The Administrative Council (AC) of the EPO has met yesterday and continues its meeting today. The IPKat reports on four remarkable letters which have been sent to the AC in preparation of the meeting, wherein the stakeholders note that the acceptance of the EPO's proposal to reform the Boards of Appeal have has been (wilfully?) overstated when President Batistelli has presented the results of the user consultation in CA 98/15. The move to directly address the AC rather than relying on the president as the spokesperson is a clear sign of increasing mistrust between the president and the boards of appeal.
The recent discussion and events have shown that a reform aiming at increasing the perception of independence of the Boards of Appeal has to avoid any direct or indirect influence of the president of the office on the management of the Boards of Appeal. As correctly stated in the long-awaited letter of epi to the AC, the President should abstain from exercising control on the appointment or re-appointment of the board members and on the budget of the Boards of Appeal.
Above all, this blogger concurs with the epi in that the complete recruitment stop has to be removed immediately to keep the Boards Operational and to avoid a further increasing backlog. Operational Boards of Appeal with independent, experienced and motivated members, sufficient rooms to hold oral proceedings and staff support are a core ingredient of the functioning of the European Patent System to be administered by the AC.