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Reform of the BoA approved by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

July 04, 2016

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 148th meeting on 29th and 30th June 2016 in Munich.

During the meeting, the Administrative Council approved a package of reforms of the Boards of Appeal (CA/43/16 Rev 1). The goals of the reforms are to increase the organizational and managerial autonomy of the BoA, the perception of their independence and their efficiency within the framework of the current EPC. The approved package of reforms is composed by five main elements: a new institutional framework (Part A), a specific career system (Part B), the possible allocation of a separate building (Part C), the improvement of the cost coverage of the appeal system (Part D) and the regulation of potential conflicts of interest (Part E).

Together with this package, the Administrative Council approved the proposal “post-service integrity: prevention of conflict of interest” (CA/29/16 Rev 1), which introduces a monitoring mechanism and specifies a decision-making process for the enforcement of the existing post-service integrity obligations applicable to the members of the BoA.

Proposals CA/43/16 and CA/29/16 were presented by the President during the 29th June session. Most of the delegations were generally in favour of the envisaged changes, but had strong reservations. Many delegations also pleaded for a separate treatment and discussion of the elements included in the package, especially Part D (cost coverage of the appeal system). epi intervened and reiterated the position expressed in its latest position paper (filed after having had access to a draft form of the proposals CA/xx/16 and CA/29/16). These documents are available for epi members after login. Please follow this link: http://patentepi.org/en/epi/forum/threads/114

Following extensive discussions, the Chairman of the Administrative Council suggested, and the meeting agreed, that B28 would meet that evening with the Office to come up with a compromise proposal. Amended texts were presented and approved on the 30th June session. While several delegations still expressed their reservations about some parts of the final proposals (mainly the cost coverage of the appeal system -part D of CA/43/16 Rev 1), the majority approved the package in the spirit of good cooperation and with the express request to revisit this decision in two or three years.

The Council decisions will be published on the website of the EPO as soon as possible.

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