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Who's Who at the EPO?

by Charl Goussard, NAIP Legal Research

Since our previous article What does the European Patent Office (EPO) look like? - we've spend some time to find out who's who at this office.

You might be familiar with the name "Alison Brimelow" (current president of the EPO), and you might have heard that the Office is preparing for their next president after Alison steps down at the end of June 2010.

Below we'll give a round-up of the main players who've been tasked with keeping the EPO on track.

Leading the pack...

Alison Brimelow
President of the European Patent Office

Alison Brimelow is a British civil servant and former Chief Executive and Comptroller General of the UK Patent Office. She is the fifth and current President of the European Patent Office.

Her term of office as president of the EPO began on 1 July 2007. In May 2009, she informed the EPO staff that she will not seek an extension of her contract which ends on 30 June 2010.

In 2005, Alison was appointed Commander of the British Empire for her contribution to Intellectual Property Law.

Benoit Batistelli
Chairman of the Administrative Council

Benoit Batistelli is a French civil servant and current head of the French National Intellectual Property Institute. He has held this post since 12 May 2004.

He was elected to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPO on 5 December 2006 for a three-year term. Then, later the Administrative Council appointed him as its Chairman for a three-year term, from 5 March 2009 until March 2012.

In 2008, Benoit was named as one of the candidates to succeed Kamil Idris to head the World Intellectual Property Organization. He is now also candidate for the position of President of the EPO after Alison steps down.

Jesper Kongstad
Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Counci

Jesper Kongstad is Director General and CEO of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and a member of the Executive Committee of the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs. He is also head of the Danish delegation and Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization. Jesper was also a candidate for the position of President of the EPO. In December 2009, however, he withdrew his candidacy.

Roland Grossenbacher
Honorary Chairman of the Administrative Council

Roland Grossenbacher is a Swiss attorney at law who served as chairman of the Administrative Council from 5 March 5 to 4 March 2009. He was appointed at this post for a first three-year term on 5 March 2000. He was then reelected in 2002 for a second term, beginning on 5 March 2003. In December 2005, he was again re-elected as Chairman of the Council from a third term from 5 March 2006 to 4 March 2009. After he stepped down in March 2009, he was made "Honorary Chairman" of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization.

He is currently the Director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.

Roland, together with Benoit Batistelli and Susanne Sivborg (President, Swedish Patent Office), is one of the candidates for the position of President of the EPO after Alison steps down.

EPO Management Team

Ensuring the day-to-day management, the examination of patent applications, the grant of European patents and various other activities, such as the provision of patent information and training services, is a highly competent and efficient management team headed by Alison Brimelow (the President is elected and appointed by the Administrative council).

Alison's management team comprises Vice Presidents and three other directors:

Thomas Hammer, Vice-President Directorate - General Operations
Peter Vermeij, Vice-President Directorate - General Operational Support
Peter Messerli, Vice-President Directorate - General Appeals
Brian McGinley, Vice-President Directorate - General Administration
Wim van der Eijk, Vice-President a.i. Directorate-General Legal/International Affairs
Ciarán McGinley, Head of the Controlling Office
Wolfram Förster, Principal Director Business Services
Oswald Schröder, Principal Director Communication and Change Support Team, Spokesman

Last but not the least...

The Employees of the EPO
Running an organization the size and complexity of the EPO requires dedicated staff. The EPO is definitely such a place! Being the second largest European Organization, it employs roughly 6500 staff from over 30 different countries.


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