The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced a new internal reorganisation implemented as of 2 January 2018. This reorganisation has resulted in the following changes:

A new Directorate General

A new Directorate General ‘Patent Granting Process’ has been created by merging the EPO’s Directorate-General Operations (i.e. examiners) and Directorate-General Operational Support (i.e. formalities officers). The EPO has said “the reorganisation integrates support staff (formalities officers) with teams of patent examiners to reduce “hand-over points”, where patent applications pass from one operational unit to another”. This new Directorate General will be headed by Vice-President Alberto Casado Cerviño (previously of the Spanish PTO and the EUIPO).

Three new domains

new Directorate General has been redefined into three new domains:

  • Mobility & Mechatronics
  • Healthcare, Biotechnology & Chemistry
  • Information & Communications

Dedicated Opposition Directorates created in each domain

We understand that EPO examiners will be able to join an Opposition Directorate for several years at a time. The primary examiners and chairmen of each Opposition Division will come from this Opposition Directorate. As a result, some examiners will be handling tens of oppositions each year. The EPO hopes that the changes will help “to improve both timeliness and coherence of the different decisions taken by the units”.