With almost 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
In 2017, the EPO received over 165 000 patent applications and granted over 105 000 patents. Its free online patent database, Espacenet, contains more than 100 million technical documents from 100 countries, and its free neural machine translation service, Patent Translate, provides instant, high-quality translation in 32 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
What we offer
- intellectual challenges and empowerment through professional development
- the chance to work with inspiring people from various different cultures
- an excellent social package
- contributory medical-insurance and pension schemes
- relocation benefits and various allowances (e.g. household, dependants', childcare, education, expatriation, installation and rent allowance), depending on their personal circumstances
You will be appointed as a member of the EPO's boards of appeal, the judicial authority under the European Patent Convention that renders decisions on European patents at final instance.
Members of the boards of appeal are independent in the performance of their judicial duties. In their decisions they are not bound by any instructions and have to comply only with the provisions of the European Patent Convention.
- Contribute to a technical board's review of a decision of a department of first instance of the EPO
- Act as rapporteur in technical cases, preparing cases and oral proceedings in view of the organisational requirements of the board and drafting communications and decisions
- Act as co-rapporteur, second member or chairman when required
- Contribute to the overall improvement of the functioning of the Boards of Appeal (working methods, harmonisation, organisation, ...)
Ideal candidate profile
Experience and skills
- Many years of professional experience in the field of patent law, preferably in the area of biotechnology, mechanical engineering, and/or medical technologies, with practical experience in patent opposition, appeal, nullity or infringement proceedings as a patent judge, patent examiner, patent attorney in private practice or patent expert in industry
- Ability to work across a wide range of fields in all areas of biotechnology, mechanical engineering, and/or medical technologies.
- Ability to carry out a judicial function, acting in an impartial, fair, balanced and efficient manner, displaying the high standard of conduct appropriate to persons exercising a judicial function
- Ability to work in a multilingual and multicultural environment
- Strong technical and legal analytical skills
- Profound knowledge of the European Patent Convention and of the case law of the Boards of Appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal
- Strong organisational skills and ability to manage the workload effectively, including meeting objectives
- Proven track record of very high performance
- Ability to work collegially with board members and other colleagues
- Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing
- Openness to receiving feedback and a high interest in professional development
- High degree of commitment and self-motivation, as well as flexibility to work across technical fields
- Diploma of completed studies at master's level or - in exceptional cases - equivalent professional knowledge and experience acquired over many years of qualified work
- Excellent knowledge of one official language (English, French or German) and the ability to understand the other two
- Citizenship of one of the member states of the European Patent Organisation
What we offer
- Varied and interesting work as a member of a judicial authority which renders decisions at final instance
- A highly professional, collegial and international work environment
To find out more about the boards of appeal: www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals.html
Procedure and time frame
The successful candidate will be appointed by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation for a period of five years, and may be reappointed subject to a positive opinion and performance evaluation by the President of the Boards of Appeal.
Selection will be made on the basis of qualifications and an interview.
Candidates from within the EPO are asked to supplement their application, including motivation statement and curriculum vitae, with appraisal reports covering the last four years, as well as to agree to their line manager being contacted if they are invited for an interview.
Furthermore, they are requested to submit copies of two recent decisions, preferably from inter partes proceedings, one dealing with the problem of inventive step (Article 56 EPC), the other one with the disclosure of the invention (Article 83 EPC). These decisions should, if possible, be in two different languages. A copy of any set(s) of claims relevant to those decisions as well as the minutes of oral proceedings (if any took place) should be provided.
External candidates are asked to provide copies of two recent opposition or appeal cases in which they were personally and directly involved in drafting a statement of grounds or a reply to such statement. Preferably, one case addresses issues of inventive step (Article 56 EPC), the other one sufficiency of disclosure (Article 83 EPC) - or combinations of the two.