AMBA - the Association of Members of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) came into being on 30 June 1999 when sixty-three members adopted its statutes at its inaugural meeting. In February 2015, AMBA had 171 members amounting to more than 95% of the current chairmen and members of the Boards of Appeal and Enlarged Board of Appeal.
AMBA’s creation acknowledged:
- the function of the Boards of Appeal as the judicial instance of the EPO;
- the safeguards of judicial independence enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; and
- the Declaration adopted by the Administrative Council of the EPO at its 55th meeting from 13 to 15 December 1994 that the EPO adheres to general legal principles including human rights.
Accordingly, Article 1 of its Statutes defines the purposes of AMBA as:
- to monitor issues of relevance for the judicial function of the members of the Boards of Appeal with a view to safeguarding their independence;
- promoting the members’ self-government as members of a judiciary; and
- to gather its members for deliberations on questions of common interest, so that they will be heard in bodies deciding or making proposals of relevance for these functions.
In keeping with these aims, AMBA has, inter alia:
- commented on proposals for the revision of the EPC and organised the panel discussion "European patent litigation projects and the future status of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO" (March 2001);
- commissioned the Sedemund-Treiber/Ferrand Report on the proposed independent Patent appeal Court (2003);
- commented on potential threats to independence of the boards of appeal in letters to the Administrative council; and
- made observations to Board 28 on the internationally recognised principles of judicial independence in the context of the proposed re-structuring of the boards of appeal.
AMBA also invites distinguished speakers from among its own members, other parts of the EPO and throughout Europe to give talks on subjects of professional interest.