This week the EPO welcomed Carl Josefsson as the new President of the Boards of Appeal. It is a great opportunity for a judiciary that has been reformed to enhance its efficiency and to further assure users of its independence. This new era opens under the leadership of an experienced patent judge. Indeed, previous to his arrival, Carl Josefsson served as a Senior Judge of Appeal at the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal. He is also well known in the patent world from his former roles as a Deputy Director at the Swedish Ministry of Justice, Division for Intellectual Property and Transport Law, and as Chair of the Council working party on patents during Sweden’s 2009 EU Presidency, among others. He has been particularly involved in the preparation phase of the Unified Patent Court, which is of particular interest for the evolution of the EPO BoA.
The start of Carl Josefsson’s mandate on 1 March 2017 also illustrates the quick and smooth implementation of a comprehensive reform which was adopted in June 2016. In effect, the reform is a package of concrete measures, each of which plays a role in ensuring improvements. Carl Josefsson assuming his duties is one of the more visible. Now – for the first time ever – the BoA has a President who will bear full responsibility for the administration and management of the Boards of Appeal Unit and its staff, following a delegation of powers from the President of the Office. Crucially, the holder of this post is hierarchically independent of the President of the Office and solely responsible to the Administrative Council. The support for such a role, however, has been bolstered by the creation of a new subsidiary body of the Administrative Council, the Boards of Appeal Committee, who will advise the new President in his role.
Together with other measures, such as a new location, rules on conflict of interest for its members, a specific career system and better cost coverage, the tools are now in place for the BoA to carry on their role as a highly respected, independent and efficient judiciary. There is now every chance that the Boards can better address some concerns of users regarding timeliness, predictability and consistency of the appeal procedure expressed during the reform process. The BoA, of course, has not been alone in facing such issues; judiciaries across the world have faced increased demand for their services and pressure to deliver more judgements while ensuring quality of work. However, every effort has been made so that the EPO BoA are now better equipped and will continue to play an important role in European patent litigation.
That litigation will also evolve over the coming years as a logical consequence of the increasing number of patents being granted,. Reforming the BoA is therefore just one more aspect in making sure that the EPO and its bodies are equipped to deliver quality services well into the future. I wish Carl Josefsson and the BoA every success in their work.
This week I am pleased to report that the EPO recently hosted the first meeting of an additional new committee to work specifically on quality. Although the EPO has been holding meetings of the Standing Advisory Committee before the European Patent Office (SACEPO) since 1979, this is the very first time that a sub-committee has […]
Last Friday the Supreme Court of the Netherlands conclusively endorsed the EPO’s immunity and the validity of its legal framework. It follows a case originally brought before the national courts of the Netherlands by one of the EPO`s trade unions, which asserted that it had no means to legally challenge recent reforms within the Office. […]
Yesterday, I was able to discuss the EPO’s priorities for the coming year at a special event with our staff. It was an opportunity to review the developments of the last twelve months in a meeting in Munich, attended by over 350 staff members and viewed online by employees throughout the organisation. Almost one year […]
Last week the European Patent Office hosted the fourth Indo-European Conference on Patents and ICT at its headquarters in Munich. It is an event which has been held on an alternating basis in India and in Europe since 2013, in conjunction with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of the Government of India. […]
The United Kingdom has announced its intention to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement. This is the exciting news recently given by UK Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and it has been met with positive responses by the European Commission, the other Member States and the user community. I strongly welcome this development as […]
This week I’m reporting back from our most recent Online Services User Day in Monaco. The event last Thursday and Friday saw over 120 attendees come from across Europe to Monaco to obtain the latest information on our online services and learn about the most recent developments at the EPO. This was in fact the […]
This week in Madrid, the EPO held a conference to discuss the latest developments in a field that is widely acknowledged for making one of the most valuable contributions to intellectual property systems the world over; patent information. Over the years, the EPO’s Patent Information Conference has grown into the largest of its kind in […]
Today the EPO and EUIPO published their latest study on the value of Intellectual Property Intensive (IPR) industries. It is the second such joint report carried out that assesses the value of industries that intensively use patents, copyright and trademarks, among others. The results show that once again, IPR intensive industries are playing a defining role […]
The EPO is an organisation that has always strived to improve its standards: greater legal robustness of its patents, higher quality services, more useful patent information, more intensive international cooperation. These are just a few of the areas into which we have channelled our efforts in order to deliver benefits for our users everywhere and […]