Dr. Christoph Ernst

Vice President of the European Patent Office
Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs

Dr. Christoph Ernst graduated from Göttingen University with a law degree in 1981. His postgraduate qualifications consist of the German professional law qualification and a Doctorate in law from Göttingen University. He has worked for several years as an attorney-at-law and has held leadership positions at the German Federal Ministry of Justice for over two decades, first as chief of division and then as head of the Directorate responsible for Intellectual Property. A range of sophisticated legislative projects have been successfully concluded under his supervision and leadership, starting with rules on financial markets and moving on to intellectual property, with legislation on patent and copyright law and acts to prepare and implement the Unitary Patent and the EU Trade Mark Directive. During his tenure in the Ministry, he was also responsible for personnel leadership and organisational matters, including a period of major structural and organisational changes affecting large numbers of staff.

Since 1997 he has been active in various capacities at the international level, e.g. in particular, since 2010 as head of Germany’s delegation to the Management Board of EUIPO and to the General Assembly of WIPO. He has been the Head of the German delegation to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since 2010, member of Board 28 since 2012, and Chairman of the Administrative Council since 1 October 2017. From 2015 to 2017 he was Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee.

He is the author of a number of publications and articles and a key speaker at international conferences.

As of 1 January 2019, he is the Vice-President Legal and International Affairs of the European Patent Office.