Report on the 150th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (14 and 15 December 2016)
The Administrative Council's 150th meeting was held in Munich, with Jesper Kongstad (DK) presiding.
After hearing its chairman report on the Board 28's previous meeting, the Council noted the activities report presented by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli. It again expressed satisfaction at the Office's remarkable performance in terms of production and productivity, but stressed the need for rapid progress on the social agenda; it wanted to see proposals and results during the coming months.
Under general affairs, the Council conducted an in-depth exchange of views on the EPO's future priorities, based on the Office's orientation paper and following on from the comprehensive social and financial studies. The delegations reacted positively to the main areas identified by the Office, and attached a certain priority to finalising projects relating to employment-law issues. Again stressing the need to improve social dialogue, the Council asked its chairman to draw up concrete proposals in the first half of 2017, together with the Board 28 and the Office.
The Council noted oral reports from those chairing its various subsidiary bodies: Patricia Garcia-Escudero Márquez (ES) for the Supervisory Board of the European Patent Academy, Roland Grossenbacher (CH) for the inaugural meeting of the Boards of Appeal Committee, Josef Kratochvíl (CZ) for the Technical and Operational Support Committee (TOSC), Matthias Bank (AT) for the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS), Jérôme Debrulle (BE) for the Select Committee, Sean Dennehey (GB) for the Committee on Patent Law and Christoph Ernst (DE) for the Budget and Finance Committee.
The Council also heard a progress report on the unitary patent and related developments, given by the Slovakian delegation as the representative of the country holding the presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2016. It noted the United Kingdom delegation's announcement that the UK would continue the procedure to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.
On the basis of a joint proposal from the Boards of Appeal Committee and the President of the Office, the Council appointed Carl Josefsson (SE) President of the Boards of Appeal for a five-year term starting on a date to be negotiated between him and the Council chairman. The Council also appointed Mr Josefsson chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, legally qualified member of the boards of appeal and chairman of the Disciplinary Board of Appeal, in each case for five-year terms as from a date to be negotiated between him and the Council chairman.
The Council also appointed or reappointed a number of members of the boards of appeal.
Guus Broesterhuizen (NL) and Jørgen Smith (NO) were reappointed members of the Appeals Committee; Darina Kyliánová (SK) was reappointed alternate member. The Council also approved its chairman's proposal for the composition of its Disciplinary Committee in 2017.
From among serving or former judges, Carlos Marinho (PT) and Gabriella Muscolo (IT) were appointed alternate members of the Boards of Appeal Committee for three-year terms starting on 14 December 2016.
In a new appointment to one of its own bodies, the Council made Habip Asan (TR) chairman of the TOSC for a three-year term starting on 15 December 2016.
Lastly, it was informed that Guillaume Minnoye, Vice-President DG 1, would be retiring earlier than planned (30 June 2017).
Under legal and international affairs, the Council authorised the President of the Office to sign a validation agreement between the Organisation and the Kingdom of Cambodia. It also unanimously approved the Office's proposed clarifications of Rules 51 and 162 EPC.
Regarding buildings, the Council approved the signing of a lease for new premises for the boards of appeal, located in Haar near Munich.
In conclusion, under financial matters, the Council first unanimously approved the periodical review of the Financial Regulations (including the incorporation of an environmental policy) and a transfer of EUR 200m from the Office's treasury into the RFPSS.
It then adopted the 2017 authorisation budget, totalling EUR 2 213 460 000, together with the table of posts and other key financial issues such as keeping the Office's share of renewal fees at 50%.
All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be consulted at: