OJ EPO 2015, A1 - Report on the 142nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (10 and 11 December 2014)

The Administrative Council held its 142nd meeting on 10 and 11 December 2014 in Munich, under the chairmanship of Jesper Kongstad (DK).

After noting the activities report of its chairman, the Council heard the President of the Office, Benoît Battistelli, report on the latest developments at the Office. It congratulated the President and all EPO staff on the Office's outstanding performance. Delegations reiterated their full support for the President in implementing reforms aimed at modernising the Office and increasing its efficiency.

The newly elected chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation, Patricia García-Escudero Márquez (ES), then reported orally on the board's 15th meeting, held on 25 November 2014.

Under appointments/elections, the Council first noted that the term of office of the chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, Serafeim Stasinos (GR), will end on 26 June 2015. His successor should be elected at the Council's 143rd meeting, in March 2015, together with two new members of the Board of the Administrative Council, since the non-renewable three-year terms of Matti Päts (EE) and Christoph Ernst (DE) will also end on 26 June 2015. The Council also noted that the 5-year term of one of the three members of the Board of Auditors will end in June 2015, and that its chairman will present a proposal at its March 2015 meeting. Guus Broesterhuizen (NL) and Jørgen Smith (NO) were reappointed members of the Appeals Committee for 2015, together with Darina Kyliánová (SK) as alternate member.

The Council then made a series of appointments and reappointments to the boards of appeal, namely:

Hugo Meinders (NL), reappointed as chairman of a technical board of appeal and technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal with effect from 1 February 2015

Werner Sieber (DE), reappointed as chairman of a technical board of appeal and technically qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal with effect from 1 February 2015

Kevin Garnett (GB), reappointed as legally qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 February 2015

Christopher Heath (DE), reappointed as legally qualified member of the boards with effect from 1 March 2015

The following were appointed for three-year terms as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board:

Carmen Álvarez Theurer (ES), with effect from 1 January 2015

Adem Aslan (TR), with effect from 1 January 2015

Anna Dimitrova (BG), with effect from 1 January 2015

Jussi Karttunen (FI), with effect from 1 January 2015

Ele Liiv (EE), with effect from 1 January 2015

Mirna Maržić (HR), with effect from 1 January 2015

Peer Kare Nerdrum (NO), with effect from 1 January 2015

Marina Tavassi (IT), with effect from 1 January 2015

Brian J. Cregan (IE), with effect from 1 March 2015

Marie-Christine Courboulay (FR), with effect from 1 July 2015.

The following were reappointed as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board, also for three-year terms:

Christopher Floyd (GB), with effect from 1 January 2015

Samuel Granata (BE), with effect from 1 January 2015

Jochem Gröning (DE), with effect from 1 January 2015

Kathrin Klett (CH), with effect from 1 January 2015

Stelios Nathanael (CY), with effect from 1 January 2015

Henrik Rothe (DK), with effect from 1 January 2015

Michael Sachs (AT), with effect from 1 January 2015

Octavia Spineanu-Matei (RO), with effect from 1 January 2015

Pavel Tůma (CZ), with effect from 1 January 2015

Stéphanie Vikström (MC), with effect from 1 January 2015

Per Carlson (SE), with effect from 1 March 2015

Robert Van Peursem (NL), with effect from 1 July 2015.

Under legal and international affairs, the Council approved the fees payable during the period 2015-2017 under the working agreements on search co-operation with the five ex-IIB states (BE, FR, LU, NL and TR) and with seven other EPO member states (CY, GR, IT, LT, MC, MT, SM).

On the unitary patent, after a status report given by the Italian delegation on behalf of the current EU presidency, the chairman of the Select Committee reported on the committee's 10th and 11th meetings, held on 28-29 October and 9 December 2014 respectively. This was followed by a debriefing from the chairman of the B+ Group John Alty (UK) on the latest developments concerning substantive patent law harmonisation.

The Council took note of the oral report of the chairman of the Technical and Operational Support Committee, Josef Kratochvil (CZ), on the committee's 80th  meeting, held on 11 November 2014 in Munich.

On personnel/policy matters, the Council approved a new career system for EPO staff, on the understanding that the provisions regarding appraisal, performance, step advancement, bonus, promotion and all career-related elements for Council appointees as members of the boards of appeal will not apply until specific provisions have been included in documents concerning the organisation and functioning of DG 3, to be submitted to the Council at its next meeting, in March 2015.

The Council also addressed a number of points concerning senior employees and the boards of appeal, and in particular the disciplinary arrangements applicable to senior employees appointed by the Council. It took this opportunity to reiterate its full endorsement of and support for the principle of independence of the members of the boards of appeal, as specifically set out in Article 23 EPC and generally embodied in internationally recognised principles of judicial independence. A particular issue of alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11(3) EPC was carefully considered. Precautionary measures were decided pending the outcome of investigations on the basis of which possible further steps could be taken.

With regard to financial and budgetary matters, the Council noted the oral report of the chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, Serafeim Stasinos (GR), on the committee's 109th and 110th meetings, held in Munich on 29 October and 20 November 2014 respectively.

The Council unanimously approved a transfer of EUR 200 000 000 from the funds available in the Office's Treasury to the RFPSS's dedicated pension fund.

Lastly, the Council unanimously adopted the 2015 authorisation budget (amounting to EUR 2 099 915 000) and table of posts, and approved the financial estimates for 2016-2019. The staff complement will remain stable at 7 075. The adjustment of EPO salaries and pensions with effect from 1 July 2014 is included in the budget.

All the documents approved by the Council for publication on a case-by-case basis can be found under the following link:

www.epo.org/about-us/organisation/documentation/ac-documents.html.

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