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Boards of Appeal

The Boards of Appeal are the department of final instance in proceedings before the EPO. Their task is to review decisions taken by the EPO's administrative divisions. The members of the Boards of Appeal are independent in their decisions and are bound only by the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The Boards of Appeal Unit is composed of the 28 technical boards of appeal, the Legal Board of Appeal, the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the Disciplinary Board of Appeal, together with their registries and support services.

It is organised and managed independently of the EPO and headed by the President of the Boards of Appeal, who is also the Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. He is responsible only to the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council.

 

The Boards of Appeal are the department of final instance in proceedings before the EPO. Their task is to review decisions taken by the EPO's administrative divisions. The members of the Boards of Appeal are independent in their decisions and are bound only by the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The Boards of Appeal Unit is composed of the 28 technical boards of appeal, the Legal Board of Appeal, the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the Disciplinary Board of Appeal, together with their registries and support services.

It is organised and managed independently of the EPO and headed by the President of the Boards of Appeal, who is also the Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. He is responsible only to the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council.

 

 

What we do

As members of the Boards of Appeal we make up the judicial authority under the EPC that renders decisions on European patents at final instance.

In the performance of our judicial duties, we are not bound by any instructions and have to comply solely with the EPC.

> Main duties

 

Professional development

Professional development is of key importance, for new recruits as well as more experienced members of the Boards.

Training covers topics mostly directed to the various activities performed by members, but also includes areas such as organisation, communication and language skills.

Additionally, by attending conferences and other events, members can stay abreast of the latest developments in technical and legal matters and keep in contact with other organisations in the patent field.

> Training programme for new members of the Boards of Appeal 

 

Requirements to work as a member of the Boards of Appeal

Minimum requirements

  • Citizenship of one of the member states of the European Patent Organisation
  • Diploma of completed university studies at master's level (the degree should be relevant to the technical field the candidate would like to work in)
  • Generally, an excellent knowledge of one official language (English, French or German) and a working knowledge of the other two

Candidates must have the ability to act in a manner as befits a judge in dealings with colleagues, registrars and parties. In particular, they must be able to act with integrity, open-mindedness, courtesy, patience and firmness.

Other competencies

  • Ability to work in a multicultural and multilingual work environment
  • Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing
  • Openness to feedback and a keen interest in professional development
  • A high degree of commitment and self-motivation

> Specific requirements for technically qualified members
> Specific requirements for legally qualified members

 

How does the recruitment procedure work?

Here are the key steps in the recruitment procedure for a position on the Boards of Appeal.

Step 1: Application

The applicant fills in the online application form linked to the relevant vacancy notice and receives confirmation by email that their application has been received.

Step 2: Preselection

Applicants are preselected for interview by the selection committee, typically composed of chairs of the Boards of Appeal.

Step 3: Interview

Preselected candidates are invited to a face-to-face interview held by the selection committee. The interview evaluates, among other criteria, a candidate's

  • analytical skills on technical and legal matters
  • technical and legal knowledge
  • language skills
  • skills and abilities to perform a judicial function

As part of the interview procedure, candidates might also be asked to sit tests on the interview day.

Step 4: Decision

Based on the results of the selection procedure, the selection committee draws up a list of suitable candidates for the President of the Boards of Appeal, who in turn submits one or more proposals for appointment to the Administrative Council. The Council then takes a decision on the appointment(s) in accordance with the provisions laid down in the EPC.

Pursuant to Article 15 of the Service Regulations for permanent and other employees of the EPO, when taking up their duties members of the Boards of Appeal must give a solemn undertaking as to the performance of their duties. The solemn undertaking is given orally in a ceremony before the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

 

Who appoints the members of the Boards of Appeal and how long are they appointed for?

Members and chairs of the Boards of Appeal are appointed, upon a proposal from the President of the Boards of Appeal, by the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council for a term of five years (see Articles 11(3) and 23(1) EPC, and Rule 12d(2) EPC together with the act delegating functions and powers from the President of the EPO to the President of the Boards of Appeal).

Members and chairs may be reappointed upon a proposal from the President of the Boards of Appeal, subject to a positive performance evaluation and the availability of budgetary posts (Rule 12d(3) EPC).

Where we work

You can find us in Haar, just east of Munich, with good connections to the city centre by either car or public transport.

All members and support staff work in the same building. Our premises are spacious and bright, with an in-house canteen where you can have breakfast and lunch, or just enjoy a coffee or tea.

Our offices are equipped to modern standards, as are the oral proceedings rooms and the meeting spaces for patent attorneys.