148th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 29 and 30 June 2016)
1 July 2016
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 148th meeting on 29 and 30 June 2016 in Munich under the chairmanship of Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.
After having taken note of the chairman's activities report, the Council heard the President of the European Patent Office on the latest developments within the Office. The Council expressed its satisfaction on results achieved so far in various areas.
The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments and reappointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, of Chairmen and of legally and technically qualified members of the Board of Appeals.
Mr Sandris Laganovskis, Head of the Latvian delegation, was elected Deputy Chairman of the Technical and Operational Support Committee with immediate effect.
The Council then appointed Mr Thomas Groffmann as Administrator of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security on a 5-year renewable contract.
The Council approved a comprehensive package of reform of the Boards of Appeal, submitted by the President following an extensive preparation conducted in close co-operation with the Board of the Administrative Council. The aims are to increase the organisational and managerial autonomy of the Boards and also their efficiency. The reform operates within the existing framework of the European Patent Convention, without requiring its revision.
This reform constitutes a landmark step for reinforcing the status, efficiency and long-term sustainability of the EPO's appeal system. It aligns the organisation and functioning of the Boards with national, European and international developments in the judiciary. It covers five main elements:a new institutional framework, a specific career system, the regulation of potential conflicts of interest, the allocation of a separate building and the improvement of the cost coverage of the appeal system. The corresponding Council decisions will be published in the next days.
Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Dutch delegation, representing the country holding the EU Presidency for the first half of 2016, reported on the latest developments concerning the Unitary Patent.
The Council then had an exchange of views on a disciplinary case involving a Council appointee and mandated its chairman to elaborate a proposal to be submitted at its next meeting.
The Council also had an exchange on the follow-up of its March 2016 resolution and decided to come back to the different topics addressed in that resolution at a next meeting. The Council reiterated its wish for an in-depth discussion on the social situation at the Office.
Concerning Financial and Budgetary matters, the Council, on the basis of the unanimous favourable opinion previously given by the Budget and Finance Committee, unanimously approved an amendment of the Rules relating to Fees (see Decision CA/D 4/16).
The Council, following the recommendation given by the Board of Auditors, unanimously approved the accounts for the 2015 accounting period and discharged the President and the Fund Administrator.
The Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the initial 2017 budgetary orientations presented by the President.
Finally, the Council paid tribute to two of its long standing members, namely Yves Lapierre, Head of the French delegation and Mihály Ficsor, Deputy Head of the Hungarian delegation.