Job group: 1
Duration of appointment: five years
Career path: Managerial
Application deadline: 05.09.2018
Applicants should be nationals of one of the European Patent Organisation's member states (currently Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Hellenic Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom).
With almost 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is the second-largest public service institution in Europe. It supports innovation, competitiveness and economic growth across Europe through a commitment to high-quality and efficient services delivered under the European Patent Convention, its founding treaty. It has a yearly budget of EUR 2.3 billion, entirely financed by the fees paid by its users.
The EPO's headquarters are in Munich and it has a branch in The Hague and offices in Berlin, Vienna and Brussels. Through its centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of 700 million people. In 2017, it processed over 165 000 patent applications and granted over 105 000 patents. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information. It has built and operates the most comprehensive patent databases and generates tools that are used by most patent offices around the world. It boasts an extensive network of partners in patent offices and user assocations in particular.
The EPO is a highly diverse and multicultural environment with 35 different nationalities represented among its staff. The patent granting process can be conducted in the three official languages (English, French and German).
Appointed by the Administrative Council, the vice-presidents assist the President of the EPO in the implementation of established strategies and policies. The Vice-President Legal/International Affairs (VP 5) is responsible for DG 5, the directorate-general in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information and the European Patent Academy.
The Vice-President Legal/International Affairs is responsible for an area of around 260 staff located in Munich, Vienna, The Hague and Brussels, covering the following principal directorates:
- European and International Co-operation: co-operating with EPO member states and future member states, co-ordinating and managing bilateral relations and co-operation programmes with non-member states and other IP authorities
- Unitary Patent, European and International Legal Affairs: ensuring the correct application of European patent law, continuously adapting and developing the legal framework of the patent system (e.g. unitary patent system and patent law harmonisation), dealing with international aspects of the PCT, co-operating with major patent offices, institutions dealing with patents and user associations
- Legal Services: ensuring legal consistency in the development of internal legislation with the EPC and public international law, providing legal assistance relating to procurement and legal vetting on contracts, representing the Organisation in arbitration and judicial proceedings before national and international courts
- Patent Information: publishing patent documents, providing, publishing, promoting and distributing patent information products and services, managing the European Patent Academy
- Responsibility for the smooth functioning of the directorate-general and accountability for its results
- Ensuring that service delivery meets the needs of internal and external stakeholders in terms of timeliness, quality and service-orientation
- Managing the directorate-general's workforce and supervising the four principal directors
- Acting as a member of the executive board of the EPO and representing the Office in meetings of the Administrative Council and its sub-committees
- Representing the Office in meetings with external stakeholders (users, patent offices, international organisations)
- At least 10 years' experience in a European or international environment, in a role with a high level of responsibility
- Effective people-management and strong leadership skills in a dynamic and a multicultural environment (cross-functional leadership)
- Proven track record of diplomatic and negotiating skills
- Ability to build a strong working relationship with management and staff
- Results-oriented attitude with the capacity to perform and work under high pressure while ensuring quality is maintained at the highest standards
- Effective communicator with strong ability to lead change while maintaining employee engagement and motivation
- Diploma of completed university studies at master's level or – in exceptional cases – equivalent professional experience
- Excellent knowledge of one official language and ability to understand the other two
Salary and benefits
The EPO offers competitive salaries and an excellent social package. The net basic yearly salary[ 1 ] for this vacancy is EUR 187 000. The EPO also operates contributory medical-insurance and pension schemes. In addition, depending on their personal circumstances, EPO staff may be entitled to relocation benefits and various allowances.
Process and timeline
The successful candidate will be appointed by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, in co-ordination with the President of the EPO, for a period of five years, and may be reappointed. Selection will be made on the basis of qualifications and interview(s).
Completed applications, including a CV, application form (available for email applications as download at ) and a letter indicating the sponsorship of a Head of Delegation of a Contracting State () and/or of the President of the Office and quoting Ref. EPO VP 5, should be addressed to the Chairman of the Administrative Council via the EPO online tool available on the job page () or via email to VPemail@example.com.
The closing date for applications is 05.09.2018.
It is intended to hold the interviews in calendar week 38.
To foster gender diversity, the EPO encourages applications from female candidates.
The EPO is an equal opportunities employer and supports workforce diversity as a signatory to the Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt) since 2010.
All applications for vacant positions will be welcomed and considered on the professional merits of the applicant against the role profile for the position regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, parental responsibilities, age, religion or belief.
[ 1 ] after deduction of EPO internal tax and before deduction of staff contributions to the social-security and pension schemes.