Munich, 11 October 2018 – The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria) as the next vice-presidents of the European Patent Office (EPO). The appointments were made at a meeting of the Administrative Council chaired by its Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl. The three new vice-presidents will take up their positions on 1 January 2019 for a period of five years.

Stephen Rowan was appointed Vice-President Directorate-General Patent Granting Process. He will succeed Alberto Casado Cerviño of Spain. Mr Rowan is currently Director of Patents, Trade Marks, Designs, and Tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office. He has extensive experience in intellectual property, working across all IP rights. Mr Rowan has served as Head of the UK Delegation at several WIPO diplomatic conferences, and was Head of the UK Delegation at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EPO’s Directorate-General Patent Granting Process is responsible for the entire patent granting process from end-to-end, including search, examination, publication, opposition and all related formalities, and for delivering support for the patent granting process to internal and external users of EPO services.

Christoph Ernst will take up the post of Vice-President Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs, succeeding fellow German Raimund Lutz. Mr Ernst is currently head of directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and has served as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since 1 October 2017. He is experienced in economic, commercial and tax law, and also has extensive knowledge of intellectual property. Mr Ernst has represented Germany in the Administrative Council of the EPO and other IP organizations, including the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The EPO’s Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs is in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information, and the European Patent Academy.

Nellie Simon is the next Vice-President of the European Patent Office’s Directorate-General Corporate Services, taking over from Željko Topić of Croatia. Ms Simon, an Austrian national, is currently Head of Cabinet and Acting Director of the Academy at the EUIPO. She is a graduate of the University of Vienna and the London School of Economics, and has held several IT-related positions at the EUIPO, including CIO.
The EPO’s Directorate-General Corporate Services is responsible for support services including Human Resources, Information Management, Finance, General Administration and Central Procurement.