Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Online consultation on reforms to the EPO boards of appeal

The European Patent Organisation has launched a structural reform of its Boards of Appeal. 
The main features of the proposed reform are described in the document (CA/16/15), which has been presented by the President of the European Patent Office to the Administrative Council in March and has met with broad support. The Council gave its general support to the policy lines as presented. First concrete proposals will be elaborated for decision at the next Council meeting, in June 2015. These proposals will have to take due account of contributions received as a result of a broad consultation of stakeholders. The user consultation was launched on 30 April and will run until 30 June 2015.

The aim of the reform is to ensure and increase the organisational and managerial autonomy of the Boards of Appeal, the perception of their independence as enshrined in Article 23 EPC, as well as their efficiency within the legal framework of the current European Patent Convention.

The aim is also to take account of national, European and international developments aiming at enhancing the autonomy of the Judiciary and/or the efficiency.

The European Patent Office, which will prepare the relevant concrete proposals to be submitted to the Administrative Council, would welcome contributions from the users of the European patent system concerning possible improvements of the functioning of the Boards of Appeal with respect to both their autonomy and the perception of their independence and their efficiency. Contributions from the users will be duly considered in the preparation of the future concrete proposals and presented to the Administrative Council. Contributions will be processed and presented to the Administrative Council in an anonymised manner and an excerpt of the contributions will be made available to the general public.

The EPO in particular welcomes contributions concerning the following questions:
  • Question A: Position of the Boards of Appeal – Independence
  • Question B. Work of the Boards of Appeal - Efficiency
  • Question C. Work of the Boards of Appeal – Procedure 
  • Question D. Boards of Appeals Committee (BOAC)
  • Question E. Proceedings of petitions for review
  • Question F. General

The user consultation will run until 30 June 2015, and is available to June 30, 2015 on the EPO website under https://forms.epo.org/law-practice/consultation/ongoing/boards-of-appeal-form.html.

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