07.01.16

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EPO Leak: Administrative Council’s Latest Meeting Report (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AC meeting report
Click for full-sized version (the EPO‘s intranet version, i.e. the public is kept in the dark for now)

Summary: The outcome of the Administrative Council’s meeting, where Battistelli managed to avoid earthquakes and basically did just about everything he wanted, reinforcing the perception that there is no oversight

Yesterday’s AC meeting report was limited in terms of concrete evidence. Well, now we have the above (click to zoom in/get a full view). Noteworthy among IP Kat comments this morning is this person who says: “We will see how the new BoAC drafts the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal based on the wish of the President and the AC to reduce the backlog of appeal cases, ie to streamline and speed up the appeal proedure. No auxiliary requests and only revision of the decision of the department of first instance. Brave new EPO.”

“But still the president convinced the AC members (a qualified attorney/practitioner before the EPO between them?) to decide that they knew better.”
      –Anonymous
Another person jokes: “I understand that a dead cat has been found, stuck in the ventilation system of the main building of the EPO. That was obviously the source of the overwhelming smell of corruption that lingered in the air. The problem is solved now.”

Another comment notes, “as far as I could see not one person who has to use the BoA, be it the parties, their representatives or the board members themselves, supported any of the proposed changes. But still the president convinced the AC members (a qualified attorney/practitioner before the EPO between them?) to decide that they knew better. But that’s democracy for you.”

“Nobody cares for the users,” replies the following comment. “Because they dared to criticize Battistelli they are getting a fee increase and no place in the Boac…”

“Battistelli plans another such lobbying event for next year (if he survives this long in his job).”Speaking of fee hikes (coverage here and elsewhere before), with examination quality at the EPO sinking why would anyone withdraw? This morning the EPO published update to examination fees (warning: epo.org) and last night we got another reminder that EPO applicants’ money gets wasted on Battistelli’s PR stunts and lobbying. To quote this new article: “For the Munich-based team of the VOK DAMS, agency for events and live-marketing, this year’s award was a special anniversary, as it was the 10th awards ceremony designed and implemented by VOK DAMS in a row, looking back on a long-standing the successful partnership between the EPO and VOK DAMS. [...] More than 550 VIP guests from politics, economy, and academia were on site at the MEO arena in Lisbon, when the EPO president opened the award ceremony together with the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and the EU commissioner for research, science and innovation Carlos Moedas.”

We have already mentioned the role played Moedas and António Costa, serving to reinforce the perception that this was just Battistelli’s wasteful lobbying effort (lobbying Portugal, the Commission and more). So far this week (in 3 days alone) the EPO has posted about half a dozen calls for nominations (in Twitter) for the next massive waste of money (millions of Euros). Battistelli plans another such lobbying event for next year (if he survives this long in his job).

Update: Here is the above image as text (credit due):

News from the Administrative Council
Outcomes of the 148th session
The Administrative Council (AC) met on 29 and 30 June for its 148th meeting. Following the presentation of the activities report of the President, the AC members congratulated the Office, the management and the staff, for the excellent results achieved so far in 2016. In what was a dense agenda, the latest session of the AC notably included the adoption of the reform of the Boards of Appeal.
Structural reform of the Boards of Appeal
By a very large majority (35 in favour, 2 abstentions, 1 against), the delegations supported the proposal of the Office concerning the reform of the Boards of Appeal, which aims at increasing the perception of independence and the efficiency of the Boards, based on five pillars:
a structural reorganisation of the BOA, with the setting-up of a Boards of Appeal Committee (BOAC) as a subsidiary body of the Administrative Council and a unilateral act of delegation of powers from the President of the Office to a newly created President of the BOA;
a new career system for members and Chairmen of the BOA;
the relocation of the BOA to a separate building in Munich;
a better cost coverage for appeals;
specific rules on the prevention of conflict of interest for members and Chairmen of the BOA.
After two attempts of reform which failed in 1995 and 2004, this is an historic achievement.
Budgetary and financial items
The AC unanimously approved the account of the 2015 budget. The financial statements 2015 received an unreserved opinion from the Board of Auditors in compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This is the sixth year in a row that this positive qualification has been obtained. The Board of Auditors expressed their positive comments in relation to the EPO Quality Management System, the project for the New Main building in The Hague and the good management of the IT roadmap. The delegations also gave a unanimous positive opinion on the initial budgetary orientations for 2017, showing their continuous support for the strategy of the Office.
The Council appointed Mr Groffmann as the new Administrator for the RFPSS, on a proposal of the President of the Office, in agreement with the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS.
Social topics
For the fourth year in a row, the Office presented a comprehensive social report, highly appreciated by the delegations. For the first time, the Office also submitted an environmental report. In relation to healthcare matters, the proposal of the Office to switch to a self-insurance scheme as of 1 January 2017 and the new contract awarded to Cigna for the administration of the healthcare reimbursement scheme, following an international tender were unanimously approved.
Because of the time necessary to finalise the reform of the BOA, it was not possible to address the two proposals on the revision of investigation guidelines and disciplinary procedures which are postponed to the October session of the AC.

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