Report of the Disciplinary Committee (DC)

Paul Rosenich (LI), ChairP. Rosenich (LI)
Werner Fröhling (DE), Vice ChairW. Fröhling (DE)
Vice Chair
M. Névant (FR), Member DCM. Névant (FR)
Member DC

The Disciplinary Committee (DC) had its annual meeting on 14th and 15th June 2018.

As a reminder, the DC is established based on Article 134a(1)(c) EPC concerning the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office and on Article 11 of the Regulation on the establishment of the Institute adopted by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation back in 1977.

The most important role of the DC is to maintain the public reputation of epi and to ensure that professional representatives before the EPO “exercise their profession conscientiously and in a manner appropriate to their dignity”. In practice, the DC considers any alleged breach of the Rules of professional conduct which may be brought to its notice.

The DC is comprised of 38 members (one per country of the EPOrg) among which 4 Officers are elected: a Chair, a Deputy Chair, a Secretary and a Deputy Secretary. The DC is assisted by a Registrar who is a member of the epi Secretariat appointed by the Chair of the DC with the approval of the Secretary General of the epi. The DC comprises (i) Chambers (each made up of 3 full members and a substitute) which handle complaints, and (ii) ad hoc Working Groups the aim of which is to reflect e.g. on the functioning of the DC, to provide comments and suggestions e.g. on proposed amendments to the Regulation on Discipline, or to assist the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on matters related to the UPC Code of Conduct.

As in previous years, cases of interest handled by the Chambers during the past 12 months were discussed to the benefit of all members. A report was made on the progress of the implementation of an IT tool making it possible to streamline the work of the DC, this tool giving for example access to a database of Decisions from Chambers, and to Workflow support charts and Templates for Chambers. The news was well received as it will be easier to publish Decisions from Chambers for the benefit of all the members of the Institute.
The Working Group dealing with the amendments of the Regulations presented the result of their work and the changes that could be made to the Regulation on Discipline and to the Additional Rules of Procedure of the DC. The presentation triggered a thorough and very efficient discussion on the changes proposed, mandate being given to the Working Group to liaise inter alia with the PCC to make progress on this matter.

Before the meeting concluded, Mr. Rosenich thanked Mr. Fischer, on behalf of the DC, for the assisting with organization of the meeting. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in April or May 2019.