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New EPO President Starts Term

Replacing the outgoing president Benoît Battistelli, one of Mr Campinos’ most pressing tasks will be to smooth relationships between the EPO’s Administrative Council and its 7000 staff following a number of controversial reforms to EPO service regulations spearheaded by Mr Battistelli, and approved by the Administrative Council.  Although the objective of the reforms was to modernise the EPO and improve its efficiency, they have resulted in internal strain, multiple staff suspensions/terminations, dozens of strike actions, various court cases and even a complaint being brought to the European Court of Human Rights (EUHR) by the largest staff union (SUEPO) in an attempt to address the situation.

In what appears to be a recognition of the issues with staff, Mr Campinos’ first public statement appeared to signal his intention to work with staff to implement improvements at the EPO, which is a marked shift in attitude from the outgoing president.

“I’m delighted to start my role as President of the EPO, an organisation already respected greatly for the services that it offers. The EPO is undoubtedly a success story and we want to build upon that by assessing with our staff and stakeholders if improvements can be made. That means working to ensure that the Office will not only be efficient, but also effective in delivering high quality patents to our users to support Europe’s innovation sector.”

With the EPO recognised as issuing high-quality patents covering a market of 700 million people over 44 countries, Mr Campinos has a challenge to address the internal issues, and ensure that the EPO maintains its status as a world leading patent organisation. We at TLIP wish him all the best.