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Official Journal February 2022

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Citation: OJ EPO 2022, A16
Online publication date: 28.2.2022

Report on the 168th and 169th meetings of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (13 October 2021 and 14 and 15 December 2021 respectively)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 168th and 169th meetings as e-meetings under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ).

The Council took several decisions on individual positions:

  •  Reappointment of Mr Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ) as Chairperson of the Administrative Council for a further three-year mandate;
  •  Re-election of Ms Borghildur ERLINGSDÓTTIR (IS) as Deputy Chairperson for a further three-year mandate;
  •  Re-election of Mr Johannes KARCHER (DE) as Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Patent Law for a further three-year mandate;
  •  Appointment of Mr Jorma HANSKI (FI) and reappointment of Ms Catherine MARGELLOU (GR) as members of the Boards of Appeal Committee for a further three-year mandate;
  •  Reappointments of Sir Nicholas FORWOOD (UK) as Chairperson, Mr Markus MOHLER (CH) as Alternate Chairperson, as well as Ms Alicja ADAMCZAK (PL), Mr Simon THORLEY (UK), Mr Peter Hendrik BLOK (DK) and Mr Lanfranco TENAGLIA (IT) as members of the Disciplinary Committee established by the Administrative Council for a further two-year mandate;
  •  Reappointment of Mr Tom FEARNLEY (NO) as member and Deputy Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS for a further three-year mandate; and appointment of Ms Hélène DUBOIS (FR) as external member of this Board for a three-year mandate;
  •  Appointment of Ms Sonya Anne BRANDER (UK/CA) as Chairperson of the Appeals Committee of the Administrative Council for a three-year mandate;
  •  Appointment, reappointment and promotion of members of the Boards of Appeal (BoA), based on proposals by the President of the BoA and on his consultation or recommendations on proposals from the Chairperson of the Council.

In these meetings the Council noted the reports of its Chairperson and of the respective chairpersons of the Budget and Finance Committee, the Boards of Appeal Committee (BOAC), the Technical and Operational Support Committee (TOSC), the Committee on Patent Law, the Select Committee and the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS).

At its 168th meeting, the Council was provided with an extensive report on recent milestones and prominent developments in each of the five main goals of the Strategic Plan 2023. The Council noted the Office's activities report and congratulated the President, as well as the Office's management and staff on their impressive achievements. The Council also commented positively on the management report of the President of the BoA and noted a report on the implementation of the Office's data protection framework.

The Council approved the following proposals:

Modernising the European Patent Academy: the Office's proposal included measures to upgrade the Academy's training portfolio, its working methods and structures, the transfer of the supervisory function from the former Academy Supervisory Board to the TOSC.

New working arrangements: amendment of the Rules of Procedure of the Administrative Council to enable the governing bodies of the Organisation to conduct their meetings in a hybrid format (i.e. to permit the physical and remote participation of delegations).

At its 169th meeting, the Council noted a comprehensive report on the Office's achievements in 2021 under each of the five main goals of the Strategic Plan 2023. The Council also gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the Annual Work Plan for 2022. It welcomed the Office's prudent, long-term approach in the light of the impact of COVID-19, and particularly the strong focus placed on business continuity and moving progressively towards a ╩║new normal╩║ situation. The Council appreciated the clear reporting and informative presentation. It congratulated the President, as well as the Office's management and staff, on the EPO's excellent achievements under challenging circumstances.

Turning to budgetary and financial matters, the Council unanimously approved the Organisation's EUR 2.34bn budget for 2022 and the biennial inflation adjustment of the fees to be applied as of 1 April 2022.

The Council approved the proposals on the Code of Conduct for Members of the Boards of Appeal and of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the proposed amendments to the Service Regulations regarding strike regulations as a result of the respective ILOAT judgements rendered in July 2021.

The Council also endorsed the Office's orientation paper on recruitment based on a cautious approach in 2022, with internal job mobility remaining the preferred option. Furthermore, it noted the exhaustive information on the envisaged new ways of working to be launched as a pilot at the end of the current emergency situation.

Last but not least, the Council welcomed the latest developments in the Unitary Patent, which paved the way for the provisional application of the UPCA to officially start in early 2022. This means that the UPC/UPP package could potentially be operational by the second half of 2022.

All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be consulted at:

epo.org/about-us/governance/documentation/ac-documents.html.