Quelle surprise - still no new EPO President

As Joff Wild noted earlier today, and the EPO have just confirmed, the EPO's Administrative Council has failed yet again to select a successor to Alison Brimelow for EPO President.  At the latest meeting, none of the three remaining candidates received the required 75% of the votes to make it.  The AC will apparently now try yet again when they meet in March.

The IPKat thinks that this is making the Administrative Council look increasingly ridiculous.  After three attempts, surely some bright spark could come up with a better idea than just to carry on with what looks like a slow war of attrition.  Do any of the IPKat's readers have any ideas?
Quelle surprise - still no new EPO President Quelle surprise - still no new EPO President Reviewed by David Pearce on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. I have an idea:

    I would like to nominate the IPKAT for president!

    I think that felines are under-represented in positions of power and this affirmative action is long overdue.

  2. Lock them up in a room until they make a decision. they could even do the different coloured smoke

  3. Anybody made a rough tally of the costs?

  4. I have heard that for the last meeting of 2 days the expenses incurred were about one megaeuro.

  5. Since the solution last time was to divide the presidency into two halves, how about dividing it this time into three? Each candidate would then have just over a year to make their mark and afterwards, the best could be selected for the following period.

  6. I understand the EPO's AC is devided. Why not choose a natural multi-tasker, eh, that would rule out the male candidates, wouldn't it?

  7. It would be interesting to know what the spread of votes is across the three candidates - is one candidate hanging in with no chance of victory, or are all three reasonably equally matched? And has there been a swing in votes since the last round?

  8. Lock them up in the grittiest room of the Isar building, with no food or drink, flickering fluorescent tubes, and plumbing noises.

    Then lose the keys and get somebody adult to make the choice.

  9. Rumours go that in the last "electio interruptus" the voting was 26 for Batistelli and 10 for Grossenbacher, although in December's election rounds the relation was the other way round.

  10. Re Anonymous @9:42

    If that is the case, then shouldn't the third candidate take the responsible step of standing down?

    I don't think a split presidency is good for the office. Three years is a very short time, and doesn't give much opportunity for more than "caretaking". If a leader who will bring change is wanted, a full-term mandate is required.

  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Lock them up in the grittiest room of the Isar building, with no food or drink, flickering fluorescent tubes, and plumbing noises.

    Grittiest? You mean the room where the asbestos still hasn't been cleared yet? (Is there still any?) Alternatively, I'd put them in the DEAD application storage, that place is kind of spooky.

    Joke aside, the depressing thing about this exercise is that all the candidates but one belong(ed) to the AC, which runs the show on the behalf and the advantage of the national patent offices. The "governance" problem is becoming one real big huge sore, despite Mrs. Brimelow claim to have initiated a "strategic renewal". This exercise reminds me very much of the mountain and molehill metaphor, with the added twist that the molehill is made of toxic waste. Think for instance of the "raise the bar" EPC Rule amendments that arguably won't contribute nothing to "quality", but will certainly aggravate applicants and examiners alike.

    Mrs. Brimelow once spoke publicly of (two?) "alpha males" in the council making her life difficult. I gather that these are probably the same characters who now want to occupy her position.

    Speaking of kats, the future former president's resident feline Gil (with a hard "G") prominently starred in her blog. I'd say that the staff was rather fond of that furball.

  12. Solution to selecting a President? Reality TV, perhaps. The expense of the selection process starts to make even Mr Cowell's fees seem reasonable...

  13. Who's paying for this "election" process?! Does anyone know?

  14. By the way, there's an open vacancy at the EPO for a "Director, European Co-Operation".

    I suspect it may be far less sought-after than the President job...

  15. How about something along the lines of "The Apprentice" only with IP-slanted tasks? Each candidate gets to be project manager of a small team (possibly z-list celebrities so it can be sold to TV.)

    Instead of the decision resting with a business mogul, each EPO employee/EPA gets to vote.

  16. Birgit,
    the selection of the best person for the job is an exercise carried out in the interest of the applicants and patentees, who of course are happy to pay for it....

  17. Birgit,
    EPO CA/D/21/09 - 'the EPO' pays of course...

    "The travel expenses incurred by two delegation members per Contracting State in travelling to and from Council functions or in undertaking specific tasks within the meaning of Article 15 shall be reimbursed by the European Patent Organisation at
    the same level as that payable to permanent employees of the European Patent Office.
    Their subsistence expenses shall likewise be reimbursed, in the form of a daily allowance at the same level as that payable to permanent employees of the European Patent Office. The allowance shall be calculated at a flat daily rate."

  18. What about the costs incurred by all interested parties spending time scrutinising blogs and publicly lamenting the expenses?

  19. Although the cost of the meeting of the admin council is regrettable, the major damage is in my view to the authority of the forthcoming president. He will be the result of horse trading for getting the 2/3 majority and will not be elected for beeing the best person for the job. With the public's growing distrust on IP in general, doubts on the integrity of the EPO's conduction is damaging the whole IP community.
    I suppose it is time that IP personalities get in touch with their respective governments (parliament and ministers) to express their concern on the current situation.

  20. Anon 8:08:00

    Not 2/3 but 3/4 majority i.e. 27 out of 36 (if they wait much longer and there are 37 states then they will need 28 out of 37! And then 29 out of 38, and finally 30 out of 39 as the maths will have it since 3/4 of 39 is 29.25)

  21. Thank you for explaining the cost question!

    This whole EPO president search has a Kafkaesque feel to it, no?

  22. They should be asked to sit paper A and D from the European exams. Or alternatively draft and application and reply to an examiner report.

  23. Birgit wrote: This whole EPO president search has a Kafkaesque feel to it, no?

    Nay, it's more something of a cross between Yes Minister and Dilbert set in Brussels. And that doesn't apply only to the selection of the new head honcho.

  24. Andy,
    not only should a president be able to draft claims and defend them, she/he should also be able to take them apart and yet guide them to a grant.
    I.e. a suitable candidate should have experience on all three sides (include AC!!) of the table.
    Only one candidate fits THAT bill........


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