AMBA speaks - with a brand new website

The IPKat likes websites, since he lives in one himself, and is always happy to welcome a new one.

Merpel was interested to hear of an organisation that is perhaps less well known in European patent circles.  AMBA is the Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal, and is the organisation, independent of the European Patent Office itself, which represents - yes, you guessed it - members of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO.  It has just launched a sparkly new website here:

Since the site is being built from scratch on zero budget, it is expected that there will be bugs and areas for improvement, and error reports and suggestions are solicited on the front page.  Merpel suggests that comments on the site would be better addressed to site's webmaster than to her.

As the website proclaims:
The purpose of the Association is to monitor issues of relevance for the judicial functions of the members of the boards of appeal, especially with a view to safeguarding their independence and promoting their self-government as members of a judiciary, and to gather its members for deliberations on questions of common interest, in order that they will be heard in bodies deciding or making proposals of relevance for these functions.
This website is designed to achieve those aims by:
Highlighting aspects of independence of the judiciary, and
Filling a gap in the information available about the Boards of Appeal.
The site has some useful and interesting links to Jurisprudence and Legal Texts relating to both the EPC and national law, although it appears that some of these link to documents only accessible to EPO insiders and are presumably aimed at members of the Boards themselves.

Of particular interest to those who have been following Merpel's posts about the issues currently facing the EPO, and in particular the independence of the Boards of Appeal (see Merpel's Open Letter here on the issues in general, and  herehere and here for the current proposals to change the administrative arrangements for the Boards of Appeal, embodied in a proposal from the President of the EPO to the Administrative Council (AC) in document CA/16/15) are the following:
  • Publication of AMBA's comments on the proposal in CA/16/15, in a letter to the AC and President dated 19 March 2015).
  • Comparison of independence indicators of the CA/16/15 proposal, the current situation, and the proposals, now apparently shelved since revision of the European Patent Convention itself would be required (see section (4) of this post), of the "Autonomy Project".  This part is interactive, and the reader can play with the parameters, and view them in greater or less detail.
Merpel welcomes that this contribution to the debate is openly available, and hopes that readers will find the website both informative and entertaining.

IMPORTANT UPDATE at 21:40 25 March 2015
P.S. Two kind commenters below have asked for sight of two further documents to assist with the understanding of the issues.  Merpel, ever attentive to the needs of her readers, has obtained the documents requested and posts links to them herewith.  They are:

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AMBA speaks - with a brand new website AMBA speaks - with a brand new website Reviewed by Merpel on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. That motto... Does it mean "The law is an arse"?

  2. Pseudononimouse says....

    Well done AMBA

  3. A 'wunch'(of bankers)is the collective noun
    M ost financial experts at which do frown
    B ut Eponian judges what would they like writ
    A 'quarrel' of members would seem a nice fit

  4. It is of interest that the Statute of AMBA considers the European Convention on Human Rights to be of relevance. Perhaps they should have a whisper in BB's ear.

    "Having regard also to the standards for protecting the independence of judges enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the Declaration that the EPO adheres to general legal principles including human rights, as adopted at the 55th meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO from 13 to 15 December 1994"

    Wrote H. Bosch

  5. Does anyone know where/if we can find the letter from the Presidium to the AC which is referred to in the AMBA Position on CA/16/15?

    From the Position it is highly concerning to note that AMBA has written to Board 28, apparently multiple times (see reference to 'letters' in the plural), apparently without reply.

    I sadly feel that CA/16/15 is a done deal and that this week's AC meeting is simply window-dressing. What a travesty.

  6. Oh, the President and Board they should be friends
    Oh, the President and Board they should be friends
    President should rule the roost
    But with Board influence reduced
    Still that’s no reason why they can’t be friends

    EPO, your folk should stick together
    EPO, your folk should all be pals
    Reachin’ common ground will quiet the doubters
    And it will do wonders for morale

    I’d like to say a word for the Prezzie
    He’s got a really big load to carry
    Some things really are a mess, he is thrusting t’wards success
    (But we sometimes badly need his thrusts to parry!)

    EPO, your folk should stick together
    EPO, your folk should all be pals
    Reachin’ common ground will quiet the doubters
    And t’will do wonders for morale

    I’d like to say a word for Appeal Boards
    With Solomonic wisdom judging they be
    Please do try to be fair as they’re parting legal hairs
    (But remember Solomon did spare the baby!)

    EPO, your folk should stick together
    EPO, your folk should all be pals
    Reachin’ common ground will quiet the doubters
    And t’will do wonders for morale

  7. CA/15/15 (revision of the RPBA) was discussed between 11:19 and 11:28, in all of nine minutes. This must have been a really profound and dense discussion...

    The document was apparently adopted with revisions. In particular, the decision of the EBoA on the reimbursement of the costs incurred by the respondent for his defense isn't binding. Who could have slipped this one in?

    The meeting was over just in time for Die Sendung mit der Maus at 11:30.

    The agenda continues as follows:

    11:28 Coffee break
    12:10 "C" discussion
    13:00 Lunch break
    14:30 "C" discussion
    15:30 Coffee Break

    In a few minutes, the delegations should discuss the unitary patent and the "reform" of the BoAs while they digest their copious meal. All of one hour is set for the latter subject, beginning at 16:30 MEZ. Will the discussions spill past 17:30?

  8. @Lubelle

    nice Broadside ballad - to the tune of ... ?

  9. My guess is that the ditty should be sung to the tune of The Farmer And The Cowman from the film Oklahoma!.

    Regarding the AMBA, the domain name was registered as late as 2002 accoding to the WHOIS information.

  10. Fly on the wall:

    Where are you getting this information? I (and other IPKat readers) would be interested to see a copy of the agenda and any other relevant information if you can point us to it. Perhaps I'm overlooking something but I can find nothing of the sort on the EPO website.

  11. @Roufousse


  12. The song is likely to become the official anthem of the AC's new project "Supervising Social Dialogue".

  13. Katreader asks
    ...what happened with "Fly on the wall"? Waiting for information...

  14. While we wait for more news from Fly on the Wall or others about the progress of the AC meeting, IPKat readers may be interested to see the following response from EPO staff to the (as they call it) "childish and arrogant" EPO press release regarding the Dutch court's judgment:


  16. The confidential session bumped the other items on the agenda, and dragged well after 5:30 PM.

  17. To Rhubarb in Custody -

    No, that would be "Ars est ius"... ;-)

    To all other readers, please note links to documents requested have been added in an update to the post.

  18. The information posted by the "Fly" is in principle relatively easily accessible internally in the EPO.

    There is usually a video screen outside the AC conference room in the Isar building where the current schedule is visible. It is probably also visible on EPO-internal IT systems. So it is not exactly a "Staatsgeheimnis".

    Will be interesting to see if any more information seeps out about the "C" sessions.

    Rumour has it that at least some delegations were accompanied by additional persons who may be "experts or advisers" pursuant to Article 26(2) EPC.


  19. @Katreader

    It appears that the President presented to the AC a PowerPoint presentation detailing the evil deeds of the member of the BoA.

    VP4 was standing near him, sobbing uncontrollably every time the word "defamation" resounded in the room.

    The last slide concluded that "Defaming such an honorouble man is a breach of his human rights!" - at which point many members of the AC were seen nodding gravely at each other ...

    So are they all, all honourable men ...

    [Sorry, Merpel, you said that you wanted the debate to be also entertaining, and since there no news at the moment ...]

    Now, back to serious things:

    the Amba position on CA/16/15 is a damning letter.

    I retain two passages:

    "Finally, we are concerned that we have not been consulted before the proposal got this
    far, despite our letters to Board 28 pointing out the recognised principles of reform of the

    "its hasty adoption without substantial modification would set the reform off in the
    wrong direction by including fundamental flaws that would be difficult to rectify. We
    therefore urge you not to support it in its present form."

    If the reform is approved we can really talk of a coup wherein the President has taken complete control of the EPO.

    The bets are open.

  20. Thanks, Merpel, for obtaining these documents!

    Is anyone aware of whether the AC or its Board 28 ever deigned to reply to the Presidium or AMBA?

    I admit to being despondent when I learned that the GB representative on Board 28 is Sean Dennehey - I was present at the UCL IBIL debate a couple of years ago in which he was one of the speakers, and where he was uncritically supportive of the way in which the Unitary Patent legislation had been railroaded through the EU institutions with no regard for the legitimate concerns of interested parties. He went so far as to suggest that even the slightest opposition to the (as readers of this blog will be aware) dishonest and disingenuous way preparations were conducted was to be regarded as "anti-democratic". So I don't hold out much hope that the GB delegation will be of any help in the EPO crisis at all.

  21. Let's face it. No matter what the AC says, in however politically couched terms, tomorrow or Friday, BB will announce to staff et al that his reforms were given unanimous support. The BoA issues will be agreed by the AC with some proviso of coming back with detailed plans by June and with discussions to be had with all parties (BB and Kongstad will highlight that they have spoken with the members already). Between now and then BB will 'consult' but will not change one iota as it's the council's will that the reforms proceed.

  22. @ Old man of EPO

    There is no hope of a positive outcome from AC. The EPO was and is broken beyond repair. And it started long time ago.
    The root cause? Read here: ( From this paper, it appears that the UK delegation, including the Baroness, know what they are doing.
    It is a recurrent problem. What happened 13 years ago read here: ( And again read here:(
    And the AC knew that all was wrong, read here:(
    In conclusion the EPOcalypse is coming the day after tomorrow.

    The Insidious Insider

  23. "The bets are open."

    You little people should know that BB always goes "VA BANQUE"

  24. "In conclusion the EPOcalypse is coming the day after tomorrow."

    Could it not be postponed until after Easter ?

  25. Point 7 of the Presidium´s letter states that the proposal from the AC does not remove the problems noted in decision R19/12, and that it might give raise to new partiality objections. So, should the present proposal be adopted, the saga is likely to go on.

  26. Dear Insidious Insider,

    thank you very much for the references you provided: the last document is particularly enlightening. I can't access the first paper, though: is there a link to this document not requiring authentication? Thank you in advance.

  27. Announced internally by VP3 - "appointments and reappointments" when the appointments are 2 further 5-year terms (?) whole there are 5 reappointments from 01.06.2015. No news of filling Bavant positions.

  28. The Seabright Report is very interesting document.

    I particularly liked this bit on p.74.

    "Berliner (1957) coined
    the term ratchet effect for the tendency of planners in the Soviet Union to penalize plant managers for
    increased output with harder quotas."

    At least we now know from where BB derives his inspiration ...

  29. @ Kentze neke

    For the first documents there is a blue button bottom-right on the page "Download this paper". There is no need for authentication to access it. It is a PDF and access is free.

    The Insidious Insider

  30. Sorry. That should have said vacant positions, of course.

  31. Thanks a lot, Insidious Insider.

  32. The AC is concerned about the deleterious climate at the EPO and will invite itself at the discussions between the President and staff representation.

    New territory is being entered.

    The Dutch court decision was officially confined to the dustbin, and SUEPO won't be invited at the table.

    There was no postponement of the debate on the health and invalidity "reform". Its outcome should be evidence of the seriousness and good faith of the council.

  33. BB has emerged victorious from this AC meeting on all fronts.

    Now just wait for the outcome of the June meeting when he intends to finally avenge the ignominy of Waterloo after 200 years !

  34. Hot off the press...

    Call for a social dialogue

    Joint statement from the Chairman of the AC and the President

    The Administrative Council acknowledges the results achieved by the Office and its staff which represent the outcomes of the Efficiency and Quality strategy adopted in 2011.

    The Administrative Council confirms its clear will to continue the policy of reforms to the benefit of users. It is determined to address with the highest priority the issue of the social tensions which have occurred in this process. Therefore, the Chairman of the Administrative Council and the President of the Office will launch new initiatives to restore social peace.

    To achieve this, they call for a renewed social dialogue. They consider in particular that the formal recognition of the trade unions within the EPO's legal framework could create the conditions to re-launch the process and to overcome some longstanding issues.

    The Chairman and representatives of the Administrative Council, and the President of the Office with representatives of the management invite the trade unions of the EPO to a dedicated kick off meeting on 22 April 2015.

    Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO and Jesper Kongstad, Chairman of the Administrative Council

    26.03.15 | Author: Benoît Battistelli and Jesper Kongstad - President and AC Chairman | Target group: DG4, DG5, President-DGO, DG1, DG2, DG3

  35. Fly on the wall,
    Didn't you just contradict yourself? Seems the unions will be recognised as partners in the social dialogue and that wad what the judge demanded. To me it looks like BB did not get it all his own way. In fact...
    We're you paying complete attention?

  36. The reality may be more like this: the unions will be recognised as partners in the ongoing "social monologue" with a view to enhancing its perception as "dialogue".

  37. Glad to be out of the madhouseThursday 26 March 2015 at 16:03:00 GMT

    "The Administrative Council confirms its clear will to continue the policy of reforms to the benefit of users."

    Even as a "user" of the EPO, I believe this is outrageous. As a public administration, it should not seek the benefit of us "users" alone, but that of the public as a whole.

  38. I would say this joint statement is a resounding kick in the teeth for BB delivered by the AC.

    Wrote H. Bosch

  39. The cognitive dissonance isn't mine.

    One must consider who made which statements when and where, and for whom.

    The President obtained his carte blanche: CA/16/15 was adopted unanimously.


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