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European Patents Office opens consultation on boards of appeal

The European Patents Office (EPO) has begun a consultation asking for feedback on proposed reforms to its boards of appeal. 01 May 2015

The suggested reforms were presented by the EPO to its administrative council in March "and met with broad support," the EPO said on its website. The changes are designed to make the boards more efficient, to increase their autonomy, and to increase perception of their independence, it said.

The consultation period will run until 30 June.

The Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal (AMBA), which represents members of the Boards of Appeal, has raised concerns about some of the proposals.

In particular, AMBA does not agree that efficiency it a problem in the boards of appeals.

"We agree that efficiency plays a role in accountability and may always be questioned, but not to the extent implied by the proposal. In this respect, the unclear presentation of statistics purporting to compare the efficiency of the BoA to other courts does not establish that efficiency is a problem," AMBA said.

"A correct appraisal of the statistics gives no indication of any lack of efficiency. Moreover, the problem of timeliness mentioned in the proposal is mainly the result of a number of factors outside the control of the BoA," it said.