Benoît Battistelli

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Benoît Battistelli (born 12 July 1950 in Paris, France[1]) is a French civil servant, former president of the European Patent Office (EPO) (2010-2018), and former head of the French National Industrial Property Institute (INPI).[2]


Benoît Battistelli graduated from the École Nationale d'Administration (ÉNA, English: National School of Administration) in 1978.[1][3] From 1978 to 2002, he held various posts in French government departments and the French embassies in Italy, India, Poland and Turkey.[1] Later, from June 2002 to April 2004, he was assistant director of staff of Nicole Fontaine,[1][3] former President of the European Parliament.

From 12 May 2004 to June/July 2010, he headed (more precisely, he was the directeur général, i.e. chief executive officer) the French National Industrial Property Institute (INPI, standing for Institut national de la propriété industrielle in French), in charge of patents, trademarks and industrial design rights.[3][4][5]

Battistelli chaired the Supervisory Board of the European Patent Academy from July 2005 to July 2008. He was also chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.[6] He was elected to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation on 5 December 2006 for a three-year term.[7] Then, later the Administrative Council appointed him as its Chairman for a three-year term, from 5 March 2009 until March 2012,[8] although his election in March 2010 as President of the European Patent Office meant that he had to step down as Chairman of the Administrative Council.

In 2008, he had been named as one of the potential candidates to succeed Kamil Idris to lead the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),[9] but Francis Gurry was eventually selected for the post.

President of the EPO[edit]

On 1 March 2010 he was elected president of the European Patent Office (EPO), after a long and controversial series of meetings of the Administrative Council. He took up the post on 1 July 2010, for a term of five years.[10][11][12] He was the sixth president of the EPO, the second Frenchman to hold the post, and the first president who has previously held the post of Chairman of the Administrative Council.

Under Battistelli's tenure, the EPO played an important role in the preparatory work for the introduction of the unitary patent, which has yet to come into existence. In this context, Battistelli was listed in 2014 by the Managing Intellectual Property magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in intellectual property.[13] In June 2014, Battistelli's term of office as EPO president was extended for a further three years until 30 June 2018,[14][15] amidst concerns from the EPO staff.[16][17] In July 2018, he was succeeded by António Campinos.

Discontent within the EPO staff[edit]

Battistelli's presidency has encountered discontent among the staff and has been marked by industrial actions with an escalation of the conflict in 2014.[18][19][20][21] Discontent on the part of staff has been attributed to Battistelli's style of management which, according to reports in the German newspapers Die Zeit and Die Welt, was perceived by staff as being unduly autocratic and unsuited to a European intergovernmental body such as the EPO,[22][23][24] and, according to an article in the French newspaper Le Monde, has been brought in relation with suicides among the EPO staff since 2013.[25] Battistelli's management style has also been criticized in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf,[26][27] and by Philip Cordery, member of the French National Assembly.[28][29] In an interview to the German business lawyer journal JUVE, Siegfried Bross, former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, expressed the view that EPO's organization giving its president excessive powers is "principally incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)" and that EPO's president, Benoît Battistelli, acted in 2015 against an EPO staff member "without legal legitimacy".[30]

On 9 March 2018 a petition signed by 924 patent examiners denounced "the submission to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the Search and Examination divisions".[31] They wrote: “We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention and respecting the examiner’s guidelines, or issuing ‘products’ as our hierarchy demands".[32][33]

Computer tapping controversy[edit]

In June 2015, shortly before a meeting of the EPO President with the European Parliament, news broke of a controversial computer tapping action which apparently took place at the EPO towards the end of 2014. An article published in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung stated that it had obtained an internal report which showed that the EPO had tapped two publicly accessible computers that had been identified as a source for leaked information. The systems were placed under surveillance using cameras and keylogging and this led to the suspension of a member of staff.[34][35] These events led the Bavarian Data Protection Commissioner, Thomas Petri, and the Federal German Data Protection Commissioner, Andrea Vosshoff, to raise concerns regarding data protection matters at the EPO.[36][37][38]

Local political life[edit]

As of 2014, he was also town councillor (French: "conseiller municipal") of the French municipality of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines).[39][40]

Honorary degrees[edit]

In 2013, Battistelli received an honorary professorship from Renmin University of China, Beijing,[41] and, in 2014, the Menéndez Pelayo International University in Santander, Spain, awarded him an honorary doctorate.[42][43]


  1. ^ a b c d EPO web site, President, Benoît Battistelli Archived 2011-08-27 at the Wayback Machine., August 2011.
  2. ^ (in French) Arrêté du 25 juin 2010 portant nomination du directeur général par intérim de l'Institut national de la propriété industrielle, NOR: ECEZ1015755A, JORF n°0148 du 29 juin 2010 page 11672, texte n° 63. Consulted on July 1, 2010 (
  3. ^ a b c (in French) Les forums du financement et de l’Innovation web site, Benoît Batistelli Archived 2007-12-21 at the Wayback Machine.. Consulted on March 23, 2008.
  4. ^ (in French) INPI web site, Le Conseil d'administration Archived 2008-03-21 at the Wayback Machine.. Consulted on March 23, 2008.
  5. ^ France names new patent office chief, Managing Intellectual Property, Weekly News, May 2004. Consulted on March 23, 2008.
  6. ^ European Patent Office (EPO) web site, Administrative Council, Composition. Consulted on March 8, 2009.
  7. ^ (in French), INPI web site, Benoît Battistelli, Directeur général de l'INPI, est élu vice-président du conseil d'administration de l'Office européen des brevets (OEB) Archived 2007-10-29 at the Wayback Machine., Communiqués de presse (Press release), December 6, 2006. Consulted on March 23, 2008.
  8. ^ EPO web site, Benoît Battistelli to head the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation Archived December 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., News, December 11, 2008. Consulted on December 11, 2008.
  9. ^ Eklavya Gupte, Race to succeed Idris underway, Managing Intellectual Property, January 11, 2008. Consulted on March 23, 2008.
  10. ^ EPO web site, Applications received for the post of EPO President Archived September 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., 17 September 2009. Consulted on September 18, 2009.
  11. ^ EPO web site, Benoît Battistelli elected EPO President Archived March 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., News, 1 March 2010. Consulted on 2 March 2010.
  12. ^ (in German) V. Bernau, Schwieriges Amt, schwere Wahl, Süddeutsche Zeitung online, 1 March 2010. Consulted on 2 March 2010.
  13. ^ IP’s most influential people 2014, Managing Intellectual Property, 21 July 2014. Consulted on 2 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Battistelli given three-year extension at EPO", World Intellectual Property Review, 30 June 2014
  15. ^ Report on the 140th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (25-26 June 2014), OJ EPO 2014, A79 (Online publication date: 31.8.2014).
  16. ^ "EPO President Battistelli’s Term Extended Amid Staff Concerns", Intellectual Property Watch, 30 June 2014
  17. ^ "Machtfülle, die es in Europas Behörden sonst kaum gibt". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). 28 June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Streit beim Europäischen Patentamt eskaliert", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.03.2014
  19. ^ "European Patent Office Staff Calls Strike; President Battistelli Reacts", Intellectual Property Watch, 19.03.2014
  20. ^ "EPO facing more strike action", World Intellectual Property Review, 28.05.2014
  21. ^ "EPO staff in Battistelli fight" ", World Intellectual Property Review, 28.05.2014
  22. ^ "Umstritten und souverän", Die Zeit, 30.03.2014
  23. ^ English translation of "Umstritten und souverän": "Controversial and sovereign" Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ Tauber, Andre (24 August 2014). "Aufstand der Besserverdiener" [Uprising of the high-income earners]. Die Welt (in German). Axel Springer SE. p. 4. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Un si bon office", Le Monde, 06.04.2015
  26. ^ "Terreur op werkvloer onder Franse despoot", De Telegraaf, 24 June 2014 (in Dutch).
  27. ^ "Franse despoot herbenoemd bij Octrooibureau", De Telegraaf, 26 June 2014 (in Dutch).
  28. ^ Agence France Presse, AFP (March 30, 2014). "A l'Office européen des brevets, ambiance délétère et président contesté" [At the EPO, deleterious atmosphere and contentious president] (in French). Le Parisien. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Lamant, Ludovic (24 June 2014). "Tension sociale maximale au sein de l'office européen des brevets" [High social unrest at the European Patent Office]. Mediapart (in French). Société Editrice de Mediapart (SAS). Retrieved 3 September 2014.  (also available here Archived 2014-09-04 at the Wayback Machine.).
  30. ^ "EPA-Disziplinarverfahren: 'Verwaltungsrat und Battistelli handeln ohne rechtliche Grundlage'", JUVE, 29.10.2015
  31. ^ "Petition from EPO examiners" (PDF). 
  32. ^ "Patent quality has fallen, confirm Euro examiners". The register. 2018-03-15. Archived from the original on 2018-03-15. 
  33. ^ Media, Newton (2018-03-16). "Patent quality endangered by EPO management, claim examiners". World Intellectual Property Review. 
  34. ^ Intellectual Property Watch, "Report: European Patent Office Tapped Computers", Intellectual Property Watch, 11 June 2015
  35. ^ Riedel, Katja (8 June 2015). "Europäisches Patentamt überwachte Mitarbeiter mit Keyloggern" [The European Patent Office carried out secret surveillance on employees using keyloggers]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  36. ^ Katja Riedel, "Europäisches Patentamt: Forderung nach externem Datenschützer", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10 June 2015 (in German)
  37. ^ Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann, "Europäisches Patentamt: Europäisches Patentamt: Beschäftigte bespitzelt", Münchner Merkur, 13 June 2015 (in German)
  38. ^ Riedel, Katja (17 September 2015). "Europäisches Patentamt - Datenschützer fordern Aufsicht für Patentamt" [European Patent Office - Data Protection Commissioner calls for oversight of Patent Office]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich. Retrieved 25 September 2015.  - English, French and Dutch translations of "Europäisches Patentamt - Datenschützer fordern Aufsicht für Patentamt": "European Patent Office - Data Protection Commissioner calls for oversight of Patent Office"
  39. ^ "Élus de la majorité "Union pour Saint-Germain"". Mairie de Saint Germain en Laye. Archived from the original on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "C. (No. 3) v. EPO; 125th Session; Judgment No. 3958". International Labour Organization. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017. ... Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the President was a Town Councillor, ... 
  41. ^ "7th EPO-SIPO heads' meeting brings offices even closer together". European Patent Office. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  42. ^ "EPO and Spain continue co-operation on Latin America". European Patent Office. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  43. ^ "Benoît Battistelli y Bruno Strigini, Doctores Honoris Causa por la UIMP" [Benoît Battistelli and Bruno Strigini, Doctors Honoris Causa of the UIMP] (in Spanish). Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Barbaux, Aurélie (September 20, 2012). "Le stratège du brevet européen" [The strategist of the European patent] (in French). L'Usine Nouvelle n° 3299. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Head of the French National Institute of Industrial Property
Succeeded by
Yves Lapierre
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by
Roland Grossenbacher
Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation
Succeeded by
Jesper Kongstad
Preceded by
Alison Brimelow
President of the European Patent Office
Succeeded by
António Campinos