OJ EPO 2019, A1 - Report on the 157th and 158th meetings of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (10 and 11 October 2018 and 12 and 13 December 2018 respectively)

The 157th and 158th meetings of the Administrative Council were held in Munich, under the chairmanship of the deputy Chairman, Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ).

Having heard in its 157th meeting all pre-selected candidates, the Council elected Mr Stephen ROWAN (UK) as Vice-President Directorate General 1 (Patent Granting Process), Ms Niloofar SIMON (AT) as Vice-President Directorate General 4 (Corporate Services), and Mr Christoph ERNST (DE) as Vice-President Directorate General 5 (Legal/International Affairs). All 3 Vice-Presidents were appointed as of 1 January 2019 for a term of five years.

The Council took further decisions on individual positions, hence appointing in its 157th meeting Mr Frédéric ANGERMANN (FR) as member of the Board of Auditors for a period of 5 years starting on 1 January 2019, Mr Joachim KARCHER (DE) as Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Patent Law, and Mr Jorma HANSKI (FI) as member of the Boards of Appeal Committee. In respect of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security, it appointed Mr Tom FEARNLEY (NO) as Deputy Chairman of its Supervisory Board and Mr Edwin BRUCE-GARDNER (UK) as external member of this Board. The Council also decided a number of appointments, re-appointments and, where appropriate, promotions of members of the Boards of Appeal, the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the Disciplinary Board of Appeal.

In its 158th meeting, the Council unanimously elected Josef KRATOCHVÍL (CZ) as its Chairman for a term of 3 years, starting on 1 January 2019. It took further decisions on individual positions, hence appointing Mr Eero MANTERE (FI) and Ms Valeria FALCE (IT) to the Appeals Committee, renewing the mandate of all current members of the Council's Disciplinary Committee, and otherwise deciding a number of appointments to the Boards of Appeal.

In respect of the Office activities and performance, the Council noted the reports given in the two meetings by the new President of the European Patent Office, António CAMPINOS. The good Office's achievements and the progress report on upcoming activities, in particular the future strategic plan and the studies on the Office's finances and IT, were welcomed. A presentation of key findings of the annual User Satisfaction Surveys, the first of its kind, was carried-out by an external consultant and demonstrated a growing appreciation by the users of the Office services. The actions of the President in respect of the social climate, especially his interviews with numerous staff, were also much appreciated. The Council further noted the report of the President of the Boards of Appeal and welcomed the increases in performance achieved by the Boards so far.

Under legal and international affairs the Council unanimously invited the Republic of Montenegro to accede to the EPC. Montenegro already had an agreement in force since 2010 on the extension of European patents and concluded four Bilateral Cooperation Plans with the EPO between 2012 and now.

The Office submitted for opinion, firstly an orientation paper on its future building projects in view of the challenges it would have to face, and secondly the first ever yearly orientation paper on the recruitment of staff. Both sets of information were welcomed by the Council.

Under budgetary and financial matters, the Council unanimously adopted in its 158th meeting the Budget for 2019 totalling EUR 2 383 280 000, together with the table of posts totalling 7075 posts, as well as the budget estimates for the four following years. It endorsed the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and further measures taken in the field of pensions.

Finally the Council warmly took leave of the three departing Office Vice-Presidents, Messrs. Alberto CASADO, Željko TOPIĆ and Raimund LUTZ.

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