Report on the 153rd and 154th meetings of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (10 and 11 October and 13 and 14 December 2017)
The 153rd and 154th meetings of the Administrative Council were held in Munich, under the chairmanship of Christoph Ernst (DE).
Having heard the qualified candidates, the Council elected António CAMPINOS to succeed Benoît BATTISTELLI as President of the European Patent Office (EPO). Mr CAMPINOS' five-year term will start on 1 July 2018. A Portuguese national, Mr CAMPINOS is currently Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). He is also a former President of the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). In the latter function, he has for many years been the Portuguese representative on the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.
The Council elected Lex Kaufhold (LU) as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee and Gerard Barrett (IE) as deputy chairman of that Committee, each for a three-year term. It proceeded with the appointment of the members of the new Appeals Committee, with Paul Mahoney as chairman, and with nominations to the Supervisory Board of the EPO Academy and the Boards of Appeals Committee. The Council also approved its chairman's proposal for the composition of its Disciplinary Committee in 2018, with Markus Mohler presiding.
Having at its October meeting unanimously adopted the new composition and competence profile of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security, the Council then proceeded with the appointment of its representatives and the external experts, together with their alternates, and in particular it appointed Michel Lind as chairman.
The Council also decided on appointments and re-appointments of a number of members to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the Boards of Appeal and the Disciplinary Board of Appeal.
In respect of the Office's activities and performance, the Council noted the activities report presented at each meeting by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli. It also took note of the first report of the President of the Boards of Appeal, following the reform adopted in 2016. The Council again expressed satisfaction at the Office's outstanding achievements in terms of production and productivity, and took note that the landmark of 100 000 published patents should be passed in 2017. The Council also stressed the need for further progress in terms of social dialogue and took note of the major re-organisation of services throughout the Office, in particular in Directorate-General 1.
The Council further welcomed the developments in the field of quality, in particular the Annual Report on Quality, the first of its kind, presenting the methodology developed and the measured achievements, as well as the ISO 9001 re-certification obtained.
In personnel policy matters, the Council had a broad exchange of views on ways and means to further modernise the employment framework of the Office, and it provided orientation accordingly.
Under legal and international affairs, the Council authorised the President of the Office to renew the EPO-WIPO Agreement in relation to the functioning of the EPO as an International Searching Authority and as an International Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT. The Council further endorsed the regulatory proposals leading to a substantial reduction in PCT fees and online filing fees, and the increase in the appeal fee; it also approved the fee levels for 2018-2020 under the working agreements on search co-operation with four ex-IIB States and eight other Member States. Finally, the Council also authorised the President to sign the complementary agreement with Luxembourg on the inviolability of EPO archives, under which the scope of Article 2 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities includes data in an electronic form held by third parties off-site.
Under financial matters, the Council unanimously approved the periodical review of the Financial Regulations and adopted further proposals on the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and on pension contributions, including a transfer of funds from the Office treasury to the RFPSS and the Salary Savings Plan. It then unanimously adopted the 2018 authorisation budget, totalling EUR 2 280 145 000, together with the table of posts totalling 7 075 posts.
In a closed session, the Council took a final decision in a disciplinary case against an employee appointed by the Council - a case which had attracted significant public attention. This decision was taken with due regard to all relevant elements.
All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be consulted at: