06 July 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

EPO presidential applications open

The European Patent Office (EPO) is welcoming applications for the role of president ahead of current incumbent Benoît Battistelli finishing his second and final term on 1 July 2018.

While practical experience in patent matters and the patent system is encouraged, it is not a requirement for the role, according to the vacancy post.

Battistelli was elected as president of the EPO in 2010 by the administrative council for a five-year term. That was extended for another three years in June 2014.

Under his leadership, the EPO has played an important role in the introduction of the unitary patent system.

The EPO also granted a record number of patents in 2016, with 96,000 issues, which the office said was the result of productivity and efficiency measures brought in under Battistelli.

Battistelli’s presidency, however, has not been without criticism.

The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has held demonstrations since November last year, criticising Battistelli for attempting to change work practices at the office, including an end to fixed wage increases and a move to promotions by seniority, rather than work performance.

Staff strikes were then banned, but SUEPO continued to protest, leading to disciplinary proceedings against its three main representatives.

In March, the International and European Public Services Organisation contacted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, raising its “extreme concern” with the EPO.

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