Friday, 12 December 2014

EPO - News from the Administrative Council

The Administrative council has published a "Communique on decisions taken by the Administrative Council at its 142nd meeting concerning senior employees and appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Appeal" as follows:

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

The Council addressed a number of points concerning senior employees and the Boards of Appeal. Specifically, the Council addressed disciplinary arrangements applicable to senior employees appointed by the Council under Article 11 (1)(2)(3) EPC and, noting its obligations under Article 11(4) EPC, agreed to set up a Council Disciplinary Committee.

The Council 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.

The Council also made four re-appointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and Chairmen and legally qualified members of the of Boards of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(3) EPC, as well as a total of twelve appointments and re-appointments of legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(5) EPC.

On a proposal from the President of the Office, the Council addressed and carefully considered a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC. As a precautionary and conservative measure without anticipating any further steps which may ensue, the Council unanimously decided to suspend the person concerned from active duty on full salary until 31 March 2015. The Council requested the investigation to be completed as soon as possible, in order to allow it to decide on the next steps. The Council expressed its concern at an incident unique in the history of EPO.

Details of the appointments and reappointments as well as of other decisions taken by the Council at this meeting will be published separately.

Council Secretariat
 The setup of a council disciplinary committee is a step which serves to ensure the separation of powers. However, it is to be noted that the main concerns of the demonstrating employees (new career plans, internal disciplinary regime for employees other than those appointed by the AC) are not at all addressed.

This blogger wonders whether the "senior employees" other than the members of the boards of appeal (the employees appointed by the Council under Article 11 (1)(2) EPC are the president and the vice president(s)) are mentioned only for the sake of completeness or whether this might indicate that any sort of investigations with regard to the activities of these persons have been discussed or are on the first schedule of the new council disciplinary committee?

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