Dr. Brigitte Böhm

News from the European Patent Office


New President nominated

The term of office of the current President of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, will end in mid-2018. After advertising the position, in its latest meeting the Administrative Council of the EPO has decided on the succession and elected António Campinos, the current President of the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) in Alicante, as Battistelli’s successor. The term of office of Mr. Campinos, who as former President of the Portuguese Patent Office and even more as efficient and competent director of the EUIPO has already established a reputation, is for five years and will start on July 1, 2018. It may be assumed that Mr. Campinos will continue the efforts of the present EPO President of streamlining the organization and accelerating the procedures at the EPO. The international cooperation with other patent offices and the important role the EPO plays in connection with the five largest patent offices of the world, the so-called IP5, will most probably be a further top priority for Mr. Campinos.


Introduction of a postponed examination

As President Battistelli informed in his presentation at the FICPI forum 2017 in October, the European Patent Office plans to offer its users the possibility to postpone the start of substantive examination of European patent applications for up to three years. In a respective user consultation this possibility was debated and very positively received. Moreover, the EPO thus aligns its procedures with those of other major patent offices. In Japan, for example, the request for examination can be made within three years after the filing date and for German patent applications the applicants can wait even seven years before examination needs to be ultimately requested. The EPO provides for enhanced flexibility with the new option. Apart from the normal routine of search and examination, which could be considerably accelerated over the past few years, an acceleration via PACE or PPH is available and with the new programme a “decelaration” is provided as a further option.


The postponement shall be effective upon request of the applicant and only after the publication of the search report. Thus, certainty is ensured for third parties, who can form an opinion on the patentability with the help of the search report. Further, a substantiated, non-anonymous third party observation will trigger the onset of examination, which means that the request for postponement is overridden thereby. No fees should be incurred for the third parties.

The final decision on the new flexibility shall be made in the first quarter of the year 2018. We will keep you updated.


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