|The chorus of condemnation: a true|
example of harmonisation in Europe?
- A week ago today, a member of one of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal was escorted out of the building, and banned from the premises pending an investigation of alleged misconduct.
- It is believed that the reason for the “house ban” or suspension was the alleged dissemination of defamatory material.
- Widespread criticism ensued immediately both inside and outside the office, both on the grounds that this directly breached guarantees of judicial independence (Art. 23 EPC), and that this was a further instance (among many) of heavy-handed suppression of criticism, dissension and debate within the EPO.
- The ultimate governing body of the EPO, the Adminstrative Council (AC), meets this week. It is this body alone that would be empowered to impose sanctions such as suspension or dismissal on a Board member.
- On Monday, members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), which is the highest judicial authority in the European Patent system took the unprecedented step of complaining about the conduct of the President, and of his interference in their judicial independence, directly to the AC delegates arriving for their meeting.
- Simultaneously, another letter emerged from a Partner in Bardehle Pagenberg, exhorting the head of the German delegation to the AC to take the lead in rectifying the President's actions.
|"Come on, AC! Carpe diem"|