Report on the 170th and 171st meetings of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (22 March 2022 and 29 and 30 June 2022 respectively)
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 170th meeting as an e-meeting and its 171st meeting as its first ever hybrid meeting under its Chairperson Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ).
The Council took a number of decisions on individual appointments:
- Re-appointment of Mr António CAMPINOS (PT) as President of the European Patent Office for a further five-year mandate
- Election of Mr Johannes Christian WICHARD (DE) as Chairperson of the Technical and Operational Support Committee for a three-year mandate
- Re-election of Mr Peter SLATER (UK) as deputy chairperson of the Technical and Operational Support Committee for a further three-year mandate
- Appointment of Mr Javier VERA (ES) as member of the Boards of Appeal Committee for a three-year mandate
- Appointment of Ms Margaret FROST (UK) as alternate external member of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) for a three-year mandate
- Appointment of Ms Leonor TRINDADE (PT) and Mr Per FOSS (NO) as members of the Appeals Committee dealing with appeals against individual decisions taken by the Administrative Council as the competent appointing authority, for a two-year mandate
- Extension of the mandate of Mr Ola HOLLUM (NO) as member of the Board of Auditors for further three years
- Appointments, re-appointments and promotions of members of the Boards of Appeal, based on proposals by the President of the Boards of Appeal and on his consultation or recommendations on proposals of the Chairperson of the Council.
The Council noted the Chairperson's activity reports, as well as reports from the respective Chairpersons of the Budget and Finance Committee, the Select Committee, the Committee on Patent Law, the Technical and Operational Support Committee, the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS and the Boards of Appeal Committee on the meetings held since the last Council session in December 2021. The Council also welcomed the management report of the President of the Boards of Appeal for 2021 and congratulated him and the staff members of the Boards of Appeal for the results achieved.
Council members welcomed the developments related to the Unitary Patent presented by the Chairperson of the Select Committee, as well as by the French and Czech delegations, whose countries hold the EU Presidency in the first and second semester of 2022, respectively.
The President of the European Patent Office, António CAMPINOS, provided the Council with extensive reports on the Office's achievements under each of the five main goals of the Strategic Plan 2023 from 2021 onwards. This was complemented by a comprehensive video screened at the Council's 171st meeting. The Council commended the Office's achievements and joined the President and the Chairperson in expressing their deep appreciation to all staff for the solid progress and outstanding achievements in challenging times.
At its 170th meeting, the Council gave a unanimous favourable opinion on the proposed new ways of working scheme and praised the broad consultation conducted by the Office with internal and external stakeholders. The Council also unanimously approved the launch of the complete renovation of the EPO's building in Vienna so as to transform it into a green hub, as well as two recommendations for a common practice as regards the accordance of a date of priority, and the re-establishment of rights respectively.
The Council also took note of the information provided by the Office on the legal and technical aspects of the proposed relocation of the Boards of Appeal from their current premises in Haar to the "Bauteil 7" of the PschorrHöfe.
At its 171st meeting, the Council approved the proposal for the professional mobility package, the request by the Visegrad Patent Institute for observer status on the Administrative Council; and the proposed working agreements on search co-operation with Portugal and Austria. The Office's proposal for the set-up and blueprint of the Observatory on Patents and Technology also received a favourable opinion from the Council.
In terms of financial matters, the Council noted the opinion of the Board of Auditors and approved their report, as well as the EPO's accounts for 2021. Delegations expressed their appreciation of the Office's prudent approach to its planning assumptions in 2023, which takes into consideration recent geopolitical tensions such as the military aggression in Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic.
In closed session, the Council endorsed the Chairperson's proposal for modernising the EPO's external governance and noted the solid progress reported by the Office on the preparation of the future membership of Montenegro. It also took note of the co-operation activities developed by the Office to support the Ukrainian Patent Office, as well as several respective comments by delegations. Finally, the Council noted the extensive update provided by the Office on social dialogue.