Report of the By-Laws Committee (BLC)

P. Moutard (FR), Chair

Most of the work performed by the By-Laws Committee (BLC) since the last report follows from the decision taken during the Council meeting (C79) in Cologne (15 November 2015). We present here below the different topics which were discussed during a BLC meeting on 2 March 2016.

1. epi : Professional Sesignation (The Title “European Patent Attorney” in Several National Languages)

It was agreed during C79 (15 November 2015) that the BLC will provide a new proposal for the next Council meeting (C80) in Athens (23 April 2016) regarding the professional designation (“European Patent Attorney”).

Paolo Gerli (BLC member) has performed further work on this topic. Italy, Switzerland and San Marino have agreed on the title in Italian language and Sweden and Finland on the title in Finnish language. But it seems that the position of the Dutch and Flemish still needs to be clarified, the same applies to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.

Paolo Gerli will present an amended draft of epi during the next Council meeting (C80) in Athens.

2. Guidelines of the Editorial Committee

The BLC discussed whether these guidelines for authors set up by the Editorial Committee are in line with the terms of reference of the Editorial Committee or not. The BLC was recently informed that the Editorial Committee intends to propose an amendment of its terms of reference during the next Council meeting in Athens (C80).

Therefore, it was agreed to wait for the presentation of the new terms of reference of the Editorial Committee in the frame of C80 before undertaking anything with respect to the guidelines for authors.

3. Further to Decision 4 of C79 (Cologne) to Reduce the Composition of the Board and to Include Invited Guests (see report of the Reporting Group to the Council in View of C79, §1, pages 2-5): Is Any Amendments of the BL Needed?

3.a. The BLC reviewed Articles 7.2, 7.3, 8, 9 and 10 of the BL. It seems that no amendment of the BL is needed, except may be Art. 10.8 BL where committee chairs could be mentioned as possible third parties invited to Board meetings.
3.b. The BLC is also preparing a proposal for a new recommendation in Chapter 3.2 of the Collection of Decisions, concerning the new composition of the Board and the invited guests. The report of the Reporting Group of the second accumulated file of Cologne provides the basis for such a recommendation.
3.c. It has also been observed that two different quorums apply for a Board and a Presidium meeting (A.11 BL). Since the Board is now reduced, and has a composition very similar to that of the Presidium, there is a possibility to organize a Presidium and then a Board meeting successively at a same place (thereby saving costs). However different quorums apply, which means that there could be situations where the Presidium can meet but not the Board (and vice versa). This situation will be explained to the Council during the next Council meeting (C80).
3.d. Art. 8.2 BL was also discussed in view of the amendments made to Art.5.2 BL (Hamburg, C 73) so that the term of office of a council member no longer ceases in case of a change of constituency or electorate. The former rule still applies to Board members, since, according to Art..8.2 BL, the term of office of a Board member still ceases in case of a change of constituency or electorate. The By-Laws Committee has not prepared any amendment to this stricter rule since it seems more justified for Board members than for Council members who are not Board members. This situation will also be explained to the Council during the next Council meeting (C80).

4. Designation of Rapporteurs in Committees

At the C79 meeting in Cologne, Council approved to establish the position of a “rapporteur” in committees. Further to this decision, there is no need to amend the BL since the proposal of the Reporting Group is in line with Art.18 BL. However a recommendation will be drafted, which will be included in Chapter 3.3 of the collection of decisions on the basis of the proposal of the Reporting Group.

5. Double Signature

The double signature topic was extensively discussed during the BLC meeting on 2 March 2016, together with the Internal Auditors and the epi Treasurer.

Starting from the draft presented during C 79 (Cologne), a new draft of Art.17A was elaborated, which includes:

  • a reference to the budget approved by the Council, like in Art.15.2 BL and Art.16 BL,
  • the possibility for the President to co-sign an employment contract;
  • the opening and closing of bank and postal giro accounts in the list of operations for which a double signature is required;
  • the possibility for contracts with a lower value (between 5000 € and 20000 €) to be co-signed by an appointed person of the secretariat, provided the appointment of such person is signed by the Treasurer and either the President or the Secretary General, the extent and duration of such an appointment being laid down in writing.

Furthermore it will be specified:

  • in Art.17 BL: that its last sentence (possibility for the President, the Secretary General and the Treasurer to delegate powers to Secretariat staff and any other employee of the epi) does not apply the new A.17A BL, so that the possibilities to delegate any power to sign any contract will be limited to those contracts with a value between 5000 € and 20000 €;
  • in Art.13, 15 and 16 BL that the competences of the President, the Secretary General and the Treasurer are subject to the limitations of Art. 17A BL.

For contracts with a value below 5000 €, the usual provisions of Art.13, 15 and 16 BL still apply. A new draft of Art. 17A BL including the above amendments will be presented in C80 in Athens.

6. Discussions Further to the Work of the Reporting Group

The Treasurer submitted to the BLC the result of some recent work conducted by the Reporting Group. A draft amendment of Art. 7(4) of the Founding Regulation was elaborated in order to implement possible new rules of representation in the Council.
Furthermore, a few days before the meeting of March 2, some other proposals were presented to the BLC, also resulting from the work of the Reporting Group, concerning the possibility of organizing electronic council meetings, the duties of Council members, the election and the duties of committee members and the rights and duties of a committee chair. The BLC commented these proposals but this topic could not be discussed during the meeting of March 2, for lack of time.