The European Patent Office (EPO), headquartered in Munich, is looking for a new president. Benoît Battistelli, the current owner, will retire in the summer of 2018. The candidate needs polyvalent expertise and flexible and multidimensional skills.
Who could be the ideal candidate? That question is answered by the formal tender, that has been published since the beginning of July. Here, all
skills are defined that an ideal candidate should have. Interested persons can apply until mid-September.
Social dialogue as core competency
Reading the details in the job description it is noticeable to find a lot of competencies, which are more likely to be found in social and interpersonal areas: “Ability to take up and maintain social dialogue, communication skills and negotiation skills”. The background: President Battistelli is considered to be highly controversial. The conflicts within the European Patent Office became publicly visible at the end of 2015. Benoît Battistelli attempted to implement necessary reforms and removed the head of the International Union of the Institution (SUEPO). In November 2016, he also dismissed the union’s managing director. With a future president, there is hope that the remaining conflicts will be resolved and that the EPO will establish its organization in a future-oriented manner.
How do the international patent offices EPO und EUIPO differ from eachother?
The EPO has the task of granting European patents, provided that the relevant inventions are new and are commercially applicable. The EUIPO does not grant patents, but it is responsible for the registration of EU trade marks (formerly called Community trade marks) and registered Community designs. This includes the areas of brand and design law. Both patent offices operate internationally, there are also opportunities for cooperation and collusion between the two offices. And both are self-financing by the revenue from fees, they are not EU institutions. Indeed they are also in direct competition for the profitable patent business from North America and the dynamic Asian area.
Antonio Campinos impresses with special expertise and skills in modern management
Antonio Campinos, the Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), could be a possible candidate for President of EPO because of the similar and complementary work processes and tasks of the two patent offices EPO and EUIPO. He studied law at the French Universities of Montpellier and Nancy. In 2005, Mr. Campino was appointed President of the Portuguese Patent Office. (IP Commissioner and President of the Council of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) in Portugal). He has also been an active member of the EUIPO since 2005 and in 2010 became executive director of the EUIPO. Moreoever he gained recognition for his modern management style. He introduced successfully structural changes and developed a strategic plan for the reorganisation of the international patent office EUIPO.
(Supplement on 26 October 2017: EPO announced Antonio Campinos being the next president of EPO. His five-year term will start on 1 July 2018.)
What are the tasks of the President of the EPO?
The EPO is an intergovernmental institution that was founded in 1977 and currently has 38 members. Members are all 28 European countries as well as countries, that are regionally connected to Europe, like Norway and Switzerland as well as Turkey, Albania and San Marino. The EPO is controlled by its Board of Directors, in which all members are equally represented. From 1 October the the German Christoph Ernst from the Federal Ministry of Justice has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors, who will replace Jesper Kongstad, who is considered to support the controversial course of EPO President Benoît Battistelli. The future President of the EPO will have many discussions with the members and will have to prepare a viable strategy affecting approximately 7000 employees. He will have to overcome individual and institutional barriers to this transformation process and to develop strategies to overcome these barriers.