17 September 2014
After the summer break, I am particularly glad to start with a blog reporting on the celebrations for the 95th anniversary of Czech Industrial Property Office which took place last week in Prague in the presence of many personalities, including the Vice-Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry and Trade, the Heads of WIPO, OHIM and several patent offices of Europe, and many representatives from the worlds of business and academia. This gathering illustrated the dynamism of this well connected and active IP Office.
Indeed the Czech Republic has a long tradition in industry and manufacturing. It is quite amazing that the underwater propeller for boats was invented by a Czech forest warden, M. Josef Ressel, who filed a patent application in 1826 which was granted a year later. It says a lot about the creativity of this country! It is then not so surprising that the IP Office was set up in 1919, showing that this was a priority for the newly created state of Czechoslovakia after World War One.
The Czech IP Office joined the EPO in 2002 and has established itself as a reliable partner within the European Patent Network. For some 6 years now, its President, M. Josef Kratochvil, efficiently chairs the specialized committee of the EPO Administrative Council which discusses and advises the AC about all our major IT and cooperation projects. His mandate was renewed last June for another three years. Although starting from a rather low level, the filings of European patents by Czech companies jumped by 26,5% in 2013 compared to the previous year.
One of the hot topics related to patents and discussed in the Czech Republic nowadays concerns the Unitary Patent Package, in particular the ratification of the international treaty for the creation of the Unified Patent Court which is currently under national parliamentary scrutiny. I have observed not only in this country but also in some others that the national debate often focuses on the production of an economic impact assessment concerning the implementation of the UPP and UPC, which is always a challenging task.
I am confident that the evidence brought forward will enable the process to be completed as soon as possible. The EPO is ready to offer its support if requested. Another important element highly regarded in Europe is the path of the ratification by the two remaining states whose participation is imperative for the start of the UPC – UK and Germany. Their ratification will certainly incentivise other participating Member States in order to reach the starting quorum of 13 participating states in the coming months.
I wish to the Czech IP Office to resume its active and successful participation in the European Patent Network.