Chair/members of the Data Protection Board (EXT /15621)

The European Patent Office (EPO) is the second largest intergovernmental organisation in Europe. With headquarters in Munich, a branch at The Hague, sub-offices in Vienna and Berlin and a small bureau in Brussels, it employs approximately 7 000 staff across all four sites and has a self-financed annual budget of EUR 2bn.

The EPO is seeking to appoint external experts – a chair, two members and two alternate members – for its Data Protection Board.

The EPO's Data Protection Board is an advisory administrative body provided for by Articles 47 and 48 of the EPO's Data Protection Rules (DPR) with an oversight and advisory role and a function within the mechanism for legal redress under Article 50 DPR. It is thus responsible for monitoring compliance with the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection within the processing of personal data by the EPO. In carrying out its duties, it provides independent, effective and impartial oversight of the application of the relevant provisions and examines complaints lodged by staff – current and former – and external data subjects on data protection issues.

The Data Protection Board is composed of a chair and two members, appointed for a renewable term of three years. Two alternate members are appointed to replace the members as appropriate. The Data Protection Board is assisted in dealing with data protection complaints by a secretariat composed of specialised lawyers and administrative staff.

Responsibilities of the Data Protection Board

The chair and members are responsible for the overall conduct of the work and complaint proceedings of the Data Protection Board as defined in the DPR and the Data Protection Board's Rules of Procedure.

The chair and members are guided by the mission to examine and issue opinions on complaints lodged by staff and external data subjects on the application of the DPR, thus providing for a timely, fair and independent legal redress mechanism consistent with the principles of fair trial.

The chair and members have advisory and other responsibilities indicated in the DPR, such as:

  • monitoring, together with the EPO's Data Protection Officer, the application of the provisions of the DPR and the administrative instructions governing all data processing operations
  • issuing opinions on the need for a data protection impact assessment following a request from the controller
  • drawing up a list of the kinds of processing operations for which a data protection impact assessment is required and a list of the kinds of processing operations for which no data protection impact assessment is required
  • providing consultation and written advice to the controller on various issues

The Data Protection Board will mostly operate and meet online. In-person and on-location meetings will be an exception.

Your qualifications

The chair and members of the Data Protection Board must have the qualifications required for appointment to judicial office or be data protection professionals with proven expertise and at least ten years of experience in the area of data protection law acquired at national or international level, and the ability to act with the required independence.

They must not be EPO employees in active employment or have been EPO employees within the past ten years.

Apply if you have

  • practical experience in implementation of and ensuring compliance with data protection rules, preferably acquired in a large private or public organisation
  • a background in working on data protection issues; experience as a member of a data protection supervisory authority or in a large private or public organisation would be an asset;
  • extensive experience in dispute resolution, litigation and/or arbitration
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills and experience of drafting legal opinions
  • experience of working in an international environment
  • a diploma of completed studies at master's level, e.g. in data protection and privacy, law, public administration, IT, international relations, or – in exceptional cases – equivalent professional experience; qualification for judicial office would be an advantage
  • excellent knowledge (at least C1) of English; ability to work in French and German would be an asset


The remuneration is based on a service agreement and includes fees to cover the complaint proceedings as well as preparatory and follow-up work and advisory services. Travel expenses and daily subsistence will be borne by the EPO in accordance with the provisions applying to permanent and other employees of the EPO.

Process and timeline

The successful candidates will be appointed as chair or member for a period of three years and may be reappointed. Selection will be made on the basis of qualifications and interview(s).

The closing date for candidates to apply is 25 August 2021.

It is intended to hold the interviews in calendar week 38/39 of 2021.

All applications will be welcomed and considered on the professional merits of the candidate against the role profile for the position regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, parental responsibilities, age, religion or belief.