Press release | 11.10.2018
Munich, 11 October 2018 - The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria) as the next vice-presidents of the European Patent Office (EPO). The appointments were made at a meeting of the Administrative Council chaired by its Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl. The three new vice-presidents will take up their positions on 1 January 2019 for a period of five years.
Stephen Rowan was appointed Vice-President Directorate-General Patent Granting Process. He will succeed Alberto Casado Cerviño of Spain. Mr Rowan is currently Director of Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office. He has extensive experience in intellectual property, working across all IP rights. Mr Rowan has served as Head of the UK Delegation at several WIPO diplomatic conferences, and was Head of the UK Delegation at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The EPO's Directorate-General Patent Granting Process is responsible for the entire patent granting process from end-to-end, including search, examination, publication, opposition and all related formalities, and for delivering support for the patent granting process to internal and external users of EPO services.
Christoph Ernst will take up the post of Vice-President Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs, succeeding fellow German Raimund Lutz. Mr Ernst is currently head of directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and has served as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since 1 October 2017. He is experienced in economic, commercial and tax law, and also has extensive knowledge of intellectual property. Mr Ernst has represented Germany in the Administrative Council of the EPO and other IP organisations, including the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The EPO's Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs is in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information and the European Patent Academy.
Nellie Simon is the next Vice-President of the European Patent Office's Directorate-General Corporate Services, taking over from Željko Topić of Croatia. Ms Simon is currently Head of Cabinet and Acting Director of the Academy at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). From 2012 to 2018 she was the Director of EUIPO's Digital Transformation Department. She has a Master's in Computer Sciences from the Technische Universität in Vienna and an MBA from the London School of Economics. Having worked for Austrian technology start-ups and German and British companies in the finance and automotive sectors, she has significant experience of management consultancy in strategy, organisational development, innovation and technology.
The EPO's Directorate-General Corporate Services is responsible for support services including Human Resources, Information Management, Finance, General Administration and Central Procurement.
The Administrative Council, made up of delegations from the 38 member states, is the legislative body of the European Patent Organisation. It is responsible for supervising the activities of the European Patent Office, the Organisation's executive arm. The Council also approves the Office's budget, and appoints its senior managers, including the President and vice-presidents.
With nearly 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
Director External Communication
EPO Press Desk
Tel.: +49 89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 163 8399527