimously approved the 2015 accounts. In consequence, and as recommended by the Board of Auditors in their report on 2015, it unanimously discharged the President in respect of his implementation of the 2015 budget, and the RFPSS Administrator in respect of his fund management in 2015.

Lastly, the Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the Office's initial 2017 budgetary orientations.

All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be found under:

www.epo.org/council-documents

 

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