Thursday 18 December 2014

Communiqué on 142 meeting on EPO Administrative council

The report on the meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO has now been published here as follows:

142nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 10 and 11 December 2014)

The Administrative Council held its 142nd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2014 with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman's report on the last meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, presented his activities report. The Council expressed its clear satisfaction.

The Council then exchanged information on strategic matters within the Organisation and on the social climate and addressed a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC, reported separately on this website.

Further, the Council proceeded with a series of appointments and re-appointments to positions in the boards of appeal.

Later, the Council heard status reports on the Unitary patent and related developments as well as on substantive patent law harmonisation.

Lastly, the Council adopted a reform of the career system as well as the draft budget for 2015.

Council Secretariat
No surprise so far. The rumors that the new career system has been adopted are confirmed. The new career system is supposed reduce (or entirely eliminate) the effect of seniority on salary increases and put a strong focus on productivity. According to a letter published via the FOSS blog run by Florian Müller, this is likely to affect the quality of the patents delivered by the EPO.

This blogger thinks that a more incentive-based salary system is a very good idea as long as the quality of the work remains an essential factor. However, the quality of the work of patent examiners is difficult to quantify insofar as the substantial part thereof is concerned. Quality management systems tend to put an excessive weight on factors which can be easily "measured" and to neglect other, more  relevant factors. Is the recent trend showing an increasing number of EPO examination procedures limited to purely formal issues without ever entering into a deeper a discussion on the technical merits of the invention a result of an unbalanced incentive system?

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