The new Business Distribution Schemes for the Boards of Appeal for the second half of 2015 have been published on the EPO’s website, following the re-appointment of members in the Administrative Council’s meeting in the preceding week. The schemes show the following vacancies:
Chairmen Technical Boards of Appeal: 3 of 28 available posts
Technically qualified members: 8 of 111 available posts
Legally qualified members: 7 of 33 available posts
This means an overall vacancy rate of over 10%, and a vacancy rate for legally qualified members of over 20%. Such vacancies are without precedent in the past and result from the fact that the President of the EPO has not made use of his right to propose appointments of new Board members to the Administrative Council since the Enlarged Board of Appeal rendered its decision R 19/12 of April 25, 2014 (see post dated 05/05/2014).
Comments in the blogs report that the selection and appointment proceedings pending at the time were stopped and no new selection proceedings were allowed to start and that even the re-appointments were delayed, sometimes until the last minute. In addition, no requests for prolongation of service of Board members from 65 years to 68 years, as foreseen in the Service Regulations, were allowed.