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EPO’s new vice-presidents take up their posts

2 January 2019

Stephen Rowan, Nellie Simon and Christoph Ernst have taken up their posts as vice-presidents at the European Patent Office (EPO). They were elected by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, the supervisory body of the Office, in October 2018 for a five-year term.

Stephen Rowan, Vice-President Directorate-General Patent Granting Process

Stephen Rowan will head the EPO's Directorate-General Patent Granting Process, which 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. 

Mr Rowan joins the EPO from the UK Intellectual Property Office, where he most recently served as Director of Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Tribunals. He has extensive experience in intellectual property, working across all IP rights. Mr Rowan has served as Head of the UK Delegation at several World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conferences, and was Head of the UK Delegation at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Nellie Simon, Vice-President Directorate-General Corporate Services

Nellie Simon will be in charge of the Directorate-General Corporate Services, which is responsible for support services including Human Resources, Information Management, Finance, General Administration and Central Procurement. 

Ms Simon was previously Head of Cabinet and Acting Director of the Academy at the 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. 

Christoph Ernst, Vice-President Directorate-General Legal/International Affairs

Christoph Ernst will lead the Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs, which is in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information and the European Patent Academy. 

Before taking this new post, Mr Ernst was head of directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and served as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation from October 2017 until December 2018. 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 EUIPO and the WIPO. 

Further information