Careers home page > Our areas of work > Legal/International Affairs

Legal and International affairs

In Directorate-General 5 Legal and International Affairs (DG 5), our legal and technical experts are committed to safeguarding and strengthening the legal framework of the European Patent Organisation and the patent system in general. They foster and support European and international co-operation, patent-related training, and the spread of patent information and knowledge around the world.

Our mission is to:

  • promote, strengthen and co-ordinate international affairs
  • safeguard and strengthen the legal framework of the European Patent Organisation and the patent system in general
  • foster and support external patent-related training
  • develop and promote a range of high-level patent information products and patent knowledge services for use around the world

We achieve our mission by:

  • providing competent, timely and reliable support and advice in a proactive, constructive and service-minded manner
  • fostering co-operation and training, and sharing patent knowledge with all external stakeholders
  • creating long-lasting relationships based on trust

In DG 5 we pride ourselves on the dedicated contribution we make to the mission of the organisation and the implementation of the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023 (SP2023). As a team we are happy to go the extra mile to ensure the EPO remains at the forefront of the IP world. Our highly qualified and talented staff are encouraged to take on challenging tasks and projects and to take responsibility and ownership of the work we do. We promote excellence and foster continued professional development by applying the principles of diversity and inclusion.

Our teams

Vice-President DG 5 (Legal and International Affairs)
The Vice-President DG 5 (VP 5) supports the President of the EPO in performing his management duties by providing advice on legal and international co-operation matters, and may be nominated by the President to represent him in DG 5's fields of competence. VP 5 is responsible for DG 5, which consists of some 250 employees working in Munich, Vienna and The Hague in four principal directorates and the Council Secretariat. His duties include liaising with the EPO's other vice-presidents and with external bodies and stakeholders within and outside the European Patent Organisation.

D 5.0.1 Council Secretariat
The Council Secretariat is placed at the disposal of the Administrative Council to enable it to carry out its duties. It is responsible for organising and co-ordinating all meetings of the Council and its bodies. Reporting direct to VP 5, it benefits from greater access to DG 5's legal expertise, strengthening its role as a support service for the Council.

D 5.5 Chief International Legal Officer
The Chief International and Legal Officer (CILO) reports to VP 5 and is responsible for co-ordinating all international, legal and political matters before they reach VP 5 and the President, and for managing the complexity and diversity of portfolios entrusted to DG 5 following the adoption of SP2023. Four PDs report to the CILO as follows:

PD 5.1 (Co-operation and Patent Academy)
PD 5.1 consists of three directorates: D 5.1.1 works to ensure the EPO's delivery of its co-operation strategy through development and strengthening of the European Patent Network, while D 5.1.2 focuses on the expansion of relations with non‑member states, international organisations and user associations. D 5.1.3 promotes and supports external patent-related IP training and oversees and administers the European qualifying examination.

PD 5.2 (Legal Affairs)
PD 5.2 consists of four directorates: D 5.2.1 (Patent Law) and D 5.2.2 (European and International Legal Affairs, PCT) monitor the development of patent law and procedures at European and international level, whereas D 5.2.3 (Institutional Affairs, Legal and Unitary Patent Division) and D 5.2.4 (Contract Law and Litigation) are responsible for institutional and contractual legal matters supporting the EPO in its objective as a model international organisation.

Explore some of our legal fields here.

PD 5.3 (Observatory)
As set out in SP2023, the EPO is planning to create a new PD, the Observatory, which will be composed of two directorates, D 5.3.1 (Chief Economist Unit) and D 5.3.2 (Patent Hub). It will serve as the EPO's platform for facilitating exchange between public and private stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations.

PD 5.4 (Patent Knowledge)
PD 5.4 consists of three directorates: D 5.4.1 (Patent Data Management) is responsible for official EPO publications and for providing external access to all of the EPO's public patent databases. D 5.4.2 (Patent Knowledge Promotion, PATLIB) has as its objective to promote and support the use of patent information and knowledge more effectively. D 5.4.3 (Patent Event Logistics) is responsible for planning and implementing an annual cycle of conferences, seminars, training courses and exhibitions, in addition to managing the logistics of EPO events and organising the EPO's participation in third-party events worldwide.