EPO looking for new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal

Fancy a trip to Munich in April?  The Boards of Appeal
are looking to hire...
Via a long-time IPKat friend, comes news that the European Patent Office (EPO) is looking to appoint new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal (Board 3.1.01) in Munich. Details of the post can be found here (all vacancies can be found here).

The blurb from the announcement reads:
"The European Patent Office (EPO) is the second-largest intergovernmental organisation in Europe, employing almost 7 000 staff from over 30 countries. The EPO strives to support innovation and promote a knowledge-based society in Europe. Its mission is to secure the highest quality standards in patenting.
The persons appointed will be legally qualified members of the boards of appeal of the EPO, which under the European Patent Convention have final-instance jurisdiction with respect to European patents.

A member of the boards of appeal performs duties of a judicial nature fully independently, not bound by any instructions and in compliance only with the provisions of the European Patent Convention (Article 23(3) EPC).

Main duties
  • Participation in all written and oral procedural stages of proceedings of the Legal Board and the technical boards of appeal 
  • As rapporteur: making proposals for communications to the parties, preparing draft decisions and oral proceedings, including all related tasks, and, where necessary, taking evidence
  • After gaining experience in the duties of a legally qualified member of the boards of appeal, helping to train new board members and assistants
  • Taking part in the meetings of the Legal Board"
The closing date for applications is 30 March 2018.

EPO looking for new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal EPO looking for new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Friday, February 23, 2018 Rating: 5


  1. You forgot the most important point: "the net monthly salary for this vacancy starts at EUR 12888."

    (remember, the job includes a tax exemption and has no significant deductions)

  2. @Anonymous 13:46GMT:

    Yes, but does that cover your inability to work in due to the non-compete clause afterwards, per the new rules introduced by Battistelli ? Or have these been rescinded ? Not much good being paid handsomely if you can't then put that experience to good use for 5 years (or however long the duration of the non-compete clause is).

  3. Something of a misrepresentation to label the job "permanent", I would have thought, since the period is only for five years.

  4. The 'non-compete' clause is unfair. Restricting people so they can only work for a non-competing European Patent Organisation is unduly limiting!

  5. Have they mentioned that you can be suspended on half-salary for a minimum of two years (extension optional) at the whim of the appointing authority ?


  6. If I have understood CA/D 18/15 correctly then suspension with full salary does not trigger the 24 month time limit. This first comes into play when there is a reduction of salary.

    That means that the person can be suspended on full salary with no time limit for a final decision. Only if the salary is reduced will the 24 month time limit apply.

    This can be extended in "exceptional circumstances".
    But what means here "exceptional circumstances" ?

    Also it is unclear whether this provision applies to members of the Enlarged Appeals Board appointed under Article 11(5) of the EPC.

    Is there now a two-tier judiciary in the Enlarged Appeals Board with one category of judge appointed under Article 11(5) and a second category appointed under Article 11 (3) ?

  7. Same old same old comments. boring

  8. Same old same old comments. boring

    Well then clever clogs why don't you provide us with an original contribution of your own ...

  9. To the anonymous of Monday 26.02. 13.11 GMT,

    It is anything but boring. All the comments, but the first, show that the situation is not as honky dory as one might think.

    Having witnessed what can happen to a member of the Boards if he does not behave as how he is expected to do, I would guess that becoming a member of the Boards is not as interesting as it used to be.

    In the past, I do not know a case in which the renewal was ever at stake. It was quasi automatic. Now, the renewal for another 5 years period is only possible if the “performance” of the member is found to comply with rules which are not public. See R 12c and 12d as amended by suggestion of the present tenant of the job of EPO president.

    The cooling-off period has been set at two years. The criterion according to which the former member may take a job, paid or even unpaid, are also not public.

    Anybody joining the Boards has to bring a certain professional experience with him, and is not younger than around 40.

    Who would then considering leaving his home country, and severing any ties with his national security and pensions system, even for 12000€ a month?

    This is especially the case when he is working as a qualified representative, as he is not sure he can go back to work again as qualified representative should his term not be renewed. It might force some people to pursue a job in an anonymous way, which is never good.

    The offer seems prima facie only interesting for people having a safety net, for instance, having the possibility to go back to a national civil service from which they were detached to perform their duties at the EPO. Even in this case it is not guaranteed that the two years cooling-off period will not apply.

    And with all those measures do not tell me that the "perception of independence" of the Boards has increased. To me the contrary is true. Wait and see what the FGCC has to say about this in the framework of the 4 complaints against the EPO waiting to be handled by it.

    Techrights: FINGERS OFF!

  10. The offer seems prima facie only interesting for people having a safety net, for instance, having the possibility to go back to a national civil service from which they were detached to perform their duties at the EPO.

    This may explain why most of the new recruits to the legal board appear to have been German judges.

    In October 2016, the percentage of German legal members on the Legal Board was already 43%, and following further appointments in October 2016 it has risen to nearly 47% (15 out of 32). In other words nearly every second legal member is German.

    The inordinately high percentage of German members causes difficulties in distributing business to the technical boards of appeal, because on boards with a German chairman (currently five), the goal is to avoid panels composed entirely of members with the same nationality. This leaves less room when assigning legal members to individual technical boards, and when composing panels to hear individual cases.

    The present situation also gives rise to other problems: the legal members of the Enlarged Board are appointed exclusively from the Legal Board of Appeal. Due to provisions regarding nationality which exist for proceedings under Article 112 EPC and Article 23(1) EPC, such a high percentage of one nationality in the Legal Board leads to problems when constituting the Enlarged Board and composing its panels to hear individual cases.


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