Report on the 164th and 165th meetings of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (13 October and 15 and 16 December 2020 respectively)
The 164th and 165th meetings of the Administrative Council were held as
e-meetings under its Chairperson, Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ).
At its 164th meeting the Council noted the detailed report given by the President of the European Patent Office, António CAMPINOS, on his activities. Following a broad exchange of views, the Council expressed its great appreciation for the Office's achievements in the current, exceptional circumstances. The progress made on implementing the Strategic Plan 2023 was particularly welcomed, as were the excellent results for efficiency and transparency in all areas. Moreover, the Council expressed its keen interest in the presentation of the analysis following the recent survey on "Shaping the new normal".
The Council also noted the report of the President of the Boards of Appeal (BoA), which covered all main aspects of the boards' activities in the first six months of 2020, and praised the BoA's successful achievements.
At its 165th meeting the Council noted the extensive verbal report by the President of the Office on the achievements to date under each of the five goals of the Strategic Plan 2023. The Council expressed its great appreciation for the Office's clear reporting of the results achieved in challenging circumstances and gave its warmest thanks to all staff. Turning to 2021 the Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the EPO's Annual Work Plan, and also approved the orientations for recruitment in 2021.
Furthermore, the Council noted the reports of the respective chairpersons of the Boards of Appeal Committee, the Committee on Patent Law, the Technical and Operational Support Committee, the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and the Supervisory Board of the Academy (ASB) and of the deputy chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC).
The Council also addressed several highly important items, and approved:
− the improvement of the framework for the working agreements on search
co-operation between the EPO and the national patent offices of the European Patent Network (EPN), and the extension of support for SMEs, universities, research centres and individual inventors;
− the first two recommendations on convergence of practice within the EPN, on the examination of unity of invention and the designation of the inventor (as well as corresponding amendments to Rules 19 and 143 EPC for the latter); and
− the amendment of the Implementing Regulations (Rules 117 and 118 EPC) to allow the taking of evidence by videoconference.
The Council also noted the positive developments in the process of ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement in Germany and the chairperson of the Select Committee's call for swift completion of the ratification of the Protocol on Provisional Application.
Turning to budgetary and financial matters, the Council unanimously approved the Organisation's EUR 2.5bn budget for 2021, as well as the adjustment of the salaries and other elements of the remuneration of employees of the Office and of pensions paid by the Office.
Finally, in both meetings the Council took a number of decisions on individual positions, hence:
− appointing Pascal FAURE (FR) as chairperson and Mr VIHER (EE) as deputy chair of the BFC for a three-year term; re-appointing Michel LIND (NL) as an external member and chair and Martin Paul WAGNER (CH) as an external member of the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS; and re-appointing Jérémie FENICHEL (FR) as a member of the ASB;
− re-appointing Mr Carl JOSEFSSON (SE) as the President of the Boards of Appeal and in his judicial capacity with effect from 1 March 2022 for another five-year term;
− re-appointing Sir MAHONEY, Mr VAN HOUTTE and Mr JANSEN respectively as chair and vice-chairs for the next three years and Ms FALCE and Mr MANTERE as members for the next two years of the Appeals Committee of the Council;
− appointing Mr SØRENSEN (DK) as a member of the Board of the Administrative Council for a three-year term; and
− deciding on the appointment,
re-appointment and promotion of several BoA members and chairpersons based on proposals by the President of the Boards of Appeal and on his consultation or recommendations on proposals from the Chairperson of the Council.
All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a
case-by-case basis can be consulted at: www.epo.org/about-us/governance/documentation/ac-documents.html